Debate | Issue 2 | Flatting

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Sam Clark


Charlie Ratahi McFarland


Vivien Whyte


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Thomas Giblin


Nic George


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Frances Revita


Haydn Nixon, Lucy Higgins


Haydn Nixon


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Follow Debate! debate_mag autsadebate 04 06 05 05 16 26 27 18 24 Election debate draws a vocal crowd Gas leak false-alarm causes building evacuation
Climate Strike pushes for community-driven action
Flume, a generation's gateway to electronic music is back in Aotearoa 08 The House on the Hill A Thorough and Realistic Guide on How To Decorate you Shitty Student Flat Gig Guide Up Next, Teenage Dads Puzzles From the Editor What's On 15 Comic DEBATE MAGAZINE ISSUE 2 THEME: FLATTING

I hope you all filled out the census… If Harry Styles can do it, so can you.

It’s three weeks into uni, so many of you will have settled into your new flats. And those of you in halls might be wondering about flatting next year. Well, flatting in Tāmaki is great! You’re in the biggest city in Aotearoa, it’s alive with arts and culture and has a thriving music scene. Plus, there’s two unis here (we all know which one’s best), so it’s got a huge student population.

But it can get tricky as a student. No one wants to rent to young people, even if the place is shit. My friend who shares an office space with a property management firm says he sometimes hears them laughing about rejecting groups of students. How lovely. Viv says we should egg them, and I’m inclined to agree. It’s also no secret that Auckland’s a bitch to get around - public transport is average at best and debilitating at its worst. People will say you need a car here, and they’re probably right. I’ve never owned one myself, sticking to two wheels – my Honda 50cc scooter (now stolen), or road bike.

It's normal to pay $250 per week for a room in Auckland these days. Considering student loan living costs payments are $281.96, you’re not left with much. Part-time work is the only way you can eat and keep a remnant of a social life. You can find a room in uni towns like Christchurch and Dunedin for a whole lot cheaper. So, with these extortionate rent prices, how will Auckland hold on to its students? At least it’s cheaper here than Welly.

Healthy homes standards were introduced in 2019, meaning landlords might finally have to sort their shit out. But how often are the standards really abided by? I’ve visited my fair share of draughty, mouldy flats around Auckland – I’ve lived in a couple too. Even if your landlord finally decides to install a heat pump, how on earth are you meant to pay to run it?

In the spirit of the census, our last one (2018) found that home ownership is the lowest it’s been in seventy years. And as we spend hundreds of dollars on rent every week, it’s easy to feel despondent about the state of housing in Aotearoa. Stuff coined the term ‘mega landlord’, which is someone who owns more than twenty properties. Collectively, this group owns over 20,000 houses across the country. It’s not a very nice statistic and you’re probably even renting from one of them. How did we find ourselves here? The truth is, we need a capital gains tax. And it just so happens to be election year, so vote for someone who wants to improve housing in Aotearoa! Because something tells me quitting avocado toast isn’t going to fix it.


Election debate draws a vocal crowd

The University of Auckland Debating Society’s 2023 election debate drew a rowdy audience on February 28th, with a full house in the Fisher & Paykel Appliances Auditorium.

The debate featured representatives from the parties that polled over 1 per cent in the 2020 general election, and was hosted by Q&A’s Jack Tame.

There were three key issues to discuss: The economy, the environment and housing.

Most representatives agreed that climate change and economic sustainability were a priority.

Auckland Central MP and Green representative, Chlöe Swarbrick, outlined a “mitigation and adaptation” based approach.

“Climate mitigation is about how we reduce our emissions, climate adaptation is about how we adapt to an already changed environment. We have to do both of those things.”, she said.

Gas leak false-alarm causes building evacuation

A false alarm was triggered at AUT’s City Campus on Friday March 3rd, leading to the evacuation of the WC building.

Although concerns were initially raised about a gas leak, in fact a refrigerant alarm had been accidentally set off.

Gas leak false-alarm causes building evacuation

The alarm was tripped by vapor from an adhesive being used by a flooring contractor working in an office.

WC building was evacuated as a precaution.

AUT student Sophie Watson was on her way to AUTSA’s Paint & Sip event when she was stopped at the entrance of WC by a security guard.

National representative, Chris Bishop, agreed.

“We do need to reduce our emissions, and we do need to adapt to what’s coming from the rest of the world.”, he said.

Throughout the debate audience members were eager to voice their thoughts, opinions and rebuttals to the politicians on the stage.

Last year’s mayoral debate set a precedent for crowd participation, with two eggs hurled at New Conservative representative, Ted Johnston, before the night was through.

