February 6th 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Chris on the hill overlooking Waitangi

A Sunday, begun in the usual way with chores, breakfast, football on the telly.  Today was Waitangi Day, the cause of all the fuss, so with the important things done, we hitched into town (with a policeman, naturally) to see what all the fuss was about.  Not much, as far as we could tell.  Just a few hundred people milling around, not doing very much, not knowing what was going on.   A few Christian groups preaching to the converted, some food stalls, even an occasional protester – all very mild.  Tregadullett, in fact (that’s the new word.)  It seemed that the ceremony only got going during the evening, so we gave it up as a bad job, + hitched home again (with some more policemen.)

Marion didn’t want us to start work till 9 or so, all the policemen being busy until that time, so we could allow ourselves the luxury of a leisurely meal, + then go to the Cascade to watch the cricket until work called.  New Zealand blew it tho’, + lost, making a NZ-Australia final.  Still, it’s only Kerry Packer cricket… which is the excuse I have to give.  And then work.  The coppers took quite a while to get going on the old booze, but when they did… Marion left at about midnight or so, + Wanda + Jo had both been sent home, so I was on my own, with instructions to close up when they stopped drinking.  They were pretty much on the rage, telling dirty jokes + getting drunker + drunker, but I thought I was going to get the cage down at about 1.30, when suddenly the place filled with another bunch of coppers, + off we went again.  This marked the rowdiest period – a Rugby scrum in the lounge, a mock-Maori challenge, much, much drinking.  Val + Sherylin were in the bar, enjoying the fun, having drinks thrust at them, being chatted up – flirtatiously in Val’s case, more seriously in Sherylin’s.  I was asked many times the details of her emotional attachments, + wasn’t believed when I said I had no idea.

However, at 3.15, I managed it, seized my opportunity, + shut the gate, + was almost out the door when some police bigwig, marched in.  He seemed surprised, + mildly upset, that the bar was shut – possibly because he was very, very drunk, + “personally countermanded any orders these men may have been given.”  I was prevailed upon to open up again, which I did – at which point another 20 or 30 drunks walked in thro’ the door, the odd sailor as well as policemen.  They’d been told, it seemed, that we had policemen staying with us.  When they discovered we hadn’t, most of them left, so after another heavy little bout of drinking, I was able to close up + get out.  Sherilyn gave us a lift, which was nice of her, especially since that also entailed taking one of her admirers.  At River Park Val + I got out + left her to fight her own battles – beneath a bubbly exterior I think she’s quite capable, + there won’t be too much chance of being raped by a policeman.  Or maybe not.

Well, that was quite an evening, and all sanctioned, not to say ordered and orchestrated by the long arm of the law… mostly engaged in bending to allow much consumption of alcohol, until the very wee hours. Which all makes for that extra bit of money.

My final comment is particularly off the mark right now, especially in the UK, with various reports of appalling behaviour by our own police much in evidence… with one or two of them now serving very long sentences.

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