There are calls for a general election in the UK, where a third prime minister could be put in place in under two months. Following what's been described by the Opposition Labour Party as a "revolving door of chaos", out-going Liz Truss (who claims the dubious record of completing Britain's shortest term as Prime Minister, just 45 days in Number 10) resigned in the early hours of our morning. A new Conservative leader is likely to be in place by this time next week. They need to get the backing of 100 MPs by Monday to enter the race. Pundits are tipping Liz Truss's close contender Rishi Sunak to take over, and Conservative MPs have already openly pledged their support for him. There's also speculation Boris Johnson might tip his hat at it, again. It's reported he's getting similar backing from Tory colleagues. Lynn Freeman is joined by Hugo Gye, Deputy Political Editor of The iPaper, based in the House of Commons press gallery.
Massive jigsaws that traverse time and space, are the latest mind blowing creations from artist Zac Langdon-Pole. Almost 130-thousand pieces make up the jigsaws that combine the latest images from NASA's Hubble and James Webb Space telescopes, and 19th Century Romantic landscape paintings. Porous World is the name of the exhibition from an artist whose fascination with space also includes working with meteorite dust in his sculptures. Lynn Freeman asks Zac why he was so fascinated by the connection between the 19th Century "grand tours" and colonization, and today's exploration deeper and deeper into space. Zac Langdon-Pole's exhibition Porous World opens on Saturday October 15 at the Michael Lett Gallery in Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland.
Tapping into his own New Zealand army career in Military Intelligence, and with the help of handy sources in the service, Darin Dance has written a spy novel set in Wellington. Whiskey Lima Golf sees army vet Tom (Tamati) Yelich in a wheelchair, and struggling with depression after being injured in Afghanistan. But shortly afterwards, he and his old army mate Devon find themselves entering the shady world of international espionage being played out on the streets of Te Whanganui a Tara. Lynn Freeman talks with Darin about spy novels, authenticity and his plans for Tom and Devon. Whiskey Lima Golf by Darin Dance is published by the Bach Doctor Press.
Maori writer and scholar Alice Te Punga Somerville has launched her first poetry collection from her new home - in Canada. She has several academic books to her name but Always Italicise - How to write while colonised is a personal account of racism experienced in and out of academic institutions, and her fears for her baby daughter being brought up in Aotearoa. The title 'Always italicise foreign words', was advice from a friend, and you'll find that in Alice's poems, English is in italics, Maori is not. Alice talks to Lynn Freeman about the collection, inspired by an experience she had at a writer's festival. Always Italicise - how to write while colonised by Alice Te Punga Somerville is an Auckland University Press publication.
The public's trust in the media is at an all time low. Perhaps it's time to simply hand over the newspapers, cameras and microphones to our children, to get their take on the news. This is the premise for a show called News News News that two British theatre-makers are creating with children from Mount Maunganui Primary for the Tauranga Festival. It'll be filmed in front of a live audience and broadcast online. Andy Field and Beckie Darlington have created similar shows overseas - so Lynn Freeman was curious to find out if Kiwi kids were bringing a new perspective to the studio. She spoke to three of the budding journalists - Indigo, Arlie and Laurie - and to Andy Field. News News News by Andy Field and Beckie Darlington - with Rosabel Tan & students from Mount Maunganui Primary - plays at the Addison Theatre in Tauranga on Saturday October 15.
For the three years before sculptor Peter Nicholls' death last year, he worked with his friend and editor Don Hunter on a biography charting his 60 years of creating often monumental work from found materials. While he didn't live to see the finished book, which he titled Dynamics / Memory / Grace: Peter Nicholls, he did proof a colour draft of it a fortnight before he died, in his 80s. Most of his sculptures, crafted mainly from 'found' native wood and steel, were designed for outdoor settings. But many are also in galleries and homes around the country. We have a selection on them on our webpage rnz.co.nz/standingroomonly. Peter also shared his expertise with the next generation of artists as a lecturer in Sculpture at the Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic from 1979 until 2001. That's where Don Hunter first met Peter, as he explains to Lynn Freeman.
