Located in a former bakery at the northern entrance to Featherston, New Zealand, Mazzola Jewellery and Gallery is an ever changing creative experience in jewellery, painting, video, ceramics, sculpture and thought.
But there comes a time when you have seen the umpteenth book on Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky et al, and you are, frankly, bored. For this group of shows, it seems Te Papa has gone through its vaults to display paintings that are rarely seen. By the end of my tour of the gallery, I had re-evaluated my opinion of a number of artists for the better and come to believe even more firmly in the quality, originality and freshness (especially in the antipodean colours) of New Zealand’s best art and artists.
Each tivaevae is made by a group of women, which require consensus but I expect would tend to work in favour of traditional designs rather than originality.
Allen Maddox [1948-2000] Wanker 1979“Tivaevae” and the nearby exhibitions “Two Artists: Emily Karaka & Shona Rapira Davies” and “Splash! I’m not always enamoured of Karaka’s work but her large works in this show are probably the best I have seen. While “Te Ao Hou: Modern Maori Art”, “New Visions, New Zealand” and “The Gallery of Helen Hitchings” all have different themes, the element that joins them all almost seamlessly together is the influence of Modernism on a group of New Zealand artists who were mostly at their creative peak in the mid-twentieth century. Gordon Walters is represented in “Te Ao Hou” not by one of his signature koru designs, but a semi-abstract figure that seems to be a Modernist interpretation of early Maori rock drawings, which I usually associate with Theo Schoon. Dennis Knight Turner[1924-2011] Untitled (fish and figures) 1952Dennis Knight Turner’s Untitled Fish & Figures from 1952 has a most delicious palette of that era.
Despite a full half century having passed since the Modernist aesthetic emerged in Europe, Hitching and her gallery would still have felt like out of place in the New Zealand culture of the time.
Bristow Mawley [1934-circa 1965] Portrait of Helen Hitchings circa 1950There’s a lovely 1950 portrait of Hitching by Bristow Mawley and another photo of her holding a sculptured cat by Ernest Mervyn Taylor which is actually in this exhibition as well.
A Still Life with Arum Lillies by Louise Henderson is beautifully painted, and together with Henderson’s 1953 painting “Les deux amies (The two friends)” in “New Visions, New Zealand,” has forced me to re-evaluate Henderson’s talents upward.
A.Lois White [1903-1984] Elijah Taken Up Into Heaven 1948Someone I have always had all the time in the world for A.
One work made me curious because it appeared from an angle to be under glass but when you looked up close it wasn’t.
The 1945 Rita Angus work “Figure Allegory” is an intriguing portrait in the way that it gives clues to the psychological state of the sitter by the use of accompanying visual metaphors. Barry is the oldest, an artist who enjoyed commercial success early in his career working as a designer for New Zealand Railways, doing everything from tourism posters to the colour scheme for its luxury railcar services of the 1960s and 1970s. Barry has had a rich artistic career including graphic design and lecturing at polytechnics and universities.
Barry spent a few years living in Carterton in the Wairarapa where I interviewed him for an advertising feature on the refurbishment of the Copthorne Solway Park in Masterton in 2007. At the time he described it as “a pivotal painting because up till then I was a hard-edged abstract painter. Barry left the Wairarapa a few years later but I came across his paintings again in two successive exhibitions at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art & History in Masterton. I liked that Barry isn’t an artist who ignores the world around him in pursuit of some alternative, more appealing, reality. The other set of paintings were the four works you see in this exhibition, which particularly appealed to me.
I’ve saw  one of Barry’s most recent works when I was collecting these ones for the exhibition, and he appears to be producing some of his most interesting and accomplished paintings right now. Paul Melser is best known for his pottery, for which he has enjoyed creative and commercial success for many decades. One of the most notable features of his paintings is the consistency of their style and subject matter, despite limited commercial and critical recognition. As Paul says, a certain uniformity and non-emotional effect is what he is actually looking for anyway, despite the subject matter being emotionally charged, depicting in all four cases violent demonstrations. Once again, what impresses me with Paul’s work is his interest in the world around him, and coming up with a unique perspective that isn’t as easy to define as “good” or “bad”.
The four works in this show precede those paintings, although you can see one of those works (Cameron Slater and John Key) in the gallery’s jewellery space.
