Attention, Arts Lovers.
It is the second-to-last day of our wonderful arts festival.
I wonder how you’re all feeling today. I have to be honest and say that I’m feeling a little frustrated. I was all set to spend the afternoon at the Palace, learning from some of New Zealand’s great writers. However, that all changed when I found myself feeling extremely faint and having to make a quick exit. I won’t go into all the details but let’s just say I think I ate something that decided to get revenge.
As I lie here in bed, my frustration is lessening a little as I remember that I still managed to learn something in that short time frame. I’m a huge fan of the “learn something new every day” philosophy, so at least I can tick that box.
The speakers I managed to catch were Damien Fenton and Harry Rickets – the World War 1 experts. Damien was born in Tauranga. He co-authored “The Anzacs”, and he wrote “New Zealand and the First World War”. Harry’s a specialist in war poetry. He read us a graphic poem in which the author explained to us that seeing people’s eyeballs pop out of their heads was like when you squeeze a gooseberry. Enough said. (maybe that contributed to my nausea? Hmmm.)
Damien shared some information about the first world war, and here is a key fact that I learned: the first New Zealanders who died in combat were actually serving in the British forces. I also learnt that while in hindsight it appears that this was a “war of absolute futility and a tragic loss of life”; most kiwis back then accepted that it was necessary and they flocked to enlist. Apparently, for the first two years, most of the soldiers were volunteers.
So there you go. I’ve increased my knowledge of a significant piece of our nation’s history. A piece of history that we don’t want to repeat.
And may the boys in black make more history tomorrow. The type of history that we do want to repeat!
Onwards and upwards,
Onward up many a frightening creek,
Though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak.