web analytics

The irony of the confluence

Written By: - Date published: 1:03 pm, July 20th, 2010 - 7 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

There is a great review of Briar March and Lyn’s documentary “There Once Was An Island: Te Henua E Noho” at Reading the Maps called “A preliminary report on the end of the world”

I won’t repeat the review part here, but it is well worth reading and so are the comments.

However ‘maps’ has pointed out in his post, the great bit of political and social irony of having a documentary about resources, culture and climate change at the Skycity theatre this weekend.

Despite our best intentions, Skyler and I arrived at Sky City too late to join in the rowdy trade union demonstration outside the National Party conference’s Sunday morning breakfast. I noticed a couple of cops still hanging about the building’s southern entrance as we slipped inside – one of them was nodding sagely as the other made a series of vigorous motions with his arms, as if he were illustrating one of the more vicious moves he had used earlier in the morning on a protester.

The John Key fan club had retreated into a closed session, though one or two puffy-faced Young Nats hung about the bottom of the stairs, their delegate ID badges prominently displayed on their expensive Tory-blue suits. (Were they hoping that some stray journalist might mistake them for backbench MPs, and take their photos?) Next door to the vast room where the National faithful had assembled, overweight shabby men banged away at pokie machines which hummed and buzzed and flashed obediently, and slim, suited men barked orders at dealers, whose arms moved backwards and forwards robotically over sea-green tables, dropping cards and scooping up chips.

As we reached the third floor of Sky City, leaving the buzzing machines and barking blackjackers behind and walking into a performance by Polynesian dancers and drummers, I was struck by the incongruity of the location that Auckland Film Festival organisers had selected for the New Zealand premiere of There Once Was An Island: Te Henua E Noho, Briar March’s film about the people of the remote and imperilled Polynesian atoll of Takuu.

It would be hard to pick a better symbol of the decadence of twenty-first century capitalism than Sky City last Sunday, where National Party staffers on a quarter of a million a year salaries sat in well-stuffed chairs and discussed new ways of disciplining beneficiaries and the poorest workers, while nearby the psychic victims of previous attacks on the working class poured their benefits and low wage jobs into machines that robbed them with noisy efficiency. Was Film Festival supremo Bill Gosden perhaps trying to underscore the moral as well as physical distance between our decadent city and the pristine subsistence society of tropical Takuu, when he booked Briar March’s film into the theatre on Sky City’s third floor?

An excellent description of how I was feeling on Sunday. I was at the protest about the bloated advocates of slave labour in conference. Some of whom have been commenting quite explicitly here over the weekend about how they’d like people to be enslaved by their employers. Their advocate, John Key, was speaking at the conference. This resulted in police cars being strewn all over the area as a result of some kind of panic reaction to the largely peaceful protest, blocking buses and cars.

Then onto helping organize for the showing. This including trying to find edible food for Briar and Lyn which forced me into the bowels of Skycity with the desperate and their slot machines (first time I’ve been in the casino).

Finally watching a documentary about a people with few material possessions, who were having their way of life destroyed by the idiotic greed of the types of self-centered short-term unthinking people present at the National party conference.

The confluence of the various social and political themes was surreal. I felt like I was inside of one of the Gibson or Sterling cyberpunk near future novels. But this wasn’t science-fiction. This is current reality – delivered to you by the types of people at the Nat’s conference.

Anyway, back to helping to promote the documentary again (because I can and it is worth seeing) …

SCREENINGS DATES:
Auckland
Wednesday July 21, 11.15am, Skycity Theatre

Dunedin
Sunday 25 Jul, 3:45pm Rialto Cinemas Dunedin

Wellington
Tuesday 27 Jul, 6:15pm Paramount

Christchurch
Saturday July 31, 6.00pm Regent on Worcester
Monday August 2, 12.00pm Regent on Worcester

7 comments on “The irony of the confluence ”

  1. BLiP 1

    It would be hard to pick a better symbol of the decadence of twenty-first century capitalism than Sky City

    Biggest monument to losers ever built, towering over the heart of the mercantile Pompeii of Aotearoa like a phallic symbol in honour of its venal, vapid and vainglorious inhabitants. Fucking hate the thing.

