Muller and Hatch, orators and entrepreneurs

Posted on October 12, 2008


My friend Logan Muller is a brilliant speaker. He uses appreciative inquiry to move people to a position of wanting to do something to improve the world.   As part of this he uses a device of simultaneously looking forward and back.   To summarise (and without the eloquence or passion),   in 30 years time, your granddaughter is writing a report from school about what it was like in 2008. This was a time with catastrophic extinction, computing was used to fuel a collapse of world markets (etc), what were you doing then granddad?”. 

Logan turned up unexpectedly yesterday, on holiday with his kids.  The new term starts tomorrow and they were hightailing it back to Auckland, but I thought of Logan last night as we watched Geoff Chapple’s wonderful one-man play Hatch or The Plight of The Penguins

Stuart Devenie plays Joseph Hatch  (ODT report).  Hatch was an Invercargill entrepreneur who developed a penguin oil industry on Macquarie Island, running it for 30 years from the 1880s.  What is described as “the first international campaign to save wildlife” resulted in Hatch losing his licence and business.  The play recreates his lecture tours of 1919-20 to garner public support for his industry.

While we may be horrified at the notion of boiling penguins, calling it “murder”  (Communigate calls it “Penguin Auschwitz”), Hatch sensibly asks how it is different to the slaughter of lambs, bobby calves and fish.   Hatch firmly believed in his duty to develop the country, the “task of production”.    

Back to Logan.  I’m not sure how well we would connect with a Hatch of today.   I’m sure  Hatch would tell Logan’s granddaughter about the roads and schools his oil paid for.  He would agree with “sustainable development”, the emphasis firmly on the development.  Arguments about sustainability involving resources for the next generation would also have him agreeing – convinced of the strength of penguin populations and a burning desire to develop a viable business for his children.  

I would like to think that we could come up with an argument that doesn’t rely on penguins being fluffy and cute. 

Both successful orators and entrepreneurs, I’d love to see Logan and Hatch in a room together (fortunately one of them is very much alive). 


Other stuff:

Auckland Theatre programme

Australian article 

NZ dictionary of biography