Jamie Morton

Jamie Morton is science reporter at the NZ Herald.

Chance to vent and whack the Rena

Marcel Currin says his song is not a protest, just an effort to put a smile on people's faces.  Photo / Supplied
Marcel Currin says his song is not a protest, just an effort to put a smile on people's faces. Photo / Supplied

A ukulele-wielding Tauranga City Council staffer has turned to YouTube to vent his frustration over the Rena disaster.

But Marcel Currin says his music video Rena Versus the Ukulele - a quirky pastiche of parodied popular songs, set against some of the disaster's most memorable images - is not a protest song.

The communications adviser, also an author and poet, sees it as "just one guy writing a song to put a smile on people's faces" - particularly those who worked alongside him in the chaotic first weeks after the container ship struck Astrolabe Reef last October.

"It was really a form of stress relief so we just started kicking around some ideas like that Midnight Oil song ... Out Where The Rena Broke ... and we just built it from there," Currin said.

Other rock staples receive similar treatment, including Metallica's Enter Sandman, Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water and Dave Dobbyn's Loyal.

The clip opens with a parody of one of Bon Jovi's immortal openings - "Cracked in the hull, and you're to blame, captain you gave the coastline, a bad stain" - and closes with a tongue-in-cheek spoof of the Macarena as Currin smashes the wrecked ship in anger with his ukulele.

The 37-year-old believed many Bay of Plenty residents would empathise with the dance anthem's altered chorus - F*** the Rena. "We were all working really hard - Tauranga City Council staff, regional council staff, Maritime New Zealand staff - there was a lot of stress ... it was emotional too, for everyone on the beach, and I just wanted to vent," Currin said.

"It was an exhausting time, there was a ukulele nearby and the song evolved as a kind of after-hours therapy."

He finished the song - which Maritime New Zealand staff have already aired at a few meetings - in November but its companion video was released yesterday.

The song's release comes after the Rena's captain, Mauro Balomaga, 44, was sent to jail along with his navigational officer on Friday.

"I was surprised he got only seven months, but I'm happy to trust that the judge had a more balanced, broader picture to consider. I'm not angry at any person in particular, just the situation," Currin said.

"It's not a protest song about anything that anyone's done ... It's just that we are all frustrated by the Rena sometimes and you've got to have a bit of a laugh to get that perspective and to get through."

Watch 'Rena versus the Ukulele' (clean version) here:


- NZ Herald

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