PALMAH

Here at SYSCA, we want to counter the endless amounts of shit chat plaguing the planet and cut to the good shit. To do this, we're picking the inner corners of the brains of some cool people doing cool shit, and there sure are plenty of them. And this our friends, is our interview series, “Shit Chat.”

“Our adventure began at Falls Festival in Byron Bay….

With only pennies in their pockets, two surf bums were unable to afford trendy outfits necessary for such a gathering.

"Shit. What should we do?" said one bum to the other... The bums decided to do what bums to best- they made t-shirts themselves. A can of paint and a couple of tees later, the bums got to business. They worked hard into the night and ended up with bold and bright rainbow smiley faces adorning the fabric in front of them.

Throughout the concert, the two surf bums were constantly approached and quizzed by other attendees. Many friends were made thanks to the bum's outwardly positive t-shirts. After the concert, the bums realised that those t shirts had lead them to encounter some of the funkiest human beings they'd ever met and contributed to one of the funnest weekends of their lives.

They then realised that those t shirts could help spark many more happy encounters for many more happy humans. It was here they created Palmah, a company for people who live life less seriously, and enjoy life's moments as they float on by.” - Palmah, About Us.


My all time favourite piece of clothing is a bright red T-Shirt.

On it sits a lonely embroidered love heart smoking a cigarette, & three words.

“A broken dart” (yeah, we all know I love a pun.)

At this point I know what you’re thinking, and it’s something along the lines of either, “why are you talking about a tee shirt,” or, “what genius came up with this?” or even, “where can I get a tee like that?”

Well, your questions are about to be answered.

Brothers, Joe and Hamish Palmer are the masterminds behind the ‘broken dart’ and so many other sick and witty tee’s that have become cult fashion in Dunedin, and are quickly making their way across the country.

Based in Dunedin, the duo do more than just make T-Shirts (…they also make crew necks, hoodies and long sleeved tees). BUT, it just so happens that they’ve been known to throw the odd shindig for a cause - for instance the Penguin Party, where they “teamed up with some of dunners finest to throw down one hell of a big backyard boogie for the Dunedin Wildlife Centre.” And this year, they put on the “Belter for the Shelter” celebrating 150 years of Otago Uni turns, and donating the proceeds to the Dunedin night shelter.

So they make sick clothes, they put on the coolest charity events on the planet... who the fuck are they?

Let’s find out…

A Shit Chat with Joe from Palmah!

The Palmah Crew.

The Palmah Crew.

SYSCA: What shit do you care about right now?

Joe: Obviously what went down in New Zealand [Christchurch Mosque Attacks] is an absolute tragedy that none of us can ignore. While I think we’re still all in complete and utter shock and need time to properly comprehend what happened and mourn, this tragic event has definitely brought to light some important issues that we as a country need to face.

I’m not going to go deep into it and get all political, but I think that as a country we have to realise that we’re not perfect and that we have some societal issues which need to addressed and cannot be ignored. 

On a positive side, I think it’s incredible how the whole of NZ came together and poured humongous amounts of support to those in need, especially the Muslim community. That made me really proud to be a Kiwi. 

While it might be a seemingly overly talked about topic, climate change and the environmental issues we are facing now are pretty fkn scary. It’s a pretty bleak topic and almost an ignorance is bliss kinda situation, but we all need to be doing our part if we’re going to get out of this mess.

Despite the bleakness, there’s a lot of cool shit happening which gives me a bunch of hope as well, like did you know some scientists have just figured out how to make coral grow 40x it’s regular rate which has the potential to save the Great Barrier and an insane amount of other dying reefs around the world? That kind of stuff get me super excited and keeps the hope alive. 

Lastly mental health, while becoming a far, far more mainstream and talked about topic in NZ is still a major problem in NZ, in fact it’s getting worse. Last year we had the highest amount of suicide rates since they began gathering statistics which is absolutely tragic. The part that’s incredibly hard to grasp, is that a lot of these deaths could potentially been avoided if people could just feel comfortable enough to talk to others about how they were feeling. This just takes a massive weight off people’s shoulders and helps the emotions be shared instead of going through them alone. I think this is the simple thing that we as a society should continue to push and reinforce, that it’s ok to talk.

