Anna Hoffman's life has been thoroughly documented. Especially by her. So far, she's written three memoirs, describing her adventures among fellow artists in Auckland. In part because of her colourful past, in part because of her many romantic assignations, and in part because she used to call herself a witch.
So you might think New Zealanders know everything there was to know about Ms. Hoffman. But she's still surprising people. Or, if you look at it cynically, she's still contriving ways to keep herself in the spotlight.
Most recently, she has been playing head games with the press. One head in particular: the long-lost skull of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly.
In an interview with Auckland's Herald on Sunday newspaper this past weekend, Anna Hoffman claims she's been keeping Mr. Kelly's skull in a cupboard for the past thirty-plus years.
Ned Kelly became a folk hero in Australia for his crimes in the late nineteenth century. Three years ago, to much fanfare, his remains were found. Although to this day, his skull is missing. Unless, as Ms. Hoffman claims, it's sitting with a couple of dozen others at her house.
She claims that she was at a dinner in 1980 when she got to talking to a mysterious man in a uniform about skulls, as one does. "And the next day," she told the Herald on Sunday, "he turned up with this skull. He said it was Ned Kelly's skull, and told me to 'put it in the bottom of your bag and wrap it up.'"
This revelation has mildly excited those who pretend to believe it. But one major point of contention is that the skull apparently has wires attached -- which, according to one forensics expert, meant it had been used in teaching, and therefore was not likely Mr. Kelly's skull.
So probably, Ms. Hoffman is just being provocative. She's spent decades becoming locally famous by using her head. The only difference now is she's using somebody else's.