To commemorate Anzac Day, I ate Anzac biscuits on Anzac Ave.

After that I wandered down the hill and up the other side to the museum. I think Anzac day is the only day the museum’s compulsory donation is waived, so, woohoo, I saved $5. I spent most of my time there looking around on the third floor.

The Colonial Auckland display has always been once of my favourites. When I was little I used to go into the haberdashery and pretend that I was a 1860s lady buying several yards of the purple fabric with flowers on it, then, OMG, suddenly I was transported forward in time to the 1980s and was very confused and lost. Like “Freaky Friday”, but nowhere near as cool.

I know a fellow who claims to have had a root in Colonial Auckland.

Then I wandered through the Scars On The Heart section. The bits that always get me are the holocaust gallery, the quote from the man who says that when he returned from the war no one ever asked him what it was like, and the walls of names. So many names.

There’s also the spectacular wall in the World War 2 section that has a giant swastika painted on it. It’s such a powerful image. It’s just so full of energy and strength. I felt oppressed standing next to it. The giant sun of the Japanese flag felt more embracing and warm.

I also like how the memorial alcove for the New Zealand Wars has had the metal letters that formerly said “MAORI WARS” changed to “NEW ZEALAND WARS”. It feels like a bit of denial of history. The new letters are a little wobbly, and the marks in the marble where the old letters were attached are still visible.

I had a look around the cenotaph in front of the museum. There was a selection of flowers and wreaths from various organisations and countries. St John’s Ambulance had a card with their flowers that just had their logo and slogan “The first to care”. It seemed quite inappropriate, almost offensive at that time. Surely the family and friends of the soldiers are the first to care – because they are always caring?

Later Dylzno rang me up. He was in town, bored, so I recommended that he see “The Good Girl”. A couple of hours later he rang back saying that I should have warned him about Tim Blake Nelson’s penis. Ah ha ha.

Easter in Raglan

It was a twice-in-a-century occurrence. This year Easter Monday came the day before Anzac day, meaning a hearty five days in a row off work. Planning ahead I took annual leave on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afterwards, giving me a total of ten days in which I was free to stuff around doing nothing.

There was only one place where stuffing around could be done. Yes, it was Raglan.

Raglan, or Raggiz, is a small town located on the edge of Raglan Harbour. It is world famous for its excellent surf beaches, and a visit to Raglan was made in the excellent 1966 classic surfing film, “The Endless Summer”.

So off to Raglan I went. I set myself up in my whanau’s newly-acquired beach house. The previous owner seemed to have some sort of suburban granny flat fetish, as that is what the decor reminded me of, but after removing the net curtains (“Oh my God! There’s beautiful native bush and spectacular views of Raglan Harbour out there!”), the place began to feel more like a place where sitting around doing nothing was the thing to do.

I didn’t have my car with me, so if I wanted any supplies I had to walk into the township. It took me about 20 minutes, and along the way I was able to take in some lovely scenery, and check out all the insane people who live there.

People who live in Raglan are usually either retired or unemployed (not much difference there). Raglan attracts unemployed people from Hamilton because housing is cheaper and if you’re unemployed because you can’t make a living as an artist, there are plenty of people in similar situations. I shan’t comment further on Raglan’s artistic community, other to say that one of the leading artists is a fellow who runs an online gallery, but who thinks that animated gifs are good.

Apparently Raglan is slowly being overrun by holiday makers. Latte drinking yuppies. Wankers in Alfa Romeos. But where do you suppose they get their lattes from? Why, the local cafes and restaurants of Raglan!

Vinnie’s World of Eats is the best eating place. There are the two cafes, Tongue and Groove and Molasses, the restaurant at the Raglan Hotel, the Marlin (which serves really nice food if you don’t mind waiting an incredibly long time for it), and the Raglan Centennial Milk Bar and Cabaret. The Centennial is a sort of bar and cool bands come to Raglan and play there.

The rest of the shops down Raglan’s main street are pretty skanky. Most serve a duel purpose. Chemist/Lotto Shop, Bookshop/Skanky Gift Shop, and not to mention $5 Max Mr Max which sells a little bit of everything. The best shop is the Raglan Surf shop which sells cool surfing stuff.

On the last day of my holiday I had my car back so I drove out to Manu Bay and sat and watched some surfers surfing. Looking out to the Tasman Sea, it made me realise that in a city like Auckland that has two harbours, it’s not actually possible to see the open sea from anywhere. There’s either islands or headland in the way. But at Raglan the seemingly endless open ocean can be seen. It rules.