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It’s summer and Plenty takes a jump to the left with Richard O’Brien and meets artists Sarah Jane Moon and Marc Spijkerbosch, finds Dan Sharp and Aroha’s Way, looks back at when Barry was big in the Bay, and tells you all you need to know about our national footwear. They’re jandals!

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ISSUE 16 plenty.co.nz


16

DECEMBER TWENTY NINETEEN

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ANDY TAYLOR Editor/Kaiwhakatika Tuhinga SARAH LANE Designer/Kaiwhakatauira RAYMOND HINTON Sales/Advertising

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What a year it’s been... There was Brexit, President Trump’s impeachment (look, we’re prophets alright), we all had birthdays, and then there was the big, bad Plenty bash-slash-exhibition back in July that saw us put our pages up on the wall and celebrate four years – yes, four years friends and neighbours! – with some of the stories we’ve brought you since we started this thing. Oh, and we also added extra pages to the mag so that we could bring you lots and lots more of the Bay’s best, and Plenty publishers and Doers of Things Sarah and Scott had a baby so that they could, um, sleep lots and lots less. Swings and roundabouts folks, swings and roundabouts –at least we can look forward to having a new staff member on board in a year or two. Because we love having more people on board the Plenty bus. If you have a story to tell drop us a line, and if you want to support us in this journey (everything’s a journey these days isn’t it?) then get on over to the website and think about becoming a subscriber – you get the mag before everyone else and you help us keep on keeping on – or sign up for our irregular newsletter. Then we can keep in touch and, y’know, that’s a good thing. But hold up, this is a summer editorial and isn’t it traditional at this time of year to look back with all manner of best-ofs and highlights lists? We’re sure every other form of media will be bombarding you with that – best album, best movie, best meal pics by a vacuous wannabe influencer – but not us no way, we’re all about looking forward (and to be honest we can’t remember much after the big exhibition anyway). So here’s to another year in the Plenty, thrills and spills, fun and whānau, and another year of Plenty, celebrating our stories, our people and, in the spirit of Captain Kirk and Doctor Spock, boldly going to the places in between.


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Entrée An Interview with Richard O’Brien - page 04 Katikati’s tenderest superstar lightly grilled by our very own Jenny Michie and served with an amuse bouche and a wink. A wonderful entre paired with a jump to the left and a step to the right.

Wrap in the Kitchen - page 08 Molecular gastronomy has never tasted so good. Nutrient agar and out of the box thinking come together in the perfect sandwich accompaniment to confound the taste buds and save the planet.

Main Course A Good Keen Man - page 11 Boozing, hunting, fishing, and, um, typing, this e stwhile Kiwi classic really has it all – a hearty serving of Barry Crump in the Bay. Gluten free options definite y NOT available.

A Portrait of the Artist - page 17 A heady fondue where fresh Kiwi colours meet Ye Olde England in a feast for the eyes. We’re struggling with this one, so why not just go read the story.

Trompe-l’œil - page 21 The finest of Fren h art concepts organically grown in Rotomā by chef Marc Spijkerbosch and served well done with a picante Winsley sauce and Bread Asylum sourdough.

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Sides/Salads Smooth Operators - page 26 A daring fusion of Asian influences and bold n w fl vours, Empire Drinks are the perfect way to cleanse the palette, kick start an export industry, and get well tiddly. Served ‘en flambé’ at our table.

20 Questions with 20 Questions - page 30 Take a free-range film nerd and add the freshest of cine n wbies for a tasty Mt Maunganui podcast of unintended consequences and all things movies. Definite y contains nuts.

Aroha’s way - page 36 Our chef’s revisit Craig Phillips and meet Bex Lipp, who are throwing the book out on publishing to help look after our tamariki and bring you bedtime stories to live by.

The other ANZACs - page 40 All joking aside, a re-valuation of the how we see our involvement in the Vietnam war is well overdue. We talk to Bay locals who served in the conflict that e seem to have forgotten.

New York, Shanghai, Whakatāne - page 44 A classic Kiwi can-do tale of the fusion of fresh, crisp linens and a well-aged Whakatāne heritage building, all topped with a brand new business model. One to share.

Dessert

Special

Finding Dan SharP - page 48

They’re Jandals!

A mix of fresh, raw originality and smokey, musical overtones make up this veritable medley of influences. Best acco panied with a lager, a pilsener, an IPA, or all three.

Another family favourite, served on a bed of sarcasm with side orders of bad jokes, tenuous research, and bugger-all else except really great design. The house speciality.

The Eighth Wonder Revisited - page 58 The perennially popular Pink and White Terraces, not seen since 1886 but making a comeback with an all-new modern interpretation to round out your dining pleasure.

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An Intervi Richard O’Brien INTERVIEW JENNY MICHIE

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ew


People say that God is wat c h thought I b ing so I etter put on a good show...

w with Richard O’Brien is the creator of the gothic-themed musical comic book horror (how could it ever have failed?!) cult mega-hit The Rocky Horror Picture Show which, if we may be so bold, introduced glam rock transvestites to the straight world, spawned the immortal classic “The Time Warp”, practically invented punk, and remains the longest running theatrical release in film histor . And if that isn’t enough, his resume outside of Rocky is equally impressive, with well over 100 credits in film, television and music: 45 acting , 41 soundtrack, eight writing, two composing, two music department, two stunts, two thanks and another 56 credits where he either plays himself or is interviewed. The rest of the world clearly knows his value, but here in New Zealand he remains firmly under the radar, living a quiet life with wife Sabrina, right here in the Bay. In Katikati to be precise.

“We have a very quiet, simple life,” he says, in a very quiet, simple and measured voice that gives away nothing of the solid working class background he comes from in the United Kingdom. “We’re not exactly reclusive, but we close the front gate when we want to. We’ve got a lovely place with a back porch, and there’s plenty of wine. Our property is built in a faux colonial gothic revival style and it looks like it’s been there for a hundred years. It’s not really Cape Cod, it’s not really New Zealand or Australian Victorian period - it’s kind of like an Andrew Wyeth painting.” If the creator of Rocky living in an Andrew Wyeth painting in the Western Bay seems incongruous, it shouldn’t. Richard O’Brien has a long history with New Zealand; though he only became a citizen in 2011, he first came here in 1952, arriving in Frankton just outside of Hamilton of all places, and grew up in the Waikato and Tauranga.

“It was the middle of the night, maybe 1 or 2 am, and we arrived in Frankton by train,” he says. “I was just a boy and remember waking up the next day and running under the railway bridge over the Waikato River in the sun and thinking, ‘I’m home.’ It was like being set free, away from all the class division back in the UK. People talked to one another, it didn’t matter who you were or where you went to school, no one really judged you.” Escaping division and judgment, whether it be class, gender or whatever, has been a constant in his life, as well as in much of his work. One of the reasons for Rocky’s lasting appeal is its undercurrent of rebellion, but also of its teasing and testing of perceptions, a theme that is just as current today as when it was first released to an unknowing world in a theatre that seated just 62 people. “The theatre was tiny and out of the way, up this long flight of stairs, but the show just took off and by the third week we were turning people away. In fact we had to cancel the final performance because Rocky had somehow got some glitter in a very male part of his anatomy, and though we thought he could soldier on, when a doctor took one look and said, “Oh my God!” we knew we better cancel. Those aren’t the words you want to hear in that situation!’

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“Politics is for people who are too ugly to be in show business”

- GORE VIDAL

Among those turned away on the final night were Mick Jagger and Elliot Gould who, like the rest of us, would have to wait for The Rocky Horror Picture Show to turn into the colossus that it did. It continues to play around the world in more than a dozen countries, attracting a dedicated, cult-like following and seeming to bubble up into the firmament of new generations every few years. Strangely, the man who wrote it is almost dismissive of the whole phenomenon. “It was a just a collection of populist themes, with juvenile songs!” he says in all seriousness. “We never thought it through, we never intellectualized it, and I suppose that is part of its charm. There is a simple kind of childish joy to it that is always appealing, and of course now people try to pin all sorts of meaning to it – which is fine – but none of that was intended. I do think it would be nice if The Rocky Horror Show found favour in Russia and Poland. They need it there because the far right is coming back and the blow-back against gay and transgender people is like something out of the 17th century. I thought we were moving forward, but no. As far as I know it’s never been performed there, although it works very well in repressed societies! Ha!” With both the big and small screens infatuated with the concept of reboots, it seems odd that The Rocky Horror Picture Show has never had a remake. “Shock Treatment was meant to be the follow up,” Richard says, referring to the 1981 movie that never attained the success of Rocky, but is well worth seeking out today as it has proven to be more prescient than expected. “It was going to be filled with monsters rising from

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the grave, but the director didn’t want to go down that road so we rewrote it about a hundred times. Shock Treatment has a deeply troubling story line, but it looks good and some of the songs are good. It predates that ‘wanna be’ mentality and the reality TV scourge we have now by quite a few years. It was always going to be overshadowed by the Picture Show though.” For Kiwi fans, The Rocky Horror Picture Show reached peak WTF with the casting of former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon as narrator in 1986. Sir Robert had lost the 1984 election and as a backbencher had the time to pursue other interests, but no one saw that coming. “How it happened was the New Zealand producers were talking about how to generate some publicity for the live show,” O’Brien says. “They suggested getting a celebrity narrator, and his name popped up. And he bit! He asked just three questions. What will I be wearing? And we said a dinner suit and tie. And he said I’ve got that. Second question, will I have to learn the words or can I read from the book? We said you can read from the book, but someone with your background in public speaking could probably manage a script. And finally he asked how much money will you pay me? We said $5000. And he said, “DONE!” I think the need to be in the limelight overrides other sensibilities sometimes, and we would have paid more had he negotiated! But I think he did quite a good job in a peculiar way.”


“At the time a lot of people read a lot into that too, but there was really no ulterior motive. As I say, the whole thing was shear childish entertainment that me and my writing partner Richard Hartley – another teenage dreamer – came up with. It was never meant to be anything more than a little piece of fringe theatre and there was no greater goal.” Richard O’Brien still works with the co-creator of that little piece of fringe theatre even now, and while creative partnerships are notoriously volatile, O’Brien and Hartley’s remains firmly intact after decades in the biz. “In all these years we’ve never had a row. We became a little terse with one another once and I said, as I was saying goodbye, ‘We’re not going to do that again, are we?’ And he said no. And we didn’t. I like having a writing partner because I can try out a song and he’ll arrange it or say I’ve got a better idea than that, why don’t you try this. And when you’re on the same wavelength great things come of it.” He may be living the quiet life in Katikati, but Richard O’Brien is very much still working. Albeit at his own pace. “Well I’m lazy, you see. But Sabrina went to Germany earlier in the year and I was left on my own so I spent a week and a half in a drunken state scribbling and writing a satirical fairy tale called the Kingdom of Bling about the Trump administration. And I thought I’d better have some songs in there so I sent it off to Richard and we’ll see what comes out of it. Who knows. Once again it’s a fairly childish approach. It’s set in a land of pandemonium. So not too hard to identify.” Richard O’Brien is clearly not a great fan of the American President. “Most people in politics are driven by self interest, and none more than him. As Gore Vidal said, ‘Politics is for people who are too ugly to be in show business,’ and Trump has shown us what an ugly person he can be. I mean he lost money owning casinos! How many people in the world have failed at owning a gambling casino? People in New Zealand often complain about taxes, but I am so happy to live in a country where some of my taxes go toward the welfare state, as it shows that we are civilised Homosapians, which is rather rich coming from one who has also descended from Neanderthals.” Richard’s Neanderthal reference is in relation to the TV show he presented, DNA Detectives, in which Kiwi celebs had their DNA ‘done’ and then went off to visit their past. It ran for two seasons and is something of an underrated gem, one

that should have been given wings and flown with the right backing. “I always thought it would have worked for Air New Zealand to come on board and help visit all the people and places we were uncovering. It would have been great for them to be seen to be involved in that, given that so many Kiwis have ties to other places.”It was not to be however. We got Married at First Sight instead, which would surely have benefitted from having Richard O’Brien in the director’s chair. “I’m not terribly good at directing,” he says, “because I have this idea that the actors should know what they’re doing, what they’ve been trained for. And besides, everyone talks in such strange voices these days. ‘This is how I talk in the movies’,” he says, assuming an impossibly deep and gruff Hollywood tough guy voice that is eerily accurate. He is very good at voices – throughout our interview he also does a great breathless female sidekick and, when toying with the idea of a Midsomer Murders-esque TV show called Katikati Killings, a pitch perfect 1980s melodrama routine. He remains a genuine entertainer to the core, having once said that people say that God is watching so he thought he better put on a good show. Sadly, while we doubt Richard O’Brien’s version of the popular Midsomer whodunnit will ever see the light of day, we’d certainly pay good money to see it. Richard O’Brien doesn’t really believe in organised religion, and looking at the state of things in his previous country of residence – in addition to the US – he’s losing faith in organised politics too. “I think some of them should be sent to the Tower,” he says with a hint of his signature Rocky character Riff Raff in his eye. “I would have preferred that while Europe was growing together we should have grown the Commonwealth. It could have been an incredibly strong thing, with a new focus about cooperation and giving instead of just the UK taking all the time. It would have had a very strong economic base, with complementary economies, and a real global reach. But what the fuck do I know?” A lot more than the current British parliament it would seem; in addition to launching a few million Saturday nights, Richard O’Brien... A lot more than the current British parliament it would seem; he’s launched a few million Saturday nights, and he’s obviously never going to stop making sense.

