Stolen film ends doco dream
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.