You have been an incredible supporter Jo. Right from the very beginning when I first came up with the idea you were the only person who truly supported us and backed us and believed in us - both as a member of the local Waiheke Board and as a member of the community. Such a pity the current local board haven't shown us any support and that the current local board Chairperson Paul Walden voted against the film receiving any type of support from the local board (and went as far as to yell 'shame', 'shame', 'shame' when the ex Chairperson Faye Storer and you awarded a small amount of money to help the film become a reality and help build Waiheke's profile internationally).
Anyway, thankfully the world is made up of far more positive and visionary people and the film is now seeing the light of day. When you do see it Jo, please take a big bow as you deserve it!
Thank you so much for everything you have done for us!!!!
Manager, The Hip Op-eration Crew
The Gulf News has never published an article that Billie hasn't had to write herself in full and provide the supporting photos for it. They have never interviewed anyone in the crew or ever attended a rehearsal or taken any photos. They are within a 3 minute walking distance of the Morra Hall - yet never considered what the Hip Op Crew were doing was newsworthy.
The Hip Op-eration Crew have had an open-door policy for all media since they were first set up as a Flash Mob back in May 2012. Yet only one of the local papers, the Waiheke Marketplace, came to one rehearsal about 14 months ago. Previous journalist Gill Adcock did a profile article on Billie nearly two years ago. However, apart from that article the Marketplace have never written an article about the Hip Op-Crew themselves or interviewed anyone.
So if someone said, 'how many times have the local news media interviewed members of the crew and written an article about the crew?', the answer is none. If Billie hadn't written all the articles for them and provided the photos taken by 70 year old hip hop crew member Leila Gilchrist, then not a single article would have ever been published about the Hip Op Crew.
Billie and the Crew must have been gutted when some coverage of the film finally appeared in this week’s Gulf News and they couldn’t even get the picture of the Crew right. I write every day and find pictures for my blogs. It’s easy. It would have taken some effort to find a photo of a group from the Australian outback rather than our genuine Waiheke Hip Op-eration Crew. One could almost think it was deliberate given that one of their writers is the daughter of a Crew member, but knowing the poor standard of reporting in that rag I can only say I’m not surprised.
I know Billie will rise above that sort of negativity as she’s always done. The Crew has already achieved way more than most thought possible thanks to Billie’s inspirational leadership and the Crew's hard work. The film has opened to rave reviews. Waiheke is one of the main characters in the movie and nobody could have been a better ambassadors or done more to promote our wonderful island. The world awaits you.