Looking back over this week it can only be described as Spectacular.
The Americas Cup, has been so exciting. Entire workplaces glued to the giant cats on the big screen, pensive: breathing, gasping and sighing in unison. Mute on, ZB and PJ Montgomery’s distinctive voice of passion up loud on the radio, guiding us through to the finish line.
The ticker tape parade along Auckland’s Queen St in 1995, to this day, remains stand out in my mind as one of the most electric and glorious events I can remember being a part of and this feels close.
I don’t know what has happened in the last 18 years, perhaps it is because we are bringing the cup home, but even the most bah-humbug about the race would struggle not to get the tiniest pang watching Dean Barker at the helm, and our sailors in their hard core space suits on their aquatic space ships as they dart, jump, grind, plough and fly through the San Francisco harbor. Spectacular.
Also what can only be described as spectacular was the weather this week. Wednesdays thunderous winds whipping up Wellington into a wild and weird frenzy. It seemed to turn us collectively in just a little bit of crazy as the Northwest gusted through the streets.
On Wednesday afternoon I turned from Dixon St onto Cuba Mall and came upon a scene that was both frightening yet mesmerizing. I was one of about 100 people who got stuck watching as 5 police men restrained a large, violent, swearing man. He was on the ground thrashing, yelling, swearing. And the officers calmly held him down and avoided the odd stray foot or headbutt and refused to react to the spurious abuse that thrown in their direction.
I, like the others, was just stopped. Because it was hard to just walk on by but there was nothing I could do, so I just watched. Even though we were totally safe, it was still scary, my heart was thumping. Eventually, after about 10 minutes, the street swarmed with at least another ten police officers who surrounded the clump on the ground and a paddy wagon arrived and parked itself just behind the bucket fountain. And then, even though I didn’t take my eyes off, I still can’t tell you how it happened, but they clearly decided they wanted him on his feet, so, like that, he was. Then they paused in front of the open door of the truck – and again, just like that, he was in. And the last the crowd heard was thunderous kicks on the back of the tin door as it was closed.
The police were sterling. They remained calm in a tense environment, heightened by a number of spectators, and spectators with cameras.
In no way were the public in danger, and this man was successfully restrained. Probably charged and sent to sleep it off in the cells. We all carried on, shaken, but safe.
On a day where the talk of the morning had been about arming police – there’s no way guns could have made the situation any better. It would only have made it worse.
And from the spectacular … The Labour Leadership Roadshow concluded this week, we’ll talk to Katie Bradford Crozier shortly this morning, and the Mayoral Race kicked off. Both, an extraordinary spectacle.
On Thursday, the Wellington Mayoral candidates debated the city and its future, our short, hazardous airport, our lack of growth, our subordinate status to Mega Auckland and Quake ridden Christchurch.
They talked about a living wage, transport around the city and injecting vibrancy.
The winds whipped
And the boats raced.
What Wellington needs is to be measured up to host the America’s Cup in our harbor.
Now, that, would be spectacular.