Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Pegless Society

By popular demand, another perspective on the matter. Some yearn for a Pegless Society.

The Legless Society is to be found at the other end of campus, which may account for the empty pegs at this end. The problems the Empty Pegs cause us.

Tomorrow, April 1st, is Assessment Day. Only a bureaucrat without a sense of irony - or humour - would have scheduled it on April Fool's Day...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Off The Hook

A fixture in a university classroom close to kuaka's current location. Seldom used for their proper purpose - hand & foot holds for student rock wall climbing? - one wonders why the expense? Aside from the occasional professor dangling from a couple of pegs - fortunately, not hanging - it seems there's not much call these days for student coats & bags to be stowed. Perhaps that's a very elementary or primary school notion anyway. At least, I think I've now got it pegged... [groans all round].

Someone was very bored if he had occasion to take this photo...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Zealand Road Safety 1950s Style - Don't Monkey Around...

From a much different time when children actually rode bicycles to school rather than be chauffeured by parents and when bike safety inspections were the order of the day in schools, comes a Monkey Tale (1952) filmed by the National Film Unit for the Ministry of Transport, starring Show Off Charlie.

View here. Courtesy of NZ On Screen.

What an utter Charlie.

Today, with the road safety problem long since resolved, Charlie would be.... well, a boy racer.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Goings On on K' Rd - Karangahape Road, Auckland

Walkshort (1987), a short film (10:25 min), directed by Bill Toepfer, featuring musical comedy duo, The Front Lawn (Harry Sinclair and Don McGlashan) playing all the roles in a range of disguises.

It all turns into some kind of relay race of everyday coincidences...

View here.

One of the many valuable films and videos being preserved and made available on-line by the good folks at NZ On Screen.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rules to Live By...

As with the rest of the migrating godwit flock, Kuaka is now ensconced in the northern hemisphere away from the approaching southern winter. Blown a little further afield than the rest, he has chanced upon the dairyland state of Wisconsin, a keen rival in international dairy trade with New Zealand.

Concerned about the well-being of his fellow creatures, he hopes that the instruction of William D Hoard, farmer, state governor, & publisher of Hoard's Dairyman now in its 124th year, to the hired help is a creed by which New Zealand dairy farmers live by.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Welcome of Strangers

When last night's dinner guest becomes this morning's breakfast...

Frederick Maning, Pakeha Maori, trader, judge, and increasingly reactionary in his advancing years, recalls in Old New Zealand how two runaway sailors, one of whom was most likely Jacky Marmon, another Pakeha Maori, were hosted by a Maori chief in the Hokianga in 1824:

[They] were hospitably entertained one night by a chief, a very particular friend of mine, who, to pay himself for his trouble and outlay, ate one of them the next morning. Remember my good reader, I don't deal in fiction. My friend ate the pakeha, sure enough, and killed him before he ate him, for it was not always done. But then, certainly, the pakeha was a tutua - a nobody, a fellow not worth a spike nail. No one knew him. He had no relations, no goods, no expectations, no anything: what could be made of him? Of what use on earth was he except to eat? And, indeed not much good even for that - they say he was not good meat." Maning, p. 19.

As good as last night's kai paraurehe or junk food...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Oven Is Gaping For You

Kimble Bent, a deserter in 1864 from the British 57th Regiment in the Taranaki who became a captive of Ngati Ruanui, found a new resolve to work harder and do as he was told whenever Maori chiefs would taunt him with: "the oven is gaping for you."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Roasting A Dead Corpse...

Analogous to beating a dead horse...

Rather than bury my response to some comments in the comments section of the post on Getting A Taste For It, I decided to post an entry in response.

Paul Moon is a critic in his book This Horrid Practice of what he sees as the political correctness of contemporary NZ historians and some in Maoridom that seek to ignore or deny Maori cannibalism. I guess Canterbury Heritage's point is that Moon didn't go far enough.

