Friday, 21 March 2014

Haunted lands

Never buy the property next door to the cemetery. You'll be haunted. Not by ghosts, but by objections to any future re-development plan.
The resting place of legendary All Blacks coach Sir Fred Allen has been defended by the Environment Court, which has cancelled plans for factories next to a park-like Auckland cemetery.
Since early 2012, the unbeaten 1960s coach has been buried beside his wife, Norma, at Auckland Memorial Park in Silverdale.
He was a member of the trust for the perpetual maintenance of the 17ha park cemetery, whose managers appealed against an Auckland Council decision to rezone adjoining land for industrial buildings.
"Fred would have reacted badly to such a terrible proposal," said Alan Sayers, a friend for 65 years and fellow resident of Whangaparaoa Peninsula. "He thought it was a beautiful piece of land, gently rising, all-day sun, a lagoon and the trees being planted.
"A walk beside a lake is named in his honour. It would be such a shame if alongside this private, peaceful place there would be factories."
Any guesses what this will do to the number of objections raised for any planned new cemeteries?

I can understand zoning and externality worries about effects on those who still frequent the cemetery. I also think we should pay some heed to the wishes of the dead, at least to the extent that they paid for certain things to be done prior to their death. It would be a breach of contract for the Memorial Garden to pave over his grave. But I'm pretty sure that Allen didn't purchase an easement over all the neighbouring properties when he bought his plot.

HT: John, who will remain semi-anonymous, because he also told me that while Allen was a "damn good coach in the 1960s", he wasn't ever a great All Black. He also tells me that the ruling suggests "no one could build within 100 miles of Colin Meads' resting place." I am completely agnostic as to the relative merits of historic, current, or future All Blacks.


  1. I know NZ was a gerontocracy, but this is taking it to the extreme. I wish when making decisions like this, the Environment Court was obliged to state a cost of the decision using a standardised formula (using the difference between unimproved and industrial land values in the area, for example, per park visitor).

  2. He wasn't a great All Black, but he was a great All Black captain. Don't blame him for the 4-0 drubbing his All Blacks received at the hands of South Africa in 1949: Blame the NZRFU for their racist policy of refusing to select Maori players for the tour, thus leaving JB Smith at home.

  3. best pre -professional AB coach? during
    his tenure, between 1966 and 1968, the team won all 14 tests including home series
    against the Lions and Springboks.

  4. I would argue for Jack Gleason, who didn't have the same quality of players to work with. But you have to admire Allen for understanding dynamic optimisation--dropping Colin Meads for a lesser player in order to get Meads motivated to play even better the following test!