Tina Tiller / The spin-off
A visitor to New Zealand hasn’t generated so many headlines in years. Finally, nature heals.
This story comes from the team of thespinoff.co.nz.
Unruly tourists have been rampant around Aotearoa for more than three years, stealing Christmas trees from gas stations, throwing toast on the ground, crossing drive-throughs and pouring crisps on beach blankets.
It was a dark time, it was a thrilling time, some would say it was the last great time before it all fell apart. Now unruly tourists are just a postponed operatic idea, which comes back to mind every time a Bunnings hat passes in the breeze.
In the horrific years that have passed, we have waited for lockdowns and border closures for the next headline-grabbing tourists to unite us all once again. We needed someone with the star power, pizzazz, and talking ability to pull us all together and obsess over their every move.
* Rita Ora celebrates Taika Waititi’s birthday in Wellington
* Taika Waititi and Rita Ora have been spotted in New Zealand – what do we know?
* Did Taika Waititi and Rita Ora get married in a secret ceremony in London?
There were whispers about it when Gordon Ramsay randomly rode a Lime and Benedict Cumberbatch stinking Southland, but nothing came close to the media mayhem of summer 2019.
That is, until now.
We should have known something was up when Friends star Lisa Kudrow was spotted on Cuba Street over the weekend. In the end, she was just the opening act for the headliner to come: the arrival of Rita Ora and alleged new husband and established filmmaker Taika Waititi on the streets of Wellington.
The giant celebrity alert beacon went off in every newsroom, and reporters got to work finding out where this famous tourist ate, slept and walked.
At The Spinoff, we like to think we have a secret Wellington weapon that gives us an edge over the competition. Its name is Tree and it is a tree that stands on Cuba Street, an evergreen witness to the ebbs and flows of the city.
If there was ever a sensible shrub to spot a celebrity in Wellington, it was Tree. “I haven’t seen any of those celebrities this time around,” he sadly told The Spinoff via text message. “But once in a while, I see Jemaine Clement in town.”
No offense to Tree or the Emmy and Grammy Award winner, but who hasn’t seen Jemaine Clement in town? Conchord sightings in Wellington cost a penny by the dozen. But Rita Ora? Living pop star whose movie credits include Detective Pikachu, Fifty Shades Freed and Fast & Furious 6? Our covert source had let us down, so there was only one other respectable journalistic option left: rip up the work of other outlets and appropriate it.
It appears Ora has only been in the country for three days, but four hard-hitting investigations have already been released detailing his visit. And what these stories reveal is, frankly, shocking.
Much like Stephen Colbert arrived here and immediately began committing heinous crimes, Ora seems to have embarked on a tour of chaos, a tour of rebellion, a tour of…indiscipline. So, could Rita Ora be our new unruly tourist? Let’s assess five key pieces of evidence.
1. “Smoking thin cigarettes”
It was reported yesterday morning that Ora was spotted at the cafe in Lyall Bay smoking what one witness breathlessly described as ‘those tiny thin cigarettes’. Seems like quite an unruly behavior to adopt in a country that is exactly three years, four months and 13 days away from being fully, completely, irrevocably smoke-free, right?
2. “Ask other customers for a lighter”
Interestingly, the same article did not indicate whether or not she returned the lighter to the humble Kiwi customer. Of course, the witness also said she was “lovely,” but I’d try to be adorable too if I was an elite pop star looking to snag a free lighter for my tiny, thin cigarettes. Indiscipline.
3. “Ate a late lunch”
Got a late lunch instead of a regular lunch? Indiscipline. (By the way, it seems that on the same day, before or after the late lunch, Waititi (and presumably Ora) were presented to James Cameron??? by Jemaine Clement (see what I mean???) and photographed by Jon Landau??? Wellington is downright mad. Where is that tree when you need it!!!
4. “Cross the Road”
The same Stuff report includes the detail that the pair were, and I quote, spotted “crossing the road” on Ghuznee Street. Given that they were then seen dining at the Egmont Street restaurant for the aforementioned late lunch, it’s safe to assume that they walked the 450m distance (or crawled, depending on the starvation levels of the late lunch).
According to our research on Google Maps, there is only one main road to cross on this route, dotted with four controlled pedestrian crossings. All I’m saying is that if Waititi and Ora did not use these crossings and crossed within 20 yards of one, they committed the unruly crime of jaywalking and therefore may be subject to a fine of $35. Indiscipline.
5. “Ordered a vegan meal”
Being a celebrity at Wellies and ordering a vegan meal instead of a whole chocolate cake like Bruce Bogtrotter? Indiscipline. Get out of here.