30 Nov 2014

Maintaining Surveillance Closely Resembling...

From Sunday Morning, 10:05 am on 30 November 2014
Bomb damage to the Wanganui computer centre, 1982

Bomb damage to the Wanganui computer centre, 1982 Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library Ref: EP/1982/3990. Used with permission.

Graffiti left near the bomb site

Graffiti left near the bomb site Photo: The Wanganui Herald, 18 November 1982, edition no. 35198. Courtesy Wanganui Chronicle

On November 18, 1982 a young anarchist punk, Neil Roberts, graffitied a quote from the revolutionary Junta Tuitiva of La Paz, which fought against the Spanish for the freedom of Bolivia in 1809:

“We Have Maintained a Silence Closely Resembling Stupidity”

he then blew himself up outside the Whanganui Computer Centre.

Thirty two years later New Zealand’s only suicide bombing continues to reverberate.

There is a Facebook page

An art installation by Ann Shelton,

Playwright Michelle Bright has just been awarded a $30,000 grant to turn the event into an opera;

There’s a film - The Maintenance of Silence:

...and this month Victoria University Press published Dear Neil Roberts - a book of poems by Airini Beautrais.

Jeremy Rose talks to Airini Beautrais and anarchist activist Sam Buchanan about Neil Roberts and what they think motivated him to carry out such a violent and self-destructive act.

Suicide Prevention Line 0508 TAUTOKO (0508 82 88 65).

Related stories:

Historic audio supplied by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.