Editorial: Wellington is… weird.

I spent a week of the break down in the capital, mostly trying to avoid academic and administrative responsibilities I have up here. It wasn’t very successful in that regard, I will say – I ended up spending the better part of a day in the Wellington Central Library writing one of my essays (if only to get my mind off of it for the rest of the trip).

I’ve lived in Auckland my whole life. Hell, I’ve barely even lived outside of the central city and surrounding suburbs – I’ve been to the North Shore exactly twice, and out west maybe once.

As a consequence, there are a few different things I expect a city to be. I am very used to badly designed sprawl, for example. I’m used to the Big-ness of the Auckland CBD. I’m used to terrible public transport, awful walkability, and everything being aggressively developed and re-developed.

Wellington is barely any of those things, at all.

Big chunks of the Wellington CBD were clearly frozen in time at some point in 1990s, for example. Where we have a 3 story H&M store – complete with a giant fucking chandelier – opening up in the heart of town, there are buildings all through the main retail sections of wellington city that are screaming out in vain, unheard, for a basic water-blast (or a new coat of paint) .

And like: this isn’t me ragging on Wellington. The dinginess is a nice relief from the weird artifice of places like Ponsonby Central, which (imo) often just feel like carefully constructed hiding spots in which rich people can hide from how shithouse other parts of the county can get (lmao).

The thing I really like about Wellington, though, is how small the place is.

And I’m not a fan of smallness, generally. I like that I’ve been in Auckland all my life and am still constantly meeting new people who have also been in Auckland all their lives, all of whom I have never heard of or seen around before.

But I also like that Wellington is basically constructed to be a machine where you will bump into every single person you’ve ever met just randomly on the street all the time, because, like, there’s only five places for them to be at any given time and you’re currently in one of them and in spitting difference of two of the others.

And I like that when your friends ask you to their flat and you decide to walk there (I like walking places, sue me) its not actually a dumbass thing to do, and you can get there in like 20 minutes. Like, the walk from my old Symonds Street flat to Uni was somehow shorter than my walk from the CBD to the “way out in the suburbs” place I was staying in.

NB: wellington doesn’t have ONZO? ONZO would fucking kill it in wellington, imo. Even with all the hills.

Anyway, half the conversations I had down in wellington were with wellington people complaining about how they hated how small wellington is and they couldn’t be more excited to move out and to somewhere bigger.

And I mean I don’t disagree with them: I’m sure living there would devolve into an intense psychic hell after a while. But the grass is always greener and all that.

 

All that being said: welcome back! I hope you all had a good couple of weeks off!