12 Days of Hawke’s Bay Takeaways!

As you know, each year the Frame family have a tradition of making a 12 day menu plan mirroring the traditional and Kiwi 12 days of Christmas, but with added deliciousness!

I have joked that the traditional version contains enough birdlife (partridges, turtle doves, french hens, calling birds..) that it could almost warrant a “Twelve Days of KFC”.

That gave me an idea:

Hawke’s Bay is blessed with some of the finest food producers and hospitality venues in New Zealand. The regularity with which we win big national and international awards give a general idea of just how great they are.

In recent years the number and range of these businesses has exploded. Gone are the days of Fish & Chips being the sole variety of takeaways available in the region – A multicultural smorgasbord is now available in your city, your suburb, or just at the tips of your fingers care of apps and smart devices ordering online.

So I thought, “Hey, why not do a “12 Days of HB Takeaways” and try and see just how much of a range of pre-prepared food can be sourced in the region?!”.

Now, I am based in Napier, as my brand suggests, so the majority of these will likely be Napier-based, simply because these are the takeaways I am most familiar with / have already brought from.

This isn’t sponsored content.

None of the companies listed have paid or given me free food to do this – It’s just something that I thought would be a cool idea and I thought they would be the most appropriate fit for their day / theme.

I believe in local Hawke’s Bay businesses and love seeing them succeed!

While it was intended to be a “12 Days of Christmas” list (did you know the 12 Days traditionally starts on Christmas Day, and isn’t actually a countdown to Christmas?) our regular annual “12 Days” list had a few hiccups and ran late, and with public holidays and different opening hours post-Christmas many of the places on my list weren’t open on some of the 12 Days after, so while I’m keeping the Christmas listing format, It’s essentially a 12 Days of Hawke’s Bay HOLIDAY Takeaways.

I have mixed up the Traditional and Kiwi 12 days of Christmas themes to give some variety, make it a bit easier, and diverse. There’s a good chance I may expand the list as other options arise, so come back and check it again at some later time.

So let’s take it away, with 12 Days of Hawke’s Bay Takeaways:

A Partridge in a Pear Tree / A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree = Hapi

In our usual “12 Days” menus day one almost always involves some for of vegetation or foliage – just like the Pear, or Ponga Tree.

Hapī Clean Kai Co-op is Napier’s award winning, premiere venue when it comes to healthy and vegetarian food.

Recently relocated from their original takeaway bar site down the road to Chantal’s shop on Hastings Street in Napier Hapī has gone from strength to strength and continues to gain in popularity with locals and visitors alike.

With healthy juices, vegetarian and vegan sandwiches and dishes, as well as sweet slices and, of course, coffee Hapī has become a go-to with those who want local “green” cuisine.

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Two Turtle Doves / Two Kumera = Mamacita

A visit to Mamacita, located on Havelock Road in Havelock North and Tennyson Street, Napier on the second day of the week will be auspicious, as it’s Taco Tuesday (*Available for Dine-In Only)!

Coming in hard and soft shell forms (like turtles) tacos are just one of the many options available from these favorite Hawke’s Bay’s Mexican restaurants.

Nachos, Quesadillas (“Quesadilla Thursday” is also available only for Dine-in), vegetarian and carnivore options with Ceviche, Camarones and Calamares seafood dishes available on their “Small Bites” menu.

Three French Hens / Three Flax Kete = Rock My Belly

“Chicken and Waffles” was something I had heard of repeatedly (mainly in American movies), but never tried. That was until we went to Rock My Belly, upstairs on the northern side of upper Emerson Street, Napier.

We are able to tick both theme boxes here with the French Hens AND the latticed Kete basket look of the waffles!

Southern Fried Chicken Waffles are a hit with Miss in Frame and I love the Chicken Curry Waffles.

The waffles themselves aren’t as sweet as regular dessert waffles, the thought of which was initially a bit of a put-off, making a nice flavor and texture mix overall.