When your debut novel sparks a publisher's bidding war, wins a slew of awards and nominations and tops the bestseller list, when do you have time to write the notoriously difficult second novel? Jacqueline Bublitz has managed to - in between media interviews and invitations to talk about that first book Before You Knew My Name. . The crime novel - told from the perspective of murder victim Alice - took out both the Best First Novel and Best Novel categories at the recent Ngaio Marsh Awards. Before you knew my name was set in Melbourne, and based on the 2014 murder of a woman who was out jogging in an area Jacqueline knows well. Her next book though will be set in Aotearoa. Jacqueline spends her time between Melbourne and New Plymouth. Lynn Freeman asked her if she was a big crime fiction reader before she started writing it.
Frankie McMillan explores wandering in all kinds of ways - through landscapes and through life - in her new collection of short and ultra short stories, The Wandering Nature of Us Girls. Many are based on snatches of her own memory, growing up with the freedom to take off with her sisters. But for others she's started imagining the lives of others, including Annie Edson who miraculously survived toppling down Niagara Falls inside a barrel in 1901. This is the award winning Christchurch writer's sixth book, and she's a two-time winner of the New Zealand Flash Fiction Day competition. Frankie chats with Lynn Freeman and reads from The Wandering Nature of Us Girls. Frankie McMillan's short story collection The Wandering Nature of Us Girls is a Canterbury University Press publication.
Writing the rocky love story of a second-generation Chinese-New Zealander and a recent Taiwanese migrant has been the focus of writer Rose Lu's six-month writer's residency at the historic Randell Collage in Wellington. It's the 20th year of residencies at Randell Cottage. Rose's time there has just ended, so it felt like the perfect time for a catch up. Rose's first book was the prize-winning, 2019 essay collection All Who Live On Islands. Lynn Freeman wondered, was she leaving with the manuscript she'd planned to write there, one that was going to include a lot of tramping?
The University of Canterbury Musical Theatre Society has performed around 80 productions over its 50-year history, and many of the members involved on and off stage are about to gather for a reunion to mark its anniversary. MUSOC was formed to not only entertain, but to encourage people to hone their skills - performing, writing and as crew. Past members include singer and lecturer Judy Bellingham, jazz maestro Tom Rainey,and more recently actor/comedian Brynley Stent and composer Luke Di Somma who was our guest on the Laugh Track recently. One of the first productions was Cinderolla & The Fairy Oddmother, penned in 1972 by a young Philip Norman, who of course has gone on to have a respected career as a composer, conductor and educator. Lynn Freeman talks to Philip and to one of the reunion organisers and former MUSOC director, Cam Stewart. MUSOC 's 50th reunion is on at Haere-Roa, University of Canterbury starting on the 7th of October.
The New Zealand landscape is dramatic and varied - a mecca for film makers these days, but long before them, for painters. But it's not just the beautiful beaches, rugged mountains and lush forests. It's also New Zealanders' often complicated relationship to the land that many artists have tried to capture. Te Papa has been rifling through its extensive art collection to look at just this in an exhibition called Hiahia Whenua: Landscape and Desire. Rebecca Rice, Curator Historical NZ Art, and Megan Tamati-Quennell, Curator Modern & Contemporary Maori & Indigenous Art, have collaborated on the exhibition. They have chosen early idyllic landscapes from the colonial period, and put them alongside contemporary works. As they explain to Lynn Freeman, landscapes in art have fallen in and out of fashion over the centuries. So why do they still have a place in our hearts? Hiahia Whenua: Landscape and Desire opens at Toi Art at Te Papa in Te Whanganui a Tara on Saturday (Saturday 8 October)
A powerful dance work examines some of the reasons behind the shockingly high number of Aboriginal youth taking their own lives. It's about to premiere in Aotearoa. Aboriginal dancer, Dalisa Pigram is performing Gudirr Gudirr as part of Auckland's Tempo Dance Festival. Dalia is from Broome in Western Australia where efforts are being made to keep their language and culture alive. But, as she tells Lynn Freeman during a break in rehearsals, at the same time their young people are really struggling. Dalisa Pigram will perform Gudirr Gudirr at Auckland's Q Theatre October 3, as part of the Tempo Dance Festival: Te Rerenga o Tere.
