John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for APNZ.

Takes small-town familiarity to get the joke

Rose Matafeo has relatives in Dargaville who love doing burnouts.
Rose Matafeo has relatives in Dargaville who love doing burnouts.

Comedian and TV presenter Rose Matafeo has apologised after scandalising the town of Waiuku by naming it her worst holiday destination.

This week Matafeo was asked what her worst holiday spot was.

"I accidentally went to Waiuku once. No comment," she told the New Zealand Herald's Travel magazine.

Waiuku town manager Sharlene Druyven quickly went to her town's defence after offended locals complained.

"They were really upset," Druyven said.

So she contacted Matafeo, who shared the complaint on Twitter, sparking further debate about the town's merits or pitfalls.

"I really don't know her from a bar of soap, to be perfectly honest," Druyven said.

"But, because I'm the town manager, I felt it was my obligation to just say to her: 'Hey, honey, why [have you] actually got this perception'?"

Druyven pointed out Waiuku, about 60km southwest of central Auckland, was the closest town to the Glenbrook Vintage Railway and Manukau Heads lighthouse, home to a big Santa Parade, host of next month's Steel 'n' Wheels classic car and army memorabilia festival, and very close to good surfing spots.

"We are the tourism hub in West Franklin."

It was also the hometown of World-Cup winning All Black Stephen Donald.

After kicking the All Blacks to victory in 2011, the sign at Waiuku's main entrance was renamed Beaverville in his honour.

Matafeo said she was sorry, and was impressed Waiuku fought back.

"I'm genuinely sorry if anyone got offended but I have mad respect for anyone so proud of their town," Matafeo told the Herald on Sunday.

"I feel like Auckland could do with a town manager like that, who emails everyone" who offended locals, she added.

The rising star of Kiwi comedy knew what it was like to bear the brunt of small-town jokes.

Half of her family was from Dargaville "so I'm pretty well versed from having family in places that people all around the country hate".

Matafeo said she visited the steel mill lookout and nearby Clarks Beach on her Waiuku trip.

She hoped to make peace with Druyven and other locals.

"She didn't really invite me back but I'd love to come back one day and experience it."

In return Matafeo suggested Druyven visit Dargaville, where she could "watch my Dalmatian relatives doing burnouts".

- Herald on Sunday

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