It’s well known locally that Kura Geere-Watson is the inspiration behind our annual Arts in the Ville, but it’s probably less well known that for the past few years Kura, whose parents discouraged her from tertiary study when she was young, has been studying for her BA , majoring in Philosophy and Political Studies. “Doing a degree was eye-opening,” she says. “You realise how much you don’t know.”
Having completed her papers last year, Kura was really excited at the prospect of being capped in 2020 – the gown, the hat, the hood, the walk down Queen Street with the other graduands, the pomp and ceremony of the Auckland Town Hall graduation event … and then Covid-19 happened. It was time to hatch Plan B.
And so it was that on April 23, the day of the cancelled ceremony, Kura staged her own graduation parade. Finding the appropriate gear was relatively easy – a coat turned inside out to show the black side served as a gown, a friend gave her a genuine BA hood, circa 1969 and she fashioned the crowning glory, a mortarboard made from her father’s 1922/1923 Wanganui Collegiate First XV cap and the painted cover of a record cut from a performance of The Gondoliers she was in at Karanui College in 1963.
After being photographed under a yarn-bombed tree outside the Helensville Library, where she was cheered on by a few supporters, Kura sashayed down the middle of Commercial Road, throwing her mortarboard in the air when she reached Countdown. Then, job done, she took off her graduation garb and went in to buy her groceries.
As Kura says, “It’s amazing what you can do in a bubble.”