While no eggs flew this time around, the atmosphere was still one of lively and heated debate.

Heckling went both ways, with the audience unafraid to speak up and the politicians matching their energy.

A full recording of the live-streamed debate is available on the University of Auckland Debating Society’s Facebook page.

“He told us we couldn’t enter the building because there had been a gas leak.”

She also saw two fire trucks on their way to the university at around 4pm, fifteen minutes before she was stopped.

The Paint & Sip event was part of the Friday lineup for AUTSA’s 2023 O Week, and was planned to be held from 3-5pm in the WC202 student lounge.


Auckland Climate Strike pushes for community-driven action

Thousands across the country took to the streets to protest climate change as part of the Global Climate Strike on March 3rd.

The Auckland event was organised by School Strike 4 Climate, Protect Pūtiki and Fridays for Future. However, many other groups made contributions.

Strikers gathered at the bottom of Queen Street outside Britomart Station where a line-up of speakers addressed the crowd before they marched to Victoria Park.

Organisers laid out five key demands:

1. No new exploration or mining of new fossil fuel resources

2. Lower the voting age to 16

3. 30 per cent marine protection by 2025

4. Support regenerative farming

5. E-bike rebates for lower-income families

There were multiple stops along the route as they passed a BP petrol station, and the Fonterra and Air New Zealand head offices.

A small group of Fonterra workers huddled by the window as they watched the protestors take an extended stop outside, where they voiced their demands for swift government action to curb Aotearoa's leading carbon emitter.

There were many speeches covering a wide variety of topics, but a common message that underpinned them all was a call for communities to come together to push for more progressive climate action.

Sophie Todd, a member of Fridays for Future, spoke about the dangers of waiting for the perfect solution instead of incremental improvements.

"We need to be speaking about this imperfectly, and acting imperfectly, and figuring out imperfect solutions that might not work 100 per cent off the bat but we keep moving forward."

Xavier Walsh, Co-President for Unite Union Tāmaki Makaurau, called out both the Government and the opposition for not doing enough to reel in Aotearoa's biggest polluters.

"So, I say to the Labour and National parties, I can smell the fossil fuels on your breath!"

Walsh advocated for a union-led response to climate change to ensure that working-class people are treated fairly in a transition to sustainable business practices.

When asked about what role unions could play in addressing climate change, Walsh urged young workers to bring the same energy to advocacy in their workplace.


"We saw so many young people today for the climate. Why not get stuck in at their workplace too?"

Debate spoke to Jan Logie, Workplace Relations Spokesperson and MP for the Green Party, about the importance of unions and allowing democratic processes to play a part in the workplace.

"I do think there is a growing public and political concern about the degree of polarisation that is happening in our communities, and the risk of that being exacerbated through climate crisis is real."

She went on to say, "From the Green Party's perspective that calls for us to have more intentional and active interventions to foster democracy, and that includes our workplaces."

While strikers advocated for a bottom-up approach to addressing climate change, large corporations, like Air New Zealand, have been implementing a topdown approach by creating a Chief Sustainability Officer position within the company to help implement sustainable business practices.

Logie suggested that while these two approaches may look like they oppose each other, they could be complementary of each other if executed properly.

"If we can build that connection and sense of respect through all of our workplaces then our societies and communities will be so much stronger and able to deal with what's in front of us."

However, she warned that without the connection between workers and the executive position, the implementation of the role could further perpetuate the issue of greenwashing among private industries.

Logie and other Green Party members were present at the marches in Wellington and New Plymouth.

Also in attendance at the Auckland event were Auckland Central MP, Chlöe Swarbrick, and Green Party CoLeader, Marama Davidson, who were seen marching and chanting amid the crowd.

While it was a student-led movement, there were a wide variety of age groups that took part.

Todd said they are looking to “up the ante” leading up to the election, with another strike planned for August.

"We have over ten climate groups collaborating on this one today, but we're aiming to have over 100 next time."

Marches took place across 11 cities around Aotearoa and strikers in Christchurch staged a sit-in at the Christchurch City Council building.


The house on the hill

Content warning: this story has references to violence.

Note: Names and locations have been changed.

It’s not every day someone makes a diss track about you. It could even be fun given the right circumstances. Not this time. The diss track in question meant we had to evacuate our flat in 24 hours, a feat which has become a minor urban legend.

