Category Archives: Local Talent

Damian McKenzie: Hamilton’s greatest thing since the invention of things?

Chiefs livewire Damian McKenzie will start at fullback for the All Blacks in the first Bledisloe test. Self-confessed Wannabe Rugby Mum Angela Cuming takes a moment to appreciate the many talents of our (adopted) hometown hero.

 

First let me say that Damian is practically family. My Aunty Marion and Uncle Peter have a grandson who went to varsity with Damian and they are good mates and one time he brought Damian over to their house for dinner. I am insanely jealous about this because my Aunty Marion is an amazing cook and by Uncle Peter loves having a few beers and telling people everything that is currently wrong with the state of modern rugby and I feel if I were there Damian and I would have become firm friends and probably snuck out early to go to Shenanigans for a Wild Turkey and Coke.

 

He probably would have looked at me like this when he was suggesting we go for a beer:

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My Aunty Marion later reported that Damian was a very nice young man and very quiet and polite. This was a couple of years ago and I predicted then that he would be an All Black before too long. I based this prediction on a few things, most notably the fact he seemed to be playing very well for the Mighty Mooloo Men of the Waikato Rugby Union.

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Damian made his debut for the Chiefs in 2015 and was named in the All Blacks squad in 2016.

I for one am very happy about his sudden rise to rugby fame. I am what you called a Wannabe Rugby Mum, or WRB. I have three little kids and my dream was for at least one of my children to one day play rugby for New Zealand. Then I ended up with three boys and I had to re-think my ambitions but I figured the All Blacks were about as good as the Black Ferns so my dream was back on.

As an WRB I have a very special place in my heart for Damien. A lot of it has to do with his smile.  His wholesome, cheeky, yes-I-know-I-am-a-little-bit-cute-but I-don’t-have-time-for-romance-I-am-here-to-play-rugby-and-I-call-my-mum-every-Sunday smile.

I love that he’s not the biggest bloke on the field. That he’s probably had to work harder at training than a lot of his team mates, that he’s had (and still has) doubters questioning his ability to play at the top level.

My little boy Tommy is not yet two but already loves running around with a rugby ball. Tommy is an identical twin,born at 34 weeks. He was in NICU for a fortnight. If ever he decides he wants to be a professional rugby player I will tell him about Damian, about how he was never the biggest or strongest but he had the heart of a lion and when it comes to playing for the Chiefs or the All Blacks that’s what counts most.

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Did I also mention Damian’s smile?

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Sometimes he switches up his smile and he does this:

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And then he does this:

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People say Damian was a surprise selection to start as fullback for the first Bledisloe game in Sydney but people who said that must never have watched him play rugby because he’s always been a standout on the field.

I asked Mr Angela, who when not letting our cats out at 5am or cleaning baby spew off the rug, is  Very Respected rugby writer Paul Cully.

He says Damian is ”brave, fast and has fancy footwork” and he wasn’t surprised at all to see him selected at fullback.

”McKenzie plays above his weight,” he said.

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”He is definitely the real thing.”

And finally, if ever there was any doubt about Damien’s skills as an All Black, let my Google image search results have the final word.

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And Damian, if you are ever over at Aunty Marion’s again please feel free to invite me along. It won’t be weird at all, promise.

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Can You Believe It’s Winter in Hamilton?!

The Waikato winter may be known for its harsh(ish) temperatures and unrelenting fog, but still roses are blooming, gorgeous men from hot (literally and figuratively) countries are descending on the city to perform ball tricks in shorts (not the only ones to show a little leg on this roundup! Scroll down for more), and parents are keeping their children entertained in the great Hamilton outdoors.

This may be the perfect city.

This is your latest #lovethetron roundup.

Dying of cuteness overload from this little snapshot of @jakequinn and his brood of mini-Jakes just chillin’ on a winter weekend. Being a dad is so hot right now!

Being a mum could be pretty hot right now too if you are anything like @nzdodo who discovered this cool BMX track in Hamilton!

@juliehardakerNZ heads to the FIFA and hangs out with these gorgeous, colourful mini Colombians!

A big Saturday morning Aglio Olio Hello from @megancampbellnz and mini-Megan!

Meanwhile @Camtheguzz takes her brood to the Hamilton Zoo before the FIFA. Love the silly faces!

A pair of Hamilton foodies: @chamfy celebrates @hipecon’s birthday!

So many Hamilton icons in one place! @MOMENTUMCheryl and @ReeVarcoe check out everyone’s favourite cupcake place now open in Garden Place.

Nawwwwww. Cute @justlyrica goes tree planting on Arbor Day

So swish! Love the @xero stand at Fieldays from @iscolincrowley!


