Jeremy Leatinu’u and Dead Mileage

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Thursday 6 October 2011
Ron Brownson

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Auckland’s Heritage Festival has grown rapidly to be New Zealand’s largest event concerned with regional heritage.

The event has this mission: “to encourage people of all ages to celebrate, embrace and learn about the unique social, cultural and built heritage of the Auckland region. Its agenda is to foster Auckland as the ‘world’s most livable city’.”

This year, the event that caught my eye was scheduled for 12 hours from midnight on Sunday 2 October until 12 noon. This 12-hour performance was presented by Jeremy Leatinu’u at East Street in Newton.
 
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Curated by Louise Tu’u for We Should Practice the promotion material stated, “Witness between midnight and midday on Sunday morning a twelve-hour traversing of an Auckland inner-city street.”

I visited on Sunday at 8 am. The paths of about two-thirds of East Street were inscribed in coloured chalk with immaculately written lists that stated the dates and names of the persons and businesses associated with each of the street’s properties. Rather than being a bland transcription of names and dates, it came across as a lyrical invocation of the past. I recognised some of the names as being well-known Auckland families: Stead, Semu, Garrett.

More than any of the other Heritage Festival events, Jeremy’s performance invoked the past with a cherishing regard. A simple concept carried through with elegance, respect and sincerity. Impressive in every way and without any cynicism or false irony. Real and refreshing. The type of performance and interaction that we expect from this talented artist.

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Check out We Should Practice
http://weshouldpractice.com/