Girls! Geeks! Go!

The Wellingtonista may be all atwitter right now about the Wellington GirlGeek Dinner on March 12 which is one ticket away from selling out, but did you know that it was Auckland which had the country’s first GirlGeek Dinner? No? Well now you do. And it’s having another one, and so Amanda Jackson would like your help! 

Hi Everyone,
I’m looking for some female volunteers to speak for 5 mins about their job/career at the next Auckland Girl Geek Dinner on the 27th March. We’d like you to talk about the technology you work with, the industry you work in or your career and how to get into that industry/career. Please feel free to pass this request on to anyone you think may be interested in speaking either on this topic or on another topic of their choice. To find out more about GGD go to www.girlgeekdinners.co.nz, and if you could get back to me over the next week with any offers to speak that would be very helpful.

Cheers, Amanda

So, what are you waiting for?

These Wellys Are Going To Walk All Over You

mccarthy_noelle16011.jpg

Adding more to the Wellington Vs Auckland debate, everyone’s favourite Irish hellcat gave her two bits to the discussion recently.

I don’t know about her statement that ” … Wellingtonians can at times display a preoccupation with Auckland that borders on the pathological.” To be honest I think it’s the other way around, perhaps the most desperate example of that was the previous mayor of Aucks, ole Dick Hubbard opening the Auckland festival last year and almost whimpering when he asked the rhetorical question: “Who says Auckland can’t be as vibrant as Wellington?”

I’ve just received a text from the inferiority complex fairy.

Discuss.

Auckland vs. Wellington

A different long weekend away provides another opportunity to reexamine the age-old battle. After our first chapter, Secret Agent Robyn came down from Auckland to check out our city. This is her report…

Getting there: The airport bus runs past my place every 20 minutes. I waited for 30 minutes, but there was no sign of the bus. I started to panic and called a taxi. $50 later I was at the airport, but too late for check-in. Oh no! But fate smiled upon me — due to ‘weather’ in Wellington, the plane was late, so they could check me in after all. In Wellington, the taxi to my hotel was cheap, but slow in a way that proves the bypass was a dumb idea. Wellington wins this one for delaying my flight.

Hotel: I wanted to stay somewhere on Cuba Street, in Wellington’s rich bohemian heartland, and thanks to the power of the interweb I got a good room rate at Quality Wellington (worst hotel name ever). What I didn’t realise is that the hotel building development is owned by that guy who no one likes who is married to that lady who no one likes, so my indie cred took a blow. The hotel had some awful artworks in the foyer and some dull photos in the room, but I did get a top floor, corner room with spectacular views of central Wellington and that brothel on Vivian Street. Sadly Auckland’s rich bohemian heartland – K Road – offers no hotels, so Wellington wins this one by default.

Celebrity spottings: Damian Christie’s notorious Metro article complained that Wellington has no celebrities. Well, once, at my local shops, I saw this lady who once presented a sports show on Sky. On a good day in Auckland, I might see someone like Mark Sainsbury, but no one who’d make me get all giggly and excited. In Wellington, Bret Conchords showed up at Mighty Mighty, Giovanni Ribisi was also there (but I didn’t see him), and then on Saturday, Taika Waititi and Loren Horsley were at Hawthorn Lounge. Like, cool. Wellington glamorously wins.

Dancing to Blam Blam Blam

Entertainment: Within a couple of hours of arriving in the capital, I was off to Mighty Mighty for the Wellingtonista / Public Address shindig, and what a shindig it was. Not only did I get to dance my arse off to Blam Blam Blam (better than their gig at the King’s Arms in September, I reckon), but I met all these cool Wellington people who I’d previously only known online. The rest of the weekend was spent having other splendid adventures, including taking photos of graffiti and sticker art, checking out the Toi Te Papa exhibition at Te Papa, a $100 art sale at the Thistle Hall, attending the Madame Fancy Pants VIP evening, and there may also have been a bit of drinking involved somewhere along the way. Auckland can be just as awesome for entertaining, but that weekend, Wellington was the winner.

