A light edit of a real Metlink graphic (Image: Mad Chapman)
A light edit of a real Metlink graphic (Image: Mad Chapman)

SocietyFebruary 26, 2024

Things to do in Wellington for 15 years that aren’t catching the train on the weekend

A light edit of a real Metlink graphic (Image: Mad Chapman)
A light edit of a real Metlink graphic (Image: Mad Chapman)

Is wanting to catch the train on a Saturday in Wellington too much to ask? Yes.

In 2017, Hera Lindsay Bird penned the best tweet New Zealand has ever produced. 

“godDAMN this stupid milkloving piece of shit dumbass mean spirited sale at briscoes racist sexist 40% off deck furniture piss country”

In the nearly seven years since the tweet was shot out into the ether, there have been countless examples of New Zealand living up to Bird’s description. Whatever your leanings, there’ll be something recently that has made you think “what a piss country”. It’s almost become a matter of national pride to understand deep in our bones that sometimes we do just live in a piece of shit piss country.

This morning we received a prime example. Mere weeks after trains across Auckland were abruptly cancelled for “heat” (it was certainly not hot enough to melt steel beams), Metlink has confirmed that it would need buses to replace trains on maintenance days (usually weekends and evenings) for “10 to 15 years” in order to catch up on a renewals backlog. This confirmation comes after it was revealed that Kiwirail signed off on the Wairarapa track replacements that were too narrow for the carriages and will need to be fixed. Can you smell the ammonia?

Aucklanders like to think we have the worst lot when it comes to trains but with the City Rail Link crawling closer to the finish line, at least we have something to look forward to. Currently, what Wellingtonians have to look forward to is the ability to catch the train on the weekend, sometime between 2034 and 2039. 

Here are some things you can do while you wait for a basic train system to materialise in the capital city.

  • Plant a forest of avocado trees that will flourish in the emergent subtropical climate of Wellington and bear enough fruit to buy an averagely-priced home in the captial ($3m). Nab one close to a train line, and you can be one of the first to enjoy a weekend train trip in 15 years.
  • Train to become part of an entirely new and much-needed (because of the years we spent ignoring the problem) health workforce, specifically as a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. Specialise in prolonged motion sickness.
  • Read lots of best-selling books
  • Write six best-selling books about a mythical train that departs from a mythical platform only wizards can see.
  • Watch the Paris Olympics in 2024, decide you want to become an Olympian, train every day for seven years, compete at the 2032 Olympics (conveniently in Brisbane), suffer a devasting fourth place, commit to a revenge fantasy for the next four years and win gold at the 2036 Olympics (location unknown) in virtual cycling.
  • Find every single pedestrian shortcut in an attempt to not always be on the bus
  • Get rich by starting a bus company specifically designed to replace trains
  • Run for mayor on a pro-train platform
  • Rescope your campaign at the last minute to be pro-bus
  • Watch the Phoenix win an A-League title (year unknown)
  • Watch as the Warriors win an NRL Championship (year unknown)
  • Have sex
  • Conceive a child
  • Witness your child entering the world and cry more than you ever thought you would
  • Celebrate your child’s first birthday
  • Celebrate your child’s second birthday
  • Celebrate your child’s third birthday
  • Celebrate your child’s fourth birthday
  • Celebrate your child’s fifth birthday
  • Celebrate your child’s sixth birthday
  • Be selected as part of the second human trial for a medical innovation that freezes ageing entirely
  • Celebrate your child’s seventh birthday looking exactly the same as you did at their last birthday
  • Celebrate your child’s eighth birthday shortly after launching a legal case against the medical company for destroying all of your organs
  • Celebrate your child’s ninth birthday
  • Celebrate your child’s tenth birthday with obscene luxury after winning your lawsuit and being paid out millions of dollars in damages and lost years (you still look the same though)
  • Throw all of your money into developing solar-powered flying vehicles
  • Celebrate your child’s 11th birthday with pizza
  • Vote in the New Zealand election where the core campaign issue is whether or not the city of Wellington will soon fall into the ocean
  • Celebrate your child’s 12th birthday at your ex-partner’s house (the divorce was acrimonious but you’ve come a long way)
  • Fly on a (sadly not solar powered) plane to Auckland and drive across the second Harbour crossing and wonder why cyclists and pedestrians still aren’t allowed on the bridge.
  • Die
  • Be brought back to life in another human trial
  • Celebrate your child’s 14th birthday (you missed the 13th due to the above)
  • Attend the launch of the new nationwide public transit plan, made up of gondolas, human slingshots, cyclelanes and high-speed electric buses
  • Celebrate your child’s 15th birthday by catching a Saturday train to the now-evacuated Wellington waterfront
  • Read an [insert next wave of innovative journalism delivery] that due to errors with how the tracks were repaired, trains will be down another three years for maintenance
  • Rinse and repeat
Keep going!