Monday, October 04, 2010

#1324 Len Brown From NZ, Clown Elected In Brazil, The Greatest Thing About Auckland

Hi, I’m Sarah, welcome to The Daily English Show.

Today’s guest is Len Brown.

Len Brown grew up in South Auckland. He used to be a lawyer and in 2007 he became the mayor of Manukau City, which is one of the cities in the Auckland region.

I talked to him in Manukau on 30th of September, a week before the elections for the new Auckland council.

One of the things I asked Len about was the street called Len Brown which is in a town called Pukekoke. The street’s actually named after his grandfather who was also called Len Brown. But I asked him if people often think that it’s named after him.

Yes, they do, yeah, certainly before, ah, they knew of the link. Ah, people would often ask me, “So, you know, what were you doing out in Pukekohe? You know, were you on the Franklin District Council or something out there?” So, ah, it is, um, a great link. He was an absolute stone-cold legend in that community, and, ah, so I walk in very big shoes. Ah, in Pukekohe I’m just the grandson of that Len Brown.


Kia ora in Stick News today a clown has been elected to congress in Brazil.

The Brazilian general election of 2010 was held on Sunday 3rd of October.
A 45-year-old clown ran for congress and got more votes than any other candidate.
Reuters reported the clown’s campaign caught the attention of disillusioned voters by asking for their support with the humorous slogan: "It can't get any worse."

And that was Stick News for Monday the 4th of October.
Kia ora.

Are you voting for the clown?
What do you mean? They’re all clowns.

Wow, that’s actually pretty deep.

conversations with sarah
#849 Does anyone call you Leonard?

Step 1: Repeat Sarah’s lines.
Step 2: Read Sarah’s lines and talk to Len.

Sarah How do people usually address you?

Len Len.

Sarah Does anyone call you Leonard?

Len No. My mother. The only person in my life ever to really call me, ah, Leonard was my mother. And normally it was addressed to me when I was not doing something that I should have been LEONARD! That type of Leonard. But, ah, no it’s always been Len, right from the word go. I’m actually named for my grandfather who was Norman Leonard Brown and he was always known as Len Brown. And so that’s, that’s me.

Sarah People don’t call you Mayor Brown?

Len Oh, look, ah, at formal occasions and when protocol requires, then it’s either Mayor Len Brown or Your Worship, ah, or Mr Mayor. Ah, but for 99% of occasions when I’m just chilling out in the community and just doing my normal stuff, it’s Len.

Sarah What’s the greatest thing about Auckland?

Len I think the greatest thing about Auckland is our natural beauty. We’re Tāmaki-makau-rau. And, ah Tāmaki-makau-rau means the maiden with a hundred lovers and, in a, in a broad sense that was all about Māori recognizing the extraordinary natural attractiveness of our place. The, the three harbours, the unbelievable number of volcanoes, 56 volcanoes in and around the place. With green land, ah, beautiful beaches and, and the wonderful clear waterways. And, so that natural beauty is, is our greatest, um, feature, our greatest asset and what we need to preserve the most.

Sarah What’s something you’d recommend to do in Auckland for an overseas tourist?

Len Go to the Ōtara Flea market. And then after that go to Takapuna market. Oh, look, I, I, I mean there’s, there’s a number of things that you could do. You know, Kelly Tarlton’s, waterfront, ah, the neat beaches, go on top of Maungakiekie, I mean, I launched my campaign on the top of Maungakiekie, off Mount One Tree Hill, and the views from up on top of that maunga, that mountain, and from a number of the mountains, North Head, Mt Victoria, ah, from on top of the Waitakere Ranges out to the Tasman, oh, gobsmacking. So there are so many things you can do, but you want to have a really great cultural experience and get the sense of community, you get to the markets.

Sarah Do you think Auckland looks after immigrants and international students very well?

Len Yes, better than most. There is a strong sense of tolerance, mostly, in our city for differences. And we are building on very good bones. An extraordinarily cosmopolitan multiracial community here. I want to really add to that.

Sarah What’s another city that you really like?

Len Love Melbourne. Melbourne is a great city with the right spirit. And I want to capture that same sense of determination that this is what we’ve got to do in Auckland. I want us to do rapid transit. I really want us to deliver on rail and public transport in Auckland to internationalize our city and we’re going to do it.

Sarah I read that you spent a year in the Netherlands when you were 18. How was that?

Len (?) It was great. Ah, I, um, I mean I had a pretty sheltered upbringing, very loving family, ah, six of us, Catholic family, middle of South Auckland in Papatoetoe. Ah, and, Ōtara in our early years. And, ah, you know, we had an idyllic upbringing and from that to Holland, ah, right at the coalface of what they believed themselves to be the social conscience of the world, was an absolute eye-opener at 18 years of age, ah, but it absolutely opened up my view to a global sense, the issues of justice, poverty, um, racism, all of that. And so when I came back from Holland after that year, I was absolutely ready to change the world, get into political studies and but it was just also fabulous in terms of travel.

Sarah Do you have any advice for people who are studying English?

Len Relax. Don’t push it. When I was learning ah, Dutch, and also in my learning of Māori… just take time, it’s not a race you’re in. Take time and just get the feel of, of it. I found learning Dutch and learning Māori, ah, that much simpler when I was in a situation when I was in a situation of having to need to converse in it, because I couldn’t fall back on English. And, so when I’m either watching Māori TV or on the paepae or in a meeting with Māori, I’m really listening intently and trying to learn in that situation where I can’t fall back. And, so, one, relax, don’t panic, there’s no hurry. And secondly try and get yourself into learning in a situation where you cannot fall back on your natural language.


* Tāmaki-makau-rau means the maiden with a hundred lovers

“Tamaki-makau-rau means Tamaki of 100 lovers. A number of explanations for this name are given. Graham suggests its name was derived from its history of being a highly sought-after area, the subject of many wars over the centuries (J Barr and G Graham, The City of Auckland, New Zealand, 1840–1920, Christchurch, Capper Press, 1985, p 20). E T Jackson noted a number of origins for the name. She said the narrow neck of land between the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours was at first called Tamaki after the father of the women who married Toi Te Huatahi, who settled there ‘during the 12th century’; or that the name was given by the Tainui immigrants ‘of 1350 AD’; or that it was named after the warrior Maki, who conquered it ‘in about 1600’. Others, she said claim it was named after a chieftainess, Tamaki Makau-rau, the daughter of Te Huia, a Waikato ‘princess’ and Te Rangikiamata, a chief of the Ngati-teata hapu of Waiohua, who lived on Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) (E T Jackson, Delving into the Past of Auckland’s Eastern Suburbs, Auckland, E T Jackson, 1976, p 1).”

From here.


Len Brown - Manukau City Council

Len Brown For Mayor - campaign YouTube channel
Len Brown For Mayor - campaign site (content now unavailable)

Len Brown - Twitter

* We asked Len Brown to be a guest on The Daily English Show via Twitter.


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