    *****

    Bloody Wednesday!! At bloody 11.15am !! Don’t youse know there’s still some of with jobs out here – and I can’t seem to find a torrents download anywhere : )

    But, seriously, big congrats to Lyn and Briar. Hope it goes well and we see a wider release sometime soon. Should be compulsory viewing in every secondary school in the country.

  2. lprent 2

    Ah you missed out on the Sunday session. It is the film festival after all. At least you don’t have to do what briar and lyn have to do. Follow it around the other centers as well 🙂

  3. Thanks for the plug. There have been quite a few discussions on Reading the Maps about the lessons that pre- and semi-capitalist Polynesian societies might hold for the twenty-first century left, and about the late, still little-known work of Marx, which moves away from the technological determinism and Eurocentrism which still dominates much of the left and looks at ways socialism might be able to grow out of non-Western pre- and semi-capitalist societies (here’s one recent example of such a discussion: http://readingthemaps.blogspot.com/2010/05/first-white-marxists-reach-tuhoe_11.html).

    A society like Takuu, which is poor in material terms yet has an extraordinarily rich symbolic culture, and which appears static to outsiders yet is riven with internal debate and factions, challenges us to think in more subtle ways about notions of historical progress and of wealth. That’s not to say, of course, that we should all have to go without flush toilets and barbeques! I think that we have to resist the sort of sentimental vision of tribal peoples as ‘noble savages’, who live in perfect harmony with nature and never want to see their societies change in any way, because that vision comes not from the reality of societies like Takuu but from the self-loathing of certain Westerners.

    It was quite interesting to see how both the earnest young critic of ‘consumerism’ I mentioned in my post and the Oxfam rep who sat on the panel that discussed the movie both seemed to think that the way to save the world was to force working class people in the West to spend less, ie to get poorer. This insistence on austerity is, of course, quite in line with neo-liberal orthodoxy, as enunciated in the last few weeks by David Cameron and the Greek political class. I tend to think that, in the West and also in semi-capitalist Pacific nations, under-consumption is a bigger problem than over-consumption. And I was probably in danger of being a little high and mighty in my condemnation of Sky City. Although I do find the building profoundly depressing, it is worth noting that over the past decade and a half it has been the scene of an epic and quite heroic series of struggles by trade unionists, who succeeded in building a strong branch of the SFWU despite all sorts of intimindation. If the workers could run the casino it would be a more edifying sight.

    • loota 3.1

      Scott, you lost me in a couple of places.

      “The insistence on austerity” promoted by the neo-liberal orthodoxy is by no means aimed at the working (consumer) class. It is aimed at governments in an attempt to get them to cut back public service spending and social benefits. Quite the opposite to what you suggest, the neo-liberal orthodoxy would like the consumer class to spend and spend and spend.

      And since when was “under consumption” a big problem in the west? A big problem for whom? Corporate marketeers looking to beat each years’ financial records the next year, ad infinitum might be the ones who run into a problem.

      • Scott (Maps) 3.1.1

        But the effect of attacks on the public sector and the social wage is to depress consumer spending – and the right is prepared to tolerate this, in the name of a quixotic Hoover-style desire to balance the books (whatever happened to Keynes and the lessons of the Great Depression?) and restart the business cycle, and because it likes any excuse to have a crack at the public sector. Underconsumption is a big problem this winter for a lot of Kiwis who can’t consume enough power to warm their houses properly, can’t consume enough at the supermarket to give their kids everything they need, and so on. To present consumption as a bad thing, and a desire to consume as the motor that sustains capitalism, as too many bourgeois Grey Lynn environmentalists do, is to misunderstand the system and to unwittingly line up with the right.

        In parts of the Pacific where a hybrid economy composed of capitalist and pre-capitalist modes of production exists, ‘raids’ on the environment are often used as a way of supplementing wages which fall below starvation levels. People who have moved away from their land and become workers, but aren’t able to consume at the supermarket because their pay is so pitiful, head for the bush, poach birds and animals, grab a bit of timber to flog off, and so on. In other cases they might grab some land to which they have an entitlement back in the village, bang in some cash crop like mangos or squash, throw a lot of fertiliser into the mix, and make a quick harvest and a quick buck supplying an export market, without thinking about the rellies who have to try to use the same land next year for subsistence purposes (I know this was happening in Tonga). The failure of capitalism to provide a decent income so that Third World workers can consume in the capitalist economy leads to a lot of environmental problems.

