EXILES - Rudolf Boelee
PaperGraphica, 14 May - 9 June, 2007
Forrester Gallery, Oamaru, 7 March -27 April, 2008
Southland Museum & Art Gallery, Invercargill,  3 May-22 June, 2008
Eastern Southland Gallery, Gore,  28 June - 3 August, 2008

Compiled Biographies: Rudolf Boelee
Images: PaperGraphica

Charles Brasch, Robin Hyde, Dan Davin, Rewi Alley, James Bertram, Geoffrey Cox, John Mulgan



Born in Dunedin, 1909.
Died in Dunedin, 1973, aged 64.
Poet, editor, teacher, translator, lecturer.

Charles Brasch was born in Dunedin, into a prosperous commercial family. His mothers early death left him struggling throughout a difficult childhood to meet the demands of an ambitious father who never really understood him. Schooling at Waitaki Boys High School and three years reading history at Oxford strengthened his interests in the arts and brought friendships that were to be important for the rest of his life.

A subsequent visit to New Zealand convinced Brasch finally that he could not accept a business career, but must somehow make himself into a writer. In 1932 some of his early work was published in the Auckland journal Phoenix. The following decade was spent chiefly out of New Zealand - in Egypt, working on the site of Akhenaten s capital at Tell El Amarna; traveling in Italy, Germany, and Russia; and teaching at The Abbey, a small experimental school for disturbed children at Little Missenden.

Briefly back in New Zealand in 1938, he left the manuscript of his first collection of poems, The Land and the People, with the Caxton Press in Christchurch, but returned to England where he spent the war years in intelligence work for the Foreign Office. In 1945 having resolved to make his home in New Zealand, he returned with his mind turning steadily toward a proposed new journal. The first issue of Landfall came out two years later and he was to be the editor of this publication for the next 20 years. Charles Brasch continued to write poems until his death in 1973.


Born in Capetown, South Africa, in 1906.
Died in London, England,1939, aged 33.
Poet, novelist, journalist.

Robin Hyde was born Iris Wilkinson in Capetown, South Africa, 1906, the second of four daughters. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to New Zealand where they lived in Wellington.

Iris began writing at an early age and became a journalist at 17, when she joined the Dominion. Under the pen-name Robin Hyde, she published her first book of poetry; The Desolate Star (1929). Her first prose work, a kaleidoscopic account of her life in journalism; Journalese, appeared in 1934. Between 1935 and 1935 she published five more novels including The Godwits Fly. The work Robin Hyde most cared about was her poetry and she remains one of New Zealands major twentieth century poets.

In January 1938 she left New Zealand for England, planning to travel via the Trans-Siberian Railway and write a book about her experiences. In Hong Kong she decided to visit China, then in turmoil and resisting the invading Japanese. Dragon Rampant, published shortly before her death in England in 1939, was the result.



Born in Invercargill, 1913.
Died in Oxford, England, 1990, aged 77.
Novelist, short-story writer, soldier, editor, publisher, critic.

Dan Davin was born into an Irish Catholic working-class family in Invercargill. Davin prospered through his intellectual prowess, eventually winning a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford in 1935.

At the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the army and served with the New Zealand Division in Greece, Crete, North Africa and Italy. The future official historian of the Crete campaign, he served in army intelligence before settling in London and then Oxford, where he began publishing his novels and made the friendship of fellow writers including Dylan Thomas.

He rose to become Academic Publisher at Oxford University Press, instrumental in the publication of major scholarly works. His often turbulent private life, in contrast to the

domestic stability of the home that he made with his extraordinary wife Winnie and their three daughters, nevertheless was central to his creative life until the tragedy and distress of his last years.

Born in Springfield, New Zealand 1897
Died in Beijing, China, 1987, aged 90.
Farmer, teacher, social reformer, peace activist, writer.

Rewi Alley was born in Springfield, New Zealand and is one of New Zealands most distinguished sons, as well as one of the best-known friends of the Chinese people. Through his trying experience, especially as a factory inspector in Shanghai, witnessing the social upheaval and the dire poverty of the labouring masses, he grew determined to share their destiny in the struggle for a radical change.

