New Zealand can be a very strange place.
Is it something in the water? The Hamilton City Council thinks so. Or perhaps it’s chemtrails, as infamously espoused by wannabe politician Colin Craig.
Whatever it is, as long as it keeps producing gold like this, long may it grace our atmosphere and waterways.
Here are 10 of the oddest stories from around New Zealand in 2013.
We start with two men who wasted no time in booking their spot on the list. As the rest of us were pretending to know the words to ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and making resolutions to never drink so much we get into drunken pork chop fights with the neighbours, two drunks on the North Shore were doing just that.
Unless the ‘pork chop’ is a highly-skilled kung-fu move, and we’ve all been misled by the intrinsic hilarity of food fights.
Life’s tough when you’re living on the streets, particularly the hellish inner-city streets of Invercargill. So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when Oscar the dog turned to a life of crime, brazenly launching daylight robberies at a local dairy, caught on CCTV pinching dog roll with a street value upward of $5.
But it did come as a shock to the tight-knit community – ’cause Oscar only had three legs, and that’s doggone hilarious.
Fighting those plucky rebels is obviously putting strain on Lord Vader’s finances. The Sith leader was caught withdrawing cash from a stolen credit card at a supermarket in Hokitika, no doubt planning to buy up some of the coast’s valuable natural resources for his coal-powered third attempt at a Death Star.
To best of our knowledge Darth wasn’t caught, the police’s feeble investigation skills no match for the powers of the dark side.
In Auckland, the difficulty of acquiring a house is pitched somewhere between the Black Caps achieving a Test series victory and the 12 labours of Hercules. But in the Waikato they pop into existence out of the ether like quantum particles, and the residents can’t get rid of them.
No, not really. But if you were – no, you’re not. But if it was 1995 (which it’s not) and you wanted to call yourself a member of Rednex (which you don’t) and earn a living singing ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ (when does it end!?), the techno-country one-hit wonders announced in April they were looking at setting up a New Zealand franchise.
Your move, Los Del Rio.
Is there anything that can’t be improved by dunking it in boiling oil? Apparently not. Jim Russell, the inventor of the deep-fried pie got the idea while deep-frying some donuts.
But it’s surprising it took this long for someone to invent the deep-fried pie. Portly English monarch Henry VIII brought execution by boiling to England in the 16th century, and there’s no doubt he loved a good pastry – but it took a Kiwi living in the 21st century to bring the two together, and condemn a generation of southern farmers to delicious and tasty death by heart disease.
Much like its coal-hungry power station, Huntly is a little behind the times.
Mayor Allan Sanson says the small city Waikato town refuses to tear down its DEKA sign because it’s a “national icon”.
“You go through Cambridge, they’ve got a horse and of course you go through Taihape, they’ve got a gumboot, get to Hunterville, they’ve got a dog…. But Huntly’s got a DEKA sign.”
And Auckland’s getting a shiny new convention centre, but you don’t see anyone kicking up a fuss about that, do you?
Late in June police, under the impression they were responding to a kidnapping, instead found an elderly Dunedin woman in a rather sticky situation – she’d glued her mouth shut while trying to treat a tingling cold sore.
Undeterred, she rang 111 and used a series of grunts and taps to tell the operator where she was.
“I had to tap on the phone, one tap for no and two taps for yes, and then it took a long time to narrow down the streets and then all the numbers too.”
Asked if she’d learned her lesson, she responded, “Mmhmm.”
For a man who’s yet to win an election, Colin Craig created perhaps more buzz this year than any other politician. But there’s another type of buzz Craig won’t want to attract – Aldrin, whose opinion of moon landing skeptics can be summed up in one fist.
Craig later said the media had “mischievously and inaccurately” credited him with a belief in conspiracy theories – which sounds like a bit of a conspiracy theory itself.
Lawyer Brett Daniel-Smith said his client’s head was “not in a good place”. It’s not clear if by that he meant mentally or in Nelson.