        I’m all for increased consumption, in the Third World and the West. I don’t see how one can support organisations like trade unions, which aim to increase the buying power of workers, without being in support of increased consumption.

  4. Gosman 4

    “This resulted in police cars being strewn all over the area as a result of some kind of panic reaction to the largely peaceful protest”

    Do you not see a liitle problem with that statement?

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Building Auckland’s transport future
    We’re making sure Auckland has the infrastructure it needs for the future, so Aucklanders can get around safely and efficiently as our biggest city grows. The new, linked-up transport system we’re building will include partially tunnelled light rail between the CBD and the airport, as well as another Waitematā Harbour ...
    2 hours ago
  • Build Auckland light rail for benefit of everyone
    The Government’s decision on light rail in Auckland is the first step towards building the climate friendly, accessible city our communities deserve. ...
    3 hours ago
  • Put our most vulnerable first
    Don’t forget whānau and communities most at risk, says the Green Party, as the Government lays out its three-phase plan for Omicron. ...
    2 days ago
  • Boosting our immunity against Omicron
    With Omicron in the community, it’s vital we all do our bit to help to slow the spread, keep each other safe and protect our health system. One of the most important ways we can reduce the risk of Omicron is to get a booster dose as soon as we’re ...
    2 days ago
  • Equitable response to Omicron vital
    The Green Party supports the Government’s decision to move Aotearoa New Zealand to traffic light level Red at 11.59pm tonight, but says its success will depend on the support that is made available to the most vulnerable. ...
    5 days ago
  • How we’re preparing for Omicron
    As countries around the world experience Omicron outbreaks, we’re taking steps now to ensure we’re as prepared as possible and our communities are protected. ...
    1 week ago
  • What’s Labour achieved so far?
    Quite a bit! This Government was elected to take on the toughest issues facing Aotearoa – and that’s what we’re doing. Since the start of the pandemic, protecting lives and livelihoods has been a priority, but we’ve also made progress on long-term challenges, to deliver a future the next generation ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tackling the big issues in 2022
    This year, keeping Kiwis safe from COVID will remain a key priority of the Government – but we’re also pushing ahead on some of New Zealand’s biggest long-term challenges. In 2022, we’re working to get more Kiwis into homes, reduce emissions, lift children out of poverty, and ensure people get ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Penguin rehab and native forest restoration get helping hand
    A long-running penguin rehab facility which has been hard hit by the tourism downturn, and work to restore native forest habitats in the Catlins are being supported through Jobs for Nature funding, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Otago’s Penguin Place and The Hokonui Rūnanga Catlins Biodiversity Project will receive combined ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Resilient economy reflected in Crown accounts
    The Government’s financial accounts continue to reflect a resilient economy that has performed better than expected and puts the country in a strong position to respond to Omicron, Grant Robertson said. The Crown Accounts for the five months to the end of November were more favourable than forecast in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government announces three phase public health response to Omicron
    Reducing isolation period for cases and close contacts at Phase Two and Three to 10 and seven days Definition of close contact required to isolate changes to household or household like contacts at Phase Three Increased use of rapid antigen tests with test to return policy put in place for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Ambassador to Thailand announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Jonathan Kings as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Thailand. “Aotearoa New Zealand has a long-standing relationship with Thailand, celebrating the 65th anniversary of diplomatic representation between our countries in 2021. We also share much in common at regional and multilateral levels ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government’s Family Package continues to deliver for New Zealanders
    The Families Package helped around 330,000 families in its first year - more than half of all families with children in NZ These families received an estimated $55 per week more from Families Package payments in 2018/19 than in 2017/18, on average Families Package increases to the maximum possible Accommodation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand retains top spot in global anti-corruption rankings
    Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has welcomed news of New Zealand’s ongoing position as top in the world anti-corruption rankings. The 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index released by global anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International, ranks New Zealand first equal with Denmark and Finland, with a score of 88 out of 100. “This is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Testing improvements see New Zealand well prepared for Omicron
    New Zealand’s PCR testing capacity can be increased by nearly 20,000 tests per day to deal with a surge in cases as part of our wider COVID-19 testing strategy, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said. “We have continued to adapt our public health response to safeguard the health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 5,000 portable air cleaners for schools on their way
