Announcing: The first ever #lovethetron 24hr flash fiction competition 

You might have noticed that this year, we’ve decided to do things a bit differently. In that vein of riffing our way through the year, we’ve decided to combine three of our favourite things:

  • Storytelling
  • Talking in 140 characters
  • Hamilton

So we’re running our first ever Flash Fiction Competition! We’ve already asked around and it sounds like lots of people* are simply gagging for it.

It’s a bit of an experiment so bear with us if it’s a bit weird the first time. Lots of the greatest things in life are.

So, with that caveat in mind, get ready!

The Rules:

Each time, we will give you a piece of Hamilton inspiration on the blog. It may be a picture, a character, a phrase or something else Hamilton. After the post has been published, you will have exactly 24hrs in which to send in 140-character stories to us via Twitter.

Every story must be in response to the #Flashfiction tweet that is sent out by @lovethetron. If we don’t see it, we can’t promote or include it.

Each story must contain at least one character, setting somewhere in Hamilton (doesn’t have to be real) and an action. Each story can be no longer than 140 characters. Brownie points if good defeats evil or people live happily ever after or we see the downfall of Auckland.

You can enter as many times as you like. After 24 hours, we will select the top 4 stories for people to vote on.

Ok, ready?

The First #lovethetron Flash Fiction

Deadline for entries: 8pm, 8 June 2017

Inspiration:

Your inspiration is this Hamilton image from @durningalison

Good luck! 

xoxo lovethetron 

*ok 19 people in a Twitter poll

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An Aucklander moves to Hamilton

Some are born in Hamilton, others choose to live there and some others yet have Hamilton thrust upon them, as plenty of Aucklanders are finding out. So what’s it like to actually make the move from Auckland to Hamilton? What hurdles can you expect along the way, and most pertinently for Aucklanders, the real question: is there really a life after Auckland? To answer these questions and more, we asked one of Hamilton’s newest Auckland migrants –Gary Farrow (@garyfarrow) -to describe the experience.

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As the familiar thud of the wheels and the ominous rumble of the reverse thrusters reverberated throughout the plane, the inevitable post-holiday blues quickly wafted over me. I had reached the end of my latest trip to the United States, and arrived back in my lifelong home of Auckland. It was September 2016.

 
Despite the blues, though, there was something new brewing in me. It was a resolve that I hadn’t quite felt before; a renewed vigour to search for that evermore elusive phenomenon in New Zealand – a stable job in my trade of journalism.

 
By that point in the year, I had clocked up over two and half months of travel – including one long time away to visit Japan, Taiwan, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany. I had fared well on that journey. I had travelled frugally but nothing had gone wrong. So I thought, maybe it was time to start thinking outside the square like that in my search for work and existential fulfilment in New Zealand.

 
The day after arriving back from America, I opened up the usual job search avenues. I saw a job was going for a reporter role at Hamilton News. If I can travel around a menagerie of countries, I thought to myself, do well for myself and be genuinely happy, what’s to stop that sort of surprise coming from somewhere as humble as somewhere outside of Auckland?

 
I applied for the job, and the next morning I received an email inviting me to Hamilton for an interview. I made the visit, met the editor Danielle Nicholson, we clicked, and the day after that I was offered the job. It hadn’t even been a week since I arrived back from America and applied for the job. It was the fastest and most positive response I had ever received to a job application.

 
A big decision faced me. Was I really going to up sticks, leave New Zealand’s international gateway city of Auckland, and move to humble Hamilton, which I could seriously say I was less familiar with than Los Angeles from which I had just travelled? I thought long and hard, eventually coming to the conclusion that I may as well give it a shot. I had been searching for a full time journo gig in Auckland for six years, to no avail. If I didn’t like the job, or Hamilton for that matter, I could just move back to Auckland anyway. I excitedly accepted the job offer.
I whizzed down to Hamilton with my sister Amelia (with whom I had also travelled to America) the following Monday, went to a sequence of five studio apartment viewings, and I found one I liked in Melville near Waikato Hospital – a mint, two-year-old unit that I could only have dreamed of affording to rent in Auckland. I submitted my request to stay in the apartment. I couldn’t believe it. I was really moving to Hamilton.

 
On the way home, Amelia uploaded some introspective Snapchat videos to her feed, showing the Waikato countryside streaming past the lens, overlaid with text saying how sad she was that I was having to leave our home city to get work, whilst also expressing happiness that I had the chance for such an adventure. It was going to be hard for my family, not just myself, that I was leaving.

