Hospital Site Napier’s – Not Tourists’!

Below is my Letter to the Editor that appeared in the Hawke’s Bay Today this morning (Friday November 28 2014)

Napier's Hospital site - once a place for everyone may soon become a place for only tourists and the well-off.

Napier’s Hospital site – once a place for everyone may soon become a place for only tourists and the well-off.

“The Art Deco Trust says plans for a residential development on Napier’s old hilltop hospital site have neglected a major tourism opportunity for the city”

Here we go again… “Tourism, tourism, tourism, blah, blah, blah” Give us a break and please give someone other than the ADT a chance to speak!

Napier’s hospital site has NOTHING to do with tourists and EVERYTHING to do with Napier residents.

Many of us were born there, some of us died there and a great many more were treated there over the many years it was in operation.

It has links to the literal and figurative heart of Napier and its residents. It is NOT yet another gaudy trap for visitors to “ooh” and “aaah” from and at.

Certain “local leaders” need to take a step back and stop trying to turn everything about our city into something to be sold to short-staying tourists and start focusing on Napier’s residents who live here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year – THEY bring far more to our city than any day-tripping, “cruise in, cruise out over the summer months” tourist ever could, so stop sucking up to this moneyed meandering minority!

Speaking of moneyed minorities, it would have been nice to see any housing development on the hospital site as something reasonable and affordable for local families, rather than even more apartments (have all the ones built in Ahuriri years ago sold yet?) and their “lavish,” “luxury living” subdivision.

The current plan not only gives a “two fingered salute” to the memory of Napier’s healthcare system but also to all us mere mortals, living on the surrounding plains, being looked down upon on from the hill-top heights of luxury.

Jackson Pollock Junior

Our daughter's latest instilation: "Aftermath of Corn & Tuna for Tea"

Our daughter’s latest instilation: “Aftermath of Corn & Tuna for Tea”

It’s something we haven’t heard of in a while, but after surveying the aftermath of a recent “Baby in Frame” feeding time I was reminded of just how popular “child prodigies” used to be a while ago.

Little “Sebastian” or “Juniper” (they always seemed to have quite ‘alternative’ names – I guess “Jack” and “Jill” were too busy playing with their Lego, My Little Pony, or off somewhere “fetching water”) would just happen to have an incident involving pots of paint and a canvas / wall / pet hamster and lo and behold: It. Was. Art!

And not just your regular

“Hey Mum, look what I painted!”
“A horsey, that’s nice dear!”
“No, Mum, It’s Dad, you and me!”
“Oh..” art

This stuff was somehow worth THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS and featured in flash art galleries alongside dirty sheets and primate impressionists.

Quite often these midget magnum opuses seemed to resemble minimalist impressions of Jackson Pollock or the like – to you and I random squiggles on a page that literally did look like a toddler painted them because, well, one did!

After a brief flare of popularity, like many artists, their light and work faded into obscurity, never to be seen or heard from again.

The “child prodigy” phenomena equally faded into obscurity. Possibly because artistic tastes changed, maybe because we’ve all become a bit jaded and cautious of such fads these days, or perhaps because with “reality” television and the world wide web, every pint-sized Jackson, Frida and Leonardo can have their work viewed from anywhere at any time taking a bit of the mystique out of it.

I can’t help but wonder how a child art prodigy promoter would cope with the modern world’s more cynical outlook on life. If one was to knock on our door, I imagine the conversation would go something like this:

“I see your baby was using quite earthy tones – were they influenced by Monet’s earlier works?
“Nope, that’s just poop”
“Oh. What about those gorgeous, verdant greens?”
“That’s poop too. She had a thing for kiwifruit, peas and broccoli that week”
“And the watercolours are…?”
“She was really thirsty that week too…”
“Ah…”
“Yup.”

There may yet be hope for our budding baby artist, though. The other week “Baby in Frame” had a big dinner of pasta and tomato sauce. We wiped her face afterwards and this was the resulting imprint on the face cloth:

tiki

I wonder if that’s how Dick Frizzell got started…

Home, Sweet (First) Home!