It was so nearly lost. As the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral is being rebuilt, historian Edmund Bohan is releasing a history of the distinctive Gothic building. It shows it was controversial even before work started on designing it, let alone building in. From the laying of the foundations to the official opening, it took 40 years, after squabbles over pretty much every aspect of its construction - not to mention the huge problems raising the money to build it in the City Centre. In Heart of the City: The Story of Christchurch's Controversial Cathedral, Edmund is critical of the former Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews' determination to demolish the badly-damaged cathedral after the Canterbury earthquakes, to replace it with a modern church. And he tells Lynn Freeman he's very much looking forward to seeing the Cathedral restored to its former glory after a lengthy and pricey rebuild. But first he sets the scene. Back in the 1860s, there was controversy over where the cathedral should go, its design, whether it should be in stone or timber - even if there should be a cathedral built at all! Heart of the City: The Story of Christchurch's Controversial Cathedral, by Edmund Bohan is published by Quentin Wilson Publishing.
The Royal New Zealand Navy has a new taonga - a quilt sewn by 12 serving and retired female naval personnel with each of the 49 squares telling a story of their time in service. Those stories cover 6 decades, with the sewers aged from their 30s to their 80s. It's taken 18 months to complete, with the sewers repurposing old navy uniforms, buttons and braid to create the squares. It's about to be shown to the public in an exhibition called Threads Through Time at the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum in Devonport. Lynn Freeman spoke to two of the contributors - Chief Petty Officer Fiona Carter who's working within Fleet Personnel at the Devonport Naval Base, and to Sandy Watson who served in the Navy as an Able Signals Wren 1969-71, and then in the 1980s with the Reserves. Threads Through Time opens to the public at Auckland's Torpedo Bay Navy Museum on the 1st of October as part of the Auckland Heritage Festival.
NZ Barok - New Zealand's Baroque instrument orchestra is about to reunite after a lengthy hiatus, putting their own spin on famous and lesser-known examples of Baroque - classical music of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. . Graham McPhail is co-artistic director of NZ Barok, and a professor in early music at University of Auckland's School of Music. The orchestra members are leading Baroque specialists from all over the motu and are coming together to play three concerts alongside eight Baroque singers. Lynn Freeman spoke with Graham about Baroque music, in particular the music of Bach and Handel. NZ Barok's Court to Cathedral concert takes place at St Luke's Church in Remuera in Tamaki Makaurau for 3 nights starting on September 30.
Nelson is about to host its first Clay Week, celebrating all things ceramic. It will bring together potters from around the country to share their knowledge through conversations, masterclasses and workshops thoughout the region. Attending a bunch of the workshops will be Lyttelton-based potter Sam Elise, who's keen to soak up some advice from the experienced ceramicists who'll be there. Lynn Freeman spoke to Sam, and also one of the organisers of Nelson Clay Week, Tom Baker. Tom's co-owner of both the Hot Clay Gallery and the Kiln Studio in the city. He says they decided to create something similar to Nelson Jewellery Week which started last year. The first Nelson Clay Week starts on the 1st of October and runs for 9 days.
Sharron Came's first book Peninsula, which won the 2021 Adam Foundation Prize for best MA folio, has been described as ''A novel in stories''. The stories follow three generations of a Northland farming family, the Carltons. It's a period of huge changes in farming, mirrored by upheavals within the family. While some embrace the lifestyle, others yearn to leave. Sharron lives in Wellington, but she opted to set her stories where she grew up, in rural Northland. She talks to Lynn Freeman about separating real life and fiction. Peninsula by Sharron Came is published by Te Herenga Waka University Press.
