One 2020 election hoarding in a paddock at Mount Somers turned out to be a fascinating social experiment.
After posting online about my first column making it to print, I was reminded by a friend (we’ll call JR for this story) who still hasn’t quite let go of the fact I chose to offer our now local MP the opportunity to put up a hoarding in our paddock, not sure what this had to do with anything about my last effort but I did reply to the comment that I’d use that as an idea for a future column all the same.
Now, the idea anyone could get riled or outraged by one of many hoardings spread across the country is an interesting one, lets face it, no one is going to be influenced to vote a particular way nor will it change the outcome of an election so why not have a little fun with it?
Some calls were made and up went said hoarding, even as we were putting it up one neighbour drove past a couple of times, but I didn’t think things would get much more interesting than that aside from a high chance of an artist reimagining how it looks, someone thinking the river would be a better spot for it to be if a spring Nor Wester didn’t have it’s way with it first.
I’ve never been asked directly by those that took great interest in the hoarding what the motivation was. In a nutshell it was a bit of a dig at the shambles the team that’d be the more popular colour choice of hoarding around here as much as I felt our local MP was the best person to be representing us in Wellington instead of the last-minute change of candidate from across the river. My site also offered the opportunity for it to be up within view of where another MP from Team Shambles grew up (and I get along with well) so I thought it’d be quite funny if word was to spread along the bush telegraph!
To my amazement it became something of a tourist attraction, most days when out on farm I’d see vehicles stop or drive slowly past, one day there was three vehicles parked up there for some time, were these folks suddenly influenced to research policy? One day I was spraying a paddock beside the hoarding and within minutes received a photo from a friend in Dunedin who’d been sent it from JR with me in my sprayer in the background! By coincidence too, opposite the end of my driveway a hoarding soon appeared with the now vanquished leader of The Shambles Party, what were the chances.
If you’re feeling quite strongly about the state of politics and direction of this country, getting involved with stimulating some thought and discussion in your local community can be quite an eye-opening experience, as well as getting to know your local candidate better. It has its pitfalls but on the whole it might just become something people will still be talking about years later, even one hoarding as it turns out can have this effect!
Will I be looking to do the same again this election?
What colour hoarding could I chose to stimulate a similar amount of discussion and interest?
You’ll have to keep an eye out closer to the time on your way to Mount Somers to find out…
by Duncan Humm