Category Archives: Literature and Culture

Is There a Place for New Zealand in a Globalising World?

A Spirited Conversation: 7 April 2008.   Keywords: Globalisation & Trade; Literature and Culture; Political Economy & History;   When I began the study which led to my book, Globalisation and the Wealth of Nations, I assumed that ultimately globalisation would destroy nations. I knew that globalisation had created the modern nation-state, which hardly existed…
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Cultivating Auckland

Why Doesn’t Our Biggest City Have A More Thriving Cultural Life?    Listener: 8 September, 2007.    Keywords: Globalisation & Trade; Literature and Culture;    Asked the difference between Auckland and yoghurt, Wellingtonians are likely to say that the culture is alive in yoghurt. Saying that Wellington has more classical music, more professional theatre and,…
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Sound Investment

On Friday, November 17, 2006 the NZSO celebrates Shostakovich’s 100th anniversary in the Wellington Town Hall. Who cares?    Listener: 18 November, 2006.    I love a live symphony orchestra: the electricity of the concert hall sound; my eye identifying key instruments for my untutored ear; those inelegant sawings, bangings and puffings (harpists aside) that…
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Janice Gill: Artist Of the Narrative and the Marginalised


Keywords: Literature and Culture;

The first paintings I saw by Janice Gill were at an exhibition at the Gallerie Legard on Kelburn’s Upland Road. I was particularly taken by one based on her previous opening. It looked from across the street through the gallery window at the guests sipping wine, talking to one another, but not looking at the paintings. The exception is the gallery director – presumably the much-loved Kay Roberts, for you can only see her back – looking at the wall with Gill’s paintings across them. Someone is walking through the door: a friend says it was John Drawbridge, although Janice tells me she did not have anyone specifically in mind. Anyway, let’s say it is a fellow artist, who is looking at the street in front, where one of the bag ladies – a painting of another is a part of the exhibition – walks along the pavement. She is oblivious to the ‘beautiful people’ inside, they oblivious to her, or to the painting about her.

Ethnicity and the Census: Statistics New Zealand Asks ”’whaddarya?”

Listener: 25 February, 2006

Keywords: Literature and Culture; Statistics;

March 7 is Census Day, the day on which Statistics New Zealand (like Foreskin) asks “Whaddarya?” The Census may not cover all the questions you think important, but a good quality Census response makes the surveys that ask such questions cheaper and you are surveyed less often.

Reason for Treason to Be Forgot

A response to a comment by Rosalie Sugrue in Broadsheet: The Newsletter of the Churches’ Agency on Social Issues, December 2005 (Issue 105).

Keywords: Literature and Culture;

In my youth, Guy Fawkes was more explicit on the Fifth of November than today, often with a dummy of the guy being pushed round in a wheelbarrow. We sung jingles like “Please remember/The Fifth of November/With gunpowder treason and plot/I see no reason/Why gunpowder treason/Should ever be forgot’.

On Being Pakeha: Some Thoughts Of a New Zealander

For Kapiti U3A, August 11, 2005

Keywords: Maori; Political Economy & History;

This paper begins with a little about my experience of growing up a Pakeha New Zealander. Although I dont think there is much of interest in me, it is perhaps worth noting that most of us have similarly conventional histories. I will then talk about my relationship with the Maori, and try to draw a few useful conclusions. I will finish with a discussion on nationalism and being a New Zealander, which is the topic I am currently working on in the context of my Marsden Research Grant on globalisation.

Serendipity in Museums

Fulbright New Zealand Quarterly Vol 11, no 1, February 2005, p. 3.

Keywords: Growth & Innovation; Literature and Culture;

A Fullbrighter cannot spend all his or her time reading, writing, attending lectures and formal occasions, and visiting people. My indulgence was to visit the museums and galleries which enrich such cities as Washington and Boston. Entirely for myself you understand, for there was no mention of them in my application to spend time in the US studying its economy in the context of globalisation. (Maybe the visiting is a compensation for childhood deprivation, when they closed the Canterbury Museum for what seemed an eternity.)

Dull, Philistine and Conforming: How Have We Changed over the Years?

Listener: 1 January, 2005.

Keywords: Political Economy & History;

Returning after graduate studies at Oxford and war service in Europe, M K (Michael Kennedy) Joseph thought the New Zealand of the late 1940s and 1950s was dull, philistine and conforming. He famously expressed his reservations in “Secular Litany”, which begins:

Valuation Guidance for Cultural and Heritage Assets

Review of report prepared by the Treasury Accounting Policy Team, for The Treasury (November 2002) prepared for Archefacts.

Keywords: Governance; Literature and Culture;

In 1974, with the construction industry, straining under the demand to catchup on the backlog of housing, was running out of building sites, the government instructed its agencies to identify suitable land they had available, and release them onto the market. The policy failed because it transpired that most had no idea of what land they possessed (or, probably, any other of their government assets).

Different Kinds Of Countries and Cities: The Distances Between Them.

Cultures of the Commonwealth The Urban and the Rural No 9, spring 2003, p.25-35.(1)

Keywords: Globalisation & Trade; Literature and Culture;

Geoffrey Blainey titled his seminal history of Australia The Tyranny of Distance, arguing that

In understanding Australia’s history, the idea of distance may be as revealing as say Frederick Jackson Turner’s ‘frontier theory’ is in probing the history of the United States. Distance – or its enemy, efficient transport – is not simply an explanation for much that happened in Australia’s history. Once the problem of distance is understood it also becomes difficult to accept many of the prevailing interpretations of other events in Australia’s history. Distance itself may not explain why they happened, but it forces a search for new applications.(2)

He could have said the same for New Zealand. For if external distance tyrannised Australia, New Zealand was more distant – even from Australia. (The physical distance from Canberra to Wellington is roughly the same as from London to Moscow.)

A Dissertation on Rare Essays

Presentation to ‘First Loves’, a session at ‘Reader’s and Writer’s Week, 17 March 2002.

Keywords Miscellaneous

Sometime in middle school – between Standard Three and Form Four – my class was read Charles Lamb’s Dissertation on Roast Pork. It may have come from a school journal, because others of my age have a similar memories, whereas commonly those who are a little younger dont know the essay. …