It all started on Facebook marketplace. My best friend Harry found this beautiful spot just off Jervois Road in Herne Bay – a huge old villa with views of the Tāmaki skyline and across the city, all the way to Maungawhau. It was really cheap for the area. Harry invited me over for a beer and to see the place, as there was a room opening up soon. As soon as I walked through the French doors onto the deck and tranquil garden, I realised this area alone was bigger than my last place in Kingsland; and I knew it was too good to pass on. Harry pulled some strings and held the room for two weeks so I could afford the bond and I was thrilled. My new room looked out onto the garden, the kitchen was new and the bathroom had a skylight that filled it with sun.

When you think you’ve struck gold, it’s a good idea to ask yourself “what’s the catch?”. In our case, it was how the place came with a ‘head tenant’, or as we soon learnt, the landlord’s kid, Sean. We were keen to get to know him, so we asked what he was studying, what he did for work and got up to in the weekends. But Sean’s answer was nothing … to all of the above. Before we moved in, Sean was practically squatting in each of the four rooms – it was one big hotbox. This should have been a huge red flag, but we were optimistic. He seemed nice enough and we didn’t need to be best mates.

After living there for a while, we started to notice some of Sean’s weird behaviour. He’d rap late at night, when we all had work in the morning, and get angry when we asked him to turn it down. He never said please or thank you and he would help himself to our food. He often took my guitar without asking and thrashed it around, knocking it on the furniture. He never did his share of chores or chipped into flat expenses. It was like no one had ever said no to him. We didn’t think he respected the space, or knew how lucky he was to be given a house at the age of 23.

One of the biggest mysteries was what Sean did for money. We were sceptical about how he got takeout most nights, had endless amounts of weed and managed to take his ex-girlfriend to Hanmer Springs for some “Much needed R&R”, from a lifestyle that was almost strictly R&R. Eventually, he told us that he was on the benefit, from which he paid rent to parents. This seemed very shady to me - his lifestyle was expensive and not like someone struggling to get by.

We were stoked when my friend from uni, Levi, moved into the house on the hill with us. Harry, Levi and I were all working full-time, sometimes several jobs at once. But Sean didn’t pick up on our habits. Instead, he kept telling people that he worked for his parents –painting the house and doing maintenance. In reality, it meant green tape and dirty tarps strewn around the house for days. Or as he liked to put it, “My schedule’s pretty flexible.” One time his mum came up to make sure he was doing his job. But all Sean did was yell at her and go to his room to smoke cones. We thought it was crazy that they let Sean live there with no job and nothing to do.

Later that year, I was getting ready for my grad ceremony and looked outside to see a red Tesla gleaming in our driveway. Living in Herne Bay, you see Teslas around all the time. But when I saw this grumpy old man hop out, I realised Sean’s dad, our landlord, had decided to swing by. It instantly put me on edge. He was mean-looking, like Ned Flanders but without the cheerfulness. I don’t think Sean had the best relationship with his dad and I felt bad for him. That day, Sean was showing his dad his music and he was not interested. It was as though Sean’s parents had given up on him and let him stay there so they didn’t have to deal with his problems.


The Diss track and Escape

When Levi and I threw a party, Sean was infuriated. He said “If you’re having seventy of your friends over, I should be able to have seventy of mine over. Sack up, this ain’t the Kool Kids Klub.” This should’ve been our cue to leave, but we still loved the house. Sean kept spiralling. His behaviour became unstable - disappearing into his room to smoke cones and getting angry about our flat bank account going into overdraft.

This reached a crescendo when Sean released this ominous diss track on Soundcloud. I had gotten home from work that day and he met me at the door with a crazy look in his eye, asking if I’d heard his song yet. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach, so I walked away, sat down on my bed and loaded it up on my phone. He’d found a royalty-free beat online and crudely stitched together this song. He wasn’t rapping on beat and the lyrics were hateful and disturbing – threatening to murder us because we owed him money and getting r***d in jail after he’d been arrested. At first, I didn’t know what to make of it. I listened to it through several times, wondering if I should find it funny, then I tried not to think about it. I couldn’t tell the others because Harry was in hospital and Levi was working overtime. I was alone with Sean in the house on the hill.

After a scary evening, I called them both. The song resounded through the flat and our various Facebook group chats, and we knew we had to go – quickly. During this downward spiral, Sean would frequently drive to his parents’ place in Hamilton. One morning mid-week, we noticed he’d left in the middle of the night and we thought it was our best shot to get out without confrontation. He was big and could get aggressive and in your face if he was in a bad mood. So we didn’t want to risk running into him. We considered all our options – mulled over calling his parents, or even the police, but decided it would be best to take control of the situation and get out quietly.

