Spectrum 569. How the west was won

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Tono kōrero mai

Grant White talks to Waitemata mayor Tim Shadbolt about his election campaign and his Waitakere Ranges logging project where pines are being felled for low-cost housing.

Shadbolt explains how the project has developed in the last three years. Currently the timber is going to community groups so they can test the workflow logistics. Last summer they felled 400 trees, this summer they managed 600. With the help of the Forestry Trust’s volunteers the site is kept tidy and they can provide logs for the elderly community to burn.

Shadbolt mentions advice they’ve received from Bill Beveridge, Head Ranger for the Waitakere Ranges regarding regeneration of the range’s native bush and says that it will make for one of New Zealand's most beautiful public parks.

Shadbolt is hoping for funds from the ARA and Waitemata City Council to replant the area with 100,000 native trees. He says the government helps through its work contract schemes but he will need to seek private, corporate help to obtain good forestry equipment.

White interviews “Robert” one of the Forestry Trust’s volunteers who’s been assisting over the past year. He says he gets a lot of self-satisfaction from doing the job, acknowledges the current city council’s support and explains how Shadbolt has put himself in debt to get the project off the ground. Robert describes what it’s like working with the mayor who he refers to as “Tim”.

Shadbolt shows White the Forestry Trust’s central works depot originally built out of demolition timber following the Vietnam War. Shadbolt explains how he and a collective of friends bought 10 acres for $3,000 and lived there on only three or four dollars a week. He describes it as an idealistic, subsistence lifestyle modelled on James K. Baxter’s concept of ‘Jerusalem’.

Shadbolt acknowledges how lucky Auckland is to have an enormous public park in such close proximity to the city. When volunteers aren’t staying on site, he explains the depot is often used as a children’s holiday camp. He recognises the importance of being able to escape from a high pressured, industrial society into nature’s elements.

Shadbolt talks about the pros and cons of going into politics and likes to think he has brought his ideals, particularly around human needs, into office. He mentions how he nearly lost his family by over committing himself in the early days but recognises he was working twice as hard to prove himself, as he was originally known as a high profile radical. He acknowledges how the news media has played its role in making him a celebrity and its strength in exposing bureaucratic attacks against him.
The other side to this, he explains, is the lack of privacy.

He explains why he wanted to become mayor but will look forward to passing the baton on, travelling overseas and completing his book, which has a working title, ‘How the West was Won’.

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Year 1987

Reference number 1508

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Credits RNZ Collection
Shadbolt, Tim, 1947-, Interviewee
WHITE, Grant, Interviewer
Radio New Zealand (estab. 1989), Broadcaster

Duration 00:31:04

Date 12 Apr 1987

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