"Lit a fire, and was grateful for its warmth and company" - Samuel Butler
Paul Maunder film-maker and director was our native guide during our time in Blackball. In 1908 Pat Hickey was fired by his Manager when he refused to finish his pie after a lunch break of only 15 mins. Lucky for him and his 6 supporters who were also fired, the rest of the miners went on strike in support. After three months of collective resistance from the miners and their families the company gave in. This kind of radical resistance can still be seen in Blackball, although judging by the signs on people's fences, it swings to both the right and left.
Paul founded the Blackball Museum, took us through Blackwater to the historic Waiuta mining town, and introduced us to the members of his Drama Group in Greymouth and Runanga, where we had engaging discussions about the kinds of communities that are possible on the Coast.
We also visited Roger Ewer in Barrytown who told us tales of the founding of the Fox River Commune and his own experiences living on the Coast and running a music venue in the Settlers Hall.
#Blackball #Waiuta #Blackwater #Greymouth #Rununga #Barrytown #erewhonproject
Castle Hill Station (Kura Tawhiti) which translates in Te Reo Māori to ‘the treasure from a distant land’ is a site of significant historical and cultural importance to Ngāi Tahu. In the novel the guide abandons Butler during the journey, just after they encounter the ‘circle of gigantic forms, many times higher than myself….a sort of Stonehenge’. One of Butler’s inspirations for this scene may have been Castle Hill.
"It's kind of a lonely place, but if you like that kind of feeling, it's a beautiful place to live"
Last week week we went to Te Mata Hapuku (Birdlings Flat) to visit the home of our friend and collaborator Aaron Hapuku. We asked him why he and his family chose to live here and what this isolated place means to him. #erewhonproject
When Samuel Butler arrived at the wharf in Lyttelton, he went straight to the table d’hôte at the Mitre for dinner - “so foreign and yet so English”. During his four years here he barely mentions Maori other than something to be “passed over unnoticed”, however in his novel, it is a Maori guide who accompanies his protagonist on his journey ‘over the range’ to Erewhon. Last week we met with Hohepa Bowen, a Lyttelton based artist who discussed his pounamu carvings and his perspective on Erewhon with us. #erewhonproject