A sense of community

Chance conversations were an inevitable, and welcome, part of observing our everyday landscapes throughout the country. These occurred on a relatively frequent basis, as the sight of two men expressing an abnormal amount of interest in a wall or bench tends to pique curiosity. Whilst at Orere Point (to the southeast of Auckland), one of these conversations gave an additional layer of interest to some simple concrete-and-block benches and tables that sit by the shoreline.

A local resident came over to talk to us, and explained that these were a community initiative (which he had played a significant part in bringing about) to contribute towards the social character of this space, where many people launch boats on the weekend. The main point that I took away from this conversation was the level of generosity that is associated with the creation of such objects.

Other examples of places where community construction was particularly evident were Kellys Bay, on the Kaipara Harbour (a charming bay where bright primary colours have been painted on furniture and pontoons as a catalyst for making people welcome and enthusiastic about the bay), and the cobbled-together boat ramp of the Cape Egmont Boating Club, which has taken on an accidentally intriguing composition through various stages of its ad hoc construction.