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Devonport’s whimsical look to the future

Flagstaff Team

Outrageous-ideas event… MCs Tracey Barnett and David Slack tackle the future of Devonport.

Devonport’s future: a waterlogged retirement capital of New Zealand – but with good coffee close at hand

A waterlogged wetland wonderland at Waitemata golf course and a walk round New Zealand without leaving the village were two “outrageous ideas for the future” of Devonport, which emerged last week.

The environment and climate change were pervasive themes canvassed by 12 speakers at the Devonport Library Associates outrageous-ideas event on 7 May.

Architect Shannon Jeory foresaw a future where visitors arrived at the Stanley Bay International Cruise Terminal and were transferred by underwater travellator to the central city.

Work was proceeding apace on a canal-style retirement village at the drowned navy sports ground.

As the last primary school closed, Devonport was set to surpass Tauranga and Cambridge, as the retirement capital of New Zealand, she said.

The Waitemata golf course came in for a dousing, with several speakers foreseeing it under water, thanks to climate change.

Councillor Chris Darby and Felix Pryor both anticipated the golf course returning to a wetland, with a rich variety of wading birds and mangroves providing “lungs for the city”.

Darby also liked the idea of Takarunga/Mt Victoria becoming a living pa, complete with kumara gardens.

Devonport Heritage’s Trish Deans saw Devonport’s heritage finally recognised, but with much of the coastal land under water. The navy had moved away, as it couldn’t operate safely with its workshops now submerged.

The council and the government, rehoused at the Ryman village after an earthquake in Wellington, couldn’t agree on what to do about climate change, she said.

Takapuna Grammar head girl Carina Oliver envisaged a youth-friendly Devonport.

Takapuna Grammar School’s head girl Carina Oliver portrayed a youth-friendly Devonport, with the arcade full of affordable food vendors under thousands of fairy lights, as well as an all-weather youth centre.

Geoff Chapple, whose brainchild is Te Araroa, pitched an idea for a new path, Te Araiti, where people could walk the equivalent of the length of Aotearoa without needing to leave Devonport. By completing 300 laps of a 10km course, walkers could achieve the 3000km feat, while staying close to good coffee, decent meals and a roof over their heads.

Event MC David Slack with Geoff Chapple, who promoted walking the length of the country without leaving Devonport.

At the end of the evening, the packed audience was invited to hurl two Minties at the speaker, or speakers, they enjoyed the most.

Two children (see below) won hands down, according to one of the MCs, Tracey Barnett.

Children’s utopia slightly more optimistic

Poppy Hawkins and Leo Powles, Year 4 pupils at Vauxhall School, bounced original ideas off each other about an environmentally healthy and happy Devonport.

“Everyone will be snazzing and prancing. There will be amazing jungle gardens with birds and veges for everyone,” said Poppy.

Fortunately, a giant vacuum cleaner had come down from the sky and sucked all the plastic into outer space.

“Robotic animals will be chosen by your personality,” Poppy said. The harbour would be full of solar-powered vessels, which would be “super-duper”.

Leo thought it would be cool to go surfing with X-ray sunglasses that could see right to the bottom of the ocean. “There are some things you don’t want to see,” responded Poppy.

Because Devonport had run out of space, buildings floated above the land, so rocket-powered shoes came in handy. “I hope we don’t fall,” said Leo.

People could transmit thoughts and feelings telepathically by mentally hitting “send”.

Poppy and Leo tried to send final thoughts to the audience, but agreed their technique required a little more work.

Futurology… Vauxhall School pupils Poppy Hawkins and Leo Powles were buzzing with ideas but needed to work on their telepathy.

This article originally appeared in the May 17 edition of The Devonport Flagstaff. Download PDF.