When he left school Greg worked as a journalist in Dargaville and then
went to Auckland University where he became involved with Newman Hall
and met people such as Dominican priests, Kevin Toomey and Eugene
Photograph by Michael Fitzsimons
“People like that represented a kind of spiritual dynamic, a motor running deep down inside you. And the broader community around Newman Hall at the time included people who became friends of mine, like Tony Watkins, Peter Dane, Robin Kearns and so on.
“I was probably drawn there because of James K Baxter, who’d been hanging out there less than ten years earlier. Baxter used to do readings there, and Eugene had lots of his letters, photocopied poems, and two hours of tapes of Baxter reading his poems. In 1984 I helped organise a poetry reading there to commemorate the 12th anniversary of Baxter’s death, and we also put together an art exhibition which I looked after for three days, sitting there in the lounge at Newman Hall, with Eugene’s cassette playing, and it was phenomenal. Listening to Baxter’s poetry for three days.I found that pretty formative.”
An extract from an interview with Greg O’Brien by Michael Fitzsimons
Published in Tui Motu October 2012 p23