Monthly Archives: June 2004

He rawe – Maori Television!

I was feeling pretty dejected about the prospect of the media desert in NZ. In Melbourne I felt pretty spoilt: with three independent radio channels – PBS, 3RRR and 3CR – as well as the national tv channel SBS with its internationalist outlook, and a raft of great documentaries on ABC. By comparison, NZ suffers from pretty lame media. Limited coverage of global issues, few broadcasters with a progressive slant, and much hectoring journalism, even on National Radio.

So it was a big surprise to find that Maori Television provides some very compelling viewing. Switching on to the UHF band was rewarded with Te Reo, local news, historical footage, a distinctly tangata whenua style and some challenging by and for indigenous peoples programmes from around the globe.

I’ve just watched the second episode of the Bush Mechanics, a show by some young(-ish) Aboringinal men living west of Alice Springs. The show demonstrated much spirit: melding an appreciation of European sensibilities, such as the Ford versus Holden contest, with some wildly anti-materialist behaviour. Cars on the verge of utter disintergration where revived by a semi-mythical bush mechanic. The blunt humour and irreverence was pretty subversive.

If you don’t get a chance to see their programme on Wednesdays at 9pm, then check out the Bush Mechanics website which has audio transcripts of lore and culture (including a photo gallery of favourite cars), stunning graphics and the games and tricks are a bit of a laugh.

I don’t watch that much telly, so can’t expand much more on the Maori Television content, but from what I’ve seen so far it might rescue me from utter despair.

140km/h gusts – welcome home!

Greeting me on my return to Wellington are some seriously strong winds. News reports of roofing iron torn off, garage doors pummeled and elderly folk lifted Mary Poppins like into the sky.

It’s an elemental sort of place. Gales, downpours, crashing surf, rocky sea shore…. the people stoic, braving what may come. I must try to adjust.

I think hibernation is the best survival tactic for winter, surfacing occasionally to indulge in some of the city’s treats. At the moment it’s the need to find a home that is my major pre-occupation.

Brooding isn’t quite way of putting it, but I have been pondering on what to write about the end of my Australian sojourn. The fact that nothing comes to mind suggests to me that I’ve got unfinished business on the other side of the Tasman. While I left Melbourne with a sense of regret, I’m pleased to be home too. Friends, family and the familiar landscape and culture.

Occasionally I plan to add to this weblog, maybe set-up a new photo album. Something to ponder.