Beginning in 1938, he travelled extensively in areas unoccupied by the Japanese to promote Gung Ho Industrial Cooperatives which effectively helped Chinas resistance war. In the 1940s he created the Shandan Bailie Technical School in remote Gansu province to develop a new type of half-work and half-study suited to Chinas conditions.

After Liberation he attended many international conferences for world peace and in solidarity with the oppressed peoples. He lived in Beijing and became its first Honorary Citizen in 1982. New Zealand awarded him the Queens Service Order in 1985. Rewi Alley died in Beijing in 1987, he is dearly remembered as an outstanding educator and social activist for his role in advancing social progress.




Born in Auckland, 1910.
Died in Lower Hutt, 1993, aged 83
Journalist, writer, relief worker, prisoner of war, university professor, editor.

James Bertram was born in Auckland and grew up in a Presbyterian family. At Waitaki Boys High School he formed a lasting friendship with Charles Brasch, poet and editor of Landfall. At the University of Auckland, while studying English literature, he founded The Phoenix in conjunction with three others. He studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and subsequently went to China, where he joined with Madame Sun Yat-sen and others in setting up the China Defence League.

In China in 1936 as a Rhodes Travelling Fellow, he was a British correspondent during the Sian Rising and the months leading up to the Japanese invasion; he fought in the brief defence of Hong Kong in December 1941, and spent the next four years as a POW in Hong Kong and Tokyo. During his years in China he came unusually close to a number of outstanding men and women; he interviewed Mao Tse-tung extensively, in what were to become The Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung.

On his eventual return to New Zealand Bertram became a lecturer in English literature at Victoria University and retired as an Emeritus Professor. For his last forty-five years he and his wife Jean lived on Belmont Hill in Lower Hutt, in a large garden with a stream, native bush and old roses.

Born in Invercargill, 1910.
Journalist, writer, soldier, diplomat, television executive.

Geoffrey Cox was born in Invercargill and when he arrived at Oxford in 1932 on a Rhodes scholarship he had high expectations. But his initial reaction to the prestigious university was not as he had expected. To escape Oxfords ivory towers Cox read Marx and Freud, and travelled to Russia and Europe to experience "the immediate matters of the day" first hand. In 1934 he visited Germany to "see Nazism from the inside". He worked in a German Youth Labour Camp during an Oxford vacation and later attended a Nazi Party Rally at Nuremburg. As the world moved towards war, Cox became a foreign and war correspondent for Fleet Street newspapers and covered fighting in Spain, Austria, Finland, Belgium and France.

In 1940 he joined the New Zealand Army, and served in Greece, Crete, Libya and Italy, and for a time as a diplomat in Washington. After the war he returned to journalism, becoming an Assistant Editor of the News Chronicle. In 1956 he became Editor of Independent Television News. He was one of the pioneers of television journalism, and in 1967 started News at Ten. He was later Deputy Chairman of Yorkshire Television, Chairman of Tyne Tees Television, and of London radio news station, LBC. He was knighted in 1966 for his services to journalism.

Born in Christchurch, 1911.
Died in Cairo, Egypt, 1945, aged 34.
Journalist, poet, novelist, editor, soldier.

Recognized when he left New Zealand at the age of twenty-one, as one of the outstanding young men of his generation, John Mulgan took a brilliant first in English at Oxford and then passed into the employ of the Clarendon Press. The Second World War took him to Northern Ireland, the Western Desert of Egypt, and the mountain fastness of German occupied Greece.

As a cool and daring guerrilla leader, Mulgan stood out in a company of fighters of whom Richard Capell wrote in 1945, "What they have done and been through speaks to my sense not primarily of practical but spiritual victory, the victory of mans unconquerable will over desperate circumstances". He was awarded the Military Cross after his tragic death in 1945.

Mulgan left behind him a novel Man Alone (1939) and the manuscript of a book of memoirs Report on Experience (1947). Man Alone, forgotten during the war, but republished in 1949, has never been out of print since that date. Mulgan is remembered, as a dispassionate voice with something compelling and truthful to say about New Zealand and England.