19th November, 2004
A Concert To Honor Mental Health Campaigner
Mahinarangi Tocker Writes Song For Arnold Brooker
Mad Pride Concert Sunday 28 November Performers Include: Shona Laing, Mahinarangi Tocker, And Arana Pearson
The loss of Arnold Brooker this week has inspired Mahinarangi Tocker to write a new song, to be performed at next week's
Mad Pride concert event. ".it was the night of the first Mad Pride (in 2002) which fully opened my eyes to him as an
amazing person who'd done all these fantastic things for us." she said
Mad Pride is inspired by the outrageous boldness and personality of people like Arnold. Drawing its' inspiration from
other civil rights movements such as gay pride and black pride, Mad Pride demands a world that doesn't fear or patronise
those with experiences of mental illness. Mad PrideTM in New Zealand is promoting a concert event in Wellington. The
Illot Theatre will become a space to embrace all the beauty, eccentricity and humour of mad culture on Sunday the 28th
of November at 7pm.
Arnold has been a key part of Mad PrideTM . He enthusiastically performed poetry, music and whistle at the inaugural
Wellington concert in 2002. Arnold was also an honoured guest at the Mad Pride concert earlier this year at the
Wellington Fringe Festival (March 04), where he also spoke. Although he was noticeably frail, he made sure he attended
and sat at the front seat right through to the end of the show.
Planning has been underway for some months for the next concert - to be held next Sunday night at the Illot theatre. On
hearing of the death of Arnold Brooker, organisers have decided to dedicate this concert to his work and life.
Arana Pearson, Mad Pride organiser says "Arnold lit a torch for the rights and lives of people who have had experiences
in the Psychiatric system, having been incarcerated himself in the 1950's. Far before the mental health system
acknowledged the importance of ex-patient involvement in services, or funded advocacy - Arnold led the way, riding his
bike from cape to bluff in the 1970's and was well known to politicians and the general public.
"The torch he lit passes to the Mad Pride initiative on Sunday 28th November where we will honour the life of Arnold
Brooker. We will hear Mahinarangi play her new song, and see excerpts from The Whirling Man, a documentary of his life
(released in 2002).
"MAD PrideT is not about political correctness. It's about reclaiming identity of mad people from caricatures of us as
dangerous or hopeless people that need to be locked up for everyone's safety"
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