web analytics

“Hope and Wire”: Disaster & collaboration

Written By: - Date published: 3:09 pm, July 4th, 2014 - 10 comments
Categories: christchurch earthquake, class war, disaster, socialism, tv - Tags:

Responses to TV3’s miniseries, Hope and Wire, based on the Christchurch quakes & aftermath, have been mixed.  The main cause of the division is likely to be that it is an Auckland outsiders* view of the events, and that it deals with some general themes.  For people in Christchurch the experience of the quakes are very raw, they are still dealing with the deep impacts, and many feel they have been neglected by the authorities, and NZ in general. (The opening 2 episodes can be viewed here).

HOPE AND WIRE 3NEWSquake

Stuff’s review is here, with many comments from the public added underneath. Russell Brown’s review and comments by others here.

The soap format, focused on people and relationships, suits the main theme, of hedonistic individualism versus community collaboration.  I explained more about this, and the accusations of clunky delivery of the drama here.

Responses indicate that many people in Christchurch feel the drama does not represent a recognisable Christchurch, or ring true with respect to their experiences of their quakes.  This would be a very likely response from people still dealing with the aftermath, especially if they feel their struggles have been neglected.

A particular criticism was of the mis-representation of Christchurch as being dominated by hedonistic, binge boozing people, vomiting in the gutters on Friday nights: a city where stereotypical skinheads run rampant, dispense violence and willfully break the law.

The opening scenes are of partying, glass breaking, young people, speeding noisily through the hedonistic streets in cars.  These scenes are immediately followed by the introduction to Len (played by Bernard Hill) and his partner Joyce (played by Rachel house) walking home.  Here Len makes explicit that the programme is as much about general themes, as the specifics of the Christchurch experience: themes of inter-generational tensions, and the “neoliberal revolution”; of wealth seeking individualism versus community solidarity and collaboration.

Hope_&_Wire_for_showcase

Len on the couch

In his Brit accent, he says of the people partying:

The leaders of tomorrow; the “I” generation. When I was their age, we were organising revolutions.[…] The only revolution this lot are likely to lead is a stampede to the stock exchange.

I think he is talking partly about his partying skinhead neighbours. In a Brecthian move that breaks the narrative, Len then addresses the audience directly:

When I first came to New Zealand in 76.  1976. It was, it was like a little socialist paradise. It was a slightly more boring version of Rumania. And then they sold it.  And the rich got richer, and the poor got poorer. A lot poorer. Unfortunately that included me and Joycie.

But, you know what, when Christchurch got the tremors, I thought, “You know if this gets really bad, maybe those sons and daughters of all those rich out there, might stop vomiting every Friday night and join the revolution.”

This makes it explicit that the programme is as much about the state of NZ as it is about Christchurch.

The first 2 episodes (shown end to end) then proceed to show how selected characters respond to the quake, with many working collaboratively to help those in need.

Len takes on the exploitative landlord Greggo (played by Joel Toebeck) [19 minutes into the video]. Rather than accept the offer of not paying rent for their damaged accommodation, Len negotiates a deal for all the landlord’s renters in the neighbourhood paying less rent. Len says to Greggo,

Ah, right. I see. divide and rule, then, eh, yeah?  I’ll tell you something.  I’m not having those young men next door ripped off.  they are the leaders of tomorrow, and I am their representative. So the United Tenants of Muntville, will pay 25% of the rent.

They negotiate and agree on them all paying 30% of the rent.

Joel_Tobeck

Greggo

As the episode proceeds, we see various characters working to support each other.  The student army gets into swing early on.  Some young women decide that life is short, and they don’t want to die virgins.  But when one of them, Holly, soon finds out sex was not all it is cracked up to be, and she has some itches, her two friends supportively accompany her to the STD clinic.

Then, in the immediate aftermath of the devastating February quake, Holly finds her brother Tim being bundled, unconscious, into Greggo’s car.  Holly is there for Tim in total support.  Greggo, is on the spot helping out with the causalities, and drives them to the hospital.

Joycie is a stand out character for me in this episode.

Rachel_House Joycie Hope and Wire

In the aftermath of the February quake, still in shock, she trudges back through the liquefaction, carrying her bags of shopping, as no buses are running.  She doesn’t go straight home, but stops to help an elderly, housebound woman. Then heads home to where she takes a leading role in organising the neighbourhood survival procedures.

In spite of all the shortcomings quality-wise, I am intrigued by the main themes, and I have started to care about some of the characters.

On the other hand, I can understand why many Cantabrians will be angry that the specific details of their struggles have been neglected – again- whole more universal themes are pursued.

*Edit: Russell Brown quotes director Gaylene Preston as calling the programme “a postcard to Auckland”.  Others have called it a northern view of Christchurch and the quakes.