An early blog entry I wrote here assesses Dr. Moon's claim that modern NZ historians have ignored Maori cannibalism. They have not. To which I would only add further evidence to support the claim that Dr. Moon has done nothing but knock down a straw man. Trevor Bentley's Pakeha Maori, for example treats cannibalism extensively in the context of pakeha who lived as maori in the early days of contact. In the earlier post, I noted Michael King in Moriori pulls no punches in recording the brutality of the Te Ati Awa genocide against Moriori on Rekohu/the Chathams and the associated cannibalism. See too my summary here of Anne Salmond's work in The Trial of the Cannibal Dog on cultural conflict over cannibalism on Cook's voyages.

I'm at a bit of a loss in trying to understand Canterbury Heritage's comment that Dr. Moon suffers from Imposters Syndrome. Perhaps I'm too slow to pick up the joke. Dr. Moon hardly seems one troubled by insufficient self-confidence. I would simply drop the word "syndrome" from the appellation.

If anything Dr Moon seems to suffer from a persecution complex, overreacting equally to both ill-informed and learned criticisms of his scholarship or lack thereof. It is OTT, as the young people say or rather text, to equate, as Dr. Moon does in a New Zealand Herald August 2008 interview, the critical response to his work with the Nazi book burning of the 1930s. Such hyperbole I would expect more from shock-jocks who need to fuel controversy in order to do the next round of talk shows, TV appearances etc to flog a few more copies of their book. The US is replete with such examples. Perhaps the lesson has been successfully transmitted to academic-lite institutions in New Zealand, I cannot judge.

As for Dr. Moon's claim that the New Zealand academy is academic-lite, in the Herald interview he confuses academic freedom with freedom of speech in his admiration for US protection of speech, conflating the two as somehow protected absolutely by the US constitution. New Zealand, apparently, has "no such absolute security of freedom of speech". Well, there is news for Dr. Moon: the US constitution does not provide "absolute" freedom of speech, moreover, freedom of speech only applies to the relationship between the state and the individual, private actors may - and do, all the time - restrict the exercise of speech. My private employer, for example, may restrict what I say on work time. A publisher can decline to publish my work because she does not like what I have to say. Academic freedom is a loose concept applicable only somewhat in the academy and not much beyond it. Certainly it receives no constitutional protection unless in some way the state is involved in suppressing the act of academic speech.

But there are those of us who saw the Bud-lite nature of much of the New Zealand academy a few decades back and who departed for the "home of the brave, land of the free", etc. etc. to enjoy greater academic freedom and free speech. But I'm sure the research I completed and published in 1994-96 analyzing the inherent instability of the financial derivatives markets and the consequential likelihood of an global economic collapse absent an international lender of last resort would have equally fallen on (ideologically) deaf ears in the "free market of ideas" whether it was published in the US or New Zealand.

Yes, dear readers, kuaka is an imposter: no small, trans-Pacific migratory bird at all, but a mere academic. But, do not worry for me, for I do not struggle to accept my dizzying professional success - for there has not been much of it! And, mercifully, there is so much more to life than being a mere academic.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Little Billee - Thackeray on Cannibalism

Little Billee
by William Makepeace Thackeray

There were three sailors of Bristol city
Who took a boat and went to sea.
But first with beef and captain's biscuits
And pickled pork they loaded she.

There was gorging Jack and guzzling Jimmy,
And the youngest he was little Billee.
Now when they got so far as the Equator
They'd nothing left but one split pea.

Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
"I am extremely hungaree."
To gorging Jack says guzzling Jimmy,
"We've nothing left, us must eat we."

Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
"With one another, we shouldn't agree!
There's little Bill, he's young and tender,
We're old and tough, so let's eat he."

"Oh! Billy, we're going to kill and eat you,
So undo the button of your chemie."
When Bill received this information
He used his pocket-handkerchie.

"First let me say my catechism,
Which my poor mammy taught to me."
"Make haste, make haste," says guzzling Jimmy
While Jack pulled out his snickersnee.

So Billy went up to the main-topgallant mast,
And down he fell on his bended knee.
He scarce had come to the Twelfth Commandment
When up he jumps, "There's land I see.