A good test of any painting is to study small square segments of it at a time and see how the well its elements harmonise at this level. One was that it looked very similar to the camp buildings, most of which were demolished with the timber recycled timber, but in some cases taken apart and re-erected elsewhere. As serendipity would have it, I’m finally about to repaint the hut which has undergone many changes over the years, including being moved away from the road in the early 1980s, but still retains some of its original weatherboard cladding. About a week later Joe’s son Hartley Towersey, still only in his mid-sixties (he was born when Joe was in his sixties) came into the gallery with a friend to look around what had once been his home (although by that time it was no longer being used as a bakery). Hartley recalled that once upon a time the word “Bakery” had been painted on the front of the hut and noticed that the waterblaster had removed some of the paint back to the wood, to partially reveal the first three letters of Bakery.
Hartley told me about a book called Gateway to the Wairarapa, an official history of Featherston and the South Wairarapa, published in the 1950s that had a photo of the hut with the original sign on it, which I could use as a guideline. I visited the excellent Wairarapa Archive in Masterton to get a copy of the photograph and talked to historian Neil Frances who has a particular interest in the military camp. We discussed the likelihood of the hut having come from the camp and Neil pulled out a document that lists all the people who purchased buildings from the camp. This stimulated another important detail about the camp’s history in Neil’s well informed brain, which was that not all of the buildings were built by the government’s Public Works Department. It should also be noted that Joe had previous experience as a builders’ labourer in Wellington as an adolescent in the 1890s so pulling apart and reconstructing the hut would be easily within his capabilities.
While the question of whether the hut came from the camp will probably never be known for certain, the chances are extremely high. A Footnote: I was always planning to keep the original colours on the hut when I repainted it. Click to enlarge the two links below to read about The Camp Bakery founder Joe Towersey taken from the book Memories of South Wairarapa.
This last lot of work, which has appeared in perhaps in the last three months, is figurative.
The works were created in very short time frames and that is part of the abstract [influence].
These ones with their really short time frames, are about trying to capture that same sense of handwriting, almost like some kind of charged improvisation. They are based on photographic images, media images largely, so yeah, in some ways this is quite different. The thing I always found frustrating about abstraction is its inability to be able to deal with external subject matter.
Over the past couple of years I’ve become quite politicized, quite radicalized, I think, to a certain extent, by the current political climate that we live in, in New Zealand. It sparked an interest in me to investigate ideas like money and media and public opinion and myth making and war and critiques of capitalism and various kinds of things like that. So it is very interesting and it took me by surprise, a lot of the images that I am working with now.
What I am excited about with this exhibition is being able to see them altogether and to be able to make links between those different areas of interest. Okay, that’s a part of the story, but the other part of the story is that there was huge amounts of British capital in New Zealand and just like today we are obligated to participate in coalitions of the willing, or an allied expeditionary force, because if we don’t, the capital will be withdrawn from our country. So one way of doing that was to give yourself certain impositions so that you have to do it very fast and it will look how it looks because your body is forced to move very quickly. To go back to John Coltrane, I’ve depicted him in his military uniform, in his pre “jazz hero” days. And yet his intention was the revolutionisation of black society, the Africanisation of jazz, the expulsion of white corporate values from jazz, and he was really the sound track to the black civil rights movement. There is a bit of an unspoken tradition in the Wairarapa to paint nice twee decor type landscapes, the classic Wairarapa landscape which I’ve always been fairly ambivalent towards.
The World War I landscapes, the exhibition being in Featherston is kind of important to me.
And to put that into contemporary terms, we are currently in the process of joining yet another coalition of the willing?
I guess that depends on whether the present government and its supporters succeed and their point of view becomes history or not. That’s interesting but the Springbok tour is a good example of what happened in New Zealand in the 1980s which like going nuclear free and gay rights, seems quite inconceivable now. Each painting is made in a very limited timeframe (never more than 30 minutes) simultaneously denying and affirming “technique”.
In reading recent issues of Nexus, an Australia based magazine that deals in subject matter outside the mainstream, it has been interesting to note that theories about body snatching aliens are common. I had previously thought that body snatching aliens belonged to 1950s Scifi films, most famously Invasion of the Body Snatchers. China’s Communist government ironically fears religious group The Falun Gong in much the same way. Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi, it turns out, is one of those people who believes in alien body snatchers.
These alien life forms are inferior to humans but because they have been around much longer, are still more technologically advanced than us.
