Kiwi creepy-crawly’s days are num­bered

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE - GLENN MCCON­NELL HAN­NAH ROSS

NEW Zealand’s Hol­ly­wood chore­og­ra­pher Par­ris Goebel has set her sights on be­com­ing a film direc­tor. Al­ready used to the lime­light af­ter work­ing along­side mu­sic heavy­weights such as Ja­son Derulo and Nicki Mi­naj, she’s re­vealed her plans to make her first film next year. And al­though she’s still keen to keep the theme and plot un­der wraps, she says she’s al­ready worked out the sto­ry­line and it cer­tainly hasn’t been a spur of the mo­ment de­ci­sion. She has hinted that she would likely end up mak­ing dance films, sug­gest­ing she took in­spi­ra­tion from clas­sics such as and Fresh from re­ceiv­ing the in­au­gu­ral Legacy Award for en­trepreneur­ship at Fri­day’s Pa­cific Busi­ness Awards , Goebel told she’s al­ready started get­ting used to life be­hind the lens by di­rect­ing videos – in­clud­ing an ad cam­paign that starred the young women who have taken part in Goebel’s fam­ily char­ity.

‘‘It’s some­thing I re­ally wanted to get into,’’ she said. ‘‘I started this year, and have di­rected a few videos. But I want to get more into film, and hope­fully di­rect a movie next year.’’

The Auck­land chore­og­ra­pher, along­side her sis­ters, has been fo­cus­ing her ef­forts on a char­ity aimed at build­ing con­fi­dence and com­mu­nity among young Poly­ne­sian women.

Their char­ity, Sis­ters United, would soon re­veal a photo ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tur­ing some of the char­ity’s par­tic­i­pants. The ‘‘Brown and Beau­ti­ful’’ ex­hibit would fea­ture pho­tog­ra­phy and mod­el­ling from some of the Sis­ters United com­mu­nity.

‘‘This is an op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate our beau­ti­ful young Pa­cific girls, and in­spire other girls to be proud of them­selves and em­brace their beau­ti­ful bod­ies, no mat­ter what size or colour,’’ she said.

The char­ity launched last year, un­der the di­rec­tion of so­cial worker and Goebel’s older sis­ter Ken­dal Collins.

‘‘We have the op­por­tu­nity to change these girls’ lives, just by giv­ing them more skills and build­ing their con­fi­dence as young women,’’ she said.

The chore­og­ra­pher said her fans should keep alert for more mu­sic projects due to drop. Two video clips, both filmed in New Zealand, would be re­leased soon, she promised. FOR nearly thirty years she was one of Auck­land’s much-loved Hol­ly­wood stars.

Rub­bing shoul­ders with the likes of Steven Spiel­berg and John Good­man was the norm back in the early 90’s – but now she seems to have scut­tled off.

No, it’s not Lucy Law­less or Robyn Mal­colm whose fu­ture is in jeop­ardy but our beloved Avon­dale spi­der.

The creep­y­crawly, also known as an Aus­tralian hunts­man, is fa­mous for its role in the movie Arachno­pho­bia but it seems it’s num­bers are on a se­ri­ous slide.

It was first found in New Zealand in the early 1920s and is be­lieved to have been brought over from Aus­tralia in a ship­ment of Wat­tle trees.

How­ever, Land­care Re­search en­to­mol­o­gist arach­nol­o­gist Grace Hall, who has been study­ing the spi­der for decades, said we might not be able to find the spi­der in New Zealand any­more in the next 30 years.

Hall said when she was asked to col­lect the Avon­dale spi­der for its role in 1990 hor­ror-com­edy Arachno­pho­bia she found more than 300 of them with no prob­lem at all.

‘‘Nowa­days you go out and its hard to even find one. I mean if we look at how many there were 30 years ago to now it’s just not go­ing to hap­pen.’’

Hall said she thinks the spi­der is on the de­cline as a lot of Wat­tle trees in the area where they live are be­ing cut down to make room for more houses.

‘‘I guess there’s just not enough space and habi­tat for them. I used to get called out to peo­ple’s homes with peo­ple find­ing them there, but I don’t think any­one is go­ing to find one in their home these days.’’

She said when she col­lected the spi­ders to be­come movie stars she was able to breed a lot of them and ended up re­leas­ing thou­sands of the spi­ders back into the area.

The spi­ders tend only to be found in the Avon­dale sub­urb of West Auck­land, so those who live else­where don’t need to worry about find­ing one of these near them, Hall said.

Avon­dale res­i­dent Cliff Cole said he had an Avon­dale spi­der as a pet as a child.

How­ever, he said he had not seen the fa­mous spi­der for years, ex­cept for the oc­ca­sional baby Avon­dale spi­der.

‘ I don’t think any­one is go­ing to find one in their home these days.’ GRACE HALL

The Avon­dale spi­der is seem­ingly harder and harder to find.

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