A Sweet Spinner’s Lament

In 1930, the first New Zealand-made bar of Cadbury chocolate was produced at biscuit maker Richard Hudson’s cocoa and chocolate manufacturing plant in Dunedin, founded in 1868. Hudson had been orphaned at the age of 9 and came to New Zealand in 1865. He became known as a caring employer who believed that everyone who contributed to a profitable business should benefit from its success. The company offered accommodation and even a recreational rifle range for its staff across the road from its present site. Cadbury was acquired by Mondelez International in a hostile takeover in 2009, and the factory didn’t quite last the decade following — closing its doors in March 2018. 350 jobs were lost in the closure. The site is now being demolished.

Residual Controls

During our most recent visit to this sprawling fertiliser manufacturing plant we could see from the air that demolition was progressing apace. So it seems the right time to bid farewell to the place with an edit combining a complete set of our former explorations there with recent drone footage. The company that formerly operated the plant started trading in the late 1970s in response to the risk of a proposed merger creating a monopoly in the production of fertiliser in New Zealand.

Part One: “Diocletian Allegories” [0:00] High-ceilinged and partially flooded, parts of the compound had the feeling of an ancient Roman bath.

Part Two: “The World As A Machine” [8:14] The generous size of the site felt all-encompassing: an industrial micro-world.

Part Three: “Residual Controls” [14:51] We always enjoy getting our fingers occupied in environments where museum rules don’t apply.

Stothert & Pitt

Last restored in the year 2000, this 1950’s-era tripod crane built by Stothert & Pitt Ltd of England has recently had its boom lowered to the ground. Given that a future climb to the top has been rendered impossible by the removal of the majority of its boom ladder, this edit commemorates a climb made several years ago. Tripod cranes were in use throughout the world until the advent of container shipping in the 1960’s.

Trees Company

Driving rural back roads in the Waitomo region, we came across several well-worn former abodes. Interestingly to us, many a collapsing farmhouse had a companion tree somewhat alleviating its loneliness, presumably planted by its former occupants.

Heat, Water and Silence

The current temporary closure of this commercialised geothermal area in the North Island of New Zealand allowed us to capture nature steadily continuing its activity in the peaceful absence of human occupation. According to Māori legend, New Zealand’s geothermal areas were created by two ember-bearing travellers – not on the sea, but through the earth. The two sisters of ocean navigator Ngātoro-i-rangi heard his call for their help from the midst of a blizzard at Mount Tongariro. They loaded six kete baskets with glowing embers and summoned Te Pupu and Te Hoata – the subterranean goddesses of fire – to deliver them to their imperilled brother. The goddesses dived deep into the earth and carried the baskets of heat from Hawaiiki (the Polynesian homeland) to Aotearoa. Each time the goddesses surfaced on their voyage they left a trail of embers, creating geothermal sites at Whakaari (White Island), Moutohorā (Whale Island), Rotoiti, Tarawera, Rotorua, Ōrākei Korako, Wairakei and Tokaanu. By the time they reached Ngātoro-i-rangi at Ketetahi, Tongariro, only one kete of fire remained to save his life.