@skinditty hangs out with high-rollers from ‘Straya at @mysterycreek

Sneak peek into @juliehardaker’s winter garden, where roses bloom even in the cold Hamilton winter. Stunning!

Epic shot at the FIFA U20 from @leontakesshots!

@PeteClouston cheers on Colombia ahead of their game against Qatar. Great colours!

From the real thing to something a little bit different: @hornykitten snaps this cute FIFA display at everyone’s favourite comic book store @MK1Comics

And it was all yellow: @chamfy snaps Garden Place at sunset. Magic.

Gorgeous winter full moon in full bloom, from @h_ahartley!

Why play Bejewelled when you can just wear it? @chamfy finds a novel way to counteract the winter blues on a rainy Hamilton day.

Best thing about Fieldays? The totally awesome fashion! Loving the pink gumboots @Rural_News!

Despite the looming rainclouds, @mmiisskkaa indulges in a classic Hamilton pastime at the lake!

‘Mist-erious’: Beautiful early-morning shot of the famed Waikato fog from @waikato

Traffic light through the early-morning mist from @ns510x. So cool.

Amazing sight: @chamfy snaps magic oozing from @meamobile in this early morning shot.

Yet another covetable office window view in Hamilton -this time from @AdamCrouchley. Absolutely stunning, first thing in the morning!

From fog to frost: We love this closeup of an icy morning from @skinditty!

Build our own burger, @G00d_Neighbour? We’re totally there!

What’s Korean for ‘yum yum’? @hamfoodblog has the perfect winter lunch at Minsokchon!

Part 1 of @UrsulaEdg’s perfect Hamilton night out: Dinner at Victoria Street Bistro.

Part 2 of @UrsulaEdg’s perfect Hamilton night out: Drinks at Wonderhorse!

Worthy adversary: @waikatomuseum races us to 1,500 and wins with 3 followers to spare!

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Can You Believe It’s Autumn in Hamilton?!

Autumn in Hamilton is a beautiful time of year. Leaves in violent hues of reds and yellows are blown around on days like today. And while the people of Hamilton bundle up and prepare for the winter ahead, the city never stops.

Whether it’s great food shared with friends, international musical and sporting superstars arriving on our banks, or snap-happy Hamiltonians taking photos of their favourite icons -Hamilton is alive and kicking.

This is your latest #lovethetron roundup!

Autumnal stunner: we love days like this too, @ns510x!

Agree, @waikato!

British Deputy High Commissioner @reilly_ya snaps this eye-catching memorial to the 204 Waikato soldiers who fell in WW1

@ThievingBandito snaps the iconic HamiltON balloon flying high.

Have you tried the new menu at @G00d_Neighbour yet? We can’t wait!

 

 

The night markets on a blustery Saturday night. @ns510x is all about the comfort foods!

 

The perfect homemade #lovethetron breakfast always includes @VolareBread, right @richtalexander?

 

Hamilton’s masked foodie @HamFoodBlog dives into Japanese at Waraku on Victoria Street

We’re with @kyleebeee on this one: @WhittakersNZ + @ZealongTea is genius. Possibly our two favourite food groups, ever.

And on the topic of chocolate and tea: a girl after our own heart. This is how @chamfy does a night in with @hornykitten. Bless.

Guess who’s coming to Garden Place soon?!!!! We can’t wait either, @webtaniwha!

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: either @justlyrica and @hipecon have shrunk overnight, or kids under 20 just aren’t as small as they used to be anymore…heeh @fifau20

 

The chicest barber in town is now in the hippest building in town! Check out Fox Kennedy Barbers, now in the revamped Riverbank Mall. You may even run into man-about-town @webtaniwha, if you’re lucky!

 

@NZVic heads to RoughCut at everyone’s favourite Black Box theatre @MeteorNZ

 

@LeonTakesShots of New Zealand’s prettiest shopping mall at night.

We’ve been blogging for nearly three years, and we still love a good bridge shot. Classic Hamilton. Eat your heart out Harbour Bridge. Love this from @AdamCrouchley.

At 5.45am, @chamfy sits perched on the highest balcony in Hamilton watching the city come to life. Wow!

 

@megancampbellnz gets in early on the @fifau20 action at Waikato Stadium!

@timmacindoe cheers on Pasifika by Nature headliners, Fraser High School. Love it!

 

Check out this cool crew from @QuotientApp representing the Tron at #Xerocon: @Rocketspark @exsalerate

@ricky_martin popped by Hamilton and @BSMPhotography was on hand for a good bon bon shaking! 😉

Last day of school! @NZVic and the mini-Annisons head to everyone’s favourite Hamilton Happy Place.

*Melts* We love you baby red pandas from @Hamilton_Zoo!

