Miss Alice

I don’t usually write about the documentaries I watch on television but “Lost in Wonderland” was too good to let the opportunity go by.

The Queen and Alice by Leibovitz

The Times of London cited barrister Rob Moodie for the most outrageous behaviour by a lawyer in 2006 after he represented himself in the New Zealand High Court dressed as Alice in Wonderland. He’s a straight bloke who likes to wear dresses. Moodie’s extraordinary life, career and personality are examined in a documentary that’s as colourful as its subject matter. The story begins in early childhood, at the moment when young Rob, aged 7, sat in the back of a courtroom and listened as a judge made him and his older brother Bill wards of the state.

Rob Moodie as Alice outside the High Court

He suffered a profound sense of dislocation that left him struggling to find identity and questioning gender roles from a very young age. Rob Moodie’s battles against conformity and unfairness form the narrative of the movie, moving from his early days as a crime busting police detective, to his training as a lawyer, then years of national prominence as the head of the police union. The police were one of the most conservative groups in the country. Moodie dragged them kicking and screaming into the 20th century. And he did it wearing a kaftan and his wife’s pearls. After a few years of semi-retirement, Moodie returned to the law after a plea for help from a senior police friend whose life and career had been ruined by a bogus fraud charge. Moodie not only rehabilitated his friend’s reputation, he won a huge action for compensation.

image

The legal case at the heart of this film is another story, and one which pitted Moodie against the combined forces of the New Zealand Army, the Government, and the entire justice system, all of which seemed to close ranks in a remarkably sustained display of injustice. His clients, a farming couple, had been found guilty of negligence by a Coroners court after a bridge built on their land by the army collapsed, killing a man. The couple lost everything trying to defend themselves. After he took their case, Moodie discovered a secret document which proved the army knew the bridge was deficient in design and materials, yet they had given evidence to the coroner that nothing related to the structure’s construction had contributed to its failure. Moodie was unable to table the document in court because of laws forbidding public disclosure of any army courts of inquiry reportsUnable to live with repressing the truth, he leaked the document on the internet. He was charged in the High Court with contempt. It was a charge that could have potentially ended his long career. At times of greatest stress in his life, Moodie says he always feels stronger when dressed as a woman. How appropriate then, that he faced the greatest crisis in his life dressed as Alice in Wonderland. As he later said, “Alice was trapped in a world of madness, and so was I”. The outcome of this case proved uplifting, and provided the final clues to Moodie’s nature, and the reasons why he is the way he is.

Member of New Zealand Army**

**I’m a kiwi so I’m allowed to make sheep jokes.

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48 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I watch very little TV, but that’s something I’d have watched on principal.
    Moodie has helped people I know and he has my respect.
    (Mind you, his colour sense is sometimes off! 😉 )

    • I was blown away by this documentary, he’s an amazing character.

  2. I hope this programme wends it’s way over here ….. fascinating.

    • Maybe you could write to the BBC and suggest they obtain a copy…..

  3. I don’t know anything about NZ. I hear it is very pristine. Is it expensive to live there? I would imagine so since so much probably has to be imported.

    • It’s a very long time since I lived there but it’s only marginally more expensive than Australia. Plenty of good healthy food available, dairy products in particular are world class.

  4. In Australia, sheep jokes are simply called New Zealand jokes, are they not?

    Moodie…now there’s a REAL man!

    • Had you heard of him before HH?

  5. I want to watch this – will petition the beeb xxx

    • ooh look Lulu…. I found a trailer

  6. I’d love to see this! Fantastic.

    • Yes it was Ellen. Maybe you can find a rental copy?

      http://www.arovideo.co.nz/film.php?FilmID=15794

      • Hmm…. a bit pricy to California. I’m thinking this has got to be available online or on one of our weird satellite stations sometime soon. Now that I know about it, I’m keeping my eyes out.

  7. Or maybe that should be emphasized that I’ll keep my eyes out *for the documentary*? Could get rather messy, the other way.