Rock My Belly’s focus on great “comfort food” like this has proved very popular in the short time they have been open.

The chef’s name is Andrew, too, so you know it must be good! 😉

Four Calling Birds / Four Huhu grubs = Tu Meke Don

Again with the poultry!

Tu Meke Don, in Napier’s Ocean Boulevard (between upper Emerson and Dickens Streets) is run by Tim, Junko and their son Tane. It has been our go-to for Sushi for a number of years and a favorite for inner city workers and shoppers.

Their Karage Chicken in sushi, donburi, curries and just straight out fried is a personal favorite.

Five Gold Rings / Five Big Fat Pigs = Donut Robot

If five gold rings is what you’re after you can’t go past the delicious, crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, chocolate or berry-iced, custard filled, or just cinamon sugar dusted American-style donuts made fresh by Steve in his little “Toy Caravan”!

Donut Robot has been regularly stationed in the car park of St Paul’s Church on the corner of Tennyson and Dalton Streets, Napier for a number of years and has garnered quite a cult status and large fan base. Not only a master donut slinger, Steve is also good for a chat about the day’s local and inter/national events.

The pic above is actually of some Gua Bao I tried on a visit to Auckland a few years ago, but I intend to go to Funbuns VERY soon!

Six Geese a-Laying / Six Poi a-Twirling = Funbuns Pork Buns

A few years ago in our family 12 Days of Christmas Deliciousness we featured Tu Meke Don’s Rice Balls as Poi a-Twirling, on a similar Asian food theme here I’m nominating Gua Bao (Steamed Buns) from Funbuns to represent the Poi on this list.

Funbuns, on the corner of Heretaunga Street East and Warren Street Hastings, is a place I have yet to get to, but really want to, as I have heard lots of great stuff about!

“Can recommend pretty much everything on the menu (cocktails are frisky-fresh too). Barman is a multi award winner at HB Hospo awards. Their 12hr beef shin sharing plate & Chinese fried chicken with black tea mayo are yum!” Yvonne Lorkin c/o Twitter

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Seven Swans / Eels a-Swimming = Thai Lotus

Thai Lotus can be found right in the centre of the Taradale Shopping Centre. The building used to house the Taradale Library many years ago. Now it is home to delicious Thai cuisine!

With a wide range of stir fries, curries, satay, soups and more you’re sure to find the perfect dish – it might even be eel-like noodles swimming in a delicious curry or cashew sauce!

No photo description available.

Eight maids a-Milking / Eight Plants of Puha = Lick This

One of the best ways to cool down on a hot Hawke’s Bay day is with something Maids a-Milking can directly contribute to: Ice cream!

Lick This, in the old Marineland grandstand building makes their own ice cream on site in a massive, regularly changing range of flavors. From standards like Chocolate and Hokey Pokey, to seasonal and special flavors like Christmas Cake, Unicorn and Bacon, Banana and Maple.

They also sell gelato and, local legends, Rush Munro ice cream.

Nine Ladies Dancing / Nine Sacks of Pipis = Six Sisters

There aren’t quite nine of them, but they are all girls – Six Sisters Coffee House is in one Napier’s most iconic non-Art Deco buildings on Marine Parade, just towards the hill from Lick This.

The story goes Napier’s Harbor Master had six daughters, whom he had houses built next to each other for between Albion and Vautier Steets. These half dozen, two storey weather board buildings have become known as “The Six Sisters” and Napier’s best Bacon, Egg and Pesto Bagels (in my humble opinion) can be found at the sister second from the left when looking at the houses from the sea side.

Lucy and her team of lovely ladies (there’s about six of them all up, but they’re not sisters) serve bagels, Napier’s best coffee (again IMHO), scones, slices, biscuits, and smoothies looking out across Marine Parade to the stunning vista of Hawke Bay!

