Some years when he's working on a book, he says, his income is more or less zero.
Looked at throughnink the prism of the harsh and uncertain economic realities of a solo father, Hager's whole project could be viewed as an ongoing series of leaps of faith, in which every time he has started a book, he's been at risk of being ended, economically speaking.
"I see it differently," he says. "I think, 'I've only got one life.' I mean, you know: Who wants to be old and regret what they did with their life?"
Weatherly's sudden arrival on the women's downhill scene in January came as a surprise to some in mountain biking - until the end of last year she'd been known as Anton and raced men.
She'd quietly let a few of the other women know she was making the switch and they seemed supportive. But when she won an event in Rotorua by more than 30 seconds, it set off a firestorm of online discussion and calls for her to be excluded.
He crosses the road and strays to the edge of the path, as he has done several times before. His heart starts thumping and he turns around before someone sees him. Walking through the door is scary, so Greg retreats to the comfort of the Mob pad. He takes an empty Waikato Draught from the crate and uses it to crack open another full one.
He takes a swig. Maybe next week, he says to himself.
Once stacked on the footpath, the worldly possessions of a dozen people didn’t look like much, and it didn’t take long for the pot-bellied driver with a bluetooth earpiece to load the luggage compartment of the chartered bus. Hibbah was feeling happy, if a little overwhelmed. The sign on the rear of the bus said: “We hope you will love New Zealand as much as we do”.
Her sister takes her shopping on Thursdays at Pak N Save on Lincoln Rd (she used to go to the one in Henderson, but the aisles were too narrow and she ended up having panic attacks), and on Sunday nights she sometimes plucks up courage to phone Lindsay Henare's popular Whanau Show on Turanga FM and request a song. She's addicted to Sudoku, and Facebook; it's not uncommon for her to be up till 3am, sometimes later.
The panic attacks, the anxiety and depression – was she coping?
Much about the case looked odd.
For a start, why had it taken more than three years for the case to have reached the plea stage?
Why had the prosecution decided not to pursue the murder charge given the strong evidence against the defendant?
And why was no-one else charged given the circumstances of the homicide? Had Samson, only 163 centimetres tall, really done it all herself?
Mathews’ father left when he was one and his seamstress mother raised four children on her own, subsidising their ballet lessons by sewing costumes for dance schools. But Three Kings Primary wasn’t the kind of place where a boy bragged about his ballet prowess; Mathews learned to keep his hobby to himself, especially after a fellow male dancer was thrown in a wheelie-bin.
“I was tall for my age so the bullies left me alone. But I always hid the fact that I was a ballet dancer.”
Fai didn’t need to run those dunes that Sunday, he’d be doing them soon enough anyway, but for 60 minutes he did. It wasn’t to impress his coaches. He did it for no other reason than he thought it would make him a fitter player, a better player.
Leaving the dunes for the beach, Fai would have been exhausted. His legs would have felt like concrete columns and his heart rate and core temperature would have been greatly elevated. The shimmering water would have looked like salvation.
“I’d climb over the fence and go and sit on the cricket pitch and watch the house to make sure it didn’t burn down. It was the only place I could go without hearing her screaming. I’d go down to get the groceries in the middle of the night and I swear, I’m in the car by myself but, by God, I can hear her and she’s screaming.”
“I’m angry. I’m so angry at them. They used their power to take advantage of me, I was so vulnerable… these men just saw me as a broken bird. They knew how to prey on me, and they did.”
“I remember picking up a Māori magazine, and it said this,” he leans back in his chair to recite the words:
“The marae is my home. The marae is my place of work. The marae is my church, the marae is my museum, it is where I was born, and where I will be buried.”
“So I got out of jail with $25 and a dream.”
When Mum decided that the thing she wanted above all else was quiche, it was my job to make it for her. That it was Easter Sunday, and that all the shops were closed, didn’t strike her as particularly important.
So I made pastry from scratch. I baked it blind. I fried bacon, beat eggs and, sweating from the fluster of creating something appetising, I presented the quiche to my mum with pride.
She took a bite and immediately vomited.
“I’m sorry,” she said, pushing the plate away.
Michael Fitzgerald, said to be a hospital obstetrician, and a stepdaughter, Sophie, never existed.
The nurse cousin visited Oates-Whitehead in London last year but realised something was up the day she tried to find Fitzgerald, without success. She told Richmal by phone, jokingly, that her fiance needed to introduce himself to colleagues so people would recognise him.
"She got all upset, and said 'I've got to go'.
Ross Tay-lor. Three clipped syllables. So very Anglo. So very middle New Zealand, but that's not who Taylor is. That person is a figment.
It was always meant to be Luteru Taylor. A proud name. The product of the union between his Samoan mother, Ann, who emigrated to New Zealand in her teens, and Kiwi father and former representative cricketer Neil.
The television news once called her the ‘rock n’ roll granny’. On her watch, The Kings Arms became a hub of the metal, punk, indie and reggae scenes. The irony was Maureen, who was 86 when she died last year, was a classically-trained singer who would often leave after the bands’ soundchecks to go to an orchestral concert. But music proved to be a way to keep alive an old-fashioned pub whose core clientele were literally dying off.
Eugene knows this path well - when he left state care, it wasn't long before he ended up in prison, where he remained for four years.
However, his father's death was a catalyst for change.
"Dad died in a cell at Paremoremo Prison. I was in Mount Crawford, my brother was in Mount Eden, one sister was in Arohata, another one was at Paparua.
"We'd been a family of inter-generational institutionalisation. I thought 'this is dumb, it needs to change'. I got my ta moko, and vowed it would end there."
