‘no corruption here’ retorts the mayor to petitioners

by Geoffrey Churchman

Yesterday’s council meeting began (after the formalities) with the presentation of the petition against closure of the Waikanae Recycling Facility this coming Sunday — a total of 1,122 people signed this, which from what we can tell, makes it the most supported Waikanae petition to the council to date.

Petition organiser Michelle Lewis spoke first, followed by Edwina Allen and Marie O’Sullivan. I wasn’t in the audience, but watched the live-stream and spoke to one informed person later. Even with the fuzzy picture you get on the live stream it was apparent that the present mayor and the council boss Mr Maxwell were extremely uncomfortable and both responded aggressively to comments that were made. This only made clear that the two are in cahoots, with Mr Maxwell telling the mayor what to say. When Michelle Lewis started mentioning the three resolutions that were passed unanimously by the public meeting in Waikanae, after the first — “This meeting calls upon CE Mr W Maxwell to resign” — the mayor said angrily: “don’t go there.”

After one of the speakers had stated the widely-held belief about what the real reason for the closure was — a secret MOU for sale to Summerset of the driveway so it can be extended for construction traffic into the development, and there had been horsetrading — the present mayor again angrily retorted that this was an accusation of corruption on the part of the top council people and “that is defamatory”.

The big problem for the mayor and his puppet master, however, is that none of the reasons given by the pair (and deputy mayor Cr Holborow) for the closure make any sense — see the previous lengthy posts analysing these explanations.

Actually, selling the driveway to Summerset does make sense, and Ferndale people have said this, so why these denials? The main thing for Waikanae people is that the Recycling Facility stays, although not necessarily in the same place. Summerset have bought the property at 28 Park Avenue — that could be an alternative location, as the space required isn’t great.

But Mr Maxwell doubled down. “We will not allow the use of the this [driveway] for construction traffic into the Summerset development” he declared. In fact, being a Reserve, a change to the district plan to allow it would be needed, but that’s not difficult. And then, astonishingly, he claimed it could not be used from an engineering viewpoint because it was a former tip site.

The latter statement is simply nonsense: there are examples in the Wellington region where roads have been built over former tip sites. One I am very familiar with is Wilton Road which was realigned to go over part of the tip in 1969 in conjunction with the construction of the Marist Brothers School on part of the existing alignment of the road that year. The rest of the tip site is now Ian Galloway Park. A chunk of Porirua East was built over a former tip site.

As a measure to fob off the objectors, Mr Maxwell said that staff would be instructed to produce a report on the general recycling issue in Kapiti to address the concerns. Hmm.

Paul Thompson brings ‘obsession’ for books as an art form to Mahara Gallery

by Kevin Ramshaw

Writing books about a wide range of art-related subjects got Waikanae writer, photographer and poet Paul Thompson thinking about books as an art form in their own right.

A result of that thinking is Asemica, artist’s books, an exhibition of 12 books, all with identical covers but individual and different content, in newSPACE at Mahara Gallery.

“I am excited and stimulated by the idea and importance of the book as an artistic entity in itself and I’m driven by a creative response to express that fascination,” he says.

“I’ve produced many well-designed and interesting standard trade books on a wide range of art-related subjects.  Extending this experience and interest into artist’s books was a natural progression.”

Paul Thompson said it was his last commercial book, Shards of Silver about the connection between photography and poetry, that got him started.

With his existing interest in graphic design, materials and books, the field and the possibilities of the artist’s book proved irresistible. He began creating artist’s books both by himself and in collaboration with Wai-te-ata Press.

Artist’s books can range from finely crafted works with exquisite materials to compilations of collaged pages run through a photocopier and stapled. 

“They are similar to abstract art in that they are not about anything,” he says. “The viewer constructs their own meanings. 

“In the case of Asemica, the starting points are the ideas of language, writing and books themselves. ‘Asemic writing’ thus means writing that doesn’t make conventional sense – like music, it is indecipherable.

“Some may describe my interest in Artist’s books as an obsession. I see myself as a creative bibliophile or perhaps a biblio-artist exploring the tremendous range of possibilities the field of the artist’s book opens.”

Paul Thompson’s artist’s books have been exhibited both in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas and been a finalist in the prestigious Australian Manly Artist’s Book Awards. His books are held in several collections overseas. 

The exhibition can be viewed at Mahara Gallery from 27 July until 18 September, 2021, alongside Dr Rangihīroa Panoho, ĀTĀROA, ‘the long shadow’ of the New Zealand Land Wars, before the gallery moves off-site for a multi-million dollar building upgrade.

N.B.: There is an Artist’s Workshop with Paul Thompson, Saturday 28 August, 12:30–3:30pm. Limited to 8 participants. To book, email info@maharagallery.org.nz


A passion for books is shared by our editorial group. Mahara Gallery say this is “one of the final duo of exhibitions at Mahara Gallery before we move off-site to allow building redevelopment — exciting times!” —Eds

news from the Mahara Gallery

(media release)

Dr Rangihīroa Panoho with his work, ALOHA series, 2012–2021, in Mahara Gallery July 2021 (photo by Kevin Ramshaw)

Writer, curator and artist Dr Rangihīroa Panoho delivers a reminder in his ĀTĀROA exhibition, which has opened at Mahara Gallery, that the passage of time has not shortened the shadow cast by Ngā Pakanga Whenua o Mua the New Zealand Land Wars.

