On a sadder note, one of the more interesting attractions of our firm premises on Pitt Street is the proximity to Karangahape Road, locally known simply as K’ Road.
We recently heard of the passing of Margaret, who we have seen on the street at lunchtime on many occasions. I say “Margaret” because no one that I have heard of actually knew her real name.
Margaret was well known to all the shopkeepers on the street, and could rely on getting her hair done or otherwise being looked after by the locals. Didn’t really know Margaret apart from that, but nevetheless it will be strange to imagine K Road without her.
From those who knew her better are these words from Sophia at the Tattoed Heart. By the time we arrived Margaret was evidently a lot mellower than in the past!
Margaret. One woman, many rumors. I’m sure someone out there knows the truth about Margaret and how she came to be on K rd every day, rain or shine, drinking. Always drinking. The romantic story goes that she was a successful model in her youth, but was derailed by a severely broken heart, which lead to mental illness and chronic alcoholism. What I know for sure of Margaret: she was tough. She sat there on public benches on either side of K rd for at least 20 years and dealt with abuse thrown at her, with the other unpredictable street people and their various social sicknesses. She was funny: if she saw you coming with a cigarette in your hand she would put on her most charming demeanor and call out “Got a spare cigarette love?” If you refused there would be an almighty change of season: “WELL FUCK YOU THEN!”.
and, finally, from Andre Allessi:
She wasn’t “homeless” as such (she almost always had a plce to stay) and I have no idea how much of the urban legends about her past were really true (that she was a former model, a trophy wife to a successful surgeon, to a millionaire, that she was a surgeon herself, etc) and she really was a horrible old bag when she didn’t get what she wanted, but I can’t help but feel like K Road, and by extension Auckland as a whole, has lost something important with her passing.
She was a human being who somehow became a symbol while doing nothing more than being herself, day in and day out.