Kangaroo Island’s masked messenger

A man going only by “Nite Hawk” has created a stir on Kangaroo Island, turning heads while carrying a cross – but it is his mask that has people talking.

Nite Hawk has been spotted across Kangaroo Island dressed similar to Jesus Christ, dragging a large wooden cross behind him, while wearing a white mask with red bloody teardrops.

He says the aim of the mask was for anonymity so as to not detract from the real message – which is about Jesus and the love he taught.

To maintain anonymity he asked to be referred to as Nite Hawk, a name he earned during his three months of living in the sovereign Aboriginal community of Bundjalung in northern New South Wales, and a name he wears on the mask.

“I just wanted to be a silent witness, that’s why I wear the mask. There’s no mouth, so I can’t speak,” Nite Hawk said.

“I just thought coming up to Easter, it was a good Easter message carrying the cross.

“I’ve had a lot of people cheer, take pictures and say ‘good onya mate’, but you also get people saying ‘you’re a complete idiot. What are you up to?’ Because it looks foolish walking around with a cross on your back.”

Nite Hawk

“I just got dressed up and got the mask for $2 from the op shop. I didn’t want to speak. I didn’t want to have to try and justify what I was doing because some people get confused, and I’ve been told some people got scared.

“I’ve had a lot of people cheer, take pictures and say ‘good onya mate’, but you also get people saying ‘you’re a complete idiot. What are you up to?’ Because it looks foolish walking around with a cross on your back.”

Despite the mask’s appearance startling some of the Kangaroo Island community, Nite Hawk insists he had no intention to scare anybody.

Through his journey around the island he has also worn a crown of thorns similar to the headpiece Jesus is said to have worn during the lead up to his crucifixion.

“I apologise if I upset anybody, it wasn’t my intention,” he said.

“I’m just a follower of Christ and Jesus said ‘if you’re my disciple then take up your cross’.

“When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane praying because he knew he was going to be crucified, he sweated tears of blood.

“So the red tears were symbolic.”

He admitted while the mask may initially be startling, the unique look has helped to create a conversation about Jesus and religion in everyday life.

“Wearing the mask has actually made people think more about it,” he said.

“The mask is the thing that’s confused people, but it’s also made them talk about it around their tables.

“It’s interesting because if you said something to me and I got upset or angry I would ask myself why am I getting angry at what you’re saying.

“If you’re saying something truthful, why would I get angry?

“John Lennon wrote ‘I am you and you are me, and we are one together’. And as we come together as one we realise if we harm one another, we’re only harming ourselves.

“If we attack somebody verbally, it only comes back on ourselves. We’re the ones losing our peace.

“Part of the Christian message is to be at peace and to offer peace to your enemies.”

“If we attack somebody verbally, it only comes back on ourselves. We’re the ones losing our peace. Part of the Christian message is to be at peace and to offer peace to your enemies.”

Nite Hawk

This experience is nothing unusual for Nite Hawk who says he has previously fasted for forty days.

Nite Hawk says he has also walked more than 1500 kilometres from Esperance to Monkey Mia in Western Australia – without food and water supplies, distilling salt water as his only source of hydration on his journey.

Not to mention he was also barefoot for all of his travels, including his Kangaroo Island experience.

But he says he hoped to use this latest experience as an opportunity to unite Kangaroo Island’s churches, bringing them together for the commemoration of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus.

“A few weeks ago, I suggested that ‘would all the churches like to be involved taking the cross around the island?’, I thought it might be a good opportunity to help bring the churches together,” he said. 

“So the Anglican church take 50 or 20 kilometres, then the Catholic church takes it, and I thought we’d go right around the island. 

“But time sort of got away, so I thought well I’ll carry the cross myself.

“I’ve often said to ministers there’s coming a time where we won’t have badges, we won’t be a Methodist, we won’t be an Anglican, we won’t be a Catholic, we’ll be believers who believe in truth, honesty and integrity to offer goodwill to all men.”