Ten Lords a-Leaping / Ten Juicy Fish Heads = Fish & Chips

It wouldn’t be a list of Kiwi takeaways without featuring Fish and Chips! (I prefer fish fillets to fish heads, personally, but won’t judge).

Napier is certainly not bereft of choice on this front, as I can think of at least three options within walking distance of my house alone!

Thank God its Fryday is my local in Marewa, but others like The Pirimai Chippy, Frying Dutchman and Charles Street Takeaway all have loyal followings.

Eleven Pipers Piping / Eleven Haka Lessons = Brave Brewing

It’s not Highland bagpipes and single malt whisky, but Brave’ Brewing’s iconic trumpet does involve pipe work!

Fast becoming one of Hawke’s Bay’s preferred craft breweries, Brave Brewing opened their new tap room and beer bar in the former Herald Tribune newspaper precinct site on Queen Street East, Hastings in 2020, after the nationwide Covid lockdown to promote and compliment their onsite brewing operation.

During 2020 and 2021’s Level 4 lockdowns Brave also took the initiative of delivering their beer direct to their customers around Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand (as you can see in the pic above). Cheers for that!


Twelve Drummers Drumming / Twelve Piupius Swinging = Vinci’s Pizza

One of Napier’s newer, and certainly most popular takeaway joints is Vinci’s Pizza at the cathedral / hill end of Hastings Street along from Hapi and Chantal.

What has made it so popular is that you can buy a single hot slice of their fantastic pizzas he perfect size for a snack or lunch, or buy a whole pizza which is about the size of a large snare drum! You can even mix it up and get a whole pizza’s worth of individual slices

Each pizza is hand-made by Vincent and his team 9nsite and, as with the personal touch of the other hospitality providers on this list, the range regularly changes with seasonal specialty pizzas along with the traditional stylea of Margherita and Quatro Fromagio.

Just before Santa went on his rounds last week I bought a slice of Christmas Glazed Ham pizza -It was fantastic!

So there you go – just a slice of the potential ideas to take away from 12 Days of Hawke’s Bay Takeaways – enjoy!

Perhaps it could be a New Year resolution to try thelist in the early days of 2022?!

If there are any local takeaways I have egregiously forgotten that fit into the 12 Days categories, please let me know and I can add them in.

Happy New Year!

AF

12 Days of Christmas Deliciousness 2021

This is, from memory, the thirteenth time Mrs in Frame has composed a special menu for the “12 Days of Christmas” in a countdown to the big day itself.

Each year we alternate between the traditional (Partridge in a Pear Tree) and New Zealand (“Pukeko in a Ponga Tree”) versions of the Christmas carol.

This year it was the turn of the traditional “Partridge” version.

Alan Partridge Shrug GIFs | Tenor

Wherever possible she tries to tie in part of the carol lyrics to the dish – i.e. “Partridge in a Pear Tree” will usually contain pears or some kind of bird reference to some degree.

Due to the rather prolific recurrence of birds in the traditional carol (Partridges, Turtle Doves, French Hens, Swans, Geese..), there may also be some sort of alliteration or similar tie-in, otherwise we might as well have the “Twelve Days of KFC”….

When all else fails, a fair chunk of artistic license is brought in. It really takes a fair bit of dedication and imagination to pull off!

I’ll do my best to explain the theory behind each dish as we go.

So sit back and have some fun as I reveal what my true love made for me over the Twelve Days of Christmas Deliciousness for 2021:

Day 1 – A Partridge in a Pear Tree: Part-ridged Pear Tart

Pretty straight forward – as stated above we usually kick off with something involving pears, this pear tart is “part-ridged” – see what we did there?

Day 2 – Two Turtle Doves: Hard shell Tacos / Nachos

Tacos come in hard and soft-shells – just like turtles!

