1 Dec 2021

What's inside Kiwi garages?

From Nine To Noon, 11:20 am on 1 December 2021

Author George Lockyer embarked on a mission around the country to find some of the more quirky uses Kiwis have for their garages.

He found vintage cars, inventions, a military museum, a brewery - quite a successful one - a repair shop, sculpture studio and a radio shack.  The result is his book Kiwi Garages - Inside New Zealanders' Happy Places.

George joins Kathryn to talk about how the garage is often a refuge from the world, and a good place to de-stress. He's joined by dominatrix Red Fox, whose garage is featured in the book and hosts a different kind of place to de-stress.

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Photo: Supplied

The idea came from previous books he’s done on motorcycles and he got in touch with his contacts to ask if they knew people with interesting garages.

“I emailed presidents of motorcycle clubs, vintage car clubs, any club I could think of and they gave me quite a few contacts.”

He got out and hit the road, travelling the entire country to visit people and their garages.

“I was always amazed by their hospitality. They didn’t know me from a bar of soap and they’d often offer me a meal and a bed for the night, it was amazing… they’re very enthusiastic enthusiasts. Once they start talking about their passion, I don’t really have to ask many questions.”

One of his favourites was the garage belonging to Red Fox.

“I thought I was a man of the world I entered the Red Fox dungeon. That was very much an eye opener… but it’s hard to pick favourites really, they were so diverse and all so interesting. It was a learning experience really.”

George says that, for many of the people he spoke to, their garage was their sanctum.

“It’s their bolthole, their place to go, their safe haven, if you like, in this very stressful world that we’ve created. We all need a place to go for a bit of me time and I think the garage represented that.”

He says he tried hard to include as many women as he could in the book but the garage did seem to be the domain of the male.

Red Fox jumps in to say it’s the male domain she’s trying to smash.

She says she gets some interesting reactions from people when she tells them about her work.

“The women, you can see the glee coming out of their eyes and the men are always squirming and uncomfortable. In general, most people are absolutely fascinated, there are a lot of people who know nothing about BDSM and it’s a strange world.”

She says her garage was pretty pitiful to begin with but she managed to get the bora out and start sound proofing with egg cartons she spray painted black.

“Obviously you don’t want the squeals of men getting out into the neighbourhood. It’s a bit spooky in that way, but the little reception area I made has floral wallpaper. I wanted it to be feminine but also kind of like a gentlemen’s club, as much as that makes my stomach churn.”

Red Fox says people were sceptical the business would work in a place like Picton but she gets client coming from all over the south island, and sometimes the north, to be humiliated, teased, whipped, and spanked.

“Not a lot of true locals, I think they might be a petrified someone might spot them.”