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Instead of trying to get people to stop using plastic wraps, get them to use a better one.

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WRAP IN THE KITCHEN While the ire of a certain Swedish schoolgirl has been raising awareness of our global climate predicament, a certain Taupō schoolgirl has been cooking up a storm in the kitchen in a bid to help us break our plastic addiction. Plenty visited the Big Lake to meet Brooke Moore, inventor of a plant-based, biodegradable and even edible food wrap that we are going to be hearing a lot more of.

WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY ANDY TAYLOR

It sounds like something from a Disney film: 16 year old high schoo student takes over the family kitchen and turns it into a laboratory to invent something to help save the world. Cue scenes of the student juggling trays of gooey failures as the rest of the family tries to get dinner, while the obligatory nutty professor helps out and the family dog looks on with its head tilted to one side. Except for the nutty professor and the dog, this is just how it’s been at the Moore house ever since daughter Brooke decided that what the world needed was a food wrap that wouldn’t be around for decades. “Food wraps are really important for families,” she says, “but I thought there must be an alternative to a plastic-based wrap. So instead of trying to get people to stop using plastic wraps, get them to use a better one. There has been so much in the news recently about plastic bags and plastic in general that it got me thinking.” It’s a simple idea, and to hear Brooke tell it, coming up with the solution sounds equally simple. But we think there might be a fair degree of youthful understatement involved in that. “I’d always been really into molecular gastronomy,” she says – and that’s Heston Blumenthal’s cooking-slash-chemistry creations for non-Food Channel subscribers – “so I had a basic understanding of how things worked. I decided to use agar as a base and then it was just a matter of working out how to get the consistency right, which really came down to trial and error. Sometimes it was too brittle – like lolly wrapper – other times it was too sticky. So it was just about getting the ratio of gum or sugar and agar right.” P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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That ratio is now a trade secret – it lives only in Brooke’s head – as the next part of the process was even more challenging than taking over the family oven. Brooke had done well in her high school’s Young Enterprise Scheme and picked up a Trademe 2019 Girlboss Award for innovation, so she was under no illusion that the production and marketing of her product were going to be the biggest hurdles. Having an innovation is one thing, taking it to the world – which is where she felt it needed to be going – is something else entirely. Which is a pretty big deal when you are not actually old enough to legally sign a contract. In the end, events took over the process. Her story was picked up by TV in August, and things went ballistic. Brooke had set up a website to sell the wraps she still produced in the family kitchen, and it instantly lit up like Christmas, with the production run quickly selling out; there is now a waiting list of weeks for orders. It became clear that things had to ramp up – and fast – so ever the young entrepreneur Brooke approached

“Plastic wrap was just accepted, like so many other types of plastic, and it’s only now that we’re starting to think about getting rid of them.” Glad Wrap, the very people whose product she was looking to replace. It sounds like an adventure in futility, but turns out to have been a masterstroke.

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“Because I have no form of intellectual property over the wrap I created, I really needed to look to licensing it so that it could be on the market as soon as possible before imitators come in,” Brooke says. “And Clorox, the parent company of Glad Wrap, have the resources to do that, and sustainability is also part of their strategy now. So we’re working out the licensing, and that has been another huge learning curve, with hardly space to breathe! But we’re getting there and hopefully it will be on the shelves next year.” Which all begs the question, why haven’t we done this before? “I guess no one really tried,” Brooke says. “Plastic wrap was just accepted, like so many other types of plastic, and it’s only now that we’re starting to think about getting rid of them.” Here’s hoping there’s many Brooke Moores – as well as Greta Thunbergs – in the world to take on the rest of the plastics in our life. If you’d like to help, check out Brooke’s Give a Little page: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/edibleplastic-wrap-alternative


WORDS BOB SACAMANO

Before Scotty and the Toyota ads and the creation of the myth, Barry Crump was one of New Zealand’s most-read authors. He sold more than a million books about good keen men and bastards, reminding Kiwis of their rural origins and mining a rich seam of nostalgia for a simpler life in the back-blocks. And for many years he found those backblocks and the characters who populated them right here in the Bay, when the best selling author hunted in Te Urewera, holed up in Rotomā, and wrote in Te Teko. John Barrie Crump was born in Papatoetoe, Auckland in 1935, but a city life was not for him. His family were share milkers and his upbringing was tough, with a father prone to violence and five other siblings to contend with. By age 15 he had left school and was working as a farm hand or bush worker in places as far afield as the Kaimanawa Forest and South Westland. Though Crump had visited the Bay it wasn’t until his third marriage, to Vanda Hill in 1968, that he really set up shop here. By that time he was an established author, and he and Vanda moved to a bach at Rotomā in an attempt to get away from the growing public attention in Auckland. Before long Crump teamed up with Te Teko local George Johnston (later to be a Whakatāne District Councillor) and decamped from Rotomā to Te Teko, where he locked himself away with a typewriter.

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with roman sandals. The spoof is delivered in a perfectly deadpan New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation narration and a still hilarious clip can be found on the NZ On Screen site.

As well as working on a new novel, by that time Crump was also working for Town and Around, a nightly magazine TV show that covered everything from current affairs and serious interviews to comedy and stunts – including a notorious spoof of a farmer who makes his turkeys wear gumboots, having previously experimented

Crump was largely interested in Town and Around for the money, and chafed at being told what to do by the suits in Auckland. But having a film unit in tow did have its perks. On one occasion, Crump and crew ventured out of Te Teko to descend on Gisborne and inform one of the local taverns that they needed to film a party scene that night for the television show. Seizing the opportunity to put his pub on the small screen, the publican laid on booze and invited the best and the brightest to come along for a right old wingding. The beer and whiskey

flowed and the night was thoroughl enjoyed by all, but the clip never made it onto the telly. Because, of course, there was never any film in the cameras. When not (not) filming, it was mostly hunting and fishing that filled Crum s day. But somewhere between rod and rifle he managed to produce Warm Beer and Other Stories, a short story collection and his eighth book. It was darker than his previous work, and not the rollicking tales of rum deals his public were used to; it would go on to sell only 10,000 copies, a figure way down on his heyday and the likes of the best selling A Good Keen Man. To add insult to injury, not long after its publication the Hamilton District Court fined “Barry Crump, aged 34, of Te Teko” the princely sum of $30 for exceeding the speed of 30 miles an hour, despite his pleas that he was just speeding up to pass two slow trucks.

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There was better news to counter the gloom of slow sales and slower truck drivers though. Crump and Johnston had hit upon the idea of running bush camps for youth around Lake Matahina, and these proved so successful that they teamed up with a company called South Pacific Safaris to expand operations. Kids on the trips learnt how to bivouac and light a fire, fish and hunt, handle a rifle, and generall look after themselves in the bush, and the concept was a runaway success. Or at least it was until disaster struck: in August 1969, one of the camp’s Land Rovers left the road at night and plunged into the lake. Five teenage boys drowned, and the local community and wider Bay of Plenty were stunned. Charges of manslaughter were laid but eventually dropped, and the coroner returned a verdict of accidental death, but regardless of the coroner’s findings all involve were devastated and the eastern Bay idyll was at an end. Ever the wordsmith, Crump hunkered down in Te Teko with an unlisted phone number and set about a follow up to the ground-breaking A Good Keen Man. Titled A Good Keen Girl (the publisher wanted to use Woman instead of Girl but Crump wasn’t buying it, either because it was too obvious or it just didn’t scan like the original), it was published in 1970 and tells the story of a young woman on a Bay of Plenty farm who takes more than a passing interest in astrology.

“A good keen girl, that’s what you need,” said Bert Shambles to Kersey Hooper, who was breaking in the desolate Blackrange Station without benefit of matrimonial helpmate They’d all had a go at Blackrange - the East Coast Acclimatisation Society, the Soil Conservation and Rivers Council, the Geology Department of Victoria University, the Associated Tramping and Mountaineering Clubs (Inc.), the Search and Rescue Organisation, the Civil Defence people, the National Deerstalkers’ Association, the Conservator of Forests’ Field Research Crew, the Lands and Survey lot, the Department of Agriculture, the Rabbit Destruction Council, and the Waipukurau-North Ladies’ Tramping Enthusiasts’ Guild. None of them had made any headway with the Blackrange. But Kelsey Hooper did, in his own way and in his own time. He could handle dogs; he could handle stock; he could handle the Blackrange. But could he handle the good keen girl whom he brought home as the Mistress of Blackrange Station? Born under Virgo (his fortunate gemstone was sardonyx) Kersey Hooper married a Capricorn. It should have been OK, because at their first contact the planets Mars, Uranus and Pluto were all within the orbs of a conjunction in the Twelfth House of the Ingress Map, and the Vernal Equinox was happening at the time. It should have been OK. But actually what happened to Kersey and Faith wasn’t in the Astrological Almanac - and, what is more, farm-management under the rules of the Zodiac wasn’t nearly as easy as it looked. Excerpt from A Good Keen Girl, by Barry Crump

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The beer and whiskey flowed and the night was thoroughly enjoyed by all, but the clip never made it onto the telly. Because, of course, there was never any film in the cameras The new book met mixed results, with some reviewers wondering whether Crump could master female characters, given that Crump had often had a fractious and by accounts violent relationship with some of the women in his life. Like so many talented and creative people, Barry Crump was a complex character and viewing him through a 21st Century lens isn’t always easy. But in a way A Good Keen Girl was a turning point in his shift from the early prototype of the typical Crump loner to the wider reach of his later writing. And it is Crump the writer that we are left with – and who is increasingly overlooked in any discussion of Crump the man. Which is a great shame. We may have far more lauded authors, but remember this is a man who sold 1.3 million books, including Wild Pork and Watercress, which reappeared as Taika Waititi’s Hunt For the Wilderpeople. Crumpy the Toyota salesman was how later generations knew him, but in the 60s and 70s the books of Barry Crump helped to define a national character, warts and all, in a laconic, gritty, dry-humoured fashion that is still at the heart of our psyche today. Read one of his books now and it’s impossible not to crack a smile and recognise places, faces and situations in his stories that are still around today. A Good Keen Girl marked the end of Crump’s time in the eastern Bay of Plenty – he would relocate to Waihi not long after it’s publication and begin the transition into the nationally recognised character that would see him become ‘Crumpy’ – famed for TV ads and a feel good singalong song or two. But he’d be back, taking up residence with fifth wife Maggie in Welcome Bay, near Tauranga, where he lived till passing away at Tauranga hospital following a heart attack. His death at just 61 came not long after the publication of his 22nd book, Forty Yarns and a Song, with the ‘song’ in the title being the clearly autobiographical Song of a Drifter:

And if we meet some other place A stranger you will be, I can’t remember name or face, They’re all the same to me. I’ll greet you like a brother, I’ll make you laugh somehow, And then one day I’ll drift away, Just like I’m doing now.

