Punk at the end of the earth: Zwines, the CBGB’s of the Auckland Punk scene in New Zealand.
Zwines was a building initially used as a 19th century police jail which turned into a nightclub in the ’60s and became the heart of the obscure Auckland punk scene from early 1978 to mid-1979 (when the owners pulled the classic insurance scam and set it on fire), home to some of the finest local acts, a tough punk crowd, underage drinkers and thugs…
“…Few went to Zwines alone (…) Whether it was heaven or hell depended on who you were and how far you were willing to push yourself. But to an ever increasing number of us (…) at some stage during the night you ended up in this seedy, smelly black hole that was, for a brief moment, the epicentre of Auckland’s cutting edge live scene. It was a tough place to play as the audience were an integral part of the act. The band playing to, with, in, and at the crowd.
The Auckland scene developed in isolation from the equivalent scenes in London and NYC, simply because of the way the country remained shut behind a government enforced screen. We heard and read little that was contemporary. We couldn’t buy most of the records until many months after release and nothing of any interest was available via the state owned media (…) But despite that, there was a strength, verve and soul not found in places like the more contrived, and clearly UK-aping scenes in Sydney and Melbourne. Unlike their Australian counterparts nobody, even if they were doing covers, was trying - until much later that is - to be The Sex Pistols, The Stooges or The Clash. It’s hard to successfully mimic someone when all the information you are getting comes via twisted half stories, the odd image and an imported single or two.
New Zealand was very, very, isolated in those days, and our music reflected that. It really was the end of the earth…”
Simon Grigg (early NZ punk scene insider, musician, band/club/record label manager/columnist/writer).
Photos 1,2: Jonathan Jamrag of Rooter & Craig of The Aliens at the dancefloor.
Photo 3: It was part of the ritual at Auckland punk gigs for members of the crowd to sit on the stage looking away from the band.
Photo 4: COPS!!!
Photos 5, 6: Jamie Jetson of The Idle Idols.
Photos 7,8: Ronnie Recent of The Scavengers.
Photo 9: The Terrorways.
Photo 10: Looking down on Zwines, from the fanzine Empty Heads in August 1980.
Photos by Fiona Clark, Gail Young, Jonathan Tidball, Murray Cammick & Paul Luker, found along with info by Simon Crigg on http://simongrigg.info/zwines.htm