Festival by the Sea

Bob Orr. Credit: NZ Festival Ireen Demut
Phil Jarratt
With the Carrus Crystal Palace sited beside the harbour this year, Tauranga Arts Festival is thrilled to have a session that celebrates the sea.

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With the Carrus Crystal Palace sited beside the harbour this year, Tauranga Arts Festival is thrilled to have a session that celebrates the sea.

“When we were programming speakers we hadn’t made the decision to move the Palace from Masonic Park,” festival director Jo Bond says. “But the demolition of the City Council building would have impacted our usual site too much so we’ve chosen a site on The Strand waterfront.”

Talking about the ocean and its creative currents are the doyen of Australian surfing writing Phil Jarratt and Kiwi poet Bob Orr, Waikato University’s writer-in-residence who last year retired as a Ports of Auckland pilot boat master and also won the biennial Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for his contribution to poetry.

“This is the first time in my life when I’ve been able to devote myself to poetry instead of squeezing it in round the margins,” Bob says, “The financial reward from poetry is zero but you can’t put a price on the emotional and personal satisfaction I’ve had from it.”

Raised in the Morrinsville area, Bob began penning poems from the age of 12, “when I found that words and their arrangement, actual and possible, were a game unlike any other”.

Phil found his creative loves early too, beginning to surf at age 11 and writing about it from the age of 16.

"I'm not a believer in anything much beyond the church of the open sky,” the 66-year-old says, “but surfing is a spiritual experience which, the old ticker notwithstanding, I hope to keep doing for the next 20 years."

In August he launched Life of Brine, which has just gone into a second print run, about the life that has taken him to beaches, newsrooms and boardrooms around the world and which now sees him shaping up as a documentary maker.

Earlier this year Men of Wood and Foam about Australia’s pioneering surfboard makers premiered in the US and he’s recently been in Timor L’Este making a new doco with the help of Australian human rights lawyer (and surfer) Patrick Burgess.

Phil Jarratt and Bob Orr talk about how the ocean influences their writing on Monday, October 23 at 10am. Tickets from Baycourt box office or Ticketek. Men of Wood and Foam screens on October 21 at Mt Drury. See the full programme at www.taurangafestival.co.nz

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Tauranga Arts Festival

9 Oct 2017

Interests Tauranga Arts Festival The Bi-annual Tauranga Arts Festival is held over ten days in October featuring the best of NZ and international performances, exhibitions and theatre.