Of all the years we’ve had, it was one of them!
I DIDN’T travel outside of Hawke’s Bay, win Lotto, or change jobs to something higher paying and more in line with my skills and dreams, and I only ticked off 6/10 of my goals for the year.
I DID catch Covid, albeit thankfully all but asymptomatically, made more money here and there, and did some things I wanted to do and bought some things I wanted to get.
It wasn’t a fantastic year, but it wasn’t terrible either.
So here are some of my highlights, events and thoughts from 2022:
Loveliest moment of 2022: Planting Harakeke with my daughter.
As part of my job I’ve gotten to volunteer to go out once a year with a primary school for Conservation Week. We go on a bushwalk at Hawke’s Bay’s White Pine Bush, then do a tour of the Guthrie Smith Arboretum at Tutira and plant some native flora there.
I’ve done this with my old school, Tamatea Primary and, this year, when I saw my daughter’s school on the list I offered to go with them. A week later (without telling her what I was doing at work) my daughter said we had to give permission for her to go on a field trip. “Oh, where?” we asked. “To White Pine Bush and Tutira” she replied.
She seemed happy that I was coming along, but I was expressly “forbidden from embarrassing her on the trip”! (she still has a lot to learn about parenting) and on the day I sat on a different part of the bus to her and her friends, but I was allowed to help chaperone her group on the bushwalks.
The penultimate event before heading home is the plantings, and she wanted me to help her plant her harakeke – NZ Flax, which I did, then we planted another spare flax and I took a selfie of us to commemorate the occasion. I loved it!
A Year of Constructive Confidence…
I got to make lots of stuff this year, stuff I had wanted to make for a while, stuff I’d only dreamed of making, and other stuff I just did to prove to myself that I could.
A long-held vision of recreating the Tomcat vs. MiG 28 “Inverted” scene from the movie Top Gun was finally realised. After a few production delays I decided to go DIY and the multi-media (plastic, wood and metal) result I came up with was even better than I’d expected.
After only being able to dream of owning one as a kid, I finally got to buy, build and run my own Tamiya radio-controlled car! I even bought and decorated up a second body shell just to prove I could do it!
Finally, a-semi spur-of-the-moment idea resulted in a fantastic looking “Beached Spitfire” diorama and involved my first experience using clear casting resin and making gel waves.
I was fortunate that (almost) all the models I built this year went together so well – It was a boost to my confidence in using known and new skills in creating cool stuff!
..But a Writing and Wireless Wasteland.
After being commissioned to write two or three items a year over the past few years for local magazine Bay Buzz, I had just one commission this year – focusing on the local music scene and how it was dealing with Covid and event restrictions. I really enjoyed writing it and the finished product looked really great, but that was it.
Bay Buzz has been able to employ a number of journalists in the last few years under the Public Interest Journalism fund, which is great for keeping multiple sets of investigative eyes regularly focusing on and writing about Hawke’s Bay regional issues which NZ’s commercial media networks have failed to do over recent decades. But I have still missed being involved and getting commissioned to write more.
I still appear to be persona non grata with Radio NZ and still don’t know why and, as for local commercial network media, it can’t be long before our regional paper becomes a couple Hawke’s Bay pages in the NZ Herald and local airwaves regurgitate Jono and Ben 24/7 across the country. Spare us!
This year I did rediscover that even “almost seven years old, Still a bit six” me on Bay City Radio in 1984 could do a better job on local radio than those cronyism clowns can on any of their many simulcast shows across multiple commercial networks.
I do still hold out a faint hope for the TVNZ/RNZ merger, despite commercial networks’ and executives’ worst, self-interested lobbying efforts to scuttle the bill.
I have kept writing, too. If for no other reason than my own entertainment, or to keep myself sane and not feel like I’m just completely, continually screaming into the void.
And I do still seem to be pretty good and capable at it:
A piece I wrote on the sorry state of Hawke’s Bay roading infrastructure, and the State Highway 2 bridge over the Esk River apparently being suddenly unfit for purpose garnered over 1700 views since publishing in August.
Movie of the Year: Top Gun: Maverick
I think I only saw three movies at the cinema this year – Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, Top Gun: Maverick and Thor: Love and Thunder.
