#106: Topp Show

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Edge Message #106 from Brian Sweeney, producer NZEDGE.COM

Pictured above: Dame Silvia Cartwright, Lucy Lawless, Richard Chandler, Ryan Nelsen, Nesian Mystic


New Zealand headlines in this week’s sampling of global media appearing in The Australian, Examiner, Guardian, Times Online, Dexinger, Telegraph, The Capital, CNN, Billboard, Guam Pacific Daily News, Chicago Tribune, The Age, Daily Herald, Telegraph, Bleacher Report, Idaho Statesman, The New York Times, The National, The Phnom Penh Post, China Daily, The Gadsden Times, Arty Daily, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Tribune India, The Independent, The Economic Times and Mindfoodinclude:

• Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc “may well outrank King Bordeaux and Queen Loire”
• Richard Chandler, intrepid global investor, buys stake in Russian bank
• Fonterra’s “Whole” water campaign shot in continuous 650-frame shot
• Silver Fern Farms, Canterbury, stop using sheepdogs say UK’s Tesco
• NZTE woos hundreds of Indian students at education fair in New Delhi
• Unimarket, e-procurement software company, open offices in Maryland
• New Zealanders, nine out of 10, rank Quality of Life good or better
• New Zealand takes sport, lifestyle seriously, less so for politics, religion
• New Zealand the “second Eden” with a “pristine landscape”
• Hobbiton scenery “so beautiful I thought it to be computer generated”
• Nesian Mystik, Auckland R&B group, snaffle MTV Australia Award
• Black Grace dance in Guam and roam NZ with ‘Gathering Clouds’
• Strike, percussion group, play Singapore with “recession-proof” music
• Lucy Lawless cast as Lucretia in Auckland-made slave drama Spartacus
• Dame Silvia Cartwright, judge on KR Tribunal, criticises Cambodian PM
• David Hovey, Chicago-based architect, would build dream home in NZ
• Aaron De Mey, artistic director at Lancôme, inspired by sand at Piha
• Kate Sylvester, fashion designer, has a home, not a “minimalist box”
• One Day Sculpture series features goldfish on flight over Tasman Sea
• Clarke Gayford, presenter, finalist for World’s Top Job on Hamilton Island
• Pangaea Expedition makes stop in South Island en route to Antarctica
• Rebecca Wiig, photographer, finds aesthetic appeal in Sydney’s RSLs
• Helen Clark, gives valedictory speech to House, saying “averse” to Sir
• Hone Mihaka, oral historian, shows reporter around Ruapekapeka pa
• Helen Leach, Otago University, adds new pavlova recipe origins to debate
• Team Hillary takes on Australia, UK, in highest ever cricket match, Nepal
• Ryan Nelsen, footballer, 31, New Zealand’s lifeline to English Premier League
• James Meredith, 19, tennis freshman Boise State, “future blazing”, coach
• Danny Lee, 18, US Golf Amateur champ plays Augusta before turning pro
• Nick Evans, Harlequins fly-half, the new Dan Carter and much appreciated
• Jock Veitch, Wanganui-born journalist and carouser, dies in France, 81
• John Maling, soldier, spy-catcher, founder of Sikh Light Brigade, dies, 94




An ongoing social commentary on the affairs of Aotearoa and the tribe of Nga Mokai.

Napier has seen an awful tragedy unfold, and Den reflects on these events and salutes his local Maori copper Len Snee (picture via NZ Herald). Den argues that it’s time for quiet support and reflection; to give space to the grieving, respect to the dead, and prayers for the injured. Commentary on amendments to the New Zealand Bill of Rights; Labour’s achievement of increasing the prison population by 70%; a reflection on the launch of John Newton’s book Double Rainbowtelling the story of ‘nga mokai’, Jimmy Baxter’s notional tribe and the commune movement that he built at Jerusalem, Hiruharama, on the Whanganui River, not long before his death in 1972 – and some disorientation on Victoria St as Black Power members, on their way to the launch at Unity Books, run into the local constabulary. (1,830 words) Read more.



