Wintec researchers launch new books on Taika Waititi and rock legends Queen

Wintec researcher and academic Matthew Bannister with his new book on Taika Waititi

Matthew Bannister with his new book Eye of the Taika: New Zealand Comedy and the Films of Taika Waititi. Photo supplied.

Two new books on Aotearoa New Zealand actor, director and comedian, Taika Waititi and the music of Queen will be released on Friday 3 December 2021 at a launch event in Hamilton at Wintec School of Media Arts.

Rock and Rhapsodies: The Music of Queen by Dr Nick Braae and Eye of the Taika: New Zealand Comedy and the Films of Taika Waititi by Dr Matthew Bannister are the result of research projects by these talented academics who teach at Wintec School of Media Arts.

Wintec Postgraduate Supervisor, Dr Matthew Bannister researches popular music and interest in New Zealand popular culture and identity.

He is a member of both APRA (Australasian Performing Rights Association) and IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music). A musician, performer, and songwriter since the 1980s, Bannister is  best known in New Zealand music circles for his first band, Sneaky Feelings.

Bannister says he got the idea for a book on Waititi in 2016, when he went to a screening of Hunt for the Wilderpeople in Hamilton.

“The audience were really excited – they were repeating the dialogue like they already knew it – at the end they applauded. I’d never seen anything like it in a New Zealand cinema.”

While writing the book, Bannister was surprised to learn the depth of disciplines that Taika has explored, from painting, stand-up comedy and writing, to directing and acting for television and advertising.


Matthew Bannister and his new book Eye of the TaikaMatthew Bannister’s book Eye of the Taika is published by Wayne State University Press of Detroit, Michigan. Photo supplied.

Bannister has spent time researching comedy and exploring what makes people laugh.

“To me the funniest humour is physical comedy - it’s great, it doesn't date. Slipping on a banana skin - that’s timeless - if it’s done right and Taika is certainly capable of using his body to be funny.”

Being a "Jack of all trades" is common in New Zealand, and Taika clearly has the ability to switch between roles, says Bannister.

“He’s also a Jack of all people, with his diverse cultural background, he’s able to inhabit the world from many different points of view. It’s a New Zealand way to just improvise, and Taika messes with the audience not knowing exactly how to take him.”

Eye of the Taika: New Zealand Comedy and the Films of Taika Waititi, took about two years to write and is published by Wayne State University Press of Detroit, Michigan.

Wintec music tutor, Dr Nick Braae has been a Queen fan since he was a child.

Braae’s book Rock and Rhapsodies: The Music of Queen, published by Oxford University Press, is a study of the band’s music, whose worldwide appeal was the subject of the recent hit biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody.

In 2019, Braae had the pleasure of musically directing the Queen musical, We Will Rock You, when it played in Hamilton. The book is based on his doctoral thesis, which he completed at the University of Waikato in 2016. 

The launch event is open to the public and will feature live music from The Strumbles, including selections from the work of both Waititi and Queen, refreshments and books for sale.

Book launch event details:

5-7pm, Friday 3 December 2021
R Block Social Space, Wintec City campus, Collingwood Street, Hamilton.

Due to the requirements of operating an event in the Orange setting under the NZ Covid-19 Protection Framework, this event requires attendees to be fully vaccinated and present a My Vaccine pass. Thank you for your understanding. Please also adhere to public health measures at this event.

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