Remembering Neil Roberts

Thirty-one years ago today, Neil Roberts blew himself up outside the Wanganui Computer Centre.  He left graffiti nearby that said: ‘We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity’ – a quote from the revolutionary Junta Tuitiva of La Paz, which fought against the Spanish for the freedom of Bolivia in 1809.  Neil was a friend of mine and this is something I wrote after he died.

Poet Airini Beautrais has also been writing about her responses to Neil’s actions recently.  Part of her long poem can be read on the Tuesday poem site and in the latest JAAM.

And still more on Neil – artist Ann Shelton has an outdoor art exhibition in Taranaki at the moment, “doublethink”, where she has recreated Neil’s graffiti using sparklers.  You can see her photographs as a series of billboards in Midhirst, on the way between Stratford, where Neil was living, and Whanganui.  Peter and I went to see it a few weeks ago.  The pictures Peter took are below but you should also check out Ann Shelton’s website for the real deal.

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More about Neil & the Wanganui Computer Centre:

Te Ara blog post

Russell Campbell’s article

William Keddell’s short movie ‘The Maintenance of Silence’

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