Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Kiwi legend heads for Tonga

I'm typing this on a laptop in the open air, because the 'Atenisi Institute library, where I often lurk at this time of day, has been appropriated by an Aussie cameraman making an TV clip to advertise Murray Edmond's upcoming visit to Tonga. As this press release shows, Murray's stay at the 'Atenisi Institute should be plenty of fun. Murray seems to be looking forward to his jaunt into the tropics as much as us: the last e mail he sent me was full of complaints about New Zealand's winter. We're saving you a seat at the kava bowl, Murray.
Press Release by the ‘Atenisi Institute
Issued on 06/06/13

Kiwi theatre legend to make ‘Atenisi his stage in June

The acclaimed New Zealand writer, actor, theatre director and academic Murray Edmond will visit Tonga during the second week of June.

Edmond, who is a senior member of The University of Auckland’s English Department, will be the guest of the ‘Atenisi Institute. He will give a public lecture and run a theatre workshop.

“We’re very excited to be hosting Murray Edmond,” says Dr ‘Opeti Taliai, Dean of ‘Atenisi. “For the last forty years he has been one of the movers and shakers of New Zealand culture. He has published many books, but he is also passionate about live performance.”
Edmond has been a part of some of New Zealand’s most famous plays, and has helped stage numerous works by Shakespeare.

“Last year he even directed an opera!” says Dr Taliai. “Tongan culture is rooted in live performance, and Murray can help young Tongans who want to be better dancers or actors or singers to express themselves on stage.”

‘Atenisi’s Associate Dean Dr Scott Hamilton is a friend of Murray Edmond and helped organise his visit to Tonga. “Murray has always been very interested in the Pacific,” Hamilton says. “Over the years he has worked with many Auckland-based Pacific Island theatre students, and has followed the work of Tongan intellectuals like Epeli Hau’ofa and Futa Helu, the founder of ‘Atenisi.”

Hamilton explains that Murray Edmond is coming to Tonga to share his knowledge, but also to learn more about local culture. “We look forward to introducing Murray to the members of ‘Atenisi’s performing arts group,” say Hamilton, “and to taking him to see some of the ancient cultural treasures of Tongatapu, like the langi of Mu’a”.

Murray Edmond is the first of a series of distinguished visitors that the ‘Atenisi Institute will host this year. In the third week of July a group of Auckland-based artists, including the internationally famous sculptor Filipe Tohi and the painter Dagmar Dyck, will be staging an exhibition of their work at ‘Atenisi. And at the beginning of October the writer, actor and movie-maker Richard Von Sturmer will be visiting ‘Atenisi to give a guest lecture and run a workshop.

“Atenisi has always believed in the importance of bringing different cultures together – of introducing Tonga to the world and the world to Tonga,” says Dr Taliai. “We have a tradition of bringing important overseas intellectuals to our campus, and sending our graduates abroad to do advanced study. We’re carrying on that tradition in 2013.”
Murray Edmond will deliver his public lecture at 7pm, on the 10th of June, and will hold his theatre workshop at 1pm on Tuesday the 11th of June.


Blogger Richard said...

Coincidence! I was just reading the latest Landfall and read a couple of poems by Murray!

I was about to read some prose by Martin Edmond (who is related)...

Murray's poems are good but he also wrote some interesting plays.

Here we are having some cold days and some beautiful so I don't mind it yet.

But no doubt it would be good to go to Tonga one day - except I have a kind of panic about traveling out of Panmure let alone overseas.

Not that I would have anything useful to say over there but it might be an interesting place to go to one day. Manana!

All the best to all over there!


10:47 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Nuku'alofa isn't too different from Panmure, Richard, except that everyone has a one acre yard crammed with various tropical plants and pigs and chickens. Outside the Westernised cultural island of the capital, though, things get different...

The students have seen the photo of Murray on our poster and claim he looks like the pirate Jack Sparrow..

8:48 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Yes, well my neighbours are Tongan and in the 70s I lived in Ponsonby (also Otahuhu for a time) which then was predominantly Polynesian or white working class and students and various other nationalities. I also lived in South Auckland and spent quite a lot of time in Mangere, Otara, Papatoetoe as I lived just South of Auckland for a number of years.

I am working to renovate and paint my house.

I keep the reading going.

Yes, Murray looks like a pirate with that "bandanna". His poetry is very lively and interesting. His latest things in Landfall move quickly all over the world and reference Marlowe and Ardem of Faversham (Mac Jackson's baby) and leaps around the place, if not physically, although I think he is pretty fit from all that drama teaching - in fact he is about my age but one senses he might leap up in the air at any minute, his magics are in his writing and himself (somewhat). Each book of poetry he does has a different style, like Brunton he is nearly impossible to "pin down"...

Richard von Sturmer is also a magician of language...

9:39 pm  

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