Home

Six months ago, to the day, my wife, baby and I moved into our first home.

“Mrs In Frame” and I had been renting for around ten years and while we had some of the nicest landlords you could hope for, the houses we lived in just never felt like “a home” to me. I always had a nagging thought in the back of my mind telling me “This house isn’t YOURS”.

Last year my work folded up the superannuation programme they had been running for as long as I had been working there, resulting in a handsome little pay-out of the savings I had accumulated over the past decade. We knew exactly what we were going to do with it – buy our own home!

Our aspirations were modest. We didn’t want a massive 12 bedroom mansion with integral garage, dishwasher and swimming pool, as some people would have you believe first home buyers expect.

All we wanted was a solid, warm and dry, preferably 2-3 bedroom home, hopefully with a garage and a bit of a yard.

So we started looking around – gauging the market, seeing what we could afford versus what we wanted and figured we would be looking to spend around $250,000 for “our house”.

With around $30,000 (12{3919f50c199a8627c147b24d329ff0de8aa05e3a462fa3330e11cd9ea56ed948}) as a deposit safely stashed away and a secure, long-term income just shy of the national average, we went along to our bank and asked about the chances of getting a mortgage.

Their answer was a straight “No”.

“Loan to Value Ratios” (LVRs), aimed at slowing the Auckland housing bubble, had been in place for a few months by then. Instead of slowing Auckland’s “surreal estate” market, they had merely quashed the dreams of many young first home buyers, like us, across the country where housing prices are far more realistic.

Banks were deterred from accepting deposits of less than 20{3919f50c199a8627c147b24d329ff0de8aa05e3a462fa3330e11cd9ea56ed948} (meaning we would have needed to amass another $20,000 from somewhere – hardly likely in Hawke’s Bay’s current economic climate).

We were told, however, there might still be a way to get a loan and our first home – by going through a mortgage broker.

We were recommended by our personal banker and a couple real estate agents to talk to a lady called Judy Steiner at Mortgagelink Hawke’s Bay.

The process of mortgage brokering seemed a bit too complex for me – I’ve always been more of an English exponent than a Maths whizz, so things fuzzed out a bit quickly in my limited area of knowledge. But from what I discerned mortgage brokers appear to have an almost magical knowledge of the inner workings of banks and the home loan trade.

While restrictive, it was still possible to get a loan under the LVR level – you just had to know when. Each bank appeared to have an allotment of under-LVR mortgages they could grant – two on this Monday, three on that Wednesday – that sort of thing. I guess if you applied on Tuesday you were just shit out of luck. I may have that all completely wrong, though, as by then we had a four month old daughter and my attention span was becoming a thing of the past.

So we met with Judy, she went through our financial situation, discussed what we wanted and the rest was an unbelievably quick and easy, stress-free piece of (carrot) cake!

Judy herself actually makes a carrot cake for you as a celebration for acquiring a loan / home etc. They’re DELICIOUS and an awesome personal touch!

Judy herself actually makes a carrot cake for you as a celebration for acquiring a loan / home etc. They’re DELICIOUS and an awesome personal touch!

We ended up with a home loan from our own bank – despite the initial rejection when we tried to go it alone – allowing us to look for a home priced up to our $250,000 ballpark value.

We were due to start seriously looking at open homes the day my Dad died. My wife and in-laws ended up taking me out to look at houses anyway, just to get me out of the house and get my mind off things.

One thing I noticed while looking at open homes was that for every young couple looking for their first home, there were around two to three sets of “Baby-boomers” looking to buy the same house as another investment property for their portfolio.

How many houses do you need??

We only wanted one.

Very fortunately we found it at the first open home we went to, which also happened to be just around the corner from our rental of 8 years.

It was a compact, two bedroom, stucco house with a garage, yard, roses and citrus trees – it was all I wanted and it was just like the home I grew up in.

