I am a sucker for signs and murals on the side of the road and I have seen a few standout signs and magic murals this summer, all promising much, some delivering and some giving back as little as four-fifths of not much at all.

Jet Sprints and Jazz Festivals, Worship at Trinity Church and New Year's with Trinity Roots have all stood up to their promise as have the magnificent murals popping up like magic mushrooms.

On New Year's night on the Main Beach at Mount Maunganui, all power to the Kiwi band B2KDA, who played before Trinity Roots came on and stole the show before Trinity Roots, with a 10-piece sound that was fatter and fuller than anything I have seen thus far during my decade of doing New Year's at The Mount.

And on the way home we went mural hunting and parked up outside the Golden Arches on Faulkner's Corner as we knew it back in the day.


What a treat to watch Mauao being caught and released by a street artist on a huge wall.

Now that's a cool sign and a very cool way to bring in a crowd to your backyard business. Well done Mickey Dee and your marketing team.

More of these meke murals and less of the hard-sell signs can only be good for the artistic and cultural footprint of our Bay cities and towns.

When the signs come down and the rain fades away what will be left on the side of the road?

Will there still be three avos for a fiver, juicy watermelons for six bucks and succulent South Island apricots splashed across roadside signs to hit our eyes and tickle our taste buds as they did for us heading along the highway over the weekend?

Remember the days when the greengrocer had his old truck parked up over summer and had sweetcorn and watermelons that were full of flavour and so juicy you had to eat them standing up and leaning forward?

Or the inter-generational family fruit 'n vege man who knew you and your mother on first name basis. The Archees in Omanu. The Limsans in Matapihi and Kai Fongs in Vegas among them.

Keeping with the fresh is best tradition - the Vege Guy in Gate Pa.

Perhaps it is time to name the annual Cool Kai Awards again to keep the customer satisfied - everywhere we go in the Bay that has Plenty?

A couple of winners my eyes, via my mouth, have found without a single sign needed are:

Best fish 'n' chips: Hard to go past Bobby's down on the Strand, but one really worth the newspaper it is wrapped in is Omanu Takeaways ... hard to beat and great to eat on the beach around the corner.

Best for the puku: Tank. There is a new one at Bethlehem and a couple more across Tauranga and Rotorua. Look for the orange seats parked outside and all the healthy looking people ordering and eating inside.

In my opinion, Tay Street Dairy still has the best scoop of icecream in the Bay and for a sugar fix try out the gluten-free treats at Sierra on Cameron Rd.

Lose a little, learn a lot, laugh more and live a healthier life around more givers and less takers is my 2016 game plan.

More murals and less signs selling stuff we may not need is a good footprint to follow.

Keep an eye out for signs of change, marvel at the murals that feed the soul. Nothing changes when nothing changes and as a very wise man once said to his followers around this time of the year: "Follow the signs in these troubled times and remember hands that serve are holier than lips that pray."


Tommy Wilson is a best-selling author and local writer