1 Jun 2017

'An Interesting place, a dark place'

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:35 pm on 1 June 2017
Arthur is the last man of the Coromandel utopian commune 'Mahana'.

Arthur is the last man of the Coromandel utopian commune 'Mahana'. Photo: Supplied

A short documentary, The Last Man of Mahana about the utopian '70s Coromandel commune Mahana and its lone original resident Arthur has been released online as part of VICE New Zealand's Rural Week.

Mahana is a fascinating but not always pleasant place to visit says the deputy editor of VICE NZ Tess McClure.

Mahana was formed in 1978 in the wake of the Nambassa music festival.

A group of festival-goers discovered a shared belief that land ownership was the root of humanity's problems.

They decided to buy some land, set it free from individual ownership and create an ideal community.

In its heydey, the Mahana population swelled to about 120.

Now, around 20 people live there, including Arthur, who lives in a sort of concrete igloo that was originally made with mud brick.

Arthur is attached to the Mahana's original philosophy of being open to anyone who comes along, but other residents have concerns about safety and the wrong people moving in.

"Some of the conflicts between Arthur and others in the community about who could roll up and move in had come to a head [when the VICE crew visited].

"It's a very interesting place, a dark place … And yes, fascinating people, fascinating stories. But not an always pleasant environment to be in."

Watch The Last Man of Mahana on VICE video

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