Mo­bil­ity is our mod­ern mir­a­cle

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS -

Last week I tried to drive to Hok­i­tika. It’s about 500 kilo­me­tres from Alexan­dra, so it’s a whole day to get there. Years since I did it last, I was look­ing for­ward to the trip. Men­tally pre­pared, gassed up, lunch on the pas­sen­ger seat and rar­ing to go, I got as far as Hawea. Road closed, at least for 36 hours. There goes the day’s work in Hoki, I thought, call-in stranded, home we go. Dis­ap­point­ment all round. But no. ‘‘Can you fly?’’ ‘ I guess,’ I texted back, ‘Give me 10 min­utes’. Sure enough, there’s a seat avail­able from Queen­stown.

I was in Hok­i­tika by 5pm, ready to work the next day. And then, on Satur­day it took ex­actly 4 hours from Hok­i­tika to home in Alexan­dra, through Christchurch and Queen­stown air­ports. I’d have been at about the Gates of Haast if I’d been driv­ing.

So what? You’re ask­ing. We take mo­bil­ity for granted, for­get­ting how much that story is a mod­ern mir­a­cle.

My Sam­son grand­fa­ther, who made a liv­ing ship­ping live sheep to Aus­tralia on sail­ing ships, and who owned the first Packard car in Dunedin, wouldn’t have be­lieved it pos­si­ble. ◗ Mal­colm Macpher­son teaches ap­plied busi­ness ex­cel­lence at Otago Polytech­nic.

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