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JM | Feb 7, 2023

Documentary series to detail Bob Marley’s visit to New Zealand

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

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Late reggae legend Bob Marley. (Photo: Contributed)

In honour of the lasting impact that Bob Marley left on New Zealand, a television documentary series called ‘When Bob Came‘ will follow the reggae king’s visit to the country in 1979, exploring his appeal to New Zealanders.

Marley played his first and only New Zealand concert on April 16, 1979, at Auckland’s Western Springs.

Released yesterday (February 6) on what would have been his 78th birthday, the series includes interviews with Tigilau Ness, a musician and activist himself, who remembers being at Western Springs where Marley performed with his band, The Wailers, as well as archival footage from the visit.

The documentary will also see citizens expressing the impact Marley had on their life as well as how much his music and philanthropic works mean to them. Interviewees include Oscar Kightley, Anika Moa, Troy Kingi, and others.

Bob Marley’s visit to New Zealand in 1979.

According to Angela Cudd, a producer and director of the ‘When Bob Came‘ series, Marley’s impact on the island was attributed to his perspective on life and his “unapologetic freedom of thought.”

“It was a freedom that many New Zealanders needed at such a contentious time in our history and that’s possibly what elevated Bob from musician to legend,” she said in a report published by New Zealand media company Stuff.

The series is being presented by James Rolleston, a 25-year-old New Zealand actor who was not around when Marley visited his country but was greatly inspired by his work.

“I have a lot of love and respect for reggae music and Bob Marley himself,” he says, citing Roots, Rock, Reggae as his favourite Bob Marley song.

“Growing up in Ōpōtiki, he was quite a big person back home. A lot of people listened to him.”

The documentary series is available now on TVNZ+.

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