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Famous images by NZ photojournalists in Taranaki Hospice charity auction fundraiser

Former NZ Herald illustrations editor Rob Tucker is organising a charity photograph auction for the cash-strapped Taranaki Hospice. Photo / Andy Jackson...

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Former NZ Herald illustrations editor Rob Tucker is organising a charity photograph auction for the cash-strapped Taranaki Hospice. Photo / Andy Jackson

By Robin Martin of RNZ

Instantly recognisable photographs of Dame Whina Cooper, Muhammad Ali and Prince William are among 100 iconic New Zealand images to feature in a charity auction for the cash-strapped Taranaki Hospice.

The auction is the brainchild of former NZ Herald illustrations editor Rob Tucker, who has terminal cancer.

Tucker said he wanted to do something to help “the angels in the night” who had been instrumental in him being able to continue to live at his New Plymouth home.

“Some nights I’d be laying bad and the pain would get to a stage where the morphine or the oxy tablet pills I was taking didn’t put a lid on the pain and they’ll come 24/7.

“You just give them a phone call and they would come in and give me an injection and lay me out for the night and relieve my pain.”

Horrified to find out the organisation needed to find $4 million to cover its operating costs Tucker called upon the “brotherhood” of New Zealand photojournalists to help out.

“So I came up with this idea with all my mates who were photojournalists working on newspapers, why don’t we get together a collection of historic photos that helped mould the history of New Zealand like the Buzzy Bee on the lawn with Prince William.”

Rob Tucker's iconic photo of Prince William with a Buzzy Bee on the lawn of Auckland's Government House. Photo / Rob Tucker
Rob Tucker’s iconic photo of Prince William with a Buzzy Bee on the lawn of Auckland’s Government House. Photo / Rob Tucker

The 74-year-old took that shot which had been seen around the world, but never before been up for sale.

Other single-edition prints to be included in the auction include Michael Tubberty’s image of Dame Whina Cooper walking hand-in-hand with a moko during the 1975 Māori Land March.

Geoff Dale’s photo of Muhammad Ali sparring with a couple of likely lads on Queen St in 1979 is also included.

Muhammad Ali sparring with a couple of likely lads on Queen St in 1979. Photo / Geoff Dale
Muhammad Ali sparring with a couple of likely lads on Queen St in 1979. Photo / Geoff Dale

Award-winning Muriwai-based photographer Ross Land said he couldn’t refuse Tucker’s call.

“Absolutely not, I mean it’s a fantastic idea, it’s a fantastic cause and I feel very very happy to be able to help Rob out.

“And it’s also a way for me to give back to Taranaki Hospice a little bit too because they looked after both my mum and dad and one of my brothers.”

Dame Whina Cooper walking hand-in-hand with a moko during the 1975 Māori Land March. Photo / Michael Tubberty
Dame Whina Cooper walking hand-in-hand with a moko during the 1975 Māori Land March. Photo / Michael Tubberty

He credited Tucker with kickstarting his career by assigning him to the 1981 Springbok tour, but it was a shot of an fading athletics superstar his old boss selected for the auction.

“One of the ones he quite likes and I’m quite fond on of as well is a shot of John Walker at the very end of his career at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland.

“He’s struggling up the straight to finish the race and both the gold and silver medal-winning Kenyan runners are shaking hands in the foreground with him struggling up the straight in the background, so that’s one I particularly like so I’m glad Rob’s chosen that.”

New Plymouth-based photographer and former Stuff staffer Andy Jackson. Photo / Robin Martin
New Plymouth-based photographer and former Stuff staffer Andy Jackson. Photo / Robin Martin

New Plymouth-based photographer and former Stuff staffer Andy Jackson was helping Tucker put together the catalogue.

He’d been blown away with what had been sent in.

“I really love the one of Fred Dagg sitting on the front of a Land Rover. That’s one of my favourites, but they’re all just incredible and a lot of them will be familiar to people.

“It’s also been really cool finding out the back story to some of these photographs which I never knew.”

John Clarke as Fred Dagg. Photo / John Selkirk
John Clarke as Fred Dagg. Photo / John Selkirk

Jackson has a dramatic picture of Oakura surfer Paige Hareb surfing on the women’s world tour when it visited Taranaki included in the catalogue.

Tucker said the project had given him a new lease of life.

“For one, it stops me looking around my garden to see where my funeral plot will be, and secondly it’s just lovely to be able to bring the brotherhood together and communicating because they haven’t got together for years, so it’s bringing this brotherhood of photographers together and it’s also hopefully going to raise some good funds for the hospice.”

Oakura surfer Paige Hareb surfing at the ASP Women's World Tour held at Fitzroy Beach in New Plymouth. Photo / Andy Jackson
Oakura surfer Paige Hareb surfing at the ASP Women’s World Tour held at Fitzroy Beach in New Plymouth. Photo / Andy Jackson

Taranaki Hospice chief executive Paul Lamb said it had been overwhelmed with Tucker’s generosity.

“Rob is facing a life-limiting illness with all its complexities, but has still said he wants to give back to the organisation, so that connection, Rob’s high profile and the different approach he’s taking to the project is going to be fantastic from the hospice’s point of view in being able to talk about our work and in generating funds.

“And if we can add value to the life Rob is experiencing at the moment through the project that’s part of the work we do and it’s going to be fantastic.”

King Koroki's tangi at Taupiri Mountain in 1966. Photo / Wayne Harman
King Koroki’s tangi at Taupiri Mountain in 1966. Photo / Wayne Harman

The Photo Journalism New Zealand Charity Auction will be held at the Plymouth International Hotel in New Plymouth in September.

Images included in the auction can be viewed at the Photo Journalism New Zealand Charity Auction Facebook page.

– RNZ



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