Title 10:

[Cover image: Untitled, from Lounge Room Tribalism, by Graham Fletcher /
Cover design: Brett Cross & Ellen Portch]

11 Views of Auckland

Edited by Jack Ross
& Grant Duncan

Social and Cultural Studies 10
(December 2010)
ISSN: 1175-7132

from the Preface:

As with any other space, urban or otherwise, there are as many Aucklands as there are inhabitants of the city. The point of difference in this particular book, however, is that each of them is described from the point of view of a particular Academic discipline, by one of the Auckland-based members of Massey’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences (until recently grouped in the School of Social and Cultural Studies, which continues to lend its name to this monograph series).

We begin, then, at as near as possible to the beginning, with Sociologist Cluny Macpherson’s survey – and critique – of received wisdom about the Pacific history of Auckland.

Settlement is our next major topic. Anthropologist Graeme MacRae’s own personal account of his experience of living in one of Auckland’s oldest suburbs, Freemans Bay, is followed by Sociologist Ann Dupuis’s analysis of the latest trend in city living: gated communities; then by fellow-Sociologist Warwick Tie’s dazzling photo-essay on that most troubled of Auckland’s mirrorglass skyscrapers, the Metropolis building.

The theory and practice of city living moves to the forefront in the next set of essays. Anthropologist Eleanor Rimoldi, from the somewhat detached perspective of a citizen of the People’s Republic of Waiheke, records some of Auckland city’s efforts to date to create a “civil society.” Literary and Art Critic Isabel Michell comments on our urban spaces from the dual viewpoints of a mother and a pedestrian. English lecturer Jennifer Lawn prefers to quiz us through the distorting lens of Auckland’s burgeoning population of crime writers.

The North Shore, home of Masseys’s Albany campus, comes next in our list of topics. Historian Peter Lineham chronicles its long history of religious controversy and debate, while I talk about an abortive project to memorialise the Shore’s long literary history on the pillars of the Harbour Bridge from my own perspective as a writer and a lecturer in Creative Writing.

Sociolinguist David Ishii’s essay on the difficulties encountered by Auckland’s growing population of new immigrants leads us to the final piece in the book, Political Scientist Grant Duncan’s analysis of the progress of local government in Auckland, from colonial settlement to Super City – that unwieldy fusion of the region’s numerous city and regional councils which has now been legislated into becoming our civic reality.

11 Views of Auckland, then, stresses a multidisciplinary approach to this most multicultural of New Zealand cities. The serendipitous – complementary rather than contradictory – way the various essays have grouped themselves according to themes during the editing process accents another virtue we’ve come to value highly during all our years of working together on this clean green suburban campus: collegiality.

- Jack Ross

Notes on Contributors:

Associate Professor Grant Duncan has a PhD from Auckland University, and teaches applied political theory, political economy and the development of New Zealand social policy at Massey’s Albany Campus. His research and publications have covered general changes in social policy and public management in New Zealand, specialising in accident compensation legislation and policy. He has analysed the means by which policy institutions construct and administer populations, with a focus on work-capacity and chronic-pain disability, and also on happiness.

Associate Professor Ann Dupuis has a PhD from Canterbury University and teaches Sociology at Massey’s Albany Campus. Ann is an editor of the recently published book Multi-owned Housing: Law, Power and Practice (2010), which reflects her long-standing research interest in issues of the private governance and management of multi-owned housing developments. Other research and publications have examined issues of urban intensification, medium density housing, condominium living, the growth in gated communities, and the operation of bodies corporate. Ann teaches papers in NZ culture and identity, gender, globalisation and the sociology of work.

Dr Graham Fletcher is an Auckland-born painter of dual Samoan and European heritage. He has a Doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of Auckland. The cover image is from his 2009/ 2010 series Lounge Room Tribalism – a suite of painted interiors which are part of Fletcher's ongoing investigation of intercultural politics. Graham is represented by Melanie Roger through Anna Bibby Gallery in Auckland.