Day 3 – Three French Hens: Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a well known French dish. My wife has been vegetarian/pescatarian for a number of years now, so the hen aspect was off the menu, until…

Day 4 – Four Calling Birds: Karage Chicken Sushi from Tu Meke Don

Tim, Junko and Tane have been our go-to for Sushi for a number of years. and their karage chicken in sushi, donburi and just straight out fried is a favorite. (While I and Miss in Frame had the chicken, Mrs in Frame had Salmon.)

Day 5 – Five Gold Rings: 5 Golden Pasties

Pretty straight forward again – Golden rings of pastry filled with: Roast Carrot & Carrot Pesto, Mushroom & Broccoli, Asparagus & Onion, Roast Capsicum Dip & Feta, and Chocolate Ganache Tarts!

Day 6 – Six Geese a-Laying: Home-made Vanilla Ice Cream

I had to ask how she figured this one, too, but it’s because the vanilla pods’ contents give the ice cream a speckled appearance like the geese at our local park (she obviously spends more time there than I do).

Day 7 – Seven Swans Swimming: Squid Ink Pasta with Garlic and Lemon

Alliteration (using a number of words starting with the same letters / sounds / syllables) is a common trick we use when doing out 12 Days of Christmas. #FunFact: When the alliteration uses “S” sounds it’s called “sibilance” like in “Seven Swans Swimming”. The only swans I am aware of locally are the Black Swans down at the park and they are outright psychotic, so we’re not going anywhere near them. This Squid Ink Pasta is black, like the swans, starts with an “S”, and is far less homicidal.

Day 8 – Eight Maids a-Milking: Mac & Cheese

The predominant percentage of ingredients in Macaroni and Cheese are produced from what the titular maids have been extracting – Milk! (bonus points for it being such a glorious staple comfort food).

Day 9 – Nine Ladies Dancing: Chickpea Carrot Sauté with Homemade Focaccia Bread

While I initially thought the reasoning here was that the Chickpeas dance around the pan as they are sautéed, like the Ladies (“Chicks”), it was actually because most of the ingredients (sans Chickpeas) came from our garden and Mrs in Frame tells me her garden makes her happy enough to dance.

This was also the first time Mrs in Frame made Focaccia Bread by hand – and absolutely nailed it!

Day 10 – Ten Lords a-Leaping: Big English Breakfast for Dinner

Lords” is a word we generally associate with England (not to be confused with “Lord’s” – the home of cricket). And this big English Breakfast of sausages, beans, eggs, etc. is fit for a, well.. y’know…

Day 11 – Eleven Pipers Piping: Shortbread

To keep in theme with Scottish pipers piping I suggested a bottle of good single malt whisky. But apparently that’s “irresponsible parenting”, so shortbread – another Scottish staple it was.

In related Scottish news – Miss in Frame took up Highland dancing this year and in her first competitive dance WON FIRST PLACE! All the more reason for a celebratory bottle, but I digress… #ProudDadMoment

Day 12 – Twelve Drummers Drumming: Pumpkin Cake

Ending on another sweet note we aligned pumpkins with their drum-like appearance to create Pumpkin Cake with cream cheese icing. Pumpkins and their gourd relatives have been used as many things aside from food for centuries, including basic drums for Twelve Drummers!

So there you go – another Twelve Days of Christmas Deliciousness completed for another year. Sorry for the delay I usually try and get these out on Christmas Eve, but 2021 has been, well, 2021.

All the very best to you and your family for 2022 – May it be more fun and fortuitous than this year, and I’ll catch you in my next post – here’s a hint – the “12 Days of Takeaways” gave me an idea!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

AF

Hello My Name is Human

“What is wrong with me”?

It’s a question we have all asked ourselves from time to time.

“Did I say that out loud, or just think it?” “Did I say that in a normal speaking voice, or yell it and everyone is just being polite?”

Such little queries are often a constant companion. Some people ignore them, while for others these insecurities can consume them.

For the most part I am happy with who and what I am, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the occasional self-audit, or review / revision.

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Fortunate Son

My Mum and Dad had me quite late in life – Dad was 42, Mum was 37.