So, we packed up everything we owned in less than a day. It was chaotic and we had Sean’s song looming over us. I had this horrible image of him charging in from Hamilton in his beat-up Subaru that his parents gave him. It was always disturbing seeing that car in the driveway with its crumpled bonnet. He told us he crashed it in Hamilton and drove back home. Harry said he used to see him drive recklessly through Herne Bay and we were worried he was driving stoned because it reeked of weed.

What really stuck with me that day was seeing the troubled look on Levi’s face. We’d flatted and worked at the same bar together for almost four months, but I’d never seen him that way. Harry was in a sling because he just had surgery and was still recovering from a general anaesthetic. So, we all bound together to get it done as quickly as we could – packing our lives into a City Hop van. Levi noticed that Sean nicked one of his beers and thought it was ridiculous that it was a 0% Peroni. Seeing it in Sean’s musty room on his bedside table was symbolic for all of us.

Although we were all upset about leaving our home, we were all very lucky to still have safe places to go to. We sent a letter to Sean’s parents, explaining the situation and that their son should get help before he hurt someone, or himself. We were worried that another group would end up living with him. But when we saw the place up on Trade Me, by a property manager, and for a significantly higher price, we had a sigh of relief, but also sadness for our flat having to disband.

Sean created this persona of a struggling artist and made “being on the dole” a major part of his identity. But it left a sour taste knowing how wealthy his family was. After a few Facebook stalks, we discovered he used to be a frat boy – and his rapping had seemingly come out of nowhere. This, tied in with the lack of support and guidance from his parents, made us realise that having all this money and no consequences had a pretty devastating effect on his mental health. Sean uprooted three peoples’ lives and didn’t seem to care. We had to leave the place we’d called home for nearly a year. We blocked him and waited to hear back from his parents. But there was never an explanation, or apology. The only thing his parents wanted to talk about was rent and our bond. And we never found out what happened to Sean.


to electronic music is back in Aotearoa

Deep in the bowels of Spark Arena, through an endless labyrinth of grey corridors, sits Harley Streten, aka Flume. I'm led through this maze, twisting and turning until I arrive at a dressing room. "He's nearly done", I'm told as I stand and wait.

Flume’s self-titled debut album was the soundtrack of the mid-2010s for a generation of electronic music fans. His remix of Lorde's ‘Tennis Court’, now finally available on Spotify, played at every house party, setting the scene as teens got drunk off cruisers. A decade later, everything has changed.

Harley has settled down, creating an idyllic home, an oasis far from the stage he'll be performing on in several hours. 12,000 fans await, willing him to perform the classics. We're sat in a desolate room— two chairs across from each other and a photo of a beach. It's a far cry from the main stage of Coachella, and as I introduce myself, it's clear that Flume is no longer the artist he once was.

He's matured, with his evolution as an artist clear when you trace his music. Things Don't Always Go To Plan, Harley’s latest album, is comprised of unreleased material from 2012 with ‘Why 1.3’ to 2021 with ‘One Step Closer.’ This release is a personal statement, an act of catharsis, offering him "something therapeutic". He says, “I make a lot of stuff, and it doesn’t all come out. It’s kind of sad, because some things fall through the cracks, that I really like”. In giving these tracks a life and a place in the world, Flume is appeasing those ghosts haunting him from the cutting room floor.

“I make a lot of stuff, and it doesn’t all come out. It’s kind of sad, because some things fall through the cracks, that I really like”.

He begins to chew on a toothpick, reflecting on how he's been on and off antidepressants since his career began. The spectres of the past have been with Harley since he started touring at 20. On a 2020 podcast, he revealed how his severe anxiety and self-medication led him to come close to quitting music. Harley is “not really a performer” and is “quite introverted,” meaning press interviews like this one can be triggering. In a clip from one of his first shows, by his side are several beers. Now there's a sense of zen.

Lockdowns and travel restrictions meant he was able to be in just one place for a year, after spending his 20s touring non-stop. He says, “I never really feel like I had a chance to live a normal life. Covid was the first time I could live life as a 20-year old.”

“I never really feel like I had a chance to live a normal life. Covid was the first time I could live life as a 20-year old.”

On that decade-long journey, it was Splendour in the Grass that stands out among the rest. Onstage was Harley in his board shorts, and as the tent slowly filled up with thousands of people, he realised that people are excited about this. He says, “By the end of it the thing was full, and the response was insane. I had never seen anything like it.” Even with a Grammy and double-platinum accreditation in Australia, Harley still seems shocked that people listen to his music.

Even with a Grammy and double-platinum accreditation in Australia, Harley still seems shocked that people listen to his music.

