Perfection. Image: Tina Tiller

All 63 times Mike Hosking’s life was perfect

Between 2009 and 2014, New Zealand’s top-rating breakfast radio host published a serialised ode to life’s simple pleasures on Twitter. We pay tribute to ‘Life is Perfect’, an unheralded literary achievement.

On a warm Saturday evening in February 2013, New Zealand broadcaster Mike Hosking lifted the lid of his Weber barbecue. The meat he was cooking looked succulent, glistening, nearly done. He picked up a glass of cabernet sauvignon, swirled it and took a sip. It tasted delicious.

He took a moment to survey the scene from his deck – happy kids, clean pool, beautiful wife – and breathed a deep, contented sigh. Then he reached for his iPhone, opened the Twitter app, and began typing.

There are few things finer in life than a BBQ
Your family
And a good glass of red on a sunny sat night
Life is perfect

He pressed send. The tweet received four retweets and three likes.

Between October 2009 and May 2014, Mike Hosking tweeted the phrase “Life is perfect” 63 times. Back then it seemed little more than an affectation, maybe a positive thinking self-help technique he’d read about in The Secret. The phrase was relentlessly mocked and parodied, and even spawned a satirical column in the Sunday Star-Times.

But with hindsight comes clarity. Much of the world’s great art is misunderstood in its own time. The intention behind the tweets now seems obvious: Mike Hosking was writing a poem.

A brief history of @hoskingonzb

Newstalk ZB Breakfast host Mike Hosking joined Twitter in April 2009, registering the username @hoskingonzb. His first tweet was a link to the “Gadgets” page of now-defunct website thecoolhunter.co.nz. His second tweet read: “Nice show this morning. Off for a bike ride.”

Already, the hallmarks of a distinctive prose style were beginning to emerge. The economy of language in those short sentences meant every word carried weight. From the start, Hosking’s Twitter voice was authentic, off the cuff and naturally funny.

In the first half of the 2010s Hosking was a prolific Twitter user. He enjoyed banter with famous friends and fellow media personalities, though he rarely engaged with the general public. His tweets were evocative snapshots of the family life of one of New Zealand’s most secretive celebrities, a man who hosted the nation’s top-rating breakfast radio show but had zero cut-through in his own home.

twitter.com/hoskingonzb

For a figure closely associated in most people’s minds with right-wing politics and the National Party, Hosking’s Twitter featured surprisingly little political punditry. While he advocated for John Key’s favoured Lockwood design in the 2016 flag referendum and on occasion voiced praise for the National government, he mostly used Twitter to talk about other interests like sport, barbecue and motoring.

Hosking sent what would be his final tweet in August 2016, in the middle of a Warriors game. “This is a quality game,” he typed, “with just a touch too much quality from south’s”. He has been approached for comment on why he stopped tweeting, but has yet to reply.

A guide to the perfect life

Hosking first tweeted the phrase “Life is perfect” on the October21, 2009, with the bold, punctuation-free declaration: “sunny days eating drinking pilates the kids life is perfect”. This was one of 18 tweets he wrote about pilates in 2009. It would be more than a year until the next verse of “Life is perfect” was written, and another year again before the third.

The poem didn’t gain any real momentum until 2012, the year Hosking married fellow broadcaster Kate Hawkesby. “Celebrating our first week of marriage with a French martini on the deck watching the kids in the pool,” he wrote on February 1. “Life is perfect.”

This phrase was tweeted a further 11 times in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2013 that it truly reached its peak. That year, Hosking tweeted “Life is perfect” 43 times, on average roughly once every eight days. The poem reached its conclusion in 2014, brilliantly reverting to the lowercase of the first verse: “warriors and crusaders both with 50 plus wins […] life is perfect”.

Reading the poem, a number of themes and motifs emerge. The most prominent of these is nice weather, which is mentioned in 25 of the 63 verses. Other things that Hosking enjoys include eating (especially barbecuing), drinking (an even spread of Peroni beer, red wine and champagne) and public holidays.

Other recurring themes include spending time with his children, going on dates with Hawkesby and watching live sports – his favourite teams are the Warriors, the Crusaders and the San Francisco 49ers. The pleasure of washing the car is mentioned in three verses, more often than reading, which features only twice.

Read as a whole, the 63 verses of ‘Life is Perfect’ form a sprawling free-verse epic, and reveal a significant talent pushing the boundaries of literary form. Hosking’s poem paints a vivid portrait of life in New Zealand in the early 21st century, as seen through the eyes of a wealthy, well-known Auckland broadcasting personality. As a cultural artefact, it goes without saying that these tweets belong in Te Papa.

