Te Radar: Opinionist

TRCP: Beautiful Dreamers

Te Radar’s Chequered Past Episodes

Beautiful Dreamers

Just one of New Zealands greatest literary paragraphs and the inspiration for this episode:

But this book is written primarily for dreamers, and they don’t mind if a man can write or not as long as the facts are there. It is written for the man who works in a city office and dreams about sparkling blue waters and coconut palms and white sails bellying to the warm trade-winds. It will, perhaps, show him how it is possible to break away from the ties of civilization, build himself a boat and sail in her wherever he wills. I was a dreamer once, but now my dreams have come true, and I am satisfied and happy.

J. W. WRAY Preface to South Sea Vagabonds. 

This episode shows New Zealand through the eyes of the idealists – people who had a perfect vision for a better life and made it happen – or tried to.

Some say that New Zealand is a nation of dreamers. We dream of the quarter acre paradise and having a bach at the beach. In 1930 Johnny Wray had a dream to sail the world. What he didn’t have was a boat. But what Johnny did with some old timber and a pair of pyjamas is a testament to the fact that as a nation we have the tenacity to bring our beautiful dreams to life, come hell or high water.

Johnny Wray: amateur boatbuilder extraordinaire, who in the 1930s built a boat out of scraps and sailed it all over the Pacific

He wrote this great book: South Sea Vagabonds

Read about The Ngataki today

Andrew Fagan on Johnny Wray


Henry Swan, another sailor who ran away to paradise, this time quite surprisingly, up West Auckland’s Henderson Creek

Images of the Awatea moored in Henderson Creek

Swan’s Arch today


Colin McCahon, who helped Christchurch Airport in its dream of international fame with a painting, the likes of which will never be seen again

Here is a great Nga Taonga blog on the air race

The Dutch made a movie about it! Watch for performances by Rutger Hauer and Rawiri Paratene.

 Christchurch Art Gallery blog on the Air Race  


Governor George Grey, whose dream of a fabulous zoo on Kauai Island went a bit feral

Te Ara bio of Sir George

Also on their site: A 2001 painting by Hamish Foote, titled ‘Allegorical triumph of Sir George

MUST WATCH: The groundbreaking NZ TV mini-series about Grey:  The Governor

Fabulous NZ Geographic article on Kawau and Grey

DOC: Kawau today


Douglas Cook, who planted an aboreal wonderland sans pants

The beautiful Eastwoodhill Arboretum


Te Pehi Kupe, who basically invented the Kiwi OE in 1824

Te Pehi on Te Ara

A great piece by the excellent Dr Vincent O’Malley

Wikipedia entry on Te Pehi


Emily Seideberg, whose dream to become a doctor in the 1890s took guts – not always hers

Emily Seiderberg bio on Te Ara

Emily’s house

The Emily Seideberg Scholarship at Otago University


John Martin, who literally put Martinborough on the map

Te Ara bio


Debbie Lewis, who took Johnny Wray’s home made boat on new adventures

Article on Debbie Lewis giving the Ngataki to the Tino Rawa Trust


This episode includes interviews with Hamish Keith and Debbie Lewis

Hamish Keith. Lover and advocate of art.





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