 
Fast forward about a week to when I had loaded my car to leave for Hamilton, and Amelia put on a sad puppy dog face as we prepared to say our goodbyes. I, a 29-year-old man, burst into tears. This was the moment of change.

 
When my mum had finished helping me set up in my new Hamilton residence, she left, fighting back emotion. I still felt sad, but I also felt liberated, empowered, and excited. I was ready for this.

 
In my first week in the job, I made many valuable contacts – thanks to my new editor Dani, her fiance Chris Simpson, and the reporter who preceded me, Ged Cann, who was there to hand over the reins. He introduced me to Chamanthie Sinhalage, aka Chamfy, over coffee at Mr Milton’s Canteen. She told me about the #lovethetron hashtag, the impromptu Hamilton Coffee Mafia gatherings instigated on Twitter, and emphasised the power of these things and their innate ability to bring a community together.

 
I thought the concept sounded very cool but, somewhat naturally, cynically presumed that although the idea was great in principle, it might not work that well in practice. But Chamfy, who struck me as brilliantly modest and softly spoken, nonetheless exuded leadership qualities, engagement, knowledge and the aura that she was serious about this. So I trusted her, and didn’t realise this was going to come to define my entire Hamilton experience going forward.

 
Before long, I was posting photos and comments on social media with the #lovethetron hashtag, seeing an upsurge in followers and engagement on Twitter and Instagram like I had never seen before.
Chamfy had me attending the monthly Breakfast Book Club, meeting many of my new social media followers in person – her boyfriend Dileepa Fonseka, Jess Molina, Iain and Lisa White, Brooke and Jay Baker, Brian and Vicki Squair, William and Alison Durning, Angela Cuming and countless more. I even started going to yoga with several of them, having never been part of a yoga class in my life! (I needed a lot of convincing from Chamfy on that one, but I’m very glad I eventually gave in – still no hope of getting me to master the downward dog pose, though!)

 
WHAT IS THIS PHENOMENON, HAMILTON?
After around eight months living and working in Hamilton, I find myself questioning how this all came to be. I feel like I have been able to become engaged in activities and friends with a good portion of key figures in the creative and political communities here – to an extent I didn’t reach in Auckland, even having spent my entire life there.

 
Being a journalist who’s interested in those circles helps. But that’s only part of it. I’ve been involved in many Auckland communities for significant periods of time – including Central, the North Shore, Waitakere where I was born and raised – but none have felt as proactively inclusive and interactive as Hamilton does.

 
Age, ethnicity, class, political ideology, religious views, professions – Hamilton, fittingly sometimes dubbed the Bridge City, seems to form spans between these unique character traits. Hamiltonians can be expressly modest, but there’s nonetheless a groundswell of engagement in the city – a shared, united passion for what Hamilton is, where it’s going, and what it could be.

 
Hamilton is a 21st century city, that’s rich in art and culture of all kinds on a per capita basis that would rival Auckland, and that’s got a great clean palette to work with as it develops. While Auckland is in a mid-life crisis, Hamilton is growing up, and I’m excited to be growing with it.

Angela Cuming: “I temporarily lost my mind and decided to leave Hamilton for Northern Ireland”

Angela Cuming -aka everyone’s favourite new Spinoff writer -writes about temporarily losing her mind, raising a team of Mooloos and saying goodbye to someone she’s never met before*. Follow her @angelacuming on Twitter and see why she’s the best thing to come back from Northern Ireland.

A little while back I temporarily lost my mind and decided to leave the Tron for Northern Ireland. 

My husband and I, plus our little Mooloo baby Charlie and SPCA Waikato rescue kitties Daisy and Puku packed up our Hamilton East whare and headed to the other side of the world to see what it was like to live where Mr Angela had grown up, and where his family still lived.

It was a steep learning curve. Belfast is a long way from then Tron and very soon after our arrival I felt the first twinge of homesickness. Even the Daily Mail’s free calendar feature 12 baby photos of Prince George couldn’t cheer me up.

At first I tried to forget it, to put Hamilton out of my mind and immerse myself in my new, Northern Irish home. But, like that packet of Griffin’s Hundreds and Thousands biscuits you’ve got tucked away in the cupboard and hidden from the kids, my adopted home city in the mighty Waikato would stray back into my thoughts. 

