On my recent sojourn in New Zealand, the land of my birth, I came across the neatest and most fascinating public washroom ever. It was located on the main street in the tiny east coast settlement of Kaeo in the Far North District, 270 km north of Auckland. It is only 165 km from this town to the very tip of New Zealand, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.
Kaeo has been around a long time, first settled by the Maori in the 1770s or thereabouts. Its had its share of ups and downs, floods and fortunes and is now home to about 450 people. And from the brief time we spent there, I can agree with the town motto: Small town; big spirit.
Back to the unisex washroom, bilingual with very definite views on washroom etiquette that leave little doubt as to what is expected. Users are first met by the country’s ubiquitous pukeko, a swamp bird that rivals the kiwi in popular appearances.