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Deaths of Piha folk

Posted by SC Comments Off on Deaths of Piha folk

There have been several deaths recently of Piha people – Warwick Broadhead and Garrie Massicks.

http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/rubbings-from-a-live-man-2008

Warwick Broadhead is known very widely for his marvellous, heroic, epic and outrageous dramatic performances.

One does not think of the old guard of Piha, the early bach owners, as being at the forefront of arts endeavours – they tended to excel at sports rather than at theatre – but Warwick’s early years at Piha were threaded through his later performing life.

In the clip shown above, a trailer for the film about Warwick’s life, Rubbings from a Live Man (2008), produced by Florian Habicht, Warwick sat for some time talking to the camera against a dramatic backdrop of waves crashing at The Gap.

Warwick as a boy with the Harmony. His father Alf is standing in the boat

Warwick as a boy with the Harmony. His father Alf is standing in the boat

Warwick’s father Alf, was a large figure at Piha, part owner of the Harmony boat. Alf’s background was as a boxer, played league and with his brother had a furniture factory. Alf did not approve of his boy’s penchant for the theatre and tried to discourage it.

 

 

 

 

Eileen Broadhead left, with Zena Foubister, Barbara Way, Hazel Curtice and Ayleen Foubister (front)

Eileen Broadhead left, with Zena Foubister, Barbara Way, Hazel Curtice and Ayleen Foubister (front)

Warwick’s mother Eileen, was a gentle soul, one of the Piha mums, a former exponent of water ballet, and a devout Catholic.

There were four Broadhead children: Ross, Warwick, Anne and Mary. Warwick was born in 1944.

I can’t help but feel Eileen’s performance background in water ballet would have influenced Warwick when he was growing up. And his love of costume and ritual – though he invented his own – must have been influenced by the role of the Catholic church in the Broadhead family’s life.

Warwick produced over 50 performances in his life, and loved working with untrained people. He created his own pieces, but also performed others’ work, such as Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He was about to embark on a two-and-a-half year performance, called Monkey, which he would perform monthly at his home on Waiheke Island.

Warwick had triple bypass surgery and had heart problems for some years. He died peacefully at home reading one his favourite books.

gary massicksGarrie Massicks was a member of the Massicks family who had a square-fronted deco-style bach in Rayner Road – still there.  His family was related to another Piha family, the Coopers, and all were strongly associated with the Piha surf life saving club.  The Massicks were tall rather lean, towering fellows, quite distinctive looking.

Father Harold was a chairman of the club several times and as a  builder associated with any building project.

Garrie followed his father into the trade and was associated with many building projects in the surf club. Father and son both worked on building the 1952 surf club and Garrie was Club Project Manager of Project 40 which renovated the surf club and hosted Robert Muldoon at the opening.

Time and expertise was given freely which helped keep costs down for the club.

Garrie died on 19 January at Riwaka, Motueka, in his eightieth year. Click on the photo below to bring Garrie into view.

Massicks with Rob Muldoon at the opening of renovated surf club, 1977

Massicks with Rob Muldoon at the opening of renovated surf club, 1977

 

 

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