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The heady days of social activism from the 1970s seem a long-lost distant memory.

When idealogy was based on peace, not war, and being against the establishment was more about having a unique voice rather than a suppression of free will and free expression. 

When an activist voice spoke from a concrete foundation of free will and a free mind, not from a script pre-written by a group of a left-wing " establishment. " 

As we descend into an era of war in the name of peace and death in the name of life ( abortion ) I have to ask myself: what have we become? 

Which brings me to my opinion piece today. From my home country of New Zealand.

Farewell, Sir Tim Shadbolt, The Knight Mayor of Invercargill. Because to some, he was a nightmare. To others? A remarkable human being. 

After nearly 40 years serving the people of New Zealand, he has been outvoted and cast aside - without much fuss or bother. In fact, he, aged 76, didn't even manage to secure a seat on the council he had led for 24 years.  

He is the living concrete that fueled a generation borne out of ideology that grew up to embrace reality. He is the foundation we need, the disparate views and the celebration of a world before it went mad with wokeism.

Like it or not, if we continue to abandon people like him, we are going to be less empowered and less inspired by that wonder of an era quietly disappearing: that of the freedom to be an individual. He fought for social justice, unlike his modern counterparts. 

So what led to his fall from grace into the sea of political nothingness? Had he become too old? Too eccentric? Or did his leftist activism days of youth come back to bite him on the butt cheeks? Or was it the rumours and accusations in relation to his personal life? Or more -  that the government feared his opposition to the amalgamation of local councils and his opposition to water reforms? 

Or perhaps it was just time. 

I do not know.

Despite never having admired Sir Tim for his political persuasions that so preoccupied him in his days of jelly beans and jumping Sundays, I always liked his dare-devil approach to life in the political arena. He dared to be different and never stopped being unique and a complete individual.

In short,  I have long had a real soft spot for Sir Tim Shadbolt. In my brief time living in Invercargill, it reminded me of a town that had a heart and a soul… not just a collection of people living in a particularly cold huddle at the bottom of the South Island. Invercargill was and is a rather happy wee place and many of its residents spoke fondly about their Mayor Tim , almost like indulgent family chatting about their favourite quirky Uncle. After all, Sir Tim is hardly your typical Politician.

His first stint as Mayor was back in 1983 when he was elected Mayor for Waitemata. He celebrated his unexpected win by bringing out his now infamous concrete mixer ( “ Karl Marx “ ) and towing it behind the Mayoral car at the Henderson Christmas Parade. One story I heard was that he would drive the Daimler around on Sunday mornings and ask local Maori lads if they wanted a drive in the Daimler and come and lay some concrete? Apparently, there was no shortage of volunteers to mix the concrete because they got a drive in the flash car.

As a young bloke, Tim was a radical anti establishment left wing Activist who seemed to spend a lot of time protesting and getting arrested. In fact, he seemed to be very good at being arrested because he did it 33 times. Which will always beat the number of times he has been elected Mayor, and that is saying something.

He was known for his views on the Vietnam war.

 And his views were shared by many young people around the world at that time.

 One of my favourite recollections of his younger protesting days was over the Pirate Radio Ship the Tiri. For those youngsters reading this, Radio Hauraki was quite the thing back in the 1960’s. The NZBC had been opposed to commercial Radio stations and was stonewalling all applications for privately owned broadcasters. A group of young men decided to get around the ban by getting a ship and broadcasting from International Waters – in the Hauraki Gulf outside the 3 mile territorial-water limit. They named her Tiri and as she was being towed out to sea, Tim Shadbolt was one of those who helped her escape the clutches of the “establishment” and make her way to her destination.


I vividly recall listening to Radio Hauraki all of those years ago when they did the unthinkable… they broadcast the uncensored version of The Beatles song “ The Ballad of John and Yoko. “ Back then, the word “ Christ “ was bleeped out and Pirate Radio broadcast it without the bleep. It was the talk of my school for days afterwards as we tried to digest the impact of such a daring and wicked song! Interestingly, I heard it in my Religious Education class where we were able to listen to the song as it aired on Radio Hauraki – our discussion point was “ Do you believe that the use of the word “ Christ “ in this song should be censored? “ It was a very heated discussion.

He organised Jumping Sundays , a weekly event that the Council decided was getting too popular and they had to apply for a permit. Tim and a group of his mates turned up at the Council offices with bags of jellybeans for the Councillors and one chap was offended by the jellybeans and Shadbolt was arrested under the Grocer’s Act for distributing food in a public place without a license. I think that was his second arrest.

His gift for getting up and speaking on a soapbox in the public domain is something that he puts down to his early childhood. His father was a Pilot in the Fleet Air Arm and died when Tim was young. Following his father’s death his Mum took him to Holland for a year to be closer to her side of the family. When they returned to New Zealand, Tim was put in a class for foreign students and was taught to speak English. Their teacher was an opera singer and she taught him the power of the human voice.

three col Tim Shadbolt in Albert Park Photo by Murray Cammick 1

He was sent to prison twice and when serving time in Mt Eden, he was befriended by George Wilder, the Houdini of Kiwi criminals.

After his Knighthood he said “"I must admit I have had a rather colourful past but that gives me a bit of joy in this situation as well, because it means ultimately we are all equal." 

He cheekily said once “ I’ve heard if you die in Office, they pay for your funeral. Maybe I’m doing some long term planning. “

I still like Sir Tim. I always have and always will. 

I admire his courage and his words. 

I loved the way he " played the game. " 

Most importantly, I respect him for standing up against the establishment. Which, sadly, is the very party he fought so hard to defend and eventually brought him to defeat.

When a country loses its moral foundation and its reason to be, I have to wonder if the funeral that Sir Tim referred to was not his own, but that of his Nation.

It's a shame that you were cheated out of that funeral. I reckon you earned it.  

And I wonder - do the people of the world understand that their funeral is not on the list for payment from George Soros, Klaus Schwab or anyone else from the World Economic Forum? 

Probably not.

After all,  we are the people pouring the concrete and the people in charge of the pumps are making sure that the reinforcement steel is from China and there is cancer in the concrete.

For myself, I salute Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt. Long haired hippie from my past who brought me a day in class to hear music from outside territorial waters and showed me that being an individual had concrete and solid worth.

He taught me that, in later years, being a fossil fuel was a fuel nonetheless and one that, no matter how much wind emanates from the orifices of the government, the sun does not shine from their green backsides.

It is time to take back control of the pump and start laying some solid foundations. 

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