Saturday, January 14, 2012

Magnet Bay Farm

Magnet Bay Farm is about fifteen minutes drive from Little River in Banks Peninsula, Aotearoa/New Zealand. I have stayed there three times in the last nine months and have grown to love the place.

My initial two visits were in order to rehearse for a national tour with the show Voices of our Ancestors - an exploration by three Ngai Tahu women, through story, sound and song, of histories both family and tribal. As we all lived in different parts of the country, it seemed fitting to come together for rehearsals on Ngai Tahu soil. We all shared ancestral linkages with Wairewa marae, and so it was a great privilege to be able to base at Magnet Bay Farm, which had recently been regifted back to Wairewa marae by farmer Jim Wright.

I wasn't very well on the first stay, and so wasn't up for a walk down the farm, but Mahina and Ariana went and came back very excited about the assortment of farm equipment (read here as 'sound-making objects').

The next time we visited, I was able to go for the walk - and certainly wasn't disappointed!! Fifty metres from the house it begins - yards and yards of farm equipment in various stages of repair - wire cages, sheds galore, a sheep transport trailer, 44 gallon drums, pots, old tractor, hap makers, a saw really iwas like heaven! That afternoon we walked from pile to pile and hit, scraped, and jumped on things. The next day I went back with an H2 zoom and over the course of a few hours recorded as many of the items as I could.

Mahina kicking a wee drum

Ariana with a metal sheet

Over a period of time I want to archive the sounds and explore them in combinations. I can't help feeling there is a piece of music to be made on-site. Robin and Ngaire, who now manage the farm on behalf of the marae, have certainly indicated there are stories to be told, and they are keen that Jim not be forgotten.

Here is the first sketch-combination of some of the sounds on Magnet Bay Farm.

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