web analytics

Songs from the inside out

Written By: - Date published: 12:36 pm, February 24th, 2014 - 12 comments
Categories: class war, cost of living, Maori Issues, news, patriarchy, poverty, prisons, tv, video - Tags:

In our celebrity culture, music and songs can be PR vehicles for consumer society and celebrity culture.  But down among the folk where life’s struggles often go unnoticed, songs and music can bring people together, they can heal, they can express the frustrations, heartaches, anger, fuck-ups, and desire for redemption: they can send messages to friends, whanau, politicians and the wider society; and they can motivated groups of people to demand change.

Following the dominant stories in the corporate controlled mainstream media can be a frustrating experience.  The values and agendas of the most conservative and well-off sections of society dominate.  There are other stories out there, but that can be relegated to the margins of the media.  I took a look at some of the recent stories lurking within local newspapers.  Much of that is good news stories, about the good people in their communities. Two stories caught my eye, hinting at things not so good in our communities.

The first is in the Auckland Central Leader 21 February 2014,  p 3.  It was also published online on Stuff in it’s Auckland local news “Rising rents bring calls for controls”.  It puts a bit of a human face on the property bubble in Auckland and other parts of NZ. iT BEGINS:

Aucklanders are working longer hours to pay for skyrocketing rents, sparking calls for rent controls to be imposed by the government.

It presents some statistics to back up thse claims, then reports:

Tamaki Housing Group member Sue Henry says landlords are now charging up to $700 a week for a three-bedroom house in Glen Innes.

Rising rental prices are a “big issue” affecting many Aucklanders, she says.

“I know one family who moved into a home, the electrics weren’t working and there was sewage spilling out of the drains but they were still charged $320 per week.

“It got put up to $445 and then $550.

“The tenants couldn’t pay it then and got evicted.

“People are too frightened to speak out because they think they’ll be evicted.”

This is what some of the public get to see or hear of those struggling to survive in our unequal world.

The second story in the local press took me from the local face of celebrity culture in a well off north of Auckland area, to the struggles of those who are the most marginalised in our unequal society in north and south Auckland prisons. Rodney times, Feb 201, 2014, p.9: “Prisoners let it all out in their songs”.  There’s an accompanying color picture of successful singer songwriters Laughton Kora, Annie Crummer, Anika Moa, and Don McGlashan.

The focus of the article is on Kora, who has lived in the Orewa area with his family for the last 9 years.  The four in the photo are part of a the second series of Maori TV’s second series of “Songs from the Inside” which began last Friday night.  Episode one is available for viewing at the link.  In this series, the four celebs go into prisons to work with inmates on writing their own songs. In the Rodney Times article, Kora says:

Some guys don’t have much choice. One guy grew up living in a car with his dad. And some make stupid choices.

One stupid decision can change the whole direction of a person’s life.

songs from inside

The series should be must see viewing for most Kiwis. But it doesn’t get very much front page attention in our daily news media flow.  It’s beautifully shot, with some really compelling music.  It follows some of the format of “reality TV’. However, it embraces totally different values, and uses a different style from the glamourised, individualistic, journey to riches (or failure) of the mainstream of reality TV.

“Songs from the Inside” begins in a down market, noirish, melancholy and reflective mode.  There’s a lot of images of bars, wire and people enclosed in small spaces.  As with the glamour side of reality TV, we get introduced to the main characters: inmates from the “Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility Manukau City” [I thought that city was no more?], and from Paremoremo Prison.  They mostly reflect on their relationships with whanau and friends, and how these will be impacted by exposing their life and criminality to the public.

They also talk of the importance of song and music, often while doing a bit of singing, accompanied by the low tech instrument of community – the accoustic guitar.

Ruth says,

I’m anxious, not scared.  I’m anxious because the words that I speak will affect a lot of people. Not just people that don’t know me, but family members and my mother. And that’s not my intentions, but things have to be said. I need to be listened to because I wasn’t being listened to before.

Lops, who sings about rising up, talks of his family and daughter and says he’s been inside for 6 years. He’s looking forward to collaborating with people because music brings people together.

Elvis introduces himself by saying,

I was always a loner at school.  Pretty rough living at home.  My father was an alcoholic. Mum was hardly around because she was busy working trying to keep us kids clothed fed and housed.

The whole episode is about the power of collaboration; about sharing skills, intimate experiences and feelings. Annie Crummer says,

I’m aware of the gifts that I’ve been given. So, I also know that art of that deal is to serve others. My gift.

Ruth sings a song that includes the words, “cause I’m crying from the inside out”.

