In reviews 13 July ’23

by | Jul 12, 2023

Looking back over the past weeks and to the weeks ahead – to rate the noteworthy, the cringeworthy, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the truly amazing.

Joe Bennett hailing the plumbing trade

Joe Bennett has a way with words and is one of the more learned and lucid columnists commissioned to make us think and occasionally to laugh. I have a friend who was taught by Joe many moons ago at Christ’s College, Christchurch and they still stay in touch. He’s a nice guy who can spin a yarn, according to my pal. In one of his recent pieces published by The Northern Advocate, he gives the proper kudos to one of our most taken for granted trades and props to him for doing so.

“Superficially it’s an unappealing trade. Plumbers are forever on their knees, underneath things, down there with the rot and the rats. Or they’re plunging rods through stuff we don’t want to know about. Or they’re up in the roof space, bent double in the heat, taking a wrench to the cylinder while the householder prays below. And yet, what tradesman is more vital than the plumber, more desperately summoned, more keenly awaited, more warmly welcomed on arrival?” (Source: “Hail the humble plumber,” Joe Bennett, The Northern Advocate, July 1st, 2023).

5 stars – tradies do not get the recognition they deserve and are all too often taken for granted.


Another day, another story about someone falling prey to the insidious, duplicitous, scumbaggery of parasitic scammers. We all get the emails and texts from phoney addresses and numbers asking us to log in to win a prize, or update our account details to pay a fine we never knew we had, or claim some money that has mysteriously made its way to us. Scammers have become more sophisticated and emulate government organisations and banks to attempt to prize hard earned savings from the unwary.

It seems that education and awareness are the only tools available to stop these thieves because it’s as easy as pie to text from what appears to be an NZ cell phone number, which is actually a screen for some other number in some other country. Bots create fake email addresses and spew endless corrupt phoniness to plague our mailboxes.

Rule of thumb – never, ever open an attachment in an email or text you do not 100% know the sender of and never ever bloody anything ever give your account details to anyone, ever. Still, huge sympathy for anyone who has had their money stolen from these bottom feeders. They’re the worst.

0 stars – because I can.

Builder goes above and beyond to help homeowners

This story is over a month old but it is certainly worth a mention. When a couple were on the verge of losing their semi-built home, a local builder stepped in and completed the job, with his labour costs for free.

A West Auckland couple lost their $66,000 deposit when disputes with their original builder led them to terminate the contract. With their house unfinished the Kumars were on the brink of ruin.

Local builder Anish Monpara was made aware of the situation after reading of the Kumar’s plight online and visited the site.

“’At first I wasn’t keen, because I had a lot on my plate, but I went over there to help out, and I saw what needed to be done.’

“Monpara said he wanted to ‘restore trust in the community,’ so he volunteered his labour, free of charge.

“Sanjeev Kumar said that after having spent three years in deadlock with the previous builder, seeing the house be completed by Monpara in eight weeks was like ‘watching a miracle’.

“’It’s the first time we’ve slept properly in years. We would be up until midnight, and then we might just start crying,’ he said.” (Source: “Couple who lost deposit over building dispute have house finished for free,”, Jonathan Killick, June 19th, 2023,

5 stars – stories like these are not that common and warm the heart. Huge props to Anish Monpara, well done!


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