A web­site with its fin­ger on the pulse

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Its of­fi­cial name is Motueka Buy and Sell, but I call it Lo­cal Google.

From Motueka to Murchi­son, Takaka to Ta­paw­era, ev­ery com­mu­nity seems to have one of these Face­book pages.

They’re on­line garage sale sites and a dread­ful time-suck - an hour can dis­ap­pear with the flick of a thumb – but if you want to take the pulse of a town, start scrolling.

The dis­cus­sions that take place on these sites are at times heart­warm­ing, in­fu­ri­at­ing and hi­lar­i­ous, as peo­ple blindly con­nect and col­lide from the safety of their smart­phones.

There are some com­mon themes – who is the area’s most af­ford­able elec­tric­ity provider?

Is any­one sell­ing a cheap car? When white­bait­ing sea­son fin­ish?

Can any­one rec­om­mend a good builder, or chi­ro­prac­tor, or hair­dresser?

That dropped phone on Green­wood Street – has any­one seen it?

The fam­ily tired of bat­tling the bru­tal rental mar­ket – is any­one sell­ing a house­bus?

And where do you stand in the heated de­bate that raged over the re­cent burn-off near Pah Street that dusted half of the town in ash?

As well as im­pulse-buy­ing all man­ner of things that I pos­si­bly don’t need, I use the site for my lo­cal emer­gency up­dates.

It’s not par­tic­u­larly re­li­able

‘‘A few months ago I was wo­ken early to the sound of a dis­tant and un­fa­mil­iar siren.

does and cer­tainly not un­bi­ased, but the in­for­ma­tion (and spec­u­la­tion) comes fast, and I know that the com­ments are from peo­ple in my lo­ca­tion and sit­u­a­tion.

After the Kaik­oura earth­quake, I was wide awake un­til dawn, flick­ing be­tween the Civil De­fense and Buy and Sell sites in search of re­as­sur­ance and in­for­ma­tion from within my com­mu­nity.

A few months ago I was wo­ken early to the sound of a dis­tant and un­fa­mil­iar siren.

My house­hold was sleep­ing, and one of the fun­da­men­tals of par­ent­ing is that you do not wake a sleep­ing child, but when I tip­toed out to the deck I could hear a faint au­to­mated voice. ‘‘This is not a drill,’’ it warned. I ap­peared to be the only per­son in the whole of Fry St, and pos­si­bly the en­tire town, who was awake. That’s be­cause it’s the week­end, I tried to re­as­sure my­self. Al­though … had the whole town al­ready fled?

Had every­one else evac­u­ated be­fore a mys­te­ri­ous dis­as­ter be­fell them, as cau­tioned by the stern syn­thetic voice?

Civil De­fence told me noth­ing, so I turned in­stead to Lo­cal Google, and sure enough, therein lay my peace of mind.

‘‘Don’t worry,’’ Whakarewa Street res­i­dents were al­ready yawn­ing into their cell­phones, ‘‘Go back to bed. It’s just a fault with the high school’s fire alarm.’’

Tran­quil­ity was re­stored. I hit ‘‘Like’’ and then crept in­side, switched my phone to flight­mode, and went back to sleep.

There’s a lot to like about the Motueka Buy and Sell face­book page.

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