Home' The Wellingtonian : December 8th 2011 Contents 3
THE WELLINGTONIAN, DECEMBER 8, 2011
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Walkers and cyclists find
a rival for Google maps
By KATIE McALISTER
Wellington Regional Council s
online walking and cycling
journey planner is a first for
The journey planner can be
found at journeyplanner.org.nz.
Council transport co-ordinator
Simon Kennett said the website
had a lot of advantages over
Especially the local know-
ledge of minor paths and local
points of interest, he said.
As with Google maps, viewers
can zoom in and out of the map
and view a satellite image, but
the journey planner also gives
specific information about walk-
ing or cycling routes once the
origin and destination have been
It has been quite successful --
many people have commented
that it is one of the best journey
planners they ve seen, said Mr
Use of the website has grown
steadily, statistics from Google
Over the past 12 months the
site has attracted 22,400 visits.
In the previous year it attracted
The site provides data such as
forecasts, how hilly a trip is, a
calorie-counter, an altitude
graph, detailed directions and
an estimate of the petrol to be
saved by walking or biking.
By zooming in, viewers can
see the locations of toilets,
drinking fountains, street lights,
bike racks and various interes-
Mr Kennett said the cost of
updating and re-printing paper
maps meant they were updated
only every few years, whereas
the online journey planner was
updated monthly and included
Making people laugh out loud
By SARAH BURTON
Raising a laugh:
Comedian Rick Sahar
celebrates his award.
Photo: SARAH BURTON
Wellington entertainer Rick
Sahar is delighted his array of
comical characters has won him
the 2011 Top Variety Artist
didn t know I was this good, he
A professional entertainer for
27 years, Sahar said his many
characters, from Tricky the Clown
to The Old Waiter, were all his
children. He uses them to enter-
tain family or corporate groups
with comedy, magic and music.
Sahar was born to a Jewish
family in Detroit. His love of act-
ing up started when he was six,
performing with his sister for his
parents and their friends.
We had a little repertoire we
An interest in socialism led him
to a kibbutz in Israel at 16. It was
supposed to be just for a summer
but turned into 11 years. While in
Israel, he met a New Zealand
woman and moved here with her.
In Wellington on his 30th birth-
day Sahar gave himself the gift of
pursuing his dream of becoming
I found society really lovely. I
was really moved by the gentle-
ness and greenness and easy-
going life. It was a great place for
me to incubate my new career.
Sahar s first foray was busking
in Cuba Mall as a clown named
Ricardo the Stupendous. He said
it was scary and initially no-one
stopped to watch his act.
His second attempt was slightly
more successful. Two people
stopped and watched and actually
laughed and could get where I was
coming from in my humour, which
was pretty zany.
This was encouragement
enough and the work began
rolling in from then.
His first paid gig was a resi-
dency at Cobb & Co, where he
developed the character Cobby the
He then spent two and a half
years touring the South Island
working with schoolchildren.
I always try to give children a
positive message. You can dress
up as anything you want, you can
grow up to be anything you want
and I chose to be a clown.
Sahar said he found that adults
loved to dress up in his self-
devised Murder Mystery nights.
People just go berserk in
portraying their parts. They feel
like they have a licence to play a
different character and that s
always very liberating for people.
It s not just a dinner out for a
It turns into an
event that they
remember for years.
Over the years
Sahar has perfected
his performances. He
said he enjoyed his
work more than ever.
You have to be able to find
something new each time you per-
form. Find the excitement in
whatever you do.
As well as performing in New
Zealand, Sahar has done shows in
Australia, Hong Kong, Papua
New Guinea and Israel.
He said he saw his work as
similar to any profession. I just
strive to be a good tradesman and
to be called an artist is a bonus.
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