I began to allow the Tron back into my life. My prized Mooloo cowbell went on display in our living room, I wore my Chiefs hoody down to the village pub, a framed photo of Sonny Bill Williams went on Charlie’s bedroom wall. 

But my real source of comfort during that lonely time was a twitter account run by someone (or several someones) I have never met, never will meet, and whose identity will forever remain a mystery to me. 

Love the Tron, the social media juggernaut that celebrates all that is good and great in Hamilton, because my closest companion for those 18 months we were away. Here I could see photos of my beloved home, keep up to day with what new businesses were opening (Duck Island Icecream! Grey St Kitchen! Hayes Common!), which were closing, which street had the best Christmas lights that year, what was the stand out event at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.


It’s beautiful hashtag, the #HamiltonMafia, kept me in contact with a circle of some of the best and brightest living and working in the Tron, from the gifted artist and writer Josh Drummond to the kind and civic-minded Nick Johnston to the lover of food and tea and tutus, Chamfy.

They felt like my friends, they were my friends. Villages take on many different forms these days, and thanks to the interwebs we can build relationships and friendships with people through all different means of communication, even if it means we never meet the people we have connected with. 

After a while I didn’t feel so homesick anymore and the yucky feeling in my tummy every time I thought about home wasn’t there much at all. 

I began to relax a bit into life in Northern Ireland because, in my mind, it was like we were still living in Hamilton anyway, just a really long drive away from Victoria St and with much worse weather.

When our little Mooloo indentical twin boys were born in October 2015 we gave one of them the middle name Hamilton, the other William after my pinup SBW, as a way to honour their Waikato turangawaewae.

Then as fate would have it our circumstances changed and it was time to happily return back to the Tron. One of the first people I told was Love the Tron. In true style they offered to throw me a welcome back party – an offer I was sorry to have to decline due to baby duties.

And now it is my turn to attend a farewell party for one of the star members of the Hamilton Mafia, our pint-sized powerhouse Chamfy, who is leaving on a jetplane for a fancy new job in Wellywood. 

I’ve never met Chamfy in person, it should be an odd feeling to be meeting her and saying goodbye to her at the same time, but it’s not. I’ve known her since Love the Tron brought her, and so many others like her, into my orbit.

Chamfy loves the Tron – and its food – and I think she’s probably going to miss this place as much as I did.

But I also think, like me, she will learn that life in Hamilton is allegorical. That once you step into the Tron you never really leave, it goes with you and stays in your heart forever. 

So go well, Chamfy. Thanks for all the memories. We will miss your #ChamfyFoodPorn, your love of good books, her excellent use of hashtags, her sincere and enthusiastic championing of Hamilton (and in particular the amazing women who live and work her) and her super cute BF, Mr Horny Kitten Hotness (actual name, I think).

And as you descend into full hipster Wellington mode with its ramen noodles pop-ups and specialist peanut butter shops (seriously), remember that you will always have a spot saved at the table back home for you in the Tron.

 

*full disclosure**: we are publishing this piece 6 weeks after it was written for secret lovethetron reasons that cannot be disclosed

**ok, so partial disclosure

THE TOP 30 HAMILTONIANS YOU NEED TO BE FOLLOWING IN 2017

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Now there’s a proper bike lane! Hamilton through the eyes of @JMiddleton_imgs

The thing about cities is that they are so much more fascinating than any other grouping of people. Towns tend to, by and large, be somewhat homogenous (except for the one black sheep who ends up either a genius and moves to a city, or socially lambasted and never achieves his or her real potential). And TBH, anything smaller than a town is just a clique.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, countries are just too big to unite around a single feeling or idea that isn’t generated on a rugby field or with a big marketing budget (right Air New Zealand?).

But cities! Cities are glorious for their ability to make a mixed bag of people in a fairly constrained space interact and navigate each other in an effort to live and breathe and get from A to B.  The thing about a brilliant city is that it feels like a small town where you know everyone, yet they feel so vast and mysterious that there’s always something new to be found.

Cities are so wonderful that people are pouring out of towns and Supercities in their droves to move in.

Not all cities are built alike though. Some are painstakingly planned by people who think they know the future only to find there is little difference between a detailed plan and a fumble in the dark. The others -like Hamilton -happen by pure chance and, sometimes, when the right combination of people, personalities and ideas intersect: magic happens.

