Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year, New Clock

Hello all.

 So where the hell have I been? Well simple answer is I've been splitting my time between sitting on my arse and working. However in the majority of cases working does mean sitting on my arse.

Right let's kick off the year with a new cuckoo clock project. 

It has struck me that the layout of a Maori meeting house and a cuckoo clock do share some happy little similarities so it has always been on my to-do list to make a Maori cuckoo clock. Sadly my skills don't extend to Maori carving but luckily I know someone who is a pretty skilled Maori carver. 

My Dad. Honestly is there nothing this man can't do?

My father was the Art Teacher at Nae Nae Intermediate school in the Hutt for 37 years. In that time he taught hundred of kids art. Dad came here from England and he was immediately fascinated by Maori culture and art. So he set about trying to learn the skills involved. He could carve and sculpt but it wasn't easy to find anyone to teach him - because Dad was a Pom. In the end he managed to convince a guy called Rangi Gira at the Papawai Pa in Greytown agreed to teach him. With the understanding that Dad would hand on the skills to young Maori kids. Predictably my Dad was on the search for Ford V8 parts when he met Rangi. 

So for many year my father taught many of the kids coming through Nae Nae how to carve. He even made the controversial decision to teach girls carving. A few of Dad's students even went on to become master carvers in their own right working in wood, bone and greenstone

My father once submitted a huge carving that he'd done to an exhibition but he was rejected - ironically - because of his heritage. That carving now hangs on the wall of his Garage and is called Te Wheke. It depicts an imagined legend where the tribes and Taniwha of New Zealand banded together to pull the two islands (North and South) together. 

This is just a small detail (I couldn't fit the whole thing in) but it's massive and very, very cool. Dotted around our house are many examples of his work from over the years.

So I asked Dad if he would carve the details for my clock. It's a long time since he's done any carving so he took a bit of convincing it's also small, fiddly work and his eyesight isn't great but finally I talked him into it. The work, I think, speaks for itself.

No bad for an old fella eh? It's simple and classic which is just what I was after. I'm going to have a Tui pop out of this one. The Tui is a native New Zealand bird with a very distinctive call they actually the only bird to possess two voice boxes so this makes their call very distinctive. Naturally I'm now on the lookout for a clean recording of a Tui call. 

So that's just part of what I've been up to I'm going to really try and keep up more regular posts so keep stopping by. 


  1. Awesome work! Your Dad is a true artist, as are you. ;)

  2. I WANT to meet your Dad! A movie should be made about your dad's life. Lucky he has a screenwriter son...

    It looks great. I am such an admirer of the cool arty projects you come out with. I love to paint but never get time. It is good that you make time.

    As for resolutions - they seem sound and sensible. Well done. I am a lazy New Year's Resolutionary. Every year I make the same ones I know I can keep. 1) Don't take up smoking. 2) Don't take up drinking. So far, 41 years later - still manage to keep my resolutions every year without fail. :)

    This year I may add one more just to avoid predictability.

    So here it is:
    3) Take advantage of every opportunity for happiness 2011 presents me with, because life is too short to short-change yourself.

    XX Have a good year, Nick!