Dean Parker

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Dean Parker is a New Zealand screenwriter, playwright, journalist and political commentator based in Auckland.

Parker has worked as a writer for much of his life and been prominent in his union, the NZ Writer's Guild. His plays include Midnight in Moscow (which The Press reviewer Alan Scott called "entertaining and thought-provoking" and "one of his best to date"), 2005's Iraq-set Baghdad, Baby, and an adaptation of Nicky Hager's expose The Hollow Men. Amongst his screenwork, he has won awards in New Zealand for tele-play Share the Dream (starring Joel Tobeck), and co-writing successful big-screen comedy Came a Hot Friday.[1] The 1985 film centered on two conmen in small town New Zealand, and was adapted from the novel by Ronald Hugh Morrieson.

Parker's theatrical CV includes The Feds, Two Fingers From Frank Zappa, and adaptations of Great Expectations, and The Trial.[2] He has also written many radio plays, among them Joe Stalin Knew My Father and Engels F: A History of the Ould Sod.

Arguably his best-known television work is Welsh-Kiwi rugby tale Old Scores, which Parker co-wrote with ex All Black triallist and occasional soccer player Greg McGee. The two also co-created 80s trucking series Roche, whose cast included John Bach and Andy Anderson, and goldmining drama Gold, a co-production between New Zealand and Canada. Parker has also worked on episodes of police drama Mortimer's Patch, Betty's Bunch, and documentary Just Slightly, A People Apart: The Irish in NZ.

In 1990 Parker co-directed Shattered Dreams, a documentary on the years leading up to the '51 Waterfront strike.

Parker was born in Napier, Hawke's Bay. By 1969 he was living in London, England. While of mainly Irish ancestry, he knew little of the Irish struggle until "troubles" began that year in Northern Ireland. Parker joined the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Solidarity Campaign, led by the International Socialists (now known as the Socialist Workers Party), and immersed himself in literature on the Irish struggle. He continued his involvement with the IS into the early '70s', attending branch meetings in West London, with his old Napier friend, Blair Peach. Peach was later killed while participating in a 1979 anti-National Front rally.

By 1975, Parker was back in New Zealand. Horrified at the election of National Prime Minister, Rob Muldoon, Parker joined the pro-Soviet Socialist Unity Party and soon became chairman of its Auckland City Branch. He was active in the Campaign for an Independent East Timor and played soccer for the Halt All Racist Tours team for a number of years, though the quality of his play was purportedly variable.

In July 1977 he penned the first of many articles on Ireland for the SUP's paper, Tribune. By the late '70s the SUP had decided to ally with the Labour Party. Parker resigned from the SUP in 1978, though he remained a supporter into the late '80s.

In 1979 Parker travelled to Northern Ireland, visiting West Belfast and trouble spots like the Falls Road. Back in NZ, Parker helped form H Block/Armagh in 1980/81 as a support group for republican prisoners in Irish jails. Parker served on the editorial board of the organisation's publication Saoirse from 1982 until its demise in 2000. Parker contributed regular articles on Irish issues to SUP publications until the party split in 1990.

In 1991 Parker was a member of the Editorial Group of the socialist journal Agenda. He has also been active in the Workers' Charter Movement, a joint project of Socialist Worker, SPA, John Minto's Global Peace and Justice Auckland and Matt McCarten's Unite Union.

He also contributes to the New Zealand Listener and the New Zealand Herald.

Parker makes no bones about his Marxism–Leninism and injecting his politics into his art.

In the socialist journal Sites No 16 Autumn 1988 he wrote; "I would describe myself as a class-conscious writer. I'm with Lenin. I'm for the working class seizing control of the wealth it creates, for the replacement of parliament, the army, the police, the judiciary - all those deadly manacles of state control - with workers' committees and militias, and all this done as part of a world-wide struggle.."


  1. ^ "Profile: Dean Parker" - NZ On Screen
  2. ^ Daly-Peoples, John (19 November 2008). "Review: Franz Kafka – What a trial". National Business Review. Retrieved 27 September 2011.

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