Dead by lunchtime?


The Historic Village Hill Walk, where is the parking and which bus would I have got?

ARTbop has “got into trouble” before for suggesting that there were going to be parking issues around the Historic Village. Going to talk to The Incubator in February about the ARTbop launch I was chased out of an unsigned parking space: “is this your designated space? I pointed out the space was not designated or signed to any person or organisation. Are you a tenant?” “Go and park on the road” Good thing I wasn’t a tourist or visitor, just someone going to use an Historic Village facility.

I get to the 2015 Multi-Cultural Festival at the Historic Village around lunchtime. The roadside parking, grass verges, every space you can think of has a car parked on it. Cars are crawling around the streets and the nearby Hospital carparking areas. I decide to drive around several times to give the parking argument the benefit of the doubt. No joy so I drive down to 16th Avenue, past the theatre and into a side street, load up my backpack, grab a hat and water bottle and hoof it. As I’m walking down that hill to the Historic Village I decide to “survey” one or two of the up-walkers. A grandma with small children and a “well dressed mature woman.” The latter tells me she arrived early (it started at 10am) but couldn’t find any parking around the Historic Village and was parked some distance away. She’d left the Festival early because she was aware she’d have to trudge up the hill to her car. I wonder if I’ll make it back up the hill or will I be “dead by lunchtime”

When I bounce through the gate after gladly parting with $6. to support such a buzzing event, I comment to the Multi Cultural person sitting inside the gate that there is an issue with parking. Laugh out loud, she tells me not to focus on the negative but to go and have a good time. It’s so good to see how readily another migrant has absorbed contemporary New Zealand values. I get a similar response when I suggest to the lovely man in charge of a stall area promoting (among other things) The Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga exhibition down on the Strand there could be a loop bus, at least in the summer so that visitors get to see all the historic sites, Greerton, The Historic Village and out to Te Ranga. He hands me a pamphlet for walking and driving tours. But, but I try to explain all those cruise ship tourists don’t have cars and as many of them are “mature” I don’t see many of them walking round a lot the sites. Someone wants to buy one of his hats, so he’s not interested in my banging on about extending visitor access to Tauranga history.

By accident (I was hitting up someone to see if they’d like to be an ARTbop photographer) I find out that there is a bus that goes past The Historic Village – how come I didn’t know that and how come there wasn’t a bus (even a mini bus) from designated parking areas down to the Historic Village? Ah shut up, just go and have a good time.

Yes the Multi-Cultural Festival was amazing (once inside the gates). It has to be one of the most vibrant and enjoyable experiences of people, music, food and everything I’ve been to in a long time. It must have taken an extraordinary amount of work to organise this event – perhaps that’s what all those meetings I saw were about. And where do all these amazing people live when they are not at the Festival? Maybe that’s what integration means – you look like your new home!

Rosemary Balu

Rosemary Balu is a regular contributor to ARTbop and is the founding and current Editor of ARTbop.


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