Dr David Ishii has a PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. He lectures in Applied Linguistics/ESOL at Massey’s Albany Campus. His research interests include the advancement of post-Vygotskyan sociocultural theory to understanding language learning processes and collaborative approaches for providing corrective feedback on academic writing.

Dr Jennifer Lawn has a PhD from the University of British Columbia, and teaches English and Media Studies at Massey’s Albany Campus. She is co-editor (with Mary Paul and Misha Kavka) of Gothic NZ: The Darker Side of Kiwi Culture (2006) and has published numerous articles on Kiwi Gothic, New Zealand cultural studies, trauma theory, and Janet Frame's fiction. Her most recent project focuses on the critique of neoliberalism in contemporary New Zealand literature.

Associate Professor Peter Lineham was the second head of the School of Social and Cultural Studies, and has a DPhil from Sussex University, and teaches History. His major fields of research are eighteenth and nineteenth century English religious history and New Zealand religious history. He has written many articles and contributes in other ways to church and society.

Professor Cluny Macpherson has a DPhil from Waikato University, and teaches Sociology at Massey’s Albany Campus. He has longstanding teaching and research interests in Oceania. These include social and economic development in Pacific states; relations between large and small states in the Pacific region; the social and economic consequences of migration in the Pacific region; health and ethnic identity of Pacific people in Aotearoa. He has particular interests in Samoa and the Cook Islands and Fiji.

Dr Graeme MacRae has lived in Auckland (on and off) since 1975. He teaches Social Anthropology in the School of Social and Cultural Studies. He began his field research in Bali in 1993, and since then he has returned there most years and now usually Jogjakarta as well (and occasionally south India). His current research is mostly on development and environmental issues and architecture in Bali and Java.

Dr Isabel Michell teaches in the School of English and Media at Massey. She publishes on New Zealand literature, film, and art; with a special focus on Janet Frame, whose novels are the subject of her Doctorate from Auckland University. Other research interests include Romanticism; 20th Century literature; critical theory; studies in the maternal; and public space, art, and life. Most recently she has published essays on Janet Frame in The Journal of New Zealand Literature 27 (2009) and Frameworks (Rodopi, 2009), and on photography in Tanja Nola Photographic Works (Random Acts of Publishing, 2010).

Dr Eleanor Rimoldi has a PhD from Auckland University, and teaches courses in urban anthropology, the contemporary Pacific, medical anthropology and theory at Massey's Albany Campus. She did fieldwork with the Hahalis Welfare Society on Buka Island, Bougainville in the 1970s, and returned to Bougainville in 2000 at the end of the civil war to teach for five months at the Buka Open Campus of the University of Papua New Guinea, and again in 2007 for two months to study changes in Buka township.

Dr Jack Ross has a PhD from Edinburgh University, and teaches English and Creative Writing at Massey’s Albany Campus. His latest book of short fiction, Kingdom of Alt, was published by Titus Books in September 2010. Details of this and other publications can be found at his blog, The Imaginary Museum.

Dr Warwick Tie has a PhD from Massey University, and lectures in the Sociology programme at Massey's Albany Campus. His primary research interests are the politics of conflict resolution – which sees him studying the fields of human rights, restorative justice, democratic policing, and political policing – and social theory.

Reviews & Comments:

  1. Graeme Beattie, "11 Views of Auckland." Beattie's Book Blog (7 February 2011):

    The College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Albany Campus, Massey University, are happy to invite you to celebrate the publication of 11 Views of Auckland: An anthology of essays by members of the College, Volume 10 in our ongoing Monograph Series "Social and Cultural Studies."

    The book will be launched by Massey University’s Vice-Chancellor, The Hon Steve Maharey, at a special launch price of $15 [RRP: $20], in the Study Centre Staff Lounge, East Precinct, Albany Campus, Auckland, on Thursday 17th February from 5.00-6.30 p.m.