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Derek, Mark and Baby

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A Portrait of the Arti WORDS ANDY TAYLOR // IMAGES SUPPLIED

Sarah Jane Moon’s work has been shown at the National Portrait Gallery in the United Kingdom and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery here in Kiwiland. She featured in this year’s BP Portrait Awards and by the time you read this she will have just wrapped up a solo show entitled Queer Portraits in London. That’s a long, long way from the Bay. And the Bay of Plenty is something of a touchstone for Sarah Jane Moon. Plenty catches up with her via a long distance phone call from her current home in the UK; she’s just cycled home through London in falling rain and darkness, and having spent a winter or two in that neck of the woods we naturally take the opportunity to let her know that way down in splendour we’ve woken up to a beautiful day in the Bay. Clear skies, that blinding morning light, and the colour of spring in the trees. We could go on, but we’ve got more important things to talk about. Moon is no strang r to such days. Though she was born in Lower Hutt, holidays were spent in Ōhiwa and her mother calls Whakatāne home. “For about 20 years we spent every holiday in Ōhiwa, and that’s where my st ongest memories are of New Zealand. It’s a beautiful part of the world and I feel like I grew up there,” she says. “Being there as a child I remember we had free reign to do what we wanted and it just seemed so timeless. There was one person in the st eet who had a telephone, there wasn’t even a po

box – it was like living in the 50s, and there’s something really special about that.” She took a very circuitous route to get from Ōhiwa to London. Having studi d at Victoria before teaching in Japan, she then did a stin in Australia followed by a brief year in Malaysia. But it was London where she ended up and it’s there where she has found her muse, shifting from working in arts administr tion to fir stu ying painting and then– that holiest of artistic grails – to making a living out of it (albeit with a lot of mind-numbing side jobs in the beginning). New Zealand has a long histo y of artist in almost accidental exile, and Moon fi s right into that. “I never really set out to live in London. I ended up here twelve years ago with my then boyfriend and star ed stu ying portrait painting, and that – art school – is what kept me here. I’d made friends here and was stu ying full time, so when the relationship I was in ended I knew I wasn’t finish d with London. I was doing casual work in medical transcription for a GP friend and looking after other friends’ children occasionally, but also selling paintings and taking commissions. There was a lot to juggle and it was a fairly peripatetic time in my life. Having the backup of family in New Zealand was great because I knew if everything went pear shaped at least there were people on the other side of the world who would be there for me.”

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Fortunately, it didn’t go pear shaped, though it came “In London they were quite particular at the school I went to; reasonably close. Having been told by her course they don’t really teach a particular styl , but historically there directors that she was only accepted at art school by is a lineage to people like Euan Uglow, William Coldst eam, ‘the skin of her teeth’ because of her lack of experience, Lucian Freud and the School of London painters. I love the and that she would have to accept being at the back of work of these artists but much of it has a particular subtlety to the class, Moon set about proving people wrong. “I’ve it and is concerned with naturalisti light and various nuanced always been a contrarian, but I shades of brown and grey. I wouldn’t also think it‘s a Kiwi thing. We say it’s depressing as such, but it is quite just think we can give anything muted, picking up on the diffuse quality In the UK it’s easy a go and that hard work will of British light, and ever since I was a to dismiss the use of get us through. When I was at child I’ve loved bright saturated and Victoria I studied contemporary loud colour. I think coming from New bright and saturated art histo y – since the 1960s – Zealand where there is a particular colour as juvenile or and now when I paint there is clarity of light and a bold use of colour a period in which I really try the arts and culture, in the work of not very sophistic ted. in to forget all of that and work artists like Rita Angus, Don Binney and intuitively. It took me a long time Colin McCahon for example, has had as an adult to pick up a pencil and draw something from a huge impact. Here in the UK it’s easy to dismiss the use of observation, because somewhere along the way I had bright and saturated colour as juvenile or not very sophistic ted. absorbed the idea that painting was no longer relevant. I’ve really tried in recent years to ignore that idea and embrace But painting is much like life in a larger sense, there’s exuberant colour, energy and physicality in my work - to just go no point in trying to please other people, you have to be for it - and the response I’ve had has been really positive.” authentic and paint how you want to paint. Otherwise Moon’s most recent show – Queer Portraits at the newly you’re fulfilling someone else’s brief and you might as revamped Department Store in Brixton – has seen her apply well be stuck in a d y job you don’t enjoy.” this to a series of portraits of friends or people she has met and The result was an embrace of colour and vibrancy admired from the LGBTQI community. Having only recently that comes together strikin ly. These are big, bold discovered her own sexuality, Moon chose the title of the show st tements of intent, not quiet observations. carefully. “I debated using “queer” in the title as I didn’t want it to be exclusionary, but equally I didn’t want to call it Portraits because the queer aspect is a unifying factor and something I feel very celebratory about. In the face of rising polarisation Harriet and Anoushka here in the UK and worldwide it’s vital that we celebrate and prioritise diversity of all kinds.” And the portraits are celebratory, of the subjects and their lives. Vivid and lively, but raw at the same time; a million miles from the shameless fl ttery of our social media obsessed world. “It’s definitely not about fl ttery. It’s about authenticity. That’s generally my impetus to paint someone. I suppose I’m trying to portray people who I feel are uniquely themselves, because I really admire that. I have no desire to make people look conventionally beautiful or polished – I like the quirky and the things that make them ‘them’. We’re saturated with imagery and ideals about appearance, but I’ve always thought that portraiture is more about an internal appreciation – our identity is so much more than just what we present on the outside.”

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I have no desire to make people look conventionally beautiful or polished – I like the quirky and the things that make them ‘them’.

Moon has also applied this ethos to landscape work, with equally arresting esults. “The landscape work comes from travelling,” she says. “Whenever I travel I tend to paint. Spending time in the Bay of Plenty gave me a real connection to the landscape and I’ve never felt that anywhere else. I suppose it derives from experiencing a childhood where you have endless days and no technology, growing up in the 80s, with those magical times of having the whole beach to yourself and connecting to the physical world. So I’d love to paint more large landscapes but it’s partly to do with space. Right now in London it’s hard to find the space – and of course the time – for that kind of work.” Krishna Istha

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Penguin promenade, Tasmania

He’s put sharks and lava pits onto Queen Street, gateways to the underworld in Christchurch, and brightened many a Bay of Plenty wall with murals that fool the eye and feed the mind. The Winsley Twins got the keys to the Corolla and tracked down Marc Spijkerbosch in Rotomā to hear about how we love to be tricked and having paint on your cornflakes.

INTERVIEW THE WINSLEY TWINS Origin: FRENCH

noun

visual illusion in art, especially used to trick the eye into perceiving a painted detail as a three-dimensional object.

Let’s get this out of the way right from the start. Spijkerbosch; it’s pronounced Spiker-Boss. “It’s Dutch – that’s my Dad, but Mum’s from Murupara and I’m a total kiwi. I have to spell it out for someone nearly every day - I even misspelt it once signing a painting!” Marc says. “Fair enough though, the name can be a bit daunting. They anglicised it back in the 60s, but I wanted to honour my heritage so I took it back to the original spelling 20 years ago. Spijkerbosch. I guess you gotta feel a bit sorry for the kids. And with a name like that you really do need to behave yourself.”

For the last twenty or so years that name Spijkerbosch has become synonymous with public art in the Bay or Plenty, whether for the stunning murals that bear the name or for the work he does through Rotorua Lakes Council. In the creative sphere, like most other, um, spheres, there are the doers and the organisers, and rarely the twain shall meet. But Marc Spijkerbosch is both, and we owe it all to maths.

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“Back in the 7th form, maths and I didn’t get along anymore,” he says, “so I tip-toed out of there and took art instead. I dreamt about the perfect life: six months in the bush and six months in the studio. Being able to wake up and call each day your own – priceless. I’ve always loved the bush and our local landscape, and I guess that’s what drew me to painting, the desire to explore, get closer and try to capture it. I started out working in a bank, and my first appraisal identified me as managerial material - in about 20 years. Twenty years!? That scared the hell out of me so I ran for the hills. Heck, I had dragons to slay! I started out painting landscapes and it grew from there - a hobby gone completely out of control. I must have painted Lake Tarawera two or three hundred times before I figured there had to be more to life, so I took up the challenge of painting illusions.” The illusion painting he refers to is trompel’œil, literally “trick the eye” in French, an art form that has been around since the ancient Greeks, but was popularised in the 19th Century.

“It was often used to give the impression of space or wealth,” Marc says, “with huge doors painted to look like marble, or in places like the Sistine Chapel where it’s used to create whole new fictional worlds. The story goes that two artists way back in antiquity were in competition to see who could paint the finest trompe-l’œil. One guy painted grapes so realistic that birds flew in to peck them. He was pretty happy with himself, but when he went to pull back the curtain to check out what the other guy was doing he discovered that the curtain itself was the painting! Game over.”

I started out painting

landscapes and it

grew from there -

a hobbygone

completely

out of control.

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Trompe-l’œil has moved on from fooling birds. It’s now found favour in mural form, and if you’ve been to the Kawerau Skate Park, the Whakatāne Aquatic Centre, a certain Katikati rest home, or the Rotorua Library recently you’ll be familiar with the work of Marc Spijkerbosch. One of his bigger projects was painting the Pink and White Terraces on the concrete terraces of the Rotorua International Stadium: “It took a half ton of paint. I lost a few kilos pushing that around.”

“Illusion murals get a cool reaction,” Marc says. “The plan is to fool people and have them scratching their heads, which is something I was doing a lot when I started out. Back then it was pre-internet, so I literally went into the library and scanned the handful of books available. Wasn’t long before I found I could make a living from this, and it turned into a major part of what I did for over 20 years. People sometimes ask what my greatest inspiration is and I’ll say, well, how about survival? We had three children along the way, and while I was always happy enough to sleep under a bridge, you have to factor in the wife and kids! Luckily I learned early on that to survive in this business you had to be versatile and just get stuck in. I reckon I was blessed with a mix of Dutch work ethic and Kiwi No. 8 wire headspace.”


creativity is just like a muscle

– you develop it by using it.

And if you don’t use it, well,

you lose it.

“I’ve been lucky to work alongside American artist John Pugh, a trompe-l’œil master. We’ve painted a few collaborations here and there and he’s taught me a heap about colour and concept. Trompe-l’œil is all about challenges, and involves a mix of portraiture, still-life, landscapes, paint effects and perspective. The mission is to push the brain into believing something painted is real. People love to be tricked!” “And it’s taken me overseas a bit – mostly to the States and Oz. But the real interesting gig was for an ashram in rural India. No one warned me about the heat or the powdered pigments, but I got there in the end and the sandal-clad experience was amazing.”

Top: Self Portrait mural ‘Taking a Break’ Center: ‘Keep Kawerau Beautiful’ mural Below: Lynmore School Jubilee mural

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“I’m pretty much self-taught, and it was a bit of a battle in the beginning. It would have been really nice to have someone give me a few pointers back then to save some of the heartbreak, and that’s why I love teaching – helping others get the basics in hand so that they can get up and running. I’ve held a heap of workshops in the Bay of Plenty and still have the odd weekend class at Rotomā. While I don’t have all the answers, I’m grateful to have made a living from my painting and really enjoy sharing what I’ve learned and experienced over the years. The first thing I tell students is hey, relax and breathe! You can’t wreck anything, it’s only paint! Seems a lot of novice painters are scared of a blank canvas and I totally get that, because the worst thing is a blank canvas and you’ll find yourself staring blankly at it till you’re blue in the face. But once you get something down – anything at all - you have something to respond to and work with.” Like many art forms though, it can be a fairly solitary existence.

