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Occupy Christchurch: In Our Own Words

Occupy Christchurch, Information, Oct-2011

Occupy Christchurch, Information, October 2011

A lot of excellent oral history work by Byron Clark is soon to add to the written record of the late-2011-to-early-2012 Occupy movement moment in New Zealand. The content progress can be followed and listened to here: archive.org/details/OccupyChristchurch

Transcript for Kindle available online here:
goodreads.com/book/show/29745296-occupy-chirstchurch-in-our-own-words

Watch for a publication date here:
amazon.com/Occupy-Christchurch-Our-Own-Words-ebook/dp/B01DMEOV5U

Well done OChch and Byron! Thank you for all your efforts.

Here’s the project website: occupychristchurch.nz

I will next write a blog post inspired by reflection upon the collective Occupy Christchurch experience, as now expressed through Byron’s work. The aim is for this to become an informed philosophical and practical talk, to also be presented soon. We look forward to the book launch!

Kia ora. Kia kaha. Ka kite ano.

Local government work is worthwhile when helping good initiatives take shape. This was the case last week, when the Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board endorsed the concept of a ward youth community board:

Christchurch Youth Council deputation to SHCB, 1 March 2016

Christchurch Youth Council deputation to SHCB, 1 March 2016


The Christchurch Youth Council spoke to us about challenges local youth face, due to funding cut-backs in mental health, loss of useable space, activities and opportunity in the Christchurch rebuild, cultural diversity, disability support, etc. They have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Christchurch City Council and are exploring how best to activate it, this week. How a local youth council could work was outlined in December, during SHCB’s Child and Youth Workers network meeting:
extract - Child and Youth Workers network meeting - 2 December 2015

Extract: Child and Youth Workers network meeting, 2 December 2015


The full record of this meeting is here: Notes – Child and Youth Workers Network Mtg – 2 December 2015.
We look forward to this new council establishing! Any assistance required, please do ask. Thanks and well done!

Refs. Christchurch Youth Council; Canterbury’s mental health funding to be cut; Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board

Found, found, icon of iconoclasm,
USA-fireball, burning the night.
Youtube video bring face-to-face,
“Dean Moriarty. Dean Mo-ri-ar-ty!”
http://www.jackkerouac.com/home/links/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Kerouac
Read them ALL and weep,
But re-mem-ber, to-live!
beatnikparty Jack Kerouac was overnight burdened with role of mentor to every post-war generation in dissent. It killed him, too young, at 47. But the uncorked materialist hedonism of the 1960s proceeds in Kerouac’s name – he was completely appalled and drank himself out, just to keep up. Too sad for words.

Every party-goer since, every pill-popper, drinker and junkie needs to wake up. Kerouac’s story and outlook needs to be known. Understood. Explained. Absorbed. Substanc-iated.

Shambled across the Earth. He meant no harm. Only good. Revealed mystery

I was propelled to Kerouac research by an equal tragedy, after Christmas 2015, that referenced Jack directly.[1]

Ian Murdock was a GNU/Linux hero, whose legacy product underpins my daily online work, with Debian as Ubuntu. Like Kerouac, Ian went out from alcohol effects it seems. Such a waste of great brains. Such enormous loss.[2]

Constant revival of Kerouac interest merits adding condolence words.[3] Thanks man. Stay straight.

Footnotes
[1] October in the Railroad Earth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hjPZpaXNsw from http://pastebin.com/raw/dX3VSPkM

[2] http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/12/30/ian_murdock_debian_founder/

[3] http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/sep/16/jack-kerouac-ex-girlfriend

For the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_Generation

Barrington petition news: RepReview appeals due 211215

Barrington petition news: RepReview objections and appeals due 21-Dec-2015

The proposal to increase Christchurch councillor numbers and manipulation of city hall shows why the fake-left are held so far from government, by democracy. If there aren’t enough councillors to fill committees – created by the dominant Christchurch administration bloc – what price more?

Devastation of the residential community grid, is what. Ward boundaries at random places that divide suburban communities of interest internally, and from long-held associations with neighbours, is what. For citizens to get their community organisations running they will be challenged by divided representation, in this skewed future. From 13 councillors currently, 16 are proposed. Would 14 be enough? If you think so you may like to join the petition to that effect.

What is fake about this proposed ‘left’ reform of a council is that it posits three added representative officials (on $100k salaries) as necessary ‘improvement’ of local democracy, while shattering the neighbourhood tapestry of suburban communities defined within wards to get there. The cost is to the communities and the gain is to the elected officials.