  2. Sarah Coddington, "Lecturer wants poems written on bridge pillars." North Shore Times (Tuesday, 15 March, 2011): 30:

    It seems poems gracing pillars of the mighty Auckland Harbour Bridge and telling tales of North Shore's past were never meant to be.

    Massey University English lecturer Jack Ross spent many hours collating poems for a Shore art-based project that never went ahead.
    "The first criterion to qualify for a spot was you had to be dead. It was very hard to choose poets and you needed a diversity of people with a connection to the Shore," he says.

  3. [Sarah Coddington, "Lecturer wants poems written on bridge pillars"
    (North Shore Times (Tuesday, 15 March, 2011): 30]

  4. Steve Matthewman, "Review: Jack Ross and Grant Duncan (eds.) (2010) 11 Views of Auckland. Albany: Massey University." New Zealand Sociology vol. 26, issue 2 (2011): 117-19:

    This co-edited book is the tenth in Massey University’s Social and Cultural Studies series. The series aims to collect high quality multidisciplinary work organised around a particular theme or research methodology. Here we have eleven scholars with backgrounds in anthropology, education, fine arts, literary and religious studies, social policy and sociology, offering their views of New Zealand’s most multicultural city. Each chapter has its specific point of entry and object of study: a people (tangata o te moana nui a Kiwa), a suburb (Freemans Bay), an architectural style (gated communities, skyscrapers), an island (Waiheke), literature (crime fiction, commemoration), an activity (city governance, immigration, religious practice and walking).


    As with any multi-authored collection there are a range of writing styles displayed. In this publication some are straightforwardly academic (Peter Lineham), others more personal reflection (Graeme MacRae), while yet others merge these two positions (David Ishii). Still, all fall within the scope of Massey’s series which is to offer arts scholars interesting material which avoids unnecessary jargon. Inevitably your judgement of a book will be marked by what you bring to it and what you want out of it. Approaching it as a teacher I was immediately gratified to see chapters like Cluny Macpherson’s one on ‘Auckland’s Pacific Narratives’ that I can use when stood in front of cohorts of visiting American students. Although I hope this comprehensive overview reaches a wider audience because some popular myths deserve to be punctured. As Cluny demonstrates, the Pacific migration of common sense knowledge is actually the sixth migratory wave. As a researcher I was interested to see Ann Dupuis’ work on gated communities (although my own “Gated Life” project remains stubbornly in the bottom drawer). I should also add that I found this volume as easy to read for pleasure as it was for work. Jack Ross promises the reader a ‘quick fix’ rather than ‘a complete immersion’, but I found it much more satisfying than that.


    The CBD probably wins in overall significance but there is a strong gravitation towards the Shore. Any potential criticism of Shore-centrism can be dismissed for several reasons: first, it serves as a corrective to our own publication - Almighty Auckland? - which shamefully ignored it altogether, second, the contributors work (and sometimes live and conduct their research) there, third, there is still an abundance of material from the other side of the Harbour Bridge, fourth, it matters. Jack Ross, for example, reminds us of its prodigious literary output.

    Inevitably, things will be left out. There is not much here on routine Auckland gripes: poor architecture, leaky buildings, inadequate public transport, waterfront development, infrastructural failure, endless urban sprawl and the entire notion of sustainability. Any book can only do so much. Jack Ross begins with the acknowledgement that there are ‘as many Aucklands as there are inhabitants of the city’. Jennifer Lawn aptly calls it ‘a city of cities’. The only criticism that I think can be made to stick is that there should have been more sustained attention paid to matters Māori within the city. Still, at a little over 200 pages what it serves up is something of substance and something worth savouring.

    Grant Duncan’s closing piece on the city’s governance structures, its endless growth and mergers inspired a final thought. The City of Sails has three universities serving it. Each does research on it and each teaches students about it. How about a Super Auckland Book to serve all of our constituencies?

