SOUTHDOWN AFFCO (AUCKLAND)
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SOUTHDOWN AFFCO - The Ruins of the Future
In the twentieth century Great South Road communities like Papatoetoe and Otahuhu became centres of a thriving, self-consciously proletarian culture, as workers at railway workshops, factories, and slaughterhouses formed trade unions, joined left-wing political parties, and created a range of sporting clubs and arts associations. The area was sometimes called ‘the working class university of New Zealand’, because of the ferment of worker education and political debate. In the 1940s the Workers Education Association’s left-wing theatre club sold tickets to its shows at the Otahuhu Railway Workshops. At about the same time, Hone Tuwhare was writing his first poems on the sides of the workshop’s railcars. In the 1960s and ’70s radical political organisations like the Communist Party and the Socialist Action League would sell hundreds of copies of their newspapers outside the factories of Otahuhu, and hold large street meetings in Papatoetoe on Friday evenings. In the late eighties and the nineties, though, successive governments pursued free market policies that globalised the New Zealand economy and deindustrialised South Auckland. The railways were privatised, tariffs were cut on imported goods, and many factories closed their doors. As New Zealand was deindustrialised, the needs of the finance and tourism sectors of the economy were prioritised, and a new national image was created. The hypermodern paradise became an arcadia inhabited by laidback hobbits. Industrial heritage has become an oxymoron, and tour buses steer resolutely for profitable wildernesses like Fiordland and the Ureweras. New Zealand is promoted as a clean, green paradise, rather than an industrial paradise, and New Zealanders are presented as a gentle race of hobbits, rather than as muscular shearers and steel workers. Many of the factories and freezing works and railway workshops that grew up around the Great South Road in the decades after World War Two have become ruins, and memorials to an alternative vision of New Zealand society. This geocache is part of the Great South Road Geocache Experiment that was initiated at the Papakura Art Gallery Exhibition 'A Sense of Place', sponsored by Auckland City Council. THE NEXT CACHE IN THE SERIES IS MUTUKAROA - CACHE GC54H6W
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum