We all have goals and ambitions, bucket lists and legacies to leave before the candle of life is blown out, and for me - right at the top of the to do list, was to have a million words in print before I left the planet.
Some may think this is a strange and somewhat self-serving goal in life but I guess it came out of a life lived in the fast lane for the first 50 years and learning from those who had everything – but in reality besides a lot of toys to play with – nothing, when it came to what they were leaving behind as a legacy.
Flying first class, Gulf Stream jets, luxury yachts and a Ferrari Testarossa as a company car in downtown Zurich were fantastic toys for me to play with when working for the rich and famous, but the lesson learned was most of these people wanted the life I had back home in the Bay, where we had plenty of everything money could not buy - mostly whānau, friends, happiness and a whole heap of hard-case mates.
So, when I came home I wanted to write about what mattered most to me learned from what mattered most to the world's wealthiest. These were the seriously rich where what they spent on their mistresses was more than what our rich-listers announced this week were individually worth.
That's when I decided I, too, wanted to become a millionaire.
Not of money, but words and leave it all behind for others to enjoy - or wrap their fish 'n' chips up in, either way it didn't matter as long as someone, somewhere read it.
Yes, I really did want to become a million-word heir.
Now I don't know exactly how close I have come but a dear friend is researching every column, every letter and opinion piece and marrying it up with the 30-odd books I have published to see how close or how far I am from the million-word mark and she tells me it's pretty much bang on the mark.
Whatever the final figure is it is time for me to hang up my pen as a columnist and put all my creative energy into projects that hopefully will reach a wider audience than the one I have been writing for since I started writing letters to the editor almost 20 years ago.
There comes a time when the time you spend on sharing your opinions with 40,000 readers across the Bay of Plenty takes its toll. You have to steel yourself from the haters and garnish your tinana (wellbeing) with the tautoko (edification) the goodhists send you when something you say in your column rings a bell of belief for you both.
Tommy Wilson: The question I struggle to answer
Tommy Wilson: Those who are privileged have a duty to help those who aren't
Tommy Wilson: Australia was 'discovered' 65,000 years ago
Maybe the bell has stopped ringing or possibly I am not listening for it anymore - either way the bell has told me to take a breath and breathe in all the column-free days I will have after 15 years slumped over a computer, when a Sunday could be and should be spent with whānau and friends outside in the play of plenty.
Now I will have a column-free week to walk, play golf, chase my dreams, my frisbee and my moko (slowly) and best of all write what I want to write and have it published when I am ready.
My next two projects are already under way: One a children's book in collaboration with a brother from another mother who carries the well-earned mantle of the New Zealander of the Year and the other is a memoir about a recently released inmate and senior gang member who can teach us all about walking the talk of truth.
When Koro Monty Ohia passed me his pen at Tutereinga Marae almost 20 years ago, he did so with the advice how important it was for Māori to have an opinion in the paper to build bridges between our cultures, just as he had done for the 20 years before me.
Hopefully I have honoured that trust Koro Monty put in me.
For me there are no regrets. As my mate Mike King always said "The only regret in life is not having a go".
Au revoir mes amis - ka kite apopo, be brave and have a voice as there are big challenges up ahead.
Mana whenua of Tauranga will be a huge challenge for us all, as will the mana whenua of our own hapū, if we are to move forward as Tauranga moana.
If not, we will be left behind with our handbrake of money before mana holding us back for generations to come, while other iwi fly forward with strong bridges built between both cultures - and each other.
Now it's time to pass that pen on.
It feels more exciting than sad to finish a mission I started so long ago.
I encourage you all to have an opinion whatever that may be and share it, on the paepae or in the paper.
Be kind and caring and find every excuse to laugh at life.
Thanks for helping me become a million-word heir.