The Devonport Speculator’s 2010 Community Awards Special

Posted by on Jan 01, 2011 | 5 Comments

The Speculator has combed through its records and stories for 2010, and is delighted to present its readers and ad-clickers with its nominations for a number of unique awards.

The Russell Coutts Award for Luckiest Individual Not To Be Run Out of Town; THE DRIVER OF THE CAR THAT KILLED SNOWPLOUGH

The Speculator has never felt entirely comfortable in Clarence St; for a small road it is always busy, and the short distances between Victoria Rd, Wynyard St, Anne St and the entrance to the New World car park require constant vigilance when negotiating it. This is enough of a challenge for a biped with colour vision, self awareness and some knowledge of road rules, so imagine The Speculator’s concern in seeing the irrepressible Snowplough – a small quadruped with black and white vision, a brain the size of a nut and no capacity to think in the abstract – scampering across Clarence St to stalk a couple of listless sparrows in the olive tree outside Glengarry. Two weeks later, he was hit in that exact spot. None of which forgives the person who squished him and then failed to stop.

The Prince Albert Award for Luckiest Individual Not To Be Run Over On Mt Victoria; SALLY HOLLAND

Whatever the actual circumstances of the incident, The Speculator’s mum always said not to walk down the middle of roads, no matter how many times it might have been done without being hit. This is now known as The Black Swan Effect; the number of times you see a white swan bears no relation to the possibility of the next one being black, sneaking up behind you, and biting you on the bottom.

The Dick Cheney Benevolent Award for Best Behind The Scenes Orchestration: MAIRE VIETH.

Seemingly quite happy to remain largely in the background, Maire – our Devonport Community Coordinator – is an expert in forming symbiotic connections between people who then go on to organise great things.

The Kevin Rudd Award For Most Rapid And Ignominious Demise: ANDREW WILLIAMS

Anyone who still has to give himself and his allies a childish gang title – like The A Team for example –  when holding a grown-up position like mayor of a city, was always going to get people’s backs up. And not necessarily because they wanted to be part of the gang, but because of the implicit suggestion that his gang were the elite. The Speculator is no politician, but surely; naming a tiny minority who are your allies the good guys and excluding everyone else as your enemies has got to be No.1 on the list of What Not To Do If You Want To Be A Successful Politician. Number 2 of course, is Don’t Be The Kind Of Person That Makes Lots Of Enemies Really Fast. Heaven help anyone who was foolish enough to combine those two!


The Key Slapping Slippard In The Gate Of Solla Sollew Award for Blighting Paradise: CHEVRON

To be fair, the closure of Devonport’s last petrol pumps was nobody’s fault. The tanks under the station were old and small and needed to be replaced to ensure there was no disastrous leak into Cheltenham Beach. The cost to the small business of Tainui Motors was prohibitive and it is not Chevron’s role to pay for station infrastructure upgrades. However, as all of us who live in Devonport know, Devonport is a Special Case. And Chevron is rolling in cash. And if they had thought about it, they could have made an exception with an environmental twist; ie they would pay for the tanks to reduce car journeys up Lake Rd to the BP station. Unfortunately, corporate cogitation doesn’t work like that.

Runners Up: THE SEA SLUGS, for making it no longer possible to say that Cheltenham Beach is the safest swimming beach in New Zealand or anywhere for that matter. The slimy little (tidal) pond scum.


The cycle lanes took a lot of flak for the increased traffic congestion on Lake Rd, but really the problem lies in one small place; the removal of a second straight through lane at the Lake Rd / Bardia St / Winscombe St intersection, with it being replaced by an exclusive right turning lane into Winscombe. This was done because the cycle lanes (one each direction) reduced the space available for two lanes of straight-through traffic to merge on Lake Rd.

The Speculator’s solution;

1: remove the right turn from Lake Rd into Bardia St (reducing traffic light phasing) and allow traffic for Bardia St to come and go via Eversleigh Rd.