Life is Perfect (2009-2014)

by Mike Hosking

sunny days eating drinking pilates the kids life is perfect

Kids picked their own lettuce for home made burgers on the bbq now in the pool life is perfect

awesome arfternoon xmas shopping for the love of my life
got a park ,found what i wanted got it wrapped life is perfect

Celebrating our first week of marriage with a French martini on the deck watching the kids in the pool
Life is perfect

champagne friday …life is perfect

Peroni and the warriors …….life is perfect

Standing on the deck in April in shorts and t shirt bar b q ing
Life is perfect

Sat morning errands with the love if my life
Life is perfect

Grapefruit fresh from the tree
Squeezed and served for breakfast
Life is perfect

Bar b q ing under a blue spring sky
Life is perfect

Getting a tan watching the kids in the pool
Life is perfect

Xmas tree up
All lights untangled and working
Life is perfect

Massive family Xmas shop on
Names drawn
Hints dropped
Life is perfect

Best Xmas ever
Life is perfect

Having the best new years eve ever
Life is perfect

Awesome way to start a day with a 6 year olds birthday party
2 more to come
Plus an anniversary
Life is perfect

There will not be many days more beautiful than this
Life is perfect

A perfect Sunday
A few chores
A lovely lunch
A school picnic
A read of vanity fair
Life is perfect

There are few things finer in life than a BBQ
Your family
And a good glass of red on a sunny sat night
Life is perfect

Hot date with the mrs tonight
Life is perfect

Jeeze how many beautiful  days in a row can you have ?
Life is perfect

5 afternoon teas set out
Ready for the big Friday school debrief
One of the great joys
Life is perfect

First bluff oysters of the season reminds u what a great place we live in
Life is perfect

On the deck
Listening to nanci Griffith
Watching the kids swim
Life is perfect

Friday on the deck
Peroni
Nanci Griffith
Flowers for my beautiful wife
And a dinner date
Life is perfect

Washing the car on a beautifully warm autumn afternoon
Life is perfect

Still bar b q ing on a balmy night in late march
What a summer
Life is perfect

Having the best Easter ever
Life is Perfect

Incredible to believe we can still be working on a tan as April begins
Life is perfect

A glass of red
A sunny evening
Music on the deck
Life is perfect

First morning with the clocks turned back could not be more beautiful
Life is perfect

The warriors
The breakers
A peroni
All at the same time
Life is perfect

Paul simon
Greatest show ever I can die happy
Life is perfect

So now I am so famous and important
Someone has parodied my twitter account
Life is perfect
#TweetLikeHosking

Not many better ways to start the weekend
Than with a good old car wash
Life is perfect

It is the most beautiful autumn morning
Clear calm and mild
The dog and I loving every second of it
Life is perfect

First official day of holidays
And the sun has shone for every glorious minute of it
Life is perfect

The deck
A sinking sun
And lyle Lovett
Life is perfect

Warriors didn’t blow it in the final 10
Life IS perfect

Not a cloud in the sky
Not a breath of wind
Life is perfect

Afternoon by the fire on a rainy day reading Jimmy Connors book
Life is perfect

You got to love the beautiful bright shiny day after the storm
Life is perfect

There is no finer way to end the week and start a long weekend
Than with a date night with the love of my life
Life is perfect

Is it
Or is it not
The most beautiful of days
Life is perfect

It’s champagne Friday
Life is perfect

In the sun on the most wonderous of winter days
Life is perfect

Peroni and the warriors
Life is perfect

A warriors win and new season top gear all in one day
Life is perfect

Friday night champagne night
With a double coro
Life is perfect

And the forecast SO wrong
We got kids sport in
AND tonight …. A bar b q
Life is perfect

Washing your car on an unseasonably warm winters day
Life is perfect

Hot date with the love of my life tonight
Life is perfect

@radiomum thank you
A holiday and a boost in the ratings
What more could you want
Life IS perfect !

A day of sun
Tennis
Peroni
And now bar b q lamb
Life is perfect

Beautiful weather on a long weekend
Life is perfect

Glass of red on the deck
Kids on the tramp
Sky is blue
Life is perfect

Day 1 of the summer holidays
Life is perfect

Xmas eve 49ers v Falcons ahead of dinner out to celebrate the season
Life is perfect

Nothing finer
Than the deck
A glass of red
And a beautiful summers evening
Life is perfect

An early morning walk with the dog on a clear blue sky warm Saturday
Life is perfect

There is nothing quite as lovely as Friday night date night with the love of your life
Life is perfect

In the park with the kids
On the most perfect of autumnal days
Life is perfect

warriors and crusaders both with 50 plus wins
life is perfect



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