Sunshine city sings winter blues

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 12:58 01/09/2014
Guy Williams
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
SPREADING CHEER: Comedian Guy Williams marches down Traflagar St with a troupe of Chilean musicians in an attempt to 'seranade Nelsonians with upbeat music and vibes'

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Brace yourself Nelson: You suffer the worst winter blues of anywhere in the country.

After you read why, according to Guy Williams - an expert by birthright - you're probably going to be the angriest as well.

The media personality/comedian, who was sent on Saturday to bring cheer to the town reckons "old folk" are to blame for Nelson scoring lowest in the country on the NZMoodMap, collated by Sovereign Life insurers.

Nelson scored an average happiness rating of just 14 per cent throughout the winter months of June and July, which was the lowest rating recorded in the country.

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To help lift the mood, Sovereign sent a team of "mood boosters", led by Williams and a three-piece band, to "serenade Nelsonians with upbeat music and good vibes".

"I don't know if I succeeded but I did my best," he said, after loping through a thin Saturday afternoon crowd in a brightly coloured suit and accompanied by what was meant to be a Chilean troupe of musicians.

He gave out free coffee and ice cream to a small crowd gathered at the 1903 site near the Church Steps.

A "cash cannon" that was meant to spread further cheer among Nelsonians backfired to the point it became frightening, Williams said.

"I learned not everyone's used to getting free cash. It took a bit of a weird turn. I gave it three shots, and by the third time it got frightening and I began to regret my decision. People just swarmed towards me.

"If you spray money into the air, people just charge at it."

The NZ MoodMap is designed to create some awareness about what is affecting our moods and get people talking about it, Sovereign marketing officer Chris Lamers said.

He said studies showed that happier people lived longer and experienced better health than their unhappy peers, which was an important issue for everyone.

"After achieving a happiness high of 100 per cent on June 10, our MoodMap tracked a downturn in Nelson over the colder months.

"There is no doubt that the winter blues impact our happiness, so I look forward to seeing a positive spike when the band pops up in the city to surprise everyone," he said.

Williams said he had his theories about why Nelson took a big dive in the stakes. When pressed for an answer, he believed it stemmed from "old people".

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"I don't want to generalise . . . but they seem harder to please.

"Nelson is beautiful and I can't put my finger on why the mood would drop but old people is what I'm going to blame," he said.

"Growing up in Nelson I thought Grey Power was a gang, and it is a bit of a gang, but I'd heard of Black Power and just assumed it was connected."

Williams said complaining was part of being a Nelsonian. He defined "old" as being retired.

"I think Nelson is a really interesting place. Whenever I come back I can't help but think it's like the shire in Lord of the Rings. It looks like it, and people here are generally wealthy, chilled out and relaxed.

The NZ MoodMap also revealed below average lows in Whanganui, Wellington and Dunedin during the June-July period, putting these locations in the lowest third of the country.

The happiest places in the country were Kapiti Coast, with a "delirious 87 per cent average happiness", and Waipa District with 75 per cent.

Williams said he always "flew the Nelson banner proudly".

- The Nelson Mail

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