The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Political Cuts

by Sue Tyler on September 2, 2014 in Art, Elections2014, Politics, Retail

Every second store I pass seems to be a Pop-Up Shop of one kind or another, but Political Cuts is something brings a different spin to the idea. When you pop along to 101 Wakefield Street this week (like a true Pop-Up Political Cuts is only around for a week) you’ll discover a salon offering cheap coffee and free professional haircuts.

Jason Cuts

Right now the number of young people registered to vote is tiny compared to how many are eligible.
Why is that?
Why does nobody under 25 seem to bother or care?
What is the point the voting?

At Political Cuts those questions are being asked and during your cut (i highly recommend the koro wetere combover for the young man about town) you’ll be required to engage your brain as each cut by Jason Muir is being shared online with a personal summary of thought by the newly coiffed/caffeinated visitor.

Follow their facebook for the days cuts, and also the blackboard specials.

Over on twitter you can catch the days thoughts as they roll in like “It’s much easier to manipulate me emotionally than to convince me rationally AND YOU KNOW IT”

but get in fast the last cut takes place at 4pm on friday.


Uber Duper?

by Tom on August 29, 2014 in Transport, Uncategorised, Urban Issues

UberPlenty of Wellingtonians are getting excited about the arrival of the rapidly-growing quasi-taxi service Uber. They offer the convenience of a smartphone app, the potential for better service and flexibility, a promise to disrupt what is often seen as a monopolistic industry, plus fancy cars and All Blacks. For that, they’ve been rewarded with billions of dollars of venture capital, making them darlings of the startup scene.

One Wellingonista signed up to see what they’re offering during their “secret test mode” period. Signing up requires your credit card details up front, but they’re offering free rides through to 21st September. At the moment, they appear to have four cars in Wellington, but expect that to grow. Once they start charging, they’re currently talking about a minimum fare of $5, with ongoing charges of $0.50 per minute and $1.85 per km. I say “currently charging”, since one aspect of their dynamic new model is surge pricing, which raises the fares according to the laws of supply and demand, sometimes hitting users hard.

That’s not the only potential fish hook in this shiny new service. As well as the praise from some parts of the business and tech world, there have been many serious criticisms.

For a start, there’s the matter of passenger safety with a business model that sidesteps the regulations of the taxi industry. New Zealand’s already lightly regulated taxi industry has problems with shady drivers to start with, but there have been horror stories coming out of the US. Worse, the company tried to alleviate those concerns by offering a “$1 Safe Ride Fee”: yes, passengers had to actually pay extra not to get assaulted.

On top of that, Uber have fought against insurance and safety legislation, been accused by their drivers of exploitation, and used what seem to be extremely underhand anti-competitive measures. While we wouldn’t suggest boycotting a company because of its CEO’s politics, it would seem that Travis Kalanick makes Cameron Slater look like Laila Harré, and his libertarianism manifests itself in the company’s anti-unionism and contempt for public safety legislation. As anyone who remembers the Green Cabs Wars on the Wellingtonista will know, the Wellington taxi industry isn’t exactly a host of angels. But in a city that is already overrun with cabs, is there much need for an even less regulated alternative?

We do hope that Uber will spur the local companies into making better use of technology to improve their customers’ experience, and there are advantages in having electronic records of every fare. It may be that in New Zealand, Uber won’t make the same questionable business moves that it has done in the US, and the innovative aspects of their service could actually benefit Wellingtonians. We will watch with interest.


Walking in Light

by Tom on August 28, 2014 in Art, Festival, Outdoors, Waterfront

We’ve already previewed the LUX festival, but now we’re a bit over halfway through and the weather’s looking kind, it’s worth reminding you to See. It. Now. You have until Sunday.

nZwarm at LUX

We had a wander around last night, and the atmosphere was (appropriately) electric. Quite apart from the installations themselves, the experience of being around so many people enjoying Wellington’s streets, lanes and waterfront on a winter night was delightful. Some might question the wisdom of combining sound-activated art works with hordes of excitable children (my ears are still ringing), but in general the cheerful crowds with their phone cameras and DSLRs were an attraction in themselves.

