I say boat, rattle and roll

TIM SHADBOLT
Last updated 12:04 23/06/2014

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OPINION: A fter the humiliation of trying to make a cheese roll on Campbell Live, it was a relief to return to Invercargill to help launch a "Rattle the Tin" campaign for Stadium Southland's $5 million shortfall.

The mistake I made was using sweetened condensed milk instead of unsweetened condensed milk to mix with the cheese. Naturally, cheese roll connoisseurs all over the country were outraged.

It was like mixing Bluff oysters and strawberry jam to make a pie.

Modern cooking can get quite creative but there are some ingredients that are so contradictory the palate convulses and taste buds explode with revulsion at the thought of joining forces.

Perhaps I can hold a cheeserollathon for a "Rattle the Tin" fundraiser.

I believe fundraising can be fun if the cause is right and our magnificent stadium is without question a most worthy cause.

It can be used for sport, culture, entertainment, trade expos and even children's birthday parties.

It is like a huge community palace, strong yet colourful, dramatic yet contemplative.

Stadium Southland is more than just a facility. It is a bold statement that lets every visitor know how proud we are to live in Southland and how confident we are about our future.

At a more modest level it was great to see an increase in the demand for SIT houses being built across the road from the Workingmen's Club.

Recently the Southern Institute of Technology bought a run-down ramshackle old house in south Invercargill, demolished it and transported an SIT house on to the site. The neighbours were delighted. These houses are affordable and as warm as toast. The windows are double glazed and the ceiling and floor are fully insulated. The master bedroom has an en suite and the section is fully landscaped. The house was sold within weeks.

Invercargill has solved New Zealand's chronic housing shortage. All we need is a bit more global warming so that a few more Kiwis will come and live here.

Despite all the excitement over Stadium Southland and another victory for SIT, the only news item to capture public imagination and go viral on the internet was a story about a dog on a log. It's a rather simple tale about a dog from Great Barrier Island which was washed out to sea during a storm and when he was faced with the choice of drowning or clambering on to a floating log, he chose the latter.

Clever dog. Life is all about choices and he made the right one.

Is that it? I felt there must surely be more, so consulted my How and Why Wonder Book of Ships recently bought from the Rotary Book Sale. It claimed that primitive man developed the concept of a ship when "they saw a tree trunk with a small animal resting on it, float down a river". The Egyptians first used sailing boats on the Nile and for the next 5000 years sailing boats ruled the waves. By the 1840s the fastest ships around were the Yankee Clippers, which could sail at 24 knots, faster than most cargo ships today.

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After 5000 years of relying on wind power, by 1900 the era of commercial sailing ships was over. Coal was king for commercial and military purposes and sailing vessels were mainly used for sport and recreation.

Without question the most coveted sailing trophy is the America's Cup.

For a small nation New Zealand has achieved remarkable success in this international competition and there was little fuss when the government injected $5 million into Team New Zealand to retain our present crew and develop new technology.

Despite this, Grant Dalton announced Team NZ was in a dire financial position and unless the government injected more funds immediately the syndicate would be gone by the end of the month! The public's reaction to this was extremely negative.

Award-winning journalist Kerre McIvor suggested the crew were New Zealand's highest paid beneficiaries and Waterfront Auckland chairman Bob Harvey announced Team NZ would be getting no more sweetheart deals from it.

The Herald on Sunday proposed that the crew should have a "Rattle the Tin" whip around because senior Team NZ members have property portfolios worth millions.

I believe part of the problem is because we haven't won the America's Cup for 14 years and the public is losing interest.

The aeroplane has replaced the ocean liner for most travellers. Unless you are into cruise ships, which are little more than floating hotels, it's unlikely you will travel by sea. It's now War Birds over Wanaka and similar air shows in Blenheim and the Wairarapa that are attracting the huge crowds. I still believe winning the America's Cup is a great boost for boat building and tourism in this country but that doesn't mean the solutions to this financial crisis are obvious or easy.

Tim Shadbolt is Invercargill mayor.

- The Southland Times

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