"Jerusalem and Madagascar,
And North and South Amerikee:
There's the British flag a-riding at anchor,
With Admiral Napier, K.C.B."

So when they got aboard of the Admiral's
He hanged fat Jack and flogged Jimmee;
But as for little Bill, he made him
The Captain of a Seventy-three.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Getting A Taste For It: The Maori Gourmet's Approach to Cannibalism

It is well known that Maori practised cannibalism in both the pre-colonial and early colonial periods and that this was not just confined to Maori eating Maori. In the late 1890s, the historian R. A. A.Sherrin estimated that some one hundred pakeha (Europeans) were devoured between 1774 and 1804 with the number doubling between 1809 and 1840 with the greater availability of the food on offer.

Generally, the imported product turned out to be less appealing to the cultivated Maori palate than the local, tangata whenua version.

This was no doubt informed in part by the better physiological condition of the domestic variety. Captain James Cook had remarked in his journal that Maori were generally in better health and condition than their pakeha counterparts: they were taller, had better muscle tone, and were much less afflicted by diseases that had ravaged European populations such as smallpox and measles - that was yet to come.

Diet and healthy exercise would have contributed to this superior condition: fresh or well-preserved kai moana (sea food), kumara, greens, and the bounty of the forest in the form of birds, bats, and rats, with a touch of kauru to sweeten things up, rounded out the Maori diet. In comparison, Cook's pakeha sailors and the sealers, whalers, and runaway convicts that followed were fed a diet of salted pork and worm-infested ship's biscuit that was hardly the stuff on which pedigree stock are raised. It can have given no pleasure to the Maori gourmand to see his scurvy-ridden, vitamin C deficient, meal on-the-hoof. It was hardly sufficient to whet the appetite.

As to taste, Maori gourmands informed early visitors to New Zealand that they did not care for the saltiness of European flesh. That of "Negroes" tasted too much of tobacco. Perhaps too, overall conditioning was lacking in the pakeha product, reflecting their generally poor physical state which would have affected overall tenderness of the meat.

Given the generally disappointing condition of the imported product, many a pakeha who came into Maori hands dodged the knife and fork - or being picked up in the fingers.

Nevertheless, Edward Markham of Hokianga counseled as late as 1834 that:

"They say the Meat of a Mans leg and Thighs well boned, washed, and rolled is very delicious but Sailors the Gourmands pronounce to be too tough and Salt, and not so good as Mouries but still are eatable with a good appetite as Sauce and well done Potatoes."

Fortunately for the Maori gourmand, an abundant domestic supply of human flesh came onto the market in the early 1820s. Primed by a vigourous trade in muskets with pakehas paid for in potatoes, pork, and preserved moko mai - tattooed heads - an enterprising Maori entrepreneurial spirit tapped into a value-added, premium export market based on other people's meat. Inter-tribal war on a previously unheard of mass disassembly scale, in addition to settling old political scores, provided a steady supply of taurekareka - captives or slaves - to feed the booming export sector. Some taurekareka were eaten by their Maori captors while others of a higher export grade, in a selfless act of delayed gratification by their enslavers, were held for facial tattooing before beheading for the moko mai trade, yielding meat as a valuable protein by-product for local consumption.

Citation for Markham quote and numbers of pakeha devoured:

Trevor Bentley, Pakeha Maori, (Penguin Books NZ, 2 ed, 2007), p. 59.

Legal notice: As of 2009, and to the best of our knowledge, cannibalism is illegal in most jurisdictions and persons should not engage in the practice under almost any circumstances (unless stranded for months at sea or by plane crash in the Andes). A healthy historical interest in cannibalism is permissible in some jurisdictions where freedom of inquiry and speech are still protected.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Christchurch Past & Present #16 - Motorbus on High Street

High Street, Christchurch, NZ. circa 1908. postcard.

More past than present, a view of High Street looking northwest towards "the bottleneck" in the distance, the intersection of Colombo, High, and Hereford streets, just south of the Square. Cashel street runs across the foot of this postcard circa 1908.