There’s so much variety that it’s hard to pick favourites, and to properly experience everything would take several visits. However, some of the must-sees for me were:

  • Potion Forest, a quietly magical work that would benefit from a little more wind to get things swaying
  • Light Rails, which makes the most of the constrained space in Opera House Lane, and makes you do a double-take when you realise it’s not a projection
  • Te Aho ō tātou Tupuna, which takes Johnson Witehira’s Courtenay Place lightbox installation to new heights (literally)
  • #entity.255, an effective piece of digital media interaction that lets users search the web for images (presumably with safe search turned on) and turns them into giant, gently animated mandalas
  • DAYDREAM V.2, a devastatingly simple approach to taking projections into the third dimension (this video shows just a tiny fraction of its effects)

Some of the other works were a touch too subtle besides such bold and bright competition, but the two permanent installations (The Chandelier and the Hikitia) should come into their own in their everyday contexts. Others depended very much on the angle and distance of viewing, so make sure you keep walking around to get the most out of them.

Tim’s already mentioned the deLux dining and food trucks, but the route also passes several bars and cafés. I can heartily recommend Bin 44, Crumpet and Golding’s Free Dive for fine drinks and nibbles along the way.


So a further update on the WOAP menus and burgers (some just because they’re within easy striking distance of one’s corporate workplace)…

  • PanM molettePan de Muerto’s Mollete (pictured minus its lid for photographic purposes) was pretty good but could have done with more pork in proportion to the nasty beans.
  • The Monsoon Poon Bangkok Beef Burger was a good concept (apparently a winning recipe from an American burger competition) but needed more green curry oomph.

And the Logan Brown Mardi Gras New Orleans Jazz Brunch if they do it again next year….. definitely a pleasant way to wile away a cold wintery Sunday. Go in a group, and don’t necessarily expect to see the musicians; it’s about creating the background ambience as much as anything. Tasty food by Sean Clouston.

Still a week to go folks.


More posts…

Let It Rain Beer

by Herbertimo August 20, 2014

Last night I sat down and drank a glass of my very own home-brewed IPA (India Pale Ale). It wasn’t my finest work (I’d rate it alongside/just under Tui in palatability) but it was mine, I made it and I enjoyed making it. I’ve made better beer. In fact I’ve even made one that I thought […]

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A stomach explosion…

by Heather C August 18, 2014

And not as a result of the Cooking with Ice: Liquid Nitrogen demo. Yes this middle of the night post is a direct result of WOAP weekend eyes-bigger-than-stomach issues.  I somehow managed to have three events this first weekend, and to squeeze in a burger as well (plus observe others squeezing in more). So to the burgers […]

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The Plates of Wellington on a Plate

by Joanna August 15, 2014

Wellington on a Plate starts today, hurray! You will no doubt be hearing more from us on this subject, so let’s kick off our coverage with an event that caters to every palate and every dietary requirement. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? Wellington Plates is an exhibition of ceramic tableware served up as hot […]

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Curl up with a good Bookfair

by Sue Tyler August 13, 2014

It’s true i get excited by books, and every year i get excited by the Annual DCM Bookfair,  which lucky for my excitement meter (which dipped a bit post film festival) is on this weekend. At The DCM Bookfair you’ll find over 90,000 books Books, Magazine, Comics, Graphic Novels,  jigsaw-puzzles, games, DVDs, CDs, Vinyl Records, Stamps …. […]

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A club that would have us as a member

by Joanna August 12, 2014

Everyone has different reasons for being in the Wellingtonista, and one of mine is that it means I get invitations from lovely people to do cool things. That’s all very well and good, but it could be a little alienating for you guys. So today, I’m going to tell you about a secret special club […]

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Let There Be Light

by Herbertimo August 7, 2014

lux — n , pl lux the derived SI unit of illumination equal to a luminous flux of 1 lumen per square metre. 1 lux is equivalent to 0.0929 foot-candle. I don’t know about you, but to me a luminous flux sounds like it should be a lot of fun. It sounds like a light […]

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