Spectrum 126. Wilderland
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Spectrum was a weekly radio documentary series which ran on Radio New Zealand's National station from 1972 to 2016. Alwyn Owen and Jack Perkins produced the series for many years, creating a valuable library of New Zealand oral history.
This episode features a documentary about Wilderland, a small commune on the Coromandel Peninsula. Alwyn Owen visits and talks to some of the other 25 to 30 people who live there, about the lifestyle they lead.
The music of Wilderland (drumming, shakers, woodwind instruments) is played over the introduction. Cicadas are heard - they are also part of the music of Wilderland.
Wilderland is in 200 acres of manuka scrub property near Whitianga. Dan and Edith Hansen own the land and guide the community as they have for 10 years.
They produce honey from their beehives and milk from goats and grow their own vegetable gardens. The commune operates a roadside shop selling produce to locals.
Dan who is 56, has been in a wheelchair for the past 30 years after a farm accident, but says he has adapted vehicles on the commune including tractors, so he can drive them. He explains how he manages to garden despite his disability.
At the commune’s cookhouse, Alwyn Owen talks to Maureen, who is 24 years old, She speaks about why she came to live at Wilderland. She lives in a bus, cooks on a primus and has kerosene lamps. She looks after the goats and explains why living on food she grows is satisfying. She explains her technique for milking the goats.
Gail, a potter from California makes bowls for the commune,She plans on also making some to sell. Arramal (a nickname drawn from his initials, R.M.L.) speaks about his experience of feeling free living on the commune.
Alwyn Owen talks to various people in the cook house while dinner is prepared. Various unidentified commune members talk about how communal living works, including a woman named Heather, who is cooking dinner naked.
The next morning after breakfast a woman talks about her sewing work. She is American but has taken on the name Rangi since coming to New Zealand. She talks about her experiences of communal living elsewhere in the world. Sue, who is building her own house and workshop is interviewed.
A dog yaps while a harmonica is played, followed by a group of residents in the pottery shed commenting on some of Dan Hansen’s guiding principles for Wilderland, which are read out. They include a drug-free policy. A man explains why this is necessary for a successful community.
Reference number 33181
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Owen, Alwyn (b.1926), Producer
Hansen, Dan, Interviewee