  8. Cross-dressing is the one fetish I have a difficult time understanding. Not gay, but wants to dress like a woman. It boggles the mind. Maybe I should give it a go.

    • Start simply… call your “frock” a kaftan, kilt, lavalava…there’s plenty of inspiration.

      • It’s a fantastic and fun kink, one well worth exploring! Seeing in men in skirts drives me wild. I think there’s a slight difference between fetish/cross-dress in the bedroom and cross-dressing in public: the idea of the former is to inspire feelings of objectification – sometimes. It can go either way.

  9. Thankyou! Reminded me of this completely beautifulphoto of Rachel Weisz as Snow White by Annie Leibowitz.

  10. I wanna go down the rabbit hole.

    did you know it is the year of the rabbit?

    I’m taking that as a sign.

  11. I’d love to see this. This man is my hero.

  12. gives new meaning to the “power suit”

  13. He’s obviously not one to skirt the issues.

  14. *falls about laughing* Had to post a link to this on my lawyer-friend’s wall, he’s going to love this. bwaaahahahaha … or baaaaaaaaaa!

  15. Really, though, I think a wig would help. I mean, the dress is nice, but the bald head sort of distracts you away from the entire outfit.

  16. I finally had to look up “kiwi” to understand the reference. here I thought it had something to do with fruit and not a bird.

    • When I was growing up we referred to the fruit as Chinese Gooseberries. I was really surprised when I got to Australia and heard people referring to them as kiwi fruit.

  17. Exceedingly cockle warming, Nurse Myra. The way you tell it brings a tear to the eye. Thank you. Now I can see that the F in WTF is Frock.

    (Would the correct abbreviation of your title be Ns?)

    • I thought WTF meant “Wait till Friday” Seems like a good idea.

  18. I like a man who’s man enough to be a woman. Good for him, breaking down a few gender barriers and forcing people to move into the 21st century. Reminds me of Grayson Perry, the British artist and potter who often appears in public in female dress. His quirky behaviour is now so widely accepted he’s well on the way to becoming a national treasure.

  19. I too will be looking for this doc. Fascinating…!

  20. I saw this advertised and didn’t watch it. I will try and find it on Iview. What a story. I love the sheep, what a novel way of defending your country.

  21. I’m bummed I missed this – Moody is a legend. I remember reading about him a couple of years ago. Hopefully, the doco will reappear soon enough.

    Love the sheep joke, btw 😀

    YourZ

  22. Tough enough to run the police union, and a wearer of frocks? Swoon! Plus the whistle-blowing on thug army? Hero material right there.

  23. Yes, fascinating documentary. So glad I watched it and I love your summary of this man’s brand of emotional intelligence in an insane world.

    • Oh I’m pleased you saw it too. The summary is not mine, if you hover your mouse over the words “Lost in Wonderland”, you’ll see where the italicised excerpt came from.

  24. Sounds like a great documentary. I’ll have to keep an eye for BBC America to run it.

  25. When was this on? How did I miss it?

    • It was broadcast last Tuesday on SBS.

  26. Are you sure he’s straight. lol
    The sheep looks too cool for school

  27. Ha!

  28. That sheep was in the movie Red Dawn, no?

  29. I know a lot of lesbians who feel stronger when dressed as a man. Perhaps this is a grass-is-always-greener example.

  30. Why is there no TV show about a Kiwi cross-dressing police detective and his talking sheep sidekick? Law and Order: New Zealand Exchange Unit would rule its timeslot for a full decade.

  31. Good for him for being his own man and for standing up to a corrupt authority. I hope the BBC does buy it.
    Sx

  32. sounds like a very good documentary. will look it up. thanks !

  33. I love the crimes against conformity idea. I need to think up a few.

  34. I’ve never quite understood cross-dressing, but I find it interesting. This documentary seems like a good one. I feel stronger dressed as a woman too. 🙂


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