Divided we fall by Trevor Plumbly

He ain’t heavy Outside of terrorism, race is about the scariest topic down here. Everybody, it seems, has an axe to grind from the disgruntled to the fearful; few of whom add much to national unity. Colonialism has got a lot to answer for: South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand carry a huge burden of guilt when it comes to native rights, as they should, but surely today’s children are entitled to question why they should be saddled with paying the cost of ancient wrongdoing? Here in New Zealand, it’s a… Read More

United we stand by Trevor Plumbly

Some things need a total rebuild to function in line with their original purpose and I wonder if this isn’t the case with the United Nations. In a time of high global uncertainty, it seems about time for an overhaul. Dreamers and schemers In 1942, 26 countries signed the ‘Declaration by United Nations’ to form a joint war effort against the German, Italian and Japanese forces. This was followed by the signing of a formal charter in 1945. In those days the UN Security Council was all but governed by its five… Read More

Notes from down under by Trevor Plumbly

New Zealand: the safest place on earth! But that of course carries a cost: sometimes it’s a bit like living in a single room, with the smallest things providing distractions. We don’t have a Donald Trump to keep us amused or an Angela Merkel to keep us focussed, so our pressmen tend to leap at headlines rather than newsworthy comment, such as: rugby player Sonny Bill Williams deciding to tape over a bank logo on his shirt for religious reasons and an academic in Otago seeking funding to run DNA research in… Read More

Nearer my God to thee by Trevor Plumbly

Dear Schoolteachers It is some sixty-odd years since you attempted to shape my mind and I thought my recollection of your efforts might be of interest. Despite your forecasts, I never quite made it as a delinquent; I lacked the stomach for deprivation and, as was the norm in those days, for physical punishment. In an early attempt, I remember standing around a pedal organ with three other snot-nosed street urchins belting out ‘Jesus wants me for a sunbeam’: I became fascinated by the organ stops: they were black and shiny with… Read More

Yellow Brick Road by Trevor Plumbly

Paved with good intentions Time was; every major city had a seedy side. I remember Soho in the late 1950s, awash with hints of vice and criminal activity, yet oddly appealing and relatively safe for gawking visitors: sadly the place traded its character for gentrification. However, here in Auckland our fringe citizens are made of sterner stuff and Karangahapi Road (‘K’ Road to locals) continues to thrive amidst ethnic cuisine, sexual scrabble and good old-fashioned character. The ladies and gents of the night, as well as most known gender variations in between,… Read More