In Aotearoa New Zealand in the 1980s there were three men who changed part of our cultural landscape.
Hirini Melbourne, Brian Flintoff and Richard Nunns.
It’s important to remember that while Britain suffered the loss of coal mines and the horrors of Maggie Thatcher that in New Zealand there was a flush of inspiration, identity seeking and cultural uplift. For example Fingers Gallery in Auckland showed the way for jewellers to be proud of their Pacific heritage and Te Maori took both NZ and the world by storm. People like these three men and many others celebrated New Zealand and in particular Maori culture. Before the sesquicentennial NZ was alive! Vibrant! Questioning! It was an exciting and stumulating place to be.
Last evening I went to an event that celebrated the life (he’s still alive) of Richard Nunns. I remember attending the last concert Hirini Melbourne participated in, in Hamilton before he died. Significant and poignant.
Last evening’s event was less poignant and more celebratory. Highlights for me were Ariana Tikao, Glenn Calhoun and the Te Papa Crew singing waiata and playing nga taonga puoro. There were performances by Mike Nock and an amazing ‘free jazz” soloist while Moana Jackson/Maniopoto MCd.
It was good to sit in the marae, see these (now) old fellas Richard and Brian and remember Hirini.