Last week, Spinoff writer and UoW Alumni Don Rowe wrote a piece for the Herald suggesting that Hamilton should be the capital of NZ. He also managed to pick up a copy of the Nexus in the Hilly and wrote us an email with some pretty complimentary things to say. To show our gratitude, we’ve stolen his concept and created our own list. So here it is, our totally original article about why Hamilton should be the capital city of NZ.
Let’s face it, The Tron has long been touted as ‘the city of the future,” most famous for its mighty awa, a set of world-renowned gardens and the fact we have a significantly lower chlamydia rate than Taranaki. But we’re a little sick of waiting for the “future,” so we think it’s time for Hamilton to become the capital city of New Zealand.
With an estimated population of 190,000 by 2031, Hamilton is the perfect city for the biggest little capital in the world, with a lot more going for it than you might think. No longer do we have to place our pride solely on the fact that, well, at least it’s a pretty quick drive to get out of Hamilton and head somewhere more decent.
University of Waikato Earth Sciences Professor David Lowe says that when it comes down to it, Hamilton would be a superior capital to Wellington, with better roads and a rather central location when it comes to the rest of the country. But we do have faults.
“Times have changed. I'm not a demographer or a politician, but it should be considered for two reasons: firstly, the risk of serious natural disaster is probably lower in Hamilton, as we don't have a tsunami risk...And we do have faults, but they may not be as frequently active as the ones in Wellington.
“Quite literally: the city has some 25 faults running north to south, with at least five severe shaking events in the past 20,000 years and some which pose a risk to its hospital and university. We were sitting fairly smugly here until about 25-years ago when we discovered these wretched faults."
The Tron as a lot going for it, which would cater for the inevitable rise in the population if the city was to become the next capital city of NZ.
Stunning scenery: a mighty river, a bucketload of lush green farmland, a somewhat scenic lake, and some actually pretty decent (not kidding) botanic gardens, Hamilton is chock full of beautiful scenery.
World-class attractions: take to the skies in a hot air balloon, visit New Zealand’s only tea farm, or check out red pandas, Sumatran tigers, chimps, lemurs, giraffes and rhinos at the Hamilton Zoo. (Warning: the Outback is not, as the name suggests, home to kangaroos, however it may be home to some interesting animals).
Culture: Waikato Museum has more than 38,000 objects in its collection. There's a myriad of public art around the city, from classic bronzes commemorating Waikato history to the famous statue of Riff Raff. Tourists who really want to take a dive into the university culture scene can simply drive by Greensboro on a Saturday night.
Fresh food thinking: Wellington hipsters finding a new home will welcome the craft beer bars and breweries including Good George and Craft Beer Garden, and lovers of fine dining can appreciate establishments like Palate, Chim Choo Ree, and Gothenburg, with the added bonus of the fact very few people in Hamilton actually own nice clothes, so there’s no need to feel inferior. Along with this, you can sample the wares at an array of markets sprinkled around the city, including night markets, clothing, crafts, and of course fresh fruit and vegetables from local growers. Volare croissants from the Sunday morning Claudelands markets are reason to move in themselves.
Black sand beaches: Hamilton is an inland city, but with black sand beaches, great surf breaks and relaxed coastal holiday spots like Raglan, Port Waikato and Kawhia harbour only a short drive away, we can sort of claim them.
Hamilton trumps Wellington on many factors. Wind here doesn’t suck quite so bad. We’ve got one of the best café scenes around. Our recently engaged Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern came from down the road. Our street art doesn’t include murals dedicated to a ranga called Ed Sheeran. You probably didn’t even know that there’s a number of feel-good, citizen-led initiatives around the place such as a book exchange, the NZ Book Fairy picnic, and of course every family’s favourite: the annual guerrilla petanque tournament.
Hamilton City Mayor and a man who embodies everyone’s weirdest uncle, Andrew King, says that Hamilton just beats everybody, hands down. It's just a matter of when.
"...We all know that Wellington isn't the right place, it's a dying town. It's just a matter of where we build the Beehive really, we could build it up where the old courthouse was."
“The city owns an airport with existing permission to expand. It will be Auckland's second airport one day".
That’s right, when we asked the elected official of this city he said we should be the capital city because we have an airport. Fuck.
So instead, we decided we would ask other prominent Hamiltonians why Hamilton should be the capital city.
“Well it’s the current PM’s home town and no other city has as many Bridges” said subliminal master MP David Bennett, who simultaneously refused to name Jacinda but worked ‘Bridges’ into his answer. He’s lucky we aren’t doing this piece in two weeks because “Hamilton has a lot of Collins” is a stupid fucking answer.
Labour MP Jamie “not established enough for a nickname yet” Stange believes it is popular enough.
“We had the highest visitor numbers this summer. People love visiting Hamilton so much, let’s make it the capital city. Also, it would save me flying to Hamilton each week!”
Vice Chancellor and star of the upcoming movie “Harry: Life After Hogwarts” Neil Quigley took the opportunity to have a dig at his Victoria University colleagues recent branding issues, stating, “I am trying to contact Grant Guilford to discuss transferring all of Victoria University of Wellington’s ‘capital city’ brand collateral to Waikato, but he hasn’t returned my call yet.”
Meanwhile, the actual mayor of Hamilton John Lawrenson didn’t think it would be too much of a stretch because “We have experience at being the capital of other things”.
Grace Mitchell, Nexus Editor, was also asked and said she didn’t give a fuck and to stop bothering her on a Thursday when she still had two-thirds of the magazine to write before the 6pm deadline.
It’s time to boot Wellington off its perch in a swift gust of shitty wind and make our proud city work as a capital. Let’s have a parliament on the river, right next to our new theatre. Throw in a Duck Island kiosk, a Good Neighbour, and a Bar 101 living side by side in harmony. Top it off with weekly autograph signings from Damian McKenzie, Stephen Donald, Jacinda Ardern, and Kimbra. It’s time to return power to the honest, hard-working Waikato-born stock; it’s time to make Hamilton great again. Kirikiriroa is the city of the future and that future is now.