In bad news Waterfront Auckland has pulled the pin on the Auckland project. I was really excited about the prospect of getting out of town and representing Christchurch during the Rugby World Cup.
In preparation for the event, Waterfront Auckland has developed a bunch of hospitality tenancies on the North Wharf. At the last minute one tenant pulled out and in a panic they called my old mate Johnny d to see if he could throw together a pop-up bar to run during the tournament. He already has two new restaurants to open and threw the opportunity my way.
So I flew up and looked at the space and decided we could do something pretty cool. I had this great idea that we could do a Christchurch thing. We would fly up Christchurch bands each week and they would work for a share of the turnover. This would mean we could promote Christchurch music and these guys could get a gig and make some money (both of which are tough to do in this city at present).
We would do Canterbury wines and Christchurch craft beers and fly up some of our best chefs to represent the province. We gathered together the old gang from way back in the early Cartel days with the plan of injecting a little bit of our city into the tournament and reminding visitors that Christchurch wasn’t finished just yet.
So I pitched this to them and they were very supportive of the idea. I flew up to Auckland a bunch of times, setting up suppliers and bludging all the equipment I would need. Two weeks and a couple of grand later and some egg-head at Waterfront Auckland decided against the plan. Where I had been getting nothing but support for my plan, suddenly I couldn’t get anyone to answer their phone and then I was informed that live music did not fit the mix. The whole thing was a bit alternative and they didn’t want “a bunch of scruffy kids damaging our tenancy”.
Now, I have worked creating precincts in the past. I know that the mix is important and some concepts don’t fit the mix. And I know that what we were proposing was edgier and dirtier than what they have up there, but I thought that was the point. I thought it would be fun to bring a crowd down to the waterfront who might not otherwise participate in the RWC. I also thought the feel-good element of the concept was something that visitors, Aucklanders and Cantabrians would embrace and support.
What fucks me off is that I feel like I was strung along and essentially told that all I needed to do was sign-up and it would happen. I wasted a couple of weeks of my time when I could have been working on setting up something down here. I wasted a couple of grand and while that’s not a heap of money, it’s enough when you have fuck-all and what you do have you are trying to pay your mortgage with. Then I had the carpet pulled out from under me at the last minute because some fuckwit is precious of his Gib-board.
So any of you that are heading to Auckland are to avoid North Wharf and are instead to support Johnny d’s empire which includes Britomart Country Club, 1885, Racket Bar and Angents and Merchants. I am indebted to him because he has now provided employment to the people who had given up their jobs to come up and work for me. So “thanks” to Johnny and crew and “fuck you” to Waterfront Auckland.