Heavyweight bidders have been maneuvering behind the scenes ahead of this afternoon’s charity auction of more than 100 examples of New Zealand’s finest photojournalism.
Major corporations and even representatives of the Kiingitanga have approached the statues – many iconic moments in Aotearoa’s history.
The Photojournalism New Zealand Charity Auction is the brainchild of former New Zealand Herald photo editor Rob Tucker, who has terminal cancer.
Dismayed at the funding crisis facing Taranaki Hospice, he enlisted the help of the “brotherhood of photojournalism”.
Tucker said he was overwhelmed by the interest in the images, including from big players like the Kiingitanga.
The representatives were interested in Wayne Harman’s depiction of warriors carrying King Korok’s coffin to the sacred burial grounds on Taupiri Maunga.
“It’s a photo taken in 1966 and it’s a very powerful photo and I was surprised last week when the king’s office in Tūrangawaewae contacted me to say they wanted to buy that image for their archives.”
Tucker politely explained that it was too late to withdraw it from the auction and the Kīngitanga, knowing it was being sold for charity, had since arranged for someone to bid on their behalf.
Harman, another former Herald photo editor, recalls thinking at the time that he had taken a great photo.
“We could tell from the start it was a misty, foggy day and as they walked up the mountain you could tell it was going to be a telltale image.”
However, he didn’t realize how important it was.
“I went back to the office and the photo editor came into the darkroom and I printed the photo and he saw it for what it was and convinced the editor of the day to put the photo on the front cover of the broadsheet Herald that day.” to use. “
The image then went around the world.
Tucker said Meridian Energy had also expressed interest in Barry Durrant’s recording of the 1968 ceremonial blast made by the Manapouri power station.
“Whoever set up the dynamite has put on too many and all the hats of the visiting dignitaries – probably about 20 or 30 – and all their helmets are blown off.
“And all the safety helmets are about a foot above their heads, you know what I mean. It’s such an unusual photo.’
Durrant, who was a photo editor for The Dominion Posthad been in the tunnel before and knew there was going to be a concussion, but not quite like that.
“I expected them to ruin their face with a big bang and stuff, but it was a misfire and a lot of stuff came out of the face instead of blowing in the face.
“I don’t know if the miners charged a few extra fees to give the officials a kick, but it was pretty spectacular.”
Tucker said hundreds of bids on the photos had already been made online and more than 300 tickets had been sold for the in-person auction.
A duo of auctioneers had even volunteered to help people donate their money.
“One is an older man and the other is a younger man and I had a meeting with them and they said they will fight each other and they will get the party started,” Tucker said.
“Tell the gamblers who come they don’t have gorse in their pockets so they can get to their money.”
The Photojournalism NZ Charity Auction, which has added a Ross Land portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to the catalog, will be held at the Plymouth International Hotel in New Plymouth this afternoon at 5pm.