I have lived in Manurewa for the better part of thirty five years and sixteen of those have been in my own home in the mighty west coast sub-suburb of Clendon, 2103.
I wandered around the area in my youth when the land was more toetoe and livestock than subdivided sections and prefab properties. There was a sense that the place was going to be something different from the other areas in Manurewa as the developments looked pretty cool to a kid with no idea of how the world worked.
I am guessing that to go with the new sense of destiny in the area Clendon Town Center was built as a hub to service the needs of the new suburb. My first ever trip there was to buy my new Manurewa High School 1st XV dress uniform from Warnocks and if not for that I would never have considered the place as somewhere I would actually want to go. Later on I would work as a relief teller for the Postbank branch and still never felt like I wanted to hang around the place.
Fast forward to now and after buying my own home here sixteen years ago and getting to know the area and the diverse lot of people that live in and around it I am proud to say I live here. From the crazy walkway that runs from the back of the old Nissan factory to the club rooms at the Weymouth Rugby Club, to the solar powered street signs along Finalyson and then over to the craziness that is the now opened up Clendon Town Center I love living here.
This isn't to say that Clendon doesn't have it's problems; it does and they can be serious but the difference between what happens here and what happens in other parts of Auckland is more about disposable assets and a disposable population that suit the need for waypoints on the map of poverty that is often exploited by media and their reality TV crews or mobile shopping trucks with overpriced stock and underhanded payment plans. Things can change and so can situations and I hold out hope that the leadership offered by Manurewa Marae when homes were needed for the homeless is also acknowledged by those that would be quick to point out crime rate.
A few years ago our neighbourhood was rocked by the murder of the son of our local dairy, I can remember the reports and the hand wringing about the things that were going wrong with this part of Auckland. I can also remember the locals that apprehended the person responsible and the huge amount of love our streets threw around the family of the victim. I saw the good that is at the heart of our community and I know that good is still there and always ready when it's needed.
Call me a blind fool that can't see the thorns for the roses but I'm happy to tolerate a few pricks if it means I get to view the beauty that is at the heart of my town.
Kids cracking whips and parents moving quick - Clendon Rulz OK.