December 18, 2009


In Bruce Mason‘s The End of the Golden Weatherthere is a scene that takes place on Takapuna Beach* on Christmas Day in the 1930s. For the last three years (and this year will be the fourth time), this scene will be performed on, yes, Takapuna Beach on, yes, Christmas Day (full details below).

Actor Stephen Lovatt has performed it each year and he donates his fee to OXFAM.

The event is organised by playwright Roger Hall. "For some years I thought, someone should arrange for this scene to be performed here on Christmas Day, so four years ago I decided to do something about it. Actor Stephen Lovatt had been touring a production of the one-man play so he was an obvious choice since he already knew the words and also did a fabulous job of the whole play.

"The first year we had about a hundred people turn up. Last year and the year before we had 300. It’s a lovely event. People arrive for the 10am performance, set out their blankets on the grass, some bring Christmas cheer, they meet up with friends, laugh at and admire Stephen’s wonderful performance.

"The scene lasts about half an hour. Afterwards people stay to talk and catch up and then head home for their Christmas lunch." Last year one woman said "This has become the favourite part of my Christmas Day."

At the end, people can make a donation to OXFAM if they wish, but there is no pressure to do so.

As well as being a worthwhile event in itself, it’s also intended as a tribute to playwright Bruce Mason, who did much to establish playwriting in this country and who was raised in a house on Takapuna Beach.*

If the weather is bad, then it will be held in nearby in the Takapuna Memorial Hall on The Strand.

Stephen Lovatt has appeared in many plays and TV series and is best known for his portrayal of the character Max Hoyland on the Australian soap Neighbours.

The Christmas Day scene from
The End of the Golden Weather
by Bruce Mason
performed by Stephen Lovatt
Takapuna Beach Reserve
10am Christmas Day
(duration: 30 mins.)

Wet weather cover: Takapuna Memorial Hall on The Strand

Supported by Creative New Zealand and North Shore City Council

*[While it is widely accepted that he fictionalised Takapuna as Te Parenga in his first two major plays, The Pohutukawa Tree and The End of the Golden Weather, Mason was obliged to disclaim it in 1965 when "the paper local to the place that is assumed to be Te Parenga" assumed the connection and people took offence;  see Mason’s Note to the Second Edition, VUP, pp 14-17 – John Smythe]

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