Spinster” was what was written in the “occupation” section of Mum’s section of their marriage certificate the year before I was born.

“Spinster”?!

Try calling a 30-something woman that today and see how many stitches you end up with!

Dowager Countess” must have already been taken in 1976.

This was the late 70s and a lot of the old attitudes and medical practices were still forefront. With my mother being an “older woman” there was a heightened chance I would be born with some form of disability, like Down Syndrome. Except they didn’t use that correct, technical name back then, they used the term “Mongol”.

I apologize for using that expression – I despise it, but I only used it to illustrate that it was something I was reminded of rather frequently for some odd reason. “You could have been a Mongol Child”.

My mother made a friend in the maternity home who had twins the day after I was born. One of those twins happened to be born with Downs Syndrome (and would later attend the Special Education unit at the same high school I went to), so maybe that was just some sort of constant reminder, or little voice of “what could have been” in my Mum’s head.

There were some worried moments when, as a child, I appeared to have a larger than normal head that required a trip or two up to Auckland Hospital for scans. But, as it turned out, it was just aware of how big I would be later in life and was getting a head start (ba-doom-tish!) on proceedings.

I grew up what generally qualifies as “normally” for an only child in the 80s – a time I remember very fondly, if not being quite lonely.

As I’ve written before television and my toys were my main friends early in life.

Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch influenced the levels of light and darkness in my world outlooks and the level and range of NZ-made television in the 80s inspired me to want to do it myself one day. It declared “We are New Zealand! We are stunning and capable of awesome things!”

School brought new challenges, but also new outlets.

As an only child you can become quite independent (you generally have to be) and very creative thanks to using your imagination to keep yourself busy or entertained most of the time.

It also meant I was a sponge for knowledge – I read and watched and listened to anything I could to keep myself amused, informed, or busy. I was a bit of a swot. It would pay off later in life when it came to quizzes, though.

My creativity took the form of writing (does it show?) and performance (mainly pretending to be presenting my own TV shows), things I excelled at until I discovered girls and those little queries started to speak up, making me think there might be something “wrong” with me.

Achey, Breaky Heart

I was a hopeless romantic when I was younger.

Well, “useless” would be a more accurate description.

I wouldn’t so much as hold a girl’s hand (other than when they had to in “social dancing” sessions of PE in high school..) until I was 21 and it was not for lack of trying!.

I shed numerous tears wondering why I was “unlovable” from Tamatea Primary School, right through to Tamatea High where I was sweet on several girls who had no interest whatsoever in this rather odd, tall, gangly young fellow.

Always the tallest kid in class, I was also always at the back, in the middle for school photos.

Perhaps the loneliness of only child-ness had just had enough, or maybe all the reading, watching and imagining had set too high a bar?

I’d read many books and watched many shows and movies about “true love” and “star-crossed lovers”.

I adored the romanticism of movies like “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, but was also somehow convinced I would be the one who “loved and lost” like Tom Hank’s character’s back story in “Sleepless in Seattle”.

John Hannah’s recital of W. H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues” in Four Weddings was just so accurate and so heartbreaking. I included it as a reading at my Dad’s funeral.

I “tried too hard”, apparently, or “didn’t try hard enough”, or maybe it was just different mindsets? With having older parents and values perhaps things just wouldn’t align.

I’ve used the expression that “I think I was 35 for about 25 years” because it wasn’t until that age, by which time I was married and a new father that women seemed interested in me at all.

By then it was too late, of course, because my heart belonged to one lady and my soul to another tiny, new lady.

It just so happened that my engagement ring was The One Ring from the Lord of The Rings movie trilogy, but rather than putting it on making the wearer invisible, mine made me finally visible to the female populace.

Foreskin’s Lament 

“Unique” is probably the best word to describe me throughout my schooling.

“Tall” was another.