The correspondent helpfully names significant features of the view, including the motor bus. In most early twentieth century views of Christchurch, trams feature prominently.

Perhaps the bus was an early experiment that was found wanting when it came to mass transit so the electric tram prevailed until their departure in the 1950s. The tram, of course, made a re-appearance in the central city as a tourist gimmick in recent decades and part of the Cashel street mall is currently being ripped up to extend the overpriced ride round the few central city blocks it traverses.

For a present day view of the scene pop over to Canterbury Heritage where the two views are presented together. Thanks to Canty Heritage for putting up a current view; I've only a recent view 90 degrees to the left down Cashel St.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Perretts Corner, Wellington, 2009

Perretts Corner Cafe on the site of Perrett's Chemist shop,
corner of Manners & Willis Street.
All photos this page: copyright, Kuaka, 2009.
And so to Perrett's Corner, 2009.

Perrett's Corner - straight ahead.
The intersection has been transformed over the nearly 170 years since European paintings and photography began recording its image but it would still be recognizable to earlier Wellingtonians. They might well feel somewhat claustrophobic (of the outdoor variety) because of the vertical height to later buildings and the increase in both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The glass mirror facades might also be off-putting. At least some of the earlier images may have a wide-angle effect to them giving a false impression of spaciousness.

Perrett's Corner, 2009
Pollen House is to the immediate left of the photographer, off camera. Across Willis Street likes Dukes Arcade on the site of the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel. Perrett's corner lies diagonally across the intersection from the camera position while the Hotel St George, now a residence hall of Victoria University, is at the right edge of the photo.

Perrett's Corner, looking up Manners St
with Willis Street running across the picture left to right, 2009

And so ends - or does it - this extended photo essay of one of Wellington's most well-known corners.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Duke of Edinburgh Hotel - Last Call - Perrett's Corner - Wellington - 1975

Duke of Edinburgh Hotel, corner of Willis and Manners Streets, 18 March 1975. The Roxy Theatre's arch entrance can be seen to the right of the Duke. Perrett's corner is offstage right across the street. Photo is taken with Hotel St George immediately to photographer's back.
Dominion Post collection, Alexander Turnbull Library

Last call for the Duke of Edingburgh hotel came in 1973 when it served its last round having provided beverages to Wellingtonians for over a century.

In 1975 when these pictures were taken, the building's days were numbered and it was replaced by a low rise, two storey shopping arcade of small retail stores. The name lingers on in part in the arcade's present name: Duke's Arcade.

Duke of Edinburgh Hotel, corner of Willis and Manners Streets, 9 July 1975
Dominion Post collection, Alexander Turnbull Library

Like rock group Splitz Enz - a handbill plastered over a Duke's window - the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel is no more. Perhaps these passerbys remember a time when they had a drink in the Edinburgh or, perhaps, they yearn for yet another shopping arcade.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Perrett's Corner, Wellington - 1960s

Perrett's Corner looking down Manners St, 4 October 1966
Dominion Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library

Traffic is not yet controlled by lights at Perrett's corner in this 1966 view, zebra crossings performing the task of getting pedestrians organised and slowing motorised transport.

The by now familiar electric trolley bus turns from Willis into Manners Street heading in an easterly direction. Perrett's is on the extreme far right of the intersection. The Duke of Edinburgh hotel with less than 7 years to go before "last round" is on the far left corner, the neon sign of the Roxy Theatre just past that (see previous post on the Roxy - successor to the Britannia).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pollen House Moves Down The Hill - Perrett's Corner Wellington

Pollen House at the corner of Willis and Boulcott Streets.
Immediately behind the photographer lies Perrett's corner.
Wellington City Council Heritage site

Built in 1902, the Pollen House served as both home and surgery for Dr Henry Pollen a medical practitioner until his death in 1918.