The fake Left of Christchurch says the end justifies the means, that more (Labour) councillors (on $99,200 salaries) is what our city needs, whatever the cost to struggling communities. Community unity – to decide and lobby for their interests – must be placed first, for which 14 councillors is an adequate increase. But Labour do not want to hear this or from the source.

Representation Review appeals and objections are due by Monday 21 December 2015, by 4pm. Take a look at the proposed 16-ward map, to see how your community would be affected, and have your say: http://www.ccc.govt.nz/repreview
Share: http://www.facebook.com/events/752932178145017/

More info: https://riktindall.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/christchurch-city-mauls-core-communities-addington-sydenham-waltham-linwood-richmond-stalbans-in-boundary-review-ccc-repreview-petition-chch-nz/

Petition: https://riktindall.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/ccc-repreview-submission-petition-dec-2015-barrington-issues-group.pdf

Kia ora. Kia kaha, Otautahi

Barrington Issues Group petition news - Southern View, 30 Nov 2015, p.3

Barrington Issues Group petition – Southern View, 30 Nov 2015, p.3

A petition has started to defend historic Christchurch communities with boundaries under attack in the city’s representation review. Council proposes a new Central ward taking area from Addington, Sydenham, Waltham, Linwood, Richmond and St Albans, breaking up these communities of interest across multiple wards. Akaroa-Wairewa community board is merged as a minority into Lyttelton-Mount Herbert in the proposal. The petition opposing 2016 destruction of social history and community cohesion – so important for post-earthquake city recovery – is here:
CCC RepReview submission petition Dec 2015

The proposed new Christchurch ward areas look like this:

Christchurch City proposed ward boundaries 2016

Christchurch City proposed ward boundaries 2016

Submissions are open until 4pm on Monday 21 December 2015, with details here: http://www.ccc.govt.nz/repreview

News extract from: Southern View, 30 Nov 2015 http://starnews.co.nz/jump.php?link=http://issuu.com/The.Star/docs/115334ob page 3

BIG-MediaRelease2-petition-031215 = http://bit.ly/1Twu4hd

The Christchurch City Council Representation Review 2015 closes for submissions at 5pm tomorrow, Friday 9 October. Thereafter Council will review submissions and the city electoral map proposed for 2016, and forward the decisions to central government for approval or otherwise. So what we all say about this is important and can have bearing on the final outcome. Communities of interest should be strengthened, made more articulate and coherent – and not more fragmented and weaker – as a result.

Here are some local ideas to encourage you to have your say:
Barrington Issues Group RepReview Submission Oct2015 final (1MB pdf file download)

CCC 14-ward, 8 communty board model, July 2015

CCC 8 communty board & 14 ward model, July 2015 – preferred option for many in South Christchurch


Graphic from: http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/TheCouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/July/Council23July2015Clause10Attachments2-5-MAPS.pdf
Ref. http://www.ccc.govt.nz/repreview or
http://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/have-your-say/whats-happening-now/representative-review/
Online submission form here: https://ccc.tfaforms.net/77

#HaveYourSay – Kia ora!

When a preacher repeats a lie, no surprises there; it is his profession after all. The catalogue of Paul McMahon’s corruption just keeps growing, as Spreydon/Heathcote Community Board Chair and now would-be councillor for a proposed half Woolston ward. His team’s conflict-ridden manipulation of council map-hacking is another matter – www.ccc.govt.nz/repreview – but now it can be proven that a Democracy Services lie echoes that of McMahon’s colleagues at ‘Peoples Choice’ indisputably. Truth is stranger than fiction here. Who would be so stupid, except for ‘the entitled’ at Christchurch City Council?

The fraud that Labour(/Alliance) representatives have perpetrated on the people of Christchurch is falsifying the public record, to benefit their greedy, power-at-all-costs, blinded party selves. A career-ending mistake for them each.

