Wellington Scoop

The week’s goodbyes

It was a week of goodbyes.

Goodbye to the Avalon Television Centre, with the news that TVNZ intends to sell it as soon as it can. It was built 45 years ago as a government-financed state of the art production centre for public television. The move to Auckland started only five years later.

Goodbye, too, to the public television which Avalon was built for. TVNZ’s last half-hearted attempt was TV7, and the excuse for closing it is that government funding has been cancelled. So that seems to be that. New Zealand would be the only country in the western world that doesn’t have public television – except for Maori Television and Stratos which bravely continue the tradition.

Goodbye to Real Groovy. Its closing-down sale is attracting gloomy crowds, sad that the big friendly store will soon be gone. But further down Cuba Street, Slow Boat survives.

At the airport, it’s goodbye to the Whitcoulls bookstore brand. The administrator acting for the cash-strapped Australian owners has sold the airport bookstores to another Australian company. They’ll be changing the brand, which shows they don’t recognise the strength of the Whitcoulls name, and its century-old history.

An even more venerable Wellington institution is also on the way out. For more than 130 years, the NZ Press Association has co-operatively provided nationwide news to the country’s dailies, big and small. It’s reported to be closing because of a decision by its largest shareholder – the Australian owner of the DomPost – that it doesn’t want to co-operate any more.

There’s even to be a temporary goodbye to the Mt Victoria tunnel. The Transport Agency has told Hataitai residents that starting next month, the tunnel will be closed for five nights every week. The reason that’s given is that they’re replacing the ceiling. Most of us will be hoping that there’ll also be some strengthening of the tunnel, which was built 90 years ago.