The reason the aliens in Under The Skin want to snatch humans, specifically males, is never made clear in the film but that doesn’t matter because that is not its point. Made on a limited budget, much like New Zealand films (receiving financial support from Creative Scotland, for example) Under The Skin’s only luxury is Hollywood star Scarlet Johansen in the lead. One of the strengths of Under The Skin, which is based on the book by Michel Faber, is that at every point where it could so easily fall into a familiar narrative, it stubbornly goes against expectations. The alien honey trap isn’t wired for empathy but I constantly find myself expecting it to express feelings of compassion, one of the most obvious examples being when a child is in danger of drowning on a windswept beach. Perhaps the most powerful moment in the film is when the alien seduces a horribly disfigured but endearingly naive young man. Ultimately, however, the alien is not seduced by men but by sensuousness of the human body she inhabits. Humans seem to come hard wired with this facility, and it is amazing how quickly and easily we fall into this hypnotic trance. The 1920s in which Magic in the Moonlight is set, is a relatively rare period for modern films to be set in. As its title suggests, there is almost a corny romanticism to Magic in the Moonlight, but Allen doesn’t mock the era or undermine it with our modern day predilection for cynicism.


What originally piqued my interest in Maleficent was seeing the poster in the foyer of Masterton Regent Cinema, which seemed to recapture some of the magic from Disney’s golden age. I won’t give the plot away beyond saying that it involves conflict between the fairy and human kingdoms, recounts the “back story” to the events that took place in the 1959 animated version of Sleeping Beauty, and bends the denouement to suit a different moral message. Fairies have been part of European lore for hundreds if not thousands of years, a journey from genuine belief in the existence of fairie creatures to a purely imaginary world (for most people) today. However, strange creatures have been the subject of the visual arts of European culture for many hundreds of years. Indeed, the evil queen in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is said to be based on the sculpture of Uta von Ballenstedt in Naumburg Cathedral by the thirteenth century Master of Naumburg.
While the illustration of the rabbit in Alice In Wonderland by John Tenniel is said to be based on the sculpture of a hare in Saint Mary’s Church, Beverley, England.
However, it is not till the nineteenth century and in particular the explosion of brilliant British art that fairies as we picture them more or less today start to appear in paintings and books.
It should also be noted that many of these artists drew heavily on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for their subject matter as in the instance the Quarrel of Titania and Oberon by Sir Joseph Noel Paton. There are literally millions upon millions of contemporary paintings, illustrations, and statues of fairies produced by New Age artists but rarely do these ever have the charm or capture the imagination as the nineteenth century ones do.
While visual artists provided the fairie imagery, the primary stories are European folk tales collected or written by the likes of French author Charles Perrault (1628 – 16 May 1703) and German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, lexicographers and authors Jacob Grimm (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859). But to arrive at its final form, Maleficent had to be filtered through one more major cultural and artistic movement and that is the high art of Hollywood movie making circa 1930 to 1950. Jolie, who brilliantly plays the part of Maleficent, has all the retro star power of the greatest actresses of that age like Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Director Robert Stromberg and cinematographer Dean Semler capture the gothic mood of these old films, especially through the close ups which bathe Jolie’s face in light and shadow. Whereas Quentin Tarantino name checks classic cinematic moments, his films tend to end up as a pastiche of intellectual Post-Modern irony. And Maleficent proves that many of Hollywood’s old school techniques can still be successfully employed to this purpose. Maleficent can be read as a commentary on the relationship between the sexes, as embodied in the fairies (feminine) and humans (masculine).
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Ananda Marga is one of the largest yoga organizations in the world with branches in over 120 countries. Mazzola is open most Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm to 6pm and occasionally outside these hours or by appointment. All the works were painted after Noah came to New Zealand in the late 1980s and most date from the periods when he lived in the Wairarapa and South Taranaki. The accompanying short video manages to encapsulate the spirit and philosophy of this communal art form. As one of the women says, the amount of work a person puts into a tivaevae shows how much they love the person who they are giving it to.
Four Contemporary New Zealand Paintings” are a reminder of the visual impact that a large art work can have. Lovell-Smith [1894-1969] is a fairly simple but charmingly painted work that shows her talents as a Post Impressionist. You can hear an interview with him on Radio New Zealand here and read more about the exhibition that interview was based around here.
He was one of a stable of pure abstract artists which emerged in New Zealand in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
His large figurative painting “Not Just Any Country Road” was, and still is, the centrepiece of The Grill restaurant at Copthorne Solway Park.
The image that sticks in my mind from the first show is a carful of teenagers barrelling along possibly Carterton’s main street. One was more or less figurative, albeit in an expressionist style, capturing parts of the Taranaki landscape. More or less abstract and almost three dimensional, their colours and forms are almost haphazard and spontaneous but create a pleasant whole. There are some qualities that can only be found in an older artist’s work and often their work is the most satisfying. He lives in the most amazing environment and it is well worth visiting his pottery studio in Norfolk Road, just south of Masterton. The paintings retain their strength of character, whether you are looking at them for the first time or the fiftieth.
