News | 7 December 2023
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Council’s elves delve into top of the pops for 2023

It’s the silly season, which means the Wellington City Council elves have compiled the 2023 lists of some of the weird, the wacky and the wonderful from Wellington’s many services.

Three Kings Charles Cavaliers sleeping together

On the tenth day of Christmas our Council gave to thee: ten flowering natives, nine Jeff Kinney top tens, 80 letters to Delaware, seven hundred llama pats, six lost drones in trees, five hundred rangatahi at youth nights, four thousand Agatha Christie loans, three flying trampolines, 2.5K social media posts, and one gold ring.


Total number of dogs on Wellington City Council’s register is 14,024, and the most popular names are: 

Charlie – 161
Bella – 137
Poppy – 129
Luna - 115
Coco – 114
Archie – 106
Molly – 102
Max –101
Frankie – 90
Ruby – 89

At the other end of the table, with the one-of-a-kind names:

Bellatrix Fluffy Butt Queen of the Woofs
Zombie Rose (Zoe)
Virginia Wolf
Ricky Baker
Joan of Bark
Augie D’Souza of Truffleway
Fishie Fishie

Rubbish & Recycling

Zero Waste Education programme feedback from children

Do tiger worms roar?
When I grow up, I want to be a recycling policeman, with a fast recycling truck that I can drive to all the bad recyclers and show them how to do it properly. I will need lots of flashing lights and a siren.
I wish I could hug all the worms and all the people at the recyling factories.
I didn’t know how much Papatūānuku and the trees love us. I think I’d better start loving them back.
I wish we could stop digging big holes in Mother Earth and filling them up with rubbish. But I do love diggers.
I think I could be a tiger worm because I don’t like eating onion peel and orange peel either.
If I was a glass bottle, I would shout, ‘Oi! Take my lid off!’ when someone was throwing me in the glass recycling bin.
My brother literally can’t live without icecream.  I think I’d better learn how to make clothes and houses out of ice cream containers.
I did not know that worm wee and poo could be such fun!
The rubbish truck drivers and the people who work at the recycling factory and at the dump are the most kind of all the people in the world.

A Guanaco with a flower in its mouth with an alpaca behind it.

Parks, Sport & Recreation

The team from Parks, Sport & Recreation found all sorts of things around the city:

113 tonnes of dumped rubbish from parks and reserves   
6 drones and 3 trampolines in trees
A pocket knife 
A Garmin Forerunner watch 
Various amounts of $$$
A gold ring 
A PS3 
A bag of clocks
Numerous sex toys 
A couple of full gimp suits with accessories

Social Media 

Council’s social media team were busy across all channels:

Number of posts: 2449
Posts reach: 34,599,835
Reactions: 709,092
Incoming queries: 55,879
Comments: 35,600 (not including TikTok)
Link clicks: 244,972
Short form video views: 8,037,096


Top 10 things happening at Wellington City Libraries:
Over four thousand loans of Agatha Christie titles 
700 people patted a llama, guanaco, or alpaca at library events 
870 letters were sent to Delaware as part of library penpal programme 
People borrowed material across 62 different languages 
Nearly 500 rangatahi attended youth nights at Waitohi and Karori  
Over 50 loans of Air detectors (CO2 air monitors) 
Most popular world language learnt online (not English or te reo Māori) was Spanish/Latin American 
Published 170 Tūhono poems composed by tamariki 
Approximately 700 book deliveries to Books at Home customers unable to visit the library 
Answered over 10,000 customer enquiries made to the website

Top 10 adult fiction

Birnam Wood / Eleanor Catton
Lessons in chemistry / Bonnie Garmus
The bullet that missed / Richard Osman
The marriage portrait / Maggie O’Farrell
Lucy by the sea : a novel / Elizabeth Strout
Shrines of gaiety / Kate Atkinson
The axeman's carnival / Catherine Chidgey
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow / Gabrielle Zevin
The seven moons of Maali Almeida / Shehan Karunatilaka
Mad honey : a novel / Jodi Picoult

Top 10 children fiction

Double down / Jeff Kinney
The getaway / Jeff Kinney
Rodrick rules / Jeff Kinney
The 13-storey treehouse / Andy Griffiths
The third wheel / Jeff Kinney
Hard luck / Jeff Kinney
Diper överlöde / Jeff Kinney
Big shot / Jeff Kinney
The last straw / Jeff Kinney
The ugly truth / Jeff Kinney

Top 10 non-fiction

Spare / Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
I'm glad my mom died / Jennette McCurdy
The bookseller at the end of the world / Ruth Shaw
Atomic habits / James Clear
Did I ever tell you this? : a memoir / Sam Neill
Straight up / Ruby Tui
Just one thing : how simple changes can transform your life / Michael Mosley
The light we carry : overcoming in uncertain times / Michelle Obama
The myth of normal : trauma, illness & healing in a toxic culture / Gabor Maté
There's a cure for this : a memoir / Emma Espinar

