Rog on Beauty

Whakatāne Airport Recognised

Just over 12 years ago, I met my then new girlfriend’s father for the first time at a restaurant in Wellington. “Where did you fly from,” I asked. “Whakatāne,” he replied. “Oh, I designed Whakatāne Airport.” There was a pause (a nervous pause on my side). “I like Whakatāne Airport,” he said. And we’ve been […]

Earthquake Overreaction

In the late 1990s I fell for a beautiful brick building in Egmont St. which is reminiscent of a Melbourne laneway. It has fantastic walkable connections to inner city shops, restaurants and parks. My apartment in this 1921 building, known as The Tea Store, was completed in 2000. Because the building was converted from a […]

NZIA IN:SITU Conference 2019

Every two years New Zealand architects have their conference. I really look forward to it, and after weeks of anticipation, the two days of it were over in a flash. I needee to comment on the last conference and I need to comment on the significance of this one. It was the largest ever, with […]

More Colour Please

I have written before about colour (or the lack of it) but recently there has been a public debate on the observation of the greying of our suburban roofs. Apparently this ‘Stuff’ editorial even reached Australia. A fellow in his 90s rang me last week to say the Wellington suburb he had lived in for […]

The Pertinence of Park Mews

I was sitting in my office one day minding my own business when the phone rang. The caller introduced himself as comedian Billy Connolly’s New Zealand agent. “Billy wants to meet you,” he said. Apparently on the way in from the airport, he’d passed Park Mews in Hataitai and stated: “The architect clearly possesses a […]

RIP David Mitchell

New Zealand architecture has lost a treasure this week with the death of David Mitchell.     There will be much written about David by people much closer to him than I, but I would like to talk about his personal influence on me.


In the 1940’s my parents built a classic brick and tile on ¼ acre in Hamilton suburbia and lived there for the rest of their lives. It was a nuclear family home of its time. After us kids left home, three of the four bedrooms remained empty. The land remained, with its maintenance intensive lawn, […]

The Art of the Collective Noun

Miss M and I are avid television quiz watchers. We pitch ourselves against the television contestants, with quiet competition between the two of us. She shines on the arts and literature subjects. I have distinct superiority when it comes to cars, building, and science. We’re both not too bad on geography and rubbish on contemporary […]

The Leadfoot Festival

I recently attended New Zealand’s best kept car culture secret.      Barely publicised, this amazing event is held over two days in early February, at Rod and Shelly Millen’s immaculate ‘ranch’ at Hahei in the glorious Coromandel, a piece of paradise which they purchased 9 years ago. It’s 150 acres of parkland and woods without […]

The world’s largest construction site

I have recently returned from the world’s largest construction site. Tower cranes and trucks everywhere. 30 years ago Dubai started as a poor fishing village at the mouth of natural waterway called Dubai Creek. Then ‘liquid gold’ was discovered.