Creative energies are exactly that – they seek to add to life. So various, often complex and sometimes profoundly reflective, they comment on our actions, their meaning and their consequences. Would that those in power pause and consider.
takahē, celebrating its 25th year of existence, continues to affirm that creative energies in Aotearoa New Zealand are vigorous and, at their best, positively empowering. With the support of Creative NZ Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa, this small magazine publishes with a purpose – to steadfastly encourage and promote Pacific creative energies.¹
Have you seen, for example, the latest body of work by Dunedin poet and writer, Sue Wootton, Out of Shape? Spread across eleven folded pages, unbound in a hand-printed, hand rolled, washi paper wrapper, designed and produced by artist Caren Florance, it is, as Patricia Prime says in her review, “simple yet luminous.” The content and design of Out of Shape, akin to Siobhan Harvey’s beautiful, sad-glad work, Cloudboy (OUP 2014)², grow our emotional and visual literacy.³
Likewise, the cover of this special issue features work by Maurice Lye (front) and Peter Fitchett (back), two of takahē’s stalwarts. Maurice (professional photographer and graphic designer) and Peter (computer and multi-media specialist) are majorly involved with the magazine’s design and layout. Their work, together with the Takahē Collective’s assiduous endeavours, past and present, and reinforced by the solid energies of Andrew Sewell at Microfilm Digital Copy Centre, helps promote and advance all manner of communicative expressions.
Over the past years, Brenda Allen and I have thoroughly enjoyed putting together many Cultural Studies sections, ardently advocating the value of non-fiction, of exploring who we are, and how meaning is generated and propagated in our everyday life.
In this regard, consider the two biographically-based works: ‘Into the Desert’ by Janet Wainscott and ‘Late, but not too late’ by Jane Seaford in this issue. Socially and culturally probing, these works, together with Patricia Prime’s expansive conversation with poet Bernadette Hall, affirm that whether written or spoken or imaged, communication carries an inherent telos – the goal of mutual understanding. Communication is a craft and the habitual terrain of creative and critical energies – more than a clever catchpenny phrase.
Alongside these items, and the stories, poems and reviews carefully selected for this celebratory issue, there is a plethora of visuals by artists from up and down the country. Isn’t it fascinating to observe just how many of our poets, writers and artists offer us (sometimes quite anxious) considerations on relationships, especially regarding our environs?4 So many use their images and words to emphasise the potential for transforming the world and arriving at more humane, just, and egalitarian societies – ‘living life in peace’.
Finally, if you have found this editorial (replete with footnotes) somewhat … wide-ranging – so be it. Long may takahē (twenty-five years young) widely promote Pacific word and image makers, and reach audiences open to pausing … to considering differences and similarities.
Bon anniversaire, takahē.
Kia waimarie – good luck
1. Do check out our reviews online. Strong, stirring considerations of some of the best contemporary writing and poetry coming out of our many communities.
2. Also reviewed here by Patricia Prime.
3. And do track down Thom Conroy’s scholarly and skilful evocation of Dr. Ernst Dieffembach, the naturalist on the controversial 1839 expedition to Aotearoa New Zealand “to buy land from Maori” – succinctly reviewed for us in this issue by writer and critic Janet Newman.
4. In this regard, do catch Christopher Gomez’s review of Paradise Saved (Random House, 2014). This is a superbly researched and photographed study by Dave Butler, Tony Lindsay and Janet Hunt. It shows and tells the story of New Zealand’s wildlife sanctuaries and how they are stemming the tide of extinction.