While it feels like nothing is happening in New Zealand except the interminable cricket season and lots of sitting at work glowering at your friend's Facebook photos of the Coromandel, there is plenty going on if you scratch the surface. Maybe even enough to keep you amused in the two weeks of offseason for rugby.
A Waiau Pa jockey who was in a critical condition after a horrendous riding accident yelled all of the words to Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" to his friends as he emerged from a coma. Chris Dell sustained significant head injuries after being thrown from a horse before Christmas, but was able to holler word for word the homage to big butts upon waking from an induced coma. "Anaconda" hasn't moved a young man this much since Drake's appearance in the video for the song, though as yet no scientific links have been made between the hip hop hit and the teenage jockey's miraculous recovery.
The best kind of Kiwi news always involves beating an Australian, so the haka cry was heard around the country when a Queenstown man took it upon himself to confiscate the car keys of an Aussie he witnessed dangerously overtaking another car. The local man was so enraged by the tourist's driving that he did a U-turn and forced the driver to pull over, then reached through the window to pull the keys out of the ignition. He told the Sydney man that he would phone the police when back in cellphone range, and left the tourist stranded by the roadside with his wife and two elderly companions until they managed to flag down a passing car. While many on social media praised the equivalent of a citizen's arrest and the tourist will now have to appear in court on January 8, police have suggested that others who witness bad driving should probably not attempt to take matters into their own hands.
While it may be a stereotype to think North Shore teens are dicks, a 19-year-old man from Beach Haven has been charged with what could only be described as dickish behaviour. Isaac Culmer, under the user name"Somwone Speshal" scammed at least 17 people into buying a MacBook Pro on different trading websites around the country, sending themonly an empty courier bag in lieu of their new gear. Any old knob can scam someone on the internet but it really takes somwone speshal to actually pay for a courier to really twist the knife into the people they have duped.
Summer has now been officially ruined with the news that thieves have stolen several hundred ice cream cone moulds from one of the country's key cone-makers. Luckily there probably won't be a cone shortage so there is no need to turn to Frujus just yet.
New Zealanders often makes worldwide headlines for trying to give their children baffling and offensive names—who could forget Bus Shelter Number 16, Anal, or the twins Benson and Hedges? The latest attempts at original names include SeniorConstable, (), Christ, Lucifer, and many attempts at Justice under the guise of different wacky spellings. Many royal references were rejected, though apparently Lorde is okay.
And a stingray has been paying regular visits to the lagoon in Onehunga. While the video of the creature looks like an outtake from the original Jaws, it apparently just really likes doing laps, treating the harbour as if it were Queen St on a Saturday night. Speaking of boyracers on Queen St, a clip recently appeared on social media of a man riding a shopping trolley down Auckland's main drag. The police condemned the stunt but it's since racked up more than 5 million views on Facebook, more than one view for each person in the country.
And now the one everyone has been waiting for: bird news. Pigeons are stinking up the main street of Hawera and locals are very unhappy about it, worried that they will drive away tourists. "Visitors do not need to have the chance of being pooped on while visiting the town." Fair enough, they already have to deal with the fact that they have chosen to visit Hawera without being shat on. Also in the Waikato a rare bittern has spent the last 18 months being nursed back to health after being shot by duck hunters. The bird is so shy though that sometimes the staff at Hamilton Zoo can't even find it, and haven't yet been able to get close enough to work out which sex it is.
Follow Carolyn Wadey-Barron on Twitter: @wowcat9