Auckland, New Zealand: The Best Haircut in New Zealand – Free

How shocking! I got the best haircut in New Zealand.

Best of all: it was free.

Here’s the story:

Downtown Auckland has a the most prestigious barber shop (Mr. Barber) in all of New Zealand and it’s on Queen St. All the best barbers in Australasia train here. I was attracted by the advertisement for free haircuts. Being poor and all, I don’t pass up opportunities like these. So I headed to the central business district to take advantage of a free trim.

It’s an enthusiastic barber shop on the busiest street in Auckland. Everyday there are 10+ barbers in training. They are all showing off and trying to impress their barber coaches who are strutting about the room checking everyone’s work. The coaches act like drill instructors telling people they’ve done a crap job or that they aren’t working hard enough. The environment is competitive, high energy and aggressive.

When you arrive they tell you to sit in the corner and wait for a barber in training to select you. You may have to sit there forever.  If you aren’t selected by a barber for whatever reason, you won’t get a haircut.

Luckily, I got selected and some trainee woman went about cutting my hair. She seemed a bit over confident and she didn’t seem to understand what I was after. Luckily, the head barber came over. After looking at my head as if it were a canvas awaiting paint, he said “I’ll take this one,” then he called over the trainee barbers. That’s how my hair became the center of attention for the next 30 minutes.

The barber’s name is Leigh Topham. While he was aggressively cutting my hair, he was explaining the skills to all the surrounding students. He likes to really grab your hair and yank your head around while he drills the surrounding students.

Leigh discusses cutting hair as a sculptor describes a sculpture. He told them that I had a weird shaped head and he told me that my lack of hair product was unacceptable. Hell, he really handled the situation like a wartime general. He had no remorse for anyone’s hurt feelings. It was exciting and a bit intimidating to watch him work.

Clearly, it was an intense half hour. Luckily, my head came out looking excellent. I found out afterwards that Leigh Topham is supposed to be the second best barber in Australasia. Fantastic! The #1 was walking around the room talking to students and so, by default; I got the best haircut in New Zealand, for free.  Yehaw.

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