Day 31

Day 31

I walked to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Cenotaph at the front which felt right on Anzac Day. There were three or four wreaths laid, one by the Museum and another the Mayor of Auckland. For Anzac Day it was extraordinarily quiet, but a few people were milling around, reflecting.  A father and son were flying a kite which looked like the flag of Thailand, although on closer inspection, the father was doing it all.

The Domain – Pukekawa – is Auckland’s oldest park and consists of 75 hectares and includes the Museum and Cenotaph, Wintergarden, Cricket Pavilion, Duck Ponds replete with Auckland Acclimatisation Society plaque. These are the societies we can thank for ferrets, weasels and rabbits being formally introduced into New Zealand. Pukekawa is one of the oldest Volcanoes in the Volcanic field, at 100,000 years old. It was fresh – almost Spring-like today – and it made for a very good walking loop with a slightly sore leg still.

anzac
Auckland War Memorial Museum and Cenotaph on ANZAC Day 2020

On the second part of my walk, up Mt Hobson, I had a chat to Dad who said he’d stood at the letterbox at 6am, heard the Last Post loud and clear and was now preparing a photo montage for Mum’s birthday. Mum has jokingly said that they’re going to their favourite restaurant, but it’ll just be the two of them and Dad reckons the special crockery is coming out!

This is our last weekend in Lockdown Level 4 and the traffic has already started building, somehow in anticipation of Level 3 on Tuesday. That will be a big step back to the new norm, as many more workers can restart and construction can recommence. It’s got to be an ideal time to advance all the projects in Auckland CBD, with minimal traffic and pedestrians to deal with.

It’s occurred to me today that the reality of working from home for me is probably several more months. The logistics of social distancing in a high rise with elevators is going to make it really challenging. So I’m gearing up for the long haul. Part of that will be finding new television series to keep this routine going!

Jerry Seinfeld has a new series starting in May, although I’m not sure if that is NZ – 23 Hours to Kill and it seems to derive inspiration from James Bond. All my best things all in one show!  In a 2017 HBR interview Seinfeld was asked if humour was effective as a leadership tool: “Being funny is one of the ultimate weapons a person can have in human society. It might even compete with being really good-looking.

Humour has a really important role in leadership. Some people mistake humour as hiding or a cover for something. It can be, but it’s actually really serious business. You can’t be anxious and laugh at the same time, and it’s a great way to break conflict. And a lot of what goes on in business is funny. Even the Elevator rules (well the old ones) – face the door, stare at your phone, don’t talk. But I better stop there – that’s for another day as to write some truths about the things I think are funny in business this late at night, is something I might regret!

Happy Birthday Mum, the ‘rona kept me away.

Stephen

Day 30

Day 30

It’s almost as good as a trip to Europe – Paris and London – replete with car chases, the main scenic attractions, historical buildings. Your film, should you decide to accept it on a Friday Night – Mission Impossible-Fallout. It’s a big film, non-stop action, appropriately big plot – Nuclear bombs to be detonated at three religious sites – and bonus, scenes filmed gloriously in the Southern Alps of the South Island. A helicopter chase through the mountains and valleys – borrowed partly from Bond’s Spectre opening scene – but much more too, and like the best promo for New Zealand tourism.

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, South Island, New Zealand
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, South Island, New Zealand

There’s talk we might have a “bubble” with Australia. That would be a great start to get trading and tourism kick started. It would also be a great lifting up of the ANZAC spirit. Relations at a political level with Australia have been under strain recently.  It would be the ideal ANZAC announcement. Two great friends as one.

They’ll be no ANZAC parades but we’ve been told to stand by our letter boxes as a mark of respect in the morning. It’s one of the few times we can feel united in the horrors of wars fought in the past by mostly young men – just boys really – who sacrificed their lives, mostly unknowingly until the end, to create a better world. It’s easy to think the world isn’t a better place – there’s plenty wrong, but there’s also plenty that’s right.

I’m not sure if standing by the letterbox does it for me in an apartment with a panel of letterboxes by the main entrance. On the way into the lift I’ll hit “G” say “At the” and the lift will give it’s sober “going down” and I’ll say “of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.”  I think this almost every time I get in the lift, it’s the way the lift voice says it, so now’s my chance to bring the whole building into thoughts I’ve had for ages.

And I really do think about those sacrifices and hope that once again we can make some good by rebuilding the ANZAC nation back. My paternal grandmother born in Tasmania in 1902, also on a 13th, would be proud of the thought. She’d also smile at the lift sequence. She’d know I meant no disrespect, which I don’t.

So maybe COVID-19 can be an ANZAC force for good.

Stephen

Victor and Ellen Drain 1928