Meeting Oilers

The early days of the Wellington chapter

For me it began with Quarry envy. Blueburd would post on backchat about various catch-ups with Oilers at his coffee stop at Halswell Quarry in Christchurch. Then one day in the thread of one of these discussions on Backchat, AWB suggested a Wellington chapter, and our first gathering started.

It was tiny, just me, my husband Joe and AWB. We decided to make it a monthly thing in the hope that it would grow. A few more people joined us each month, and now there are about 9 regulars. I?m shy and find it a struggle to make small talk with complete strangers, but what I?ve found is that it doesn?t take very long at all to feel like part of the group. While we don?t all agree all of the time, we have common ground and respect for others? opinions. This matches feedback I?ve had from others who have met up. Apprehensive at first,? unsure how it would go, but finding it soon feels like you’ve known these complete strangers for a lot longer than 5 minutes.

The Southern and Molyneux event seemed like a good opportunity for a group to get together in Auckland, so a plan was hatched. With the venue not being announced until the day of the event, it was a very fluid plan, revised once the venue was known. We choked with disbelief as the event was cancelled, but regrouped and eventually went ahead with greater resolve than before.

From memory, about 26 people eventually met up at the Horse and Trap in Mt Eden. I learned that you could arrange for complete strangers to find each other in a crowded bar if there was something that made them stand out. Big shout out to Joseph with the MAGA cap, and Rantykiwi the smoker! The evening was a great success and went some way to alleviate the disappointment of Southern and Molyneux being shut down.

It was suggested that regular catch-ups be organised, and so chapters of the Whaleoil community have sprung up all over New Zealand. There are now regular gatherings in Auckland, Mt Maunganui, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Recently, HookerPhil and Incognito embarked on a road trip north to Auckland and managed to catch up with a bunch of Oilers along the way. I’ll hand over to HookerPhil and Incognito to tell us about their trip.

An invitation to a BBQ was the catalyst to say ?lets do it?? – so off to Whangaparaoa, only 1315 km on SH1, the sausages had better not be burnt.

A quick visit to Amberley and KGB at the start of what would prove to be a bit of a meet and greet Whaleoil tour.

First morning in Stokes Valley and Korau, our Word of the Day specialist, was surprised when he was messaged to look out his window and see an old camper van parked there. In best Super Sleuth Sally style, Incognito knew he lived there; having lived next door many years ago helped, so we met our first new Oiler on the trip.

Having wanted to meet with KatB, a fellow lycra clad magpie hating cyclist, an arranged meeting morphed into an inaugural meeting of a Taranaki Chapter.

Representing Hawera, Stratford, Inglewood, Patea and New Plymouth the region was well covered with L. Meringue Pie, Miss McGerkinshaw, Mike Webber, KatB and Graeme, a long time reader, spending a good 2 hours plus sorting a few things out.

Late last year I had arranged to meet with Cows4Me when he came down south. Suddenly he said he had to go to Auckland and went straight home ? so our meeting never materialized. So, we went to the Okato Cemetery and said farewell to one of the legends of Whaleoil.

Paying respects to Cows4me *Actual grave but the sign has been photoshopped

A North Shore Whalers meeting was arranged so we met Bluemanning, Arthur (proof reader), Pak, Westie Pete, ?the very generous XCIA and Bafacu, an ex hooker in his prime, obviously a good sort. As an importer of high quality golf balls he gave me his contact details for the golf playing Curly; ?Some of my balls will improve his game?, he said.? The time it took for some to arrive and park gave us an insight into the problems Aucklanders face on a daily basis.

After a night on the beachfront of Muldoon?s old stomping ground we headed for Whangaparaoa and the BBQ.? Only 1830 km?and it rained.

Plenty of great Whale Meat Company steaks and sausages lovingly cooked by the Chef du Jour Nigel ? would be worth getting in for your next BBQ but he does need quite a bit of fuel.

Met with Boondecker, ExPFC, Isherman, Charlotte, Christie, Suze, mcvac, WH, Johcar, Mike, Olivia Pearson and Lushington D.Brady on Skype from Australia.? Of course the lovely SB and Cam were wonderful hosts. Also present were Deb and Joe who we had met in Dunedin at their first Whaleoil meeting and Rantykiwi, likewise at the Quarry.? A very good day was had by all and no tales to be told. Great to have just stayed the night parked outside on the beachfront. Am sure Cam would have loved explaining how come he associates with people who drive a camper van and have bikes on the front.

Tuesday, Mt Maunganui at Bar Latitude 37 and the scene of our first meeting with Curly1952 just last year.? Now we were joined by MCChinaman, Kong Kon, T. Mardell ?Macca, Steelyman, World View, Kopua Cowboy and another reader only.? Big night, I think 5 pm to 11.55 qualifies for that, Chief Curly in control.

A slight detour on the way down to Wellington via Foxton Beach, and lunch with and at Mr Grumpy?s ? a lovely couple of hours, he thought I fitted the mould of a Whaleoil person, close but we are not all white older males ? just quite a few of us.

On to Wellington and the Backbenchers Bar. Deb and Joe on home territory, Mags, Smoke & Mirrors, AWB, Pixy, Hotrod12 and the lovely Christie again ? the one who doesn?t quite fit the boring old accountant profile.

So that was it, 4 weeks and 3340 km for a sausage. The only real wet day we struck was the BBQ day. At home there was constant rain and grey days, 8 inches of rain in Waimate alone, great timing to be away.

We loved meeting all those Oilers. Despite the mould described we are a very assorted lot. Very caring, generous, knowledgeable and of course good looking.? Surprising how many of us have Greens and Lefties mixed up in our families, I have both, and a Hillary lover for good measure.? A very common theme was George ? very, very well regarded by all, and Wibble – humour extraordinaire.?? Most agreed they spend far too much time on Whaleoil, ?an acknowledgment that the quality of comments in many articles provides real meat and, by those who had tried Whale Meat Company meat, that it is simply the best. Many have been long time readers, well before moderation, and no one said the good old days were better. Females were reluctant to admit gender back then to avoid a verbal bashing, and most people started off by putting a small toe in the water. A featured comment is regarded as a great honour.

Incognito and I have now met with 74 readers and we look forward to meeting more. It would appear that a reasonable number will be going to the air show in Blenheim next Easter. If you can attend any of those Oiler Summit Meetings, make the effort. You will not be disappointed, friends are out there waiting to be made.

HookerPhil ? and no, I did not turn up in either my Canterbury or Crusaders Jersey, just a subtle strip of red and black on my shorts.

It’s thirsty work being an Oiler

What has become apparent is that while we are mostly an online community, it is the ?community? that is the important bit.? I think it’s neat that HookerPhil and Incognito took the time to visit and pay their respects to Cows4me. It shows that as individuals, we matter, even to those we have never met.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the catch-ups over the year, for having the faith to turn up to meet complete strangers and become friends.

Here’s to doing it all again in 2019.