Whether you’re a Hamilton Twitterati (Twitteratus?), part of the hugely-growing Hamilton InstaMafia, or even if you’re just one of those people who hangs around @jessmolina hoping for some reflected je ne sais quoi, you’re the secret formula behind what makes this city so special. You’re out there, immersing yourselves in the city,  befriending total strangers and spreading the joys of your discoveries about this place to the wide world (or at least the internet).

Thanks to you, there will forever be a web trail for the real people of the future so that they can know that, at one shining spot at the start of the 21st century, Hamilton was the kind of place where intelligent, fascinating, beautiful people chose to call home.

Don’t get us wrong -you don’t absolutely have to be on social media to make this city what it is (take Richard Swainson or his alter-ego Richard O’Brien, for example), but in our experience, being part of the #HamiltonMafia means you can live under a rock and still have something interesting to contribute to the world (we won’t name names but we know who you are).

In the four-and-a-half years since we launched the #lovethetron movement, it’s taken a life of its own and grown and grown. We’ve seen interactions between complete strangers blossom into friendships and spark collaborations of utter brilliance for the city. We’ve seen thousands of authentic photos of real Hamiltonians doing real Hamilton things that are so cool and hip they would make Wellingtonians, Londoners and New Yorkers blush. And we’ve seen the surprising happiness value of ordinary suburban dads becoming Twitter Celebrities (looking at you @briansquair).

So what does the future hold for Hamilton?

It depends on a number of things. First of all, Matt Stark needs to get on Twitter.

We kid, we kid (maybe).

But seriously, while we have never been too good at getting into the detail, we can promise you this: as long as you’re all still loving Hamilton, there will always be Camelot.

Now, with that yarn over, scroll down for what you were actually waiting for 😉

xoxo lovethetron

 

 

THE TOP 30 HAMILTONIANS YOU NEED TO BE FOLLOWING IN 2017

In a departure from previous years, we’ll be releasing the names one by one below throughout the day. Watch this space to see if you made the cut 😉

#1 @briansquair

We were kidding earlier when we called him an ‘ordinary suburban dad’. TBH @briansquair is probably Hamilton’s hottest dad (a title previously held by @jakequinn but we haven’t been seeing enough Twitter action from him to award him the honour again this year), but he’s also definitely more than just a pretty face. Any cool building in Hamilton, built after the year 1900, was most probably architectured (designed?) by him. Lucky for us, he’s also not one of those boring ’tweet-only-about-my-work’ types. Follow him for hilarious reflections on life, retweets of questionable material and thoughtful tips from the mind of his grandfather.

#2 @garyfarrow

If all Aucklanders (or journalists) were like @garyfarrow, the world would be a better place. He turned up in town late last year to replace Wellington Wonderboy @gedcann (also Hamilton’s answer to Spiderman, given his penchant for climbing things) at the local paper. Since landing in the Tron, Mr Farrow has taken it upon himself to drink as much of the Kool Aid as possible. Between local gigs and bookclubbing and turning up at parties, he also manages to churn out quality material week after week. We predict big things for this boy.

 

#3 @jessmolina

There’s a saying in Hamilton: ‘life begins when you meet @jessmolina’. Ok, that’s just a saying amongst a few of us, but really, it should be in all of the welcome packs for the city. Jess is on all of the social media channels and will soon be hosting a show on national television too. Why? Because her life is just so damn fabulous. She may spend her days rubbing shoulders with fashion designers to laying in bubble baths surrounded by flowers she bought for herself, and running the hottest tickets in town, but Jess is also one of the funniest, most down-to-earth human beings you’ll ever meet on the internet. We first spotted her way back in 2012 hanging out at Metropolis with a pink laptop, running her own magazine. Watch this space because she may just be the world’s best hope against President Trump. #Whorundaworld

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The fabulous life of @jessmolina

#4 @HtownWiki

From The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Kimbra to 48May to DateMonthYear, Hamilton is a music town and @HtownWiki has the enviable job of curating the city’s musical legacy. Follow them for trivia on gigs, bands, venues and a journey of the city’s history through its music. Rumour has it that @lorde was so impressed with @HtownWiki’s work, she asked to defect from Auckland and join the local Tron music scene, but the new Mayor said she was too mainstream.

#5 @durningalison on Instagram

If we could be anything or anyone in the world, it would be @durningalison’s dog. Aside from being unbelievably adorable, this pooch spends most of its day cuddling up to its sassy, stylish owner and taking naps in a beautiful riverside home, while Alison and husband @wgdurning (man-about-town, manic coffee addict and South American meat aficionado) cook beautiful meals and generally prove it’s totally possible to be better at social media than one’s adult children.

