Meet Kaita¯ ia’s Basil Fawlty
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.