“Surely Tame Noema and his pals on The GC are true to life”

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(ByPaul Little)Like many people, when I first sawThe GC, I was shocked. I could barely believe the evidence of my eyes and ears. Rather than rush to judgment and into print, I thought it only fair to give the programme a chance. Several viewings later, my first impression has been confirmed; this is a masterpiece.

The GCfollows the escapades of 10 20-something young “Mossies”, Maori Aussies, one born in Australia, the rest in New Zealand, who spend long periods either on the beach or in clubs and occasionally doing some light work. They are described as having such occupations as “scaffolder/investor”, a trade of which I’d not previously been aware, property developer/glamour model, singer and, of course, DJ.

On the evidence of the show, days, if not weeks, go by without them doing anything except getting drunk or trying and failing to have sex.

Like most New Zealanders, they prefer to live in Australia. They have chosen Queensland’s louche, sybaritic Gold Coast as their domain, an area of long beaches and apartment towers and one of the world’s largest cultural deserts, lacking the fashion sense of Victoria or the productive drive of New South Wales.

They are heavily and badly tattooed – there’s not a lot of dignity in having “Wassup” written on your chest. They drink too much, dress badly, objectify the opposite sex, are obsessed with their appearance, dance badly, over-groom, overestimate their own abilities and believe the world is waiting for them to reveal their greatness, blame everyone else for failures that are their own responsibility, accessorise badly, lack ambition and are incapable of expressing themselves coherently.

And that’s their good points.

Much of the public outrage centred on NZ on Air contributing $420,000 to the show, or roughly half the cost of a Grey Lynn do-up, a sum I imagine would not have kept the cast in tattoo ink and hair gel for the eight episodes of the series.

The complainants overlooked NZ on Air’s mission statement: “to reflect and foster the development of NZ culture and identity through broadcasting”.

With their distorted values and priorities, Tame, Jade, Zane and their “neffs” (friends) could hardly be more representative of contemporary NZ culture and identity. Whether they intended to or not, the show’s makers have created a subtle, devastating critique of NZ today.

The horrified reaction from people whose television sets apparently receive only TV3, and lack an off switch, uncannily paralleled an incident described in Chapter 12 of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein: “At first I started back, unable to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification.”

The negative reaction toThe GCwasn’t that of decent folk shocked at some uncouth behaviour. It was the horror of the monster confronted with its own reflection.

In other news about New Zealanders in Australia and our depiction on television, Kiwi expat Max Barrett, incensed at a TV commercial parodying NZ accents, is alleged to have assaulted an employee of the station that broadcast the ad. The outcome could have been different if only he had stopped to ponder the irony that Australians, of all the races on the planet, feel entitled to make fun of the way other people speak.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree with Paul Littles article especially the part about Mary Shelly’s novel Frakenstein.
    You couldn’t be more correct Paul. Everybody is different and entitled to their own opinion even if it has to be a negative one. My opinion is that people who give negative comments are usually uneducated or mis-informed on the matter whatever the subject may be.
    We only get to see a tiny part of each of their lives in each short episode, and this is how the majority of young people their age are socialising.
    These young adults are just keeping up with the times, alot of my cousins their age are doing the same sort of thing here in NZ.
    I think it’s great that this programme is funded by NZ ON AIR, because they are NZ’ers and how else would we get to see whats goin on over there with them.
    There were no nite clubs or short skirts and tattoos in the olden days.
    This programme is a reflection of this time and age which will one day be history to the generations to come.
    Big Ups to the producer who helped create this masterpiece and who is Maori, mihi nui kia koe Bailey MacKey for getting our people on Air.

  2. Tena koe,Iraia Roberts I also share whakapapa perhaps not as close as you. Anyone whom chants Tuhoe in their whakapapa we are related. One has to agree with the statement”Several viewings later, my first impression has been confirmed; this is a masterpiece”. And I agree with you sometimes people say things out of turn without true consideration, perhaps looking at the point TV 3?s Ali Akram with the cast from The GC said that Maori & Pakeha New Zealanders are less racist towards each other in Aussie, than what we are here. I did not see this so I have to examine each point. It sounds like the reporter phrased the question in a manner that was considered to be loaded. Taking advantage is more the case to gain ratings.Understanding fighting for our Mana Whenua over here, just as our Aboriginal whanau are fighting for their Mana Whenua in Aussie. Tame and associates it seems were put on the spot they are young, my gripe like you is they are more potatoe than kumara not aware of such details. This just means by law; Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief, including the right to adopt and to hold opinions without interference” and “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form”. They were merely stating their opinion. The difference between knowing or not.

  3. Kia ora whanau, I’m what they call an unlikely fan. I say this because, the only thing I have in common with these guys is being Maori. In Tame & Coles case, I share whakapapa. that’s about the only commonality we have.

    The fact that I’m related to Tame & Cole is why I watched the show, but I’ve grown to like all the other “GC” whanau as well. I tautoko any of my whanau who are doing well, especially when it’s on TV.

    The only reservations I have about our whanau over there is the fact that we’re fighting for our “Mana Whenua” over here, just as our Aboriginal whanau are fighting for their “Mana Whenua” in Aussie.

    When interviewed by TV 3’s “Ali Akram” the cast from “The GC” said that Maori & Pakeha New Zealanders are less racist towards each other in Aussie, than what we are here. What “The GC” cast needs to realise, is that we are the “Tangata Whenua” here, & we are still fighting colonisation.

    It’s OK to live in Aussie & call us racist, but how would they like it if the government just allowed foriegners to come into their/ our Turangawaewae, & plunder the resources without consulting with Tangata Whenua? They need to realise that we’re important. Without us here as kaitiaki, Maori would not exist, because our land would be gone. Once your land is gone, your whakapapa is also gone. As you can tell by my korero, I couldn’t care less about getting rich. I believe in protecting our environment, & maintaining our Tinorangatiratanga. However, I still tautoko our whanau who are doing well for themselves.

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