#6 @yvonnemilroy

If you can take the coolest event of the summer (the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival) and make it even cooler than it’s ever been before (i.e. this year), then you’re worth a follow in our books. @yvonnemilroy is the genius behind this year’s Arts Fest, and if that’s not enough for you, follow her because her adventures with her cat are hilarious.

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The littlest member of the @durningalison household

#7 @angelacuming

We go way, way, waaay back with @angelacuming. She was one of the first tweeters on the #lovethetron hashtag back in 2012, and totally made us happen by writing about the movement in the Waikato Times. Also she is still the only mortal to ever come close to snapping us (eating macarons at the Zealong tea estate). Along the way, we’ve seen a gorgeous Irish man (@whiskeycully) pop the question by the river, we’ve seen them procreate three Mooloo babies (note: we were not actually present at the procreation of said babies), and we’ve seen them through that weird experimental phase in which they defected to Ireland only to realise nothing beats the Tron. Follow her for one of the best-written blogs about the city, for her infectious enthusiasm about the Tron and for proving that Hamilton is where the heart is 😉

#8 @nancycaiger on Instagram

Here’s a secret: we’ve crushed on @nancycaiger since before she was on social media. We were super glad when she got on the ‘gram and on Twitter because it made stalking her INCREDIBLE outfits and amazing life (watch out @jessmolina, you’ve got competition) so much easier! When she’s not travelling the world or back in time to the 1920s, she’s always looking for ways to make the city a nicer-looking place. If you needed further proof that she’s a trendsetter, just think about the fact that she’s basically the reason that the must-have accessory of 2016 was nothing less than a GIANT Michael Parekowhai sculpture.

#9 @annasmartnz

In a world where the housing market is full of zombies and boogiemen (sorry, we mean baby boomers), @annasmartnz is proof that #houseporn is still fun! She was our friend long before she decided to enter the world of real estate, and we’ve enjoyed watching her grow. If sneaky peeks into other people’s homes isn’t your thing, then follow her other half @davesmarty who will send you pics of his friends at @HamiltonZooNZ instead!

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#Friendshipgoals @briansquair and @caigernancy colour-coordinating their outfits is probably the best thing on the internet!

#10 @lyssacecilia on Instagram

Also known as the Mini Macchiato for her penchant for all things coffee, this pint-sized, dreamy-eyed Hamilton Twitter celebrity runs almost entirely on caffeine and packs a big punch with her writing. Follow her on Instagram and read her blog for a peek into her fabulous life, lived mostly in the best of the city’s coffee houses. She blogs about coffee she finds all over the country, and is one of the names behind the #CoffeeMafia spontaneous mid-morning parties that have sprung up around the CBD. Go along and make a coffee friend for life!

#11 @saycheeselouise

@saycheeselouise is to crafts, fashion, photography, thrifting, enterprise and mental wellness what @danielfarrellnz was to politics in the early 2000s: meaning she’s a self-contained multi-media powerhouse that can churn out diverse content at an amazing rate, while maintaining a coterie of interesting side projects that show a mind for innovation and creativity. Follow her on all of the mediums you can find her on (so far, we’ve got Twitter, blogs, vlogs, Instagram, but we’re sure there’s more) and check into whatever Louise-ish thing you fancy. We’re especially into her social enterprise Handmade in Hamilton, her handmade crafty bits and bobs and her ability to tackle the weightier issues in life.

#12 @h_ahartley

Also known as #MyBish (a hashtag she uses with pride), @h_ahartley is one of Hamilton’s favourite British imports. She’s also super cool (and if you don’t believe us, check her out in the feature that the New Yorker magazine did on her way back in 2010). Rumour has it she also sports a badass second piercing, but we’ve never gotten close enough to be able to tell (if someone could verify this, that would be grand). She’s one of the nicest people we’ve ever encountered and, despite being an adoptee of the Tron, she’s one of its most vocal advocates and one of its most-loved citizens (and not just by old people either). Follow her for amazing travel photos, heartwarming human stories and pictures of lots of people in robes that would make Dumbledore blush!