Designed by architect Thomas Turnbull in a revivalist style, the Wellington City Council Heritage site describes the house as being:

"in a French Second Empire style which includes French Renaissance and Post-Renaissance decorative motifs, as well as elements of High Victorian Gothic. The building has no real equivalent in the Capital and the overall design is exceptional in its originality. The house is three stories high, with double-bay windows carried through two floors.... The Mansard roof, with a projecting turret, is another outstanding feature of the building, along with balconies on two levels."

"Stylistic links to Antrim House (1905) at 63 Boulcott Street are clear. Both were designed by Thomas Turnbull in the grand manner, employing French Renaissance motifs, turrets and Mansard roofs, and the imitation of stone elements in timber."

Originally located on a small triangular patch of land a few doors up the hill on Boulcott Street, in 1988 the house was moved down to the Willis Street - Boulcott Street corner, site of Victor Brownson's jewellry store in the 1930s, as part of the Majectic Tower Centre redevelopment. (See previous post for views of the construction site). While internal walls have been removed or relocated and other substantial internal alterations have been made, the dining room and 'best' bedroom remain relatively intact as spaces.

Today Pollen House serves as the premises for The General Practitioner, a restaurant and wine bar, with a street front patio which was populated with a lively lunchtime crowd when visited in January 2009.

Monday, March 9, 2009

After the Wrecking Ball Has Taken Its Toll - Majestic Theatre & Cabaret, Willis Street, Wellington 1988

Photo: William West. Circa 19 July 1988.
Dominion-Post collection, Alexander Turnbull Library

Gone But Not Forgotten - the Majestic Theatre and Cabaret have been leveled without a trace. The Hotel St George stands in the left background, surveying a wasteland while the beleaguered Pollen House stands alone behind the crane minus its arm.

Photo: John Nicholson. circa 3 August 1988.
Dominion-Post collection, Alexander Turnbull Library

Construction begins on the Majestic Centre complex, replacement to the art deco Majestic Theatre and Cabaret, Perrett's Corner is immediately behind the pile driver, the Hotel St George across the street to right, the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel on left corner has gone - demolished to make way for a low rise retail walk-through, while the Pollen House awaits its move.

Bearing the name only, the Majestic Centre, a $200 million office tower block, arises out of "the ashes". At 116 metres, it is currently Wellington's tallest building. At least the Preston building's facade (est. built 1910) is preserved. A small "at least".

The Majestic Centre. Photo taken 29 January 1991
Dominion-Post collection. Alexander Turnbull Library.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Laurie Paddi Dance Band Majestic Cabaret Wellington WWII

The Laurie Paddi band, at the Majestic Cabaret,
probably playing at a dance for US servicemen, circa 1942-45.
Laurie Paddi is in the dark suit.

Photographer unknown. Alexander Turnbull Library.

The Laurie Paddi band provided the dance music at the Majestic Cabaret during World War Two. After the war, dances, fashion parades, and other events kept the Cabaret busy. Along with the Majesitic Theatre, the Cabaret fell to the wrecker's ball in June 1987.

Bob Barcham, a well-known Wellington "session musician" in the decades after WWII, reflecting on Laurie Paddi's role as a mentor observes:

"Another mentor was an ex muso I worked with at Beggs. He was Laurie Paddi, who had been a very popular band-leader at the Majestic Cabaret during the war. He advised me not to be too 'clever' - don't try to 'educate' the public, indeed, play what the public wants and you will always be in demand. He was 100% correct. Dear old Laurie."

More on the history of New Zealand musicians whose stories might otherwise be lost at Andy Shackleton's Memories of New Zealand Musicians web site.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Majestic Cabaret Willis Street Wellington

US Sailors and their dance partners, Majestic Cabaret, circa 1942
Alexander Turnbull Library

The Majestic Cabaret was located in the Majestic Theatre building on Willis Street, Wellington. During World War Two it was the site for many dances entertaining US troops stationed in New Zealand to shore up defences while New Zealand's own forces were deployed in the Middle East campaign.

