The Central App

Mayor's column: Kiwilele jam a 'treat for the soul'

The Central App

Mayor Tim Cadogan - Opinion

06 July 2024, 5:30 PM

Mayor's column: Kiwilele jam a 'treat for the soul'Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan. PHOTO: File

I’ve mentioned it enough times that you are probably sick of hearing it, but here I go again. This job really gives a lot of chances to do interesting things.


Take last week for example. Local music teacher and guru Liz Conway asked if I would come along to the Kiwilele jam that was held on Monday, to which I gladly accepted. 

An hour or so listening to wee kids play ukelele, what a treat for the soul!


Then Liz asked if I would like to join in by wearing a tomato or a seagull costume or coming up front and playing with the band. 

Tempting as the costumes were, I thought playing along might be ok but there was one problem; I don’t play the ukelele. 

“No worries” says Liz with the confidence of the naturally absurdly gifted.


To be fair, I do play guitar, but every new chord is a trial of rote learning which is not getting better as I age, so I was very concerned about my ability to learn the new chord shapes a ukelele would need. 

No worries though, plenty of time to prepare. Until I got to work on Monday and realised today was the day. 

At that point, I bailed out, or at least tried to. Liz, bless her, compromised and made a fuss of giving me a ukelele in front of the kids but allowed me to sit off to the side, not up the front with the actual musicians, and thank goodness she did because what a treat I had! 

Playing along (badly) with 150 kids from Alexandra Primary and St Gerards was an absolute joy, a tonic for the heart and soul although maybe not the ears of those around me. 

I seriously wound up with sore facial muscles because I couldn’t get the smile off my face the whole time.


A man approaching 80 said to me last weekend that he had read what Clint Eastwood said when asked how he does all he does in his 90’s, which was “I don’t let the old man in”. 

I think sitting with those kids sharing in their joy of music kept the old man at bay for quite some time.


Thanks Liz!