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The New Oceania

Television (Full Length) – 2005

I was homesick for a whole year in New Zealand. I was in the middle of Taranaki in this town called New Plymouth. I immediately fell in love with the mountain. Somehow I could identify with Mt Taranaki and it’s remained with me all my life as my mountain. Symbolically I’m closer to it than even the mountains here [in Samoa], except of course the lava fields in Sava’i
– Wendt reflects on moving from Samoa to boarding school in New Plymouth
Looking back over the time I've been writing and teaching, I've realised that the activity was really to try to understand myself and the societies that I came out of and in which I now live.
– Wendt, NZ Herald, 3 June 2013, on the announcement of his Order of Merit honour
Once I got to know the language and got to know the customs of the Pākehā, I even started to speak with a Taranaki accent!
– Wendt, in a 1973 Gallery interview
To be accepted we had to excel at Kiwi male things, especially rugby, so we did. I got into the 1st XV and the 1st XI ... and I didn’t even much like sports. Our rugby coach was an uncouth, loud-mouthed bully ... but because rugby was god in Kiwi-land back then they adored him.
– From a performance of Wendt's The Songmaker’s Chair, in the doco