Patrick O'Brien


it ends.

About (11)

New beginnings . . .

Today is my birthday and this is the final of my About posts — a collection of small pieces that I’ve posted at irregular intervals over the past year, vignettes, peep holes to my world.

This new leg of my journey is a beautiful and humbling experience. A giant wave of Love (yes, Love!) has picked me up and carries me on, to the objective, I assume. There is a song in my heart, I hear it — and I often catch myself humming its tune.


Ten terrifying words . . .

The ten most terrifying words in the English language are
— “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you”.

Ronald Reagan  ~

On prayer (7)

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”

~  Meister Eckhart  ~

On simplicity (6)

“When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was
the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be
when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand
the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

John Lennon  ~

Notes to myself (5)

“If you want to awaken all  of humanity, then awaken all  of yourself.

If you want to eliminate the sufffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself.

Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”

~  Lao Tzu  ~

Just for fun (10)

Keeping a sense of humour . . .

A man died and went to Heaven. As he stood at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks before him.

“What are all those clocks?” he asked.

St. Peter answered, “Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock move.”

“Oh,” said the man. “Whose clock is that?”

“That’s Mother Teresa’s clock,” replied St. Peter. “The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie.”

“Incredible,” said the man. “And whose clock is that one?”

St. Peter responded, “That’s Abraham Lincoln’s clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abraham told only two lies in his entire life.”

“Where’s Patrick O’Brien’s clock?” asked the man.

“Patrick O’Brien’s clock is in God’s office . . . He’s using it as a ceiling fan.”

New Zealand Truth Commission




‘Criminal Investigation’

“In New Zealand, police corruption is investigated by . . . the police.”

Twelve months ago today, I wrote to Detective Inspector Bruce Scott who is a Criminal Investigations Manager for New Zealand Police. Mr Scott is conducting a criminal investigation following my confession of perjury and evidence tampering to obtain convictions against my targets while working as an undercover officer and agent-provocateur for the Crown.

It was a lovely letter — but Mr Scott has not responded . . . just saying:

Criminal Investigation



“It is not necessary to bury the truth. It is sufficient merely
to delay it until nobody cares.” ~ Napoléon Bonaparte

Corruption in New Zealand Police

About (10)

My long road back . . .

A man cannot run and hide forever, and so, in 2003, I “returned” to New Zealand, where, for seven years, hitchhiking the roads, meeting her people and sampling the mood . . . it felt like I was touching this land for my very first time.

In 2007 I wrote to the Chief Justice of New Zealand and confessed my sins — a small step on my path to becoming a bona fide member of Community.

As expected, my letter instigated an inquiry, then a criminal investigation, and now I anticipate charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice to follow. I do not fear this process and I gladly face its outcome . . .

Last year, a Kaumātua sent me this message:

“Kia ora, Patrick:
I admire your courage. It is up to us the People not the courts to redeem you and through your actions it is now possible  . . . walk freely on this earth now, Patrick.”  ~ Mike Smith


On simplicity (5)

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old,
you don’t understand it yourself.”

Albert Einstein  ~

Notes to myself (4)

Yesterday I was clever,

so I wanted to change the world.

Today I am wise,

so I am changing myself.

~  Rumi  ~

About (9)

‘The wandering seek . . .’
“And homeless near a thousand homes I stood,
and near a thousand tables pined and wanted food.”

~  William Wordsworth  ~

On simplicity (4)

my favourite food type

hokey-pokey ice cream.




People come and people go . . .

“Hey, man — this is like being in a movie!” ~ T.J. ||  UCOBA

Notes to myself (3)

If you tell  the truth,

it becomes a part of your past.

If you lie,

it becomes a part of your future.


A selection of related quotes that have inspired me:

Notes ‘n Quotes

Beautiful people:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

On simplicity (3)

There are two rules for succcess . . .

1. Never reveal everything you know


( seen on a wall )

About (8)

On the run . . .

In 1978, haunted, hunted, traumatised and scared, I resigned the police and fled New Zealand — a price on my head and lucky to be alive — the legacy of my work for Criminal Intelligence.

For thirty years I travelled the world, running and hiding, running and hiding, yet never able to lose the demons that rushed around in my head.

At one point in the late 1980s, on a visit to New Zealand and desperate for help, I underwent a psychiatric assessment. The psychiatrist, a specialist consultant for the police department’s undercover programme and an expert in the field of PTSD who also worked with veterans from the Vietnam, Korean and Second World wars, diagnosed my condition as being chronic “post-traumatic stress disorder” resulting from my work as an undercover agent — and yet the police department absolved itself of any responsibility and refused my ask for assistance.

Their refusal was a blessing because my life of wandering continued . . .


About (7)

Journey to Hell

In 1973 I accepted an invitation to join Criminal Intelligence and, working deep undercover, became an agent provocateur for the Crown. Four years later, haunted, hunted, traumatised and scared, I resigned the police and fled New Zealand — lucky to be alive.

There is nothing that can prepare one for the realities of life as an undercover agent. It’s a dangerous world of lies, deceit and double-cross … adrenalin, drugs and fear.

The job description was simple: lock up criminals. Being a determined and ruthless agent, working without rules, my targets never stood a chance.

Success brought recognition, commendations, plus a medal; even a letter from High Court Judge and former Governor General, Sir David Beattie. “It would be difficult to imagine a more dedicated member to the job,” wrote one commander on my file.

