Dame Edna touches down

Advises Auckland to 'not lose its identity'

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 16:35 10/08/2012
Dame Edna
PHIL DOYLE/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Dame Edna is welcomed at the Auckland Town Hall by deputy mayor Penny Holst and gossip columnist David Hartnell.

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Forget the Olympics, this - this could have been the head to head of the week.

None other than Aussie entertainment superstar Dame Edna Everage was due to receive an official welcome to Auckland by our very own singing mayor Len Brown.

Known to break into song at the slightest provocation, there were expectations that Brown could combine with the great Dame in a song and even dance extravaganza.

Everage is here after all to tout her all-singing, all-dancing spectacular swan song last performance - Eat, Pray, Laugh! - opening in Auckland tomorrow

But possums! The lost opportunity.

Brown, normally rivalling the energizer bunny for his commitment to be everywhere, was nowhere to be seen.

Uncharacteristically he was today struck down with illness and could not attend the civic ceremonies.

Instead his deputy Penny Hulse was left to meet and greet Everage.

Dame Edna - of course a character created and played by comedian, Barry Humphries - is a purple rinse superstar who was once famously a Melbourne housewife.

Far from the delights of a Brown-Everage duet, Hulse brought Dame Edna back to her roots, sharing stories on being a housewife.

She also asked Everage for tips on how to remain beautiful.

All this before the glare of a media scrum at the Auckland Town Hall.

The Dame took it all in her stride, modestly crediting the media interest with: ''You know what it is, it's the fact that there is nothing else happening in this city.''

Thanks. We think.

Everage also gave Hulse some memorable advice on keeping the city pure. The Auckland Council has recently released a glossy publication on how it will make Auckland one of the world's most liveable cities.

But said the Dame: ''Don't let Auckland lose its identity, it is desperately tried over the years to turn itself into a sort of mini American city when it isn't, it's a New Zealand city with wonderful traditions."

Everage sent her well wishes to the Mayor which were quickly quelled by Hulse.

''He's fine, truth be told I just nudged him out of the way because this was my gig,'' she said.

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