It's been a while, but finally a play about a black lesbian couple wanting to adopt a child is about to hit the stage. Estelle Chout's script for Po' Boys and Oysters was nominated for an Adam's NZ Playwriting Award in 2021 and the comedy's debut was originally scheduled a year ago. But Covid-19 meant the production had to be abandoned...twice. The show will go on later this week with Estelle, who was born in the French Caribbean country of Martinique, in one of the leading roles. She tells Lynn Freeman one of the inspirations of the play was that she simply wasn't seeing stories she could relate to - about Caribbean Kiwi queer life - on our screens or stage. .Po' Boys and Oysters written by and starring Estelle Chout will finally have its debut on the 27th of September at The Basement Theatre in Tamaki Makarau.
A 2020 UNICEF report found that only 64.4% of 15-year-olds in Aotearoa have more than a basic proficiency in reading and maths. Research also shows that, over the last 10 years, the proportion of young people who are reading for pleasure has decreased significantly. Read NZ is one of the organisations trying to halt and reverse these depressing statistics. One thing that historically gets kids to read is a wildly popular book - Harry Potter famously got 11-year-old boys reading in millions! Other famous page turners include The Hunger Games and the comedies of David Walliams. Which suggests that one way to turn around this country's appalling literacy rates is to get more authors into our schools. For the past six years, Read NZ's Programmes Manager Kathryn Carmody has beefed up its Writers in Schools programme, where authors spend time in classrooms answering questions about their books and offering tips to the next generation of writers. It covers early childhood through to secondary school children. Now Kathryn's handing the baton on to Simie Simpson who's been in the book trade for more than 20 years. Lynn Freeman invited Kathryn and Simie into the studio, where Kathryn first talked about how the programme works.
When the old Datsun 120Y that belonged to his late father is about to be sold, a teenage boy takes his younger brother and cousin out for a final road trip. This is the start of Datsun, the latest short film by Kiwi Mark Albiston. Things quickly spiral out of control - drugs, explosions, and a high speed chase. Datsun has already picked up awards at overseas festivals, and won People's Choice at last year's Covid-affected New Zealand International Film Festival. Now it's about to be shown as part of the Show Me Shorts Festival. Mark's previous shorts - Run in 2007 followed by The Six Dollar Fifty Man - each received a Special Distinction award at Cannes. His first feature - the well-received Shopping - came out in 2013. He talks to Lynn Freeman about directing and co-writing the script for Datsun. Datsun will show in "The Sampler" section of the 17th Show Me Shorts Festival. It will show at 36 cinemas and community venues nationwide from the 7th of October.
Simone Kaho's poetry collection HEAL! offers up an uncompromising account of an assault that left her traumatised with PTSD, and at times, seemingly without hope. But the Tongan-Pakeha writer is a survivor, and there is hope within these poems, even if she's still scarred and still angry. Simone is also a journalist, filmmaker and performance poet, and she's this year's Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. Her second collection comes six years after her first, Lucky Punch, was published. It's the first publication from Saufo`i Press. She tells Lynn Freeman that writing HEAL! has been part of years of hard work to recover after being ambushed and assaulted: PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS INTERVIEW CONTAINS REFERENCES TO VIOLENCE AND SELF HARM. HEAL! by Simone Kaho is published by Saufo`i Press. If this interview has raised concerns for you then contact LIFELINE on 0800 543 354
Deciding which creatives get a cut of the limited government funding pie is always contentious. Art is subjective after all. There are inevitably claims of favouritism on panels selected to recommend winners and losers. And those who miss out, understandably, often feel aggrieved. The Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage regularly comes in for criticism over previous allocations. Last year, for instance, it found itself in hot water with the arts community after awarding $500,000 from its Covid Response Innovation fund to a hitherto unknown, start-up group called Narrative Muse, that had promised an online platform to match readers and books. So now Culture and Heritage is trying something radically different, as it decides how to allocate the new 28 million dollar Cultural Sector Regeneration Fund it's responsible for. There have been more than 660 proposals from groups and individuals keen for a piece of the action. And the Ministry is going to the public, to ask which ones they support, and why. Deputy Chief Executive Joe Fowler talks with Lynn Freeman, first explaining what this Fund is specifically for. Feedback closes on the 26th of September. Here's the form you'll need to fill out for your suggestions..