I’m really interested in the place between the demonstrators and the forces of repression which is embodied in the police. His last solo exhibition at Mazzola was a departure, retaining the muscle memory energy of his abstract work but applying it to spontaneous figurative reproductions of contemporary media images.
When you look at these works in detail you see a richness and depth that would not be noticed from a precursory viewing. The second was that this happened at more or less the same time as the bakery building was built. I borrowed my next-door-neighbour’s waterblaster to clean it and the other house (my studio) plus some brickwork.
The photo wasn’t in the book, but a photo of the hut in a forlorn state in 1979 was in another Featherston history, Memories of South Wairarapa. Neil also gave me a photo of the main road of the camp taken in 1917 from Featherston Military Training Camp 1917 which was published at the time the camp existed.
Once back at the office I realized that I now had all the letters in the sign for Baker in “Boot” and “Maker” – and rang Neil back to mention this.
Some shop owners at the camp paid for the construction of their own buildings, most likely using the same builders as employed by the Public Works Department to construct the military buildings, and in much the same style.
Too often people buy an old building because of the appeal of its age but over-renovate so that virtually all the original spirit is lost. I’ve been pretty much working in a field that could very broadly, and perhaps not very accurately, be described as abstract expressionism, which I know is a dreadfully loaded term, but it is abstract and it is expressionist.
The abstract work was all about developing a certain handwriting, a physical quality in the work that couldn’t be imitated by anybody else, the result of the fact that my body and muscles remembered emotions in a certain way that made the  paintings look like my paintings as opposed to the guy next door’s. It is very good for internal subject matter and very good at finding what you are about but very poor at being able to address the world around you. And looking at the world at large through those eyes – the post Occupy [Wall Street] movement.
Those things interest me but the abstract cannon that I was working with had very few doorways to explore those things. There are links between the myths of lot of those traditional pillars of democracy and the reasons why we went to war in World War I. It’s been a hundred years and there seems to be a very New Zealand worshipee tendency, because we do worship New Zealand in New Zealand. If Britain and France lost the war, which it looked like they were going to do, Wall Street wasn’t going to get their money back, so they sent a huge force, very very late in the day to make sure that didn’t happen.
There’s [WINZ double murderer] John Tully, but there’s Edward Snowden, and I guess depending on what part of the media you listen to, [Snowden’s] either venerated as a hero, or villainised as a traitor.
I think about our society and the way we venerate people because they have a suit and a nice car. But the fact that this all happened at a time when black people in America were fighting for their civil rights, and this music was blacks only music, to white jazz ears this was an unlistenable noise. I don’t really want to see paintings of people’s lifestyle blocks and their weekend holiday properties.
This whole town is pretty obsessed with this notion of memorialisation, of claiming its little place. It’s the John Keys, it’s the land owners, it’s the capitalists, who don’t have to go and fight, who send young boys under this myth of nationhood and everybody doing their bit for King and country.
If anything is worth memorializing about the First World War, it’s the people who decided they didn’t want to go. What are we going to do?  Are we going to surrender our rights under a new trade agreement to American capital?
There has been a huge shift in New Zealand society towards conservatism, and that’s been brought about by media manipulation, by consumer choice, by this idea that if we consume certain goods we are certain people.
Through this series of confronting pictures of killers, politicians, militarized police, and historical landscapes, the painter investigates the connection between mass media and myth creation, technological efficiency, brutality, and the gradual erosion of traditional democracy in favour of the ‘inverted totalitarianism” of The Corporation as described by political philosopher Sheldon Wolin.
This approach preserves the spontaneity of each brushstroke, echoing aspects of Chinese ink painting, Claude Monet’s “Water Lillies”, the ecstatic abjection of Georges Batailles most confrontational writings, and the supercharged improvisations of Cy Twombly. This was supposedly a metaphor for McCarthyism in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s when it was feared a fifth column of Communists was infiltrating the fabric of American society.
Although the Falun Gong are non-political, it is their apathy in regards to political engagement that the Chinese government saw as a threat. In two interviews he gave (one in Time magazine) which were recently reprinted in Nexus, he argues that there has been (and still exist) previous intelligent life on other planets similar to Earth. Nevertheless, they desire the superior human physical form and so have been helping humans make the technological progress necessary to reach the point where human bodies can be manufactured, the aliens’ ultimate plan being to inhabit these man-made bodies themselves. One is The Man Who Fell to Earth from the mid-1970s starring David Bowie and the other Liquid Sky from the early 1980s.
