CITY ICON: The statue of Rocky Horror Picture Show creator Richard O'Brien as Riff Raff in the film.
SOURCE: Hamilton Press print edition
16 June 2010
BY Nick Sylvester
THERE'S a bronze statue of him on Hamilton's main street but New Zealand Immigration won't let Richard O'Brien, the creator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, live here.
Because he's over 55 (68) and hasn't secured a job offer Mr O'Brien can't retire in New Zealand and live on the property he owns near Katikati - although his parents, brother and sister spent more than 50 years here.
His family moved to New Zealand from England when he was 10 and settled in Hamilton before moving to Tauranga. He returned to Hamilton between ages 16 to 21 and worked in a barbershop on Victoria St. The statue marks the location of the former shop. He said his time in Hamilton formed the idea for Rocky Horror.
Mark Servian, the man behind the Riff Raff statue (which depicts O'Brien as the Riff Raff character from Rocky Horror), said the Facebook group "Let Richard O'Brien be a New Zealand citizen" now has more than 2800 members. He believed Hamilton City Council should present Mr O'Brien with the "key to the city" or some similar honour. "I think that would be a good symbolic act and really show the feeling of the city," he said.
Hamilton mayor Bob Simcock has written in support of Mr O'Brien to Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman.
The public can sign a petition set up by Paul Barlow which he said he would present to Hamilton's MPs Tim MacIndoe and David Bennett.
"I wanted to show the Government just how much support there is for this guy within the city that's built a statue for him."
In a thank-you message Mr O'Brien said: "I do love New Zealand, we have led by example on so many occasions. I am proud to have become part of its history, albeit in a very small way. Thank you for telling me that I am wanted. Your support means so much to me. I am genuinely grateful."
The petition is at JB Hi-Fi, Hamilton City Council, Hamilton Environment Centre, Hamilton Community Arts Council (in ArtsPost), Scotts Epicurean and Wintec City Campus in the R Block corridor.