Friday, 24 February 2012

More Te Maori Moments

In my last post I wrote about my life as a 'cultural roadie' in 1986 and 1987, travelling the length and breadth of the country as part of the Te Maori installation team.

The exhibition was freighted in trucks provided by one of the sponsors - New Zealand Express.  I had done a little but of trucking as a student teacher during my holidays in 1967 and 1968.  This was for a Palmerston North firm called Atta Transport; we did hay making work and also trucked fresh vegetables from the Manawatu through to the Wellington markets which was a very early morning run.

The Te Maori trucking experience was in many respects quite different.  We traveled long distances as the trucker mate, sitting along side the driver in the cab.  There were three trucks.  My driver was Errol and his truck was a Mack.  Buzz was one of the other drivers and got his name because his snoring in the cab when he was taking a rest stop resembled a buzz saw.  I cannot at this moment recall the name of the third driver but they were a great bunch of guys, always teasing each other.

The Desert Road as dawn breaks.  This taken from Errol's cab with another of the Te Maori truck in the distance.
One of the reasons for the banter was to keep each other awake and to alert the others in the convoy of obstacles that might lie ahead.  The  drivers also had very healthy ( and I use the term advisedly) appetites.  At a truck stop in Taupo in the wee hours of the morning a big fry-up of eggs, sausages, bacon, tomatoes and chips was consumed with gusto.  A similar pattern emerged as we traveled south.  Not too good for the arteries but great for shaking off the last vestiges of weariness.

Dawn, Kaikoura -  heading south with the exhibition to its southern venues.
At the end of each journey we faced the prospect of unloading the crates, having them blessed by the local Iwi and then going about the business of installing each taonga (treasure) in its predetermined location.

Dave Rapp (right) and I mounting an artifact in its cradle.

Lintels were always a difficult proposition to install.
I am at left, Dave Rapp atop the ladder and Helen Telford is holding it.

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