Land Of The LETS Green Dollar
Copyright � James Taris


Brian (left) and Ian with his prized pianola.

7. Monday, March 31
(Mokau ... Rotorua)

Mouse Infested Pianola

By 8.30am we were on our journey. I didn't get much sleep overnight, so I grabbed a few pillows and made myself a comfortable headrest in the rear of the campervan. So for the next couple of hours I wandered in and out of sleep between road bumps and horseshoe bends around the mountains.

First stop was in Mokau, where we met Bryan's friends, Ian and Margaret Whittaker. Ian had started writing a book on the Mokau River and Bridge, but he'd also found himself another interest. Two months ago, Ian had bought himself a pianola for only NZ$150. Unfortunately, he found a large mouse nest inside the instrument, so he put about 200 hours work into it, vacuuming it clean and making repairs, until he finally got it running like new again.

It was set up in his garage and in no time at all he was playing some music for us. Well actually, 'it' was playing some music for us. Ian had got the self-playing machine with 34 rolls of music. You could fit a roll of music into the spool above the keyboard and it would play as you pedaled away. But Ian found the pedaling very tiring for his legs. So instead of pedaling, he found he could hook it up to the vacuum cleaner and use the vac's suction to run it. And it worked marvelously! Of course there wasn't any Madonna, Beatles or Abba. But we did listen to very clear tunes of Chim-Chiminey, Sound Of Music and Bells Of St. Mary's.

On the way out of Mokau, Bryan passed the Duxfield Reserve.

"I haven't seen that before!" he said surprisingly, and soon he'd turned the van around and was going back to the park displaying his surname. I suppose if I'd come across a Taris Reserve I'd be going back to take photos as well!

Anti-Abortion Legend

Eventually we got to Rotorua and met up with Ross and Jenny Bolton, our hosts for the next couple of nights. And what a great privilege this would turn out to be.

Ross was New Zealand's staunchest anti-abortion protester.

Ross was a character. He'd recently had a string of bad luck with a number of heart attacks and strokes, but he'd managed to pull through with only a limp as a give-away to his health problem. Obviously he was keen on doing whatever he could to improve his health, so he had begun taking the herbal medicine, Strauss Heart Drops. He was quite aware that many people claimed it was 'quack medicine', but he believed it was worth trying. At NZ$89 per bottle for a month's supply, his belief must've been very strong indeed.

He was also a very religious man with very strong views about life � literally!

About 15 years ago, Ross had a dream, or rather, a message from God. And God had told him to meet with the Bishop of New Zealand and ask him a question. So off he went to the Bishop's residence in Auckland, but he wasn't allowed in. End of story? No way! Ross just camped outside the Bishop's residence and refused to eat, drink or sleep until the Bishop would see him. Things didn't look good for a number of days, but finally, after 10 days, a news crew came and interviewed Ross. The show was screened later that evening and so the Bishop reluctantly agreed to meet with him. Ross, a devout anti-abortionist, asked the Bishop his question about abortion and got his reply. Ross wouldn't go into detail about it with me, but he was satisfied with the response the Bishop gave him. Soon afterwards Ross became a catholic and has remained so ever since.

Ross had always gone to extreme measures to display his beliefs. After 40 visits, Ross was well known in the local prison system. And he always got locked up for the same reason � for protesting against abortion. He'd get his placard with 'CAUTION: ABORTION KILLS BABIES' written on it, and parade in front of the Abortion Clinic until the police took him to jail. Then as soon as he was released he'd go back and do the same thing again. His view was that as long as babies gave up their lives through abortions, he was willing to give up his life as well.

Nowadays, Ross jokes, "I hear voices", and laughs with us, though we can tell he's not really joking. He's not a fit man any more, but still a very active and caring man. He's next project is to build a Rest Home for the Elderly.

This article is taken from the ebook,
Land of the LETS Green Dollar

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