It was all a lie . . .

In truth, to do the work required of me, I had become a corrupt policeman, a criminal, a drug addict, an alcoholic, a liar whose operational focus was to obtain convictions against my targets — at any cost — even committing perjury and tampering with evidence.

Television journalist, John Campbell, in the introduction to his programme about my work, Cop turned Criminal, described the reality using plain language:

“To survive undercover you have to be utterly convincing, and to be convincing you’ve got to join in, for weeks, months and even years; day after day, doing whatever it is the people you’re with are doing, and, living a lie. Eventually you bust the people you’re with, they go to jail, and you go back to your normal life. But Patrick couldn’t go back; in part he’d become the criminals he busted.”

Eventually, the work broke me; — embittered, cynical, a price on my head, I left New Zealand with just a backpack and went looking for my place in the world . . .


On silence (2)

“Silence is the language of God,
all else is poor translation”

Rumi  ~

On simplicity (1)

When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300°Celcius. The Russians used a pencil . . .

About (6)

Entering the world

I graduated from the Royal New Zealand Police College in 1971 with a Diploma in Policing, their Sportsman Award, and a brief notation on my file that simply read — officer material.

Graduation was a proud day for me, while my parents, to their credit, never expressed the disappointment they felt at my choice of career. In their view, I could have done much better than working for the New Zealand Police Department, which was something I didn’t know about until many years later.

My first posting was to Wellington Central where I took up residence in Holland House, the police barracks. I enjoyed the work, although I was often in trouble for my over zealous style — which brought me to the attention of the gray men who tapped me on the shoulder with an invitation to join their dark and murky world . . .

On love (3)

Heaven and Hell:

A young man wanted to know the difference between Heaven and Hell. The sage led him to two rooms, one labelled Heaven and one Hell. Looking in at Hell he saw a banquet table filled with luscious food but the people at the table were emaciated and distressed. Their spoons had long handles to reach the food, but the handles were too long to bring the food to their mouths. Then he looked in on Heaven. Same table full of luscious food. Same long spoons. But the people were healthy and happy and using their long-handled spoons to feed one another . . .

Source unknown  ~

On fear (2)

“Fear not the path of truth, or the lack of people walking on it”

Robert Kennedy  ~

About (5)

Leaving home

I left home in 1966 to attend boarding school at St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, and, while I returned to the family farm for holidays, this marked the time when I flew-the-coop.

Though cloistered from the outside world, boarding school gave me my first sense of freedom — the simple things, like, choosing how many spoons of sugar I could have in a cup of tea, or whether or not I needed to wear a jersey when cold.

I enjoyed my time at Silverstream; being a capable athlete is an enormous advantage when forging one’s place in the pecking order of a boys’ boarding school:

Cate Brett, former editor of the Sunday Star-Times, when writing her investigative article “Broken Soldiers” on undercover police in New Zealand, described me as being “… a golden-haired-boy, the archetypal all-rounder: classical pianist and violinist, sports champion, leader of the symphony orchestra,  house captain, school prefect, captain of the athletics team and vice-captain of the First XV.”

Our motto was “Sectare Fidem” — hold firm to the faith — and all the teachers were priests. My five years at Silverstream were a blessing in my life . . .

On fear (1)

This is how change happens . . .

One more person standing up
One more person speaking out
One more person who is not afraid

~ Unknown ~

Year of the Dragon


23 January, 2012 — 9 February, 2013

About (4)

The neighbourhood

Locals called our district Okunui, a made-up name which they derived from the area’s two dusty, gravelled thoroughfares, Okuku and Nui Roads. It was a flat, monotonous and wind swept landscape.

Our farm backed onto the Manawatu River and its other three sides were bounded by the farms of four other families: Cameron’s to the west, Wilkin’s and Redmond’s in the north, and Mattock’s to the east.

By today’s standards these farms were small, and, over the years, as their holdings became uneconomic to farm, neighbours sold out to neighbours in amicable deals that were best suited for those families with sons and daughters who wished to remain on the land. My family left in the early 1970s.

Originally there were around 20 families in the district, whereas today there are three — and that area which was once our farm, now comprises one paddock of a larger dairy farm.

In recent years I hitchhiked through the area again and stopped off to visit the new owner. I camped on his lawn and we shared a meal. His name is Terence Olsen and he was my best friend while growing up. The land is in good hands and, in some nice way, it feels like it’s still in the family . . .

Travellers: are we intolerant snobs?

Earlier this week, while discussing human stupidity on a thread at Google-Plus, someone suggested that travel, and immersion in other cultures, makes us more forgiving and less harsh in our judgement of others.

The thread’s owner (an intelligent, articulate and thoughtful woman) responded to that comment by saying . . . “a lot of world travellers that I know are some of the snobbiest and most intolerant people that I’ve met” — which got me thinking:

Well, are we? Unable to resolve the question in my own mind, I posed it over on Digihitch, an on-line portal for hitchhikers, travellers, vagabonds, gypsies, and other lovers of the road.

Travellers: are we intolerant snobs?

Opening our Hearts

“The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way.” ~ Carlos Barrios

Mayan Calendar, 2012

— 01 —

“The object of a new year is not that we should have
.a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.”

~ G.K. Chesterton ~

Christmas Tree

Copyright 2011 © Patrick O’Brien

~ This is the gelfling’s Christmas tree ~