New Zealand Days: Part 5 – Dunedin


We didn’t choose to live in Dunedin. It was a decision made by my employer, the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, with no consultation. It was also the result of a promise made and broken by the head television producer, Roy (aka “Rosie”) Melford. I had just qualified as a producer, having “passed” Roy’s Producers’ course, which apparently gave the NZBC the right to post me, and my family, to any of the four state-owned TV stations in New Zealand, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Roy had promised that if I passed I would be posted to Auckland, as soon as a vacancy occurred. This edict came at a very bad time, shortly after the birth of our second child.

Bear in mind that Wellington, where we lived at the time, and Dunedin are 492 miles apart by air. This wasn’t too bad a prospect for the family, but I would have to get there by road and ferry. The plan was go ahead to find somewhere to live and check in for duty at DNTV2.

When I arrived in Dunedin it was eight degrees below. I had been seasick on the overnight ferry from Wellington to Lyttelton (Christchurch), facing the 230 mile drive in our campervan down the East Coast of the South Island, to find a hotel in Dunedin. I’m not usually fussy about accommodation, but my mood was not improved by finding the only heating in the room was a two-bar electric wall mounted heater. I spent a cold sleepless night fuming about the turn of events and working out what to say in the morning to my new station manager Alf Dick, whom I had never met. Continue reading


Rant about Rent #4: Short Term Thinking

Here’s someone who tells it like it is:

Bloody Nora's Big Gob

I’ve been paying rent for twenty-seven years. By the age of twelve my son had moved home with me six times. The first time he was barely six months old, we were evicted just before Christmas because the landlord had reneged on his mortgage. The longest we’ve lived together in a property is five years, but that ended when our landlords decided to sell.

This is the reality of private renting. It is incredibly insecure.

The last place we rented privately almost caught firebecause of damp in  very old, dangerous electrics. The estate agents and landlord were impertinent. I spent two years complaining about damp so severe water dripped through a light bulb, but they were concerned only for their costs, not our health and safety. So when we were offered a council flat I felt enormous relief – some security, somewhere we could finally call our home, at last.

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