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9 April 1947 – 23 August 2020

As a child, in St Helens, Morgan had his own natural history museum, in the garden shed.  His friend Harry Friar remembers “The museum would always have a centerpiece as the main attraction: a sparrow’s skull; an owl pallet; cow horns.

“His dad used to bring them [the cow horns] home and we would leave them in the garden until there was only a shell left.   We would walk around with them over our shoulder tied with a piece of string.  We must have been bubonic plague carriers, they didn’t half smell.”

His house on the Kapiti Coast was full of reconstructed skeletons, and his garden was full of buried skeletons.  Different country / same habits!

He was recruited to NZ, as a wallpaper designer, around 1980.   He impressed John Callwood, of Ashley Wallpapers, with his design experience, his phenomenal charm, and (most importantly) his love of Folk Music.

Sasana. L-R John, Morgan, Pete.

Their band Sasana played at the launch of Cloak of Protection, at the Mahara Gallery, 21 Jan, 2012.

I’d gone to find him after seeing an exhibition of his illustrations at the Paraparaumu Library.  His airbrush work was magical.  Whether he was illustrating wildlife or whether he was illustrating fantasy, he knew these creatures from the inside out . . .

. . .what I did not know, but was to learn, was that Morgan only ever did one thing or the other.

In all aspects of his life, Morgan was a contrary combination of opposites – as if he viewed life through slits in opposing walls.

He would take a position to view through one slit, on a mission to illustrate and/or defend this spot to the death. Then he would cross to an opposite wall and take a sighting through its slit.

When I asked him to do both (wildlife and fantasy) on the same project, he was excited (he loved sets), but he was also flummoxed.  He had no way to see through both window slits at once!?

Given time, Morgan eventually worked out a way. . .it was to be one of his proudest achievements.  He was (as Harry says) ‘a talented git’.

75 air-brush illustrations.  This was his BIG completed project.  It was the piece of work which he declared himself most proud.  He had made his mark!

The game has been so successful, that earlier this year we meet to discuss a new edition.

Whither he goes, through which-ever slit through which he watches the world, and where-ever he sits, may his glass always be full, and may his elbow always find a place to lean.


His beloved Liverpool, won the EPL title, for the first time, this year.  He rests a happy man.


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kahu harrier

kahu/harrierWalking toward Te Horo beach yesterday I saw kahu, the harrier, coming in from the sea. It kept trying to find some lift in the air, but instead kept sinking down out of sight, plummeting toward the dunes, only to appear again, flapping its way upward.

Kahu was the one reason we could not call the settlement realm, introduced. Because they introduced themselves!

I wanted the big birds – the giant hunters – to be numero uno in each realm. Karearea (the NZ falcon) for forest; toroa (the royal albatross) for sea; hokioi (the giant eagle) for extinct: and kahu (the harrier) for settlement.

Of course 3 of these birds turn up in the predator realm as well. The fourth – toroa – hunts too, but far away from land.

Once, they ruled. Maintaining the balance in their realm. As only good hunters can do.

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skeletons & skulls

Caught up with Cloak of Protection illustrator Morgan Rothwell, at his home yesterday.

As I’ve always said, Morgan draws like he does, because he knows his creatures from the inside out.

Here he is with the inside of a cat! Part of his collection of skeletons & skulls.

As a child he had his own natural history museum – in the garden shed. Now it’s in his living room. Different country. Same habits!

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the game has generated a life of its own!

Sasana play at the launch Jan 2012.  Morgan Rothwell, Cloak of Protection illustrator, is centre
Sasana play at the launch Jan 2012. Morgan Rothwell, Cloak of Protection illustrator, is centre
Home again & playing the game, last Saturday night with a bunch of primary-school teachers – I realized how much better the game has become since it first left my hands.

It’s morphed.

Partly it’s the Hundredth Monkey Principal.* But it’s more than that!

It’s as if Cloak of Protection has been played often enough, with real meaning, that it’s generated a life of its own!

ie the game now appears to have generated its own force-field! One which is due to all of you.

Scientists acknowledge that his can happen in a creative process.

Rupert Seldrake in his book A New Science of Life says “the creative process can be seen as a successive development of more complex and higher-level wholes, through previously separate things being connected together”.

I stand in awe & wonder.

*The Hundredth Monkey Principal was observed by Lyall Watson. After a group of monkeys on an island learned a new behaviour, suddenly other monkeys on other islands with no possible “normal” means of communication learnt that behaviour too. (Lifetide: The Biology of Consciousness)

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instructions – do they work?

I’ve received the following feedback about the instructions for the game.

“Staff who were not here when you demod the game are finding the instructions to play confusing. Have asked a couple of members of the public if they could understand it if they bought the product, the answer was no.”

Has anyone else had the same problem??? Plse let me know via the facebook page.

Depending on your feedback, I’ll forward them your responses. Thanks.

Jan Alley (on facebook) wrote “Totally understand the comment as we thought the same but found that once we actually sat down to play they became very clear. Every time we had a doubt we went back to the instructions and they worked. It’s just a matter of trusting the process – and playing!”

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game design

Because Germans play a lot of games they have words to describe the opposing emotions that can be aroused. Gemutlich & Schadenfruede.

Gemutlich: comfort in one’s surroundings. There’s a place for everything, and everything is in its place.

Schadenfruede: a thrill at the misfortunes of others. Taking pleasure in the failures and sufferings of someone else.

When you are building a cloak, and you have plenty of birds & power cards in your hand – then your situation feels Gemutlich.

When someone else picks up a really bad predator, which means it hasn’t come to you, then your relief is Schadenfruede.

For some, fun can be found through the Gemutlich accomplishment of constructing a cloak. These people are the open-handed traders.

For others, the real fun is the Schadenfruede of watching (or even still, bringing about with your Pandora) the break-down of another’s cloak.

Every time you sit down to play, the interplay of what drives people keeps the game alive. This is one of the reasons why Cloak plays differently every time.