2: Then remove the pedestrian light from outside TGS and install a set of pressure-based lights at Eversleigh / Lake Rd to control traffic for that intersection and the intersection for St Leonards and TGS pupil pedestrians. This could be done with TWO signal phases. i) Stop traffic on Lake Rd in both directions; allowing right-turning traffic from Eversleigh and St Leonards onto Lake Rd simultaneously, while also allowing pedestrians to cross Lake Rd. Right turning traffic from Eversleigh would stop at a separate set of lights, but phased the same; ii) Lake Rd traffic go, all others, stop.

3: Then remove the right turn into Winscombe off Lake Rd; Winscombe can be accessed a number of way by parents dropping off kids, including a walkway from Westwell Rd that connects to Winscombe.

The Jonah Lomu Award for Having The Potential To Use Some Big Guns But Actually Being A Bit Of A Pussycat: THE NAVY

Having co-contributed an excellent new maritime museum and a truly first class Open Day to the Devonport community, The Navy’s reputation in 2010 was undone by the actions of one of its junior ratings. Putting the Navy’s relatively limited responsibility for the incident up against the afore-mentioned and other achievements, including spending an awful lot of time placating the implacable Polly and in addition to hosting an excellent evening on the base for a number of Stanley Bay School parents, The Navy gets The Speculator’s vote for – despite being a very large organization – having a gentle touch, laced with a bit of community spirit.

The Michael Laws Award for Best Storm in A Teacup; SOME BLOKES ARGUED (MAYBE)

A couple of chaps have an argument in the Masonic that wasn’t really an argument after all, but because it happened in the Masonic it must be controversial.

The Silvio Berlusconi Award for Best Unintentional Comedy: VAUGHAN CLEMENTS

A Vaughan Clements artwork named “The Unholy Trinity” is banned from The Depot for depicting three local women with whom he has had “some differences” as crucified. Vaughan withdraws his entire exhibition in protest, reopening the festering issue of his involvement with St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, while creating some unfortunate entertainment at the same time.

The UFO Weekly’s Anti Gravitation Technology Award: JACKO GILL

By casually hurling heavy orbs into the outer solar system, (much to the chagrin of his fellow competitors who were only able to cast the same orbs a few paltry metres), Jacko has singlehandedly initiated a profound crisis of confidence in the world’s junior shotput fraternity. Meanwhile, the UFO-hunting fraternity are using the recently released documents relating to the 1978 Kaikoura UFO sightings to ascertain Jacko’s exact whereabouts on the night in question.

While they admit Jacko probably wasn’t actually born in 1978, given his substantial sporting pedigree, they believe this does not rule out his potential for mischievous saucer-tossing behaviour as a microscopic egg.

The Bear Grylls Award For Surviving In The Wild: CHRIS DARBY

The man seems to have survived his public and painful conflict with ex-mayor Andrew Williams more or less intact, with no obvious nervous tics or preferences for back-plate armour. If Chris can handle that kind of treatment, in 2011 I fear Jan O’Connor may feel like a foot, smeared in entrails and wearing “come get me” shoes, being dangled carelessly in a tank full of piranhas.

The Speculator's Awards celebrate unwise but entertaining behaviour

The Speculator's Awards celebrate unwise but entertaining behaviour


  1. GB says:

    Hey Happy new year to all!..hope you had a great one!..Great article ed, may I point out Maire is not the only one in Devo that does connections and behind the scenes community stuff in Devo..jus thought to point that out briefly on behalf of us other community workers.

  2. Codger says:

    The Dick Cheney Benevolent Award for Best Behind The Scenes Orchestration: MAIRE VIETH……..
    Think Maire deserves at least a NZOM for her oustanding contribution to the Devonport Community

  3. Ann Allen says:

    Loved it – keep a tally for next year too please.

  4. Matilda says:

    How do you think this stuff up? It’s hilarious, love it 🙂

  5. Meester Gog1 says:

    Very Funny Young Man!

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