All artists must evolve, each stage of their career reflecting a new obsession, so what excites Flume? Right now, it's the saxophone, which represents a "new challenge", he says. Harley is still trying to find his voice, so he's trying "all sorts of different things." This comment leads us down a rabbit hole towards AI. With these new technologies, he can hear something, download it and disassemble it. Harley can't wait for AI to work on the music he's producing. He says it'll be like having "a bandmate," as he can create ten AI Flume’s to make ten AI songs. “I would love to have an orchestra of just AI Harley’s writing, and then I can just piece it all together.”

Back to the saxophone, which I'm hoping he'll bring out and perform Bag Raiders ‘Shooting Stars’ with. He grew up playing the instrument, and now that he's rediscovered it, he's going to "incorporate it into a bunch of songs.” Harley also puts "a fucking autotune on the saxophone," so when he performs it live as he did for the first time at The Dome in Sydney, there's a safety net.

Flume, a generation's gateway
By Thomas Giblin (he/him) 12
Australia's sonic prince ponders anxiety, touring and putting autotune on his saxophone

With only a minute remaining of my allotted 15, I ask Harley what he's currently listening to. He pulls out his phone and provides me with a list; "the new Caroline Polachek track, Dinamarca, Buunshin, 'Time' by Pachanga Boys, 'Love' by Mica Levi, 'Dawn Chorus' by Thom Yorke, 'You're Not Alone' by Olive, 'Cafe Del Mar' by Energy 52, 'Idioteque' by Radiohead from Kid A, shape noise and Silkback."

"It's a real mixed bag."

The Show

Harley last played in New Zealand at the notorious Listen In, a concert described as "drug-fuelled insanity." His performance at the Spark Arena was different, as he's doing his own thing, reclaiming agency over his life.

Outside the venue, there was an odd tension between the old-school "day-one" Flume fans and the newage ones. Those Flume fans in their late 20s who've grown up with his music were content to sway in the stands, happy to appreciate how far he'd come. The younger fans, many of whom only knew one or two songs, were keen to mosh and vape with hundreds of other sweaty late teens. From afar, the watermelon and strawberry smoke plumes remind you of smoke signals raising the alarm.

He shared classics, tracks "from the vault", new favourites and yet-to-be-released tunes. ‘Holdin On’, ‘Drop The Game’, and ‘You & Me’ delighted the 12,000-strong crowd, who were begging for the hits, but he made sure to make them wait. Harley had the Tāmaki Makaurau crowd in the palm of his hand—his figure framed by Roman arches, hands to each side resting on separate decks, his body illuminated by ethereal shades of purple. A shadow appears, and Flume at this moment, seems to be the second coming of Christ.

He danced between eras, but ‘Tennis Court’ sent the crowd to a different stratosphere. It's what we all wanted to hear, and Flume didn't disappoint, sending the arena into ecstasy. As the smoke cleared, there was no sea of mobile phones for a brief moment. Instead, a tsunami of limbs had taken its place. But as the concert came to a close, the crowd demanded more.

"You guys have been fucking amazing tonight. I've had the best time," Flume exclaims. No sign of the saxophone so far - but was this it, I ask myself? It wasn't, but as he closed out the concert with ‘Helix’, it was hard to be disappointed. Lights pulsated, and in a flash, it was all over, on Harley’s terms, not ours.


Up Next, Teenage Dads

Teenage Dads aren't teenage dads (or at least they say so). But they are the next big indie pop-rock band. Think The Strokes and The Beach Boys blended with your parents’ favourite 80s hits. The Melbourne-based band consisting of Jordan Finlay (vocals, guitar), Connor McLaughlin (guitar), Vincent Kinna (drums), and Angus Christie (bass) had a breakthrough in 2022. With sold-out shows across Australia, tours with Lime Cordiale and Spacey Jane, a Best New Artist nomination at the Rolling Stone Australia Awards and a growing legion of fans, Teenage Dads are growing up fast.

However, their success doesn't provide any clues about the origins of the band's name. So where did it come from? They "didn't have anything better," so Teenage Dads just "stuck," says Connor, surprisingly chipper for a 9 am press junket. He recounts how he and Jordan "just started jamming" during a free period at high school. They invited their schoolmates to jam with them, hoping to form a band, but it only gelled once they asked Angus and Vincent along. Seven years later, with a headline Australia and New Zealand tour ahead of them, their humble origins seem a distant memory.

Their latest EP, Midnight Driving, has shades of The New Abnormal so it's no surprise that Jordan, the predominant songwriter for Teenage Dads, loves The Strokes. I also mention Duran Duran as a possible sonic inspiration to Connor. He piques up, "I actually played in a covers band at my mate's engagement party and we did ‘Girls on Film’, which is pretty funny." The band also loves Phoenix, a French pop-rock band whose hits would feel at home next to "Cheerleader", a personal favourite from their 2021 EP, Club Echo.