A new plain language bill now before parliament aims to do away with jargon laden documents and make official government documents more accessible and understandable. However, there is little detail on how plain language will be defined and how the law would be implemented. Opposition parties say the law will create more bureaucracy and establish language police. University of Waikato Linguistics lecturer, Dr Andreea Calude and law lecturer Sam Campbell talk to Lynn Freeman about what needs to happen for the bill to meet its aims.
2022 is the Year of the Tartan. It's also the 50th anniversary of the delivery of Te Petihana Reo Maori to Parliament demanding recognition of te reo. Artist Mitchell Manuel is about to open an exhibition of work in Scotland called Woven Identities, where he brings together tartan and koru, celebrating his own Scottish-Maori mixed ancestry. More broadly, he's also exploring the whakapapa, the genealogical and cultural connections between Maori and Scottish people. Lynn Freeman first asked Mitch why the Scots are so heavily represented in New Zealand? Mitch Manuel's exhibition Woven Identies opens on Wednesday at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Scotland
In 2022, the corrosive nature of power and ambition that's at the heart of Scottish king Macbeth's downfall is as relevant now as it was when Shakespeare wrote the play. Verdi's opera Macbeth is very true to the Bard's tale of a well-regarded military leader corrupted by his conviction he's destined to become King. Playing the lead role in NZ Opera's new interpretation of the opera is Kiwi baritone Philip Rhodes, under the direction of Netia Jones and opposite his Lady Macbeth, Amanda Echalaz . Philip was born in Hawke's Bay and 2005 he won the Lexus Song Quest, Lynn Freeman first asked him if Macbeth was a role he'd been dreaming of playing? Phillip Rhodes takes to the stage of Auckland's Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre on the 21st of September as Macbeth for premiere of this NZ Opera production, followed by performances in Wellington and Christchurch.
It's easy to imagine that a new collection of Climate Change poetry from around the Pacific could be overwhelmingly a picture of doom and gloom. But what the four Kiwi editors of No Other Place to Stand have achieved, is a balance of the angry and the philosophical, the sad and the satirical. One of the editors, Canterbury poet Rebecca Hawkes, talks to Lynn Freeman about the collection's range. The other editors involved with No Other Place to Stand are Jordan Hamel, Erik Kennedy and Essa Ranapiri. It's published by Auckland University Press.
If you've ever seen a Tibetan Buddhist sand mandala you'll appreciate the potential for this under-appreciated art material - at least away from the beach. Marcus Winter aka The Sandman is as much magician as he is artist in the way he uses grains of sand to create images. Marcus is collaborating with two other Maori creatives on an immersive show for the 2022 Koanga Festival at Auckland's Basement Theatre. And he tells Lynn Freeman the aim is to build our connection to the tohu of the natural world through storytelling, taonga puoro and sand. Marcus Winter aka The Sandman is appearing in Nga Tohu o Te Taiao, It opens at the Basement Theatre on Tuesday as part of the Koanga Festival.
Two historic stone wall specialists will be talking at the upcoming UPSTART Festival in the Bay of Islands. Kate Ballard's book Stone Wall Country: The Dry Stone Walls of Bay of Islands and Kaikohe was based on interviews with local residents, including direct descendants of the original wall builders. At her talk "Stories behind walls" she'll be joined by fellow enthusiast Bill Edwards, Heritage New Zealand's area manager. There are hundreds of kilometres of dry stone walls, made from volcanic rocks in the region, so they're an important part of the landscape. Lynn Freeman talks with Kate and Bill, and first asks how these walls were built. Kate Ballard and Bill Edwards' "Stories behind walls" takes place on Saturday 24 Sept at the Plough & Feather in Kerikeri. It's part of Upsurge the Bay of Islands Arts Festival.
This is a shocking statistic in 2022. Just 3% of annual publishing in New Zealand features Maori and tagata moana writers. Facing these woeful figures, it's clear a strategy is needed to support and encourage the moana creative sectors who are trying - but clearly failing - to get their voices heard. Where are 2022's Whiti Ihimaera, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Alan Duff and Tusiata Avia? Kim Meredith is the Manager for the Coalition for Books. She's working on a national strategy along with Reading Warrior publisher David Riley and published poet, playwright and short story writer Courtney Sina Meredith. Lynn Freeman talks to Kim Meredith and Courtney Sina Meredith about the shout out they're doing to creative moana communities for feedback and ideas.
