Still the cham­pion

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Tom Ur­win

Pai­hia man Rei Rei Mor­gan suc­cess­fully de­fended the ti­tle he won last year at the kina-suck­ing con­test at Satur­day’s It! Bay of Is­lands Food and Wine Fes­ti­val, fin­ish­ing his quota al­most be­fore his ri­vals had started. The pie-eat­ing and oys­ter-shuck­ing events were won by Alex Ward (Kerik­eri) and Shaun Hyl­ton-Cave (Whanga¯rei), while an Auck­lan­der re­ceived a prize for a self­in­flicted oys­ter-eat­ing in­jury. Peo­ple cel­e­brate mile­stone birthdays in all sorts of ways, but Auck­land man a Rangi Turner is prob­a­bly unique.

There was no cel­e­bra­tion with friends and fam­ily when he turned 50 on Tues­day. In­stead he climbed aboard his bike at Cape Reinga and pointed it in the di­rec­tion of Bluff.

Rangi, who suf­fered a heart at­tack 12 months ago, said he was rid­ing the length of the coun­try, un­der the Man Up flag, to raise aware­ness of and funds for Mike King’s Key to Life sui­cide pre­ven­tion pro­gramme, To­tara Hospice in the Waikato, the Can­cer So­ci­ety in the Bay of Plenty and Man Up in Ma­nurewa, with his wife as his sup­port crew.

A com­pan­ion who had planned to ride with him had had to pull out, he said, and ar­range­ments for a camper van had fallen through, so the cou­ple would be camp­ing in a tent over the two and a half to three weeks he ex­pected to be on the road.

He can be fol­lowed on the Face­book page Rangi’s ride for char­ity, while do­na­tions can be paid into the Ki­wibank ac­count 38-9016-0225715-02.

Icame from a fam­ily of 11, and we fought like cats and dogs. When I was lit­tle I had to go out­side and pick up a bag of fire­wood be­fore I was al­lowed my din­ner. My dad left when I was seven, and mum threw a pot of mashed pota­toes over his head. We loved our mum. We all still do.

I came here from Taranaki 30 years ago. I’m Te Rarawa now. I used to come up from Auck­land just for the 90 Mile fish­ing com­pe­ti­tion. We had an ice cream par­lour in Otara. I asked the Mrs if we should sell the shop and move north. We sold it in three weeks and moved up in 1987.

I love it up here, not the scal­ly­wags, or the gangs… but it’s the peo­ple. I love them. I sell them all of their wa­ter­cress. I do­nate some money to the in­ter­me­di­ate school for what I do. I have com­mit­ted my­self to that school. I give lots of wa­ter­cress to the marae when there is a tangi. I started off charg­ing them, but then I knew that wasn’t right. Aroha mai.

When I’m not here, I’ll be out pick­ing fresh wa­ter­cress ev­ery day. I have five farm­ers who let me pick on their land. It clears the wa­ter­ways and frees the wa­ter. This is what I do. It’s a liv­ing.

I’m re­tired, but I don’t want to be wast­ing away. I’d rather be do­ing some­thing.

Tom Ur­win

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