Goodbye, so long, farewell, haere rā
We're saying goodbye to Ashley Bloomfeld, Ross Taylor, Moana Jackson and John Campbell. Plus, we'll wrap up all of the week's major headlines...
Kia ora and welcome to The Spinoff Weekend. Today, we’re saying a bunch of fond farewells, to Ashley Bloomfield’s stint as director-general of health, Ross Taylor’s cricketing career, John Campbell’s chaotic three years on Breakfast, as well as the sad death of venerated Māori intellectual Moana Jackson. Plus, we talk to a journalism print god as he works on his biggest story, look at the return of office life, and celebrate Easter food a little too early. Pour yourself a fresh cup of Coffee Supreme and head back to bed. Relax. You made it. Welcome to the weekend.
-Chris Schulz, senior writer
For the past three years, John Campbell brought something yet to be seen on a morning news show: fun, a sense of humour, and heart. That was repaid by his Breakfast co-hosts on his last shift when tears were spilling by 6.08am. “Someone pass me the tissues,” newsreader Indira Stewart said as she began to read the weather. Tara Ward tuned in to find emotions running high. “It was a low-key, no fuss farewell,” she writes. “For every kind word someone said to John, thanking him for his guidance and generosity, John gracefully batted it back with even bigger praise for them. It was like compliment ping-pong.” Marvelous stuff. See how it all went down.
His haphazard weather reports. His train trip. His dancing. Tara Ward also ranked John Campbell’s chaotic Breakfast moments.
Moana Jackson was the “conscience of the nation” according to Ani Mikaere in her whaikōrero at his tangihanga. It speaks to the impact the revered indigenous rights lawyer and philosopher had on so many. Over the past week, thousands paid tribute to Jackson in person at his tangi, while social media was flooded with quotes, videos, stories and messages from those who were inspired by his work and the way in which he carried himself. One of those influenced by his life, and affected by his death, is law student Safari Hynes. “He made me want to be a thinker, an educator, an organiser and a doer. He made me want to educate and organise our people to completely transform our constitutional arrangements to reflect our status as tangata whenua.” Safari talks to Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes for Nē: A Te Ao Māori podcast.
From our friends at Coffee Supreme: It feels like we’re all spending more time at home at the moment. Naturally, this means keeping your mug topped up and rocking your slippers during those online meetings (yeah, we see you). Having your favourite oat milk, peanut butter or chocolate within reach can be a real day-maker. Not only do Supreme have your coffee needs taken care of, they’ve also made keeping your pantry shelves stocked super easy with their free shipping and next day delivery. Grab your favourite pantry bits here.
When lockdowns first came to Aotearoa, Ashley Bloomfield and his 1pm pressers became the focal point of the country. Anna Rawhiti-Connell became such a big fan she changed her Twitter handle to “The Ashley Bloomfield Fan Club”. Now that he’s stepping down from his high-profile position as the director-general of health, Anna’s rethinking her position. “It is highly unusual for public servants to be as well known as Ashley Bloomfield,” she writes. “The celebrity status I contributed to undoubtedly made Ashley Bloomfield’s job more difficult. It also made the work of those whose job it is to hold the public sector to account more difficult.” It’s fair to say Anna has some regrets, which you can read here.
What should Ashley Bloomfield do next? Toby Manhire’s suggestions include reality TV star, drum’n’bass MC, and – yikes – still life model.
Ross Taylor, one of New Zealand’s best batsmen, ended his career this week with a knock of 14 at Hamilton’s Seddon Park. It was a quiet, unassuming finale to a career that’s followed that path, says Dylan Cleaver. “He’s neither introvert, nor outspoken. He’s not one of the cool kids, but he’s no nerd. He can bat with his chest puffed out, or his eyes cast down. He can thoughtfully tackle tough questions, but will more often brush them aside with a quip. He’s renowned as a lover of rich and complex red wines, and KFC buckets. He’s the genius that Wisden recently described as ‘invisible’. Taylor is humble, yet aware of his value.” He’s an anomaly, reckons Cleaver, who hopes that, one day, Taylor will tell his full story with pride. You can read Dylan’s farewell to Ross here, and subscribe to his excellently sporty Substack newsletter here.
What should a post-pandemic office look like?
Parking is hard to find, motorways are jammed and cafes are getting busy. After two years of Covid-19 disruptions, office life appears to be returning. But demands are different now. People expect offices to be more homely, more personal. “You don’t think of commercial buildings as something that is an emotive experience. Now we’re starting to talk about emotions in your office,” says Spaceworks CEO Lizzi Whaley, an expert in office design. What’s in demand? Fridges, storage, hot-desking, adaptability, and openness. “If you want people to be creative or innovative, you need to allow them to show up as their true self,” she says. Find out if your office measures up.
Are you ready to use your office toilets again? Are you sure? Here’s a reminder of how pungently awful and downright disgusting they can be.
Madeleine Chapman loves nothing more than toasting and buttering a hot cross bun after a hard day’s work. Lately, she’s noticed her buns have changed. Are they getting too big? “Paying $36 for six hot cross buns that then do not fit in the toaster is the first sign of the apocalypse,” writes a mad Madeleine. “Toasting a hot cross bun is a simple human pleasure and being unable to toast one because it’s massive is counterintuitive, in my opinion.” You can discover her solution to the problem here.
The Spinoff’s Sam Brooks is a major hot cross bun fan, so much so that he thinks we should be allowed to eat them all year long. Do you agree?
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Everything else we loved reading this week…
Jim Tucker, the godfather of Aotearoa print journalism, edited the countries biggest publications, wrote thousands of stories, and trained hundreds of journalists. Now, he’s penning his biggest yarn.
Shane MacGowan, the epicly rowdy front man for The Pogues, has given his first interview in 10 years, and it’s as tetchy, passive-aggressive and awkward as you’d expect. Simon Hattenstone meets him for The Guardian.
Some pretty gross things appear to be happening with food at Victoria University. For Salient, Ethan Manera finds evidence of “slugs and mould”.
What does being Māori look like? Ella Stewart (Ngāpuhi) details what it’s like being a fair-skinned wahine in her excellent RNZ piece, I know I’m Māori but sometimes I feel like a fraud.
Stéphane Bourgoin interviews jailed murderers for a living. The New Yorker (paywalled) reports how his career unraveled when fans investigated his own story.
No one slapped the host, but this week’s Grammy’s ceremony had its own shocker when disgraced comedian Louis CK won an award.
What’s going on in Ukraine is not okay. The Atlantic has compiled what’s happened in one small part of it, Bucha, and finds the Russian army is treating the entirety of the Ukrainian population as combatants, as dirt to be cleansed. (warning: contains graphic content).
Alex Casey thinks Gary Brown should run his Auckland mayoral campaign as his alter-ego, Austin Powers. She should know: she’s had the displeasure of seeing him perform at a Spinoff office party.
Finally, Atlanta star Donald Glover interviews himself for Interview magazine and it’s as weird and hectic as that concept suggests. Sample quote: “Our cow is pregnant so we’ll have milk for a little while. It makes me happy.”