More importantly, it FELT like home.

With the help of Judy, our newly acquired lawyers and the property’s real estate agent, Renate, we were able to make an offer and it was accepted!

To the uninitiated, the following few weeks were quite stressful. With legal paperwork to go through, checks to do, finances to be finalised, it was all a bit of a blur, especially having to tie up Dad’s things at the same time. But we got there in the end.

Six months later and it feels even more like our home. When I mow the lawns, it’s OUR lawns I’m mowing. We eat oranges from OUR tree and smell OUR roses. We recently dug up a 20 square meter vegetable garden, as my wife loves growing her own veges – we are living off OUR own land.

We have things to fix, alter and renovate. We removed part of the houses deck, but reused the timber to give the remaining deck walls so we can fence off the back yard. I’m not overly capable when it comes to woodwork and the like, so while my father-in-law did most of the work, I happily helped out as a hammer-hand – applying and removing nails as and when required.

My building input may have been minimal, but to me it was wonderful. I can happily say in years to come “I did that!” – It solidifies our connection to the house by making it even more so OUR HOME.

Our home, sweet (first) home!

Regional NZ Deserves More Economic Love!

beggar

I’m tired of regional New Zealand being the country’s economic whipping-boy. Why must business in New Zealand still be SO main-centre focused??

With the rise of E-commerce and so much business now being internet-based, why does it still “need” to be based in the likes of Auckland?

It exacerbates Auckland’s never-ending high demand / high price problems which the nation is reminded of on a weekly basis in the news. While regional cities, like my own home town of Napier, have been struggling to attract skilled workers and businesses in recent years.

The regions have also had to bear the brunt of things like nation-wide “Loan to Value Ratios” (LVRs) which, while aimed at slowing the Auckland housing bubble, have instead quashed the dreams of many young first home buyers across the country, where housing prices are far more realistic.

So why aren’t places like Hawke’s Bay being given serious consideration?

• The average (full-sized, with a yard) house price in Hawke’s Bay is somewhere around $250,000 – $300,000 – a third to a quarter of those in Auckland.

• We have the infrastructure including UFB network access, to easily operate a national / international level “E-business” from Hawke’s Bay, as well as the port, airport and cenral location for easy logistical access.

• With its smaller population (more room, less congestion) and wonderful natural features encouraging healthier, outdoor pastimes, Hawke’s Bay has a relaxed lifestyle second to none!

Yet where is all the commercial and business development focus? After years of technological, social and commercial development 90{3919f50c199a8627c147b24d329ff0de8aa05e3a462fa3330e11cd9ea56ed948} of it is STILL on fit-to-bursting, ridiculously-overpriced Auckland.

Like Smaug the Dragon, New Zealand’s dreaded old “Nothing south of the Bombay Hills” mentality is rearing its ugly head once again.

It doesn’t stop there though. For all the promise of call centre jobs being created in Hawke’s Bay, some of Australasia’s richest banking businesses must STILL outsource call centre jobs to India!

20 jobs that could have been based in provincial NZ, giving the local economy a boost are outsourced for “greater cost efficiency” at a company that pays its CEO more than anyone else in the country – THIS is the sort of corporate idiocy that is harming New Zealand!

If that isn’t bad enough, some companies that look to move to regional New Zealand want or expect subsidies for doing so!

Subsidies??!!

The real estate in Hawke’s Bay is around ONE QUARTER THE PRICE OF THAT IN AUCKLAND! By simply moving here, they could more than halve their operating costs – yet they want EXTRA money for it??!!

Give me a break!

While we move in almost completely different political modes of thinking, I saw the Taxpayer Union published a report recently called “Monopoly Money” on corporate welfare in New Zealand.

For a country where “Beneficiary Bashing” is practically a national sport amongst some sectors of the community, it would be a massively unfair of us to ignore the fact that many big New Zealand businesses with huge, healthy profits are also receiving government hand-outs, but on a far more massive scale than any DPB, or Unemployment Benefit recipient ever has.