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Mini Macchiato @lyssacecelia doing her coffee thing at SL28

#13 @itsgoodtobebrooke on Instagram

She’s probably the hardest for us to spot on the street because she seems to have the super power of being able to change her hair colour at will to match her outfit (either that, or she spends a fortune on a very good hairdresser but we prefer our theory). The last time we spotted her, she was sporting fiery orange hair on a rainy day, and accompanied by a green-jacketed, blond, mischievous-choirboy-type gentleman. Brooke is a wedding photographer extraordinaire, who travels the length and breadth of the country taking photos of people on their special days. She’s also Hamilton’s hottest rockstar, and you can catch her playing gigs for iconic Hamilton bad DateMonthYear. Did we mention she’s hilarious? Because if you’re not going to follow her for any other reason, do it because she’s a funny girl.

#14 @hornykitten

For a long time, all we knew about this Hamilton personality is that he is a he, and according to his bio is a pornstar-turned-economist with a rather (uhhh) ‘unique’ sense of humour and a love for the city. Since then, we’ve discovered he’s not an economist, but a something-turned- recent-journo (although we’re still not entirely sure as to whether he’s ever been a pornstar). He’s as good with his brain as he is with his words and he’s the kind of Tweeter you want in your corner if you’re ever caught up in a Twitter-trollwar-maelstrom and are in need of backup. While he has now moved out of Hamilton and to a different timezone (aka Auckland -the land where time stands still while everyone waits in traffic), we’re of the opinion that Hamiltonian citizenship is fo’ lyfe yo!

#15 @gydelne

Speaking of Hamiltonians who live in other cities, @gydelne slipped out of the city so quietly that we only knew she was gone because we happened to notice on Twitter that she was catching a flight back from Wellington. She’s another one of Hamilton’s Funny Girls, gifted with the kind of self-deprecating humour and effortless Generation Z hipness with words that makes us wish she was one of us.  Follow her for a clever laugh on a rainy day.

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Funny Girl @itsgoodtobebrooke and her Choirboy gentleman-friend

#16 @iain_white

Debuting on one of our lists for the first time ever, Professor @iain_white is another British import to the Tron and proof that Hamilton is a magnet for Brits with taste (or tastebuds, in this case, given his penchant for indulging in mouthwatering meals that are definitely NOT English). His celebrity has steadily risen and rumour (ok, the internet) has it that he’s going to be hosting a show with NanoGirl, who is only the hottest name in science right now. He also spends a lot of time posting pictures of obscure and confusing maps on Twitter, which we think are clues to help him solve mysteries in the camper van/Mystery Machine he takes out around the country every weekend (yes, Professor Poirot, we’ve been watching you). Follow him online and help him crack the Da Vinci (or Dargaville) Code …or otherwise just stick to asking him for food tips.

#17 @webtaniwha

No surprises here, @webtaniwha is Kirikiriroa royalty (Prince of Hamilton?) and he’s paid handsomely to be the face of Hamilton (and the whole region because, you know, #TronDominance) and we couldn’t think of a better person to do this job, given his ginormous heart and ability to get people excited about anything. His day-to-day basically involves traveling to the far corners of New Zealand/the world, telling people about the city/region and why it’s so much better than anything else in New Zealand. He spends a lot of time at Hobbiton (basically the seat of his Kingdom and proof he’s not above spending the with the little people), Zealong Tea Estate and on social media. You can often also catch him rubbing shoulders with other royalty in places like India or Dubai. Proof that good things follow @webtaniwha, we’ve notice a trend in which Mavis & Co cafes spring up wherever he decides to go. Think about it, if you don’t believe us 😉

#18 @AdamCrouchley

He had a drone before anyone in Hamilton even knew what a drone was, and like any good superhero who can fly, his catchphrase is #UpAndAdam which, of course because this is 2017, means it’s also his hashtag and website. In 2015, Mr Crouchley was one of three photographers who performed photography on the #HamiltonMafia at the Hamilton Gardens to celebrate the third birthday of the #lovethetron movement. We’re especially big fans of his ability to spell (reasonably) correctly with light, and if he could grant us one wish, it would be to sneaky fly his drone in and around Tronsylvania castle by the lake because we’ve always been curious about what goes on in there 😉  If you have already followed him on social media, make it a double and follow him on one of his epic photowalks.

