Honking in the Mt Victoria tunnel is somewhat of a Wellington tradition – but one city councillor wants people to lay off the horn.
Photo: Google Maps
According to legend, the tooting pays tribute to a teenager who was buried alive in the foundations while the tunnel was being built in 1931.
Her boyfriend who was a tunnel worker was hanged for murder.
Another less grim theory is the ritual stemmed from the tunnellers, who had horns and whistles on their carts to avoid collisions in the dark.
However, councillor Chris Calvi-Freeman told Morning Report it was just annoying.
“It’s very annoying if you’ve ever walked through there and it is a bit of a social tradition if you like, for whatever reason, but we’d prefer people didn’t do it,” he said.
“One person hoots and everybody follows through.
“A tunnel is not a pleasant environment at the best of times, and cyclists try and squeeze through there as well as they’re allowed to do on the footpath.
“It’s less than 2m wide, it’s just not a very nice environment so anything we can do to improve it is good.”
He said that because the tunnel was part of State Highway 1 it was the responsibility of NZTA not the council, but he was still trying to get something done.
“All I’m doing is writing to NZTA and saying ‘why don’t you try some notices and see if something might work’.
“Maybe a sign that says, I don’t know, ‘please respect pedestrians and refrain from honking’, I don’t know.
“Someone – a sociologist or a linguist – will perhaps come up with some words that are pithy but are soft and encouraging rather than dictatorial.”
He said he’d had some feedback from “haters” on Twitter this morning.
“One man said ‘my eyes rolled so much that they hurt’ and another said he follows local politics but he’d never heard of me so he’s looking forward to the next election.
“So, that’s good. They’re entitled to their opinion. It’s all good fun.”