Fiona’s explanation includes her saying,

“My objective here is to redeem myself for what I’ve done and to send it out to my whanau.”

Laughton Kora sings his “Politician” song:

Don McGlashan sings Holly Smith’s his song, “Bathe in the River”, (a song also sung by Hollie Smith)

Annie Crummer sings “See What Love Can Do”

Some statistics: Maori are over-represented making up over 50% of NZ’s prison population, and a higher proportion of Maori women.

Women tend to commit different kinds of crimes than men.  Convicted women are likely to be survivors of personal abuse, trauma, poverty and/or substance abuse; their crimes less serious and more casual than those by men.  Both men and women convicted of crimes tend to come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

As Kora says, “Everybody Deserves a second chance”

See what collaboration, empathy, and the power of song can do: uplifting.

Politics is about power – and it is about people: about their communities, and their daily struggles to survive.

 

12 comments on “Songs from the inside out”

  1. shorts 1

    Rents are horrendous in Auckland, my social circle has slowly but surely been pushed out of the cheap and tatty inner burbs (now gentrified and very expensive) to various corners of the city, we all now travel a lot as a consequence and rarely see each other due to being so far apart, high rents are hurting society and communities and the results of such leads to some ending up where they shouldn’t…

    …..The first series of Songs From the inside was wonderful, looking forward to watching this one too, nice one Maori TV!!!

    Small aside: Bathe in the River is actually Don McGlashan’s song – he compossed and produced it for the Mt Raskil Preservation Society and it featuring Hollie Smith on vocals

    • karol 1.1

      Thanks, shorts. Will make a correction about the song.

    • Rosie 1.2

      Agreeing with you again shorts!

      The first series of Songs From The Inside was great, in which they interviewed inmates at Arohata Women’s Prison in Tawa and Rimutaka. I was impressed with the way the musicians engaged with the people and got the best out of them. Part of this was about treating them as equals and treating them respectfully I think.

      Some time ago Warren Maxwell was being interviewed on the radio and he mentioned that one of the guys had since been released (didn’t catch his name) and he saw him around the streets of Wellington. He said he was doing well, continuing with the music and getting some small gigs.

      Maori TV is good at airing shows that are about positive social change. I doubt you’d get a show like “Songs from the Inside” on TV1 or 3. They have too many stereotypes they would prefer to maintain.

  2. mac1 2

    Viewed last night a documentary on Shakespeare behind bars- a group of inmates and a director in a Kentucky prison. Saw this “Songs from the Inside” advertised and have set it down for viewing. I expect a similar theme- the redemptive power of art/music/acting.

    I was lucky enough to visit three prisons in NZ whilst facilitating a series of anti-violence workshops (AVP) and with my guitar was able to attest to the power of music to bring people together as a group in prison or on an individual level.

    Seeing the new Pope on Facebook meeting with Italian inmates and the programmes mentioned above make me hopeful that there is a chance for revisiting how we view and treat inmates and ex-inmates.

    Visiting people in prison is one of the acts of mercy, and I still muse over the people I met, the stories I heard, the changes I saw happen in people.

    I often think “There but for the grace of God”……….

  3. Macro 3

    When they put me in prison…
    were you there..

  4. Tracey 4

    Interest rates are going to rise which will put pressure on mortgage holders which includes landlords.

    When interest rates rise wont oyr dollar get stronger making it harder for exports and damaging the balance of trades deficit?

    That will mean a call for no wage rises etc…

    I dont see the rosie future we are being sold and I am very nervous for those already walking a thin line.

    • karol 4.1

      And a waste of so much talent that could be working for a better community.

      Minimum wage rise of a minimum. Not the brighter future Key promised to the many.

      • Tracey 4.1.1

        And the right wont call it an election year bribe or a lolly scramble. ..

        I would love to see a cartoon with hansel and gretel being children and low income earners collecting crumbs on a road to trickle downs.

  5. Yossarian 5

    I read the article of Songs from The Inside Out.
    Yet in first paragragh (main page) I got confused which is the way of things.
    Is MSM a protest song, group, theme? Unexplained Acronyms, that could be a semi decent title of a group or song. Thank you Karol.

  6. xtasy 6

    Yes, I also read that story in the Central Leader about the ever rising rents in Auckland (same as ever increasing house and apartment prices). I am astonished how so many Aucklanders simply “put up” with what is going on. But it must be the “enduring” and “quiet” way of dealing with things differently, that Kiwis are renowned for. In most other countries people would take action, protest, make appeals, write and complain about it, and it would be more written about in the media.

    There were also some other interesting stories in the Central Leader, which I never read about in any major publication, and I can only recommend people look out for them. Yet much in the local papers though is also advertising and “soft stories”, though, of more trivial nature.