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What happens when @adamCrouchley goes to the beach 🎑

#19 @nbwjohnston

This a man who not only helps keep the Hamilton indie community thriving, but has a somewhat unusual obsession with walls. Luckily for us, instead of building walls around the city, he likes to decorate them! He’s part of the group of other wall enthusiasts (including another #lovethetron favourite, the incredibly talented Paul Be) who organised the weekend’s Boon Street Art Festival, covering big empty wall space with utterly stunning murals (hat tip to epic undercover photographer Joshua Middleton for his Urban Ghosts coverage of the weekend) and turning the city into a happier place. His obsession with walls doesn’t end there though. In what is completely contrary to his usual shy-guy persona (we are told) he’s taken to decorating empty Hamilton wallspace with pictures of his face. Why? Follow him and ask him yourself! Any morning of the week, you’ll find him holding court at Mr Miltons -the only place that does the kind of treats befitting the son of legendary Hamilton donut royalty 😉

#20 @KiwiGoodLife

One of the Waikato’s best-kept secrets is that while the rural high life in the rest of New Zealand may resemble something out of the Beverly Hillbillies at best, living off the land in and around Hamilton is a little bit more like a Beverly Hills where you can have your chicken and eat it too. We’ve followed @KiwiGoodLife on Twitter and Instagram for a while now, and we’re pretty hooked on their lush, bountiful lifestyle. Between their stunning home set on a huge rural property that gets better and better with every reno job, orchards heaving with fruit and gorgeous doggo adventures, The Kiwi Good Life is the perfect poster child for why there’s no replacement for life in the Waikato.  Plus it’s an @NZVic project so you know it’s going to be good.

#21 @teamcatandjesse

@teamcatandjesse were a tour de force long before the Amazing Race franchise sent them on a tour du mode (and gave them a joint Twitter handle). Known separately as @Darkroomjesse and @DutchCatNZ, this patriarch and matriarch of the countless children-in-need are bundles of energy, enthusiasm and love. With their posse of kiddies in tow and talent for music and performance, the Cat and Jesse family are like the von Trapps of Hamilton (minus the Nazi sympathies, the stiff upbringings and the Dad with bad taste in women). Follow them for tips on happy family life and/or where Jesse’s next gig will be.

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The fabulous life of @webtaniwha means people like Lorde make a point of saying hello when they drop by the Tron

#22 @stevebraunias
In our opinion, Mr Braunias should have received a Civic Award for Services to the City, but given we don’t control such highfalutin things, all we can do is humbly offer him a place on our Hamilton Top 30.

Mr B’s list of noteworthy and generous gifts to the city include:
-On May 1st 2012 at exactly 12:54pm, Mr Braunias took notable political commentator-cum-fashion-bloggo Wallace Chapman to task over comparing derelict Ponsonby to Hamilton.* See link if you don’t believe us.
– His love of Ronnie’s Café, which is endlessly endearing.
– His love of a bunch of other Hamilton things. See evidence here.
– Making New Zealand’s media elite gag for an invite to Hamilton three times a year. The media may make jokes about us for the other 352/353 days of the year, but for 3 days a year they want nothing but to be inside us.
– The Met Gala couldn’t get her to their event for one evening, but Mr B managed to get Lorde to Hamilton for a whole day and party at House Bar on Hood Street.
– Finally, his real gift to the city: being the giant on whose shoulders Wintec students stand on (and for birthing the genius that is Aimie Cronin).
This may be the most controversial of the list because we have no idea whether Mr Braunias actually identifies as a Hamiltonian, but that doesn’t really matter to us. After all, you don’t choose the Hamilton life, the Hamilton life chooses you.
If you don’t believe us, ask any of the thousands of accidental immigrants in the city -people who’ve wandered in for one reason or another and then have been caught up in the city’s magic. Besides, unlike our two major political parties and Donald Trump, Hamiltonians are pretty easy about letting new people into our patch, as long as they’re cool. And @stevebraunias, ‘your cool’.
*NB 6 months after we read this, we started #lovethetron. We would be lying if we didn’t admit that seeing one of our writer crushes defend Hamilton didn’t kind of inspire us.

Dear Aucklanders, Welcome Home!

To the Aucklanders who have chosen to move to our city: Welcome to Your New Home.

We hear there is a busload (or equivalent) of you moving to Hamilton every week, given the dire conditions in your hometown. In the beginning, the thought scared us (hence the lateness of our greeting, sorry).

We have to admit that we wondered things like: will our coffee become bad to accommodate the quality to which you are accustomed?

Or: Will you make a habit of randomly turning your ignition off while driving along Wairere Drive in order to mimic the feeling of being stuck in traffic, so as to remember happier times in a bigger city?

Perhaps the most frightening thought of all is that you might sit, tucked away somewhere in a labyrinthine Northern suburb, leaving the house only for groceries and weekend trips back to Auckland, and never really realise that you are living in the most exciting city in New Zealand.

So, consider the post below both a welcome and an orientation of sorts. We know you’ll fall in love with Hamilton as much as the rest of us have.

xx lovethetron

CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS HAMILTON? | A SPECIAL EDITION FOR AUCKLANDERS

This is your latest #lovethetron roundup

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Hamilton literary queen @ns510x captures Autumn in full eruption at the Medici Court

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Hamilton’s pint-sized Queen of Coffee @LyssaCecelia dines at the very hip @MrMilton’s

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@chamfy hits Two Birds Eatery in Hamilton East for a spot of weekend tea, cake and doodling.

 

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This is Lad and his owner, Lara, who are spending the day hanging out at the Taitua Arboretum with @tarasutherland. Bless.

 

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Only in Hamilton can you design and grow a tropical garden. The elusive Mr @JMiddleton_imgs strikes again with this one.

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@waikato glimmers in the evening

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This is what autumn in Hamilton looks like. Another stunning shot of @waikato

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An arty city is a happy city. @monica_a_peters stops to admire the genius of Jeremy Shirley at her local bus stop

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In Hamilton, this is usually the sign that autumn has arrived. Chur @waikato

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Tantalising teasers of Hayes Common from @hamfoodblog

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Afternoon tea at the local tea plantation. We live in style here in Hamilton, right @ZealongTea?

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One celebrity checks out another when #MyBish @h_ahartley dines at @MadamWooNZ

 

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Hamilton’s Horned Crusader, @hornykitten opts for edgy with this kimchi toastie at Grey’s Garden and some serious reading in Hamilton East

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Proving he might just be the King of the Cafe Scene, @hornykitten discovers September cafe on Casabella lane has the holy trifecta: 1. Rocket Coffee 2. Antipodes Water 3. Free & Fast Wifi

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@chamfy decides to throw a party…

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Mr @webtaniwha sneaks into the Hamilton Gardens after hours

 

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Lilly-pads at the Hamilton lake from @nzvic!

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Riverwalks are a popular pastime in the City of the Future. @nbrookebaker discovers this secret path -we’re dying to know where!

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@chamfy gets amongst the Hamilton art auction scene

 

 

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If you’ve ever wanted to lick a Hamilton icon, it doesn’t get any better than Duck Island, as @BB39again found out with her cherry coconut ice cream!

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Radio personality @ceriphinz captures sunset over the CBD

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All the best cinemas have at least six chandeliers, right @webtaniwha and @squeakdee?

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@briansquair and his posse of Twitterati head out for cocktails

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Living the Auckland dream in Hamilton: @annasmartnz has the kind of job where you get to poke around other people’s houses

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We don’t usually do chain coffee places but we’ll Grant (lol, pun) @thekiwicanary an exception for this one because this particular venue is the birthplace of Robert Harris

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@kevin_tunstall trawls the vegan offerings at everyone’s favourite Vietnamese place

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@ducheessduponky channels her inner Betty Draper with this retro treat

 

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Yum! @MeganCampbellNZ grew these in her own backyard.

 

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These little birds are at @waikatomuseum for the Tui-tastic Bird Feeder Programme! Love the creativity (and the teeth!)

 

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Having given birth to an entire Chiefs rugby team in Ireland, our old friend @angelacuming is returning to the Tron soon and we can’t wait!

 

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Girls on the river! Great shot from @WaikatoDiocesan

 

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Going Green: @chamfy and her @meamobile friends don festive colours for St Paddy’s

 

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It’s our job to know everything and even we didn’t know that there was a secret amphitheatre at the Hamilton Lake until @NZVic snapped this shot!

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This is a city where anything is possible. For example, one can walk into Volare for a sandwich and walk out with the Ranfurly Shield, as @nbrookebaker found out.

 

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In Hamilton, we don’t have pigeons or seagulls: we have doves! @MOMENTUMCheryl hangs out with Ray the Dove Whisperer

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Fluffy friends: @adamcrouchley rolls with these guys at the Waikato Show

 

Oops! Santa’s Got Internet Issues

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…but don’t fear. We’ve got something special up our sleeves for you, Hamilton. We just have to wait for Santa’s IT Elf to come and troubleshoot 😉

In the meantime, watch this space and enjoy Christmas in New Zealand’s most beautiful city.

Meri Kirihimete, Kirikiriroa!

xx
@lovethetron