Dionne Christian is the NZ Herald’s arts and books editor

Artweek make-over for inner city Auckland

Candice Noyer, Jeremy Templer and Paul Woodruffe in Durham Lane West where the punk club Zwines was. The lane will be decorated with large-scale digital photos celebrating its colourful past.
Candice Noyer, Jeremy Templer and Paul Woodruffe in Durham Lane West where the punk club Zwines was. The lane will be decorated with large-scale digital photos celebrating its colourful past.

From February 1978 until sometime early in '79, Zwines was a beacon burning bright for Auckland punks.

Paul Woodruffe, then a design student at Auckland Technical Institute, remembers the Durham Lane West club well: the night someone was refused admission and returned with an axe to smash down the door; two detectives trying to mingle and fit with the crowd; the white-suited patrons of Babes Disco housed in the same building - "they were channelling John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever" - and the raw energy of the bands that gigged at Zwines.

So when the chance came up to "change" the CBD's laneways - to make them more enticing and to encourage Aucklanders to see them in a new light - Mr Woodruffe knew exactly which lane he wanted to make over and how to do it.

Now the Academic Leader of Undergraduate Education - Design and Visual arts at UNITEC, he and a handful of students from The Everyday Collective Laboratory have blown-up photos taken by Jeremy Templer during Zwines' heyday, printed the large-scale images onto hard-wearing vinyl and plastered them directly onto Durham Lane West.

"It's not about nostalgia at all," says Mr Woodruffe, "but more about celebrating the best of the creativity that happened here. I mean, you can't re-heat a soufflé."

Here is now the Bluestone Room, an Auckland pub in a brick heritage building that's stood on the same site since 1861. It's been, variously, a warehouse, an auction house, a storage shed (for coal and manure), a customs agency, a coffee bar, and a night-club once run by Tommy Adderley -dubbed New Zealand "Mr Rock and Roll" - and, as Granny's, the place where the band Dragon started out. There's also a link to Radio Hauraki's history; it was once called 1480 Village named after the pirate radio station's wavelength.

An exhibition, curated by Simon Grigg, will be on at the Bluestone Room from Tuesday showing more of Templer's photos and screening the David Blyth film Angel Mind. Woodruffe reckons the photos on the lane itself will last for about six months.

"I had to reassure the current owners that I doubted very much that the exhibition would attract the same crowd as Zwines did - after all, it was forty years ago now and we're all in our fifties and sixties..."

Meanwhile, five other lanes will be temporarily revamped, made-over and refurbished during Artweek as part of Changing Lanes. It's a joint project between Artweek Auckland, Auckland Council Design Office and Heart of the City to look at the potential future use of the sites. Those marked for make-overs are Durham Street East, Lower Vulcan Lane, St Matthews in the City, the corner of Kingston and Albert Streets, and Exchange Lane.

- NZ Herald

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