“I had a commission for an airport in New South Wales that had me cooped up for three months on a giant canvas. Although I get along fine with myself, and listened to a heap of audiobooks, I was definitely struggling towards the finish line. It’s one of the reasons I put my hand up to work for my hometown.”

a lot of novice painters

are scared

of a blank canvas... and I totally get that,

the worst thing

because

is a blank canvas

Right: 3D pavement art, Christchurch Below: Home murals “My daughter was looking for some summer work a few years back and called me to say she’d found the perfect job – Public Arts Advisor for Rotorua Lakes Council – but no, not for her, for me! Hang on a minute, I wasn’t actually looking for a real job, but when I read the description – commissioning public art, helping other artists, creating opportunities, working with communities – this was totally me to a tee! And all in my hometown Rotorua. Back then the central business district really needed some love, so I got myself busy with commissioning a heap of public art and help bring the place to life. It’s been a real privilege working for the city and alongside some pretty cool people. In a very short time my phone contacts leapt from three to 300 so that sorted any solitude issues. I figured I’d put in a couple of years for the city and now it’s been seven, already, and counting.” So has he hung up the brushes? “Nope. That’ll never happen. Painting will always be a major part of my life – I practically use acrylic on my cornflakes and there’s nothing surer than that, I’ll be back in the saddle one day. Plus, I’ve always thought creativity is just like a muscle – you develop it by using it. And if you don’t use it, well, you lose it.”

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SMOOTH OPERATORS WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY ANDY TAYLOR IMAGES SUPPLIED

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Building on years of experience in the marketing and packaging industries in Southeast Asia, two New Zealand entrepreneurs are embarking on a bold new business model that is set to shake up the top shelf and put a brand new Kiwi export on the global stage. And they’re doing it all from Mount Maunganui.


M

ARC MILLER AND MIKE NEWCOMB are not your average Kiwi businessmen. Since starting out together in the Auckland fashion industry, this mile a minute duo have shifted gears and countries numerous times in the last 20 years, working in packaging and distribution before teaming up with the world’s number one beverage development company, and basing themselves in Hong Kong. Next up they were importing and distributing over 100 premium spirits brands out of Bangkok, and as if that wasn’t enough, they’ve picked up a prestigious DuPont Award for innovation along the way. Their company, Smooth Spirits, is not exactly your run of the mill Kiwi startup either. Not by a long shot. Smooth is launching a portfolio of premium spirits – with names the likes of Sly Dog Organic Whiskey, HUMAN Vodka, and Moo+d Milk Vodka – not just at a bottle store near you but globally, with the first expansion of their business – into Mallorca, Spain – taking place as you read this. It’s a game plan that makes the crowded craft beer world seem positively pedestrian, and begs the question why did they up-sticks on the hustle and bustle of a tried and true business in the former Crown Colony to take on the world from the Bay of Plenty.

“Spirits have been sold the same way for years, and it’s a real Kiwi thing to look at something and think, ‘How can we make that stand out on the shelf and how can we stand out from the pack.”

“There were some amazing dynamics occurring in the drinks segment internationally,” says Marc, with a little understatement. “And while we had this drinks portfolio selling to the five star hotel/ restaurant/café sector and premium bars and clubs, we didn’t have a single New Zealand brand. So we wanted to take that rich experience, and apply it to New Zealand. With a simple goal of making New Zealand spirits and taking them into international markets. It may seem difficult viewed from a domestic lens, but we had already done it multiple times with other people’s brands.” “We knew that marketing comes down to three things,” continues Mike, “the packaging, the product and the price point. Cost is so important. There are some really nice products being created in New Zealand right now. Most local brands are way too pricey for international buyers. There are exceptions, but you need to sit at a certain price and have a scalability plan if you want relevancy in the off-shore markets. With that in mind, we set up our factory and started developing our brands.” P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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There are some really nice products being created in New Zealand right now. Most local brands are way too pricey for This is where SMOOTH really are boxing clever. While their factory is in Mount Maunganui, Marc and Mike had no intention of reinventing the wheel and trying to master a hundred years of distilling expertise – instead they left that to the experts. Their rum for example, comes from the oldest rum maker in the world and their whisky from a Spanish distillery that has been making a remarkably smooth drop for 150 years. “We visited these places and we knew that there was just no way we could do it any better – they have a hundred plus years of experience – but we felt there was a secret sauce missing from the mix. People buy attractive packaging, so we focused on that to differentiate us. Spirits have been sold the same way for years, and it’s a real Kiwi thing to look at something and think, ‘How can we make that stand out on the shelf and how can we stand out from the pack.”

international buyers.

A cursory glance at the spirits shelves of your local liquor store will prove that right; they are aimed squarely at a male market, with often dour and repetitive labelling pushing either a plaid shirt or pipe and slippers narrative. Yawn. “We thought it was time to breathe a little life – with the expected nod towards humour – into the scene,” says Marc. “The fastest growing segment is the female consumer, so why make old man labels, or hipster brands featuring moustaches and anchors. Look, we are here to sell New Zealand, but not necessarily to sell to New Zealanders - though of course we hope the domestic audience like them as well. A simple example would be that Kiwis like one litre bottles of spirits, but that’s way too big for a female Asian consumer.” And with that kind of thinking and expertise, the guys are onto a whole stable of winners. “Our designs are relatively simplistic. It is somewhat of a necessity to have design simplicity if consumers speak other languages. It can’t be too busy.

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And we have a colour palette more akin to the fashion industry, of black, white, red and ochre. Simple names are important too. Bunnahabhain (a famed single malt scotch), as an example, is tough on a consumer trying to order that at a bar. So that’s why we have SOUL Rum, Moo+d milk vodka, HUMAN Vodka, Sly Dog Whisky. Simple to say and simple to remember.” Never ones to do things by halves then boys? “It would seem easier to start off with just one,” says Mike, “but when you’re approaching export distributors, having a portfolio is a necessity. They don’t want to deal with separate suppliers for every single spirit they are going to stock. One pallet of a single, unknown spirit brand is a gamble. But a mixed pallet of a range of premium brands? That is a much more attractive buyer proposition. And not a heck of a lot of brand owners in New Zealand can offer that. And we know this is true, because we have been the buyers. This is also true of Mallorca, or island neighbour Ibiza, where the bigger clubs and bars are dealing on such scales that showing up with one little brand of whisky isn’t going to get anyone’s motor running.” Which brings us neatly to the Spanish Connection. Smooth are firmly focused on the international market, and have already inked agreements to enter the Spanish market via Mallorca.

Distance has always been a problem for kiwi brands, particularly in an age of instant gratification

“Distance has always been a problem for kiwi brands, particularly in an age of instant gratification. You need own-house representation, manufacturing and boots on the ground in the UK/EU market. Spain has this exotic, free, celebration vibe to it - and Mallorca has its own culture, and simultaneously this island’s remoteness that draws parallels with New Zealand. So that is our chosen doorway to the EU. And we hope to open the door for other spirit brand owners by creating awareness of NZ Spirits offshore.” www.smoothspirits.co.nz P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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20

X

20 INTERVIEW BOB SACAMANO

Just like it says on the tin, the Movie Reviews in 20 Qs podcast delves into all things cinematic via 20 probing, often off the wall uestions that turn the ohso-serious Leonard Malton school of fil reviewing on its head. It was created in a Mount Maunganui garage by a husband and wife team who invite friends with names like Spanky to sit in and talk shit - and it’s now being heard around the world, including a shout out from a leading political commentator in, erm, Turkey. Plenty caught up with Sam, the blokey part of the duo, to find out wha on earth is going on.

L-R Mitch, Dan, Sam and Dory

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PLENTY Where did the original idea come from? SAM There was a brief eureka moment, immediately followed by a, “Wait, is this moronic?” moment. But basically it started a few years back when I had been listening to a ton of movie podcasts and decided I really wanted to do one. I talked about it for ages to anyone who would listen and eventually my wife, Stacey, said she would be interested in doing one if I would shut the hell up. So, I tried to figure out a ame plan for it. The problem is that there are 17 trillion movie podcasts and counting. So we strove to find a w y to make something unique. Our first idea was one of tacey’s, which was doing it from the premise that she is a movie newbie, and I’m a total movie nerd. I loved the idea, and our early episodes still played with that idea. But we recorded a couple of episodes of us talking about a film fro our different perspecti es, and they sort of turned into another rambling and directionless podcast I was trying to avoid. So it was back to the drawing board, and while trying to think of a new way to approach it, I had the idea. I suggested it to her as a way to keep the podcast unique and punchy. The other aspect of it was that, rather than being like pretentious film critics who get hung up on themes or symbolism, we would steer away from sounding aloof. Instead, we would just ask questions that cover the film, but in a pl yful and easily accessible way. Or by asking questions that noone would ever think to ask of a film

PLENTY What’s been the hardest part of getting this far? SAM Two things immediately spring to mind. The first was lea ning how to produce all this. I knew nothing about the two common types of microphone, mixers, levelling, noise gates, normalising, noise reduction, or any other technical words that I am pretending to know a little bit about now. I’ve watched countless YouTube videos, bought the wrong gear, cringe at the quality of our recordings of our early episodes, and learnt something new with each episode. Even though we are now set up to record straight away I still get nervous that something is going to go wrong. Which it has, multiple times. Every single problem you can imagine has happened at some point. From a guest’s audio being unusable, to an amorous pair of birds fornicating outside the garage through a key part of a recording session. We’ve had it all. The second thing is the follow up. The fun part is watching the movie, coming up with questions, prepping a couple of answers and chatting with mates about it. The hours it takes to edit and then do all the promotion part is the hard part, and the part I don’t really enjoy. Like any good kiwi I suffer from tal poppy syndrome, and I feel really uneasy screaming about how great we are all over the internet, even when I am really proud of an episode. That and asking people to subscribe or leave us a review. You’ll notice we never do that in each episode, we just tell people how they can get a hold of us.

Everyone in the world will tell you that you can’t do something. You can’t listen to those people. PLENTY You have a sizeable following overseas, particularly in the United States. How did that happen? SAM I wish I knew the magic formula, because I would probably quadruple the dose. But our listenership really started picking up after we produced episodes on a regular basis, and started getting more prominent on social media. We had a few people tweet out about us, or post about us on places like Reddit, and soon we saw our listenership numbers rise. And we both like it when we get told we’ve hit the iTunes charts, or we get included in a list of podcasts people should check out, but we absolutely love it when a person from somewhere random like Colorado messages us to tell us how much they love our show. Those are the real awesome moments for us, that someone we would have otherwise never come in contact with reaches out to tell us how much they love our show. The other big factor was guesting on other people’s shows. We started getting their listeners too and it’s really helped. If any other podcasters are reading this, I’ll happily guest on pretty much anyone’s show. I’m easy like that!

PLENTY Do you tailor the show for the overseas audience at all? SAM A little bit. We often explain some local idiosyncrasies, like what Hokey Pokey is when we ask, “What fl vour ice cream is this move”. I’ve also explained what “chur” is to a lot of people. Aside from that we just hope that they don’t mind our accents, and get our dry, or sarcastic, sense of kiwi humour.

PLENTY Does knowing you have the ear of a prominent political journalist in Turkey change the way you do the show? SAM No… but man was that another “pinch me” moment. Honestly, when we started out our goal was to make episodes we enjoy, and if one stranger said, “Hey I liked your show”, that was enough for us. To see her take a step aside from her usual topics and write an article about us just absolutely flumm xed me. But in the best way possible. P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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Like any good kiwi I suffe from tall poppy syndrome, and I feel really uneasy screaming about how great we are all over the internet

PLENTY In the Kiwi-made movie version of

Movie Reviews in 20 Qs, who will play you all? SAM I think I would want to play myself. I would be a total diva and probably fire yself but hey. Stacey is a law unto herself, so Lucy Lawless. My best friend, who’s affectionate y known as Spanky and who was there on the first episode, he would probab y be Taika Waititi.

