Meet Kaita¯ ia’s Basil Fawlty

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Paul Sharp

I’M orig­i­nally from Dunedin. In 1970 I came up here for a hol­i­day to see my par­ents, who owned the Orana, and I for­got to go home. I met a lovely lady here named Jude, plucked up the courage to ask her out, and the rest is his­tory.

We’ve been mar­ried for 47 years and have two chil­dren. We moved from the beach out to Pama­puria two years ago. We have two and a half acres, peace­ful and quiet, and it’s closer for me to come to work.

I started cut­ting hair in Auck­land in 1968. In the 1990s I used to go down to Dil­worth (board­ing) School and cut hair. I had a con­tract with a mate, Brent Peters, and we each had to cut 50 boys’ hair per evening. I had an au­di­ence of 500 wait­ing for their turn. We would each have a list of kids, and each kid had a num­ber. There were al­ways some kids down there from Kaita¯ ia.

When we cut their hair we had to keep it off the ears, off the col­lar and out of the eyes. The boys were al­lowed to keep a longer fringe, as was the fash­ion, so long as it wasn’t in their eyes. Now there’s a sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of bar­bers do­ing that job. Brent’s son Damien has taken over.

I’ve cut hair for most of the North­land MPs. I love the good-hu­moured peo­ple com­ing in, and en­joy rark­ing up my cus­tomers. I still en­joy com­ing to work ev­ery day. I wouldn’t want to be veg­e­tat­ing at home. My wife says I am the Fawlty Tow­ers of bar­ber­ing, and some­times I can be quite rude.

Peo­ple ei­ther like it or they don’t. They usu­ally come for a gos­sip and a hair­cut. One of my cus­tomers said, “He keeps us in­formed, like all good hair­dressers. If Sharpie knows, the whole town knows.”

I’ve no plans to re­tire any time soon.

Paul Sharp

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