While neither were technically on the Manners St - Willis St corner known as Perrett's Corner, the Majestic Theatre and Cabaret were within spitting distance and no doubt more than one kiss goodnight was exchanged at the corner after a dance and before a mad dash for the last tram home...

[Apologies for the poor taste mixed metaphors combining "spitting" and "kiss" in the same sentence. Hardly a romantic flourish on my part.]

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Majestic Theatre Willis Street Wellington #2

Families wait for the curtain to rise on a screening of the film, Finian's Rainbow, at the Majestic Theatre on Willis Street on 7 December 1968.

Pass the Jaffas...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Majestic Theatre Willis Street Wellington #1

The Majestic Theatre and Cabaret located at 100 Willis Street, just a few doors north of Perrett's corner, was opened in 1930 for movies, dancing, and other public events such as fashion parades. Its art deco style complemented that of the Hotel St George at Perrett's intersection.

The spacious interior of the theatre with its simple lines and curves and tiled walls proved a popular place for generations of Wellington movie goers and audiences seeking live entertainment.

Photo: Greg King. The Dominion Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library

Sadly, the Majestic was deemed an earthquake risk in 1983 and both theatre and cabaret were demolished in 1987. It was replaced on the site by a mildly interesting 29 storey office tower, the Majestic Centre in the early 1990s.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Zealand's First Clock - Manners Street, 1867

Freeman's Clockmaking store, 16 Manners Street, Wellington, chromolitho. circa 1895, with the first clock made in New Zealand.

New Zealand's first clock was manufactured on Manners Street, Wellington, and hung from the store frontage of a clock & watchmaker for many decades until 1935. The clock was made by Charles Campbell in 1867. The iron work for the clock was done by a Manners Street foundry.

The clock is shown on the store frontage of H J Freeman, in the chromolithographic print of 1895, located at 16 Manners Street. The street number seems to conflict with another source that suggests it was at 13 Manners Street. When the building was demolished in 1935, the clock was removed.

Does anyone know what happened to the clock?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Perrett's Corner Manners Street Wellington circa 1930s

Perrett's Intersection looking east from Boulcott Street
Alexander Turnbull Library

This view of Perrett's Corner intersection sees the Hotel St George completed so dates the picture to 1931 or after, with the Duke of Edinburgh hotel on the far left corner. A Hygenic Towel Supply truck is parked near Victor Brownson's jewellry and watch store on the near left corner of Willis and Boulcott streets.

In the enlarged image (click on image) can be seen a clock on a store front down Manners Street, admittedly a difficult item to spy - look at the lefthand tram then up a bit to left of it. Located at 13 Manners Street, the clock was the first made in New Zealand. It is the subject of a separate blog entry.

Probably taken from an elevated position in the Albert Hotel, in the year of its demolition, 1929, to make way for the Hotel St George, the photo below shows Willis Street looking north from Perrett's intersection. The Majestic Theatre is under construction - see top left corner - and would be completed in 1930. The St George was designed to complement the Majestic Theatre's art deco style. Brownson's jewellers and watch store is the left foreground occupying the corner of the American Dental Co of the early 1900s and which will become the site of the relocated Henry Pollen House in 1988.

Willis Street, 1929, from Perrett's Corner intersection
Alexander Turnbull Library

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mr Drewett Wins A Wager, Hotel St George Wellington 1950

Mr Drewett (right) and an unidentified man celebrate his win payable in a bullock's worth of beef.
Evening Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library.

In the curiosity file is Mr Drewett's wager of 1950. The manager of the Hotel St George won a wager in July 1950 and the Evening Post newspaper sent along a reporter and photographer on 19 July to capture the "news" in the form of the wager's payout - a bullock's worth of meat.

"Careful with that axe, Eugene", with apologies to Pink Floyd. OK, I know it's a meat cleaver.
Evening Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library.

Unfortunately, the notes accompanying these photos do not reveal the nature of the wager Mr Drewett won but he is clearly delighted with the outcome.

This photo is captioned as Mr Drewett carrying his winnings through the main entrance of the St George.
Evening Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library.