PLENTY And in the Hollywood version? SAM Who’s the hottest bald guy going at the moment? The Rock? Yeah him or Danny De Vito for me. Got to go with another awesome ginger for Stacey, so probably Emma Stone or Amy Adams. Michael Pena for Spanky.

PLENTY Is it true you compiled a list of

“The Top 10 Movie Parents” to prepare yourselves for the arrival of your first hild? SAM We did! It was actually for a guest episode on the Countdown: Movie and TV Reviews podcast. It was fun to try and work out who actually are good parents. Like Liam Neeson in Taken is a dad who goes to great lengths to rescue his daughter. But he also has bad stuff happen to his amily in two more films so m ybe he’s not the best choice?

PLENTY What are the top three underrated, under the radar movies you’d recommend for summer? SAM From this year, I feel like not enough people saw Booksmart. That movie is genuinely hilarious, and easily one of my favourite films of the ear. I also really enjoyed Longshot, the Charlize Theron/Seth Rogen comedy that came out roughly a week after Avengers and got buried by Marvel love. I also highly recommend the horror Midsommar. It’s a slow burn, but it creates a sense of dread that I haven’t felt in a long time. I really can’t believe that it’s the directors second film, a ter the also amazing Hereditary.

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PLENTY You use a garage as

your recording studio – is that a reflection of the cu rent cost of housing in the Mount? SAM Absolutely. Prior to that we actually begged and pleaded to use the Tauranga Radio School recording studio. Mad respect to them for letting us use the place, we loved it. It was great for audio quality, but also awkward because they had a radio station playing off the same mi er and computer while we recorded. If you pushed the wrong buttons then you’d interrupt the show. And yes, yes, we once accidentally broadcast ourselves. The music kept playing, so for about one minute of a Kanye West song you got to hear me doing halfassed vocal exercises over the top of it.

PLENTY Have you been approached by any of the larger garage manufacturers for product placement? SAM No. And if any are reading this I will happily sell out on-air and sing your praises for a new garage. I have no qualms about doing that at all.

PLENTY What advice would you

give to aspiring podcasters?

SAM Stump up the cash for good gear at the start. Otherwise you’ll just start to replace the stuff and ki k yourself for not doing it the first time around. Also don’t be dismayed if no one listens to you. It took us 6 months before our weekly listens got into triple digits. And put yourself out there on other shows. We’ll happily have anyone on as a guest if they were so inclined. Also, and there might be no truth to this, but I read that episode 9 is the big one. Apparently 80% of podcasts don’t make it past episode 9. They fizzle out a ter they’re not immediately as popular as Joe Rogan or My Dad Wrote a Porno. I think there’s a lot of truth to that. If you can push past that, things will start happening. I also read that less than 1% of podcasts make it to episode 100, which we made it to recently. Don’t mind me and my humble bragging, I’ll show myself out.


PLENTY You have a lot of guests on the show

– who is on your dream list of podcast guests.

SAM Top 3 would be Kevin Smith, Taika Waititi and Lexi Alexander. Kevin Smith, in a small way, made all this happen. I went to an evening of his in Auckland and heard him talk about how everyone in the world will tell you that you can’t do something. You can’t listen to those people. They’re typically people who have never bothered trying anything and don’t want to see others realise their dreams when they are stuck believing they can’t realise theirs. That struck a chord in me, and I knew I had to do something like this.

PLENTY Podcasts seem to have come of age

recently. Why do you think that is?

SAM Two things: people’s commutes are getting longer, and I think we are realising how important exercise is. Those are typically the two places that I get my fill. Also it’s a lot more accessible via smart phones, and in the public consciousness a bit more. You can literally find a podcast on anything, like self-help or learning a new skill, and better yourself. Or just listen to ours and laugh. Both things are important.

PLENTY How do you juggle doing the show and doing the day job? SAM I have no idea, and we now have a baby that has pretty much ruined any idea of continuity. But before that it was as simple as fli king a message out to my regular guests and seeing who’s keen. Some of them come to me and ask to do a movie and that makes me punch the air in delight, because I hate pushing something on people that they don’t get paid for.

PLENTY Has doing the podcast changed the

way you see movies?

SAM Yeah absolutely. When one of your usual questions is, “What quote from this film woul be the worst to hear immediately after you finis making love?” you start to pay a LOT more attention to the dialogue. I also pay more attention to side characters, unexplained plots, and what really strikes me as part of the film. E en films I kn w I will never talk about I have a hard time switching o from now. I do envy the Sam I was a few years ago who just used to watch movies and enjoy it.

PLENTY At the movies: up the back

with the naughty kids or down the front getting neck strain? SAM Definite y at the back. I like the full visceral experience. I also have a penchant for sitting by the aisle. Stacey will tell you it’s because I like to be able to nip out to use the toilet after drinking a litre of coke in 10 seconds, but don’t listen to her.

PLENTY Popcorn or Jaffas SAM Popcorn, always popcorn. And lightly salted and buttered is all I need, I really don’t care for fl voured stuff. un fact: popcorn was used as a replacement for candy and chocolate during World War II as the sugary stuff was rationed and hard to get a hold of. Now it’s the most overpriced product in the theatres. I don’t know why but that piece of trivia has always stuck with me.

PLENTY That’s only

19 questions, think anyone will notice?

SAM Nope, they never do. There’s roughly 5 episodes we’ve recorded that only have 19 questions. Not for quality or time, just because I didn’t want to be responsible for my friends divorces.

Fun fact:. popcorn was used. as a replacement. for candy and. chocolate during.

World War II as the. sugary stuff wa .

rationed and hard to. get a hold of.. P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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With ample sunshine, spectacular trails and endless coastlines, the Whakatāne District has plenty to offer for a summer break. Whether you’re looking for adventure, family fun or simply need a break away from the hustle, there’s something for everyone.

What’s on in Whakatāne Whakatāne Seafood Festival 18 January, 1-7pm, Te Hau Tutua Park, Whakatāne Heads whakataneseafoodfestival.nz

Fresh Market Jazz in the Park 1 February, 5-8pm, Whakatāne Gardens

Summer Arts Festival 17 January – 31 March artswhakatane.co.nz

Air Chatham’s Sunshine and a Plate Food Festival 29 February – 9 March sunshineandaplate.nz

Classics at Ōhope 14 March, 12-4pm Surf and Sand, 361 Harbour Road classicsatohope.co.nz For more events visit whakatane.com/events

For more information visit whakatane.com/events WHAKATĀNE VISITOR CENTRE Corner of Quay Street and Kakahoroa Drive, Whakatāne P. 0800 942 528 E. whakataneinfo@whakatane.govt.nz


Take a road trip to Whakatāne this summer, you’ll find plenty to explore.

whakatane.com

whakatane.nz

Ōtarawairere Bay


WORDS ANDY TAYLOR IMAGES SUPPLIED

We first met Craig Phillips ba k in Plenty 13 just after he’d picked up a New Zealand Book Award for Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts: Ten Tales from the Deep Dark Woods. He followed that with the rollicking tale of a cat pirate, Jack Scratch, and we knew we were going to be hearing more from this avid illustrator. And voilà – he’s back, having teamed up with fellow Taupō local Bex Lipp to form the barnstorming publishing company Wildling Books, with a new publication on a much more serious topic that is already proving to be a best seller. Nervousness, fear, and apprehension

issues in later childhood, adolescence

may not seem like typical topics

or adulthood, and it can also improve

for a children’s book, but they are

children’s developmental, emotional,

certainly important ones. According

academic and social outcomes.

to the Ministry of Health, 8%, or around 57,000 Kiwi kids, experience “significant” social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, and living with anxiety can sometimes go hand-inhand, or be a part of, these challenging experiences. As adults we know that anxiety can seemingly come from nowhere, and very few of us really know

36

Those are pretty big topics for a kid’s book, but Aroha’s Way, created by Craig and Bex and published by their Wildling Books imprint hits those nails squarely on the head, but in a way kids can not only understand but willingly consume. It is a beguilingly beautiful book that takes readers on a young girl’s journey

how to address it.

through four emotions associated with

Research shows that early intervention

thoughts and apprehension – and

with kids can reduce the risk or severity

provides simple, but effective ways to

of certain types of mental health

help manage them.

P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // H A K I H E A 2 0 1 9

anxiety – nervousness, fear, worrying


In June this year, 2,000 copies hit the shelves – and sold out within three weeks. The second print run of 4,000 went the same way. It is now into its third print run, and it may sell out again, with hundreds of copies already swallowed up by waiting lists. In the New Zealand publishing landscape this is a phenomenal response – and clearly shows both the need for Aroha’s Way and the exceptional skill of its creators. “It’s amazing to see how Aroha’s Way is connecting with children, parents and educators around New Zealand,” says Craig, “and helping in the conversation about childhood anxiety.” And Bex Lipp is, naturally, delighted with the success of the book she and Craig created and that it is working to empower New Zealand tamariki. “We’ve had feedback from parents who

“We hope the book helps children before their often everyday emotions and worries spiral into something more serious.”

say their children are now ‘breathing like Aroha” Bex says. “Even kids with selective mutism - anxiety so severe the children can’t speak - have been recognising themselves and opening up conversations around their feelings. But the book is for all children, as we all experience these emotions, and by normalising anxiety, we hope the book helps children before their often everyday emotions and worries spiral into something more serious.”

This is why Bex, who has openly shared her own story about being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, along with experiences of clinical depression, anxiety, self-harm and several suicide attempts, wanted to produce the book - to help kids before they have to go through what she did. “Aroha’s Way is the book I wish I had,” she says. “I had very big emotions as a kid, many of which I didn’t know how to control. That’s what led me towards a crisis. Thankfully, I learned to rewire my brain, and to think differently, so I wasn’t drowning in my negative thoughts. I wanted to help kids understand that process as early as possible.”

Taupō locals Craig Phillips and Bex Lipp P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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Bex says although the book is recommended for five to 10 year olds, some parents have been reading it to children as young as two and three, and she has been receiving feedback that even teenagers and parents alike are benefiting from the book. Given the runaway success of Aroha’s Way, you’d imagine bookshops would have been queuing up to get it into their stores. And you’d be wrong. “We initially had feedback that the book didn’t read well,” Bex says, “which was so gutting, but we believed in the book and knew we would just have to get enough people asking for it to be picked up by the bigger players.” “Craig and I were really excited to start Wildling Books last year, as it allows us full creative freedom to publish exactly the way we want. Whilst Craig’s background has been within the publishing industry via illustration, my background is in social media marketing. I have driven demand for ‘Aroha’s Way’ via Facebook posts and advertising. This is quite a different approach to standard publishing, but has seen the book hit the bestsellers list and have bookshops looking to stock the book due to demand from their customers. “I think our business is working so well because we don’t follow the traditional path. Our business name ‘Wildling Books’ really is a reflection of how we run our business and how we live our life. We are ‘wildlings’, having gone against traditional ways and instead living a lifestyle that works for us. We

Nervousness, fear, and apprehension may not seem like typical topics for a children’s book, but they are certainly important ones. 38

P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // H A K I H E A 2 0 1 9

play to our strengths as well as motivating and encouraging each other. This absolutely carries through to our publishing business as we find ‘flow’ in our work. We have very different strengths, which when combined, match so well within the business. I have always been an ideas person. So I pass on my ideas to Craig and he then transforms them into something quite amazing.”


TRIPLE P IN THE BAY

It’s a business model that is quite new to the traditional publishing world, but which is now looking increasingly like its future. We are driving sales via social media channels.

The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program® is one of the world’s most effective parenting programs. It gives parents the skills they need to raise confident, healthy children and teenagers and to build stronger family relationships. It also helps parents manage misbehaviour and prevent problems occurring in the first place.