    • uke 6.1

      Pressure’s on Wellington too. A few days ago a couple started living out of a tent they pitched in a park down the road.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Next steps in Criminal Cases Review Commission announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little and New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, have today announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the location, and the membership of the Establishment Advisory Group. Colin Carruthers QC has been appointed Chief Commissioner of the CCRC for an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Horticultural Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced
    Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor co-announced the first horticultural finalists for the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrating excellence in the Māori agricultural sector.  The three finalists are Ngai Tukairangi Trust from Mt Maunganui, Otama Marere Trust from Tauranga, and Hineora Orchard Te Kaha 15B Ahuwhenua ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • New support for students with dyslexia
    A new kete of resources to strengthen support for students with dyslexia will provide extra tools for the new Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) as they start in schools, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Minister launched the kete in Wellington this morning, at the first of three induction ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Rental reforms progress to select committee stage
    The Government continues to make progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the First Reading of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and its referral to the Social Services and Community Select Committee.  “Now is the opportunity for landlords, tenants and others who want ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Papua New Guinea Prime Minister to visit New Zealand
    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Hon James Marape will visit New Zealand from 21-25 February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have a warm and friendly relationship. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Marape here and strengthening the relationship between our two countries,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Free school lunches served up to thousands
    Thousands of children have begun receiving a free lunch on every day of the school week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The Government’s free and healthy school lunch programme is under way for 7,000 students at 31 schools in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti and Bay of Plenty / Waiariki, extending ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Social Wellbeing Agency replaces Social Investment Agency with new approach
    The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni today announced a new approach that continues to broaden the Government’s social sector focus from a narrow, investment approach to one centred on people and wellbeing. Minister Sepuloni said redefining the previous approach to social investment by combining science, data and lived experience ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government to strengthen protections for whistleblowers
    The Government is strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. “The Protected Disclosures Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • PM speech at Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebration 2020
    Nǐn hǎo (Hello in Mandarin). Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (Happy New Year in Mandarin) Néi Hóu (Hello in Cantonese). Sun Nin Fai Lok (Happy New Year in Cantonese) Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you for your invitation to attend this celebration today. I would like to acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 2020 IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tougher penalties for gun crime a step closer
    Tougher penalties for gun crime are a step closer with the passage of firearms reform legislation through another stage in Parliament. The Arms Legislation Bill has tonight passed its Second Reading. “The changes have one objective - to prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Arms Legislation Bill: Second Reading
    Introduction Mr Speaker We all know why we are here today. It has been a long journey. The journey did not actually begin on 15 March 2019. It began on 30 June 1997. Almost 23 years ago, Justice Sir Thomas Thorp told us what was wrong with our firearms legislation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New era for vocational education
    The Government’s work to put trades and vocational education back on the agenda took another major step forward today with the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is a watershed day for trades and vocational education. These law changes formalise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bill to Amend the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act
    Speeding up the return of Christchurch regeneration activities to local leadership is behind the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today by Minister Megan Woods. “As we approach nine years since the February 2011 earthquake in Canterbury, and with the transition to local leadership well underway, the time ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Milford Track to partly reopen after storm damage
    Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government drives low-emissions transport momentum
    Up to 110 new EV chargers nationwide in cities and regions 50 electric vehicles for ride-sharing The Government is helping deliver more infrastructure and options for low emissions transport through new projects, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says. Tauranga, Nelson, Levin, New Plymouth and Oamaru are just some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis better off under Coalition Government
    New Zealanders are increasingly better off under this Government as wages rise and families have more disposable income, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ reported today that average household disposable incomes after housing costs rose 4.9% in 2019. This was the highest rise in four years and came as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers
    All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Screen Industry Workers Bill will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Enhanced Taskforce Green for Southland and South Otago
    The Government has announced further help for the Southland and Otago regions to speed up recovery efforts from the floods.  “I’ve approved Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG), making $500,000 available to help with the clean-up in Fiordland, Southland, and the Clutha district in Otago,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Employers and Industry take the lead to connect students to vocational education
    Following the announcement that more than 340 schools will be funded to run events promoting vocational education, the Government has announced it will fund a further 257 events to be run by employers and industry. “These industry-run events will allow more than 30,000 students to connect with more than 2,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Rental reforms a step closer with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill
    Today the Government is making progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament.  “This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Biosecurity Minister announces world first eradication of pea weevil
    A Government programme to wipe out pea weevil has achieved a world first, with Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor today announcing the successful eradication of the noxious pest from Wairarapa. This means the nearly four-year ban on pea plants and pea straw was lifted today. Commercial and home gardeners can again grow ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for Southland flooding
    Southland residents hit by flooding caused by heavy rainfall can now access help finding temporary accommodation with the Government activating the Temporary Accommodation Service, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare announced today. “The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bridges: Over-hyped and under-delivered
    “Is that it?” That’s Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s response to Simon Bridges’ much-hyped economic speech today. “Simon Bridges just gave the most over-hyped and under-delivered speech that I can remember during my time in politics,” Grant Robertson said. “It’s not surprising. Simon Bridges literally said on the radio this morning ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Police to trial eye in the sky in Christchurch
    A trial deployment of the Police Eagle helicopter in Christchurch will test whether the aircraft would make a significant difference to crime prevention and community safety. “The Bell 429 helicopter will be based in Christchurch for five weeks, from 17 February to 20 March,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Momentum of trade talks continues with visits to promote Pacific and Middle East links
    The Government has kept up the pace of its work to promote New Zealand’s trade interests and diversify our export markets, with visits to Fiji and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker. Building momentum to bring the PACER Plus trade and development agreement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Coalition Govt’s investment in Customs nets record drugs haul: 3 tonnes stopped at borders in 2019
    The Coalition Government’s investment in a strong border and disrupting transnational organised crime produced record results for stopping drugs in 2019, says Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. The illegal drugs were seized at the New Zealand border by Customs, and overseas by Customs’ international border partners before the drugs could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Separated scenic cycleway starts
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off construction of a separated cycleway alongside Tamaki Drive. A two-way separated cycleway will be built along the northern side of Tamaki Drive, between the Quay Street Cycleway extension and Ngapipi Road. There will be a separate walking path alongside. Phil Twyford said giving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Earthquake-Prone Building loan scheme: eligibility criteria announced
    Owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings will have certainty about the financial support they’ll be eligible for with the release of criteria for an upcoming assistance scheme, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Travel restrictions to remain in place as coronavirus precaution
    Temporary restrictions on travel from China will remain in place as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The restrictions which prevent foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China from entering New Zealand have been extended for a further 8 days. This position ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Over $1 million to help Tairāwhiti youth into employment
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today that Tairāwhiti rangatahi will benefit from an investment made by the Government’s He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) scheme. The funding will go to the Tautua Village, Kauneke programme and the Matapuna Supported Employment Programme which will fund 120 rangatahi over two years. “Both programmes work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • School attendance has to improve
    All parents and caregivers need to ensure that their children go to school unless they are sick, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin said today. “The school attendance results for 2019 show, across the board, a drop in the number of students going to school regularly,” the Minister says. “Apart from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Crown and Moriori sign a Deed of Settlement
    A Deed of Settlement agreeing redress for historical Treaty claims has been signed by the Crown and Moriori at Kōpinga Marae on Rēkohu (Chatham Islands) today, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little has announced. Moriori have a tradition of peace that extends back over 600 years. This settlement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Waikato Expressway driving towards completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today with Māori King Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII officially opened the country’s newest road, the $384 million Huntly section of the Waikato Expressway. The 15km four-lane highway with side and central safety barriers takes State Highway 1 east of Huntly town, across lowlands and streams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 3400 New Zealanders treated in first year of new hepatitis C treatment
    The rapid uptake of life-saving new hepatitis C medicine Maviret since it was funded by PHARMAC a year ago means the elimination of the deadly disease from this country is a realistic goal, Health Minister David Clark says. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which attacks the liver, proving fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Kaupapa Māori approach for homelessness
      Kaupapa Māori will underpin the Government’s new plan to deal with homelessness announced by the Prime Minister in Auckland this morning. “Māori are massively overrepresented among people experiencing homelessness, so, to achieve different outcomes for Māori, we have to do things very differently,” says the Minister of Māori Development ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government steps up action to prevent homelessness
    1000 new transitional housing places delivered by end of year to reduce demand for emergency motel accommodation. Introduce 25% of income payment, after 7 days, for those in emergency motel accommodation to bring in line with other forms of accommodation support. Over $70m extra to programmes that prevents those at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Important step for new financial conduct regime
    Clear requirements for ensuring customers are treated fairly by banks, insurers and other financial service providers are included in new financial conduct legislation that passed its first reading today. “The recent reviews, by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and Reserve Bank of New Zealand, into the conduct of banks and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Applications invited for $7 million Regional Culture and Heritage Fund
    Applications are now open for the fifth round of the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson announced today.   “I am delighted to open this year’s fund which has some $7 million available to support performing arts venues, galleries, museums and whare ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago