Written by Ruth Hill with photographs by Dion Howard, this article originally appeared in Freerange Volume 2: Gardening & Violence in 2009, edited by Barnaby Bennett and Gina Moss.
A small organic holding in sunny Otaki, New Zealand, sprouting kids and pigs and walnut trees, seems a world away from the devastation of war-torn Iraq. But for Adrian and Shelley Leason, the two are intimately connected.
A hail of arrows, knives and tomahawks fly through the air as Adrian Leason strolls through the paddock pushing a wheelbarrow full of small children.
“Gardens are violent places,” he muses.
“Full of creatures eating other creatures, plants struggling for primacy, strangling other plants….”
He pauses by a small bonfire.
“I’m not happy about that fire, boys,” he remonstrates gently with his older sons, who are practising their marksmanship on distant targets with a variety of weapons.
“Piss on it, please.”
This peaceful rural idyll is home to Adrian and Shelley and their semi-feral tribe of beautiful children – Jack (13), Finn (11), Che (9), Mana (6), Ari (4), Samuel (2) and Davy (born in April). The Leasons have rejected many of trappings of modern life, including television, but the couple have ensured their family is attuned to world events in a way many of us manage to comfortably avoid.
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After a long and exhausting adventure our good friends Spartacus R have released the long awaited vinyl edition of their album The View. Here’s the opening track from the album.
If you like it, you can get the vinyl here: http://spartacusr.bandcamp.com/album/the-view or at Death Ray in Newtown, Wellington.
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The Politicisation of CERA and the planning of new Christchurch
This, strangely, is a crossback-cross-post originally published at Rebuilding Christchurch by Barnaby Bennett, chief egg of the Freerange Press and editor of the magnificent book “Christchurch: The Transitional City Part IV“. This is the first of an epic four-and-a-half-part analysis of the political machinations in Christchurch, and how they are influencing the rebuild. -Byron, Ed.
No government was ever going to be able to seamlessly respond to a crazy series of events like the earthquakes that hit Christchurch between September 2010 and the end of 2011. It was an insanely complex and difficult event and the tangled nature of all the little parts mean the development of new ideas and plans and the construction of these is no easy task. Yet, this shouldn’t mean a pass card for our representatives. In this article I’ll argue, and explain, why I think the removal of the public from most of the rebuild process is a critical mistake both politically for the government and for the citizens of Christchurch.
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What’s going on with the Arts Precinct: Incompetence or Deceit?
In the last week there has been a long overdue rush of public announcements about the Performing Arts Precinct in Christchurch. These can be tidily split into categories of ‘why didn’t they announce this 6 months ago’, and the more bewildering ‘are you trying to make yourself look stupid?’. I’ll explain this below, and by doing so try to work out a question that could easily apply to a number of projects in the city at the moment: is the current sad state of this project a result of incompetence or deceit? (It’s a long article, but there are specific recommendations at the end!)
I’ll start with the obvious announcement. The government has decided that a significant part of the area designated for the Arts Precinct is now no longer needed so they have wisely decided to remove the designation. This allows the owners of the land to avoid compulsory purchase of the land and to either sell the land or to develop what they want. It has been obvious to everyone involved that this land was not needed for the arts precinct project with the Council’s repeated and consistent position to retain and repair the Town hall. For a department that has been given the mandate to improve the quality and speed of the rebuild it seems strange to tie up this bit of land for so long given that it has been known since late August last year when the Council voted unanimously (for the 2nd time) to retain the Townhall. It was signaled long before this with the Council vote the previous year and the acknowledgment in the Cost Sharing Agreement between the CCC and CERA that the Town hall was likely to stay. This is from a famously fractured council, and not a single member voted against retention on two separate occasions.
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