What a pity Prince Wiremu of Wales didn't get a chance to touch down in Tauranga last week and get a taste of what tangata whenua here have to offer. I guess I should have invited him back in the day when I was over at Eton College in England taking him a copy of a kid's book I wrote about his Mum.
I am sure we could have given Princess Di's boy a good time, given it's been such a long reign over us since royalty rode into town.
I was 8 years old when we all piled into our Mark I Zephyr and went down to the Mount wharf to have a jack at the Royal yacht Britannia docking. It was a real big deal and the talk of the town. And when my Uncle Heeni noticed a stream of water flowing from a porthole, he jokingly commented "quick dive in and catch it boy, it might be a freshly-laid royal cable".
A few decades later and I guess I got over being blown away by royalty as I have met a few in my time waiting on them as a glorified gopher better known as a butler.
Some held regal titles like Beatrice of Netherlands or Albert of Monaco but there were the other sort of queens I also looked after like little Elton who liked to wear a wedding dress to the dining table and his mate, Neil Sedaka, who was very much a queens' queen. And my dear friend, Alan Moon, from Father Thyme days who was one of the most regal queens I have ever met.
You get a good handle on royalty when you look after all of their personal needs and you soon realise that they all eat sleep and lay royal cable just like the rest of us. And for my two bob's worth of "real royalty" that is why Wiremu of Wales enjoyed the manaaki (hosting) of our Prime Minister in Wellington last week.
So where would we take Prince Wiremu from Wales if we hosted him? What kai would we feed him and who would we invite to make sure he got a true touch of Tauranga?
For starters, we could give him the royal Mere Mollard Mauao tour around our scared mountain because Mere tells the story of Tauranga like no other.
Then a quick jump over the fence to the hot pools for a princely plunge and then out to our place for a kai fit for a king.
To keep in line with what happened in Wellington I would give Hori Bop the inside info so he could gatecrash with a sack of kina and a feed of fresh fish heads. Don't know if the bro could jump over the fence at our marae so it might have to be the waewae express for the jandal-wearing jovial giant.
And just to keep it all real after his feed, Wiremu would have to do the dishes just like everyone else does on the marae.
And, of course, there would have to be some royal groupies?
To be fair, young Wiremu must have got his good looks from his late Mum because when you look at his dad, Charlie, you would have to think someone in the royal family knew someone in the royal family eh. Think about it Charlie the horse and Camilla the cow?
So given Willy's good looks, we would have to have a few local wonder women give him the once over and who better than a busload of blue-rinse babes from Cherrywood. And who better to drive them than our own coach Captain "Smacky" Rawson.
The tables (draped with the Maori flag designed by Linda Munn) would be laden with local kai moana plus a few delicacies such as fried breads, kanga pirau (rotten corn), Motiti paua burgers, hamaruru kamakamo and poripori boil-up. All followed by mum's homemade steam pudding served on a bed of fresh fruit flogged from local orchards.
And who would make the invite short list? Well Winston should come given he has always enjoyed a royal rogering and definitely qualifies for the A list of short-assed celebrities. But most other local celebrities would be welcome as long as there was no bum pinching or shaved eyebrows. And perhaps the chauffeur's job could go to Councillor Evans given his impeccable driving record.
Max Mason would be a sitter for MC because he has a brilliant 20-20 vision for Tauranga Moana. As would Winston's bridge-building mate, Simon, who some say is cut from the same cloth as the pretty boy prince himself.
Yep, I reckon Prince Wiremu from Wales would have liked it at our marae, meeting the tangata whenua of Tauranga. I better ask him over next time I see him.