No, Hell Pizza.. not funny, not clever. Just racist and ignorant.. Shame on you. Why is this OK in New Zealand?! Not good enough!!

Make a stand!
Boycott Hell Pizza!!
This special brand of New Zealand ignorance and racism is not acceptable even if we’re not your target market!
Make a stand against racial slurs and crap pizza!!

Read about this billboard here.

Dog-eating advert a stunt for TV show
By Michael Fox –

A “racist” advertising campaign by a pizza restaurant chain was part of a stunt to promote a reality-TV show.

The Auckland billboards promoting Hell Pizza’s gluten-free brownies read: “At least our brownie won’t eat your dog”, in a reference to the recent outcry over a Tongan man who was found roasting his pet dog.

But the adverts which have prompted 12 complaints to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board and a protest planned for today are not a straightforward promotion for the chain. The chain is involved in trying to produce a TV show called Pitch produced by Pitch Television, which is owned by two of the people who are behind Hell Pizza.

In the show, 20 18-to-25-year-olds who want to break into advertising will compete to win their own business.

The Hell billboard was designed by four students applying to become contestants on the show. The billboards have now been changed to read: “Lighten up. Hell Pizzas are 90 per cent fat free. Like dog.”

Hell Pizza and Pitch spokesman Matt Blomfield said Pitch would turn the “old advertising model on its head as we go about creating an advertising agency specialising wholly on selling to the youth market”. Mr Blomfield said TVNZ had expressed an interest in screening Pitch.

Hell Pizza chief executive and Pitch owner Warren Powell said he expected the contestants to push boundaries but all ideas would have to be signed off by “a custodian of the brand”.

The campaign has been criticised by anti-racism groups and an industry expert.

Socialist Aotearoa plans a blockade and picket at Hell Pizza’s store in Quay St, downtown Auckland, today.

Protest organiser Tania Lim said: “I am opposed to companies like Hell Pizza exploiting racism for the purposes of profit.” The change to the billboard was insulting: “Don’t tell us to ‘lighten up’. You’ve already insulted our skin colour once.”

Paul White, programme leader for advertising creativity at Auckland University of Technology, believed the billboards did nothing to promote the pizza brand. “If this sets the benchmark of what they [the show producers] want people to do, it’s very stupid.”

He said putting young advertising staff under pressure and expecting them to push boundaries was normal, but pushing for outrageous advertising stunts to cause controversy was not suitable.

Racist Humour is Ironic?

Join the Blockade of Hell’s Pizza

530pm Friday 28th August
/8 Queen Street, Auckland

Emory Douglas rocked my world

Emory Douglas, former Minister for Culture in the notorious Black Panther Party spoke at the University of Auckland last night. He was a total inspiration. His solo exhibition runs until October 3 at Gus Fisher Gallery, Shortland Street, central Auckland.

Emory Douglas and Siliga David Setoga
Legend and Legend
Photo by Ema Tavola

Auckland arm of the VASU collective: Margaret Aull, Sangeeta Singh, Josie Crick (visiting Aotearoa), Ema Tavola and Luisa Tora.

Tiny statues – big statement

Tongan-born artist Visesio Siasau’s new pieces are a powerful reminder that small doesn’t mean simple.

In his first solo exhibition at Fresh Gallery Otara Mr Siasau presents a series of squat, luminous figures that could be mistaken for sports trophies.

But the statues – shaped in the image of deity Tangaroa or Tangaloa – represent the impact of contemporary life on traditional cultures, he says.

As conceptual as that may sound Mr Siasau says the pieces are based on things he saw as a child growing up in Tonga and then New Zealand.

The issues the statues deal with – such as religion, consumerism and politics – have been “don’t go” areas but he thinks Pacific people are more willing to talk about them now.

“I think they’re waiting for people to bring it up,” he says.

But getting people talking is “not the point behind the work”, he says – that’s simply to reflect the things people grapple with in the modern world.

The former electrician in the Tongan navy has spent the past six years focusing on establishing himself an as artist.

And while he’s from a family of carvers, painters and tapa makers, he never thought art would generate an income his family could live on.

“I used to draw in school but I thought: ‘I can’t make a living out of this’,” says Mr Siasau.

He changed his mind when he moved to New Zealand 13 years ago and stayed with his uncle, an Otara-based carver.

“I went back to the family arts,” he says.

The statues in the Ahoeitu – Dawn Break exhibition are crafted from blocks of perspex and corian – a plastic commonly used in kitchen bench tops – using a band saw, an angle grinder, sanders and a hand dremel.

To smooth off their rough surfaces the statues are heated then cooled, a process that is repeated until the plastic becomes translucent.

It’s a time-consuming process.

Mr Siasau’s partner Serne Tay estimates the pieces in the exhibition took two months of 80-hour weeks to create.

She says the exhibition wouldn’t have happened without the support of Don and Heather Campbell, the owners of an online art company that sell Mr Siasau’s intricate “bread and butter” bone carvings.

The Ahoeitu – Dawn Break exhibition is at Fresh Gallery Otara until August 29.

Imogen Neale
Manukau Courier (21 August 2009)

Dawson Road Mural Project

Affirming and empowering South Auckland voices, the Dawson Road Mural Project invites artists to respond to the voices and interests of those who use the space. Dawson Road is in the suburb of Otara, in the heart of South Auckland. The population of Otara is almost 70% Polynesian and 20% Maori; the local secondary school, Tangaroa College is 43% Samoan and approximately 40% of the community is under 20 years of age. The aim of this strongly participatory community arts initiative is to develop a striking public artwork that ignites pride and enriches a sense of ownership of the park and local area.

Visit Dawson Road Mural Project blogsite for regular updates.