Here are the minutes of Spreydon/Heathcote Community Board from 4 August 2015, as written directly to computer and overhead projector – in full view of everyone in the room at the time, without any complaint from anyone – by the board support officer [unnamed-1]: [1]

Spreydon/Heathcote Community Board minutes 4 August 2015

Spreydon/Heathcote Community Board minutes 4 August 2015

Only two weeks later, lie authors Karolin Potter and Melanie Coker decide they don’t like the look of that shared work (moving Part A 1.1) and move to alter the record, per corrupt Team Privilege: [2]

Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board minutes 1 September 2015 p.6

Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board minutes of 21 August 2015 p.6

McMahon agrees and joins the lie, despite my expressed appeal after this travesty. I ask by council email that Board consider reinstating truth in the minute record. The response is [unnamed-2], on 1 September for Democracy Services, before board meeting telling me “an investigation has been done and there was a mistake in the minute writing, by the minute writer.” Which never happened, is unjust blame and an outright covering lie.

What McMahon and CCC Democracy Services hang their hat on, to cement injustice, is the doubt thrown in by board advisor [unnamed-3], who says “I had my nose down taking notes and did not see” – how the Chair had found his mover and seconder for 1.1 on August 4 – unlike [unnamed-1] and everyone else.

I never seconded Clause 3.2 or even spoke on the subject matter – that suggestion was made up too, which has already been acknowledged and changed in the record. After I raised the ongoing error concerning 1.1 with the Board by email, on 1 September [unnamed-2] appeared for Democracy Services to deliver a ruling to be adopted, that drew Helene Mautner into the lie: [3]

SHCB minutes 1Sep15

SHCB minutes 1Sep15

That Democracy Services blames the mistake, through the above vague, non-restorative wording, unjustifiably on the lower-ranked [unnamed-1], and has so far upheld former lawyer [unnamed-3]’s jotting mistake as truth, tells you everything you need to know – the moral of the story – about dirty Labour(/Alliance) social-fascism: these people can never be trusted as government.

– Defend the performance integrity of council worker [unnamed-1] and sack all those ‘above’ her and inventing faults of [unnamed-1]’s. For theirs is the actual and enormous wrong. Theirs is the mistake and infectious lie that they must own up to. No confidence.

Kua mutu.

[1] http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/TheCouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/August/SpreydonHeathcoteCommunityBoard-Agenda21August2015%20.pdf

[2] http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/TheCouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/September/SpreydonHeathcoteCommunityBoard-Agenda-1September2015%20.pdf

[3]
http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/TheCouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/September/SpreydonHeathcoteCommunityBoardAgenda18September2015.pdf

Spreydon-Heathcote, Christchurch city ward base, now abolished

Spreydon-Heathcote, Christchurch city ward base recently abolished: to be replaced in 2016

It’s official: the Spreydon-Heathcote electoral ward of Christchurch city is no more. It was abolished on Thursday, 13 August 2015, as were all the Christchurch wards laid out before 2004.[1] That’s a good thing, and moment for nostalgia. A memorial to the Heathcote County Council (ex Road Board) that got merged into Christchurch City Council in 1989, the ward name caused confusion: a) the Heathcote Valley was part of Hagley-Ferrymead ward, not Spreydon-Heathcote, and b) the Heathcote/Opawaho River spanned three city wards, including the above two, so could not rightly be claimed by any of them. Confusing! Remedy at hand.

From one ward, two would now be made. The possibilities around renaming are significant, and will be decided by several influences in the lead-up to the 2016 local elections. The new community board name will last at least the next 3-6 years and probably longer. It affects how our local communities can organise themselves, for diverse beneficial outcomes, within accurate boundaries to be settled in the months ahead. This is important.

So what are the choices? Spreydon-Cashmere(-Woolston) if the 16-ward model about to be consulted upon gains support, or Spreydon-Beckenham if the 14-ward model revives, as best improvement upon the seven wards that just got abolished. Get involved and ‪#‎HaveYourSay‬ from 26 August to 9 October, 2015.[2]

Congratulations are due this council either way. A bold step of making representation more direct to local communities, more locally elected, is within reach. This is a product of dividing seven large wards into a larger number of smaller wards, where each turns out about half the current size (except Banks Peninsula). All wards would reduce from having two councillors to having one, in future (like Banks Peninsula). Of all the concessions to be gained from the Local Government Commission, as changes to the city ward system, this could be the second-most-challenging. The first would be total increase in councillor number, beyond a modest one, to three in the 16-ward proposal. The proposal, to be released by Council on Wednesday 26 August, for us looks like this:

Spreydon-Cashmere-Woolston ward proposal, 26 August 2015

Spreydon-Cashmere-Woolston community board proposal, 26 August 2015

The proposal is to be commended for resolving the primary problem Spreydon-Heathcote ward had with its boundaries: division of Waltham, where part had been in Hagley-Ferrymead ward. At last, Waltham will be united through its representation! That’s a big step forward. But the same fundamental principle needs to be applied to all the new ward map – division of communities is mostly unnecessary and quite unacceptable. For this reason the 14-ward model is better, for creating fewer community divisions, and none once refined, as seen here:

14 ward model, draft Spreydon-Beckenham community board area

14 ward model, draft Spreydon-Beckenham community board area

It is a simple choice, in fact, over where electoral improvements should be made – in and for communities, or for the councillors? That we are being confronted with possibility of the latter (16 councillors) shows that a legal obligation to consult has been inappropriately hijacked for political ends – to meet a council process objective. The cost in this council expansion planswould be one whole community board scrapped, to increase representative weight at the top end. Is this acceptable? There’s a war on between communities and politicians, over who owns democracy, in the Christchurch Representation Review: stop poli-inflation!

Christchurch electors need to look hard at their representation map and voice an opinion over what will work best for them. Because this voice is the only element that can satisfactorily decide the review questions. #‎HaveYourSay‬ from Wednesday!

[1] Graphic – Chch South Library’s future unknown, The Press 10/08/2012,
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7452318/Chch-South-Librarys-future-unknown +
3.3 “That the current wards and communities be abolished.” – p.240, http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/TheCouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/August/Council13August2015OpenAgenda.pdf

[2] http://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/have-your-say/whats-happening-now/representative-review/

The Spreydon-Heathcote ward just abolished:

Spreydon-Heathcote ward map

Spreydon-Heathcote ward map

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathcote_County

Along the Hills: A History of the Heathcote Road Board and the Heathcote County Council, 1864-1989 James Watson, Christchurch 1989, https://christchurch.bibliocommons.com/item/show/68121037

Heathcote County Council – Archives New Zealand, Christchurch Regional Office,
http://thecommunityarchive.org.nz/node/71357

https://riktindall.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/ccc-do-the-job-properly-christchurch-city-council-representation-review-chch-repreview-newzealand-nzlabour-nz/

The Christchurch local representation map is being redrawn, per six-yearly requirement, ahead of the 2016 elections. This provides opportunity to strengthen communities – or to strengthen politicians – as significant change is unavoidable in complex circumstances. But left to their own devices, which do you think some politicians are endeavouring to do? That’s right. The obvious: a strengthening of power within their grasp.

Public pressure – DEMOCRACY – is required to make Christchurch politicians see sense. Naturally.

Where 55% polled have already said they want no change at all, this is not an option: the Banks Peninsula anomaly/gerrymander (feat Sir Bob Parker) has to end, central government has ruled, and because earthquake red-zoning has moved so many households westward that they have to be recounted. So would politicians propose the nearest amendment possible to no change at all, that people want, of minimised change that improves balance effectively? Of course not. That is why, in August-Sept 2015, you should HAVE YOUR SAY on the CCC Representation Review.[1]

To recap, this is what the Christchurch public has already said on this matter [2]:

CCC Rep Review Press poll 210715

CCC Rep Review Press poll 210715

The public do not want the community board system undermined. In fact, to do so would conflict with the current mayor’s stated purpose of strengthening communities and the delegated abilities of community boards. Against this, one third of those polled support a Labour-aligned councillor and board chair-led initiative to multiply total councillors to 16 (in whose interests?) A still higher proposal of 19 councillors has already been rejected, as has an amendment for reduction to below the current 13; but 19 is still being lobbied for hard, regardless.[3]

The 16-ward system proposed, that will go out for consultation later this month, redraws the community board map as serious dilution. The gain would be three extra councillors to what we have now, with community boards having to cover about 14% more territory each, because one (Hagley-Ferrymead) would be lost entirely. That is a direct challenge to the closer focus that resident communities now have, and would retain under a 14-ward system (two wards per board instead of the three being proposed).

The 14-ward system drafted is much better for local communities, does bring one extra councillor to the table, and each councillor will represent a much smaller number of people. This is the gain and the loss in the inevitable redraw of the Christchurch political map: where residents have two councillor representatives currently, except Banks Peninsula, in future they will have only one, like Banks Peninsula. Performance competition within each urban ward is going to be removed, after the local elections next year, thus (and is this actually good?) So getting the representation ratio down still further if possible – as 14 wards achieves – is very important; though the 14 ward boundaries drafted still need minor refinement – HAVE YOUR SAY on this later this month.