But it is worth remembering that the alien’s sense of “alienation” is mirrored by the coldness that is often the norm in human society. Generally speaking, our sense of relevant history only seems to go as far back as the 1930s. He places his characters squarely in one of its romantic epicentres, the French Riviera, and unapologetically indulges in a picture postcard re-imagination of it – beautiful cars, stunning scenery fashionable men and women, hot jazz.
I marvel at how Allen creates such a marvellous and convincing shot of a spellbound audience of the era.


I (and I assume the rest of the small audience at my screening) find it much easier to take the side of the waif with supposedly psychic powers than the intelligent sophisticate, who is rational, but fearful and wounded by his own cynicism. But for some reason we put aside all our usual sense of what is normal to one side for an hour or two.
But it points out that humans can’t live without it, or at least a belief in it – this sustains us or at least helps us to survive without going mad.
Indeed, the theatre itself still retains some of the picture palace grandeur of the same period. Amongst its greatest pleasures, which can only be known by seeing Maleficent on the big screen, is how it draws on the past to create its magical realm. In centuries past audiences used to listen to story tellers, and used their own imagination to picture fairies.
They abound in Romanesque and Gothic sculpture, along with painters like Hieronymus Bosch (c 1450 – 1516).
Although the original animated Sleeping Beauty was made comparatively late in 1959, Maleficent feels like it has drawn from the deepest well of the 1940s. There is one moment in the film where life and art become one with a very subtle but powerful reference to Jolie’s double mastectomy. Most great films of old always had at least one special “moment” that became their signature and in Maleficent this is where Aurora draws Maleficent from the shadows where she is hiding. Maleficent director Robert Stromberg never forgets that his film’s aim is to emotionally engage the viewer. The meaning in Maleficent comes from the intelligent and relevant story line, clever dialogue, and most importantly of all, a powerful moral message.
You can read more about Noah here, view the works and prices here, and read an essay on Noah and the exhibition here. The exhibition continues till the end of February 2016. You just want to appreciate work for what it is. It’s a case of revisiting and revisionism.
This is the first time I have seen, in person, the three works of hers in this show which left me even more impressed with her skills with colour, almost Venetian Renaissance richness.
They all approach their work from an intellectually point of view, at the same time as having an aesthetic that is a pleasure to enjoy.
The expressionist figurative style of the painting captured the chaotic reality of out of control youth in a moment between life and death. One of these, of the black sands, rusting ship remains, and cliff faces of Patea beach, I know well from when I used to visit my artist friend Noah Landau there.
From pencil drawing to glued cardboard, scattered spots of oil paint, and sliced canvas, Barry has made it all look too easy, but anyone who has painted will know that to get all the elements to fit so perfectly takes a very high level of skill and intelligence.
Some art work tends to have a stronger or weaker impact depending on where you are at the time, whereas Pauls hold their own every time I view them. Once again they are deceptive, hiding their complex multi-layered structure behind what appears to a random and spontaneous layering of paint and resins.
It made sense that the bakery’s founder Joe (short for Josiah) Towersey would take the opportunity to use one of these buildings, which were used for both military purposes and the needs of what was a small self-contained sign. Neil then remembered that the Archive holds a colour tinted photo of the camp, that would show the colours used on most of the camp buildings. I commented that in all likelihood the same sign writer(s) would have been employed for all the signage at the camp (with some variation in styles) and the likelihood of this being the exact font was very high. Any of these buildings removed from the camp would not be on the previously mentioned list of private buyers of the camp’s military buildings when it was broken up, and the hut could quite easily be one of these. I think for me, I was hooked into looking at the world through this way through the Occupy movement. Because this sort of work is quite new to me, the images themselves and the reasons why I painted this particular series of images are probably quite separate. There is a link between our current political system and people going into WINZ (Work & Income New Zealand) and shooting people. I didn’t want to lose everything that I had gained over the last 20 years by developing a spontaneous muscle memory with the work that I did.
You can take all the rawness out of it and it will end up sounding like everybody else’s record.
There’s obviously a huge PR campaign around Batman in his movies to convince Gotham City that he is a force for good but actually he’s a billionaire capitalist who owns the city. Again, I’m interested in the way that media or the way that we create super heroes, the way that the media shapes our public opinion. You could think of him as a destitute black jazz musician or you could think of him as the instigator of a form of blacks only music like free jazz which alienated everybody white who ever heard it as a squawking horrible noise.
