The Waihopai spybase. Photo: Schutz, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons; Additional design by Tina Tiller
The Waihopai spybase. Photo: Schutz, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons; Additional design by Tina Tiller

SocietyNovember 11, 2021

Twenty ways the GCSB could repurpose its creepy spyglobes

The Waihopai spybase. Photo: Schutz, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons; Additional design by Tina Tiller
The Waihopai spybase. Photo: Schutz, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons; Additional design by Tina Tiller

We can and should upcycle the Waihopai spy station, argues Catherine Woulfe. 

The great espionage puffballs of Waihopai Station are famous for being big and white and creepy as hell. The first one went up in 1989 and quietly, very quietly, got on with the job (of spying). The second one snuggled in beside it nine years later. 

Together, the two unblinking eyes have endured various indignities: recurring protests; annoying allegations of mass surveillance on a truly horrifying scale; Nicky Hager breaking in a couple times. In 2008 three activists slashed the kevlar of one ball with a sickle, leaving a deflated white sac hanging off the framework. 

The pieces were picked up, the damage smoothed over. They’re still good balls, barely middle-aged. Yet today, it was announced they are “obsolete” and “irrelevant” and will soon be dismantled. 

I petition the powers that be to consider the following alternative uses:

 

1  Stage for elaborate way-too-far pranks involving the afterlife / alien abductions

2  New home for the Wizard, having been deeply wounded by the pass-agg paycut in Christchurch

3  Influencer wedding venue

4  Post-lockdown retreat for the parents of Tāmaki Makaurau. One person per dome per day. Snacks, refreshments and silence provided. 

5  Same again but for essential workers

6  Readymade Bake Off tents

7  Shadow puppets extravaganza

8  Act party convention venue

9  Studio for photographers specialising in glamour shotz

10  Sanctuary / sanatorium for the last polar bear

11  Headquarters of the Fungal Network of New Zealand, which is a real and stupefyingly good name

12  Extreme velodrome

13  Time out space for Colin Craig. And Barry Soper. 

14  Illegal paddock doofs

15  En-masse permanent retreat for all writers who believe they are writing “the next great New Zealand novel”, and who have been drunk enough to say that out loud.

Or just for the poet who emailed last night after The Spinoff rejected his pitch: “A foregone conclusion this will not be reviewed in your quasi pages. I am published internationally […] and do not condone, nor do i support pretentious, hipster, mags. Bogus elitism is anathema to me. But now you know who I am. God save NZ.”

16  Installation at Gibbs Farm, the bonkers sculpture garden / zoo / millionaire’s folly north of Auckland, where they’d fit neatly either side of the oversize trumpet

17  Storage for the 400,000 books the National Library is sending to a digitising outfit offshore, aka “rehoming”, aka “junking”

18  Maintaining a habitable biosphere for the 0.001% when things go really bad

19  The Nicky Hager Truth & Justice Library

20  Screaming place

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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