Sunday, June 19, 2016

Kiwi Can't Fly

So which was it?
Did the public not want to fly those routes?
Did the public not trust Ewan Wilson?
Could Ewan Wilson not run a successful airline?
All or none of the above?
Whatever the reason, the fact is: Ewan Wilson's Kiwi Regional Airlines has bellyflopped. Kiwi's scheduled Hamilton-Nelson, Tauranga-Nelson, and Nelson-Dunedin runs cease on 30 July.
The Waikato-based airline was launched in October 2015 by CEO Ewan Wilson, who also founded the failed no-frills trans-Tasman Kiwi International Airlines in 1994.
Aviation commentator Irene King thinks it likely Kiwi Regional was under-capitalised and struggled to build a loyal customer base: "Running a regional operation is really tough. I'm surprised it lasted so long."
Kiwi is selling its only plane, a 34-seat Saab 340, to Air Chathams (which has been operating more than 30 years). It'll run Air Chathams' Whanganui-Auckland service on its air operating certificate until Air Chathams can move the Saab to its own certificate, and Kiwi crew will be employed by Air Chathams from early August.
Wilson says Kiwi had a choice to either expand with a second aircraft, or be absorbed into a larger operator: "From my point of view I'm pleased our aircraft and flight staff will become part of Air Chathams." He says the sale of the Saab was the shareholder's decision. As a minor shareholder he's pleased with the outcome, but as chief executive he's disappointed.
Air Chathams operates five aircraft with scheduled services between the Chatham Islands-Akld, Wgtn-Chch and Whakatane-Akld.
Wilson says he'd like to continue in the aviation sector - "I've built an airline over the last 14 months that's met probably one of the worlds' toughest regulatory requirements." - but it's too early to say whether he'd consider running another airline.
Third time lucky, Ewan?
Or coals to Newcastle?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Give 'Em A Big Hand, Folks!

Oh Jenny, what HAVE you done now?
A new "thing" adorns the roof of the Christchurch Art Gallery. Quasi is a 5m-tall sculpture by local artist Ronnie van Hout, standing above the Gloucester/Montreal intersection until the end of 2017.
It's quite simply a giant hand with a face. Yeup, that's it... and we have to tolerate it for 18 months!
This sculpture was commissioned by the gallery and funded from its annual exhibitions budget. Someone in their infinite arty-farty wisdom thought Quasi would be really really culturally wonderous! And paid for it to be made! Seriously???!!!
I quote gallery director Jenny Harper from Aug.2014: "I'm utterly clear that good art really matters. I'm convinced that collections of art matter more than a single work or that of a single individual." So Jenny, what the HELL is that up on your roof then?
At the very least, it's a public eyesore!
At worst, it's a blatant abuse of public funds!

In a Press poll of approx.2300 votes, 50% said Quasi was "terrible", 30% said "awesome" and 20% had mixed feelings.
Van Hout says Quasi is a surreal gesture: "I'm not trying to tell people something. Often art does, but this is more like a surrealist artwork. A way of making art by juxtaposing things together..." he says.
A way of pocketing a big paycheck, I say.
Gallery director Jenny Harper says the sculpture will prompt varied reactions. "I think some people will be startled...affronted...they might say: 'Is this art?' I'm damn sure kids will love it." Riiiiiight!!!
And do kids pay rates to keep you employed, Jen-Jen darlink?

...meanwhile the patronising multi-coloured neon phrase along the opposite wall of the Art Gallery - Everything's Going To Be All Right - is looking decidely tongue-in-cheek these days, with a couple of the letters blown out!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Has Cook's Endeavour Been Found?

That plucky little collier Endeavour, sailed by Captain James Cook during his great voyage of exploration of 1768- 1771, may have been located.
Researchers in the US believe they may be a step closer to locating the ship. The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) has known for some time the ship was scuttled in Newport Harbour, off the US coast, in 1778. But they now believe they have narrowed down the search to a cluster of five shipwrecks on the seafloor.
The researchers plan to investigate the ships and their artefacts further. They are also appealing for funds to build the right facilities for handling and storing items retrieved from the sea.
RIMAP: "All of the 13 ships lost in Newport during the (American) Revolution are important to US history, but it will be a national celebration in both NZ and Australia when RIMAP identifies Endeavour."
Capt Cook set sail on Endeavour - a British-built coal ship originally called Earl of Pembroke - in 1768 on a scientific voyage to map the Pacific Ocean. In 1769, he spent six months charting the NZ coastline,
and making the first European contacts with natives. (His visit is commemorated on the NZ 50c coin.) He reached Australia in 1770, claiming that for England too.
After returning to Britain, Endeavour was renamed Lord Sandwich and made a troop carrier. During the American War of Independence, it was scuttled by the British Navy in a blockade.
The wreckage has never been found, but RIMAP has been checking out 13 sunken ships, with the help of remote sensing equipment and historical documents. It says an analysis of data suggests there is "an 80-100% chance" that the Lord Sandwich wreckage is still in Newport Harbour, "and because the Lord Sandwich was Capt Cook's Endeavour, that means RIMAP has found her too."
The announcement coincides with the 240th anniversary of Rhode Island declaring independence from the UK. RIMAP says identifying "one of the most important shipwrecks in world history would be "an intriguing birthday gift for all of Rhode Island"...and an important historical link to NZ and Oz too.
"HMS Endeavour": John Charles Allcot (1888-1973)