A conversation with Randell descendants

A conversation with Randell descendants

In the last week of April 2021, we celebrated the launch of Saving Randell Cottage. A short film talking with descendants of William and Sarah Randell about how the historic Randell Cottage saved from demolition, restored and donated to become a residence for New Zealand and French writers.

Listen to Beverley Randell Price and her daughter Susan Price as they share memories of the rescue and renovation of their ancestors’ colonial home (6:37 minutes).

Video credits:

Director: Jeremy Macey
Cinematographer: Valeriya Golovina
Second camera: Jess Soderberg
Sound: Brynn Olsson
Editor: Shane Loader

Produced by Godwit Films and funded by Creative New Zealand.


Passing of Nadine Ribault

Passing of Nadine Ribault

Photo of Nadine RibaultWe record with great sadness the death of Nadine Ribault the first French writer to take up a residency at Randell Cottage nearly twenty years ago. Nadine Ribault died on 17 January 2021. She would have turned 57 on the 20th of January. Our deepest condolences go out to Nadine’s husband Thierry and daughter Blanche.
In the Livre d’Or, published in 2012 to mark the tenth anniversary of residencies at the Cottage, Nadine wrote:
La nature étant l’aliment qui donne des forces pour la lutte, j’ai reçu, en Nouvelle-Zélande, voici très exactement dix ans, un aliment de choix. Les falaises, les plages, les fjords, les criques, les lagons, les rivières, les volcans, les montagnes, les forêts, tout m’a comblée d’une magie et d’une énergie merveilleuses. J’en nourris encore et mon sens de la lutte et mes rêves.
J’y ai déambulé au milieu d’une fantasmagorie que je n’oublierai pas. Dans le creuset des traditions maories, des amitiés soudaines et des vents tournoyants aux origines mystérieuses, j’ai puisé de l’inspiration pour des temps infinis. Installée au Japon maintenant, et ce depuis 2009, j’ai fait appel à ces images quand il a fallu traverser les difficiles moments qui ont suivi l’accident nucléaire de Fukushima. Je me suis souvenue qu’en terre néo-zélandaise, j’ai marché en « terre non-nucléaire ». Je me suis souvenue qu’il est possible de marcher en « terre non-nucléaire » et j’ai décidé de dire combien il serait vital de marcher de la sorte partout sur cette Terre.
Il y a dix ans donc, j’entamais un séjour qui, de la découverte des deux îles du Nord et du Sud à la rencontre de Janet Frame, de la découverte aussi des paysages sauvages et tourmentés qui semblaient faits pour moi, au temps passé avec celles et ceux qui devinrent des ami(e)s, me ramenait toujours au Randell Cottage, véritable centre du tableau.
Dans cette maison, le vent passait sous les portes et me parlait de l’infini des horizons marins. Ma plume ragaillardie dansait sous les embruns. J’adorais cet endroit et je m’y sentais bien et j’ai su que je m’y sentirai bien sitôt passé le seuil. Certains visages ne trompent pas, on sait dès qu’on y porte les yeux, qu’ils feront notre joie. Pour moi, la Nouvelle-Zélande est à jamais un visage aimé.
Nature is the nourishment that gives us strength for the struggle, and in New Zealand, exactly ten years ago, I was very well nourished. Cliffs, beaches, fjords, bays, lagoons, rivers, volcanoes, mountains, forests, all filled me with their magic and a wonderful energy. I feed from it still, it nourishes my sense of struggle and my dreams.
There, I wandered through a fantasy world I’ll never forget. From the crucible of Maori tradition, sudden friendships, and winds whirling up from nowhere, I drew inspiration for all time. Resident in Japan since 2009, I called on these images when I had to live through the difficult times that followed the nuclear accident at Fukushima. I remembered that in New Zealand I had walked in a ‘nuclear-free world’. I remembered it was possible to walk in a ‘nuclear-free world’ and resolved to articulate how vital it would be walking that way all over this World.
Ten years ago, I set out on a journey that, between exploring the two islands, the North and the South to meeting Janet Frame, and discovering the wild and tortured landscape that seemed to have been made for me, to the time spent with those who became friends, always brought me back to Randell Cottage, the true centre of the picture.
In this house, the wind blew under the doors and spoke to me of the infinity of the sea’s horizons. My pen, inspired, danced under the sea spray. I loved this place and I felt at home here, and knew that I would feel at home as soon as I crossed the threshold. Some faces do not lie, we know, the moment we see them, that they will bring us joy. New Zealand’s is forever a face I love.
[Translated by Jean Anderson]
Michalia Arathimos on Standing Room Only, RNZ

Michalia Arathimos on Standing Room Only, RNZ

Our 2020 New Zealand resident Michalia Arathimos is nearing the end of her stay at Randell Cottage – and we’ll be very sad to see her go.

Last week she spoke to Lynn Freeman of Radio New Zealand’s Standing Room Only about returning to Wellington, life in the cottage and its impact on her project, Cartographia, and her plans for her Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship.

Listen to Michalia talking with Lynn Freeman:

Lynn Davidson selected as 2021 Randell Cottage Writer in Residence

Lynn Davidson selected as 2021 Randell Cottage Writer in Residence

Newly returned to Aotearoa New Zealand after four years teaching and writing in Edinburgh, Lynn Davidson is to be the 2021 Creative New Zealand Randell Cottage Writing Fellow. Davidson will be using her time at Randell Cottage to write a memoir of her move to Scotland in 2016 and how, when prevented by Covid-19 from returning to New Zealand, she began exploring the life of her great aunt Vida.

A poet and novelist. Davidson’s most recent publication is the poetry collection Islander. She won the Poetry New Zealand Award in 2020, and holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Massey University.

Selection panel convener Stephen Stratford says, “We soon got it down to five applications to argue over, then four. And then there were three. A while later, there were two. This was a close-run thing, but Lynn Davidson’s project was, in the end, a unanimous choice. Everyone on the panel saw it is as a valuable contribution to New Zealand history and a project that, given the author’s track record with both poetry and prose, will deliver something special. The mix of poetry and prose in the sample provided was a strength too.”

Davidson says she is delighted to be the 2021 resident and is looking forward to living and working in Randell Cottage.

“After four years in Edinburgh, and towards the end of this strange and difficult year, I decided to return to New Zealand. I was just days out of managed isolation and back in my beloved Wellington when I had the call to say I would be the 2021 Creative New Zealand Randell Cottage Writing Fellow. It feels remarkable to be supported in this way, at this moment, as I write about my family’s migrations between Scotland and New Zealand, and about my own migrations between Scotland and New Zealand. My particular interest is in uncovering the story of my great aunt, Vida, which I began in my flat in the eerie quiet of an empty Edinburgh City, and will continue to explore in the supportive quiet of the Randell Cottage. “

The Randell Cottage Writers Trust was established in 2001. The restored Category II historic building, gifted to the Trust by the Randell-Price family, hosts two writers a year: one from New Zealand and the other from France.

It is currently home to Michalia Arathimos. The 2021 French resident, writer Caroline Laurent is scheduled to arrive in Wellington in July.