Stolen film ends doco dream

Central Leader - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

PRICE­LESS footage has been stolen along with thou­sands of dol­lars worth of equip­ment in a brazen day­light car rob­bery.

Cam­era equip­ment, a bag of books and pho­tos were taken from a locked car on Brown St last Fri­day shortly be­fore 5pm.

Among the haul was re­cent doc­u­men­tary footage of Black Pan­ther rev­o­lu­tion­ary and artist Emory Dou­glas taken dur­ing his first visit to New Zealand from the United States as an Elam in­ter­na­tional artist in res­i­dence.

From 1967, Mr Dou­glas was po­lit­i­cally in­volved in the Black Pan­ther Party and un­til the early 1980s his graphic art, which re­flected the civil rights move­ment’s con­cern for com­mu­ni­ties vic­timised by poverty and prej­u­dice, was pub­lished reg­u­larly in the party’s news­pa­per.

His­tor­i­cal ties be­tween New Zealand’s Poly­ne­sian Pan­ther Party and the Amer­i­can Black Pan­ther Party were strength­ened dur­ing his visit and every­one in­volved in Mr Dou­glas’ trip are anx­ious for the re­turn of the footage.

Found­ing Poly­ne­sian Pan­ther Tig­i­lau Ness says on Mr Dou­glas’ sec­ond day in New Zealand he was taken on a sight­see­ing tour of Auck­land to visit his­tor­i­cal land­marks.

“We made con­tact with Emory in the 70s to let him know we ex­isted in sol­i­dar­ity with their strug­gle over there,” Mr Ness says.

“They sent us in­forma- tion which we adopted based on their plat­form and pro­gramme.”

Such ini­tia­tives in­cluded home­work cen­tres for school kids, or­gan­ised out­ings for the el­derly and com­mu­nity food pro­grammes.

Pho­tog­ra­pher Jos Wheeler ac­com­pa­nied Mr Dou­glas on his 41-day visit to New Zealand and had just dropped him off at the air­port. He doc­u­mented the his­toric visit as Mr Dou­glas trav­elled to Welling­ton, Christchurch, Dunedin, Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty ad­dress­ing lo- cal com­mu­ni­ties in packed­out venues.

“We were meet­ing youth groups and he was em­pow­er­ing the kids by re­mind­ing them that they’re our fu­ture. I was doc­u­ment­ing but also tak­ing on a lot of in­for­ma­tion. It got to the point of ‘wow, this is some­thing else’.”

The last two hours of Mr Dou­glas’ jour­ney were in the stolen video recorder and black bag which Mr Wheeler had moved from his boot to make room for Mr Dou­glas’ bags.

“The project has no end­ing without the video footage, rolls of black and white film and dig­i­tal pho­tos in the stills cam­era,” Mr Wheeler says.

Po­lice say be­cause of the high vol­ume of street park­ing in Pon­sonby, car breakins are al­ways an is­sue. Par­tic­u­lar hot spots also in­clude Dou­glas St, Rich­mond Rd and Fitzroy St.

“Of­fend­ers are brazen in their of­fend­ing and pub­lic places, wit­nesses and car alarms do not put them off, as it is a quick smash and grab while an as­so­ciate usu­ally waits in a get­away ve­hi­cle.”

A $2000 re­ward is be­ing of­fered for the re­turn of the im­ages, which can be posted to PO Box 68517, New­ton. Any­one with in­for­ma­tion on the theft can phone 0274379-961.


Stolen footage: Doc­u­men­tary-maker Jos Wheeler, left, and mu­si­cian Tig­i­lau Ness are des­per­ate to re­cover video tapes and film of Black Pan­ther artist Emory Dou­glas, which was stolen from a parked car on Brown St.

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