Herbs Release Anniversary Film

Willie Now

Willie Now

Long ago… when I was a budding photographer I had a go at doing some portraits for some friends. It didn’t work out that well so I concentrated on making exposures, candid portraits of people taken doing their everyday stuff, unaware of the camera, and much more revealing that any posed shot I could conjure up.

One of those early projects was when Willie Hona was trying to break out. I knew him through Niki Hona who was the sister of my old mate Robbie Van de Lisdonk.

We went into The Domain and shot off a couple of rolls of Ilford FP4 and the best shot is the black and white below.

Willie Then

Willie Then

Willie joined Herbs not long after.

We caught up again at Robbie’s 60th a couple of weekends ago and I got a much better shot of him on the stage rousing up the crowd as only he knows how to do.

Tonight we saw a preview of the movie-doco Herbs: Songs of Freedom.

It reminded me of where I, and probably most pakeha Kiwis, first heard Herbs.

It was at protest rallies, anti-nuclear and Bastion Point.

I’ve always considered this music to be the closest thing we have to our own folk music, our songs of struggle.

You don’t have to agree, I don’t need you to. It’s just how this music came to me, and I think a lot of others.

The movie directly deals with and celebrates Nga Tamatoa and the Polynesian Panthers and interweaves the politics with the music, or rather doesn’t separate them as two separate identities.

Bastion Point, The Springbok Tour, The Land March, French Nuclear Tests in The Pacific, Dawn Raids… all front and centre in this film.

And right there with it, the songs. Of freedom.

See this movie.

Even if you only know of Herbs through their songs, you will get a much better understanding of who and what and why they are.

Here’s the Trailer

Also check out the short video of when Herbs went to Ruatoria

Leave a Reply