SYSCA: If you could nominate one person from your Instagram feed to replace Trump, who would it be and why? 

Joe: Shit, looking at her performance over the last couple weeks, it’d be hard to go past our very own Jacinda. I think the main reason that myself and I imagine a tonne of other people have been so incredibly proud to have her representing us, is that it feels like she’s actually a person expressing her true emotions and feelings, unlike a lot of politicians who come across as monotonous robots being told what to say and how to act in order to please the public best. Her immediate reaction was to call it a terrorist attack on our nation and she’s all ready putting much stronger gun regulation laws in place. I highly highly doubt that someone like Trump would have responded in the same way, in fact I wouldn’t even be surprised if his solution would have been tighter immigration laws and more guns. You only have to glance at the internet to see how much the world is behind Jacinda at the moment. 

SYSCA: What’s the point of what you’re doing, what legacy do you want to leave on the world? 

Joe: While trying to find a way to escape the regular 9-5 grind was definitely a massive reason my little brother and I started up Palmah, we’re keen to make it about a lot more than just selling t shirts. As our family continues to grow and we gain bigger opportunities for exposure, I really want to increasingly become more than just a clothing company and avenue to talk and bring awareness to so many important issues that are going on in our society and around the world today. I feel like we’ve been so lucky to have this avenue to reach people, that it would be such a waste to not at least try and play our part in helping solve/give exposure to these issues. 

Penguin Party by Cam Hay and Matt Hansen

Penguin Party by Cam Hay and Matt Hansen

We’re also keen to keep doing more collaborations with local charities and organisations around Dunedin and afar. It’s pretty cool to know that you can help a cause by doing some doodles. 

We want to do more events too, the penguin party we threw for Dunedin Wildlife Centre last year with the likes of Mild Orange, Mako Road and a bunch of other epic artists was too much fun. We’ve actually got something very similar in the works soon, except throughout the country for homeless shelters, so very excited for that. 

**This went on to become the “Belter for the Shelter.”

It’s pretty cool to know that you can help a cause by doing some doodles. 

SYSCA: The world is a pretty dark place right now, since superheroes don’t exist what do you think is going to save the world?

Joe: As cheesy as it sounds, I don’t really think it’s a question of what’s gonna save the world, but who. I genuinely believe in the last 10 or so years, there has been such a mental shift in the way people think and act. It seems we don’t just have the same work hard, make money, get rich attitude like the generations before. I feel as though people actually give a shit about a tonne of other stuff and are keen to make a difference in the world no matter how big or small that may be. Whether that be in an environmental, social or political way, people are standing up for what they believe in more so than ever I believe. It’s so unfortunate that it got overshadowed by the horrific events that took place on the same day, but the student climate change demonstrations and marches that occurred around the country and the world were absolutely incredible and a fantastic example of why our generation and the younger generations fill me with hope. 

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SYSCA: Who do you think we should have our next shit chat with, and why?

Joe: Two of my best mates are just starting up a podcast called ‘Perfectly F*cked’ at the moment. While the name might be a little vague and confusing, it’s basically two dudes talking about mental health in a not so serious, comical way. The aim is to try and normalise talking about mental health with each other, where it can literally be just you bantsing out with your mates, instead of it having to be a scary, taboo topic. Both of the guys have dealt with a fair amount of mental health problems in the past as well gone through a couple hectic ordeals, so have a good mix of bullshit and laughter while also spreading insight and wisdom on some very important topics. Highly recommend a listen.


Whoa. In just a few questions, Joe has managed to cover a whole lotta good shit, and we are so beyond excited to have had this chat with him.

If you’ve read this and you’ve become obsessed with Palmah and their ethos (we certainly have) you can find their threads here, and follow their instagram here.

Can’t wait to see who we chat shit with next!

The SYSCA team xx

Banner Image and Penguin Party Images by Cam Hay and Matt Hansen.