Big businesses are essentially receiving a benefit to help cover the extra costs of operating in bigger cities like Auckland. While regional centres, lacking the presence of same big businesses, are in the economic doldrums with perfectly capable workers on unemployment benefits because the jobs just aren’t available.

But according to New Zealand’s very own Finance Minister, Bill English, that’s just fine.

When Mr English met Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce members at a swanky restaurant in Ahuriri last week he was quoted as saying Hawke’s Bay’s seasonal low-wage economy “isn’t going to change in a hurry, so let’s get good at it.”

What a pathetic cop-out!

Hawke’s Bay, and ALL regions of New Zealand deserve better!

I Heart the Heart of Hastings

The heart of "The Heart of Hawke's Bay"

The heart of “The Heart of Hawke’s Bay”

I originally wrote this for a local page called “Fruitbowl” back in 2012.

Unfortunately, like a lot of things in Hawke’s Bay, it can take a while for action to happen. So I wasn’t surprised to read an article in the latest (November-December 2014) Baybuzz magazine decrying the neglect central Hastings is still facing TWO YEARS after I wrote my piece

What I want to know is how come Little old me can pick up on and write about things like this two years before other local media (closer to 5-10 years for our local government) and STILL NOTHING IS DONE ABOUT IT??!!

Maybe if more people read it something might actually eventuate, so here we go:

“I Heart the Heart of Hastings”

Hastings – The Heart of Hawke’s Bay has a problem. It’s a recurring problem and it could prove fatal, because the problem is with the heart of Hastings.

There’s an old saying that goes “Those who choose to ignore the past are doomed to relive it”.
Call it history repeating (sorry, Split Enz, but you were wrong on this one) or déjà vu, but hasn’t Hastings’ CBD been through almost the exact same problems they are currently facing all too recently?

Growing up in Napier in the 80’s a trip to Hastings was always a treat and an adventure. When Fantasyland, Bunker’s Toyworld, Rush Munroe’s and McDonalds (Hastings had theirs for a number of years before the golden arches arrived in Napier) beckoned, how could you resist?

It may not have been as big, exotic, or distant as Wellington or Auckland, but it was different to Napier and that was fascinating enough to me. Even today, while it doesn’t seem as exotic or far away as it used to, there are businesses in central Hastings that I won’t hesitate to go to, as I know they specialise in what I am after.

For decades Hastings’ CBD revolved around Heretaunga Street, the clock tower and railway line.
The old ring-road system, while a bit of an annoyance, actually helped keep the central city busy by making traffic loop around continuously and inevitably made people walk a bit further from their parking space to their destination – making the town look busier through more pedestrians and increasing the chance of impulse-buying at the shops they passed.

In the 90’s the ring-road system was scrapped, Kmart and the The Warehouse opened their large-format outlets across the other side of Queen Street, a mere few hundred meters away from Heretaunga Street and it almost killed off business in central Hastings outright.

While doing my Diploma in Marketing at EIT in 1998, one of our tasks was to come up with a concept (that was to be passed onto the Hastings District Council presumably) to help draw people back into the CBD. My plan involved moving the Information Centre into the (then empty) Westerman’s building and the bus / train station across the road from there. I was a mixture of delighted and wondering where my consultant’s fee was when I saw that happen a few years later.

The central city had a brief renaissance recently with, for a time, less empty shops than Napier’s CBD. But then along came Charter Hall with big money and big plans for big stores even further out from the centre of central Hastings and off we went again!

Promises and plans are made and broken. The plans for the unsold big stores kept getting smaller and smaller. That was not HDC’s problem, rather Charter Hall biting off more than they can chew. So why should the council bend their plans and rules to suit? How readily do they do that for small, local businesses? Hastings’ central city retailers and their association cried foul and protested to the council. HDC looked concerned and scratched its head. How many times does this have to happen before they learn?