Here are the 14- and 16-ward maps and board areas for comparison, from the council agenda [4]:

CCC 14-ward draft 23Jul15

CCC 14-ward draft 23Jul15


CCC 14-ward draft Community Board areas 23Jul15

CCC 14-ward draft Community Board areas 23Jul15


CCC 16-ward proposal 23Jul15

CCC 16-ward proposal 23Jul15


CCC 16-ward Community Board areas 23Jul15

CCC 16-ward Community Board areas proposed 23Jul15

You can see how addition on one new ward per community board is going to increase competition for board attention by 50% (increased board area). You can watch streamed video of how the 16-ward proposal got decided.[5]

Morally there is cause for the new, 14th seat to be elected from the Maaori electoral roll, proportionally; but mana whenua, Kai/Ngai Tahu runanga is opposed. Process-wise, bureaucratically it is too late to be debating this aspect now; it is a critical consideration for the six-year period ahead. Towards a 15th seat in 2019 or 2022? …

To summarise: the 2015/16 CCC Representation Review provides excellent opportunity to strengthen communities, by clarifying suburban/rural area maps for community cohesion and collective voice. But the review process has been hijacked by politicians of one political stripe, trying to strengthen themselves in number – at the expense of community cohesion – illegitimately. Communities must strengthen themselves and push back to ensure resident say is not further reduced in prescribed city mapping transition.

Council, please do what is right. The Local Government Commission has authority to reject your 16-ward proposal, if it is unwarranted, unsubstantiated or poorly researched, and they have done so before – last time 16 wards were proposed here. Do not leave Christchurch with no democracy-plan iron in the fire by proposing something unreasonable on our behalf. Debacle lays ahead if you do.

Kia ora. Kia kaha Otautahi!

[1] http://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/have-your-say/whats-happening-now/representative-review/
[2] http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/70361468/christchurch-city-council-mulls-options-for-size-change
[3] http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/70417628/city-councillors-favour-upsizing
[4] http://www3.ccc.govt.nz/thecouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/July/ see agenda of 23 July 2015.
[5] http://councillive.ccc.govt.nz/tag/agenda-item/representation-review-2014-15

Update 5 Aug:
As Christchurch youth say, ‘the communities should govern’:

C.C.Council signs off its 2016 representation proposal next Thursday, 13 Aug, and will notify it Weds 26 Aug. Public submissions on the representation review close on Friday 9 Oct. Prepare to defend and enhance community voice! http://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/news-and-public-notices/council-selects-new-ward-option-for-public-consultation/ See 13 Aug agenda here: http://www3.ccc.govt.nz/thecouncil/meetingsminutes/agendas/2015/August/index.aspx

Current ward/board area population sizes range from 47.7k to 65.5k approx, with the Banks Peninsula exception of 8.2k – see http://www.ccc.govt.nz/the-council/how-the-council-works/council-wards/ 2013 Boundary maps: Google maps overview of all Christchurch wards https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zQ_JdJhdRN14.kHXUed_Xsj74

This critical range of community board representation numbers would change to:
16-ward model: between 63.5k & 66.1k + 19.8k (higher, makes representation worse, to increase councillors)
14-ward model: between 45.5k & 71.9k + 22.0k (lower/better balanced once refinement properly completed)

An ambition-laden, cost-saving proposal, the 16-ward model about to be released is a very clear attempt to shift decision-making power out of communities and into the council chamber. Where it increases community board areas by 50% and the councillor number on them by 50%, it increases the community board member number by just 20%. Is that what communities want, and is it fair?

It looks like council abandoned development of the 14-ward model, to leave it distorted and out of contention? A substandard effort here: finish the job and do it right please!

Use http://www.mashblock.co.nz to find boundary fixes, and read http://www.cashmere.org.nz/news/Cashmere-News-Diary-12Aug2015.html for why.

Last week’s Audio Culture profile brings back memories, and myths that can now be dispelled, thanks to the internet. For the benefit of fans/supporters of The Johnnies, and of posterity, here is more information from one who was there: http://www.audioculture.co.nz/people/the-johnnies

AudioCulture.co.nz 22.7.15

AudioCulture.co.nz 22.7.15

From the top; yes Jolly-Ups spawned the Johnnies, and were a ska group with ‘Rudy’ Bruce Curtis as their laugh-a-minute singer who prided himself on wearing “dead men’s suits” from second-hand stores; when he was dressed! They were great fun. Bass player Mike Smith and Rudy had been work colleagues of mine so when the time became right I joined their music progression. Mike had Neil McRobie as drummer, making a solid rhythm section, then found keen guitarist Vince Haughey. Yes, every punk was at the Gladstone pub venue those days, including Vince. That the Johnnies were never invited to play the Gladstone seemed unfair, especially to Vince.