Authors Graeme MacRae, Grant Duncan, Jack Ross, Eleanor Rimoldi, David Ishii, Cluny Macpherson and Warwick Tie at the book launch yesterday. (Absent were Ann Dupuis, Jennifer Lawn and Isabel Michell)
[17 February, 2011]

Complete Review:

Jennifer Little. "Urban myths and marvels evoked in Auckland essays." Massey University Website. (18 February 2011):

Murders, motorways and migrants are some of the subjects of a new book, 11 Views of Auckland, by Albany-based academics from the University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Edited by English lecturer Dr Jack Ross and public policy lecturer Associate Professor Grant Duncan, the book is printed and published by the University.

The essays are by no means gushing endorsements for the metropolis – home to an estimated 1.25 million people, or about a third of the nation’s population.

Each is a unique exploration on an aspect of Auckland’s past or present, its complexities and contrasts, penned by academics from sociology, history, English, linguistics, public policy, anthropology and political studies at the University’s Albany campus.

That the writers all live and work in Auckland is pertinent to the spirit of these essays, which evoke personal experiences and insights within the framework of their particular discipline.

Thoughtful commentaries on urban experiences include Dr Isabel Michell’s Auckland City: Becoming Places. She describes the pleasures and perils of being an inner city pedestrian who suffers “near hits, noise and air pollution, and the annoying experience of what might be called pedestrianas interruptus: the sudden cessation of footpath in favour of road.”

She reflects on the need for “life in or between buildings”, lamenting the lack of appealing public spaces through which a diverse muster of humanity can flow or congregate.

English and Media Studies lecturer Dr Jennifer Lawn delves into crime fiction set in Auckland as pathway into the links between real crime, place and urban experience in Soft-boiled in Ponsonby: The Topographies of Murder in the Crime Fiction of Charlotte Grimshaw and Alix Bosco.

Real crimes, reported and sensationalised in the media, can provide a backdrop or echo for imagined ones. "Grimshaw's Auckland is scarcely fit for human habitation; it is waterlogged, slimy, rotting, hostile to the scale and pace of the human frame – yet curiously sublime, even daemonic...” she writes.

Anthropologist Dr Graeme MacRae traces a fascinating history of his neighbourhood in Freeman’s Bay in The Bay that Was, a Park that Isn’t and the City that Might Have Been. He traces its evolution from community-oriented council housing to hub of commercial development and victim of “social cleansing.”

Sociologist Associate Professor Ann Dupuis reflects on the emergence of gated communities, and Dr Warwick Tie explores the link between aesthetics and economics in relation to downtown Auckland’s glass-walled Metropolis building as a symbol of precarious corporate ethos in Between Itself: The Political Economy of the Metropolis

Associate Professor Grant Duncan adds a poetic touch from the vantage point of a bus passenger in his essay The Making of the Super City. "The bus climbs steeply to the apex of the Bridge, a place where every traveller gets a fleeting million-dollar view, and this ride impresses itself as one of the great ways to experience the brutal velocities, the pounding sensations and the beautiful vistas from unexpected windows that create the way the hapless denizen takes part in the life of the city – just another body going along with the city's great lava-flows of traffic that congeal and contest within the channels designed for them by anonymous planners."

He asks the reader to look beyond the potentially "sleep-inducing boredom" that the subject of local government may invoke to the basic relevance of urban policy making; ""How do people, politics and social trends shape the places we inhabit and the ways we experience life, move about and get things done in the city?"

The book is the 10th monograph in a series started by the former School of Cultural and Social Studies.

Dr Ross’ quirky essay describes his involvement in a thwarted art project to engrave poetry on Auckland’s harbour bridge supports. He says he hopes the book will provoke readers with its “truthful depiction of how the city seems to each of us right now,” that will “grow in value as Auckland’s various futures unfold and interlock.”

Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey, who launched the book, praised its rich, diverse content and described it as “a time capsule of Auckland today that will become a valuable reference point for how the city changes and evolves.”

[Graham Fletcher: "Untitled,"
from Lounge Room Tribalism (2009-2010)]

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