Doctor Strange and Thor both had their good points – I got to see Love and Thunder in a cinema all to myself, after taking an afternoon off work to see it, and the Guns n’ Roses soundtrack throughout was gloriously nostalgic – But were reasonably cookie-cutter Marvel fare overall.
Sitting in the darkening cinema as the opening credits started rolling for Top Gun I wondered for a second if the whole movie was just going to be the 1986 original remastered and played in full as the Top Gun Anthem again crescendoed into Kenny Loggins’ epic and timeless “Danger Zone”.. Until F/A-18 Hornets and F-35 Lightning IIs rolled through the carrier deck steam.
The movie was great, and packed with yet more nostalgia, but also more emotionally mature themes – Pete “Maverick” Mitchell had grown, as had his original audience, but still held some old scars and memories, as did his audience.
A scene I loved was where Pete and his old flame and love interest in the movie, Jennifer Connelly’s ‘Penny Benjamin’ are getting intimate when Penny’s teenaged daughter (from a previous, non-Maverick, relationship) comes home unexpectedly.
Pete and Penny are nervous and embarrassed, not wanting her daughter to learn about the rekindling of their relationship, Penny makes Maverick sneak out her first-floor window like a teenager, comically slipping and falling off the roof. He stands up, dusts himself off and come’s face to face with Penny’s daughter – The audience laughs – Busted!
The daughter, stone faced, tells Mitchell “don’t break her heart again” and the laughing stops dead because the audience has been there, too, since 1986.
But, yes, awesome flying scenes, CGI, explosions and a fair chunk of heart also helped make Top Gun: Maverick my movie of the 2022.
Mood of the Year: S.A.D.
Hawke’s Bay saw one of its wettest winters on record in 2022.
Not that it was completely a bad thing – I remember “proper” wet winters growing up in the 80s and, by comparison we’ve had insanely dry years over the past decade where it rained in April and that was it until October, turning Central Hawke’s Bay hills peroxide blonde by November, and outright dead and dirt brown by February, so rain wasn’t altogether unwelcome.
But rain for days and weeks on end made many people sad, or even S.A.D.
Not to be confused with “Unhappy”, though the two can go hand-in-hand, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that is often triggered by a change of the seasons, usually in, or towards the winter months.
And in 2022 the winter months just seemed to go on, and on, and on.
Days and weeks of persistent (rather than heavy) rain disrupted events, canceled sports and ruined thousands of plans.
It was the last thing we needed after thinking we had recovered sufficiently from Covid for normal life and events to largely recommence.
All the while the skies remained a morose overcast grey and rain continued to drizzle and drip, dragging the “winter blues” into spring and summer as well.
Score of the year: A Kane Williamson Signed Cricket Bat!
I bought myself a Funko Pop! figure of Indian cricketer Virat Kohli for my birthday this year.
Well, I actually bought TWO.
They were on special at EB Games in Napier for only $15 each, and one’s box was a bit smushed so, in the spirit of my “Year of Creativity” I bought a second one intending to put it into a cricketing diorama of some sort, like I’d done with a Marty McFly Pop! recreating a scene from Back to the Future a couple years ago:
But before I even did the diorama, I made another creative change.
Looking at the figure I realised it wouldn’t take too much to change India’s cricket captain into New Zealand’s captain, Kane Williamson!
They both have similar hairstyles and beards and are both renowned batsmen, so it wouldn’t take much to change one to the other with some paint and finer details.
So that’s exactly what I did!
Other than repainting the head, hair and body the other changes I made were adding Gray-Nicolls stickers to Kane’s bat to make it look like his current NOVA blade and using 1/72 scale model aircraft decals for his shirt number (22) and “New Zealand” branding.
I was happy with the prototype and hoped to show it to and get it signed by the man himself when Napier got its sole men’s international game for the season but, sadly, captain Kane had other plans.
Never mind. I ended up being busy with work and other projects, and the Pop! went on display in my house.
Coincidently I entered a competition to win a signed Kane Williamson bat through Auckland’s Players’ Sports on Instagram a few weeks later..
AND WON IT!
It was a great, fortuitous way to finish off the year!
Now I just have to figure out what sort of display case I’m going to design and make for this full-sized cricket bat in 2023!
Here’s hoping your 2023 is creative, fortuitous and supportive, and thanks for reading Napier in Frame in 2022!