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Nearly There?

I like the way New Zealanders play with names. A couple of years ago, our young neighbour jumped down the bank to visit after a long absence. “Where've you been?” I asked. “L’AshVegas”, he said. Down in Ashburton for the summer, at the freezing works. In the middle of the wide Canterbury Plains, without a neon in sight. Where gambling used to be done for meat packs—maybe still is. On Screentalk, Temuera Morrison talks about going from Rotovegas—Rotorua's a little more like Las Vegas than Ashburton—to Hollywood. There's Sam Cruickshank's Horiwood's blog, ("Hollywood's 1st Entertainment & Celebrity News Website Published by a Maori New Zealander"). Search for Wellywood at NZOnScreen, and there are at least three interesting examples. Down the hill is the Wellywood Backpackers. And here I am, Wellywood Woman. So what do I think of the proposed Wellywood sign, on the hill above Wellington airport?

“Wellywood” is really useful shorthand for this blog. It shows where I live. It explains what I write about. It places the blog alongside its big sister blog Women & Hollywood. It places Wellington's film-making alongside those other traditions that complement Hollywood and enhance the world's cinema: Nollywood, Bollywood. And Wellywood, like L’AshVegas, makes me smile. So I smile when I see the sign.

But is there something better than Wellywood? A large McCahon-ish I AM, great to meditate on during yet another wild ride onto the tarmac: Is there any victory over death? Or another text from one of his landscape paintings?

Colin McCahon Victory over death 2 1970
synthetic polymer paint on unstretched canvas 
2075 x 5977 mm

Or I am Scared I STAND UP? (Help! I have to stay put in my seat belt!)

Colin McCahon Scared 1976 
acrylic on paper 730 x1095 mm 

Or Te Whanganui-A-Tara, to remind us of tangata whenua issues that affect every New Zealand hillside? Or neons? A thin and flashing blue line and Tsunami Safe Zone, also in flashing blue? Or Stop Asset Sales in red, since Air New Zealand’s one of the state assets being sold? After a little thought, as an air traveller who is terrified during every rough arrival, I've decided I’d most like a rainbow neon sign that flashes Nearly There. So when we rock in at the end of a flight and I'm stuck in my seatbelt and frightened, I can look out the window and be reassured. Nearly There. Nearly There. Nearly There. But if the sign says Wellywood, that's OK. I'll get a smile, whew.


  1. thank you so much !

  2. Great story ! Thank for sharing your experience with us. Indeed, it was so interesting that I enjoyed till the now. I also read about the neon sign..I am also very excited for watching it. It seems to be brilliant experience for you.


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