Teenage Dads want "their sound to be as easy for the live viewer to get involved." Their discography is rife with "call and response" elements, encouraging listeners to shake their limbs and scream lyrics such as "Teddy doesn't live here anymore." That being said, the last song on the Midnight Driving EP, ‘Goodbye, Goodbye Again’, is a distinct change of pace for the band. It's "a little bit slower," more meditative and poignant than ‘Hey, Diego!’ and ‘Teddy’. But as the closing song, it represents a solemn goodbye to a friend, family or lover.

Midnight Driving is "about perspective. How things look from one point of view and how they can change over time from another outlook. The songs feel like diary entries, documented internally, like conversations you have with yourself when you go Midnight Driving. A constant, internal form of therapy almost."

Teenage Dads recently performed "Teddy", a fan favourite track off this EP, on Triple J’s Like A Version segment — their energy in the video is infectious, a shot of dopamine. "Teddy" originated from a birthday party where Connor asked his friends to do a tenminute "DIY hardcore show" as a present to himself. Jordan then wrote "what was the chorus of Teddy" but ironically, he couldn't make it to the show. Jordan still reworked the tune, transforming it from a "joke song" into a "cool" track that made the band budding stars.

Teenage Dads has gone from The Gasometer, a small venue above a Melbourne hotel, to The Metro Theatre Sydney, an iconic Australian venue accommodating up to 1,200 people, in a matter of years. “It's surreal," says Connor, who used to watch his favourite bands at venues Teenage Dads are now selling out.


He admits that touring isn't all sunshine and roses - it gets taxing. He says "Our routine is: wake up, get to the gig, play, try to interact with everyone and go to sleep." But this seems alright when you're with your best mates.

Connor is genuine and shy when talking about the success of Teenage Dads and why it came as a surprise. The band's proudest achievement for him is "when we started realising that people were coming to our gigs that weren't our friends." They've gone from performing covers at people's 18th birthday parties, and now they're about to embark on an overseas tour with Lime Cordiale.

There is an air surrounding Teenage Dads that is exciting to be witness to — a band on the precipice of stardom. So, catch them while you still can, as lightning in a bottle is hard to come by.

Midnight Driving, their latest EP, is available to stream now. Also, catch Teenage Dads on the 13th of April at The Tuning Fork.


A Thorough and Realistic Guide on How To Decorate your Shitty Student Flat

Whether you’re moving from a suburb of Auckland to a slightly more central suburb of Auckland, or starting a new life in the big city after leaving your slightly racist hometown, beginning your journey in student flatting is no easy feat. Sure, your extended family may lecture you on how by your age they'd already bought a house, raised three kids and got scurvy - but you should still be proud of your accomplishments! Your new flat has come after days spent scouring Trade Me, going to viewings, getting denied, and ultimately resigning to using a Facebook group to join a preexisting flat. You finally have the freedom to make a space your own (within the confines of your tenancy agreement), and fill your living space with Pinterest-worthy interior design.

Or at least that's the idea. You may think that you’re now too mature for your epic LED gamer lights, or you can do better than using the same bedsheets you’ve had since you were eleven - but that’s before you remember your budget. Your dreams of beautiful plants and framed gallery walls become thwarted by the fact that you probably also need to spend money on food, rent, transport and therapy. You can’t spend all your part time income and student loan on decor anymore, and suddenly your slightly torn up poster of The Smiths from Real Groovy that makes you look like a Morrissey apologist doesn't seem so morally sketchy anymore. Do you want everyone who enters your bedroom to immediately know you’re probably manipulative, or do you want to give off the impression that you went the minimalist route after watching that Netflix documentary and twenty - three Matt D’Avella videos? Well, the latter is probably affected by the holes in the wall left by the previous tenants, but don’t fret! With a few simple design tips, some quintessential purchases and advice from your very own Debate community, you can live in a lovely little weed-scented house that your parents, partners, and flatmates prefer to avoid.

You can’t spend all your part time income and student loan on decor anymore, and suddenly your slightly torn up poster of The Smiths from Real Groovy that makes you look like a Morrissey apologist doesn't seem so morally sketchy anymore.


Step One: Plan Ahead

Before you find a place to live, it’s important to begin your interior design journey without a shred of realistic thinking. Not even a little bit. I mean, you’re just getting inspiration, right? Make sure to spend several hours looking at the house tours of influencers and celebrities that make more money in a single day than you ever will in your life. It’s also a great idea to fall down the rabbit hole of interior design and aesthetics, so you can prepare for all of your newly purchased furniture to work in perfect harmony with each other. Fuck restricting yourself to cottagecore patterns, rustic earth tones, or sleek furniture pieces - haven’t you amateurs ever heard of Boho-Japandi-Muppetcore?

