Snubbed! Yep, I’ve been hearing from people all week that Tauranga has been snubbed.
Of course it was the Queen that started it. It often is. Those pesky royals. Ever since she ladled out all those gongs last weekend my phone has been running hot.
“What about last week’s column, eh?” I tell them, “that was pretty good.” But no, not a skerrick of interest.
“We’ve been snubbed!” they say. So I, of course, promise to investigate. “I’m not bloody Fair Go,” I feel like saying but, no, I promise to investigate.
Because it does seem a little iffy at first glance. Some 169 honours of various varieties, including a DSD (New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration) to the mysterious “Serviceman M” who cannot be named due to his life-threateningly secret position in the New Zealand Defence Force.
And of those 169 honours, how many came to the residents of Tauranga? Three. Three? The fifth biggest city ‘n’ all, surely we should be good for at least a dozen or so? Even Katikati had one.
So in came the calls, despite me quite clearly not resembling Fair Go in any way, and of course more than a few of the slightly conspiracy-minded among their number put it down to the Labour government and insisted that everybody knows how Labour hate Tauranga basically because of Simon Bridges being a National MP, which is why they won’t build a bypass for Katikati and got rid of all our councillors. And now won’t give us any honours.
I am, however – despite still not being anything like Fair Go – pleased to announce that I have solved this apparently baffling mystery.
Tauranga’s population is around 150,000, about three per cent of the country’s total. Three per cent of 169 is five. So the exact number should be five and if you take into account the extra guy in Katikati and the unknown soldier – who may very well be from Tauranga – there’s your five, no mystery, no snub, proud Taurangans can sleep easy. Actually, is it Taurangans? Dunno. What do you call someone from Tauranga?
Moving right along, I have information to pass on of the musical variety.
First of all, with great sadness, I'd like to note the passing of Richard Nunns, who succumbed to Parkinson’s disease earlier this week. He was one of the country’s most important exponents of taonga pūoro, an artist with extraordinary musical vision, commitment and passion, who with his musical partner Hirini Melbourne did much for the renaissance of these instruments while creating a legacy of breathtaking music. I have heard this news literally as I am writing, so sorry not to give Richard the space such an important figure deserves.
But back to the local: the album that classic rock outfit Electric Universe launched at Jack Dusty’s in Bureta a couple of weeks back is now available for all to check out on Spotify. It’s called Timeless and includes ten songs, of which new single Easy Rider is a tough little slice of guitar-riffery.
There are actually more than a few local acts lurking on Spotify. Tuesday’s Pilgrim released a single last month, as did Mount Maunganui band Marmalade Skies, whose Mount Girls is a breezy helping of melodic rock.
You'll also find Tauranga singer/songwriter Luke Thompson on Spotify, his latest being a lovely Paul Simon-inflected folk tune from last year, From Shanghai (To Wherever I Will Go). Luke is playing a rare show in town at 146 Devonport Road this Saturday (June 12) in support of singer Jeremy Redmore, previous writer and frontman with Midnight Youth. Jeremy's album of last year, The Brightest Flame, got rather swallowed by Covid but is well worth checking out and he is promising a full band for the Tauranga show. Details and tickets are available through: www.eventfinda.co.nz
And in closing, let me just make note that this weekend in history marks the 55th anniversary of the Beatles album Yesterday and Today being withdrawn from American shops, which it had already been shipped to, the day before its release. The reason was the cover. Seeing it now, the only surprising thing is that it got so far...