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Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

SocietyOctober 14, 2023

Ten things to do after you’ve voted and never want to hear about the election again

Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

Been there, done that, and got the (metaphorical) sticker? Here’s how to distract yourself for the rest of the day.

You’ve ticked your two boxes, convinced your little brothers and nihilistic friends to vote, and now, if you’re not into following all the action on The Spinoff tonight, you may wish to forget about the banal horror of this election till at least midday tomorrow. No matter where you are around the motu, there is something fun happening – even if it’s under your sheets. Below are my top 10 recs.

Fall in love with a T rex

If tiny arms, sharp teeth and definitely being real is your type, you’re spoiled for choice at the moment. The Canterbury Museum has a 13-metre Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on show at its pop-up at CoCA. It’s a plaster cast, but it’s still big enough and scary enough to give the kids a thrill. Meanwhile, Peter and Barbara are hanging out in the Te Ao Mārama South Atrium of the Auckland Museum, marking the first time a male and female T rex have been exhibited together.

If you’re in Wellington, there’s a T rex constructed from Lego in the Jurassic World by Brickman show at the convention centre.

Read a book

It’s 2023, and I know we live in a world with another, less concrete world overlaid on it, and that this other world contains the sum of all human knowledge and also a lot of questionable content (hello). But books are still really, really good.

Just as cute as a dog, only smaller (Photo: Mikkel Frimer-Rasmussen)

Capture some pets

There’s currently a glut of ownerless dogs. Can someone please pick Pride up from the shelter and give him a fairytale ending? He is a good boy. There are plenty of scientific studies that prove having a dog is good for your wellbeing – no need to check the research yourself, just pat a dog (Pride) and see what it feels like when he wags his tail in response. It’s pretty much crack.

If a dog is too much hard work for you, there are plenty of stray moths to welcome into your home. I do not know where they escaped from, but I do know that they are out at night and attracted to lights and cabbage. A simple trap should do the trick: a piece of cabbage in a jar, illuminated with your phone torch. Once a beauty flutters in, screw the lid on, which you have already punctured with a nail so your new pet can breathe. 

Have an 80s dance party

Specifically, the 80s dance party at Marua community hall in Whangārei. There’s a live band, tickets are only $25, you can bring your own drinks, and you’re welcome to park up your motorhome, so no worries about getting home safe. The event organisers have even made a “back to the 80s” poster with memories like playing music on your boombox, Rubix cubes, aerobics and “playing on the lolo ball”.

The event description says it’s time to pull out the spandex, leg warmers and shoulder pads and I can’t think of a more appealing invite, as long as no one whips out a camera, and we do not speak of the dance moves ever again.

The Hollywood Avondale

Get locked in a movie theatre

The timing of Hollywood Avondale’s 24-hour movie marathon couldn’t be better. It starts at 3pm on Saturday, and the films will run back-to-back for 24 hours, apart from dinner and breakfast breaks. Being kept up all night by bright lights and loud sounds is far better than slipping into nightmares of coalitions of chaos and Chrises. “Yummy” food has been officially promised and crinkly bags, yabbering and cellphone use are banned during the films. 

If you don’t live in Auckland or don’t have $75, make a blanket fort and stream one movie from each category on TVNZ+. Inviting friends over is optional, but snacks are not.

Go to the circus

If you’re in New Plymouth and you like to watch people do weird and wonderful things with their bodies, there are two Cirque Olio shows today, part of the ReImagine Festival running until tomorrow. The blurb promises transportation to another realm, which I personally am keen for. Also, sparkles.

The violet vortex hydroslide at Hanmer Springs thermal pools and spa

Soak in a spring

I am really impressed by the number of healthy suggestions I am making. Hot pools feel luxurious and are good for you, especially if they have minerals and stuff. You could even get a massage if you go to a fancy spot and don’t mind strangers touching you. 

The best soaks are the ones where you don’t have to drive afterwards, so you can stay in the water until your consciousness has been boiled off. In the Bay of Plenty, Awakeri Hot Springs claim to be secluded and have “weakly mineralised, neutral, chloride-bicarbonate water”. You can choose a campsite ($18 per adult, $9 per child), cabins ($70), “tourist flats” ($85), or the cutest option, “tourist motels” ($95).

If you’re anywhere in te Waipounamu, go to Hanmer Springs and stay at the TOP10 holiday park. I kid you not, the bathrooms have floor-to-ceiling heated Italian marble (seriously, I am not joking). The campground has hot pools, but at the thermal pools across the road there are giant slides you ride in tandem on inflatables. You only live once and let me tell you, this is living at its best.

Give yourself a stick and poke tattoo

This form of entertainment has been proved tried and true through lengthy lockdowns. All you need is a needle and pottle of India ink. Draw on your design with a ballpoint pen first, then just stab away. Small, simple and delicate is good because making anything with the point of a needle takes forever. It should hurt, and a few drops of blood should come out, but not too many. I am obliged to tell you that tattoos are permanent and you may regret them. If you try this activity and you want more, Google “home ear piercing”.

Expect, or demand, a Bohemian Rhapsody encore.

See Queen’s 1986 world tour concert recreated

Dunedin is in for a bloody treat tonight. There’s going to be sheer pleats, white pants, little yellow jackets, red vinyl pants and lots of hair at the Regent Theatre. Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic has returned for another tour by popular demand (so they say). Once an Uber driver told me he had been Freddy Mercury’s best friend back in the day and I asked lots of questions but it was truly impossible to verify his story and then it was time to get out. 

If we travelled back to 1986 this is what would happen: two Treaty protesters throw eggs at Queen Elizabeth II; the Homosexual Law Reform Act comes into effect; Footrot Flats: A Dog’s Tale, the country’s first animated feature film, is a box office hit; we attempt to win the America’s Cup for the first time, spurring a wave of patriotism; and last but not least, the Royal Commission on the Electoral System recommends that New Zealand adopt MMP (it wouldn’t actually be implemented for another decade).

Trim your lawn with scissors

It’s very important to grass that it looks its best, so that it can feel its best, too. Machines are simply not advanced enough for delicate work such as this. It is especially important during spring, as hand cutting ensures that the daisies, and other flowers, stay. Grass blades should be exactly five centimetres long. Flowers should not be cut, though their adjoining leaves should be. If you do not have your own lawn, fear not, there is the berm or your local park nearby, both bound to have scruffy grass that needs a trim. Depending on the size of your turf, this could entertain you through to next week. Make sure to use only the best scissors.

Keep going!