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August 16, 2010 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

The quintessential Kiwi bloke?

Salient talks to a New Zealand male who could be described as your “typical Kiwi bloke”. Or is he?

Tell me a bit about yourself, what’s your background?

Ah, my name’s John Carter, just coming up 45-odd, born and bred in the Hawkes Bay. I own a dairy farm just outta Rongotea near Feilding with me lovely wife Ange, and our
two kids. I’m a pretty straight up and down kinda bloke, no hassles. I like my rugby, and a quiet beer on the odd occasion. I’ve spent most of me life on a farm, started out sharemilking for a joker near Havelock—120 acre block, 500 fresians. Always loved working the land, eh, just something about it, the piece and quiet of it all. It’s also where I learned to juggle, but uh, yeah [laughs]. Thought about university, but yeah, nah, not for me.

What do you do these days?

Still milking, still working the land. Right in the middle of calving at the moment, so busy as hell with that—hear about this nine-to-five sorta thing, 40-hour week, doesn’t really work like that out here, eh? Sunrise to sunset sorta thing, long hours, but hardly worth complaining about, especially when you’re outdoors. I love it. I try to fit in some time for the kids too, yeah, nah, but they’re pretty keen to give Dad a hand out on the farm. Oh and Ange, shit, [laughs] almost forgot the wife. Yeah, nah, love her to death, eh, just the
best thing that’s ever happened to me. Used to manage the local colts side—Te Kawa Under 21s, good lads, hired a couple of them as farm hands, keen as hell to learn about milking and that kinda thing. Weren’t much keen about the juggling though, bit of a shame, really.

How did you get to where you are today?

Ohh, I guess I was born into it—just sorta lucky I guess, given my background on farms and that. I try to be on level terms with everyone—no one needs a rough time, give everyone a fair cop. If you’re a gutsy kind with a good head on ya shoulders, then yeah, nah, no reason to resent you or anything, eh. I just worked hard, put one foot in front of the other, and I ended up here. I’m pretty bloody lucky, and don’t regret much at all. Well, yeah, nah, the juggling. Miss that a bit.

What do you do in your spare time?

[laughs] What’s that? [laughs again]. Shit, I used to remember spare time, haha. Oh, I just enjoy messin’ around with the kids, havin’ some quiet time with Ange. Meet up with the lads from rugby every now and then for a few quiets. Trying to build a deck around back, but weather being what it is, just not happenin’ for me. Got the timber, just haven’t had a chance. But, ah, this might surprise you, but I do enjoy juggling. When I’ve got a quiet moment, which ain’t that often, I grab a couple-a tennis balls—maybe even the dog’s chew toys, if they’re handy—and have a bit of a throw around. Kids love it too, they’re always naggin’ me to juggle bits and bobs—dolls, toy cars, pinecones, farm buckets. Think it’s great fun the old man can juggle [laughs]. Me brother Bruce calls me the black sheep in the family ‘cos of it—calls me Carnie, haha. Fair enough, it’s pretty out of the ordinary. Bruce’s a hard case though, he used to take the kids through the KFC drive thru and order the wrong shit. You know, like “Can I take your order?” “Yeah, I’ll have
three Big Macs and a Pizza Supreme!” Kids used to piss ‘em selves over it, think it’s a great day out. Bit of a strange streak in the family, methinks [laughs].

What about politics—what do you think are the pressing issues in New Zealand society today?

[folds arms, looks upwards] Shit, solve the country’s problems, eh? [laughs] I think the thing that gets up my nose now most of all isn’t this politically correct crap—I mean, just seems like jokers like whinging about one thing or the other and throw those words just to make it sound serious, eh? Think the biggest problem’s actually howto fit everything all in without being too much of a niggle.

Could you elaborate?

Oh yeah, I mean, we’re all kiwis in one way or another. I’ve worked my arse off for years on the land, but things are pretty bloody good if you’re a white fulla with a house and kids. But yeah, nah, we’re not the only people here. I think gettin’ everyone involved with, you know, the politics and… and how things are run, then that’s a step. Maori, Islander, female, male, gay. Just get your arse into gear, and get stuck in and this place will sort itself out. Think John Key’s got the right idea there, but he’s missing bits and pieces. Country oughta look after its own, but the government isn’t the whole country. Everyone’s gotta get stuck in. That’s what I try and tell my kids—work hard, and this place will be
good to you. Then they ask me to juggle their train sets and shit. In one ear, out the other, cant’ help it when Dad’s a clown.

Who did you vote for in the last election?

Voted for Simon Power, he’s National, eh? Yeah, good bloke, that guy. Looks out for us down the farm.

Local body elections coming up—what matters to you in your neck of the woods?

Council’s been talking about taxing farmers for excess runoff, which I think it’s a bit of a bloody waste. Yeah, nah, you can tax money off farmers for that, but that’s not the whole up and down of it. Most blokes out this ways don’t get up in the morning and think, “By jingos, I think I might go dump cow shit in the river.” We all want what’s best for the environment and the land ‘cos it’s our livelihoods. I was actually thinkin’ of running for council up here, but I’d have to ring in a sharemilker, and I can’t be buggered dealing with some of them lot on council. Me brother Bruce thought it was a cracker idea, and even came up with me slogan: “Juggling Your Issues” or somethin’ like that. [laughs, sighs] Disgraceful, to be quite frank.

What aspirations do you have for the future?

Oh, just to have a good life, raise my kids right, be a good dad, be a good husband. Might one day chuck this all in and go live on an island, but yeah, nah. The only chucking I do is on the cricket pitch—call my arm ball the ‘Mad Juggler’, used to bugger a fair share of batters. If you want, I could show you [points to dictaphone, pen, pad] how I throw ‘em up, if you want?

That would be… great?

Yeah, nah, kids love this eh. Think you could get a photo of it?


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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