The Hastings District Council said they didn’t have enough money put aside to do up all of central Heretaunga Street in one go as was planned. Focusing instead on the area around another development – the new Farmers store (at least this project is set to bring some activity back to the city centre). Yet somehow money was found to vastly improve access to the Nelson Park development, including putting in traffic lights across St Aubyn Street and extending the old railway station access road through to it, drawing even more traffic away from the heart of the CBD. Now further expensive expansion is planned for the Regional Sports Park. Where is the money they “can’t afford” coming from for this?

If Hastings District Council can’t afford to look after Heretaunga St, what happens if things turn messy, expensive or legal with Charter Hall, or whoever else may come along with deep pockets and big promises for that matter? What other concessions will have to be made or who else will suffer?

In just these past few weeks, the Hastings City Business Association (has anyone else noticed the “Retail Strategy” page on their website is blank?) severely dented its credibility by suggesting that putting a road through the very centre of town may be the answer to the CBD’s prayers. An arterial route right through the very heart of the problem could only be another ghastly wound from which what little spirit remains in central Hastings would bleed out of.

Hastings has enough problems with roads. To head north or south you no longer need to go through Stortford Lodge or Karamu Road with the temptation of the CBD nearby. A brief glimpse while passing through the expressway’s roundabouts to destinations further afield is the most people would now regularly see of the city.

Now there is the added possibility of yet another bypass in the offering – to the more affluent and vibrant Havelock North village. Once again you wouldn’t have to go anywhere near Hastings’ CBD. So many options are given to avoid the heart of central Hastings. Where is the encouragement to lure people into it?

Roads will not cure Hastings’ CBD’s problem. Mascots, slogans and paying out of town marketing consultants thousands of dollars will not cure the problem. Further outward expansion will certainly not cure the problem and neither will ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away. I’m inclined to think the problem with the heart of Hastings can be cured with something much smaller, but far more powerful.

They say “Pride comes before a fall.” Well, confidence, business, income and value in central Hastings have all fallen, but I would like to think pride can come after a fall and help cure central Hastings’ problems.

A local government proud of their city would not continuously sell large chunks of it off to the whims of big business without looking after the needs of their current, local, rate-paying businesses first.

Authorities who take pride in their city would not let the latest generation of professional beneficiaries spend their long, idle hours occupying the main street of their CBD, where they can intimidate innocent passers-by, scare off potential customers and current businesses, or use inner city green-spaces as public bathrooms.

And I would hope that, like me, customers proud of their city would forgo the sprawling car parks and behemoth, hangar-sized big-box chain stores on the city’s periphery for the quality products, expertise and personal service of smaller, local retailers in the heart of the city.

I still “heart” the heart of “The Heart of Hawke’s Bay” (do you see what I mean about slogans?) and I’m from Napier.

The decline of central Hastings has been depressing enough, never mind the negative publicity and vibe it has generated. Some CPR (City Pride Restoration) is required. Let’s hear more from Hastings people who are proud of the heart of their city.

Let’s see Hastings District Council and local authorities prove how proud they are of their city and its people by looking after what they already have before developing further grandiose pipe-dreams (or maybe some ‘new blood’ is required in the places of civic power?).

The stronger the heart of the CBD beats, the more energy, pride and lifeblood will flow throughout the rest of the city. Letting the heart of Hastings fail is not an option if our region is to prosper.

Hastings and Hawke’s Bay deserve better!

Who Wrote it Best?

"Antonio" (Anthony Larrington-Lewer) serves us up one of his last pizzas

“Antonio” (Anthony Larrington-Lewer) serves us up one of his last pizzas

I enjoy writing.

It gives me a mental break from my regular day job and allows my otherwise unutilised creativity and sense of humour to escape and run rampant across the page and web-sphere.

“Have you ever thought of becoming a reporter / journalist” is probably one of the most common questions I am asked along with “have you ever thought of running for council?” and “How tall are you?” / “what’s the weather like up there?”

