Tuesday 29 January 2013

Silo 4

Silo Park, or 'The Tank Farm' is a part of Auckland's waterfront which has only recently-ish been opened up. It used to be a placed that was industrial, chained off, closed. Now you enter it via a promenade lined with cafes and bars made out of shipping containers, which opens up onto a large space with fountains, grassy bits, and people sprawled in the sun. The tank farm proper looks over the harbour - in summer evenings, movies are projected onto the tanks, brighter than the lights on the bridge beyond.

Laneway was at the tank farm this year. Me and K. were sitting on the steps of Silo 4, half-listening to the band on stage, when some hipsters marched up and asked us to move. We picked up our beer cups, shoes, bags, and shuffled aside. I asked, why, what were they doing? The hipster - he was wearing jean shorts and a checkered shirt. In my memory, he is a foot shorter than me and had a terrible moustache, but those flourishes might be imagined. He flashed a set of obviously-pilfered keys and said, "We're going in there." The other hipsters - another boy and two girls - nodded earnestly. They said, no, we couldn't see too.

I pulled faces at their backs, but they were back out a few minutes later, obviously disappointed that it was empty inside.They neglected to lock the door, so I took my chance and went in. K. protested: "Rules are there for a reason!" but - the door was unlocked, I didn't touch or harm anything, and, with the city's habit of locking parts of the waterfront for decades at a time - I wanted to see it.

I am so glad I did.

It wasn't empty inside - inside there was space.The tanks were bare, intoconnected by archways. Were they like that originally, or have they been opened?

I thought, "I want to throw a party here."

It reminded me of a cathedral. It was hushed: the band outside was muted, and I could barely hear my footsteps. The ceiling was immensely high, and the light fell in in bands over concrete so smooth and aged it looked like stone.

There were still the scars of industry. What did these tanks use to hold? Fuel?

I think Silo 4 should be opened. Like the rest of the tank farm, it is beautiful. Let's enjoy it.


  1. Looks like it has been "prepared" for something. Electrical ducts, and "Exit" signs.

  2. Agree! And, David, it has - I've added a wee post about that here: http://www.rachelrayner.co.nz/2013/01/silo-4-addendum.html