Wellington kaumatua Sam Jackson, at the New Zealand International Arts Festival
I was sorry to hear this morning of Sam Jackson's passing; he'd been a big part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival over my fifteen years in the country, opening (and setting the tone) for all the Festival's dawn ceremonies I can remember attending. It didn't seem right to me that he be remembered by a single photo from the opening of a petrol station, though - so here are a few from those powhiri, where he met and welcomed acclaimed international artists to Wellington, on behalf of the people of New Zealand.
He was always the first in line for the hongi, which usually meant teaching the visitors how to do it - and no matter how many people were there to be met, he never tired of explaining how to take time, to share breath, and - most importantly - have a laugh afterwards.
So I'll remember him instead as the wise, well spoken, friendly and funny orator that I knew. Rest well, Sam - and thanks.