Wellington Scoop

PHOTO: Mayoral challengers line up for lion hunt

Media release – Mynzeye
The streets of Wellington were alive with the sounds of city council candidates running for something other than high office on Saturday, the first day of the voting season for Wellington’s next batch of aspiring civic leaders.

In defiance of the weather predictions, leading Mayoral challengers Jack Yan and Celia Wade-Brown lined up for what could well be the only informal election event of 2010 meant purely for fun: a walking race around Wellington designed by local games designer Donna Scott to test the ability of the assembled teams to find their way around the city by solving a set of ten cryptic clues.

Other council candidates to take up the challenge issued publicly to all-comers two weeks ago and promoted in the DominonPost were Mike Mellor, standing for the Eastern Ward, and Andy Foster, a sitting councillor standing again for the Onslow-Western Ward. Incumbent Mayor Kerry Prendergast could not be present but sent an apology.

“Each of the clues was written as a four-line stanza containing pointers to the next location and anagrams to unravel, a la the Da Vinci Code. Each clue took the teams to a series of iconic Lions that can be found in Wellington, such as the Lions at the Cenotaph and at other locations such as the Botanical Gardens, Basin Reserve, the Old Bank shopping arcade and on the waterfront,” said Donna Scott, of Wellington game design company MYNZEYE which specialises in games that foster creative competition and collaboration.

“Sir Michael Fowler, former Mayor and current candidate for a return to council via the Lambton Ward, started the teams off in grand style from Wellington Railway Station. At the end of the race, which took three hours to complete, we had a prize giving in Civic Square with prizes donated by the Wellington Rugby Football Union, including a signed rugby jersey, 40 tickets to their next game in Wellington versus Bay of Plenty on 30 September and WRFU beanies, which everyone wore on the day.

“We were also fortunate to have members of the walking advocacy group Living Streets Aotearoa join in as well as the WRFU mascot Leo the Lion who stayed with us for the entire event and managed to paw his way on to a bus for part of the journey. Padding back from the Basin via Courtenay Place and Cuba Street to Civic Square Leo was a great hit with people out on the streets – showing that sometimes politics and sport can be a great combination!”

The best teamwork award of the signed Wellington Lions rugby jersey went to Mike Mellor who has in turn donated the jersey to the Mary Potter Hospice for use as a fundraiser. Celia Wade-Brown walked away with recognition of her strategic planning (she could only attend at the beginning and end of the race), and Jack Yan’s team won a set of tickets to the rugby for best use of technology.

PHOTO: Jack Yan, Celia Wade-Brown, Sir Michael Fowler.