10 comments on ““Hope and Wire”: Disaster & collaboration”

  1. Sacha 1

    “it is an Auckland view of the events” – no, both writers are from Wellington.

    • karol 1.1

      Thanks. That comment was due to me collapsing a couple of things I read. Russell Brown stated that director Gaylene Preston described the programme as a “postcard to Auckland”. Others on Stuff, called it both a “northern view” and an “Auckland view”.

      Will amend.

  2. just saying 2

    I liked it more as time went on. I think it was brave to try and weave together the lives of very disparate people, and although that seemed to lead to cliched beginnings, I think over time it will be richer for it. I was surprised by how ambitious the programme was in scope – the Christchurch quakes as a drama exploring New Zealand of today. Something tamer would probably be less awkward and clunky, but I’m pretty sick of smooth and slick and it opens the door for possibilities that a more polished apporach might not allow.

    There has been a lot of criticism of the programme misrepresenting Christchurch, but it seemed (more as it progressed) that it isn’t really about Christchurch or the quakes.

    There is lots to criticise. My small bugbear is that (especially in the beginning) women were being shown being quite passively distressed, while the men were shown taking action and being more stoic. My own limited experience of sudden disaster is of how stereotypes are immediately swept away.

  3. Shona 3

    Rachel House, Whangarei raised and a keen participant in the local drama scene as a child /teenager. She is a positive role model for all those aspiring thespians who aren’t afraid to try and make a career in NZ.

  4. ianmac 4

    The program was unsettling but so it should be. I am glad I watched it and many of the critics were Christchurchians but the essence of human responses both good people and bad people coping with chaos was pretty good. What the city should be proud of is the way that people in neighbourhoods gathered and helped each other. Even a rotten cup of tea was symbolic of good intentions.
    I am quite prepared to be unsettled again next week.

  5. Grumpy 5

    It were shite!

  6. Philj 6

    xox
    Grumpy, that’s the rural rivers bro.

    • Grumpy 6.1

      It was dire. Just saying it was ok because Gaylene Preston did it is stupid. It gave an Auckland view of Christchurch which was completely off beam and trivialized a seriously traumatic time in all Cantabrians lives.
      Poorly acted, scripted and directed, what more can I say.

  7. Philj 7

    xox
    Fair comment,Grumps. I do agree that this drama doc gives an ‘Auckland’ view in as much that ‘Auckland’ (media)(except Campbell Live) had enough of the Christchurch about 6 weeks after the last big one. And most of the political power (and embarrassment for under performing Government response) is in Auckland. IMHOthe public of NZ wanted to help Cantabs more and this Gov has done the minimum. This, I suspect will be the underlying message of Hope and Wire. I am surprised that NZOA funded a bunch of lefties to tell this story of govt underperformance. I await the election results in Christchurch.