Fuck restricting yourself to cottagecore patterns, rustic earth tones, or sleek furniture pieceshaven’t you amateurs ever heard of Boho-Japandi-Muppetcore?

Bonus points if you’re looking for a new rental altogether - there’s nothing better than getting emotionally attached to a house that you’d never get as a first time renter, and depending your happiness on whether or not you get a perfect mansion or not despite it clearly being out of your range.

Step Two: Immediately Abandon Said Plan

Fuck. Fucking shit. Okay, the great rental fell through, but you can make the one you have now work! Sure, it’s smaller, blander and sadder - but it’s fine! Adaptability is key to great interior design (probably). Besides, your impeccable taste in furniture, colours and artwork can make any space flawless. Assuming you have the money to buy those things, which you

absolutely don’t. Think you can be a cute little indie type and get your pieces at an op-shop? That’s either even more expensive, or tainted with the subtle scent of cat piss and desperation.

Think you can be a cute little indie type and get your pieces at an op-shop? That’s either even more expensive, or tainted with the subtle scent of cat piss and desperation.

Step Three: Work With What You’ve Got

Although your room at your parents house may be a horrific reminder of your teenage self, there’s nothing shameful about upcycling old pieces of furniture and decor. It’s just that the upcycling won’t be in a cute, eco-friendly way - it’s a bit more like trawling through the depths of your drawers and slapping them on your wall with stale blu-tac. Bonus points if you bring back the printed out album covers you put in your wall when you were fourteen. Aw yeah man, your Rex Orange County and Kanye West albums didn’t age poorly at all. They’ll be right at home stuck on your wall alongside Instax Polaroid photos and cut out covers of Debate Magazine.

Step Four: Resign To Buying Everything From Kmart

A bargain is a bargain, baby! When all else fails and you’re struggling to transform your room from a prison cell to a slightly nicer prison cell, it’s time to mosey on over to Kmart and get lost in the menagerie of surprisingly cute dinnerware and worryingly cheap appliances. Kmart is a place similar to airports at night, or polytechnic schools, or The Chemist Warehouse - it feels like teleporting into a parallel universe. Keep your wits about you and your mature adult hat on firmly - this store is


where you buy grown-up things, like plates, laundry baskets and fake plants. Own it! I'm sure you feel very grown up, browsing the mug aisle, trying to find a vessel for your shitty goon wine. Make sure to throw in one splurge purchase for shits and giggles. Maybe an air fryer, or an Animal Crossing-esque rattan coffee table, or even a desk lamp that doesn't reach your power outlet!

I'm sure you feel very grown up, browsing the mug aisle, trying to find a vessel for your shitty goon wine. Make sure to throw in one splurge purchase for shits and giggles. Maybe an air fryer, or an Animal Crossing-esque rattan coffee table, or even a desk lamp that doesn't reach your power outlet!

If you’re struggling to find decor that fits your aesthetic, just have your splurge purchase be a Perky Nana from the mind-numbing, mile-long self checkout line. You can consume it after you’ve left the store, crying in the foetal position about your newly stressful adult life in front of the St Lukes Glassons.

Step Five: Actually Decorate Your Bedroom

Or just fucking don’t! Be like me - I have three different New York themed canvas prints sitting outside of my room as I’m writing, because I can’t be fucked leaving my house to buy Command strips. My dreams of moving to the Big Apple by eighteen have already been crushed by Covid, the United States progressively becoming less progressive, and a job for the student magazine of the Auckland University of fucking Technology, so why should I even bother vicariously living through three prints of NYC if my dreams are out of reach? If you still have any semblance of motivation to make your space nice, then I recommend you burn some incense, make some tea, and chuck on a rich American twenty year old's apartment makeover YouTube video as you make your bed, organise your closet, and kill the ants in the corner of your bedroom. You and Ashley from BestDressed (or whoever straight men watch these days) are basically living the same life.

