Whanganui.

Who doesn't have some link or distant lineage to the River City?

Legend has it that Kevin Bacon is merely 6 degrees of separation from any arbitrary actor in the Hollywood and if my own experiences are anything to go by Whanganui is about 2 degrees from any arbitrary New Zealander.

I had the privilege of being asked to guest edit Wednesday's edition of the Whanganui Chronicle and I didn't hesitate.

Advertisement

Whanganui fascinates me, not only in the fact I over-index in friends and colleagues who come from the region but I recently found out I have my own family roots here - from a publican to a politician.

The publican was my great great Grandmother who took on the responsibility of baby-sitting her grandchildren from their Te Kuiti farm while at the same time managing The Commercial Hotel on Bell St.

The excitement of staying in hotel rooms, dining from the kitchen everyday and sneaking behind the bar was a constant source of entertainment for my mother, I'm not sure her Grandmother felt the same sense of joy during these school holidays.

I'm also not sure my mother would enjoy the current source of entertainment at The Commercial these days - the garden bar is a little depressing but I did find a prosthetic leg there during my lunch break.

The politician comes from my in-laws.

Hope Gibbons was mayor of Whanganui at the time it graduated to city status (1924 - 1927) and is a distant grandfather of my wife Anna.

A man that by all accounts loved Whanganui and love a park even more and spent a great deal of his time as mayor pushing for the continued development of recreational facilities, one of which is the famous Kowhai Park.

My visits to Whanganui have been very few and far between with the most memorable over 23 years ago when I played in a Gillette Cup match at Wanganui Collegiate, a game we should have won comfortably since we had the services of a very young and handy Daniel Vettori in our side, but it wasn't to be.

Advertisement

He got a duck and no wickets...so we lost.

The Chronicle's guest editor for a day Mike Lane plans out this edition alongside news director Zaryd Wilson. Photo/ Bevan Conley
The Chronicle's guest editor for a day Mike Lane plans out this edition alongside news director Zaryd Wilson. Photo/ Bevan Conley

However, I will definitely be back, Whanganui has so much more history and character than that barren flat wasteland of Palmerston North to the south and the oil riches to the north. I may even come back and run for Mayor and if that fails you might just find me at The Commercial.