“Awkward” and “Dorky” would rate up there too. Basically any John Hughes era movie stereotype that wasn’t “Preppy”, or “Jock”.

My 90s New Zealand high school experience was nothing like those movie stereotypes, thankfully.

I was discussing the experience with a fellow old classmate a few months ago and we decided than, while there were still the general “Sporty” kids, the “Munters” and “Cool / 90210” kids at Tamatea High School from 1991-1995, there was nowhere near the level of extremity or tribalism you stereo-typically see in most (American) media of the time.

There was no hatred of different types. We all, by and large, got on and accepted each other, because these were still the same people you had spent the last 5-12 years going through school with.

I don’t think I ever fitted into any of the specific stereotypes, though, just floated around the periphery, occasionally temporarily osmosing into one cell or the other.

And I liked that uniqueness.

Maybe it was the only child thing – independence, or one’s self was the only thing I could totally rely on.

But it led to a moral conundrum: What am I?

Who am I?

What sort of person do I want to be?

I wanted to be my Dad. He was (and still is, even though he’s gone) my hero.

I was never the outdoorsy, or jack-of-all-trades type of person he was, but his moral compass always pointed true north and that’s what I aspired to.

In fifth or sixth form we did a school play (see, STILL love performing!) called “Masquerade” –  A big, song, drama and dance production about the masks we put on in life (just add teenage angst, stand back, cover your ears and brace for the shock wave).

One of the older students (It must have been 5th form, because I’m sure he was a couple years older than me) named Christopher Dann did a rendition of “Foreskin’s Lament” that was just captivating.

Chris was one of the students (I think he was Dux of his year) who was bound for great, oratory things – Either a lawyer, or investigative journalist / breakfast television host.

I still hear him delivering those last lines:

“What are ya?

What are ya?

WHAT ARE YA?!

<lights cut to black>”

I find myself asking myself that same question time and time again.

A self-audit.

So.

“What are ya?!”

What Am I?

Tall. There is certainly no denying that. 6’8″, or 2.04 meters in metric terms.

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This can make some things difficult: Legroom in cars and planes, long pants and big shoes can be difficult to come by.

While jeans that only come part way down your shins may be all the style at the moment they were the ultimate clothing faux pas when my growth spurts kicked into hyperdrive in the 80s and 90s.

Most people think doorways are my natural enemy and whacking my forehead on lower lintels is a concern. Not so!

As you get taller you learn to go through doors on the down-step, so if you do hit your head, it’s right on the crown and snaps the head backwards with a bright flash of stars.

Shorter people will never know the struggle.

My height also means being an asshole is never really an option. (not that it was ever in my disposition to begin with) – it’s not like I can easily hide away.

I prefer to be a BFG – a Big, Friendly Giant!

I smile at people in the street, help old ladies get stuff off the top shelves at the supermarket, that sort of thing.

“It’s better to be “always remembered” than “never forgotten”.”

Dad. The only thing I wanted to be in life was a good a father and husband as my Dad was. He was kind and caring. He never swore at, or abused me, even when he was angry with me. He was calm, measured and understanding.

We struggled to become parents, having to go through IVF and certain things, like having a “Testicular Biopsy”, were far from pleasant, but we got there in the end, and my daughter is the most wonderful girl and it constantly amazes me that she shares half my genes.

Maybe it’s the idol-status I have for my Dad, but it does lead to a level of insecurity that I’m not doing a good enough job.

Losing my Dad soon after our daughter was born was a massive hit for me. He was my biggest, most constant supporter. When I lost him I lost a lot of my confidence, self belief and motivation.

I’ve had the positivity of our wonderful growing daughter to spur me on and focus upon, but I lost my safety net, my support network. That has been very hard.

I’ve made sacrifices for my daughter and family (more on that later, but that’s just what a dad does, right?

I think my daughter gets a bit sick of me asking her if I do a good job, but the other day she said I was “the best Dad” when we were playing (no bribe or purchases required) so I guess I must be doing something right.

