Be a tourist in your town

Whanganui Midweek - - NEWS -

With no room for an ed­i­to­rial last week, ‘tis time to ac­knowl­edge Mark Daw­son and Lin Fer­gu­son, who took over Mid­week while I en­joyed some an­nual leave.

Lin, a skilled jour­nal­ist of re­pute, stepped in and turned out some very good sto­ries (with pho­to­graphs) to fill the Mid­week pages.

Tak­ing care of the edit­ing and me­chan­i­cal side of things was Whanganui Chron­i­cle edi­tor Mark Daw­son. He added Mid­week to his al­ready huge bur­den of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties un­til I re­turned.

Mid­week con­tin­ued to be pub­lished and re­mains a qual­ity news­pa­per with strong com­mu­nity at­tach­ment.

Many thanks to you both, Mark and Lin. I’m sure it will hap­pen again some­time.

Vis­ited Whanganui re­cently? And I’m not ad­dress­ing tourists.

How many Whanganui cit­i­zens know their own town to the ex­tent that many of our visi­tors do?

Too of­ten we leave ex­plo­ration of the fa­mil­iar for when we want to show vis­it­ing friends and fam­ily what a jewel we have here, and, in the process, we learn an aw­ful lot. For many of us, we still have huge parts of Whanganui left to dis­cover. To re­ally know what our city has to of­fer, I sug­gest you be a tourist for a while. When you get time, wan­der the streets, read the ad­ver­tis­ing, see what’s on and what’s com­ing up, get out of the house and have a good look around. There are places where few lo­cals ven­ture, but where tourists of­ten go. That should change.

How many art gal­leries have you vis­ited lately? Been to many sport­ing events? Have you been to see Rick Rudd’s Quartz Mu­seum of Stu­dio Ceram­ics? Taken a walk around Vir­ginia Lake and wan­dered through the Win­ter Gar­dens? Have you watched glass art be­ing cre­ated? Have you seen the in­cred­i­ble im­prove­ments in Ran­giora St in Castle­cliff? Checked out the other sub­urbs? Are you plan­ning on vis­it­ing Art in the Gar­den? When’s the last time you wan­dered through the Sar­jeant Gallery (did you know it’s on Taupo Quay while the build­ing in Queen’s Park is be­ing up­graded?) or Whanganui Re­gional Mu­seum in its tem­po­rary premises in Ridg­way St? Have you even been to the i-Site down by the river? Have you con­sid­ered shop­ping at the River Traders’ Mar­ket?

And here’s a tip: don’t be scared. Whanganui’s tourist at­trac­tions are noth­ing to be fright­ened of and art is not nec­es­sar­ily a scary thing. Rid­ing the Waimarie, the Wairua or even the Durie Hill lift is an adventure, so look at an ex­pe­di­tion to see art as a sim­i­lar thing. It doesn’t take courage but an open mind helps, and, who knows? You might en­joy your­self. You might find you ac­tu­ally liked see­ing the fruits of the vast range of artis­tic tal­ent Whanganui shel­ters. How amaz­ing would that be?

The streets of Whanganui are home to many things un­seen by lo­cals. Do your­self a favour and ren­der them “seen”. Re­move the neg­a­tive and learn a whole lot about the place where you live. Hav­ing done so, you can en­cour­age oth­ers to come here too, even if just for a look!

The NZ De­fence In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion Fo­rum is be­ing held in Palmer­ston North and is be­ing at­tended by arms deal­ers from around the world, all keen to see the lat­est, in­no­va­tive ways to kill hu­man be­ings.

It’s no good minc­ing words; the “fo­rum” is a mar­ket place for weapons.

The ma­jor spon­sor is Lock­heed Martin, the world’s largest arms dealer and a man­u­fac­turer of nu­clear weapons.

This fo­rum is no longer wanted in Welling­ton so it is be­ing held in Palmer­ston North. The coun­cil there has ob­vi­ously wel­comed it and even plans to frus­trate peace­ful protest by block­ing streets around the Cen­tral En­ergy Trust Arena, the fo­rum’s venue.

The irony is that Palmer­ston North has Peace City sta­tus.

The coun­cil wants to pre­vent cer­tain peo­ple, or types of peo­ple, from get­ting near the venue, so plans to set up road blocks around the arena and ques­tion peo­ple as to their mo­tives for en­ter­ing the area.

Peace­ful protest is not break­ing the law.

Hold­ing this “fo­rum” is also, un­for­tu­nately, not break­ing the law.

The po­lice, who are meant to en­force the law and ar­rest those who break it, will be unashamedly on the side of the arms deal­ers and will be there to pre­vent peace­ful protesters from ap­proach­ing. They need to ques­tion the rea­son for their ex­is­tence.

It comes down to a ques­tion of morals.

The protesters want peace in the wider sense of the word.

The fo­rum is there to pro­mote easy de­struc­tion of hu­man life.

If the po­lice have to be in­volved at all, who should they be pro­tect­ing? An im­moral mar­ket, or peo­ple who want an end to war?

Palmer­ston North should con­sider sur­ren­der­ing its Peace City sta­tus if this is the kind of thing they wish to pro­mote. You can’t have it both ways.

‘Re­move the neg­a­tive and learn a whole lot about the place where you live. Hav­ing done so, you can en­cour­age oth­ers to come here too, even if just for a look!’

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