With London in lockdown, Sydney scrambling and the US counting down the days (28) until the Reign of Error ends, the long shadow of COVID still looms over us all. It’s been a funny old year for Aotearoa – and for us. Herewith our highlights, a kind of ‘Ockham Greatest Hits’…
2 Jan 2021
Ockham End-of-Year Wrap aka Done! Dusted! And Be Gone 2020!
Modal in Mt Albert opens
This striking, shimmering black brick building, likened by some (well, by us!) to a Flat Iron Mini-Me, was officially opened in July by Mayor Phil Goff. "If it’s an Ockham development you know it’s going to be good," said Mayor Phil, scissors (and ribbon) at the ready. "You know it’s going to be something that the neighbourhood should feel proud of. And this is classic Ockham… this is a building that is about the future of how Auckland is going to develop." Two community open days saw more than 700 people pass through this Mt Albert citadel: Modal’s 33 apartments were fully rented out a fortnight later.
Kōkihi (way) ahead of schedule
Our development in Waterview sold out in record time, with first-home buyer Nat nabbing the 95th – and last – apartment. Despite COVID and two lockdowns, Ockham Construction has powered ahead: the roofs are up on all three buildings, interior work is well underway, and the scaffolding recently came down on Building III. We expect to finish Kōkihi in June 2021, several months ahead of schedule.
A lot of love for Aroha
Our newest development, Aroha in Avondale, launched virtually in late-September. The response from the community and the wider Ockham whanau has been phenomenal: we've sold 58 apartments already which makes Aroha our fastest-selling development yet. Construction is due to start in late-February 2021.
Ockham New Zealand Book Awards go virtual
Our sponsorship of New Zealand’s national book awards now enters its sixth year. Under the spectre of COVID, the 2020 Ockhams went virtual, splendidly hosted by Stacey Morrison and featuring cameos from the Prime Minister and our own Mark Todd. First-time novelist Becky Manawatu took out the biggest prize for Auē, Straightjacket Fits’ Shayne Carter winning the premier non-fiction award for his rollicking memoir, Dead People I Have Known.
We join the Photographer of the Year whānau
If you’re not buying someone a fine New Zealand book for Christmas, we recommend a subscription to New Zealand Geographic, regularly adjudged the nation’s best magazine. Speaking of which... we joined the NZ Geo extended whānau this year as sponsors of the People’s Choice category in their Photographer of the Year competition. As you might expect, the finalists’ photos took the breath away…
Ockham Collective reborn
2020 saw the relaunch of the Ockham Collective, our creative and educational charitable arm whose kaupapa is to support lifelong creativity and education. At the heart of the Collective’s mission is its annual residency programme which brings together a select group of creatives, artists, musos and educators, and provides them with beautiful spaces in which to perform, practice, teach, write and think.
We officially opened our brand-new Modal creative precinct in Mt Albert with Adrienne Wong's Finding Home exhibition, in November. Just down the road, the custom-built music rooms in our Tuatahi creative precinct thrummed with the sounds of lessons offered by residents David Ward and Joe Harrop. And the Collective's largest space – the Hypatia creative precinct in Grafton – was used for Scottish fiddle workshops, Bluegrass Club jam nights, monthly Inside Out Spoken Word for Writers sessions, and Sonia Wilson's highly popular Sunday ukulele and singing sessions (which finished the year on a high with a surprise drop-in by US singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer... yes, that Amanda Palmer!).
We are lead partners with Objectspace, Aotearoa/New Zealand's leading design, craft and architecture gallery. Obviously, 2020 - and COVID - made life very difficult for public galleries, but necessity is the mother of invention and all that. And so we were thrilled to be part of the Ockham Pocket Lecture series.
We began sponsoring the BWB Books Texts series
BWB Texts are short books on big subjects from great New Zealand writers. Having published 75 titles since 2013, the series has built up a loyal following, not least amongst the earnest, learned folk at Radio New Zealand.
"Splendid little books," said reviewer Harry Broad. "They cover the big stories in a very concise way.” "Smart people talking about their area of expertise," echoed Louise O’Brien. "Reading multiple editions of them feels like a conversation between writers." "This is smart reading, this is nifty reading, they're approachable … they're compelling," said Mary McCullum. "Points of relatability everywhere – please buy them!"
Great stuff! Excellent work! Important contribution to the national discourse etc… but what has this got to do with Ockham you ask? Well… critical thought and enquiry – and extending the joy of thinking and learning to all New Zealanders – is at the heart of the Ockham ethos. We think these small-but-perfectly-formed little tomes are tremendous, so much we now sponsor the series. Please check them out – they’re perfect lazy under-the-Pohutukawa fare.
And that, dear reader, is a wrap! We wish you a safe and happy Christmas and hope fine things come your way in 2021. We’re incredibly thankful of your ongoing interest and support – it makes working here a joy.