Hastings' barber with heart

By -
1 comment
Hastings hairdresser Peleti Oli cuts Lance's hair under the town clock. Photo Warren Buckland
Hastings hairdresser Peleti Oli cuts Lance's hair under the town clock. Photo Warren Buckland

Peleti Oli discovered the art of barbering in the Hastings Boys' High School changing rooms and now he is using it to motivate and inspire others.

With his wireless clippers in one hand and stripey cape in the other he drives the streets of Hastings, offering to cut the hair of the homeless.

"Instead of giving them money I want to give them a service that will leave them feeling good, something which some people may not have felt for a while."

Last weekend he cut the hair of a man called Frank who sits outside the Focal Point Cinema in Hastings asking for food.

"I walked past him a few times and he always asked me for money, so this time I said 'How about I give you a haircut'?"

Mr Oli "whipped" out his clippers and cut Frank's hair in the middle of Heretaunga St and he watched his whole rapport change instantly.

"Once I was finished he forgot all about wanting food and just walked off down the road with a whole new level of confidence - it was amazing to see."

Last week he cut the hair of a father and son who had both not had a haircut in years.

They were walking by the clock tower when Mr Oli approached them and asked them if they would like a cut.

"Their faces lit up and it was so cool to see, especially because they would not otherwise be able to afford one."

Mr Oli said the driving force behind his passion for barbering was ignited by his friend John Whiunui and younger brother Someh, both of whom have since passed away.

"I remember sitting on the bench in the changing rooms while John cut my hair for the first time. He explained to me what he was doing step by step and once he had finished he handed me the clippers and told me to do his."

Mr Oli said from that day on the pair would have queues of Hastings Boys' High School students waiting for them to cut their hair.

"Barbering at the school became quite a culture and my brother Someh carried that on for us once we left."

He said the school even bought Someh a pair of clippers and he became known as the high school's barber.

When his brother died, Mr Oli was tempted to throw away his clippers but instead found a way to use them as a form of remembrance for his friend and brother.

"After the funeral Someh's friends began to queue in front of me, asking to cut their hair.
"It was here that I realised I could get into a zone where I could use my gift to make others happy."

Mr Oli wanted to inspire others to get up off the couch and help those in the community.

"I just want to motivate people to do the same and encourage them to do better things, like help an elderly person cross the road or help someone carry their bag to their car."

A quote he lived by was to use the gift of barbering not to enhance himself but to share it with others.

"I will continue to use my gift to touch people's lives in different ways whilst always feeling connected to my best friend and little bro - and to me that is very special."

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 25 Sep 2016 18:44:57 Processing Time: 678ms