The answers to those questions are: “Yes”, “Yes” and “six feet, eight inches” / “(spitting sound) It’s raining!”

To be more specific, I am usually asked if I have considered STUDYING to become a journalist. The answer to that is “No”.

As I’ve said before I’m not going to spend $30,000+ and three years of my life studying for something that:

A/ Won’t guarantee a job at the end of it

and

B/ Is something I already do very well, some would say even better than the “qualified” journalists.

Here-in lays the problem. Those who have studied for and gained official qualifications get the type of job that I, as a naturally talented, but “unqualified” writer can only seem to aspire to.

Conversely, there things that I can write about and opinions I can promote that professional reporters are not allowed to. No-one is telling me what I can and cannot write.

So I propose a test – a bit of a Pro-Am. Who do you think is the better writer – me, the amateur, or the professionals?

Let’s use this sample as a case study:

Last month I wrote of Antonio’s Pizza and Pasta closing after 35 years. While we were there getting our last pizza from Anthony, a friend of mine who is a photographer for the Hawke’s Bay Today came in to take photos of Anthony for an article that appeared in the paper the next day.

As I was there first and planned to blog about it when I got home, I joked that I “had the scoop” on them. As it turns out, their article appeared first in Friday morning’s paper – I published mine later on Friday afternoon.

Now let me be clear – I have nothing against professional reporters – I know and interact with several on a fairly regular basis. The Hawke’s Bay Today article was written by Doug Laing who I have never met, but from memory is one of HBT’s longest-serving journalism staff, so he must be good. This is a poll on whether you think a qualification results in a better article.

Who do you think wrote the better article – me, the “gifted amateur”, or the “qualified professionals”?

* I should mention here that there are people who are both qualified and have an outstanding natural talent. They are very lucky buggers! 😉

Don’t Mention the Empty Shops!!

Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in an era filled with PR and spin that I’ve become immune to a lot of the ramblings that somehow qualify as “news” or “as rote” from some Napier “leaders”.

For example, take this article from a recent edition of the Hawke’s Bay Today on how Napier retailers need to adapt to survive:

“online retailers and bricks-and-mortar stores aren’t mutually exclusive, and savvy retailers need two “faces” to thrive”

REALLY?? You don’t say!

Retail, more than most businesses is very Darwinian, in that it is constantly a case of “adapt or die”, so when online sellers become a threat, you counter that threat with your own online sales options, or taking to the likes of social media to drum up attention and custom.

That being said, though, nothing beats good, old fashioned, personal service and that is something a lot of Napier “bricks and mortar” retailers do very well, hence why they are still in business!

But the line in the article that really annoyed me – saying “Napier’s city centre is bustling, with few empty stores” is more than just a little disingenuous.

Even on its quieter days, central Napier is busier than its Hastings counterpart, for example. But “few empty shops”?

Lower Emerson Street averages at least half a dozen empty shops at any one time.

Mid-City Plaza (oxymoronically the place that is “For Lease” in the items picture) has been an empty, boarded up disgrace for years.

There was a lot of fanfare when it was announced Napier’s post office building would be saved and redeveloped, unlike nearby pre-earthquake buildings that met the wrecking ball (because they apparently don’t matter).

NZ Post returned to it’s rightful place as an anchor tenant, Vodafone and a new children’s clothing store moved in to new retail shops created in the redeveloped building, but at least half of these new shops are still empty months after work finished.

It’s more than just “a few”, it’s a waste and it doesn’t look good.

I think a better barometer for success in Napier’s current retail climate could have been gauged by a deeper, broader level of investigative journalism than used in the article.

Especially when the business leader quoted’s business receives a substantial amount of ratepayer funding each year from the city council for operating and promotion and is staffed almost entirely by a voluntary workforce.

I’m sure there would be absolutely NO empty shops in Napier if all its retailers were graced with such subsidised luxuries.

Stamp-ede!!

Stampede

So the Mission Concert is a gonner – BIG DEAL!

