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Kiwi Dollars and Sense

Helping kiwi's learn, earn and save

Kiwi Dollars and Sense is the story of a couple of kiwis, Rawhiri a budding musician and Russell an Auckland mechanic and their journey through the lessons of life. This project is to help kiwi’s understand their own lessons of life and what’s important in creating the life you want:

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Kiwi Dollars and Sense

Chapter One–The bloke who Wanted More

Russell, a mechanic in Auckland, was at present on a bit of a downer. From where he sat on his back porch he looked about at his house and towards his shed where he did most of his work. In the shed sat the latest car he had been working on, it seemed to look back at him with a slightly mocking gaze, as if it were saying, “Go on Russell, finish me off and see where it gets you”.

It had seemed recently that the more work he was doing the more bills he had to pay; there was at present no light at the end of the tunnel. His girlfriend had come to the back door a few times, as if to say something to him and then turned away back into the house the worried look on her face saying more to Russ than any words she could have uttered.

He knew he should be finishing the work he had to do on the vehicle in his shed as they desperately needed the money and he could not really afford to be sitting about feeling sorry for himself.

Still he sat, deep in thought, his mind turning over on itself, trying to work through the problem which had been bugging him for a few hours now. The hot northern sun beat down on him with its withering gaze, there had been no respite from it in recent weeks as summer had hit. The whole of New Zealand was experiencing an energy-sapping heat wave that seemed to make small problems feel as large as the problems of nuclear theory that had dogged the great Sir Ernest Rutherford.

He looked out over the water at the great city that Auckland had become. The far off towers of industry and commerce, now dwarfed by the shining needle like monstrosity that was the Sky tower, were shining in the summer sun with a sheen much like that of a coin caught in the rays of the same sun. Looking out upon such wealth it was hard for him to fathom why he seemed to struggle so with day-to-day business when there was obviously so much money in this wonderful country.

The noise of the nearby shopping center was not even enough to distract him from his problem as the buses roared by and cars and various other vehicles beeped their slow progress through the streets to their various destinations.

Finally, something interrupted his thoughts, a low and insistent thud that resembled music; it was Rawiri, his best mate, in his old station wagon blasting his latest favorite music as he came up the driveway.

“Hey bro, smoko already, eh? I thought you would be hard at it, maybe you made enough on the horses last weekend to sit around like this for the afternoon”, he laughed. “Maybe you can lend me twenty bucks bro, till after my gig tonight, we’re opening for this new group, they’ve come up from Welly to play, meant to be pretty good.”

“Rawiri, if I even had twenty bucks I would not be able to help bro, it would go straight to the missus, she’s on my case brother, I’m flat broke”.

“Broke eh?” said Rawiri, “That seems a little odd considering you are sitting there like that with that car in your shed waiting to be worked on, that’s not like you bro, old work till eleven at night get up at seven in the morning, what’s up?”

“I have been sitting here wondering what happened to me,” Russ explained. “I was top of my class when I graduated from tech, the teacher said he expected big things from me and now here I am running a two bit business out of my backyard, struggling to make ends meet and never seeming to be able to shake off this debt that keeps coming back worse every month.”

He went on, “To cap it all off we are meant to be going down to Hamilton to see Rachel’s family for the weekend and I’m not looking forward to showing up amongst those rich cats with the same old stories about eventually making it big, I’ve been telling them that for years.”

“Come on Russ, you aren’t doing that badly, you’ve got a nice house, a good car, a lovely woman and some great kids, you’ve even got a boat for crying out loud, not many people have what you have bro”, Rawiri shook his head in disbelief.

“It’s all a show mate, I’m in debt up to my eyeballs, I might have to start selling these illusions of success if things don’t pick up, and I’m freaking out bro.” Russ replied, a strange sadness tingeing his voice, “I just want to be able to relax like I did when I was young, it’s been pretty hard to do that recently bro, pretty damn hard”.

“Wow Russ, you seem pretty cut up bro, I don’t think I have ever heard you talk like this before,” Rawiri replied.

“It’s never hit me this hard mate, I have always believed in tomorrow but today I woke up and realized that if I don’t sort these debts out I’m gonna have nothing left to give to my kids when I pass away, it’s a scary thought dude.”

Russ went on, “I’ve always thought that working hard was going to get me all the things I wanted, all the things my lady wanted and the things my kids want, y’know? It just seems as though I work all year for a holiday and then when its over I am back to work again so I can afford to pay for that holiday and the next one, and on holiday I’m worrying about work anyway, it’s a joke bro.”

Russ continued his voice steady. “Man, I just want to be able to enjoy my life and make my family happy, get a few things that will help to do that, have enough cash in the bank to be able to go on a surprise holiday and things like that, why does it seem so hard to do this, get a little bit ahead?”

“I wish I knew brother!” Rawiri replied. “No sooner have I booked a gig and found out what they are going to pay me it seems like the money is gone already, I have been having to get out and busk again recently, haven’t done that for years bro. What’s worse is my music is better than ever, it just seems like I can’t get the breaks, I need new equipment and to record some of my new tunes but don’t have the finance to do it, it’s making me crazy bro.”

“Bro if I had the finance I would help you out”, Rawiri replied. “You are still one of the best muso’s I have ever heard in NZ bro, amazing at times, we both just need a break, but the thing is how the hell are we going to get it?”

“We need some advice from somewhere bro, but who could we ask about this sort of thing without being laughed at?” Russ continued. “The boys would take the piss out of us and Rachel’s olds have never really liked me, mind you, I haven’t exactly given them reason to with my behavior at their Christmas parties over the years.”

Rawiri suddenly interrupted, excitedly his eyes gleaming. “Bro, do you remember my cousin Jon, he lived with us for awhile a few years back when he was finishing his degree?”

“Yeah I remember Jon, he was cool.” Russ replied.

“He is cool bro, and he is back living here in Auckland, he’s loaded, made heaps of money overseas somewhere in real estate, I mean heaps of money, he’s like a millionaire or something now, he’s got to be able to give a couple of guys like us a few tips on how to get ahead.” Rawiri was as animated as Russ had seen him today.

Russ stood up. “Surely we can ask him a few tips, we should try to meet up with him as soon as possible, and he was always a good person to talk to, I remember him telling me what was wrong with my forward defensive stroke when we were studying, cleaned it right up, I think I made fifty runs the next game!”

Russ carried on, “If he can help me with my cricket game he can surely help anyone, what an idea Ra, all this time wasted wondering about what to do when in reality all it would have taken is to ask the right person for a few tips, this could be a huge chance for us bro, I mean huge. After years of struggling to get a little piece of the New Zealand dream it could be as easy as speaking to someone we have known for most of our lives, it seems ridiculous to think we have been struggling away so long without wondering why we were struggling!”

“Maybe we can ask him if he will do a workshop or something, get some of the boys along as well, some of them will be keen to hear what John has to say, surely.” Rawiri replied.

“Great idea bro lets do it.” Russ was already putting his jandals on.

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