Prison crusade comes to end

NO REGRETS: All Means All decided to quit his hunger strike.
NO REGRETS: All Means All decided to quit his hunger strike.

All means All felt hungry.

He liked the look of a bran muffin topped with whipped cream and another one with chocolate on top. He ordered both from the cafe counter.

He had been on a hunger strike in prison for almost four months and lost up to 40kg. His skin loosened. His throat dried up. He would blow blood out of his nose and cough up black sputum.

He said it was a protest against a police officer whom he believed lied under oath in his court case. He had been imprisoned for threatening to kill Prime Minister John Key. He had written a letter to Key's office saying: "Killing time for All."

It had been a difficult time in prison, he said. On the first day he was fine. On the second day he felt hungry. Then he was put in isolation. Then he started hallucinating about food. First it was cold beer. Then it was a bun monster with carrot teeth.

Then there were court hearings about whether Corrections could legally force-feed him.

Instead, All Means All went to Christchurch Hospital several times. He ate there - plundering its fridges for up to seven sandwich packets at a time.

He was once known as Mark Feary - an Oxford farmer with a long-running but seldom mentioned dispute with successive governments about a property transaction relating to his farm. But that was about 30 years ago and the details were murky.

Now his crusade was ostensibly getting the Government to use plain language. Like his name, he wanted "all" to really mean "all".

However, he admitted he only worked "one step at a time" and did not give too much thought to "end goals".

The sentencing judge had given him the option of community service but All Means All declined. He felt prison was his only option.

He wanted to get the officer to say he had lied. But after a while All Means All realised his protest was not having the desired effect. He began viewing his actions as less of a protest and more a form of slow suicide.

"I didn't want my friends and family saying: ‘Really? You could have lived.' "

His friend Tasha Galway, who picked him up from prison, supported All Means All's cause.

"Basically he is fighting for the rights of all New Zealanders - the right to get the facts right." However, she admitted not all New Zealanders would see it that way.

All Means All was not sure of his next move but he did not rule out writing more threatening letters "if needs be".

He saw himself as a Laughing Policeman - someone who presented in a way that caused his audience to think "what a twit".

But if he stood on stage long enough the ridicule might die down. If he stood his ground, the laughs might be replaced by respect, he said. He would be lying, however, if he said that ridicule did not hurt a "little bit".

But now All Means All was free and ready to eat.

The Press