Eating: Well, there was the kebab restaurant on Courtenay Place, where skill and cunning was required to be able to eat our crappy 3am kebabs at a table. And then there was the bright yellow corn fritter from Viggo Mortensen’s favourite fish ‘n’ chip shop. And the conveyor-belt toast and warm orange juice in my hotel’s continental breakfast buffet. There was some good, cheap Thai food, but I was mostly let down by Wellington’s food. But in the magical land of Auckland, where reasonably good food is available 24-hours a day (yo, Denny’s!), Wellington let itself down in this category.

Poached pear punch

Drinking: Well, yeah, I had a few drinks. There was the delicious peachy Wellingtonista drink at Mighty Mighty, the poached pear punch at Superfino (sans the poached pear, but still perfectly refreshing), the negroni with mandarin-infused gin at Hawthorn Lounge (which I couldn’t finish, but it was still lovely), lemonade at Alice, and a few other fruity delights. I was absolutely tickled to experience the knowledgeable bar staff at Superfino and Hawthorn Lounge, who would happily discuss the ins and outs of cocktails. It’s a fact: Auckland’s drinking spots are nowhere near as good. Wellington is the clear winner.

Final result: Wellington 5, Auckland 1. I really ought to go there more often.

Wellington vs. Auckland

A long weekend away provides the perfect opportunity to re-examine the age-old battle. In our first chapter, our agent goes to Auckland. In our next chapter, an agent will go to Auckland…

Airport access: Getting to Wellington Airport, from Thorndon via a quick stop in Hataitai to pick up my suitcase took less than half an hour, and the only cost was some grovelling to my mother. Getting to the CBD of Auckland via a shuttle took an hour and cost $26 – that’s 15 minutes longer than the actual flight, and only $13 less than the ticket. Wellington 1, Auckland 0.

Airports: Wellington airport has only one terminal, which is blissfully fast food chain-free and it’s a sexy big space. You can get Fuel coffee, and Wishbone food (which caters to a wide range of dietary requirements) but it’s loud and bustly, and the stools they have at counters are shiny metal and you slip off them. Meanwhile, Auckland Airport may have Burger King and MacDonalds, but they also have a juice bar with those posh award-winning recoverable design style chairs. A tie.

Quadrant hallwayThe hotel: With a special Wotif.com mystery deal, my ‘studio’ at The Quadrant was $99 per night. That’s $8 less than the $107 I pay in rent per week, but the whole studio, including kitchen and bathroom was approximately the size of my bedroom. It was much much tidier though, and, as a special bonus, I discovered I could watch TV from the toilet. Why would I ever need to leave? The Quadrant makes a big deal about its architecture, and they’re right, it is pretty sexy. I guess the nearest equivalent to it in Wellington would be the new Holiday Inn, but I’ve never been in it, and apparently its toilet doors freak people out, so I guess I’m going to have to call Auckland the winner on this one. 1 all.

Entertainment: I went up to Auckland to see Muse play, and if someone had given me a free ticket, I would gladly have gone along to Justin Timberlake as well. In addition, I got to go to the wrestling at the Lynfield YMCA, have lots of spas, and watch naked chicks on the television in my hotel room. Fine, Auckland gets the entertainment points. This time.

canton foodEating: A key feature of any trip to Auckland is assembling a large group of my friends to gorge ourselves silly at Canton in Kingsland. Wellington, quite frankly, does not have a Chinese restaurant that makes me drool this much. But the coffee is universally better than that which I drank at the hotel cafe, Gloria and Rueben, and coffee is important. Despite all the booming growth around Symonds Street, there’s still not a huge range of cafes in the area, so I’m going to have to give this one to Wellington.

Drinking: The choice of bars to go to in Kingsland after dinner at Canton was either Ruby – a small bar playing hits of the ’80s very loudly, or the big hulking Kingslander, with a TV screen in every single line of sight, affecting conversation. And yes, that’s right, I’m going to judge all Auckland bars on what was available in Kingsland. Wellington for the win, again!

Final result: Wellington 3, Auckland 2. It’s good to be home.