Step Six: Sit Back And Relax As Your Flat Slowly Becomes A Garbage Dump

You’ve done everything you can. Your decor has been laid out to the best of your ability, and all of your flatmates have brought a completely different vibe to their bedroom and shared objects. Your lounge, kitchen, bathroom, and (now flooded) dirt basement area is a strange mixture of your lynxwearing flatmate's Call Of Duty poster, your other flatmate's turntable playing Phoebe Bridgers, and a single can of baked beans in the pantry - but isn't it kind of nice? The eclectic, maximalist mixture of vibes could be seen as a mess, but you could also just pretend that it’s Ghibli-core by slapping some fake vines on the wall. You’ll probably have plants growing through the wall anyway - may as well start ‘em early! The complacency and satisfaction you now hold is precious - make sure you keep it safe, because the next few months of your life will see the space become littered with pizza boxes, half empty cans of Pals, and random people sleeping on your couch. It’s still Ghibli vibes, guys. It’s fine.

Bonus: The Top Pieces Suggested By The Debate Community

It’s important to get feedback and suggestions from others when living a student lifestyle - you are going to be having to live with a bunch of them, after all! So, the Debate team asked the lovely followers of the @debate_mag Instagram for the decor that really made them go “hmm.” Shop their style on the next page!

All products featured in Debate Magazine are independently selected by our editors - or in this case, our Instagram followers. We will not earn an affiliate commission through our retail links, because this is a print magazine and you cannot click on links.

With these pieces and an ever dwindling care for cleanliness, you can make your flat so hazardous that even Sam Uffindell would be concerned for your health and sanity. Go forth! Decorate your flat! Be an adult! Unless you live with your parents, or in a student hall. Sucks for you.


“A Row Of Odd Socks Collected At Parties”

“A Looooong Poster On The Wall For An Expanding List Of The Men Who Wronged Us”

“Dildo Used As A Kitchen Cabinet Handle”

Dear Residents: The administration of this apartment complex have received several complaints about the level of noise coming from your unit. A resident of your floor has informed us you have been continually blasting 'Revolution 9' by The Beatles for the past 36 hours. This is a breach of your tenancy agreement. Please cease immediately, or further action will be taken.

Please stop playing tennis so loudly

“Framed Noise Complaints”


- Live Music by The Burtones

- Variety of food & drink options

THUR 23 MAR, 5 – 9PM 69 St Georges Bay Rd

The above event will proceed if there is light rain as there is undercover seating. However if the event is cancelled due to severe weather, the rain date is the 30th March, 5–9pm.

Pitches & Submissions open for 2023! We’re looking for… Contributing Writers, Illustrators, Designers, Photographers and Artists

Issue 4 | Drugs

Pitches due: Monday 13th March

Contributor deadline: Monday 20th March

Issue 5 | Music

Pitches due: Monday 3rd April

Contributor deadline: Monday 10th April

Issue 6 | Sustainability

Pitches due: Monday 17th April

Contributor deadline: Monday 1st May

Email to become a contributor!

2023 3202 DE BA TE DE
TE 22


The Hollywood Sunday Sessions

Babe Martin, Ringlets, Ballot Box

Hollywood Avondale

Sunday, February March 19th

$25 door sales

The Hollywood Avondale is hosting another fabulous Sunday Session. Chill out in their newly renovated beer garden with a special early evening of music. Beers on tap from Hallertau.

Doors from 4:30pm with guest DJ's. All ages!


gap [黄馨贤박성환嫦潔] filler

Studio One Toi Tū

March 1st - March 30th

Emerging Tāmaki artists Cindy Huang, Sung Hwan Bobby Park and Ruby White share hands parched from clay; using ceramic as a means for narration, negotiation and navigation.

Their ceramic exhibition is showing at Studio One Toi Tū up on K Rd for this month only.


Light from Tate

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Wednesday March 1st - Sunday June 25th

Free for members - $21.50 concession

Light from Tate: 1700s to Now tells the story of how light has captivated artists over time and across different media including painting, photography, sculpture, installation, drawing and moving image.

The multisensory exhibition promises to delightonly at the Art Gallery for a limited time!

ART re:generate Fashion Market

Mt Eden War Memorial Hall

Saturday, April 1st


Over 35 pop up stores of pre-loved clothing. Rain or shine, this upcycled clothing market promises great bargains on vintage pieces, retro finds, fashion and accessories.


G G ig u id e * *


Nic and Reuben

Where? Whammy Bar

When? Saturday, March 18th Cost? $20

Surf Friends

Where? Thirsty Dog

When? Saturday, March 18th Cost? $13


Na Noise + Dick Move + Lips

Where? Whammy Bar

When? Friday, March 24th

Cost? $25

Vanessa Worm

Where? Big Fan

When? Saturday, April 1st Cost? $25


Where? The Tuning Fork

When? Sunday, March 19th Cost? $40

Carb On Carb

Where? The Wine Cellar

When? Saturday, April 1st Cost? $12








Midnight Driving

Teddy Census



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