Recent Story Portraits done

September 3rd, 2020 § 0

Been a run of enjoyable story portraits for recently.

NZ Story Portraits of, Ocean Mercier, Meng Foon, Linda Shum, Kirsten Wong with Gordon Wu

NZ Story Portraits of, Ocean Mercier, Meng Foon, Linda Shum, Kirsten Wong with Gordon Wu

These are portraits of I’ll explain them in more detail below…

Ocean Mercier, Super Conductor


Dr Ocean Mercier become the first Māori woman to earn a doctorate in physics, with a thesis on superconducting materials.  Soon, she became a superconductor herself—a powerful conduit between stories, people and knowledge, between Western science and mātauranga Māori, traditional knowledge. Mercier is now head of Te Kawa a Māui, the School of Māori Studies at Te Herenga Waka/Victoria University of Wellington. So it was very appropriate to photograph her at the Victoria University Marae.  My goal was to project Matariki (the Pleiades) into the ceiling of the wharenui as a connection of  mātauranga Māori to physics and whakapapa. It became very serendipitous that she was standing beside Te Rangihiroa (Sir Peter Buck). You can read more about Ocean here:


Meng Foon, Race Relations Commissioner


Meng Foon, well known as the respected and long standing Mayor of Gisborne, and recently NZ’s Race Relations Commissioner.  A big part of Meng’s work is to positively influence the next generation, so working with school children was a key to my story portrait. A principal friend was very keen to get involved, and her school in Ngaio had, by chance, just started a school wide look at what it was to be a ‘Kiwi’.  So we all worked together to make this shoot work – Meng working with the next generation to better understand who we are going forward. Read the portrait about Meng Foon in NZ Geo.


Lynette Shum, Kirsten Wong, Gordon Wu, NZ Chinese Societies

The Story of the SS Ventnor wreck, the Ghost Ship of the Hokianga, is fascinating from so many angles.  But mostly for the history of Chinese in NZ. At the heart of this story is the Societies formed by early Chinese immigrants to look after their passage home if the worst should happen.  These Societies still exist today and are actively involved in the new issues developing from this wreck. I had to portray their roles for this article, in a style to fit the other portraits. Lynette Shum (left) is secretary of the Poon Fah Association, the association still holds the Cheong Shing Tong’s record of burials, and its Wellington premises remains a centre for community activity. I wanted her portrait to reflect her community role. Kirsten Wong and Gordon Wu have long been involved in Ventnor research. They are executive members of the Tung Jung Association, which was incorporated in 1926 for people from the Tung Gwoon (Donguan) and Jung Seng (Zengcheng) counties. The Tung Jung memorial was built in 1965 as a place for members to pay respects to their ancestors and village cousins and to reaffirm their community ties. It ties to the story of connection and memory. Gordon holds the list of remains on the Ventnor he re-discovered. The full story is here:

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