“We are now receiving manuscripts daily from other writers,” Bex says, “as well as people wanting to know how they can self-publish. It’s really hard to say, no but we are still just a new business and are not looking to take on anyone else at present due to the amount of ideas and books we are working on ourselves! It seems that everyone has a book in them, but getting that picked up by a publisher is the difficult part. Being able to self-publish is becoming easier and easier, but when you get

For parents, whanau and caregivers with children aged up to 16yrs, there’s something for everyone. Researched and Evidenced based parenting program.

Triple P in the BAY phone: 027 3112140 email: ardell@xtra.co.nz facebook: Triple P in the BAY www.triplep-parenting.net

‘Small changes for Big differences’

to the point of having your work published you then have to market and sell those books - which is often where it can get really difficult.” To see just what ideas and books the dynamic duo are working on, get on over to www.wildlingbooks.com

P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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Image credit Jim Gilchrist

The other ANZACs WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY ANDY TAYLOR & IMAGES SUPPLIED

Last year New Zealand commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI – a conflict that is one of the most defining moments of our history and which we remember each year. And yet our involvement in another distant war, one in much more living memory, has been largely overlooked: 3,890 Kiwis served in the Vietnam war, 37 of them died there and nearly 200 were wounded, and while the scale of our losses there is dwarfed by those of the First World War, like that conflict our involvement in Vietnam was a turning point in our history. For the first time New Zealand chose not to fight alongside the United Kingdom, but to acknowledge its obligations to the ANZUS pact and

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follow America and Australia into a war that was controversial then and remains so to this day.

seems we are still unable to find a place in our ANZAC narrative for the Kiwis who fought in it.

But if our level of commitment was minor compared to the troops sent to Europe in the 1914-18 and 1939-45 conflicts, for all those who served it was life changing. Many New Zealanders who didn’t don a uniform in the 60s and 70s found that it was equally transformational, because never before or since has our involvement in a conflict ignited such passionate protest from the public. Demonstrations against New Zealand’s military contribution were fierce and long-lasting, bringing scenes that would not be revisited till the 1981 Springbok Tour. Just like the Tour, the Vietnam War created divisions that remain today, and it

Ruka Hudson of Ōpōtiki was 26 years old when he enlisted and looking back now he says he should have done it different: “I should have joined up when I was 16!” he says with an infectious laugh. “I was unemployed, didn’t know what to do with myself and decided to join the army to see the world, to go overseas. And I loved it, loved being with the guys, the camaraderie, and seeing a bit of the world. It was one of the best things I ever did.” Ruka also has an ever-present smile, present now in his Ōpōtiki home surrounded by his artwork and in the black and white photo we find of him in Middlemore Hospital shortly after he returned from Vietnam.


161 Battery: “We fired near y everyday, far, far more than a WWII battery because (in Vietnam) we had a 360 degree perimeter” Ruka’s war started in 1970, when the conflict was in full swing, and he was a lead scout patrolling with 3rd Platoon, Victor Five Company near Nui Dat. Lead scout is at the sharp end of an infantry unit, but Ruka says he loved it all the same. “When you were lead scout you got to see what was happening and you felt quite tuned in, not like the guys down the back. Me and my brother did a lot of hunting around Ōpōtiki, so being in the bush was nothing new for me. I liked it. Once I was going down a track and saw movement in some trees, so I lay down and man the sweat was rolling down into my eyes so much I could hardly see the rifle sight. Then I saw it was just monkeys! Ha!” On another patrol, lead scout Ruka paused to get his bearings only to have his covering scout walk into him from behind, half asleep. “So much for watching my back! But half of us slept on sentry duty. Us Kiwis were a mischievous bunch – digging someone in the ribs in the middle of the night on sentry duty was always worth a laugh! No one was scared of anything, we were too young for that. When you got into contact you just did what you’d trained for.” But Ruka’s war lasted only 10 weeks. “We’d been tracking for a couple of days and went up a hill and made contact, so they called

the choppers in to blast the hillside. I was asked to go up the hill to carry on and on the way up I stepped over a few mines – you could see them. But on the way back. . . I put my big foot on one!” he says, again with that laugh, “and that was that. I went up

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OHOPE Restaurant open to the public

in the air and I remember the thing that went through my mind was the old beach back in Ōpōtiki, the beach I grew up by. I could see it clear as hell, the waves and the rocks, and I said a karakia to myself. And then the swearing started!”

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“My first i pressions of Vietnam when I arrived, coming in over the coast, was that it was like looking down on the moon – except it was green.” Ruka was airlifted out still conscious, with both his legs badly damaged, and made it to the base hospital where he lay waiting for treatment. “I was on a stretcher and I asked one of the nurses to go and find out who won between the All Blacks and the Springboks! It was the second test in South Africa I think, and he came back with the score 9-6 to the All Blacks, and that was when I went out. And I was unconscious for a couple of days. When I woke up one of my legs was off, and the doctor said the other was probably going to give me a lot of trouble, so I said take it off too. I was scared of gangrene. So they took it off.” Ever since then, anyone complaining of having a sore leg around Ruka Hudson has been given some sage advice. Jim Gilchrist had similar reasons to join up. “I was bored,” he says from his current home just outside Kawerau. “An ad came on the radio saying, ‘Join the army and be overseas by Christmas!’ It was more like a year before we left, but that was a good thing because it meant we got a lot of training – way more than when my grandfather shipped off in the First World War! The place I was working at had a few guys from Second World War there, and a couple from the First World War too, and they all said the same thing – go for it, go see the world. And so that was it.” “My first impressions of Vietnam when I arrived, coming in over the coast, was that it was like looking down on the moon – except it was green. There were just craters everywhere. We landed at Tan Son

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Nhut and were met by a crowd of Kiwis who were going home; they found one of us who was the same size, swapped kit and weapons, collected their pay, climbed into the Hercules that had delivered us and that was it – welcome to Vietnam. And man that kit they gave us was shot – it was really clapped out!” Gilchrist served in 161 Battery of the New Zealand Artillery and his fellow gunners were a remarkably experienced group. “We had guys in the Battery who had fought in Korea, Malaya and Borneo,” he remembers, “we had guys who had been in the French Foreign Legion, we had a guy who was ex-Māori Battalion, who had fought across North Africa in the Second World War. And that was reflected in our low casualties. Being around that sort of experience keeps you alive.” His most enduring memory is of two things: “It was hard work and boredom. Digging in the guns, digging in machine gun pits, putting up wire and then constant fire missions; we fired nearly everyday, far, far more than a WWII battery because (in Vietnam) we had a 360 degree perimeter.” Gilchrist did a 12 month tour with 161 and was ‘invited’ to extend that for another six months, but he’d had enough. “I remember it took two and a half days in a jump seat of a Hercules to get to Vietnam and after that trip I swore I never wanted to see another plane. But I can tell you I was very happy to see the one that took me home!

Ruka Hudson, top, in Middlemore Hospital after returning from Vietnam, and, below, in his Ōpōtiki home.

No one was scared of anything, we were too young for that.


3,890 Kiwis served in the Vietnam war, 37 of them died there and nearly 200 were wounded We touched down about 10 pm and customs searched our kit, which seemed insulting at the time, though I guess some people must have tried to bring back all sorts of ordinance! I mean who’d bring back a bloody Claymore mine!?” “After that we were given a pep talk and told not to wear our uniform, not to talk about where we’d been because of the anti-war movement. It wasn’t that big a deal when we left, but it was very, very strong when we came back. Problem was, we were young, with pay in our pockets and keen to get out and about, but Vietnam veterans walking into a party would just kill it instantly. We weren’t even welcomed at some of the RSAs – they called us mercenaries because we volunteered.” Which is ironic given how many veterans of WWI and WWII also volunteered and for eerily similar reasons – to see the world. It wasn’t until the mid 80s that things began to thaw. “When you’re 20 years old politics doesn’t come into it,” says Gilchrist, “at least it didn’t for us in those days. All the old blokes where I worked said go for it and I did!” It’s a theme echoed by Ruka Hudson. “I don’t think any of us were really aware of the reasons for the war. We joined up for adventure and to go overseas, and I really loved it. I wouldn’t have done anything different despite what happened. It is what it is and you just have to deal with it and get on with life.” After many years as an artist Ruka now gets on with life by

Jim Gilchrist of 161 Battery

spending his time teaching te reo in his hometown of Ōpōtiki; Jim Gilchrist runs a sprawling plant nursery specialising in exotics like orchids. By the time the war in Vietnam had drawn to a close, the anti-war movement had helped create what would become known as the Vietnam Generation; it had also ushered

in a new era of debate about New Zealand’s place in the world, and in many ways that debate still goes on. But while every generation of Kiwis learns of the ANZAC legend and can recite names like Gallipoli, Passchendaele and Monte Casino, how many of us know of Nui Dat or Long Tan? Perhaps it’s time we learnt.

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Shanghai > New York >

Whakatāne’s The Strand. But for a

growing number of businesses willing to think outside the box and outside the main centres, regional New Zealand makes a lot of sense. George Street Linen is one of them.

The Wheelers Service Station staff photo, late 1920s. Whakatāne Museum and Historical society

The building, as a real estate agent would say, needed a little work...

Whakatāne

Square and Shanghai’s The Bund to

WORDS ANDY TAYLOR

I

T’S A MIGHTY LONG WAY from Times

It’s an unlikely combination. Take a kinda down-on-its-luck 1930s petrol station slash auto repair shop and fill it with luxury linens. On the outside it’s all imposing art deco lines in workmanlike grey and white livery, and on the inside it’s bed covers, pillows, robes, and sheets in soft colours with a hint of fragrance in the air. But if it’s an unlikely combination, then George Street Linen in, um, George Street, Whakatāne, is certainly one that seems to be working.

George Street set up shop at the top of Whakatāne’s The Strand three years ago when its mastermind, Greg Davidson, returned from overseas. Greg had worked in the fashion industry in Auckland running his brand Chow Mein for several years and had been a pioneer of inner city living before the hipsters moved in. Making the CBD your home wasn’t easy in those days, and eventually a mounting pile of parking tickets and the frustrations of trying to run a business while a financial downturn was happening drove him to pack his bags.

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“I got really frustrated in Auckland,” Greg says in the cavernous back room of George Street Linen, “and decided I wanted to get as far away from it as possible. When I looked on the map that was New York, so that was where I went. It was virtually impossible to get a job in the fashion industry in those days so by default I got a job in textiles – home textiles. And that started the career that I’m still in.” The parking tickets stayed in the car he left behind in Auckland. And before too long he left New York behind, after being headhunted by Sheridan, the Australian textiles giant, in 1999. “By that time most of the textile mills in America had been closed and production had gone to China, and by 2002 the same thing had happened to the Australian industry.

