Being home on a Sunday is quite unique. If we do make it home, we’re tired from the night before. We’ll say hi to our family, then go to sleep. Because we work on weekends, our life and our timetable is different from most other entrepreneurs or self-employed people.
This last Sunday I had just finished a gig with my bro Che Fu, as Hedlok, up on Coronet Peak. I’m an ambassador for Coronet Peak, so we played with the mighty Salmonella Dub up on the top of the hill while people were snowboarding down the hill, giving them the time of their life.
What I keep remembering is how privileged and how blessed we are to have a job like this, where we’re able to give enjoyment to the crowd. One of the best things about being a performer is seeing people having fun.
Come Sunday, we’re normally travelling back from a gig. We finish work about 4am, try and wind down from the music, and get to sleep around 5am. We’ll get a late checkout, then fly back home from wherever we are in the world. That’s been our lifestyle for a long time.
If I could, I would put a basketball into every boy and girl’s hand around the world. Basketball has given me focus in some of my hardest times. If you get bored or you’re down, you go shoot some hoops. You have the camaraderie of other players, too. When I go back to Wellington, I still call my mates and we meet at 8am for a game. These are guys I’ve known for more than 30 years. During the week, I’ve been putting more than 20 hours into my Lynfield basketball teams. I’m a coach for the Lynfield College U19
A and A19 B teams. We practice at 7am Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and then we play on Wednesday nights.
When I moved to Auckland, you couldn’t make the moves to be successful in music from Wellington.
After I left, the boys – Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Black Seeds – they broke out of that mould.
We have so much time away that our families miss out. That’s one of the pitfalls of being a muso,
you’re always away. It is tough. Between my wife and I we share more than 20 roles – clothes designer, video director and editor, managing yourself, being a coach, being a dad, being a granddad.
I talk to youth in schools up and down the country all the time. We don’t have enough people to inspire our kids around the country. We need more people to start doing that, because the All Blacks and the Silver Ferns can’t go and see everyone. We need more people to go out and be inspirational to our kids.
I’m always a big advocate for going out to see the kids who are so far away no one ever visits. I went to one school, then didn’t go back for 18 months. When I returned they said: “Why did you take so long to come back?” They were actually waiting for me to come back. They hadn’t had someone come out and ask how they were doing in a year and a half. If I grew up in a state house, or I’ve lived rurally and know what that person experiences, I can go: “Hey, there’s no difference between you and me. If I can take on the world, you can do it too.” I want to be that “Ahhhh cool” person.
Growing up with Mum and Dad, on Sundays we would share a meal. My dad would get up in the morning and cook, and that would be our to’ona’i, our Sunday meal that we’d share together. That would be with my mum, my elder sister and my other siblings when they were home. That was our ritual. Most Samoan or Polynesian families will have a meal together on a Sunday.
My mum’s an artist and she’s incredible. She’s 80, and has made it into some incredible things. She’s made it into the Wallace Art Awards, and now she’s getting into it again. All my brothers and sisters are in the arts, as well. When you break it down, we’re some pretty out-there Samoans.
I’ve been watching the incredibly inspiring Being Serena on TVNZ
On Demand, which follows tennis champion Serena Williams through pregnancy, marriage and her return to tennis. Being interested in clothes, this has led me down a path of tenniswear history.
Tennis became popular in Victorian England, so the kit echoed what was fashionable in clothes at the time. Women wore long dresses over the standard corsets, petticoats and stockings, and this all prevented motion in the name of modesty.
From the 1920s onwards, the clothes started to become tres chic.
In 1919, French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen wore a kind of sleeveless shirt vest and pleated skirt combination (all white), but her bare arms and knees caused a furore at Wimbledon. I’d gladly wear the same outfit on a summer’s day in 2018, paired with a big hat.
Today, the male gaze still casts a controlling influence over what female tennis players can and can’t wear, as the banning of Williams’ black unitard showed. But, who knows? Perhaps the crowd will be wearing something similar in a hundred years, when women can finally wear whatever they want on court.
This compilation of clothing owes more to historical tenniswear than pieces that are court-ready. Some of the pieces could certainly go a few rounds, but I’d call these more courtside-ready.
1/ Nom*D polo top, $395 2/ Salasai linen top, $345 3/ Witchery pleated shorts, $110 4/ C&M Penny tennis skirt, $360 5/ Marle Nyla sweater, $220 6/ Staple + Cloth Margot skirt, $299 7/ Liam Aro polo top, $149 8/ Karen Walker Sweet Cat eyewear, $349 9/ Postie shorts, $25 10/ Kate Sylvester Quilla jacket, $649 11/ Staple + Cloth Mellow T-shirt, $159 12/ Workshop Denim Bella sweater, $249 13/ Puma Basket Ostrich sneakers, $150