Top 10 interesting things digitised by Wellington City Libraries this year  

The Coronation that didn’t happen: a 1902 coronation programme detailing festivities to be held at the Basin Reserve. Unfortunately the celebrations were cancelled just days out and King Edward VII was crowned later in the year.  
The Wellington Motorists’ Handyguide: a 1930s publication issued when owning a private vehicle was still very much a novelty. It details how to drive a car, how to stick to the (very vague) road rules, what women need to know about cars, and some very rudimentary first aid involving brandy.   
A letter from Lord Alfred Tennyson himself: this item was part of a collection of letters purchased some time ago by A. H. Reed and subsequently donated to Wellington City Libraries. 
The Streets of My City: A classic for good reason. 
52,000 names: In a substantial effort of digitisation, the full Scholefield Papers are now searchable on Recollect. In 1939 a librarian by the name of Guy Scholefield decided to collect the family histories of every settler who arrived in Wellington prior to 1855, and kept every bit of correspondence. 
Nga Tupuna II o Te Whanganui-a-Tara: We added the second volume of this much-used resource. It compiles short biographies of tupuna and Māori leaders active in Pōneke in the 1840s. 
Berehaven House Refreshment Rooms: Tea Rooms at the Seatoun Wharf, c. 1905. In this image the building is surrounded by steep farmland, though is now a private residence surrounded by other homes. 
Her Excellency’s Knitting Book: A 1915 publication aimed at giving women at home during the first world war a purpose: making garments would not only help provide for the soldiers but also ‘calm their nerves’ and provide a support network of social knitters. 
An inventory of 1980s eating houses: Eating Houses in Wellington was published in 1980 and details popular restaurants and their histories. 
A history of Miramar Island: Elson Best’s essay on the discovery of Motu-kairangi and the establishment of pa prior to the earthquake which displaced Te-Awa-a-Taia and turned Miramar into a peninsula. 

Bunch of tulips in a flower bed.

In the Gardens

Interesting rose names:

My Mum   
Honky Tonk Blues 
Hot Pants 
Madame President 
Racy Lady 
Sexy Rexy 
Heart Throb 
Double Delight 
For Your Eyes Only

iNaturalist observations in the Gardens
Glow worms 
Puriri Moth  
Eastern Rosella  
Fly Argaric (mushroom) 
Orange Pore Fungus 
Climbing Rātā 
Japanese Cherry  
common Sun orchid  
Native plants flowering in Ōtari over the holiday period: 

Rātā (Metrosideros robusta) - The original Christmas tree in Pōneke with spectacular scarlet blooms is the tallest tree of all Ōtari Wilton Bush and measures 56m tall! 
Pōhutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) - The most popular street tree in our capital city (more than 40%) which is susceptible to Myrtle rust famously flowers at Christmas. This tree is native to the northern half of the motu from Taranaki and Tairāwhiti north.  
Porokaiwhiri (Hedycarya arborea) or pigeonwood is flowering spectacularly this year and has fruit ripening this year. Watch out for the star like flowers on the track and Jaffa fruit on trees which are a favourite of kererū (it’s easy to see their bright orange poop!)  
Harakeke (Phormium tenax) - korari/flower spikes emerge over summer and are a favourite of tūī, kākā and korimako. This tāonga is prized for raranga/weaving.  
Tī kōuka (Corydline australis) or cabbage tree is flowering heavily this year which is a tōhu or sign of a dry summer ahead. On a calm day, pause to smell the sweet fragrance.  
Mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium) is a favourite of honeybees, but strangely it is not common in Pōneke due to the prevalence of māhoe regeneration through gorse. Colin MCahon famously wrote “Manuka in bloom breeds despair”, which speaks of the toil of settler farmers to maintain grazing. Now it is a prized resource for its precious honey.  
Hīnau (Eleaocarpus dentatus) - moniker of the Lambton Ward, Pukehīnau is the original name of the hill we call Kelburn today. Hīnau flowers look like white fairy dresses, or confetti.  
Rengarenga (Arthropodium spp.) - this plant’s brilliant white sprays are the best replacement for the Agapanthus weed which is very difficult to control.  
Pīngao (Ficinia spiralis) also known as Tane’s eyebrows, this plant is critical in forming sand dunes which protect our coastline from storm events and are adapted to quickly reform dunes by catching windblown sand. Check them out at Lyall Bay.  
Raupōtaranga (Xeronema callestemon) - its brilliant red flowers are brush-like blooms protruding from a mass of green sword, a handsome addition to any garden or patio. It does best in pots and can take years to produce its first flowers.