One Question Quiz

PoliticsJuly 5, 2023

Has Wayne Brown ever looked this happy?


The Auckland mayor had the time of his life on the roof of Eden Park.

Have you ever seen Wayne Brown so happy? The Auckland mayor has had a tumultuous first year in office, with floods, cyclones and extremely contentious council budgets all under his belt. And all approached with a demeanour that can only be described as deeply grumpy.

But today, July 5 2023, the mayor strapped on a harness, clipped into a carabiner and dribbled a ball on the roof of Eden Park with a demeanour that was positively childlike. The occasion was the welcoming of the world to Eden Park for the Fifa World Cup (kicking off July 20). Such ceremonial gestures have the potential to be both a) boring, and b) unnecessary. But Brown’s performance, as captured by RNZ is a minute of essential viewing.

In the first second of the video you know you’re about to see something great. Brown is dribbling the ball through the stadium corridor rather than holding it. The only people who do that are professional football players and small children. Which one will Brown be?

He’s a small child. As soon as he’s clipped in to the safety railing, Brown takes off. He’s got no time to wait for his companion and host, Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner.

Just absolutely loving life. Wayne Brown could not be paid to smile for a publicity shot so this is just his natural response to be strapped into a harness on the roof of Eden Park.

Presumably being shown the view but Brown’s not listening, he just wants to dribble the ball.

Here we go. Again, I cannot imagine Brown agreeing to do anything simply because it would be good for the mayor to do it. But dribbling a football on a small walkway high up in the air? Sure. Beyond greatness is correct.

Uh oh, Brown loses control of the ball after two touches. He’s a bit heavy-footed, which tracks. Later, he’ll claim there was a slope, which is the most dad thing ever said. Given he’s the mayor, he’ll probably just let the ball roll away, give a little good-humoured laugh and move on…

Absolutely not. Brown chases the ball with genuinely surprising speed and nearly run right off the roof. That taut cord bottom right is the only thing keeping him tethered this mortal coil.

With ball back in hand, Brown looks exactly like that kid who always kicked the ball over the fence at lunchtime for no reason whatsoever (spoiler: Brown punted the ball off the roof).

And finally, the speech to camera. Never one to mince words, Brown gets straight to the point. “Hello world! Hello ladies! Fifa ladies, come here and jump! Welcome to Auckland.”

Another 15,000 words could be written about those three sentences (what does he mean when he asks every football player in the tournament to “jump” while standing on a roof, for example) but that’s for another time. For now, I’ll leave you with the smile of a man living his dream, a dream literally no one in Auckland would have predicted.

Postscript: Turns out Wayne Brown has looked this happy before. Just last night, during a debate he participated in alongside Leo Molloy and Sean Plunket. 

Keep going!