Turning New Zealand books into films


I don’t normally follow tweets and twitters and I am not that fond of Facebook at heart, but social media can be useful and there are some organisations whose postings I tend to follow-up after I’d deleted all those I have no interest in.

One that I regularly check out is the New Zealand Book Council, being both a reader and writer of some voracity and passion. Going to films has led me to the books they were (sometimes allegedly) based on; reading books has often led me to the films resulting from them, and it has always been interesting to see how the adaptation is done, and to speculate on why some favourite bits disappeared, or they changed things so much it was nowhere near the author’s vision. I think of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher as I write…

Recently I read an article of some depth, High Fidelity by David Larsen. In it he investigated some recent film adaptations of contemporary New Zealand fiction, and how this process works or doesn’t work – in his opinion. You can read the full article here if it interest you: by http://www.anzliterature.com/feature/high-fidelity/.  I am not reviewing it per se; I am merely reporting on some of the thoughts that arose from reading it myself. Initially I was led to musing on two books with which I have become somewhat obsessed over the years.

The first is Elizabeth Goudge’s Green Dolphin Country (filmed in 1941 as Green Dolphin Street, a novel I first read when I was about seventeen, and which I have read and re-read many times since, and which first presented New Zealand-Aotearoa as an alluring destination.

In fact, I applied to I immigrate here when I was a single mother of two with the highest qualifications in library and information science available at that time and was brutally rejected. How ironic to come out here many, many years later when my daughter married a Kiwi and came to live here with him. My four grandchildren are here and if home is where your heart is, this is now home.

 The 1941 film was not considered to be that good, and I have always wanted to see a better version made of it by Jane Campion, Gaylene Preston or  Niki Caro. Now I am pondering on whether the BBC – so good at costume drama – could not get together with the New Zealand Film Commission – so good at investment – and create a series of such quality it would sell around the world.

I fully admit I don’t know how to turn such musings into reality, but I do know there is a wealth of creative and artistic talent here in the Bay of Plenty. I was at the Tauranga Art Gallery when Anton Steel of BoP Film gave a great presentation on making Tauranga the third centre of film-making in New Zealand. If any one can bring it off, with the right backing, which he seems fully capable of getting, it’s Anton. How about this as a money-making venture to tout as your first big project, Anton?  

 Or would you rather try your hand at the result of my next musing: making a film or a TV series of Bill Pearson’s Coal Flat, a great New Zealand classic, with all the flaws and grandeur of its time, and could be a rip-roaring success.

 You can read the book here:


The New Zealand Book Council reckons we don’t read enough of our home-grown writers, especially the novelists, and at a local level, I wonder if there is any mileage in getting together once a month, reading the book first, then viewing the film – perhaps in the Historic Village’s TECT Theatre? If anyone is interested in taking this idea further, and working out how to put together a programme with the films and books guaranteed, please get in touch. I’d be happy to discuss these ideas more thoroughly and sign up for a 10-month trial.

 David Larsen investigates recent film adaptations of contemporary New Zealand fiction.

photo1295_001Jenny Argante. ARTbop contributor Jenny Argante is one of Tauranga’s literary institutions and creative personalities. She has long associations with all facets of the written and spoken word and Tauranga Writers Inc. and is the current President of that organisation which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017. Jenny participates in and supports all levels of local creativity. A performance poet in ARTbop’s 2016 National Poetry Day events, a creative writing tutor and editor. Jenny can also assist those wishing to publish through Little Red Hen wordwizard@gmail.com Jenny is seen here at a 2016 Creative Bay of Plenty exhibition opening.

donotleavemehangingbyathreadsecondseries2016-003Do not leave me hanging by a thread: a spoken word – poetry YouTube project to support the work of Medecins sans frontieres MSF  – Doctors Without Borders.     You can see Tauranga locals reading their work at the Creative Bay of Plenty Gallery.  Read the promotional article here online.


There are so many exciting local option for New Years entertainment! Trinity Roots at Astrolabe, The Black Seeds at Papamoa Beach Tavern, Head Like a Hole at Totara St…just a few examples of some excellent gigs.

Book your tickets!

The Black Seeds – contact papamoabeachtavern.co.nz

Trinity Roots and Head Like a Hole – book via www.eventfinder.co.nz




4 – 17 January 2017 

Remains of the Day. 

Deborah Forkert has recently again been a finalist in the Tauranga Art Gallery Miles Award. Her unusual medium may surprise you.  More than five years’ practice-based research with one this medium has resulted in a very polished exhibition.

Artist Deborah Forkert

Artist Deborah Forkert

20 Jan – 20 Feb 2017

The Bee Appreciation Society AGM. 

Paintings by Katherine Steeds. A unique and painstaking installation of tiny portraits, in homage to the humble bee.

Anne Stråtveit’s  ART SCHOOL exhibition’s limited edition fine art prints are available now and will continue to be available through the gallery for the foreseeable future.  

During exhibitions the Gallery’s usual opening hours: 11am – 4.30pm every day except Mondays.

But visitors are welcome to browse the gallery outside these hours. Please simply phone for an appointment.

The Cottleston Gallery 

128 Oropi Road, Greerton, Tauranga.  

Contact Katherine Steeds 578 5242 or 0204783337



0204 STEEDS (0204 783337)

Cottlestongallery website 


Miranda Farm Gallery

Miranda Farm Gallery

Hello from Miranda Farm Gallery,

The Summer show is now up and open for viewing. There are some
sculptures out doors in the orchard, and many beautiful paintings,
prints, ceramics and sculptures in the gallery.

Artists this year include Michael Smither, Fatu Feu’u, Neil
Miller,Christine Hellyar, Warren Viscoe, Clovis Viscoe, James Wright,
Uli Christofferson, Samantha Lisette, Suzy Dunser.

We will be open on all the public holidays through the Summer, and the
farm shop/cafe also.

Annie Wilson

Miranda Farm Gallery

1107 Miranda Rd

09 238 2608


Open 8-4pm every day





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