  8. Populuxe1 8

    The stereotypes were cringeworthy. Christchurch is made to look entirely populated by bogans and skinheads – I actually can’t remember the last time I saw a skinhead tbh. Pakeha males are all depicted as awful, selfish human beings – absolutely denying the reality that EVERYONE was a trooper and amazing to everyone else in those horrible days. All the usual prejudices and patterns of behaviour temporarily ceased to exist. The Bad White Man stereotype is every bit as reductive and contrived as the Magical Polynesian cliche (basically a variation on this http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicalNegro )
    and the grotesque overuse of the word “munted” really grated.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Minister can’t wash hands of illegal KiwiSaver investments
    The Minister responsible for appointing default KiwiSaver providers should take responsibility for ensuring they act legally, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The National Government has now had confirmed what they were told more than a week ago – that ...
    20 mins ago
  • Government railroading Maori Land Bill through
    Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell seems determined to railroad his Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill through despite the large number of submitters in opposition to the bill, says MP Meka Whaitiri, whose Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate contains nearly 30 per cent ...
    21 hours ago
  • Government turns a blind eye to struggling sole parents
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s claims that her Government’s work with sole parents is her biggest success are in tatters after a major increase in homelessness amongst that group, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Anne Tolley is seriously ...
    22 hours ago
  • Time has come for state apology on abuse
    Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions. Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson ...
    22 hours ago
  • It’s OK to have a few slaves, just not too many? Minimum wage loophole hasn’t gone away
    New Zealand still needs legislation to ensure adult New Zealanders are not exploited by being taken on as contractors for less than the equivalent of the minimum wage, says Labour list MP David Parker.  “My Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment ...
    23 hours ago
  • Lessons from the Future of Work Commission: Building Wealth from the Ground Up
    Good morning, and thank you for attending today’s Future of Work Seminar here in Wellington. I want to particularly acknowledge Beth Houston who has spent many hours pulling together the programme for today’s event, and to Olivier and the staff ...
    1 day ago
  • Backbencher Matt’s Bill is a Doocey
    The latest National Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot is yet another waste of Parliament’s time and shows the Government’s contempt for the House and the public with much more important issues needing debate, says Labour’s Shadow Leader of the ...
    2 days ago
  • Gun laws creaking under the strain
     Questions have to be asked  after surprising revelations at the Law and Order Select Committee about the police and their ability to manage the gun problem in New Zealand, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The lack of resources is ...
    2 days ago
  • Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
    The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Social service agencies report many ...
    2 days ago
  • Māori seats entrenched by Tirikatene Bill
    National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says. “Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates ...
    2 days ago
  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    3 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    3 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    3 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    3 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    3 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    4 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    4 days ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    5 days ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    7 days ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    1 week ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    1 week ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    1 week ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    1 week ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    1 week ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    1 week ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    1 week ago
  • Auckland’s affordable homes plummet 72% under National
    Comprehensive new data from CoreLogic has found the number of homes in Auckland valued at under $600,000 has plummeted by 72 per cent since National took office, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This data tracks the changes in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt should face the facts not skew the facts
    National appears to be actively massaging official unemployment statistics by changing the measure for joblessness to exclude those looking online, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Household Labour Force Survey, released tomorrow, no longer regards people job hunting on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More voices call for review of immigration policy
    The Auckland Chamber of Commerce is the latest credible voice to call for a review of immigration and skills policy, leaving John Key increasingly isolated, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister is rapidly becoming a man alone. He ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better balance needed in Intelligence Bill
    Labour will support the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill to select committee so the issues can be debated nationwide and important amendments can be made, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Serco circus has no place in NZ
    A High Court judgment proves National’s private prison agenda has failed and the Serco circus has no place in New Zealand correctional facilities, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • State house sell-off a kick in the guts for Tauranga’s homeless
    The Government’s sale of 1124 state houses in Tauranga won’t house a single extra homeless person in the city, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Tauranga, like the rest of New Zealand, has a crisis of housing affordability and homelessness. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Axing Auckland’s affordable quota disappointing
    Auckland Council has given away a useful tool for delivering more affordable housing by voting to accept the Independent Hearing Panel’s recommendation to abolish affordable quotas for new developments, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ae Marika! Māori Party Oath Bill fails
    The Māori Party must reconsider its relationship with National after they failed to support Marama Fox’s Treaty of Waitangi Oath bill, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Police Minister all platitudes no detail
    The Police Minister must explain where the budget for new police officers is coming from after continuously obfuscating, Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lost luggage law shows National’s lost the plot
    The Government has proven it can’t address the big issues facing the tourism industry by allowing a Members Bill on lost luggage to be a priority, Labour’s Tourism spokesman Kris Faafoi said. “Nuk Korako’s Bill drawn from the Members’ Ballot ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Hiding behind the law – but can’t say which law
    National is refusing to come clean on what caused the potential trade dispute with China by hiding behind laws and trade rules they can’t even name, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark. “National admitted today that an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Work visas issued for jobs workless Kiwis want
    Thousands of work visas for low-skilled jobs were issued by the Government in the past year despite tens of thousands of unemployed Kiwis looking for work in those exact occupations, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “A comparison of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis nationwide now paying for housing crisis
    The Government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis is now affecting the entire country with nationwide house price inflation in the past year hitting 26 per cent, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “None of National’s tinkering or half-baked, piecemeal ...
    2 weeks ago
  • OCR cut piles pressure on Government
    Today’s OCR cut must be backed by Government action on housing and economic growth, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler’s monetary policy statement underlines the limits of Bill English’s economic management. He says growth is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must explain the McClay delay
    Todd McClay must explain why it took two months for him to properly inform the Prime Minister about China’s potential trade retaliation, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark. “This may be one of the most serious trade ...
    2 weeks ago
  • OCR cut would be vote of no confidence in economy
    If Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler cuts the OCR tomorrow it would show that, despite his loudly-voiced concerns about fuelling the housing market, the stuttering economy is now a bigger concern, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Leading medical experts back Healthy Homes Bill
    Leading medical experts have today thrown their weight behind my Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, saying it will improve the health of Kiwi kids, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “The Bill sets minimum standards for heating, insulation and ventilation ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister, it’s time to listen to the Auditor General
    Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman needs to listen to the independent advice of the Auditor General and review the capital charge system imposed on District Health Boards, says Labour’ Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “The capital charge on DHBs has been ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Peas explain, Minister
    The Minister of Primary Industries needs to explain how the failure of its biosecurity systems led to the Pea Weevil incursion in the Wairarapa, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says “The decision to ban the growing of peas in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PM’s police numbers wrong
    The Prime Minister has said that police numbers will increase in-line with population growth, however, the Police’s own four year strategy clearly states there are no plans to increase police numbers for the next four years, Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart ...
    3 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere