10 October 2008

De-boganising Upper Hutt

Council business services director Chris Upton summarised past feeling about the city in a report put out for public consultation.  "Upper Hutt has been tagged with a negative perception for many years," he wrote. "This is not just from people who live in Wellington, or people that knew somebody who drove a [Holden] Torana and wore a black jersey".  Poor perceptions had spread to "many developers, investors and retailers who carry negative connotations of our city - that is, if they even have a reason to think about Upper Hutt".
The newspaper article then goes on to spoil the effect somewhat by interviewing as many local residents owning Holdens as possible.
Incidentally, I have fond memories of a visit to Upper Hutt to see an Arts Festival play a couple of years ago.  The performance - the Maori drama 'Battalion' - was enjoyable, but soon the time came to return to the bright lights of Wellington City.  As I was unfamiliar with the layout of the Upper Hutt town centre, I got a little lost navigating through the many roundabouts.  Luckily I espied a sign - 'City Centre' - so I followed that, hoping to find the route back to the motorway and home.  Unfortunately I just ended up amongst more roundabouts, Pizza Huts and dairies.  Only then did I realise that the sign wasn't pointing the way to Wellington city centre: it was directing me to the Upper Hutt 'city centre'.  Something of an oxymoron there. 
- Dominion Post, 9 October 2008

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