Greg Davidson of George Street Linen So, being very stupid or very brave, I’m still not sure which, I decided to break out on my own and go to China. It was really like the Wild West, but everything went like clockwork – remarkably! It wasn’t an easy ride, but they were exciting times.” It ran like clockwork for fifteen years, until Greg paid a visit to friend Simon Wolley of Antipodes water (see Plenty 02). With a changing economic and work environment in

China, Greg had been thinking of relocating back to New Zealand, but there was no structured game plan. Sometimes leaving it to serendipity is a plan in itself. “I was staying with Simon out at the Matatā campground and when we were in Whakatāne we saw this fantastic old building,” Greg says referring to what is now George Street Linen’s home. “No one seemed interested in it. It had a great history, it used to be a garage back in the day, and I decided to buy it. And then had to figure out what to do with it! And I thought, I know, I’ll fill it with linen!” P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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T

HE BUILDING, as a real estate agent would say, needed a little work. One hundred years old this year, it had to be strengthened to meet earthquake codes, the old soak pits from its garage days had to be dug out, the floors had to be polished to get rid of decades of oil and grime, and it had to be insulated and lined to make it a workable space for a business dealing in fine linen. So yeah, a little work. Equally daunting was jumping into the retail space. Marketing a very tactile product like linen via the web was never going to be easy, and regional markets are one of George Street’s main ways of meeting their customers. The store can exist in its Whakatāne location because its sales are largely via its online store, and as bricks and mortar retailers feel the pinch of web shopping more and more, this brave new business model is being increasingly seen as the holy grail of retail. Only time will tell if that is true, but one thing is certain; being at the leading – some call it bleeding – edge of anything isn’t easy. “It was nightmarish!” says Greg, half joking half serious. “I had so much experience in production and very little in selling, so it was completely new. Having the ability to produce and sell direct to the customer is great, but it’s not as easy as it seems. In fact I’d say the costs involved in setting up an online store and a bricks and mortar one are pretty similar. You may not have rent of a traditional store but you have all this

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New Zealanders and Australians buy more bed linen per head of capita than anyone else in the world. P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // H A K I H E A 2 0 1 9

other stuff – SEOs, marketing, Google – going on in the background that in my experience cost pretty much the same. I don’t think we’ll ever see the end of physical stores, but I do think the store experience is going to change. You can see that in the way food is becoming more associated with shopping – dining and shopping with products aimed at urban living is the way it’s going to be.” “The one real benefit we have is reach: New Zealanders and Australians buy more bed linen per head of capita than anyone else in the world – no one knows why! – and that’s a market of 30 million people. It’s a market we know really well, so that’s what we’ll be focussing on and trying to capture.” Will that focus mean another relocation, back to the big smoke and bright lights, to be closer to the economic heartbeat of the nation in Auckland? “No. No way. We’re happy here with friendly people and being close to nature. I’ve got a caravan in Matatā now too and I couldn’t imagine being back in Auckland – there are too many traffic lights!” Not to mention parking tickets.


WORDS AND IMAGES MATT MORTIMER

Resident musician inquisitor extraordinaire Matt Mortimer loves nothing more than talking (and dreaming about) a bit of fretboard action and raw vocal chops. We dragged him away from his leather-bound books and obscure film references and sen him in search of some more of the Bay’s best musos. Enter Dan Sharp, formerly of TaupĹ?, now residing near Katikati.

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M

A N Y O F U S have had that school performance where we’re up there and don’t want to be, and we’re sweating or crook as a dog because some teacher thought it would be a great idea to get people ‘involved’. On one such day, when Bay musician Dan Sharp was 16 years old, he made his mark in the lunchtime concert world and unknowingly launched himself into song writing. An accidental beginning to becoming the musician he is today. “I asked my teacher at the time what to play at the concert,” Dan recalls. And the teacher’s reply was about as helpful as you could expect: “Just write something.” Dan actually did, and just as well because it was the start of something good. “It was my first time ever singing in front of anyone. I got a lot of supportive comments afterwards. It could have all ended there and then, but to get that encouragement from people at such a pivotal time kinda set me up to start writing more.” Rewind a few years and writing wasn’t on the radar and music barely registered. It wasn’t until some family friends were leaving for the States and a fresh-faced Dan took a leap. “I was nine at the time and they had a guitar they had to leave behind. I took the opportunity and started learning on it and it just felt right.” And learn he did. With teenage influences being Metallica and Rage Against the Machine, one would expect a certain edge to come into his music – but add in some other favourites, such as John Mayer and Ben Harper, and things start to get interesting. We don’t like to do anything by halves here at Plenty, and quite clearly the proof was to be in the hearing, so a sneaky wee listen was arranged and things snowballed from there with Dan laying down a track at what could possibly become the ‘Plenty Recording Studio’, AKA the editor’s living room.

P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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It was clear from the From the initial warm-up it was outset he wasn’t clear Dan has game. The warm, bright sound of his Martin acoustic just another coupled with his smooth voice made it clear from the outset he wasn’t just another songwriter songwriter having a wee play for some beer having a wee play for some beer money on a Friday.

money on a Friday. An acoustic version of Dan’s song Kindle and Coal, from the EP Slack Tide, was the choice of the day, bringing a rich tone of both voice and guitar that intertwined effortlessly. And as the song reverberated around the living room/recording studio, it got us to thinking about how he gets all of this into some lyrics, off the fretboard and into our ears.

“It’s day-to-day stuff really,” he says. “What happens in your day, when you really look closely, can trigger really interesting ideas. I read a bit of poetry and I often think about people, and why they are the way they are. Or it might be an accidental collision of words that sparks something. When asked about the genre of one of my songs, I replied “It’s like, ‘heavy soul’ music” - and immediately afterwards I starting thinking about those words, and about how some people seem to have a ‘heavy soul’– why is that? It opens up questions. And that inspires me to write something down.” This is kinda cool, this questioning of mood, people and experiences, through music. So, rather than a chord or two here and there and the thought of a chord progression working and then trying to lay some words on top, Dan’s approach is more of a holistic, almost poetic one. It can happen either way in song writing, but it’s obvious that the way Dan goes about it is starting to pay dividends, as proven from the number of great gig’s he’s been getting (with his band of Taupō locals, Dan ended up playing the main stage at Rhythm and Vines 2018/19) and he’ll be playing in Tauranga and Taupō in the new year, so check him out. But back to business; what’s next for Dan Sharp? “I’m really trying to firm up what ‘Dan Sharp’ is,” he says, and it’s clear he’s given this some thought. “I’ve written and performed a lot of songs in a lot of different styles that reflect the variety of the music I love. Now I’m really trying to find my niche, I guess. Over time, my music has changed a lot, and the business around it has certainly changed a lot too. We have Spotify, which anyone can upload to, but you need to be the whole package and have something special to really ‘cut through’. There are so many hats to wear, as well. You’re your own marketer and promoter, as well as the singer/songwriter and roadie. It’s so much more than just playing a show or writing a song.”

Image supplied

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“A lot of people don’t like the direction things like Spotify have taken music in, but I see some pretty positive changes. Before streaming services, the process of getting music out and available to people was a lot longer, slower, required much more of an investment and for most artists, they needed the likes of a record label etc., to even have a chance of getting heard. Today, you could record something on a laptop or a phone and have it online that same day, with a chance of getting heard in a big way. So love it or hate it, the digital era has really freed up what music people can make and/or listen to. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without it.”


For Dan to be making in-roads into the industry is cool, especially with the Bay being a hotbed of talent as far as musicians and singers go. One such local – and pretty much local legend – Liam Ryan of The Narcs and Torch Music, helped record Dan’s first EP near Waihi Beach. Add Wellington-based producer and damn good musician in his own right, Thomas Oliver, as a partner in crime with the newest work, and it’s a winning formula. “I just love writing, performing and recording. As much as I’m openly keen for mainstream success, mostly I want people to connect with my music – to make an impact.”

Image supplied

Now before this gets away on us, we needed to clarify something. Just as my good man Dan seems to be skating a little close to the time-honoured cliché of ‘music is my life’, there is no need to worry as the guy is genuine and isn’t going to break into Stairway to Heaven anytime soon. “My wider goals are to travel and perform around the world, but also to genuinely give back more. I love supporting up-and-comers and working with youth. In Taupō, I helped organise concerts, as well as songwriting/recording workshops and it is a lot of fun. I’m lucky to now have my own little studio setup in Katikati and I work on my own songs there, as well as doing production work for quite a few local musicians. There are some really talented people here and it’s great to be able to work with them.” And given the support he has received from other bands and musicians this really comes as no surprise. Dan Sharp will be playing throughout the Bay in the coming months – see his Facebook page for deets (search “Dan Sharp Music”) – and if you still have the odd urge to listen to CD’s, his are available if you search ‘Dan Sharp’ at Bandcamp. com. Or you can find his Plenty exclusive of Kindle and Coal on our plentyNZ Facebook page.

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2020 molly morpeth canaday award

3D three dimensional artform

exhibition

Open for viewing 16 February - 12 April 2020

public programmes

5.30pm Thursday 13 February Molly Morpeth Canaday Award Guest Judge Ruth Watson will talk on Art and Maps. Venue : The Art House, Arts Society Rooms. 11am Saturday 16 February Gallery talk. Guest Judge Ruth Watson will discuss her views on the 2020 Molly Morpeth Canaday Award 3D exhibition. 11am Saturday 29 February Gallery talk by artist and teacher Sue Whale. Gaining understanding into aspects of the awards exhibition. 11am Saturday 21 March Gallery Talk - The art of looking, Sarah Hudson. A kid-focused interactive tour of contemporary art. 11am Saturday, 4 April Gallery Talk - Deborah Rundle, past major winner 2018 MMCA 3D Award and Pre-selection judge 2020.

location Image from 2018 3D award Art work entry Cyclops by Shanan Philip

te kōputu a te whanga a toi – whakatāne exhibition centre, kakahoroa drive, whakatāne event information www.mollymorpethcanaday.co.nz


THEY’RE JANDALS! “Some people call them flip flops, slides or even thongs, but if that’s you, then shame on you cuz, because all those names are wrong. They’re Jandals.” WORDS ANDY TAYLOR // WITH THANKS TO THE SACAMANO COLLECTION FOR THE ACCOMPANYING GRAPHICS

S

o sang Rhys Darby in his smash hit Jandals, which was heard by literally dozens of people back when it was

released in a pre-YouTube 1996. Darby would go on to greater things – notably helping put us back on the map with that lady from the government and getting well-weird in The X-Files reboot – but for many of us he made his mark by saying it loud and saying it proud in ’96, and then keeping it real in 2016 (when popular demand saw a re-release of Jandals with one of those new fangled videos). Yup, they’re Jandals. They’ve been jandals since 1957 when businessman Morris Yock trademarked the term, reportedly after being inspired by Japanese zori sandals, a cheap and cheerful working-class form of footwear that looks like a jandal made of straw, because it is in fact a jandal made of straw. The Japanese are famous for taking technology, improving on it, and building an industry around that, so when Morris turned that trend right around and replaced the straw with rubber it was a stroke of genius. The campaign to put him on the five-dollar note starts here. We should point out, however, that there is some dispute about all this. The family of John Cowie claim that it was John who introduced the footwear in the late 1940s and that he came up with the name jandal, and stoushes about who owns the bragging rights have erupted on a semi-regular basis.

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We’ll probably never know the full facts, and some stories just take on a life of their own over time, like that bloke we met at the pub in Ngongotaha who reckoned his uncle invented the question mark. But what we do know is that regardless of who first made the ‘Japanese sandal’, its ascent to Kiwi icon status was swift. By the 60s they were ubiquitous and by the 70s de rigueur, with bold new colours like teal, avocado and that shitty orangey-brown and off-white combo entering the market. Generations of Kiwis learnt the art of clenching their toes so that they could run in jandals, and with the development of the Safety Jandal in the early 80s by Lane’s Apparel in Hawkes Bay, the jandal’s place in our history was confirmed. Kiwis everywhere could now ‘throw a jandal’ – which means have a hissy fit – ask if someone could ‘handle the jandal’ – which means not being a total wuss – and ‘give it some jandal’ –

And perhaps nowhere in Aotearoa was the

which means hitting the accelerator (or over-revving

jandal more of an ever-present icon than

any combustion engine for that matter). None of

the Bay of Plenty. From our beaches to

these things had been possible prior to 1957.

our main streets, jandals were acceptable forms of footwear, the perfect compliment to our balmy semi-tropical environment and our total disregard for dress sense. In fact, the humble jandal was so a part of

Kiwis everywhere could now ‘throw a jandal’ – which means have a hissy fit – ask if someone could ‘handle the jandal’ – which means not being a total wuss – and ‘give it some jandal’. None of these things had been possible prior to 1957.

our regional psyche that it appears on the Bay of Plenty flag and it officially resided here for more than two decades. OK, so we made up the bit about the flag, but up until earlier this year the Sandford family of Katikati held the trademark for the jandal name and continued the noble tradition of supplying jandals to the nation. With the passing of a senior member of the Sandford family earlier this year the jandal moniker appeared to be on shaky ground, ripe for a takeover by forces unknown, but fear not New Zealand; Para Rubber, that purveyor of so many Kiwi essentials, has taken up the challenge of carrying the torch for what is arguably this nation’s greatest gift to the modern world besides the Māori strum.

