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Kiwi cliques cost jobs

A conversation after last Sunday's Port Road Drags highlighted one of Technology Valley's most important goals.

Leaning on the bar at Cam County Inc.'s clubhouse, a spectator told me: “I'm not into drag racing. I’m only here because a mate of mine is racing. I prefer speedway.”

It was codswallop. He found plenty to talk about with Cam County members, and he'd obviously enjoyed the racing. Who cares if it wasn't his usual clique? Everyone had fun. Walking around the pits we saw some of the Hutt Valley's finest engineering. What more could anyone want, on a fine Sunday in the Hutt Valley?

I reckon clickiness is one of the worst aspects of our culture. Sports-car drivers think hot-rodders are weird because their racetracks don't have corners. Hot-rodders think corners are irrelevant. "We don't talk to them, and they don't talk to us."

New Zealand is too small for that kind of thinking. We must work together.

Holden Panel Van at Port Road DragsLast time I visited a superconducting magnet factory, I saw plenty of parts that could have been made by drag-racing hot-rodders. I’m not saying there was anything wrong with the existing supplier. But they’d have to work pretty hard to better some of the workmanship we saw at Port Road last Sunday. Superconducting magnet designers like carbon-fibre composite parts because they are thermally stable. Hot-rodders like them because they are light and strong. There is no fundamental reason why the superconductor factory could buy composite mouldings from someone who also makes parts for hot-rods. Or sports cars designed especially for wiggling around traffic cones, like the ones we saw last month at the Constructor Car Club show. And yet most of the sports-car enthusiasts I know think I'm some kind of nutter because I cover the Port Road Drags for Petrolhead magazine.

I first realised how bad we are, when I visited Houston back in the 1990s. On the same night out, my hosts took me and my travelling companion to a country music bar, and then to a rock music bar. The Texans thought that was nothing out of the ordinary. Music’s music. Beer’s beer. And guests are people to be entertained.

Individualists don’t move in cliques. They don't run people down behind their backs. They meet other people on equal terms and take them for who they are, not for whether or not they happen to like the same kind of music, or motorsport, or footie team. That's what we should be trying to do. 

We’re all in this economy together.


Kevin Cudby is a Wellington-based Freelance Writer and Parametric Modelling Consultant who loves writing about cool new technology. Email him to discuss your requirements: hello {a}

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