NZ in 2050

A friend of mine sent this through and his comments explain it better than I:
NZ Post are running a staff competition of what NZ will be like in 2050 (less than 1,000 words), this is an entry from one of my peeps, interesting but scary perspective ...
"one of my peeps" *grin* ... anyway, after asking for permission, here's the entry that I agree, makes great reading.

Clean, green Wellington 2050

Councillors sat outside the community hall accompanied by their cold beers, and the ever-present gentle Wellington breeze. Their skin was brown from a combination of a light washing of mud and the sun’s rays which had got through the simple protection. The horizon behind them was filled with windmills for as far as the eye could see, but this was not the image that politicians had prophesied at the turn of the century. For these windmills, which stretched from Mt Rongotai, along the top of the Te Papa foothills, and then along Lambton and Thorndon cliffs and beyond, were mainly made of wood with cloth sails. Some generated a limited supply of electricity, but the majority were used to grind flour, and power industrial machines.

The group discussed a request from Hamilton seeking views on proposals to allow refugees from Australia to sail to Aotearoa. The plight in that drought ridden country was well known, but it was the first time that there had been a move to re-open New Zealand’s borders, though some were already risking the dangerous sea voyage to enter illegally. Prime Minister Hicham Zaoui was seeking support to let others have the same sanctuary as his father, Ahmed, had eventually achieved years before.

“We all know how we got to where we are”, Greg repeated. He was sixty, and like most people, looked healthy on a diet where ‘fast food’ was leftovers prepared the day before! “After the oil dried up the world’s economies collapsed. Rich countries became poor. Poor countries became poorer. Distant countries, like us, became more distant”. He hesitated. “Journeys, which some of us remember, used to take hours suddenly took months unless you were very rich.”

“After no time, even money didn’t help.” William interjected.

“Don’t forget the ‘big one’….” he continued.

“And the Auckland eruptions” interrupted Praveen.

It was hard to forget.

Those three events had transformed New Zealand in a few weeks.

During the US attack on Iran, nuclear missiles collided in mid-air and the resulting radioactive cloud spread in less than a week over most of the oil producing areas, laying the land to waste. The immediate ceasing of three quarters of the world’s oil production proved a calamity. Planes were grounded temporarily, never to fly again. Motorised private transport stopped shortly after.

In New Zealand the de-industrialisation took place much quicker than in most rich countries when a massive earthquake hit Wellington within hours of two volcanoes erupting in Auckland. Civil defence and Government were overwhelmed by the simultaneous catastrophes, which cost more than half the population and most national leaders. Although Mother Nature had been anticipated in Wellington, her ferocity and timing, during work hours, had not. While in Auckland their had been no warning when Mt Eden and a new volcano near Te Atatu disgorged their ash and lava across where some then called, the ‘City of Wails’.

In the capital the land rose up from the airport, across the CBD until a massive canyon was created where SH1 had once climbed up Ngauranga Gorge. The pre-1855 harbour line beside Lambton Quay and Thorndon rose to join, and then rise above, The Terrace. Their buildings tumbled into the sinking reclaimed land as the first of three huge tsunamis struck. Those with more than superficial injuries died. The general population declined further during the initial years of famine that followed.

The farmers, who had the food, couldn’t get it to the cities. Slowly the survivors became organised. They re-created the smaller towns and hamlets, reminiscent of earlier centuries, surrounded by supporting farmland.

“Some say we are like 300 years ago, but that’s not true.” TK broke their thoughts. “Our communal buildings and light industries have electricity supplied from the windmills. We have communal Internet and phones between towns in Aotearoa, though not for overseas.”

“We have achieved much in the last forty years: we have rebuilt the towns and roads. There are regular sailings between our major towns. NZ Post delivers to Auckland and Hamilton in under a week. Even Christchurch in three days, most of the year.”

“If the ferry can raise its sails.”

Suddenly a couple of young horse-riders rushed past the group kicking up dust. They were clearly drunk. “Boy racers” John moaned. “The council promised we would sort them out by holding their horses for a month, but it’s doing no good.”

As it started to drizzle a little the comrades sheltered inside the building, looking down the hills from their site in the upper foothills of Mt Rongotai, not far from where an airport had once been. The summer’s sun was trying to come from behind a cloud and shed its life giving, and life taking, rays on the ploughed fields and wild shrub that rolled down to Evans Quay. A flock of tuis flew passed in full song competing with bellbirds just behind the group in the Kowhai woods nearby. Small sailboats were returning in the distance from a successful day’s fishing. Left largely alone, nature had replenished its stocks over the years.

Along the rolling foothills of Te Papa, the new town of Wellington had reformed. People from pre-disaster days would have found it reminiscent of a large Picton. There were some two and three storey buildings, but none higher, and everything was made of wood. The earthquake-proof concrete skyscrapers had shown they were anything but, and survivors didn’t plan on rebuilding those follies again, even if they could.

Wide tar macadam streets were filled with horses, horse-cars (old cars pulled by two horses, controlled by reins through the front windows), and horse-wagons. These and boats were the main means of transport for those who didn’t wish to walk.

Did the people miss living in the capital? Did they care that Hamilton took the role in the emergency and forgot to return the power? The group looked as the drizzle cleared and smiled. ‘You can’t beat Wellington on a good day’, and it was still true!
Wakefield car park being torn down after the earthquake


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