Nell Williams is a born and bred Wellingtonian who joined Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Publicity and Communications Team in August this year. Like lots of locals, she’d encountered the organisation’s Taranaki Street installation piece many times, and admired the emphatic proclamation of the phrase DONT LET IT GET YOU, elegantly rendered in foot-high block capital neon letters. Quietly occupying pride of place in our biggest cafe window, the sign is constantly exposed to the usual melee of Cuba Quarter foot traffic, and the weekday rush-hour exodus from Wellington’s CBD to the Southern suburbs. DONT LET IT GET YOU is easy to admire from afar, accepted as just one of the many quirky artistic markers on the city’s creative landscape.
Nell: But once I started working at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, I saw DON’T LET IT GET YOU every day. And I realised I’d never really given much thought to what the piece was getting at… what it meant, where it came from. And what the significance was for this organisation.
I sat down with Diane Pivac, wealth of knowledge on all things relating to NZ’s moving image community and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Head of Audience, to find some answers and get the story behind the sign.
So Di: What is the phrase DONT LET IT GET YOU all about?
Diane Pivac: Don’t Let it Get You is the name of a film made in 1966 by Pacific Films and it’s also the name of John O’Shea’s memoir: Don’t Let It Get You.
John O’Shea was incredibly eloquent and he had a lot to say… he was Mr Pacific Films, who were, to segue, the only independent film making company in New Zealand… they kept the idea of independent filmmaking alive from 1940… well, basically from the 40s through to the 70s, when The Film Commission was established. And in that time, in the 60s, they made three feature films, one of which was Don’t Let it Get You. Continue reading