The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker

In the plain and nondescript part of the New Zealand town where I live it is very noticeable just how few people actually ‘walk’ anywhere – whether it be to work or the shops or for general fitness.

Travelling on foot gives you a very different perspective on the overall health of a town – the state of the housing, how many derelict old cars there are round the place, who actually cares about the appearance of their property, how many domestic arguments there are in the neighbourhood, and who regularly smokes dope out on their front porch of a morning. These are ‘real things’ which your average bourgeois kiwi simply does not see as he or she powers through town in their flashy new SUV – on their way to meet their next client. It must be so great to be part of that ‘growing economy’ which we have heard so much about recently.

As a walker you also begin to realise what it must have been like to be a leper in the days of old – simply because pedestrian traffic in any shape or form seems to be viewed as a great annoyance or inconvenience to a good many kiwi drivers. I am convinced it’s a power thing. Neo-liberal New Zealand is very much about individuals getting their own way (people constantly being in competition with one another) and this is clearly reflected in kiwi driving attitudes.

Despite New Zealand’s 100 Percent Pure image (i.e. green and environmentally-friendly) the one-in-a-car scenario still very much predominates and many vehicles on the road are well over 20 years old (and are clearly not serviced regularly). Also many of those who pull up to the ‘STOP’ sign at the crossroads have large jowls and cigarettes in their mouths – or they are sucking on cans of sugary energy drink. This is very much in line with the current obesity epidemic. 4WDs, fast food, and fags – a deadly combination in anyone’s books.

As a walker you also become very aware of how New Zealand’s towns and cities are not at all pedestrian friendly (I have spoken to walkers from throughout the length of the country about this). Again this runs somewhat contrary to the propaganda image of New Zealand – the healthy outdoors sports-orientated society. To add further insult to injury it would therefore perhaps not be surprising to learn a recent Stanford University study found New Zealanders to be amongst the laziest people in the world (the number of steps they take of a day).

In all honesty there are few smiles out there for a walker. I often get dirty looks when I step out into traffic (to cross a road) or angry toots if a driver thinks I am challenging their vehicular right-of-way (even if they haven’t indicated they wish to turn and subsequently shoot straight across my path). Perhaps if I walked irregularly I could put all this down to being one-off incidents but over time I have come to realise these are very common behaviours.

I am sure many of the kiwi drivers who I see on a daily basis could not even begin to comprehend the courtesy and patience required to drive in an overseas environment. It also never ceases to amaze me when I see middle-aged men doing burn-outs on the streets as if they are teenagers. If these drivers were to be challenged – like so many in this mythical paradise they would surely attempt to justify their actions by saying “it’s the kiwi way.” The sad thing however is – it is under the flagship of this ‘kiwi way’ that the country finds itself in such a sorry state as it does today.


7 thoughts on “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker

  1. I feel compelled to comment yet again as I do on many other forums ,I’m in my early 50s and foolishly believe I’ve seen most forms of ignorance and stupidity.Auckland city is reaching critical mass in every way,it’s now become normal to see people living in cars and tents ,the average price of a shack is about $750000 usd this will really be a timber shack and is a first home buyer price.The idiot council members who create grid lock traffic and an overall disgusting environment for human habitation reward themselves with huge salaries disproportionate to the average wage ,the government of this place continue to falsely entice immigrants with pictures of mountain ranges and clear lakes ,this will not be your reality if you fall for N.Z government propaganda ,the truth is you will work for shit wages ,live in a shit house and probably never be able to afford the trip to see the bullshit Lord of the Rings countryside ,so you dumb asses will probably come here anyway and then learn the truth when it’s to late .

  2. Interesting that a 15 year old male driver killed himself in an accident today in Auckland ,he was fleeing police in a stolen car ,apparently the same young man was caught one month ago in a stolen car ,well done N.Z justice system your incredible lenience allowed this turd to risk the lives of untold other drivers ,I’m very happy the shitbag is dead and may this trend continue in the absence of real judicial enforcement,I’m sure innocent people will live due to his death.

    • The young fool I was referring to in the above rant had apparently committed multiple robberies and thefts and was well known to police all this for a moron who was born in 2002 ,I spent years of my life working with at risk youth 16 to 24 year olds in LA and speak from experience when I say the world is much better off without this guy Morroco Tai,( the moron who stole a car a,N.Z has all kinds of social services available to those in need yet many kids here are still wanna be gangsta,no wonder when you get a moron like his school principle say something like ,well ,when you grow up in a war zone you become a warrior ,no wonder these kids feel entitled to rob and kill,N.Z is the softest easiest place with the most social protections on the whole planet.

  3. In the U.S if a driver hits a pedestrian the driver is always at fault ,this is a felony offence and can lead to jail time etc ,I believe U.S drivers to be some of the most conscientious and courteous drivers in the world ,they make eye contact let other vehicles in,wave to other drivers to show appreciation for letting them in etc.Ive had N.Z drivers speed up to attempt to run me over in a parking lot,most N.Z parking areas are so badly designed you would imagine they are drawn up to kill the maximum number of pedestrians ,walkways just terminate anywhere and often the only way to get from your own vehicle to a building entrance is to walk behind all the vehicles who may or may not back out at you,if you are on foot the drivers will rarely wait for you to pass even if it’s raining.So many things in N.Z are just anti human being oriented I haven’t given this subject much thought since returning to this place,nowadays I just put up with being a human target to vehicular traffic like everybody else does ,human life doesn’t matter in N.Z and you will soon be forgotten ,if squashed by a car it will be your fault as you are the victim.

  4. These Neanderthal drivers never stop at zebra crossing you let you cross, they just stare at you and drive right on past.

    These muppets also need to sort out their pedestrian crossings. How the fuck is it even logical to have a green light for a car turning left or right at a junction while the green light also tells the pedestrian to cross the road at the SAME TIME. Fucking MORONIC. I’m surprised people don’t get creamed daily due to this severe lack of intelligence.

    Kiwis are ignorant obnoxious TWATS.

  5. I am brazilian. We moved to NZ a few months ago. I have already lived in other countries that had much more urban mobility , in Argentina for example, we didn’t need a car. I was negatively surprised by New Zealand in this regard, for having a discourse of care about the environment, I imagined as, in Germany or Holland, they would to invest more in public transport, etc. But i just moved, i need to learn more about this country.

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