‘Bauldie’ bows out

He's never been slow to speak his mind

He's never been slow to speak his mind

Craig Bauld taking part in Allans Fun Run, July 1988.
Taken in May 1988, during his 24 years at Waikohu College where he retired as principal.
'Bauldie' as his is now.

Craig 'Bauldie' Bauld has been delighted to be the stormy petrel if not 'enfant terrible' of local politics in two decades on Gisborne District Council. He is well known for his Balderdash column which actually started with mercantile cricket where one of his favourite targets was John Jones, who talked to the outgoing councillor.

The privilege of serving under two outstanding mayors will be one of the main memories of District Councillor Craig Bauld as he ends an astonishing 21 years on Gisborne District Council.

Always controversial, “Bauldie” — who has a level of name recognition other politicians would die for — has never been slow to speak his mind at either the council table or in print as he faced his many nemeses.

But asked for some comment after choosing, a little belatedly, not to stand at last month’s elections he was reluctant to find his name in print one last time. Under some pressure he reluctantly chose to respond with praise for the two mayors he served under.

“I feel privileged to have served under two quite outstanding mayors,” he said. “John Clarke — among the most competent men I have ever met. Strong intellect, strong personality, strong leader, but still a decent Kiwi bloke.

“I regret that he never entered national politics. He would have been top Cabinet Minister material equal to the likes of Bill English and Steven Joyce. And Mayor Meng — totally different but equally good in his way. A consummate people person.

“Friends from out of town marvel when they meet him. They tell me that ordinary people can’t have a natter like that with their mayors. They would be far too ‘important’ to be cooking sausages for the neighbourhood kids behind the scenes. They would rather be standing out front looking impressive, hobnobbing with the rich and famous.

"Half the kids in Gisborne know the Mayor and call him Meng. It is unbelievable, and great for the community,” he says.

Councillors he has enjoyed working with most?

“No contest. Hemi Hikawai and Alan Davidson, old friends from their days in the police, could cause the council to fall about laughing in the middle of really serious business with their sharp wit and banter.”

Members he respected most? “Patrick Willock, Roger Haisman, Manu Caddie.”

Hopes for the future?

“Rehette, Amber, Josh, Meredith are going to lead Gisborne into a stronger future.”

Biggest annoyance?

“The community votes you into the role in the hope that you will be strong, fair, honest, that you will carefully examine the evidence and make the best independent decisions you can on behalf of everyone. And next minute some of them abuse you for not listening to their opinion! Bugger their opinion! Public opinion wavers with the wind. I do not waver with the wind.

“Are there really any voters so stupid they want councillors to be influenced by the people who write letters to the paper, or by comments on social media?

“For most councillors, it is a source of genuine pride that the community trusts them. And most councillors try to live up to that. You sound like an idiot, or (even worse) a politician, when you talk about feeling humble to be chosen by your community to represent them. But that is how I have always felt . . . which is quite a big deal considering that I am an arrogant bastard at the best of times,” he says.

Craig Bauld was born in Warkworth into a railway family, and moved regularly around the North Island until they settled in Gisborne when he was nine. Educated at Awapuni School, Gisborne Intermediate, Boys' High, Victoria University and Wellington Teachers College, he taught at Taita Intermediate, and Spotswood College in New Plymouth, before coming home to Gisborne in 1972.

Craig then taught at Te Karaka’s Waikohu College for 24 years, moving up the ranks to principal. He left education aged 50 to become a self-employed “hobby farmer”, which allowed time to also serve on the council and later the health board as well.

While on the council, he chaired the finance committee, hearings committee, finance again, then stood aside from chair positions to give others a chance.

He started writing a weekly column — Training Your Dog — when running the dog training club, then added Balderdash for mercantile cricket, then Balderdash for the council and fun, interspersed with slightly more serious columns under his own name, gaining some national notoriety for some.

Craig actually stood for ACT in its first election, famously telling voters not to vote for him, just for the party, believing Parliament needed a shake-up. He resigned from the party the day after the election.

A heavy fall from a horse in 2014 left him with some spinal damage.

“After a long recovery period, I still have difficulty walking, but consider myself very lucky,” he said.

And now?