I can’t go past a good #DadJoke, either!

O

Loyal and Dedicated. I look after my family, friends and those who do the same for me. I love my hometown and region – it’s somewhere I’ve lived all my life, I love to see it thrive and succeed and want as many people as possible to know about it, so they can share the experience too. I do everything to the highest standard I can and see tasks through to completion.

While my cricket club recognized that this year, it’s been sadly lacking for a long time in other places.

Fair. I’ve always had a strong sense of right and wrong, fair and unjust and always railed against things I thought weren’t right. It has been a backbone of much of my writing and advocacy. I also believe everyone’s story deserves telling, not just a select few.

Creative. Writing, pictures, videos, models, dioramas, and occasionally woodwork are all things I enjoy. To make, or recreate something is really fun and something I love doing.

A Would-be Hawke’s Bay Media Magnate. I love writing. I love telling my own, others’ and Hawke’s Bay’s stories, be in in a blog, a video, or radio/audio format.

I also have the voice (and face) for radio.

So What’s Wrong With Me?

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”

Despite all those positives why can’t I seem to be happy, or feel fulfilled recently?

I haven’t had the easiest decade:

IVF, the birth of our daughter, the death of my Dad, buying our own house, a Global Financial Crisis, getting Mum into a care home, a month in hospital with a peculiar heart issue, Mum passing away, a world-wide pandemic, a growing child… Hardly a flat, calm sea!

Though, as someone pointed out to me years ago, life is like a heartbeat monitor – it’s supposed to have ups and downs. If it’s flat, you’re dead!

Gallows humor, certainly, but clinically correct.

I like writing and promoting my region and, by general consensus I am reasonably good at it.

My writing has achieved me some minor local renown over recent years, though as a PR friend told me a couple years ago “You picked the worst time to be good at it” given how many in NZ’s commercial news networks have preferred to gut local newsrooms and copy and paste irrelevant reckons from Auckland talkback radio hosts into regional mastheads as rage-click inducing “editorials”.

“Premium” is not the word for the constant enabling, monetization and multi-platforming of terrible, regionally irrelevant takes like these.

Despite my best efforts over the years, I have yet to gain promotional employment here in Hawke’s Bay, and whether it’s just the pandemic, or current direction of content, but I’ve only been commissioned for one piece of local writing this year, not that I’ve had a whole lot of spare time, or motivation to write.

I’m taking what chance I have now to get some thoughts on the page, as I’m having a week off before the run into Christmas and am working the few days between then and the New Year holidays.

My broadcasting aspirations were dashed early last year with the loss of local cricket commentary opportunities and yet more centralized personnel resourcing, with the same people who do the rugby, Olympics, America’s Cup, and all the other events out of Auckland given yet more opportunities to the detriment of everyone everywhere else.

What little exposure I had been very grateful to receive on Radio New Zealand’s The Panel also quietly ceased last year.

As far as I’m aware I never said or did anything wrong on-air, or off air.

It’s not like I used the platform to tout Covid conspiracy, or was eventually let go for leaking private patient details like one of their far more regular guests who was still on multiple times after I was given the heave-ho after only a few appearances.

I was told my removal from the Panelist lineup was because the broadcasting equipment from the Napier studio was redeployed so the network’s presenters could work from home during the Covid lockdown in 2020 (and, no doubt, further extended lockdowns throughout 2021 in Auckland where many of them are now based). Water damage and repairs from Napier’s flood in November 2020 also temporarily put their office out of action not long after.

However that didn’t stop other Panelists from being on the show via phone, Skype, or other means.

While I am fully aware Hawke’s Bay has some of the best internet coverage in New Zealand, it must have escaped their attention, until they had Janet Wilson beaming in across the broadband from Haumoana on the shores of Hawke Bay a few weeks ago.

Man, they must feel so silly…

But it’s not just my creative aspirations, or dreams of local media stardom failing me this year.

