Sausage Sizzle

By David

Lincoln Road in Auckland has had its share of publicity this week. A forest of newsprint has been devoted to discussing the opening of a new brothel, located directly across the road from the Henderson Intermediate School. For readers outside New Zealand brothels are legal here. But there are better spots than across the road from a school. The Deputy Mayor defended the situation. She claimed that the entertainment offered was allowed in this particular zone. One is tempted to ask. “And what particular personal zone is that, Madam Deputy Mayor?” There was, she said, no option but to let it proceed.

In spite of what some of you may be thinking, my visit to Lincoln Road was not prompted by the presence of this new Auckland attraction. I did however drive past. I do hope what happens inside is more exciting than the exterior. It’s a fairly boring brick house with a small “Massage” sign in the window. Some wag has brightened the place up with graffiti. “Make Love Not War” has been spray painted on a white bill board outside. I had to smile as two Mormon missionaries leaned over their bikes inspecting the new sign.

Sure enough right across the road is the Henderson Intermediate School. I’m pretty liberal when it comes to these sorts of things but in this instance local by-laws should have required a more suitable location.

My destination however was further along Lincoln Road; past the motel Alison and I stayed at for a week when we arrived from the United States and past netball courts filled with a thousand girls playing the game at which New Zealand is second best in the world. The Australians seem able to beat us at netball no matter how hard we try. My goal was the Lincoln Road Mitre10. For American readers Mitre10 is New Zealand’s Home Depot. The Lincoln Road store is huge. It has a children’s play area, a café, a massive garden center and you could build and furnish the Empire State Building with what they have in the main store.

Outside the store’s main doors Mitre10 have built a small log cabin hut. They donate the site to local charities each weekend to use for cooking and selling sausages, wrapped in bread and covered in onions, tomato sauce, English mustard and Anchor butter. It’s become so popular that there is a one year wait between making a booking and your turn to sizzle. Last weekend was my new swim team’s turn. I arrived at lunch time on Saturday knowing that no one could object to this break in diet. After all it was for a good cause. For $1.50 each I bought two of these gourmet delights. They were fantastic.

New Zealand does sausages really well. I’m sure it’s because meat here is in plentiful supply. The sausages are stuffed full of real meat. There’s barely room left for the soy and wheat fillings that ruin a good sausage elsewhere. I’m sure that Vegetarian Societies the world over cower in fear at the carnivorous onslaught of a New Zealand sausage. Honestly, if you live somewhere else, it’s worth the airfare and the 14 hour flight to New Zealand just to sample the sausages, especially the ones cooked by the swim team on Lincoln Road. Actually I happen to know these sausages were provided by another New Zealand institution, The Mad Butcher. He sells them to local charities in lots of 300 sausages for $35.

By the time I got to Mitre10 the sausage sizzle was doing a brisk trade. As Zane, one of the team’s better swimmers, said, “My God, it’s fantastic, we’ve got a queue.” And so they did. By 1.00pm the first 300 sausages were gone and Kirstie’s Mum was off to the Mad Butcher to get a second 300. It looked to me like her bag of onions was not going to last much longer either.

All this activity highlighted an important message. We might have SPARC funding and grants and dozens of full time paid people, like me, but without the parents of Zane, Kirstie, Justin, Sarah and a crowd of others the whole thing wouldn’t work. They cook sausages, do the GST returns, answer letters, pay coaches and apply for grants. And usually they do it for nothing, just so their children can have a chance at doing well in sport. Some of New Zealand’s proudest sporting moments; moments equal to and often better than anything we achieve today, were financed by a sausage sizzle. And we would be best not to forget that.

Anyway I have to stop now. Its lunch time on Sunday and I’m off back down to Lincoln Road, past its mini red light district, to Mitre10 for two more giant New Zealand sausages.