Category Archives: Literature and Culture

The Party Is over

The Great Gatsby recognises the essential role of the economy in human experience. Listener: 8 January 2011 Keywords: Business & Finance; Literature and Culture; Political Economy & History; On occasions, Auckland has outbreaks of Great Gatsby parties. This name alludes to the classic F Scott Fitzgerald novel, narrated by Nick Carraway who lives on New…
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Waiting for Roger

We should be so Lucky. Listener: 25 December, 2010. Keywords: Literature and Culture; Political Economy & History; A country road. A tree. Evening. JOHN: Charming spot. Inspiring prospects. Let’s go. BILL: We can’t. JOHN: Why not? BILL: We’re waiting for economic growth. JOHN: (despairingly). Ah! (Pause.) You’re sure it was these policies? BILL: Which? JOHN:…
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Watch out for Weasels

Children’s classic The Wind in the Willows is also a fable for adults. Listener: 9 January, 2010. Keywords: Literature and Culture; Macroeconomics & Money; The “Poop-poop” rang with a brazen shout in their ears, they had a moment’s glimpse of an interior of glittering plate-glass and rich morocco and the magnificent motor-car, immense, breath-snatching, passionate,…
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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: