Monday, January 23, 2012


First up, let’s be clear that although we're grateful to all those who put us up for New Year's honours, we’ve heard via the back door that OTNOBE sounds too much like a Star Wars character to be acceptable. In any case OTN has a no-knighthoods-for-us policy meaning we can look at art honours with some sort of weird dispassion. 

In so far as knights and dames are a measure of the country’s love and respect, the arts ain’t getting much and the artists even less. As Hamish Keith mentioned in a recent Listener column there have been very few NZ artists recognised. Ever. Woollaston was one (which meant that Peter McIntyre missed out as it was beyond a Muldoon Government to acknowledge two artists at a time) and so too were Peter Siddell, Louise Henderson, Robin White and Eileen Mayo. Then there are Ralph Hotere and Cliff Whiting who were awarded the ONZ. 

We like to think that Colin McCahon told them to stick it (a nice thought, but it might not be true) and that most of the deserving rest (you know who they are) refused to have her majesty’s sword anywhere near them.