After 140 years displaying art from around the country, the fate of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts now hangs in the balance. Hopes of saving it rely on the generosity of the charitable trust's members, and an upcoming auction of donated art. The galleries are based at the heritage Wharf Offices Apartments building in central Wellington. Wayne Newman recently took over as President of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and, as he tells Lynn Freeman, he's spearheading the last-chance fundraising efforts
Shortly, the next generation of elite New Zealand opera singers won't have to win a scholarship, find tens of thousands of dollars, or be separated from their families to train overseas for an international career. Next year the University of Waikato is opening Te Pae Kokako, The Aotearoa New Zealand Opera Studio, aimed at preparing talented young New Zealand singers to be career ready when they graduate. It's the long held dream of Dame Malvina Major, one of our most successful international opera singers. Heading the programme is soprano Madeleine Pierard, the inaugural Dame Malvina Major Chair in Opera at the University of Waikato. Lynn Freeman asked Madeleine why the studio weas so important to Dame Malvina.
'Such a fine, sunny day' was the last thing 21-year-old resistance fighter Sophia Scholl said, before being executed in Munich after a Nazi show-trial in 1943. It's also the name of a new song cycle by New Zealand composer Alan Griffiths who imagines how Sophie, a member of the student-led White Rose group, might have reacted to today's world. Performing the premiere of the song-cycle is internationally in-demand Kiwi bass-baritone Paul Whelan, accompanied by pianists Anna Maksymova and Nicholas Young Alan explains to Lynn Freeman why Sophia's last words resonate so strongly with him. 'Such A Fine, Sunny Day' premieres at The Piano in Christchurch on September 17th. Also premiering at the concert will be several other of Alan's compositions performed by pianist Nicholas Young, and a violin duet with local violinist Rose Light. 'Such A Fine, Sunny Day' will be included in Alan's next album Land No More? due out next year.
What is a 'good' Chinese woman? That's one of the questions Hong Kong-born writer and performer Cynthia Hiu Ying Lam interrogates in her new play. She weaves together the stories of her two grandmothers and her mother. with her own experiences in , Oy-mahmah - Love Mum. Their stories are set during the Second World War, Hong Kong's post-war years and finally to the mass exodus of its residents in the 1990s after the unpopular transition from British colonial rule back to communist China. Sharing those concerns, Cynthia's family moved from Hong Kong to New Zealand when she was five. Lynn Freeman talks to Cynthia about what inspired the play. Oy-mahmah,(Love, Mum) by Cynthia Lam and directed by Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, premieres this Friday at the Herald Theatre in Tamaki Makaurau as part of the Auckland Fringe festival. It'll also be available to be streamed for 48 hours following the second performance. Just a note - it's deemed suitable for those 16 years and above as it deals with themes of depression and mental health.
It's the ultimate example of taking art to the people - a bright yellow electric cargo bike filled with art supplies is about to hit the streets of Christchurch. It's the idea of artist Isaac Tait, made possible with the help of The White Room Creative Space and a fundraising campaign. It's also versatile. The bike's about to make its first official appearance at the Otautahi Zinefest, where it'll become a mobile zine library. Lynn Freeman talks to Simon Gray, the White Room's Art Coordinator, and to Isaac who explains when he had the idea. Look out for the bright yellow electric cargo bike - "The White Room On Wheels" - in action on the streets of Christchurch soon!
Artist Andrew Bogle has embraced the opportunity to market his art online, on the website "Artfull" which profiles the work of New Zealand artists to a national and international audience. Former curator at the Auckland Art Gallery, Andrew started out as as a printmaker before experimenting with painting on wood panels. He talks to Lynn Freeman about the pros and cons of selling art online.