After the Jolly-Ups had folded, so had my first bands, so by completing Vince’s three chord thrash, the Johnnies got us all going anew – after 1981, a dramatic year in NZ-UK. My role was lead vocals and sometimes second rhythm / feature guitar. We all wrote most of the songs together, and me most of the original lyrics. I wasn’t new at it, which was why I was asked to join.

From Mairehau High, 1978 was the last and schoolboys The Plague practise year, writing and learning songs and a set at a hired church hall in Burwood with my brother Chris and friends. This we got kicked out of for loud obscenity / being too punk. Fair enough! Better things awaited. Leaving school and home, our Gloucester Street, Linwood flat (just down the road from Paul Kean and Jane Walker of Toy Love) became base for Plastic Impact and entry to the Christchurch pub entertainment scene. All having jobs, we could buy equipment and beer. This punk, new wave-looking band went well and did many gigs at local halls and pubs over the next two and a half years, and had a good following. We upheld “The Plague” anthem, more original works, and some Ramones, Pistols, Wire, Buzzcocks, Voidoids, etc covers that people loved dancing to.

Impact terminated to saddened cries of “Don’t break up!” at the Arts Centre one Saturday night mid-1981, still gaining audience but setting everyone free with the same earnings share. I had been lead singer and manager. Chris (later Anzak) took a new course with The Solatudes (pre-Wastrels) sharp, tuneful rock, moving from guitar to bass, influenced by glam (also Doors, Beatles). I started learning guitar, and practised with The Orggies three-piece from the Impact circle, still on vocals doing basic all-original work. We played the Gladstone once, and nowhere else I can recall. No legacy remains of that short period (until now).

But the core punk ethos was still gaining strength, against new wave trend, and so the Johnnies formed. From punk transition came division, nee joy. This was very much an echo of 1981, characterised by civil protest stopping a Springbok rugby tour, Brixton Riots, Muldoon-Reagan-Thatcher rule, miners’ strikes, South American invasions and Falklands war. Counter-politics had voice and platform in punk. As did regular partying.

A practise room was rented, above Peaches and Cream on St Asaph/Colombo Street corner, and used diligently. Mike, Rudy and I were all students before long, and eventually shared a flat with other friends in Peverell Street, Riccarton, which was very enjoyable.

But a sexist line in the signature song “Who killed Johnny?” was required of whoever would sing for this band. As artistic portrayal of a warmly memorialised character, I chose to show willing to air it. Changing ideas is neither easy nor quick.

The Johnnies’ first performance opportunity came through a social connection of the new band, and this was to mark it permanently. A Sunday afternoon backyard drinking session hosted us, a private party at the home of casual white supremacists, for maybe a gang. The boot cause took a shine to us instantly and attended almost every Johnnies gig to come. From this notoriety grew. We never fed it consciously – listen to the recording – and this occasion would be the only negative fact about the Johnnies to unearth, for what it’s worth.

None of the Johnnies had a skinhead punk persona. But many of our audience did. Confrontations with police happened where we played, with an incident outside Caledonian Hall making a newspaper headline. So controversy began. This was the band’s first public appearance, around the height of the skinhead punk phase, when a minority were coalescing as nazi-punk (Oi). This drift necessitated the term neo-punk, or abandonment of punk altogether by some adherents, over time. There was an atmosphere of typical youth rebellion, with politics non-specific; that was most of the ‘skins’ – generally exuberant, harmless rockers, going through a youth phase. A few more gigs were found, with better detail listed by Audio Culture than I can write. A Horticultural Hall performance maybe too? A minority of times there were problems, but when there were they stuck.

The lowlight eclipsed a high for the Johnnies, at a Battle of the Bands mid-winter in the Star and Garter hotel, 1982. Playing second to last, we powered through a blistering set. The dance floor was packed and pumping, demanding more, perhaps the biggest crowd we ever engaged with. We had run out of songs. This one-and-only encore ever required of The Johnnies could only be “Who killed Johnny?” played again. Happy punters! Then to the last act, the Wastrels, newly-formed. Quieter. Much less of a dance band that day. Moderate calm anticipation. Jordan Luck was there. The judges must have picked technical skill/musicianship over sheer momentum, and gave the win to the Wastrels. It felt like injustice to most people there. The place spontaneously erupted. Boot boy and girl rage let rip on the hotel doors, lower walls and maybe washroom porcelain; I don’t know. The venue was vacated pretty promptly, before authorities arrived. The Johnnies could rarely get bookings to play after that.

