Isle de Waiheke

I spent the last few days on Waiheke Island with the whanau. Man, it was hot. It didn’t feel like Auckland – more like a tropical island.

While Waiheke is rapidly being overrun by holiday homes and vineyards, there is still a core of residents, many of whom look like they live there because they cannot, for whatever reason, live in a city.

Waiheke has several Old Waiheke Men. Their look usually consists of a long grey or white beard, messy hair, a threadbare singlet, rainbow-coloured shorts, tanned, leathery skin, and bare feet.

While there is a parking warden, locals do not like getting tickets. One guy dramatically ripped up his parking ticket on the main street (or at least attempted to, because it was made of that thick plasticy paper. Another guy attempted to sweet talk his way out of getting a ticket for an expired WOF, but when that didn’t work, he switched to verbally abusing the warden, before angrily driving off. Yeah, that’ll work.

There are lot of Waihekeans sporting tattoos that were en vogue in the mid ’90s. I saw one guy with an elaborate Nine Inch Nails tattoo, another guy with a Celtic snake wrapped around his arm, and many many of those thorny armband tattoos.

But for both locals and visitors, there was Sculptures on the Gulf. I trekked up and down and around looking the 2007 selection of sculptures, and I was very impressed. See hot pics at Flickr.


Emma the Enemist

It was a sunny Saturday arvo and Ashura and I were coming back to Auckland on the ferry after a day sightseeing on Waiheke. We had boarded the ferry and taken a couple of seats and waited for other passengers to board.

Soon a woman sat down in front of me. She was wearing bunny ears and holding a wine glass. I knew this could only mean one thing. Then I saw a woman down the row from her wearing a bridal veil, and my worst fears were confirmed – it was a hen’s party.

There wasn’t enough room in the row for all of the hen’s party to sit together, so one of them ended up sitting next to Ashura. She announced that we were sitting next to a bunch of booze hags and indeed she was wielding a wine glass (and all evidence suggested it was by no means the first glass of the day). Soon she started conversing with it and told us that she’d been over on the island for her sister’s hen’s party.

She wanted to know where Ashura was from. He truthfully said Japan, but this annoyed her and she demanded to know where he was really from. I was also interrogated as to my nationality. When I revealed I was a New Zealander, she started talking about how beautiful New Zealand was.

Emma, for that was her name, demanded to know how we’d met. Ashura said it was an unusual story and perhaps that it was best left to me to tell. So I told Emma the story, even though she wasn’t really interested and didn’t appear to detect the parts I’d fabricated.

It was time for Emma to tell us about her, because, well, that’s what’s really important. Emma was a New Zealander who’d been living in Sydney for a while. She liked it there and was studying for a bachelor of naturopathy. She lived there with her partner and she’d recently had some really bad PMS and had badgered him into agreeing to moving to New Zealand with her for at least a year.

Emma spied the skull-themed jewellery on Ashura and demanded to know what the skulls meant. He said it was about being naked, nothing to hide, or somethin’. Emma felt that Ashura was hiding something and wanted to “challenge” him on this. She said she often challenged people, and some of them didn’t like it.

A few years ago she saw a therapist. Not because she was messed up, you know, but just because she thought it would be helpful. It was helpful for her and she thinks everyone should see a therapist.

As part of Emma’s work as a naturopath undergraduate, she has performed thousands of colonic irrigations on people. She said that people who get in touch with their inner child had the most stuff flowing out of their bowels. Gallons of brown inner child flowing out of these people as Emma touched their souls.

Ashura’s skulls ‘n’ black attire had reminded her of someone – that guy in that movie. It took her a while to remember who, but finally she recalled it was Johnny Cash, as played by Joaquin Phoenix in “Walk the Line”. She felt it was important that Ashura know this.

Emma told us that even though she had a glass of wine (and a view pieces of grit/sand/ash in it) and had been drinking a lot that day, she wasn’t actually a drinker. Because of her work at a naturopath, she needed to set a good example for her clients and not be a complete and utter booze hag. In the past, however, she had previously been a complete and utter booze hag, but her partner wasn’t happy with her heavy drinking and wanted her to stop, so she did. But she was taking advantage of this celebratory event to make up her period of sobriety.

In high school Emma had been a bit of a bonker. She was known as the girl who bonked everyone, and she wondered what those people from high school would think of her now. See, she had changed. She wasn’t Emma the bonker any more. She had seen a therapist and changed.

Emma’s fellow booze hags had, by this stage, moved down to the lower deck and demanded that she come and join them, so Emma bid us an emotional farewell and she, her wine glass and inner child left us.

Almost a week later we were walking along High Street when Ashura heard a familiar sound. It was Emma. “Emma,” we yelled. She turned and looked but didn’t see us. We could have gone over and said hello, given up an update on our inner childs, but it seemed that we’d had a special moment on the ferry, and that special moment had passed.