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Free Parking Project

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1. Lisa Rayner / Turning Point 2. Mark Curtis / Butter sheep & Lamb 3. Chelsea Pascoe / Triple Stack 4. Michael Tolmay & Seán Dunne / i come in gold 5. The Spring Issue 6. David Ed Cooper / Sea Wolf (2) Source: http://freeparkingspace.tumblr.com

Ok, so the Free Parking Space Project is obviously a brilliant project that primarily took place in November BUT the reason we wanted to feature it is because creative, awesome things happen far more often in Hamilton than some people will make out, it’s just a case of us having to engage and get excited.
Keep an eye out for future exhibits by Free Parking Space and keep an eye on the blog, because we’ll be talking about other Hamilton art projects and galleries in the lead up to the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival!

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Waikato University

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Mainly taken in autumn and summer, the university’s best seasons, these are just a slice of what there is to see on campus and the fascinating things that go on there.

Out in Hillcrest each year the University adds students, academics and an air of grace, purpose and innovation to our city. Hamilton is blessed to have such an institution – with its outrageously pretty grounds that are unique in New Zealand – so we’d like to wish a happy 50th Anniversary to Waikato University!

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Hamilton East Village Market

“Anything and everything a chap can unload…”

I kept this line in mind from disney’s bed knobs and broomsticks film as I wandered around the Hamilton East Village Market. There’s something about this market that really represents the Hamilton East identity from the bric a brac to local jam and soap. I really love the diverse range of markets that we have access to in Hamilton, because they are a really great way to support local and create a community.

There’s more information about it so you can make sure to visit next time it’s on. Anyone setting up a flat or new house or cafe absolutely needs to check out all the curiosities while for families you can pick up plants for a day gardening, American sweets, soaps and rows and rows of board games and books. Then after all your shopping is done you can relax with a coffee or hot chocolate at Mavis or Rocket espresso.

Basically this market can be a part of the perfect local cheap day out.

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#NZMusicMonth Guest Post: Hunting Hamilton Music

When we discovered HP of @HPwritesstuff on the blog http://hphamilton.blogspot.co.nz, we were immediately taken by his passion for music and his ability to take his thorough and wide-ranging knowledge of musical-everythings and write about it in such a way that even musical n00bs (like us) were hooked. So of course, we absolutely had to have him as a #NZMusicMonth guest blogger.

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Hamilton Music is not something that runs down the street howling and whooping in the kinds of ecstasy that makes you think it’s on, well…ecstasy. It is a more contained beast. It is humble in nature and can be quite well hidden. Hamilton Music lives in practice rooms, garages and pubs across the city and is almost entirely nocturnal. One may see signs of its existence on the streets in a faded promotional poser or a rather dashing young man with guitar case, but it takes some doing to see it in its natural habitat.

On the trail of Hamilton Music sees visits to favourite live music venues like Static, Altitude, Biddy Mulligans and Diggers. Once inside these venues, the true nature of Hamilton Music can be found. It’s raucous and pummelling and its reputation for grit is truly deserved. There might be claims that Hamilton Music is a tad adversarial. And it is. It’s no surprise that the Meteor hosts the seminal Hamilton Music event of the year, Hamtown Smakdown. No surprise too that rock, hardcore punk and metal spew out of the guitars, drums and mics of local heroes. Bands like Devilskin, Team Kill and Deathnir smash through sets like they’re pumpkins. But it doesn’t stop there.

Continuing our anthropological voyage sees Hamilton as the home of hip hop too. The vast majority of hip hop collective Villains call Hamilton home. They’ve come together when the likes of 4 Corners, JB and Frankton Zoo all saw the potential of collaboration. Add to that, the soulful jams of Raiza Biza and Farizone. Hey, for that matter, add DJ Sir Vere to the mix! Hip hop is just as Hamilton as the heavy stuff.

While our hip neighbours to the west get some great bands touring through and, looking forward to playing Raglan is regularly mentioned, the culture of local bands playing local venues is something uniquely Hamilton. There is an array of arty, groovy, peculiar and ultimately rather enjoyable music here. There is something about the town that allows for musical expression in all directions than a concentrated “scene”. There’s something in the concrete holding up the WINTEC, the steel holding up the bridges, there’s something in the fog that has allowed for music both vast and successful. Kimbra is Hamilton Music as much as Katchafire. They struck out in a town that they knew could be louder.

With all this talent, Hamilton Music can continue to grow its audience. So, head down to see chamber music at the uni’s performing arts centre or ska coming from upstarts, Chatchy. Hopefully you’ll be dressed as the Mad Hatter and hear rockers Cheshire Grimm and Snake Oil Pedders play the annual ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ gig at Altitude. Go out and hear Vegas Brown in any number of his bands belting out your favourite songs. And then go home and grab whatever qualifies as an instrument and add to the ruckus.

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