“To me, it seems just an iPad on wheels, so what is the difference between an iPad reminding you to take your medication and this guy?” she says. “What they found with this guy is that people actually started having a relationship with it, because it reacts. They were obeying it. They didn’t want to disappoint the little guy so they were taking their medication. But with an iPad, you don’t care.
Bindner didn't have a home to retreat to. There was no cocoon where he could escape the pressures of life, pick himself up and face the world again. Public spaces were his home, but it seems few people saw him.
Almost three weeks after his life ended, almost no one in Te Awamutu remembered him. Daniel Bindner was a man hidden in plain sight.
A broken and flooded stretch of Avonside Dr now ends at Taylor's front door: the city's longest, most extravagant driveway.
It took six years for one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods to disappear. Now there is Taylor, and his only neighbour, the Queen of England: She is the registered owner of property titles bought under national earthquake legislation.
He describes a good, loving upbringing as the youngest of six children. “We certainly didn’t have money but I would never try and say that it was poor.” His Maori dad was a Baptist minister. Mum was a Pakeha primary schoolteacher and stay-at-home mum. “I was the youngest. So you might say that makes me self-assured,” he says. I remember this comment later, while watching his extraordinary appearance on Campbell Live.
I also recall his answer to a question about why people get involved in politics: “Some of it is ultimately … arrogance where you have to decide, actually, I could do a better job than someone else.”
I remember a second-year business student for whom I had just bought a large orange and vodka for $5 at the Fat Lady’s Arms one Saturday night in 2002. He wanted to know how writing would ever get me a decent job. “What are you gonna do with that?” he asked me, almost as if I’d just pulled some indescribable item out of my pocket and was demanding that he touch it. I remember, in that moment, looking at the university students dancing all around us to “I’m Gonna Be” by the Proclaimers, the worst song in the world and yet also the song that people most often shouted into one another’s faces. I said to the business student that I didn’t know what I would do with the writing. A hot shame came over me then for not having a reasonable plan.
“I’ll be back in touch if we have any comment,” he said.
He did not get back in touch.
In the 12 months since, the Herald has 10 times asked questions of Thiel — about his citizenship, his shrinking holdings in Kiwi software firm Xero, why he appears to have ghosted New Zealand, ties between his firm Palantir and local intelligence agencies, and even the celebrity classic, “What do you think of New Zealand?” And 10 times he again did not get back in touch.
But on the eve of publication of this story — a year and a day after questions were first asked about this saga — Thiel broke his silence with a short statement.
Lance Burdett, a former crisis negotiator for the police who now runs a resilience coaching business, says police don't always get it right, and he questions if they look closely enough at the leadup to shootings to determine what could have been done differently.
"I investigated cops," he says. "One of the things I used to do was go back and see the other jobs they'd been in - why did they lash out?
"Most times they've been to a baby death, they've been in a car chase, they've had something emotional before they've got there and so their mindset might not be right."
Here's where I cried like a child one night three years ago when my Dad was suddenly critically ill. I wasn't ready for him to go; I'd never be ready. I resent this piece of floor for holding me up that day. I'm sure there's another place where I later sat, maybe cradling a cup of tea, knowing that he'd rallied and would soon be discharged. I don't remember that moment; perhaps, deep down, I didn't trust my relief.
Go on, admit it. Deep down, in the places you don't care to reach into, you don't really like Grant Dalton OBE. You're not sure exactly why, but the animus lurks.
It might be the not-made-for-TV smile that can slide into a smirk. It might be the rich-man-pleads-for-money act. It might just be that some people aren't built to attract sympathy - just as Christopher Walken could never have played Forrest Gump, Dalton can't play the part of Sir Peter Blake.
They counted their age in centuries, but it took them less than a decade to die. In kauri time that’s a sudden accident—a heart attack.
Kauri have suffered two great tragedies, and now a third is in progress. The first was logging, when more than 99 per cent of the forest giants were taken. The second was the arrival of agathidicida. The third is our failure to do anything about it.
Simon likes the finer foods but has never been vocal about any sort of love for The Grove in particular. Meanwhile, my love for KFC has been well documented. Have you ever told someone that a movie was really funny, then watched it with them and died a little every time they didn’t laugh? This was like that. Except Simon had already told me he didn’t like KFC so it was more like telling someone who hates Will Ferrell that they’d love Anchorman.
Inside an antique wooden cabinet in the lounge of Jackie’s new Manurewa home, a beautiful collection of New Zealand ceramics is on display. On the wall above it is an enormous portrait of her father, Crown Lynn founder Sir Tom Clark, to whom the collection belonged. He looms, with his white hair and sharp grey suit and tie. He’s leaning forward, staring down the lens of the camera, with his elbow resting on his bent knee. Three picture frames sit on top of the cabinet - a watercolour portrait of Jackie that was painted by a friend, a certificate of appreciation from the Albert Eden local board and a motivational quote: “Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”
Mum was the primary ‘breadwinner’, providing the main income and exercising the matriarchal and patriarchal authority in the home. It was up to Dad to cook dinners, vacuum and mop, clean and hang out the washing and more. It was up to Mum to make sure the family got by. Not an easy thing to do as a teenage mother. Even harder when your husband was a former patched gang member, a bloke with ‘Mongrel Mob’ tattooed across his forehead, and in and out of work during the family’s early years.
I put the details of our household of two into the online carbon calculator, and felt a virtuous glow as our waste, energy and local transport emissions came in well below the New Zealand average.
But then I had to confront the jumbo jet in the room. The computer program asked for the details of all flights I had taken in the past year: London; San Francisco; a couple of cheap hops from Stansted to Scandinavia; numerous domestic flights from Christchurch to Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Nelson.