Yaaar, Or Whatever

It’s only November, but apparently it’s time for the Santa Parade again. Last year I was content to sit on the sidelines over by the library with Jill and look at all the weird floats and wonder what, exactly, they had to do with Christmas-in-November, but this year I was actually on one of those floats. I can say with some assurance, now that I’ve wiped off the eyeliner and hung up my pirate hat, that pretty much none of the floats have anything to do with anything except that apparently in Wellington we just like a parade, damn the occasion.

Like a month ago one of the girls in Sunday morning bellydance class was all, “Hey, we need some people to be pirates in the Santa Parade,” and I was all, “Oh, okay, well, if you need people, sure why not.” And then I conveniently forgot about the whole thing until Wednesday when I got an email like “Ahoy matey” and “Muster at 1:15 on Ballance Street” and “Don’t anybody pull out, okay?” and I felt like a big jerk because I had been juuuust going to pike, like, the day before. I kind of sighed and rolled my eyes to myself (pirates are so…I don’t know. I’m not that into pirates) and emailed back saying that I didn’t have any costuming, thinking that would maybe get me out of the whole thing.

“Oh don’t worry,” Tam replied. “We even got you a hat.” They got me a hat, they got me my own pirate hat. What was I supposed to do? So I went into town this morning, feeling kind of stupid (pirates?), and found the float we were supposed to be on. Yaar, or whatever.

Not That Into Pirates

We were supposed to be with Westside Studios, which I guess is this costume supplier or something, and I have to say that the floats were really realistic and lifelike and awesome. It had a steering wheel and rope ladder and a place to put our bags and was really well done. Ours was, duh, the Black Pearl, and we were supposed to be taking over some sort of English ship. I don’t know, I just showed up and put on my hat.

Before The Crew Shows Up

Prepare To Be Boarded


I got there early so I had a couple of minutes to check out the other floats.

Pre-Parade Milling About

I don’t know what these guys were doing but it was pretty fun to just watch them milling around in all their random costumes. Even better was when everyone’s favorite batucada band, of which I sadly did not get a photo, started playing, and everyone, all the turtles and princesses and mustard bottles or whatever that is, started jamming out together.

The Falun Dafa Marching Band

Here’s the local Falun Dafa band. They demonstrate and hand out leaflets in Cuba Mall all the time, and I know they’re rather controversial, but today they were mostly just playing their tunes.

Blues Float

I have no idea what this float was for, but I like to take the chance to take pictures of fake Jake and Elwood whenever I can.

Wonderful Wellington Weather Machine

This is the Wonderful Wellington Weather Machine, and as you can see, the Wind/Rain lever is switched to “Off” today.

Drum Practice

A Chinese drumming group gets warmed up.


I was curious about these girls because as far as I know, cheerleading isn’t really a NZ thing. And yet, a cheerleading group.


I’m not even going to comment on this one.

So by the time I got back to our (clearly superior) float, all the other pirates were there, and really getting into their roles. I’m talking they had pirate names and were talking in pirate-talk and everything.


And I couldn’t help it…I’m a sucker for people who take ridiculous things seriously, and before I knew it I was climbing the ladder up to the boat and putting on pantaloons and a corset (since all the pirates were also all bellydancers, there was quite a bit of costume crossover) and putting my hat on at a jaunty angle. I’m a big believer in owning it, you know, and the sun was shining and the batucada band was playing and whatever my other faults, I have to admit I can at least rock a corset, and so all of a sudden I stopped sighing to myself and got fully into it.

All Aboard

Of course I didn’t get to take pictures during the parade itself, but trust me when I tell you that I got to be up there in the…cockpit, or whatever, and that I got to drive the boat along with a dude wearing an octopus mask who was making comments like “I’d cut ye down to size if ye weren’t already so shapely, aaar,” and I was all “Yeah dude, does that line actually ever work?” and someone had brought a hook and so I drove the boat with one hand and gestured threateningly with the hook when I wasn’t doing the Princess Di elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist wave with it.

It was over pretty quickly—it takes much longer to watch a parade than to wave one’s sword around in one, it turns out—and so soon it was time to hop off the boat and head on over to the juice bar. I kept my costume on as long as I could though, and may have even let loose with a “Yaaaarr!” or two.

Silly things are really fun, you know?

Hey Lookit Them Lady Pirates


  1. Thats so fun! Nate and I intended to go to my local suburban Santa Parade today, but somehow…missed it. And missed all the people. We showed up at the end of the parade (admittedly 45 minutes after it was due to start) and it was all done, and everyone had left. Very…quick. Luckily I have next week’s Auckland one to look forward to, although Nate can’t make it :(

    There were never cheerleading teams when I was younger, so it is a new thing, but I’ve always wanted to be a cheerleader. :(

  2. i haven’t been in a parade since i was 14 (my final year as a sequined majorette), and i gotta tell you….feeling a little jealous right now. you clearly made a saucy pirate!

  3. ditto on you making a saucy pirate…Landon was jealous:)

  4. I love it! I would so totally have rocked that with you!
    Which are your bellydance sistahs? Or are all of them?

  5. You look fantastic!

  6. I’d have to concur on your hot-ness in the pirate outfit… Damn girl!!! And remember this is coming from a repressed Brit so it’s not faint praise!!

    And just to get this straight, the dude in the Octopus mask!!?? Surely that was a SIGN or something man – or was he just not that cute :o(

  7. Oh you Totally rocked that pirate outfit!

  8. Your pictures are so bright and cheery. Exactly what I needed on this grey Washington day month.

  9. file under: hot wenches

  10. Oh who’s the original pirate princess? Chiara!!

    I wonder whycome cheerleading is not The Thing in NZ. Is it seen as a ditzy American to-do? I would imagine the rugby players like a little rah-rah?

  11. Dude, that is AWESOME. You totally worked that pirate gig.

  12. I think traditionally NZ hasn’t had a big cheerleader culture because girls have been assumed to want to play their own games off on the other paddock. In the meantime, the “precision performance” niche was already occupied by something called “marching girls”[*], and the “gymnastics” niche was filled by, I guess, gymnastics.

    And now that there are more New Zealanders and the world is smaller, there is more cheerleading around. All part of the rich tapestry, I guess.


    [*] It’s just called “marching” when adults do it, but that’s not so instantly evocative. The highest-prestige group is Lochiel, as written about here: http://www.smt.mil.se/article.php?id=11463