P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

55


A

dmittedly Kiwi’s have always been pioneers: Earnest Rutherford’s ground breaking work in physics helped give us

nuclear power and paved the way for countless Simpson’s episodes, and Kate Shepherd’s tireless campaigning for the right for women to vote means Aotearoa was technically the first real democracy the world had ever seen – and, it seems, the only one to be currently making a decent go of it. But having nothing between your foot and the whenua except a thin slice of oddly coloured rubber is a beautiful thing. It’s liberating. It’s egalitarian. It’s way more ecofriendly than

always banging on about at school, though

your expensive Italian leather sling-backs, and

it may also be a product of the Just Making

come on – it’s the way of our people.

Shit Up on the Internet school of thought.

Remarkably, there is a school of thought that shuns the jandal. For health reasons. Yes,

We think the latter, but then we don’t have a .com website so what do we know.

it’s not your Mum – “You’re not going out to

In regard to just making shit up on the

dinner in those!” or “You can’t go to a funeral

internet, one particular gem of jandalore™

in jandals” – that is raining on the parade, but

that we love is that most jandals that wash

doctors. That’s right, doctors aren’t huge fans,

up on Kiwi beaches - we can’t comment

and podiatrists (foot doctors now that you ask)

on Aussie beaches – are lefties. Yes folks,

are downright hostile. And a quick Google

the theory goes that 70% of wayward,

search shows why, with thehealthy.com website

marooned jandals are off ya proverbial left

listing seven of what they call ‘scary’ reasons

foot and that this is due to the propensity

why jandals are bad for you, m’kay, though they

of Kiwi boaties to launch by pushing off

appear to have spent only marginally more time

with their right leg, then lifting their left up

researching those reasons than we did on our

off the sand – and setting the left jandal

research (which was bugger all).

accidentally free on the tide.

70% of wayward, marooned jandals are off ya proverbial left Among the seven are the entirely plausible, but totally ‘meh’, You Could Get a Splinter and You Could Sprain Your Ankle, to the less obvious You’ll Twist Your Toes and They’ll Stay That Way. That latter one seems to be related to the Don’t Make That Face cos the Wind Will Blow and You’ll Stay That Way theory that someone was

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foot and that this is due to the propensity of Kiwi boaties.


So sleep well freestylers, your favourite footwear is in safe Kiwi hands. They’ll always be jandals; not thongs like our Australian cousins say, not slops as they are known in South Africa, or flip flops as they call them in the US, or even Japonki – which we rather like – as they say in Poland. They’re jandals. Say it out loud this summer. And say it proud.

And by that stage you’re off heading for tight lines and the manky jandal is like, whatever, we’ll get it when we get back. But yeah right you never do. Remarkably, this is in fact a factoid: in 15 surveys carried out on plastic litter collected from Northland west coach beaches between 1974 and 1997, researcher Bruce Hayward identified 21 jandals, eight of which – or 70% were lefties. Bruce, we salute you. And Para Rubber we salute you too. As Stacey Mearns, the director of the company’s NZjandal division says, you ain’t see nothing yet.

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The Pink and White Terraces were a wonder of the world. And

then in one night they vanished forever. Plenty looks back on the Bay

destination that wowed the Victorians and asks if they may yet return.

T

HE PINK TERRACES - Otukapuarangi (Fountain of the Clouded Sky) - and the White Terraces - Te Tarata (The Tattooed Rock) - were, despite their distant loc tion on the shores of Lake Rotomahana, world famous. The grandeur of the White Terraces covered nearly three hectares, tumbling down from a height of 30m fanning to a width of around 240m at the lake edge, and they had first capt ed the imagination of European tourists in 1839. Soon th y were being called the Eighth Natural Wonder of the World, and hardy visitors would endure a long journey to Tauranga before taking the bridle track to the MÄ ori village of ĹŒhinemutu on the shores of Lake Rotorua. From there they took a coach to Te Wairoa, followed by a two-hour journey across Lake Tarawera, and then finally proceeded by foot over the hill to the shores of Lake Rotomahana and the Terraces.

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Charles Blomfield, White Terraces, 1884, Oil on canvas, Te Papa Collections, 1960-0003-2 P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // H A K I H E A 2 0 1 9


THE

Eighth

Wonder Revisited WORDS ANDY TAYLOR

P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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George Valentine (1852–1890), Cold Water Basins, White Terraces, 1885, Whakatāne Museum Research Collection, 2012.15.19

T

HE LIST OF NOTABLES to come and see the wonder included Sir George Grey in 1849, Alfred Duke of Edinburgh in 1869, and the Victorian novelist Antho y Trollope in 1874. Trollope noted the softness of the walls - caused by incomplete crystallis tion of the silica - of the Pink Terrace’s pools, which were used for swimming. “I can imagine nothing more delicious to the bather,” he wrote. “When you strik your chest a ainst i , it is soft to the touch. You press yourself against i , and it is smooth. You lie upon it, and though it is fi m, it gives to you. You plunge against he sides, driving the water over your body, but you do not bruise yourself. I have never heard of other bathing like this in the world.”

it had vanished back into the mist, le ving barely a ripple in its wake and with its crew seemingly oblivious to the world around them. One of the passengers on the tourist bo t, a Mrs Sise of Dunedin, wrote to her son that night of the sighting, and reports appeared in newspapers in the following days. Mrs Sise later recalled the waka as “looking glorious in the mist and the sunlight,” but while its appearance struck we into the Pākehā aboard, it sent shivers through the Māori guides. It appeared so clearly that several of them noted those aboard the waka had their hair plumed with huia feathers; to them it was a waka wairua, a spirit canoe, and a portent of disaste .

Artists ere captivated by the spectacle of the Terraces, producing images both realistic and nhanced that were reproduced around the world, and in 1885 George Valentine, a Scottish photographer who emigrated to New Zealand for health reasons, made an extensive photographic stu y of them. His images were a tour de force of what was still a dgling art form, and they remain the most compl te record of the Terraces to this day.

In Te Wairoa, close to Lake Tarawera, it began as “severe, prolonged and frequent earthquakes.” It was ju 11 days since the sighting of what would become known as the Phantom Canoe, and Ina Hobbs hurriedly dressed her children before joining her father, Charles Haszard, on the verandah of their Te Wairoa house and looked out over the lake. “Should we live a hundred years, we shall never see a sight like this again,” Charles said as they watched a strang glow spread across the sky and an extraordinary electrical display build.

In May 1886, one year after Valentine’s photographic survey, a small boat was being rowed across the calm but misty Lake arawera. In it were the noted guide Sophia Hinerangi, several boatmen, and tourists ho had been to view the Terraces. The day had gone well, and the visitors had been suitably impressed, but as the little charter boat neared the shore that day several of the occupants were startled to see a ery large waka emerge from the mist and lide serenely across the water. It was of a size and type not seen on the lake for generations, and it appeared to be fully manned. Before it could be hailed

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A guest ying with Charles, William Bird, described the awe-inspiring scene clearly: “Lake Tarawera was a copper mirror, refl cting the mountain from base to summit in a lurid glare. Dominating all, hung the great cloud curtain, gloomy and dark above, saff on and orange on its under surface. From the cloud, great balls of flaming ock dropped from time to time descending with a splash into the waters of the lake.” Their awe soon turned to horror as rocks began to rain down around them.


To Mr F W Henderson in Ōpōtiki it began as the sound of distan thunder. He was woken by it well after midnight on the 10th and later recalled lying in bed and hearing “what appeared to be gentle rain . . . falling on the trees near the window. The usual sound of rain running off through the spouting was conspicuous by its absence,” however, “and created surprise in my mind.” It was not rain falling outside Mr Henderson’s window, but ash. At the same time, Mrs Emily Way in Maketū, also woken by the quakes, sent her husband out to secure the water tanks. When he returned covered in ash, she asked him the reason for the flashes in the sk . “If it is White Island,” he replied, “there is sure to be a tidal wave, and we must make or the redoubt.” Mr Way was right in assuming it was an eruption, but it was Tarawera, not Whakaari – White Island – that had rumbled into life. The mountain had been created some 18,000 years previously by volcanic eruptions, and now a new blast had to n a 17km long rift across the top of it, through Lake Rotomahana and into the Waimangu Valley. Three separate craters had exploded, with ash and smoke rising 10km into the air and the sound of the cataclysm being heard in Auckland to the north and in Blenheim in the south. The eruption would last e hours and see an estim ted two billion cubic metres of mud, ash and rock hurled into the air. Fork and ball lightning crashed upwards into the sky as the ash-filled air took on an immense electrical charge, and gale force winds battered buildings

and livestock as he superheated gas fl ws sucked air up into the atmosphere. In Te Wairoa, which bore the brunt of the eruption, a rock weighing more than 20 kilos crashed into Ina Hobbs’ drawing room, and by 3am the walls were bending in from the weight of mud that was building up outside; soon it was six feet deep, and when the house came crashing down it killed most o the family, four of them aged under ten. Her father Charles never did see a sight like it again, for he too died in the collapsed house. In Maketū the next day, Emily Way would hear simply that Te Wairoa “was a thing of the past” Around 150 people died that night in what would go down in histo y as New Zealand’s worst n tural disaste , and the smoke and ash hovering in the air meant that the frantic evacuation and rescue efforts th t began the next day were played out in an eerie half-light. The landscape was so distorted y layers of fallen mud and ash that many people became hopelessly lost. It was metres thick around Tarawera itself, and even in Ōpōtiki Mr Henderson reported it to be nearly fi e centimetres deep and that there was “not much more than twilight all day.” In the weeks and months that followed the eruption, a curious form of disast r tourism developed as people came to see the devast tion first hand, and orge Valentine also returned to photograph the area again and create a defini ive record of the disast r. His new works showed an altogether diff rent beauty in the strang new landscapes, and they would prove invaluable to future generations who tried to piece together just hat had happened that night, but one thing was certain: the Pink and White Terraces were gone.

Pink Terrace pools on the edge of Lake Rotomahana. Albumen print by Burton Bros. Iconographic Collections P L E N T Y . C O . N Z // DECEMBER2 0 1 9

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George Valentine (1852–1890), Te Wairoa, McRae’s Hotel, Sophia’s whare and Terrace Hotel, 1886, Whakatāne Museum, 6174

I

T WAS INITIALLY BELIEVED that the Pink and White Terraces had also vanished, blasted apart by the eruption and gone forever, but more recent research points to a diffe ent sto y, yet one just as murky and contrary as that of the Phantom Canoe.

Where stories of the

TARAWERA ERUPTION

Since 2011 the Terraces have been ‘rediscovered’ at least our times, by a variety of means - including underwater photography, sonar and seismic surveys – and by a variety of specialist , ranging from New Zealand and international insti utes to ambitious amateurs and passionate authors. All share the same premise, supported by diffe ent evidence and interpretations, that the Terraces survived the eruption. Some believe they are under the reformed Lake Rotomahana, some say that they are on dry land but buried beneath mud and ash that has now become bush, and others that the answer is a combination of both, with parts of the Terraces having broken away and slipped into the lake while the majority lies buried under volcanic mud. All theorists - clea ly showing great restraint – conclude with the faint possibility of the Terraces being one day unearthed and resurrected, dug from the mud of one hundred and thirty years and fashioned into a tourist attraction to once again wow the world.

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And remarkably, Te Wairoa – considered “a thing of the past” aft r the eruption – has become just hat. Painstakin ly excavated and now fi tingly known as the Buried Village, it is a moving snapshot of life before the eruption, and it remains to this day an eye-opening monument of a night to remember.


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