I just found something just as cool, if not cooler, that’s about to hit Taradale:

“BAYPEX 2014” – the National Stamp Exhibition is coming to Taradale this weekend – from the 14th to the 16th of November!

Years ago I briefly dabbled a tiny bit in philately, or “Stamp collecting” to the lay-man, when I collected “first day covers” for special edition stamps around the turn of the millennium.

I still have them and a large number of Japanese stamps from when I made the mistake of signing up to a pen-pal programme in high school, so will be quite keen to take them along to get valued.

With stamps from across the world on display, postcards, a school stamp designing competition, postal memorabilia, other exhibits and the Australasian Challenge – dubbed “The Bledisloe Cup of Philately” (ooh!) it actually sounds really interesting – even more so when you consider how much standard “snail mail” and as a result, the trusty old postage stamp, is disappearing in this digital age.

BAYPEX opens from 10am each day and entry is free – get along!

Let’s Grow a Mo 6.0

iMo 6.0

iMo 6.0

Things are about to get hairy once again, as Movember slowly grows upon us!

This will be my sixth year growing a moustache to help raise money and awareness of men’s health, particularly prostate cancer and depression. The cause is one very close to my heart (and face) as, like so many others, I’ve suffered from depression, am scared from cancer and if he had been more aware of his health, or more readily sought help, my dear Dad might still be here today.

A few years ago I put on a real push to raise money and ended up collecting over $230. I’d like to try and at least get close to that total again this year and I have a few ideas on how to drum up support and mo-ney for my Movember campaign.

I am a HUGE supporter of #BuyLocal and Hawke’s Bay businesses. Combine this with my hyperbolas talent with words and getting messages across in 140 characters or less and there are numerous opportunities, temporary rebrandings and partnerships that could help me get there.

Some are pretty straight forward – like:

Mo-ana Park Winery

and

Mo(re) FM

Others require a bit of creativity or editing:

Like Bay EspressMO – in particular, my usual cafe haunt in Napier: “Six Sisters”, or, for this case, “Six Mo Sistas

An alpha-numeric swap-around makes Kent Baddeley’s fantastic restaurant, “10 Twenty Four” become “M0 Twenty Four”!

Similarly, turn the name of #Awesome local internet provider “NOW” upside down and you get “MO(N)”!

And this is only the beginning!

One of my favourite new food ventures in Napier is “Donut Robot” – a very cool little retro caravan in Carlyle Street, across the road from Countdown, who makes and sells fresh American donuts.

When cut in half, these tasty treats look remarkably like, you guessed it, moustaches! “Donut Robot” could become “Mo-nut Robot” – serving delicious sugared or iced “mo-nuts”! “Would you like sprinkles on your “Mo-nut”, sir?” (I will have to ask Steve the owner about that idea…).

There are even more fabulous ideas spinning around in my head, but I’d better keep them for later in case someone tries to flog them.

If you would like to donate to the Mo cause and help raise funding and awareness for NZ men’s health, you can do so HERE!

Mission: Impossible

TheMiss

Well, it had to happen eventually, I guess. There will be NO Mission Concert in the foreseeable future next year.

As if recent years’ attempts to find “suitable” acts weren’t desperate enough, organisers COMPLETELY FAILED to find ANYONE this time!

As the saying goes: “You had ONE job to do…”

For all the usual hype and fluff that surrounds the build-up to what used to be one of Hawke’s Bay’s premiere summer events nothing has eventuated.

While I am not surprised – recent Mission Concerts seem to have slowly degenerated into a mass piss-up with a side order of tunes from some long-forgotten muso, I still appreciate what it did for local businesses like moteliers, cafés etc.. The failure of event organisers to actually organise ANYTHING will hurt local business badly and that’s not good enough!

There is an expression that something past its prime has “Jumped the Shark”, well, did the Mission Concert mistime its jump and fall into the shark tank, or was it pushed?

Either way Hawke’s Bay deserves better!