    As schools are preparing to return, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 5,000 air cleaners have been ordered for New Zealand schools. “As we know, along with vaccination, testing, good hygiene and physical distancing, good ventilation is important in minimising the risk of airborne transmission of the virus that causes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand to move to Red from 11.59pm today
    All of New Zealand will move to the Red setting of the Covid Protection Framework (CPF) at 11:59pm today as Omicron is potentially now transmitting in the community, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. “Nine COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson/Marlborough region are now confirmed as Omicron, and a further ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Mandatory boosters for key workforces progressing well
    More than 5,785 (82%) border workers eligible for a booster vaccination at 6 months have received it so far, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “That’s a really strong uptake considering we announced the requirement the week before Christmas, but we need to continue this momentum,” Chris Hipkins said. “We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ to move to Red
    Nine COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in the Nelson/Marlborough region have now been confirmed as the Omicron variant, and a further case from the same household was confirmed late yesterday. These cases are in a single family that flew to Auckland on 13 January to attend a wedding and other events ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand to provide further help for Tonga
    Aotearoa New Zealand is giving an additional $2 million in humanitarian funding for Tonga as the country recovers from a volcanic eruption and tsunami last weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. This brings Aotearoa New Zealand’s contribution to $3 million. “This support will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Quarterly benefit numbers show highest number of exits into work
    The Government’s strong focus on supporting more people into work is reflected in benefit figures released today which show a year-on-year fall of around 21,300 people receiving a main benefit in the December 2021 quarter, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said. “Our response to COVID has helped ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Northland to move to Orange, NZ prepared for Omicron 
    Northland to move to Orange Rest of New Zealand stays at Orange in preparedness for Omicron All of New Zealand to move into Red in the event of Omicron community outbreak – no use of lockdowns Govt planning well advanced – new case management, close contact definition and testing rules ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • RNZAF C-130 Hercules flight departs for Tonga as Navy vessels draw nearer to Tongatapu
    A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules has departed Base Auckland Whenuapai for Tonga carrying aid supplies, as the New Zealand aid effort ramps up, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “The aircraft is carrying humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies, including water ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand prepared to send support to Tonga
    New Zealand is ready to assist Tonga in its recovery from Saturday night’s undersea eruption and tsunami, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “Following the successful surveillance and reconnaissance flight of a New Zealand P-3K2 Orion on Monday, imagery and details have been sent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand stands ready to assist people of Tonga
    The thoughts of New Zealanders are with the people of Tonga following yesterday’s undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says. “Damage assessments are under way and New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to Tonga,” said Nanaia Mahuta. New Zealand has made an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Record high of new homes consented continues
    In the year ended November 2021, 48,522 new homes were consented, up 26 per cent from the November 2020 year. In November 2021, 4,688 new dwellings were consented. Auckland’s new homes consented numbers rose 25 per cent in the last year. Annual figures for the last nine months show more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Report trumpets scope for ice cream exports
    Latest research into our premium ice cream industry suggests exporters could find new buyers in valuable overseas markets as consumers increasingly look for tip top quality in food. Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash has released a new report for the Food and Beverage Information Project. The project is run by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Honouring the legacy of legendary kaumātua Muriwai Ihakara
    Associate Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage Kiri Allan expressed her great sadness and deepest condolences at the passing of esteemed kaumātua, Muriwai Ihakara. “Muriwai’s passing is not only a loss for the wider creative sector but for all of Aotearoa New Zealand. The country has lost a much beloved ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Have your say on proposed changes to make drinking water safer
    Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer. “The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies,” Kiri Allan said. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Planting the seeds for rewarding careers
    A boost in funding for a number of Jobs for Nature initiatives across Canterbury will provide sustainable employment opportunities for more than 70 people, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The six projects are diverse, ranging from establishing coastline trapping in Kaikōura, to setting up a native plant nursery, restoration planting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago