Brian Edwards Media

Shock! Horror! Local Hairdresser breaks law with small table and chairs!

Ponsonby Hair

The shop in the photograph above is Ponsonby Hair, located in Jervois Road, unsurprisingly in Ponsonby.

The Ken referred to on the sign in the window is Ken Beguely, the owner of Ponsonby Hair.

The feet and legs reflected behind the sign in the window of Ponsonby Hair belong to Brian Edwards and Judy Callingham, Ken’s faithful clients.

Brian and Judy think Ken is a great guy. Their haircuts are testimony to the fact that he is a brilliant hairdresser. So are all his staff.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago Ken had an unexpected visit from a a representative of the ACBDD, the Auckland City Business Discouragement Department.

Ken was cutting a nun’s hair at the time. (No, this is not a joke!)

Now no self-respecting hairdresser will abandon a client in the middle of a cut. And certainly not a nun, God forbid. So Ken continued with his work, while the ACBDD official talked to the back of his head. Ken was in serious breach of a local body by-law.  

Drugs? Pornography? Sly grog? Dodgy Massage? No, the small table and two small chairs which you can see in the photograph just outside Ponsonby Hair . Ken must remove them from the footpath immediately or face the consequences, which could include shutting up shop.

Words were exchanged. Ken invited his client the nun to cover her ears before suggesting that the ACBDD agent might like to return and discuss the matter at a more appropriate time or, more exactly, make love elsewhere. When the officer had gone, the nun, a most charitable woman, observed that, “He wasn’t a very nice man.”

A day or so later the agent returned with reinforcements in the form of a second high-vis-jacket-toting colleague. Ken had three days to comply. If he did not, his officers would forcibly remove the small table and two small chairs and charge him for their trouble and subsequent cost of storage.

Now here’s a bit of background:

The pavement outside Ponsonby Hair is very wide. I’d guess about 3 metres. Ken’s chair and two tables are very narrow. There’s lots of room to get past.

Further up Jervois Road, towards Three Lamps, there are cafes which have so many tables and chairs outside that it’s almost impossible for a pedestrian to get past the tables, chairs, diners, diners’ prams, diners’ dogs and diners’ friends chatting to them on the pavement. The ACBDD doesn’t mind this because these establishments are paying the Council thousands of dollars every year to be allowed to block the pavement.

They did, however, mind the proprietor of one small dress-shop having a small table and a couple of small chairs outside her establishment where weary passers-by could sit for a moment or where,  late in the afternoon, she and her colleague could sip an end-of -business glass of wine. This was a liquor ban area! Not wishing to corrupt innocent pedestrians,  the proprietor offered to transfer the wine to a plastic cup. But this was also unacceptable. Her dress-shop, by the way, is within spitting distance of several licensed cafes.

Now here are a couple of related facts:

Ponsonby Hair is located more or less opposite the top of Curran Street. There is no shelter from sun or rain for roughly 200 metres on either side of the salon. We know this because we have sheltered so many times inside or in front of Ken’s shop. We’ve even collapsed exhausted into his two small chairs.

And finally this: Unlike the cafes dotted along Ponsonby and Jervois Roads, Ken doesn’t earn anything from his table and two small chairs outside. He provides them out of the goodness of his heart. Can’t have that now, can we?

So far the ACBDD enforcers haven’t come back to remove Ken’s little table and chairs or fine him for non-compliance or close his shop down.

But they may. As Paul Henry was given to noting so often on his late-night show – “Bastards!”

, , ,


  1. Truly, I cannot believe what you Aucklanders put up with from your Council and its various bureaucrats. Every time I read about your city there is a problem, the latest being the Port Company telling the ineffective Councillors you have, what to do about port expansion. Do you all feel helpless and powerless? No other city in the world would put up with the overpriced, useless, management you have. Employees in London, an outfit called ATEED, who seem to think all rates collected are theirs, a lame duck for a Mayor who refuses to stand up for anything except his train tunnel, Watercare Services who pay million dollar salaries to people running a monopoly business. Get real about all this and start complaining to both the Council and to the Government until something is done. So far the Supercity is a floundering, over-priced failure. The solution lies in your hands.

  2. Some sort of sit in (sit on?) is called for. Make sure the chairs are occupied for all the time they’re outside, and dare the little man (did he have a moustache? If he didn’t it would only be because he couldn’t grow one) to take the chair, occupant and all.

    Nuns seem to have little to do other than dressing up like penguins, frowning and tutting at small terrified children in Catholic schools (if Hollywood is to be believed), and hoping they’ll win the bingo, so perhaps they could form the bulk of the roster, with back-up from locals who’ve had quite enough of this petty (in both sense of the word) bourgeoisie carry-on.

  3. Does Ken’s local/ward councillor agree with the actions of ACBDD persons?

  4. Well done for supporting the cause of common sense. But I seriously feel sorry for the workers who are being required to “enforce” this craziness. A good occasion for a blind eye!

  5. 5

    Jasperdene Harmonious

    Man, what I would give to be a Footpath Compliance officer with the Council. Get to wear a starched uniform, a cap, carry a whistle and a baton.

  6. Im guessing someone has complained.It would be interesting to find out the reason that this action is being taken.Ive often found stupid rules (this I think comes under that heading)are usually ignored until somebody with a personal agenda complains to the council.There is of course no excuse for poor manners.

  7. Rex, please don’t take all your “facts” from Hollywood.

    Most nuns these days are working flat stick as social workers, plugging all the gaps that appear when a National government withdraws funding from other support groups, community workers and volunteers.

    From helping settle refugees to working with the homeless and teenage runaways, nuns provide all kinds of essential social backup. They haven’t got time to sit around outside hairdressers.

    Retirees, on the other hand…

  8. The thing is Brian, it takes high impact people like you or Bob Jones to achieve these simple things. If it were me or my neighbour we would be rolled over. But it is good, you did it. How we love the RMA, and Council; Goodness to your family Brian, it was you alone who taught me to write my name down . Northland shaping up, a good decision by Little.