6 Jan 2024

Tom Sainsbury: Diary of a Kiwi summer

From The Weekend , 9:46 am on 6 January 2024
Tom Sainsbury phones in from the beach

Tom Sainsbury phones in from the beach Photo:

Comedian Tom Sainsbury is out on Waikehe Island soaking up all the joys of summer and Kiwi beach culture on Onetangi.

He's been able to draw a bit of inspiration from holidaymakers around him on a typical summer outing.

"Whenever I go on holiday, my mind kind of goes into overdrive of all the people I can kind of observe," Sainsbury tells The Weekend's Susana Lei’ataua.

"People are a lot more relaxed and kind of unguarded on holiday. So I've just been overhearing some fantastic conversations. I've been watching some amazing people at the bars, at the cafes and things like that and on the beach. So that is all feeding into it. 

"And I also just love the bach culture or the crib or beach house and just how we kind of fit in and around that - It's like the water kind of thing and how people decorate beach houses. I love that. So that's definitely going to be infiltrating my characters."

Sipping on wine and admiring the "270 degree view of everything from Auckland right out into the Pacific Ocean", awing at the cute dogs out for a run on the sand, dropping and losing sunglasses, and belatedly remembering sun protection - it's all a part of the beach culture long entrenched in New Zealand's lifestyle, he says.

"I feel like me growing up going to the beach was the thing because, you know, that is what everyone did. And that's when my dad, especially who's a farmer, that was the only time he kind of relaxed. I don't know how relaxing it was looking after all the kids, but there you go.

"Every summer we'd go ... to Cooks beach because my grandparents had a bach there. And now my parents have bought a kind of a beach house in Mount Maunganui."

But there was a time when the 'slip, slop, slap' was a bit revolutionary.

"Just talking about SPF," he recalls, "I just remember they're so strong now, but back in the '80s and '90s ... I remember you could buy 10, SPF 10."

His New Year's goal is be better at recording some of his observations, he says.

"I've just been listening to an interview with Kim Hill and David Sedaris because he released his diary. And Kim was saying I've burned all my diaries because they were rubbish and he said the problem was is that you recorded your feelings, but what you meant to record is just like events and things that are happening.

"So one of my New Year resolutions is to be better at journaling. So I'm definitely going to write a journal."

And also he’s hoping he’ll get into the habit of putting on sunscreen regularly.