ĀTĀROA, ‘the long shadow’ of the New Zealand Land Wars is a mixture of paintings, photographs and poetry. As well as being a reminder of the lasting effects of the Wars, it pays tribute to ngā toa, the Māori warriors, who died as a result of the conflict.

The New Zealand Land Wars began in Wairau in 1843, spread North in 1845, to the Wellington region in 1846 and later to Taranaki, Tāmaki, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and other regions in the 1860s.

“They have a far more powerful presence and legacy in Aotearoa than is widely understood today,” says Panoho. “These events and the values that drove the conflicts continue to cast a shadow across contemporary Aotearoa.

“Te Rangihaeata’s pā at Pāuatahanui is a only a short distance south of the Mahara Gallery. The shadow of the events captured in this exhibition is then not simply an historical reference, but rather a contemporary presence.

“In 2021 the New Zealand Land Wars teach us that there is a continuing need for aroha as Māori and tauiwi make efforts to acknowledge one another and to avoid the darker, more tangible presence of Ātāroa returning.”

Dr Panoho says the paintings and photos are used to suggest the values and ideals that ngā toa fought for in their efforts to maintain their mana whenua and their authority over their tribal lands.

“The photographs are largely factual records of battle sites in the Northern Wars, but perhaps not the ones conventionally taken. The land itself and the natural environment is actually the strongest witness to these conflicts. 

“On that tilted, elevated site at Ruapekapeka (1845–1846) one can still actively imagine the scene in the remains of the earth fortifications and in the pūriri forest and native bush that surrounds the site.

“I have returned many times to Ōhaeawai, Ruapekapeka and more recently Ōtuihu, Bay of Islands, to photograph, wānanga and research. I am not looking for plaques or monuments; I am searching for other more intangible reminders.”

Dr Rangihīroa Panoho is affiliated with Ngāti Manu, Te Parawhau and Te Uriroroi hapū of Te Tai Tokerau. He has connections of descent from both leaders of resistance and of invasion. 

He has a background teaching and curating Māori/Pacific shows in the Whanganui/Wellington region and is the author of the influential Māori Art History, Architecture, Landscape and Theory (Bateman, 2017).

The motivation for ĀTĀROA came in 2020 when he completed a mōteatea and an essay for the photographer Bruce Connew’s book A Vocabulary recording text from Ngā Pakanga Whenua o Mua monuments. 

A key outcome was the sense that the writing wasn’t enough to honour the fallen. 

“I was moved by their stand and their sacrifices against overwhelming odds and I wanted to recognise that voice in my small creative contribution. The support of my hapū, the Mahara Gallery and Creative New Zealand has been central in helping to realise this vision.” 

“ĀTĀROA presents a richly informed and passionate response by Panoho to a critical time and events in our history that remain vital to gain a fuller understanding for our future,” says Mahara Gallery Director Janet Bayly.

She says Dr Panoho’s work, and that of writer, photographer and poet Paul Thompson, will be the last to be exhibited in the Gallery before it moves off-site in September for a multi-million dollar building redevelopment.

ĀTĀROA, ‘the long shadow’ of the New Zealand Land Wars in mainSPACE and Asemica, artist’s books, in NewSPACE are scheduled to show until 18 September, 2021.

A floor-talk with Dr Panoho will take place Saturday 21 August from 2:30pm.

Free entry. All welcome.

the Mahara Hotel circa 1925

Lord Kitchener (1850-1916; KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC) himself was a patron! This must have been circa 1910 when he went on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. Probably he took the train in a regal carriage — in those days it would have been more comfortable than a road trip — and when staying in the town perhaps he took a walk around it. He may have done this with Lord Plunket who was Governor of New Zealand from 1904 to 1910.

A short history was in the Kapiti News in 2016:

“The name Mahara, meaning remembrance, was chosen, possibly out of respect for victims of the Boer War, and was located on the main highway.

“Mahara House was built in 1902 by A.A. Brown for Hemi Matenga Waipunahau, brother of the paramount Chief Wi Parata Te Kakakura of the Ngati Awa and Ngati Toa.”

Read the rest

armchair travel: driving tour of Bel Air, Los Angeles

Bel Air is the wealthiest suburban area of Los Angeles with a median income of $207,938 (about $NZ 297,000 although that doesn’t seem to go far: the typical value of homes in Bel Air is about $4 million or $NZ 6.4 million; “the median two-bedroom rent is $US 5,500 per month and income of $US 220,000 is required: (“the 40x rule is the rule of thumb for most landlords in pretty much every major city. This says that the household income must be at least 40 times the monthly rent”); elevation is about 600 ft (183 metres) above sea level; the population is about 8,700 — more facts