Ditching the rat-race to go travelling around Aotearoa in a campervan - for some that sounds like a dream come true, for others - not so much. In her new play The Campervan, Kathryn Burnett pits a husband and wife against each other when Hugh wants to give away his multi-million dollar fortune to charity and live the simple life on the road. The play is Kathryn's 10th birthday present to Tadpole Productions at the PumpHouse Theatre in Takapuna. Kathryn and director Simon Prast talk to Lynn Freeman about what happens when the wheels fall off your comfortable life! The Campervan premieres at the PumpHouse in Tamaki Makaurau on September 8.
The circus has always been a symbol of escape, from children being amazed, amused - and often bemused - by their first experience of a live show, to disgruntled rebels running away to join the circus. Which is what 16-year-old Xanthe Naylor did - she ran off to join Dunedin's annual Circulation Festival. Ten years later, she's the Festival Director, and she's bringing a new show to Otepoti. It's a unique blend of circus and cabaret called Star Dust. Lynn Freeman first asked Xanthe about her first steps into the circus arena. Dunedin's annual Circulation Festival runs in October. Meanwhile, director Xanthe Naylor is part of Star Dust which plays in the city from this Thursday at Te Whare o Rukutia.
If the only way to address the global population crisis and the degradation of the planet was to limit everyone's lifespan to just 70 years, would you go along with it happily? Or would you fight to live? In Patricia Donovan's novel The Collections set in 2041, this is the task facing Claris, who works in a government Collections Depot. They're responsible for ensuring 70 year olds are euthanased, then their bodies are processed so they can be returned to the earth as ecologically sound mulch. The Collections is the third novel by the Kapiti Coast based writer. Lynn Freeman talks with her about the rival merits of life and ecological disaster. Patricia Donovan's The Collections was published by Mary Egan Publishing.
Maori visual artist Dr Maureen Lander is a visionary, a leading exponent of weaving, both customary and experimental, an installation artist and a mentor to many. Added to her extensive list of achievements is now being named as one of our latest Arts Foundation Laureates. Back in 1984 Maureen learnt flax harvesting, processing and weaving techniques from the hugely respected weaver and artist, Diggeress Te Kanawa. While honouring these traditional techniques, the Elam Art School graduate also integrates them with Western art materials like nylon fishing line and mesh. In 2020 Dr Maureen Lander became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori art. She talks with Lynn Freeman about her life, her work and her recent collaborations with the wahine Maori Mata Aho Collective, also named as one of this year's Arts Laureates.
Carterton artist Ngaire Kearney has the steadiest of hands and nerves of steel. She needs them - she etches intricate images into glass and stone, or burns them into wood. Most of her designs are created on objects she finds in second hand shops - glass vases, school desks, even family heirlooms that people bring to her for an artistic makeover. Ngaire trades as "Burnt Offerings" and her work's included in the upcoming Big Wai Art Sale in the Wairarapa, alongside other local artists and some from further afield. Ngaire tells Lynn Freeman she's self taught and started burning wood about 20 years ago. The Big Wai Art Sale starts at the Carterton Event Centre on September 9.
A new play exploring the intersection of grief, faith and sexuality has shocked the playwright when it become the target of a hate campaign. Catholic-raised Tatiana Hotere was also involved for many years with Evangelic Christian churches. But once word got out about her play Skin Hunger, she was deluged with messages linking to sermons, hymns and 'Jesus saves' memes. Among other things there were furious accusations that she was a terrible role model to her daughters. Tatiana tells Lynn Freeman it was very hurtful, and particularly surprising because the play is by no means anti-Christian. Skin Hunger opens at Auckland's Basement Theatre on September 13 as part of the Auckland Fringe.
It's astonishing what magic one actor can produce on stage when they have a great script and the ability to play many roles simply through movement and voice.. TAHI - New Zealand Festival of Solo Performance brings together soloists - from emerging first or second-timers through to well-established performers - from around Aotearoa for 10 days of performances and conversations about this specialist theatrical form. This year marks the fourth TAHI and it'll be hosted in Wellington - 18 shows across four venues and ten days. Lynn Freeman talks with two of this year's participants - Sacha Copland and Helen Fletcher. TAHI: New Zealand Festival of Solo Performance starts on September 8 at Bats Theatre in Te Whanganui A Tara/Wellington.