After over 17 years of doing my day job, despite requests for advancement or training across multiple bosses going unheeded, I finally had the chance to apply for the position myself.

I was short-listed with the new office graduate, who has been with us for about a yearm for an interview.

Management chose the graduate, because they have a relevant university qualification – Something I have never been given the opportunity to do through work, nor the time with odd and early hours of employment, or money with a family and mortgage to do of my own accord outside of work.

All my writing and media-ing is something I have been able to do after-hours of my day job due to its odd and often early hours.

I call it “Breakfast Radio / TV hours, but without the fame or fortune.”

It has provided a constant, secure income (throughout very insecure times) that has enabled me to support my family, buy a house, pay a mortgage and raise our daughter.

But now that she is getting older and more independent I feel like I can finally do something for myself.

The inability to realise my dreams, or even gain advancement where I have dedicated myself for years has made me feel like a failure, or that I’m being selfish or don’t deserve to do what I want to do.

It’s like the rejections and disappointments of my volunteering days coming back again, and they were devastating enough the first time.

I really am done with being constantly overlooked and undermined.

So what IS wrong with me?

It’s not a lack of talent, or skill, dedication, or work ethic.

I’m tired and sad, but I am doing what I can.

I’m only human.

He’s Making a List…

Years of typing, texting & tweeting eviscerated what was already terrible handwriting…

I’ve never been one for self-help books or schemes.

My chakras are constantly out of alignment, and I’m more into Nasi Goreng than Feng Shui.

Though there is one thing I picked up from one of these sorts of books years ago that I have stuck with:

Each year one of the first things I write in my diary is a list of ten goals I want to achieve that year and ten “materialistic” things I want to do or get.

My goals for this year, 2021, can be seen above.

It’s a good little guide, or set of targets, for the year to come.

“Win Lotto” is never one of those things.

Until this year “Get a new job” was usually at the top, or near the top, of the list. This year I left it off out of sheer frustration. That turned out to be a portent of things to come.

“Effect positive change for Napier / Hawke’s Bay” has been another consistent goal that I like to think I have achieved throughout the years through my writing and social media advocacy.

But this year I feel I failed in that goal, as I got little chance to write or be published and certainly no chance of being broadcast other than social media.

When I HAVE had the time to write my motivation and self belief has been so eroded by external forces over the last 18 months that I could rarely be bothered.

I was, however, able to spend more quality time with my daughter, and that is certainly a great goal to have.

I was also recognised / rewarded for doing something I enjoy earlier this year when I was made a Life Member of NOBMCC – something I have loved doing for 15 years.

Given Covid restrictions “Travel Somewhere Nice” was something remarkable to achieve, especially as one of the places I traveled was Auckland – managing to squeeze in a visit between different stages of lockdown.

I probably would have enjoyed the overnight stay in Taupo the following Saturday more if I wasn’t still exhausted from the 10-ish hour return drive through the early morning darkness on the way to and from NZ’s biggest city..

I was also fortunate to meet more of my online friends in person, several of whom took the inability to travel overseas as an opportunity to see more of New Zealand, including my home town and region!

While I value the bigger goals more, the materialistic goals are also enjoyable – I’ve been fortunate enough to afford some luxuries this year – and helping our regional economy by buying from local businesses is a great way of helping everyone thrive.

The pile of books I have bought from Hawke’s Bay’s award winning Wardini Books this year has grown exponentially faster than I could ever hope to read them!

And there are more to come at Christmas…

Enjoying local hospitality businesses and the produce from local food and drink artisans has also been a highlight.

I still managed to achieve one of my other goals of losing a bit of weight throughout! (Only 5kg, but given the comfort eating I had been doing over the year, a rather miraculous goal…)

As we wind down 2021 and look forward to 2022 (dare we even look forward, or speculate on what could be?!) what are some of the things you would like to achieve, or buy, or do in 2022?