Between 1981 and 1987 I worked with two extraordinary (and identical) New Zealanders, Lynda and Jools Topp, as their agent and tour producer. It was an exhilarating time. The Topp Twins have created a wonderful career and performance record, and a fan base reaching into the hundreds of thousands, in New Zealand, Australia and soon-to-be everywhere else via their film Untouchable Girls, produced by Arani Cuthbert and directed by Leanne Pooley. The film has had five star, 10/10 reviews and even the magazine they lampooned with the immortal line “push it, shove it, stick it in the Women’s Weekly” said “Heart-warming… It’s a hilarious musical romp… this film will leave you feeling proud to be a New Zealander”. TVNZ said “Brilliant entertainment, everyone will love it, the best Kiwi film in years” and hometown paper The Waikato Times said “How often is a film punctuated by laughs and clapping and ends with an ovation? …it has a deserved 5 star rating. This film is not to be missed.” Jane Vesty and I have supported the production of the film, we are delighted to be associated with it, and hope it is coming to a cinema near you in 2009. The TT’s start a tour – 100 Years of the Topp Twins – in Westport on October 14 and concludes in Auckland on November 7. I booked the first West Coast tour by the Twins in 1986 – the itinerary was Greymouth, Punakaiki, Westport, Karamea and Blackball. Sorry Hokitika. Few other New Zealand artists – Sam Hunt and Rick Bryant principal among them – could span such local geographies. Untouchable Girls is now four weeks in the NZ movie top 10 box office and rising, having just broken the $1 million mark at the New Zealand box office. www.topptwins.co.nz




Keith Park was an extraordinary New Zealander who is attributed with having saved London during the Battle of Britain. A precision airman in WW1, his genius in logistics and preparation was called upon in full during the decisive air battles of 1940. In 2000 nzedge included Keith Park’s story in our “Heroes” page and subset of three Warriors – along with Charles Upham and Nancy Wake, arguably the singularly outstanding man and woman soldiers of WW2. There are many other inspirational warrior stories to read tell – see Patrick Bronte’swww.ngatoa.com for an indepth and eulogistic representation. This week the City of Westminister approved the placement of a statue of Keith Park in Trafalgar Square – on the fourth plinth – for six months until moving to a permanent home in Waterloo Place. This is a great result from an enlightened and determined campaign led by British banker Terry Smith and many distinguished persons from the UK and NZ.www.sirkeithpark.com





LONDON, to June 18: Julian Dashper ‘Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue’. lauregenillard, 2 Hanway Place, London W1T 1HB. Exhibiting with John Nixon. International New Zealand artist Julian Dashper’s work focuses on the histories, theories and more general or popular ideas of abstraction (in particular abstract painting), conceptualism and minimalism as a working methodology. The geographical positioning of New Zealand globally and how his country receives and disseminates visual information is also a core subject in Dashper’s work. His practice manifests itself in various forms, including paintings, unique photographs of paintings, found objects that he infuses with abstract images. For his exhibition, Dashper will show new works based on the legendary pieces of Barnett Newman.



Here are the Top 10 titles for April:

  1. Circuits of Gold, doc 1987 – speedway champion Ivan Mauger
  2. Britten: Backyard Visionary, doc 1993 – DIY inventor John Britten
  3. The Governor, tv series 1977 – historical epic on Governor George Grey
  4. The Living Room, tv series 2003 – ‘worthy’ arts magazine show
  5. Peter Snell – Athlete, doc 1964 –  Gold Medalist 800m runner
  6. Gloss, tv series 1987 – popular “glitter-soap”
  7. Double Booking, tv one-off 1998 – stag and hen night comedy
  8. Billy T Live, tv series 1990 – last hurrah for much loved comedian
  9. Queer Nation, tv series 1996-2004 – ‘out and proud’ lesbian and gay series
  10. Maori Battalion – March to Victory, doc 1990 – 28th’s World War II Campaign


From the sublime to the ridiculous, nzedge.com, shop now stocks Pineapple Lumps – seducing New Zealanders since 1935.




Top picture: Raumati South. Above, Manukau Harbour and Heads. The fern we use in our logo was commissioned by Lloyd Morrison as the symbol of New Zealand for our flag. See www.nzflag.com. A big shout out to you Lloyd from your friends at nzedge.com. Kia kaha. Rock on. From Brian Sweeney, in Boston.



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