Surprised, honoured and just a bit intimidated... That's how our new Poet Laureate Chris Tse feels about his new role. Given he's only in his thirties, he also sees this acknowledgement as a real boost to his confidence. Bill Manhire, Jenny Bornholdt, Selina Tusitala Marsh and David Eggleton are among his predecessors. For the next two years the queer Asian-Kiwi writer will promote poetry and publish more work. We spoke to Chris earlier this year about his third poetry collection, Super Model Minority. Lynn Freeman talked to him as he got ready to take part in the Auckland Writers Festival.
After two disrupted years, Christchurch is looking forward to its WORD literary festival complete with real life audiences. Trustee, MC, poet - and occasionally chauffeur - for the festival, Daisy Speaks, can't wait. Daisy will be hosting Confluence 2022, at which Pasfika and Maori musicians and poets will celebrate the cultural, musical and ancestral connections between the islands of Polynesia and Aotearoa. Lynn Freeman talked with Daisy Speaks, who descends from Samoan orators, and first asked her why she's so invested in WORD? Daisy is chairing Confluence 2.0, part of the WORD Festival on Saturday the 3rd of September at the Piano on Christchurch.
What if somebody claims to know a distressing secret about your partner, and then challenges you via Twitter to find out what happened. This is the situation Kiwi journalist Joy Manville finds herself in, as the protagonist of Richard Woolley's novel Detachment Theory. Joy writes for the lightly fictional New Zealand Bugle, while her British husband Stephen currently works at the University of Auckland as a Professor in Film Studies. Author Richard Woolley - another expat Brit - is also an academic as well as a former film screenwriter and director. Detachment Theory is his 7th novel. Lynn Freeman first asked him whether he approaches a film script differently from a novel.
A very personal film about an out-of-wedlock pregnancy is the first in this year's Someday Stories, a platform that helps emerging filmmakers to create their first professionally-funded, short film project. Mary Mary is written and directed by Ella Gilbert, and it will be released tomorrow. It's the sixth series of Someday Stories, which has now delivered a total of 36 short films. The project mentors filmmakers aged between 18 and 29, and helps them tell their own stories. Ella Gilbert, currently appearing in Circa Theatre's production of Skin Tight in Wellington, talks to Lynn Freeman about why the story of Mary Mary was so important to her. Ella Gilbert's film Mary Mary is released tomorrow as part of Someday Stories Series 6.
It's called The Artist's Resale Royalty Blockchain Manifesto - part artwork, part provocation and part legal document. And it's to be launched in Wellington in October. The Manifesto is the creation of artist and curator Reuben Friend and neurosurgeon Reuben Johnson. The aim is to radically transform the contemporary art market, making it fairer to those artists whose work keeps making substantial profits for owners down the track, while offering nothing to the people who actually created it.. If "blockchain" and "non-fungible tokens" are still a bit of a mystery to you, all is about to be revealed, as Reuben explains the Manifesto to Lynn Freeman.. Its release coincides with the Government's recent announcement of a 5% royalty payment, planned to be introduced late next year. It will go to visual artists or their estates each time their work sells on the re-sale market.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo for 2022 has just wrapped up, with New Zealand performers among the fan favourites. For the first time in its long history, the Tattoo had to be cancelled over the last two years, so its return was much anticipated. Kiwi Michael Braithwaite was in charge of making it both honour traditions and move with the times. Among the crowd inside the grounds of Edinburgh's Castle was RNZ producer Melanie Phipps. Lynn Freeman spoke with her in the closing moments to find out why the Tattoo is still so special?
The sound of the country's top secondary school choirs resonated through the Christchurch Town Hall last night for the National Finale of New Zealand's largest choral event: The Big Sing. It's the first such event in three years. The event's been running for more than 30 years, and in the lead-up to the Finale more than 8,000 singers in around 250 choirs had entered the regional competitions. It's described as more a celebration than a competition. Lynn Freeman talks with one of the adjudicators Igelese Ete, and two members of the Rangi Ruru Girls' School choir, "Resolutions". Helen Charlton is the choir's director, and Millie Trusttum is the student choir leader.