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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Tiki & The Beatles - John Lennon's Hei-Tiki
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Tiki & The Beatles - John Lennon's Hei-Tiki
Paipo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 22, 2006
Posts: 1886
From: Aotearoa / NZ
Posted: 2006-10-28 03:42 am   Permalink

The year was 1964. Beatlemania was at its height after the release of their second album With the Beatles. Following a whirlwind first promotional trip to the USA, the band returned to the UK to film A Hard Day's Night before embarking on their first "World" tour, including Denmark, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

On June 21st, 1964, the band touched down in Wellington, New Zealand, where they were met by 7000 screaming fans. An official Maori welcome by Te Pataka concert party included the presentation of large hei-tiki pendants and flax
poi to each band member.







A traditional hongi (touching of noses) was also part of the ceremony, with the well-endowed Ringo responding enthusiastically.



The band were then whisked away to the Hotel St. George, which was besieged by masses of excited but generally well-behaved fans. The Beatles soon made an appearance on the hotel balcony and the crowd roared. An invitation from Paul for the fans to join them resulted in two young men climbing the fire escape, with one managing to shake his hero's hand before being apprehended.



Two concerts were scheduled in Wellington on June 22nd and 23rd before the band flew on to Auckland and Christchurch for further dates. During this time, an enterprising young journalist from the local newspaper managed to use a combination of charm and press credentials to get herself and a couple of friends in to meet the Fab Four in their hotel room. One of the friends was my mother, who wasn't greatly interested in the band but knew it was an opportunity not to be missed. They spent time hanging out and chatting, where some of the rock star behaviour on show (such as stubbing out cigarettes in platters of food) was less than impressive to a strictly-raised girl from the deep south of New Zealand. She was unwilling to ask for their autographs but did find Paul particularly charming, and, most importantly, was lucky enough to be gifted John Lennon's hei-tiki and poi that had been presented to him at the airport.

Years passed, and the story and artefacts of this meeting were occasionally mentioned at family gatherings or when the items briefly surfaced from time to time. My uncle had the hei-tiki hanging on his bedroom wall for number of years in his youth but at some point it returned to our keeping. It then passed on to my sister, and during a move was unfortunately broken in two. The poi have not been seen for many years now, but knowing my mother they will be safely tucked away deep in a box somewhere. These items were never really treasured or considered valuable - more as curiosities of an interesting chapter in my mother's life.

A week ago I was over visiting my mother, and having had many recent conversations regarding the "Beatles Tiki" and its potential value I thought it we should really try to find it again - it's probably 4 or 5 years since it was last sighted. After moving her freezer to gain access to several boxes and chests in her garage on the last morning of my trip, we struck paydirt in the very last box. There it was - broken and dusty, covered only in a sheet of newspaper. Even in this state, it brought back a flood of memories, being one of the first tiki images I ever saw as a child. Along with the plastic hei-tiki given to passengers by New Zealand's international airline, it planted a seed that has taken bloom in my life in recent times.





So what now? Well, knowing Mum, it might be another 4 years before anything happens with the hei-tiki. It needs some serious restoration, and I guess she will need to decide how best to part with it. From my perspective, it was fun just to partake in a little "tiki archaeology" - even if it was only in my mother's garage!
Having talked to her about the whole Polynesian Pop / Tiki era, she recalled that a Wellington restaurant she visited in the 1960s possibly had a bar or lounge that was very much along those lines - but that's another story!





[ This Message was edited by: Paipo 2006-10-28 18:47 ]


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Jeff Central
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1700
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2006-10-28 03:58 am   Permalink

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a totally amazing story!!! Thanks for sharing this bit of Beatles/Tiki knowledge that I never knew existed before. The pictures and history of that pendant will make it very valuable indeed. I am sure you could have it repaired in some way.

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff


 
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ikitnrev
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1323
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2006-10-28 06:06 am   Permalink

Yes, a very cool story. At least one of the above pictures had been posted previously here on Tiki Central, but your story adds an incredible amount of dimension and personal touch to the story.

I must be a bit gullible, but after first seeing the original photos, I thought the hei-tikis were carved out of solid stone! How amusing to see they were really made of possibley the same material that Halloween masks are made of. It makes sense - if they were made of real stone, the Beatles may have had very sore necks for their concert performances!

Vern



 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11605
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2006-10-28 09:24 am   Permalink

Where else can you find a story like this, but on TIKI CENTRAL! Mahalo!

Now we want to see pictures of your mom in 1964!


 
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Jungle Trader
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 04, 2003
Posts: 3767
From: Trader's Jungle Outpost, Turlock, Ca.
Posted: 2006-10-28 09:32 am   Permalink

WOW!!!
I never knew. Thanks!


 
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boutiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2002
Posts: 488
From: The fly-over states
Posted: 2006-10-28 09:36 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-10-28 03:42, Paipo wrote:
So what now? Well, knowing Mum, it might be another 4 years before anything happens with the hei-tiki. It needs some serious restoration, and I guess she will need to decide how best to part with it.



I would not let her dare get rid of it if was my Mom. I'd make sure it stayed in the family, (with me most likely). Especially since you appreciate Tiki today.

It's a wonderful piece and a great story. Imagine how nice it would look in a shadowbox frame with a couple of those pictures. I would not even try to fix the break, I'd secure it safely in a frame the way you photographed it. The damage is part of it's history and the narrative.

Thanks for sharing.
-Duke


 
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The Granite Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 02, 2005
Posts: 820
From: Nashua, NH
Posted: 2006-10-28 09:49 am   Permalink

Being a huge Beatle fan, and a Tikiphile, I really want to thank you for this thread!



[ This Message was edited by: the Granite Tiki 2006-10-29 05:23 ]


 
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kikekeki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 13, 2006
Posts: 358
From: the River of Grass in FlourDough
Posted: 2006-10-28 12:46 pm   Permalink

Mahaloz for the fantastic story!

 
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pablus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Posts: 2158
From: www.crazedmugs.com
Posted: 2006-10-28 5:17 pm   Permalink


That's a very intriguing story.
Mahalo for taking the time to craft it so well.


 
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kingstiedye
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 05, 2005
Posts: 1401
From: sackatomato
Posted: 2006-10-28 7:14 pm   Permalink

one of my earliest memories is the beatles on the ed sullivan show. i was 5. i was instantly a fan. mahalo for sharing your family's story about their trip down under. fascinating reading and pics.
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IsleConch
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 04, 2006
Posts: 166
From: Satellite Beach, FL
Posted: 2006-10-28 8:55 pm   Permalink

Great story...I also like the Beatles. What an inheritance.

 
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Hiphipahula
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 27, 2006
Posts: 2445
From: The Valley!
Posted: 2006-10-28 9:22 pm   Permalink

Incredible story & a rich piece of family history Thanks for sharing! I thought being a Beatle fan I had seen just about every published picture. I don't remember seeing these pic's of course today the Tiki would stand out like crazy. Frame that little Tiki & enjoy it forever. This is a refreshing thread. Mahalo again for the stroll down memory lane.


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[ This Message was edited by: Hiphipahula 2006-10-28 23:51 ]


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Paipo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 22, 2006
Posts: 1886
From: Aotearoa / NZ
Posted: 2006-10-28 11:27 pm   Permalink

Thanks to everyone for the nice replies - I have sent a link to the thread on to my Mum, and she will be reading the responses too.
Addressing a few points:

Vern, it's funny you should mention
oversized unwearable stone hei-tikis...

bigbro, we looked at some photos of Mum and her friends from this time when I was over there, but I'm not sure if she'd want them on the internet! My next goal is to start research on the possible tiki bar...

Duke, as much as I love making and collecting tiki items, I'd still really like to see my Mum get some sort of benefit from this object. We have talked about a shadowbox, and she thinks she knows where the pois might be. It would look very cool displayed as a set.

Granite and hiphipahula, maybe we better not talk about that "other thread" here lest we attract unwanted attention!



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Hiphipahula
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 27, 2006
Posts: 2445
From: The Valley!
Posted: 2006-10-28 11:42 pm   Permalink

ok'z edit

 
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hewey
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4284
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2006-10-29 12:49 am   Permalink

Great story and pics mate
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