Recently New Brighton Residents Assn featured a post about the infamous local pirates within the sanctity of St Faiths Church and shiver me timbers it provoked quite a thumbs up response, especially as the skull’n cross bone flag was not hung on the wall.
Who are the ‘Natural Magic Pirates’ ??? you may ask and because they are frequently heard spreading their infectiously fun songs in various parts of our coastal fringe, and NBRA decided to walk the talk and find out.
For those mateys with sharp long-lasting memories, the New Brighton pirates began to make a name for themselves years ago with the Wizard in the old Christchurch Square, and along with Mr Moon, the Flying Hat Company and others, formed a solid core of performers popping up around various parts of the country, often as an entertainment troup.
The colonial New Brighton pirates were even invited to tour venues in Britain where pirates originated and a bit like taking milk to Fonterra.
Our hearty bunch have performed at Glastonbury a five-day festival of contemporary performing arts that takes place in Pilton, Somerset, in England. In addition to contemporary music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other arts and attracts over 200,000 people.
The Natural Magic Pirates are found somewhere between the Market and the foreshore having a great time with a range of catchy tunes usually with an enthusiastic bunch of young fans invited to participate.
Prior to Covid attracted a large following of tourists from Korea, China and Japan who can’t get enough of hearing Yo Ho Ho songs sung in Korean, Mandarin and Hirigana, and toured Japan.
But wait there is yore, the Natural Magic Pirates run a Punch & Judy a form of puppetry originating in Italy and part of English tradition dating back over 350 years.
In fact on one blustery easterly New Brighton day the puppet theatre fell over in front of a lot of children and exposed puppeteer, but of course they all thought it was part of the show and laughed even louder.
Our famous pirates will be soon off to Oamaru’s Victorian Festival to charm the locals and maybe a few of the resident penguins.
New Brighton is fortunate to have these pirates as they seem friendly enough, and are convinced there is treasure in New Brighton and New Brighton is a treasure.
So Captain Long John Knickers and Merry Nudger (alias Kerry and Mary) and their 50 crew continue to “aaaargh” their songs with little or no recompense except laughs and smiles.
Anybody can join the throng on Wednesdays in the Mall and sing lungs-out with or without any kind instrument.
Behind the scenes they raise money for KidsCan, and currently the Red Cross Ukraine. They teach music, English to new arrivals, engage people with disabilities into music.
Over time Mary has been involved with the Museum, the Project, the New Brighton Residents Association and stack of other groups.
It is almost forty years since first they hoisted the Jolly Roger to the masthead of the good ship New Brighton, and little wonder then the duo received a Civic Award, and probably the first pirates in the world to do so.
Blackbeard would be turning in his Davey Jones Locker but New Brighton is turning into a pirates fun hide out, and more crew are jumping ship to come here.
Whatever you do as an aspiring pirate, heed this warning…don’t click on the link below, as you will never get the tune out of your head.