“I am happy among my horses, parrots, llamas, geese, dogs, cats, chooks, peacocks. They are much more peaceful than the council chamber,” he said.

Craig 'Bauldie' Bauld has been delighted to be the stormy petrel if not 'enfant terrible' of local politics in two decades on Gisborne District Council. He is well known for his Balderdash column which actually started with mercantile cricket where one of his favourite targets was John Jones, who talked to the outgoing councillor.

The privilege of serving under two outstanding mayors will be one of the main memories of District Councillor Craig Bauld as he ends an astonishing 21 years on Gisborne District Council.

Always controversial, “Bauldie” — who has a level of name recognition other politicians would die for — has never been slow to speak his mind at either the council table or in print as he faced his many nemeses.

But asked for some comment after choosing, a little belatedly, not to stand at last month’s elections he was reluctant to find his name in print one last time. Under some pressure he reluctantly chose to respond with praise for the two mayors he served under.

“I feel privileged to have served under two quite outstanding mayors,” he said. “John Clarke — among the most competent men I have ever met. Strong intellect, strong personality, strong leader, but still a decent Kiwi bloke.

“I regret that he never entered national politics. He would have been top Cabinet Minister material equal to the likes of Bill English and Steven Joyce. And Mayor Meng — totally different but equally good in his way. A consummate people person.

“Friends from out of town marvel when they meet him. They tell me that ordinary people can’t have a natter like that with their mayors. They would be far too ‘important’ to be cooking sausages for the neighbourhood kids behind the scenes. They would rather be standing out front looking impressive, hobnobbing with the rich and famous.

"Half the kids in Gisborne know the Mayor and call him Meng. It is unbelievable, and great for the community,” he says.

Councillors he has enjoyed working with most?

“No contest. Hemi Hikawai and Alan Davidson, old friends from their days in the police, could cause the council to fall about laughing in the middle of really serious business with their sharp wit and banter.”

Members he respected most? “Patrick Willock, Roger Haisman, Manu Caddie.”

Hopes for the future?

“Rehette, Amber, Josh, Meredith are going to lead Gisborne into a stronger future.”

Biggest annoyance?

“The community votes you into the role in the hope that you will be strong, fair, honest, that you will carefully examine the evidence and make the best independent decisions you can on behalf of everyone. And next minute some of them abuse you for not listening to their opinion! Bugger their opinion! Public opinion wavers with the wind. I do not waver with the wind.

“Are there really any voters so stupid they want councillors to be influenced by the people who write letters to the paper, or by comments on social media?

“For most councillors, it is a source of genuine pride that the community trusts them. And most councillors try to live up to that. You sound like an idiot, or (even worse) a politician, when you talk about feeling humble to be chosen by your community to represent them. But that is how I have always felt . . . which is quite a big deal considering that I am an arrogant bastard at the best of times,” he says.

Craig Bauld was born in Warkworth into a railway family, and moved regularly around the North Island until they settled in Gisborne when he was nine. Educated at Awapuni School, Gisborne Intermediate, Boys' High, Victoria University and Wellington Teachers College, he taught at Taita Intermediate, and Spotswood College in New Plymouth, before coming home to Gisborne in 1972.

Craig then taught at Te Karaka’s Waikohu College for 24 years, moving up the ranks to principal. He left education aged 50 to become a self-employed “hobby farmer”, which allowed time to also serve on the council and later the health board as well.

While on the council, he chaired the finance committee, hearings committee, finance again, then stood aside from chair positions to give others a chance.

He started writing a weekly column — Training Your Dog — when running the dog training club, then added Balderdash for mercantile cricket, then Balderdash for the council and fun, interspersed with slightly more serious columns under his own name, gaining some national notoriety for some.

Craig actually stood for ACT in its first election, famously telling voters not to vote for him, just for the party, believing Parliament needed a shake-up. He resigned from the party the day after the election.

A heavy fall from a horse in 2014 left him with some spinal damage.

“After a long recovery period, I still have difficulty walking, but consider myself very lucky,” he said.

And now?

“I am happy among my horses, parrots, llamas, geese, dogs, cats, chooks, peacocks. They are much more peaceful than the council chamber,” he said.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the new identity and wellbeing focus of Trust Tairawhiti (formerly Eastland Community Trust)?