#120: The Global Life of New Zealanders

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Edge Message #120 from Brian Sweeney, producer NZEDGE.COM


SAMOA AND TONGA TSUNAMI RELIEF – Help NZ’s Pacific neighbours by donating to World Vision or Oxfam, both working on site with local organisations, or bid at the Artists for the Tsunami Relief art auction at Webb’s.

Pictured: Sir Howard Morrison, Ohinemutu Maori village in Rotorua, Hayley Westenra, Toast Martinborough, Caitlin Smith


New Zealand headlines in this sampling of global media appearing in Bradenton Herald, WA Today, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Scottish Sun, The Times, The Salt Lake Tribune, Horse & Hound, The Korea Herald, ESPN, Billboard, Courier Mail, Examiner, The Herald, The Independent, Time, Frankie, Earth Times, Northern Territory News, Star Tribune, CNN, Guardian, New York Times, The Independent on Sunday and The Age include:

Sir Howard Morrison, beloved entertainer and man of the people dies, aged 74 – Courier Mail
Rotorua, “the centre of Maori culture” with hangi pits of smoky kumara – Examiner
Hayley Westenra, 22, pips UK glamour mezzo to become Forces Sweetheart – Daily Mail
Toast Martinborough now in 18th year; 10,000 tickets sell in minutes – WA Today
Caitlin Smith, singer, included in 10-day Queenstown JazzFest line-up – All About Jazz
100% Pure campaign tops United Nations international branding survey
David Tua, boxer, 36, K.Os Shane Cameron in “smashing fashion”– ESPN
Ladyhawke, 30, delirious after scooping six Tuis at NZ Music Awards – Billboard
Sir Edmund Hillary still the “greatest living New Zealander” – Earth Times
Sacha Jones, tennis player, 18, earns biggest career win at ITF Darwin – Northern Territory News
Peter Jackson, director, grapples with lofty expectations ? his own – Star Tribune
Margaret Moth, pioneering camerawoman, ‘Fearless’ in CNN documentary
Kerry Fox, actress, ‘Jane’ and ‘Sarah’ in Lantana adaption, London – Guardian
Ben Ruffell, cameraman, to make film about US journo come Alan Scott vintner
Kate Sylvester “the country’s best kept fashion secret” – The New York Times
New Zealand’s island ecology intrigued Hitchhiker’s Douglas Adams – The Independent on Sunday
Bryan Gould, NZ former UK Labour luminary, counsels Party members – Guardian
Robert Fair’s juvenile pranks inspiration behind Beano boy Dennis The Menace – Telegraph
Daniel Vettori, captain of Black Caps; a team “punching above its weight” – The Age
Cliff Curtis, actor, 41, plays daredevil flight medic ‘Rabbit’ in NBC’s TraumaBradenton Herald
Kathryn Wilson, Auckland shoe designer, opens 1919 apartment to Frankie
Glenn Martin, jetpack inventor, auctions flight on eBay; starting bid US$30,000 – Telegraph
Kauri Cliffs, “Pebble Beach but better”; “coolest perk … possum hunting”
Graeme Solloway, trade commissioner, Seoul, promotes technology ties – The Korea Herald
Fashion Week “not an edgy fashion scene so much as on the very edges” – Daily Mail
Stanley Makuwe, nurse and playwright, premieres latest work in Zimbabwe – The Herald
WOW, Wellington, 21st year, “glorious rebellion against the mundane” – Time Magazine



While this website charts the achievements of the nation’s go-getters, we also provide breathing room to those who are dispossessed and socially excluded. Of the 238 nations in the world, New Zealand slots in at #125 in population size, yet in the top quartile (#57) in terms of our (racially skewed) prison population. New meaning to the cliché “punch above our weight.” The eloquent rage of Hawkes Bay’s Denis O’Reilly – protestor, priest, and poet rolled into one – is felt in each of the 35 Nga Kupu Arohacolumns he has written for nzedge.com since September 04. Not much stands in the way of Denis this month – our nation’s thinking (“dominated by talk-back rant, angry invective, intolerance, and sensationalist tabloid journalism”), Whanganui Mayor Michael Laws (”a populist white knight, clad in vitriolic armour”), the triviality of political life (“an appearance by the PM on Letterman’s talkshow is accorded the significance akin to a huge oil find in the Southern Basin”), white collar criminals (“whilst we call these Maori gangs ‘organised criminal groups’ they’re a far call from the really organised criminal groups, particularly those ‘banksters’ in the Pakeha financial sector”), and our “criminal justice industrial complex” (“What we are doing now is dumb. It’s wrong economically. It’s wrong in terms of the human wealth and health of the nation. It’s wrong in terms of social justice, and our international obligations around human rights. It is going to poison our society.”) I met Denis in 1979 at Waikato U, giving stage to his views and voice. In my pol sci studies I became aware of one of New Zealand’s great civil servants, Secretary of Justice John Robson, whose work is archived in the Napier Public Library. Robson was significantly responsible for the abolition of the death penalty in New Zealand, and was the leading voice for restorative justice and prison reform. In many ways Denis is channeling Robson in his advocacy for strong communities and a just society. Den is a radical optimist; his latest column is Breathe Through the Nose (6,500 words).



Jeremy “Newsboy” Wells (Eating Media Lunch, The Unauthorised History of New Zealand) tackles unfamiliar territory in a new TV series Birdland (TVOne Saturdays, 7pm), which has him celebrating New Zealand’s unique bird life and, true to form, it is not your typical wildlife show. Wells freely admits that he’s no expert when it comes to birds and his reasons for undertaking the project are typically atypical. “Sadly every other subject for a television show had been taken. Lush took trains, Hamish Keith stole art and Radar mucked about on a farm. As far as I’m aware birds were the last subject of national importance left to milk,” says Wells. The show takes viewers on an unconventional yet informative journey that soaks up some of our most beautiful scenery, our most glorious birds and some wonderfully eccentric characters of the birding world. During the series, Wells visits the Moa graveyard of Karamea (found only after a eight hour underground caving expedition), meets Woof Woof, the talking Tui of Whangarei, and explores the arcane world of poultry and pigeon breeders at their annual competition. “After six years scratching around insulting minor celebrities on late night television it’s been a revelation to get outdoors and rub shoulders with people passionate about something other than themselves.”


Here are the Top 10 titles for September:

  1. This Is Your Life – Sir Howard Morrison, TV 1989 – Tribute to ‘The Sinatra of New Zealand’
  2. Flare – A Ski Trip, NFU short film 1977 – Funky promotional doco featuring snow ‘ski ballet’
  3. Heavenly Pop Hits – The Flying Nun Story, TV 2002 – Run-down on iconic indie music label
  4. Best of The Billy T James Collection, TV 1992 – Swansong for much-loved comedian
  5. Moa’s Ark, TV series 1990 – Investigation into our unique flora and fauna by David Bellamy
  6. Woolly Valley, TV series 1981 – Low-tech children’s puppet show with rustic charm
  7. Britten – Backyard Visionary, TV 1993 – Homage to maverick DIY motorcycle designer
  8. Open Door – M.E, TV 2008 – Community-based show looking at Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  9. Peter Snell – Athlete, NFU short film 1964 – 800m gold medalist’s lead up to Tokyo
  10. Kaikohe Demolition, feature film 2004 – Florian Habicht’s ‘far out’ Far North demo derby




Top image, Raumati South; above, Wellington’s central cityscape. More pictures at www.paradiseroad.com. Fern symbol via www.nzflag.com.


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