Jellicoe & Bledisloe
When David Cook moved to Hamilton East, he was drawn to the colourful and creative lives of his neighbours. With camera in hand, he explored everything from front-yard mechanics to Sunday roasts, creating an intimate documentary of a State Housing suburb in the 1990s, moments before gentrification set in. In this energetic photobook, we look back twenty-five years to see burgeoning issues of relevance today: housing, bi-cultural relations, social welfare, and freshwater quality, all brought to us through the lens of daily life.
The title, Jellicoe & Bledisloe, is a reference to the local street names, commemorating New Zealand Governors General from the early twentieth century. Reflecting on this colonial heritage, Cook writes an engaging first-person account of the suburb, featuring a conversation with Ngaati Wairere historian Wiremu Puke. Together they unearth suppressed histories and rewrite our understanding of the Waikato landscape.
Te Papa Tongarewa holds a significant collection of photographs from this series. The work is also featured in an exhibition Jellicoe & Bledisloe: Hamilton in the 90s – David Cook at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery / Te Pūkenga Whakaata, Wellington (24 Feb – 15 May 2022).
David Cook’s photo-documentaries deal with communities in transition. Publications include Lake of Coal: the Disappearance of a Mining Township (finalist in the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards), Meet me in the Square: Christchurch 1983-1987 (winner of the 2015 MAPDA Exhibition Catalogue Award – major) and River Road: Journeys through Ecology.
David Cook interviewed by Lynn Freeman in Standing Room Only
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