So he came about in a place and time where somebody had to step into that gap, to be a black role model and espouse African American values at a time and place where that was pivotal in society. But again, people don’t really know their history, they don’t know why we went and actually your understanding of why we went to war changes your whole perspective on what memorialisation is about. I think the only people who are worth celebrating are the conscientious objectors who were basically tortured by this country for their refusal to take part.
Do we remember the [New Zealand Rugby Union chief] Cess Blazeys and the [New Zealand Prime Minister] Robert Muldoons? They are a whisper to re-engage personally, politically, socially and spiritually as resistance to the massification, standardization, and blandification of late-era capitalism.
Indeed, Under The Skin shares with Liquid Sky a close relationship between aliens and sex and seduction. The young man has experienced victimisation all his life and the alien’s comprehension of this fact and accompanying empathy begins her own fatal transformation from predator to lover to victim. We have a simplistic notion of the “roaring twenties” – sharemarket speculation, jazz, flappers. He further captures its spirit through a story line and style of film making that, although more sophisticated, is reminiscent of movies made at the time. But depth is needed to make such a story line satisfying to a 21st century audience and this is where Allen, playing with notions of love and magic, adds substance and humour. It’s the same effect, although on a less grand scale, to what takes place in the mind of the audience in Scifi and horror films, where we identify with the protagonist who believes in aliens or monster, not the other characters who don’t. Plus it made instant sense for Angelina Jolie to play the part of the malevolent Maleficent. This is Maleficent’s story, and it is her journey that we are meant to experience viscerally, her emotional revelations that we are meant to comprehend as meaningful to our own lives.
Environmentally, it can be interpreted as the masculine attempt to dominate nature, while the feminine strives to protect it. It isn’t really a particularly valuable method we have evolved for making social and cultural evolutionary steps.
These turned out to be the same as the present colour of the hut, which still had its original paintwork. Also, Hartley is well known in the Wairarapa as one of the founder members of the Ruamahanga River Band which has been going now for 40 years.
The fowl houses at the back of the bakery (on what is now a separate property) were kept by Henry (Harry) Stretton.
I don’t claim to know what exactly that link is but everything is connected in a funny way.
There is this tendency to celebrate and memorialize and make some big drama out of this hundred years thing but the truth is most New Zealanders don’t know their own history.
If you get some million dollar producer to produce your record their job is to iron out all the idiosyncrasies and make it into a polished product whereas I am much more interested in bands that have a tape recorder in the corner.
Depending on what sort of media you listen to or watch, to how you understand the link between John Key and Cameron Slater, it will be either a none of your business kind of thing, or a right wing conspiracy, or something completely despicable, or absolutely fine. I would like to think the only people who would be worth celebrating are the people who stood against that.
And again, this plays into this whole idea of how we create myths about ourselves, what we think New Zealand is all about in terms of our identity, and how it is completely at the mercy of corporate forces. A film, like all storytelling, is a psychological realm, reflecting and evolving each viewer’s inner space. I’ve only recently discovered what a fascinating decade the 1920s  actually were, in popular culture especially representing the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. This enchanting realm becomes the landscape within which a worldly cynic and ingenue battle over each other’s perception of reality. There was also a description of the colours in an old book – creamy yellow walls, maroon facing, and dark grey roofs.
Batman is either a hero of the people or he is a billionaire CEO of some corporation who rules an entire city. The fact is, those two people exist, they have a link, and you put them next to a John Tully painting, and it begins to link the actions of the corporate elite with the actions of the grass roots people who are being affected.
What is synonymous with the Springbok tour is a bunch of blokes, a bunch of gangs with crash helmets and hockey masks fronting up against the police. Both see something in their opposite that is attractive but neither is fully able to escape their own sense reality. We are not encouraged to know it and most New Zealanders don’t know why we went to war in World War I. When the conflict does resolve itself the ending is a happy one, as it could only ever be in any great Disney film. Most New Zealanders still buy into this idea, which is a propaganda myth, and really consciously so. The fact that thousands of New Zealanders stood against something which was wrong in order to create genuine change. The government is going to sell them and New Zealanders are not going to do anything about it. You can read about it in a number of places where the idea was sold to New Zealanders that we were supporting king and country. If anything is worth memorializing about the Springbok tour  it is those events, not rugby, not the superstars of the day, not sporting winning out in the end and isn’t it great that we can all come together and play sport and put these other concerns aside.




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