Skin gig violence spelt a definite end to punk-era fun, and peaked the following year, as documented around Evasive Action. It was atypical of original punk mind-expansion and drove most far away from it.

Differences and minor scraps may have put the Johnnies off any prospect of touring together, but mostly we all had jobs or studies that we were committed to. This was a disciplined, professional outfit, in enough ways, if somewhat oxygen-deprived. The shining exception was an Otago foray, to play upstairs at a small pub with the PD Boys, who were good company. I’m unsure where they came from – Ashburton? – or what happened for them next. The PD Boys and the Johnnies contrasted the national pop “Dunedin sound” taking hold through that time, so no ovations there. A good after-event party though.

Guitar with social commentary sounds parallel to the Johnnies were Gang of Four and Killing Joke – far from Oi bands. We existed near the boundary of Oi, as did every punk band in early-80s Christchurch, of which there were several. Oi fought weakly for the heart of all these music groups and got nowhere as far as I know. It wasn’t like England, where football support tours got taken over for pitched battles around this time. In New Zealand we are typically liberal-left, always improving our embrace of cultural diversity; so too in Christchurch predominantly. If an individual chose to pitch The Johnnies to an Oi audience, in an Oi way as the archived PJ’s gig poster indicates, that was beyond democratic decision of the band and of arguable significance: an isolated and misguided expression of free speech. We were in it for the music, enjoyment and an appreciated profile, at the end of the day. Marketing is very difficult to monopolise.

Bands most closely related to the Johnnies were Unauthorised and Desperate Measures. Of course The Androidss broke ground for us all and had just played out. Ballon D’Essai surprised at the Gladstone.

Although we’d all get on fine now, at the time young musicians can be egotistical and very competitive. Fault-finding is qualification for ‘cool’ discrimination. In that light came The Star interview and slanted comment that Andrew Schmidt repeats. My non-appearance at the interview was by accident, not intention, contempt or having “nothing to say”. Quite the opposite. A lot of band organising had fallen to me, then a full-time student, including studio booking, manufacture, distribution and publicity for The Johnnies’ EP. Without gigs we needed some kind of outlet! The Wellington trip to EMI record-press enabled the Chelsea Records drop from which Schmidt’s disc purchase became possible. So it was a case of – as one wouldn’t expect – forgetting a last, most important action: the Star media interview appointment. I had set all the guys up to go, after which the date slipped my own mind as lead organiser. Unfortunately mistakes happen. This made the Johnnies look unaccountable and maybe worse.

Punk had extreme innovation and energy – it could find any direction, and did. What happened with The Johnnies was a bit like the Sex Pistols, when Glen Matlock (who brandished a picture of Karl Marx on his bass) was replaced by Sid Vicious (who could barely play). These people were many of our generation’s heroes, our inspiration, and Sid’s fate was symptomatic of steady degradation of wit, tone and point, getting ‘out of it’ on the substances of rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

The final Johnnies gig was probably its best though, at the University of Canterbury Students’ Association upstairs bar, February 1984. Our sound was really tight, powerfully motivating and on the edge. People thrilled to hear it, most often for a single time, and met it with their feet. Then their hearts and minds. The Johnnies had gained tuuturu punk mystique through struggle to exist, and a smooth routine on instruments; a story ending well.

This was a farewell party performance, for my brother’s next new band and my own, and all our friends, as we two were UK-bound. Leaving Christchurch and music behind, for a very long time, was a sure way of resolving the tension between Johnnies popularity and frustration. I sold my black Telecaster and Rockit amplifier so there could be no turning back. Politics was better pursued without a soundtrack, I was learning (like Peter Garrett).

Both The Gladstone and the Star and Garter got pulled down, before and after the Canterbury earthquakes, and are fondly remembered by very many musicians and audiences. Excellent days and nights! Thank you everyone who played a positive part. Kia ora.

Ref. http://www.failsaferecords.com/history/intro.htm

Copyright – Rik Tindall 2015 – please contact me if you wish to republish.

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