A visitor to Norfolk Island might believe that there are an unusual number of twins for such a small population, after all, one can buy a pair of shoes from a salesperson in a shop in one part of town and be served coffee an hour later buy the same person in another shop. It is the nature of Norfolk that everyone seems to wear many “hats” and it’s not unusual to have a Legislative Assembly Member drive the tour bus, or for an airline steward on the plane you came in on to then be taking you on a kayak tour. The impression one has of a Pacific Island is that life is much slower and laid-back. That maybe the general attitude, but the truth is that everyone seems to lead pretty busy working lives and follow up with very hectic social schedules.
One such character is Hadyn “Teddy” Evans whose most public appearance is in a play called ‘The Trial of the Fifteen’ down at Kingston, that began in 1999 and still runs today.
He plays the part of the Judge and it’s not hard to imagine that if he had taken that career path in real life, you may have found yourself on the way to the Gallows for Jay-walking. Its not that he has a harsh nature, on the contrary, he’s one of those guys that could tell your aged, church-going grandmother a dirty joke and have her laughing. Hadyn knows every part in the play and has played every character except the females (mainly because there’s not enough make-up to stretch one’s imagination that far).
If you are doing a few tours or taking in a couple of shows on the Island, you are sure to run into Hadyn again – he is the director and actor in Fletcher’s Fate, plays the role of a soldier in the fun-filled Night as a Convict and directs and acts in Pinetree Tours very popular blockbuster Mutiny on the Bounty Show. Of course, he is always a part of the Norfolk Amateur Theatrical Society’s (NATS) annual Theatre Festival production that generally has six performances. Pretty busy bloke you say? Well he also works from 6 am to 2pm on the family farm, plays football, does the refereeing for the football, plays golf and parties pretty hard as well. Actually Hadyn is so busy, you could believe that if he was removed from the Island, it would cause a major structural collapse, but his story is not unique in a society that still has some “old fashioned” work ethic and sense of “community”.
One of the good things about writing an article about a friend is that you get to ask a whole range of questions about their life that would never normally be discussed. Not that I would use it all in the story – I’m actually just prying! So what did I find out?
Hadyn was born in New Zealand in 1962 to Lou and Frances Evans. His father was a Norfolk Islander and steam freight-train driver while his mother was a New Zealander. In 1966 the family moved to Auckland and Lou took a job with North Shore Bacon Producers. Hadyn tells me that Lou no longer wanted to do nightshift work on the trains, but I suspect he didn’t like the advent of those “new-fangled” diesel-electrics. He worked at the bacon producers for 8 years in which time he became manager and when a deal to buy the business fell through, the family moved back to Norfolk Island in 1974.
In 1975 Lou bought 9/7 hectares of land at Anson Bay (God’s Country, according to Anson Bay locals) from Monty Lang. The “Farmer Lou” brand was off and running in fruit and vegetables, and then in 1977 pig farming. Hadyn tells me that at the peak, they had 200 pigs, were slaughtering 6 pigs a week and had a shop in the Foodland Mall called ‘Farmer Lou’s Butchery’. In 1985 Hadyn bought the shop from Lou and in the same year married Julie St Baker, an Australian girl from Cronulla (the butcher and the Baker). In 1987 their daughter Denae was born and in 1989, a son, Shane.
It was in 1999 that Lyn Lee, who was in charge of a NATS production called ‘Our Town’ asked Hadyn if he would be interested in playing a small part – he seems to think that she must have recognised his latent talent. I suggested that she may have been desperate! This was the start of his acting career and today he is in many productions around the Island and loves every minute.
Hadyn’s other great passion is football which he started playing at school. Actually he told me, tongue-in-cheek, that if you didn’t play footy, you got “bashed”. He played for the Longridge Blues for thirteen years and was Captain 1989-1993, represented Norfolk in 1985, 1987,1989, 1992 and 1993. The 1992 year was The Pacific Cup in New Zealand when Norfolk sent a depleted team. Hadyn tells me they got hammered. ‘It wasn’t a pretty site’ he laughs ‘We got very good at kicking off’. To top it off he walked into a steamy mass shower room after the game and during a clearing of the steam, found himself surrounded by the huge boys from the Australian Aboriginal team – much to their collective amusement (he didn’t tell me what happened in there and I was afraid to ask!).
I’ve got reams of information on Hadyn that I simply cannot fit into this story (and some of it I will use against him) but I can tell you that he loves everything he does and is a fairly happy go-lucky bloke. If you happen to come across him, go and say hello, as he loves to meet people and have a chat – but don’t laugh too hard at his jokes as you might just get him going!
Hadyn has, like all of us, suffered his share of tragedy and I find it hard to write about. In 2003, his daughter Denae and her lifelong friend Roxanne were killed in a car accident. Hadyn told me that, as grief-stricken as he was, he felt more sorrow for the girls’ friends and how they must be feeling, than for himself – sometimes the quality of a person is revealed in a single statement.
Image Credit: Robin Nisbet
Article content disclaimer: Article first published in 2899 Magazine V2 Iss2, 2010. Please note that details of specific travel, accommodation and touring options may be outdated. References to people, places and businesses, including operating days and times may be have changed. References to Government structure and Government businesses/entities may no longer be applicable. Please check directly with businesses and/or Government websites directly rather than relying on any information contained in this article before you make travel arrangements.