Read, think, explore.
Fake news More than an innocent catchphrase, it’s influencing all aspects of our lives.
Making tools in our own image Weighing up the pros and cons of artificial intelligence in an increasingly high-tech world.
Rage against the machine Experiencing the freedom, joy and anxiety in expressions of rage.
Lighting up Bay Oval Acting on a vision for our region’s sporting future that’s attracting crowds and delivering economic benefits.
On the airwaves Meet Tauranga’s new media ‘power couple’.
Everyone’s entitled News, views and opinions from around the region.
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SUM MER 2018 | F R E E
â€œCURIOUSLY ENOUGH, ONE CANNOT READ A BOOK: ONE CAN ONLY REREAD IT.
A GOOD READER, A MA JOR READER, AN ACTIVE AND CREATIVE READER IS A REREADER.” Nabakov
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Spring mangrove reflections, Fraser Cove, Tauranga. Journal | 2 | S U M M E R
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Photo by Tracy Stamatakos
NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FROM AROUND THE REGION
Christopher E. Hamrick
It’s been a busy quarter in terms of news – and only partly because of the election. The central North Island has been a hotbed of activity, with an enormous drugs bust, a burgeoning arts scene, the arrival of taxi alternative Uber, and major property developments proceeding apace. The region also managed to generate a weird scandal over imported mud.
$20 MILLION COCAINE HAUL
PASCOE GROUP UNVEILS PLANS FOR NEW FLAGSHIP FARMERS STORE The new Farmers building planned for Tauranga’s CBD looks like it’s going to be a cracker. The headline features are already well known – 73 apartments, 23 town houses, a massive 8000 square metres of retail space, 380 car parks – but some of the lesser known features are even more exciting. Farmers’ second floor will host six restaurants with balconies overlooking Elizabeth St, part of an idea to make shopping more of an “experience” by integrating a fine-dining option. Designers also plan to activate an alleyway with Melbourne-style “hole in the wall” eateries. Now that’s an idea worth celebrating.
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It’s the stuff movies are made of. A five-month investigation led by police and customs culminated in a record $20 million cocaine bust in Tauranga on the evening of October 31-November 1. Four foreigners were arrested and charged after raids in Mt Maunganui, Tauranga and Auckland. Forty-six kilograms of cocaine was seized from a Tauranga property, making it the biggest-ever haul of cocaine in New Zealand. Investigators used the Port of Tauranga's hi-tech camera network to gather intelligence for the drug bust. It’s alleged the drugs came into Tauranga in a hidden compartment on a commercial shipping vessel, with the alleged smugglers retrieving the stash under the cover of darkness. Police say the smuggling attempt was an effort to expand New Zealand's small market for cocaine. Investigations into the bust are ongoing.
MUD. GLORIOUS MUD.
Leading artists and performers from New Zealand and beyond flocked to Tauranga for the 10th Tauranga Arts Festival. The event coincided with the Tauranga Art Gallery’s 10th birthday, with recent visitor numbers giving staff and supporters extra reason to celebrate. During 2016-17, a total of 86,610 art lovers visited the gallery – making it the most successful year-to-date. Much of that foot traffic can be attributed to the Paradox street art festival, which brought nearly 50,000 people through the art gallery doors over three months. Tauranga Art Gallery also undertook various initiatives and art education programmes to a record 10,949 participants during the financial year. It’s attracting a greater online audience and was named one of the top seven art galleries in New Zealand by Culture Trip, an international travel and lifestyle website.
Meanwhile, in Rotorua, the mud has really been flying among local politicians and members of the public who are upset over an unusual $90,000 import. The Rotorua Lakes Council had earmarked the funds to buy five tonnes of “cosmetic grade mud” from South Korea over five years for its Mudtopia festival. A nationwide petition organised by local ratepayers saw a dramatic u-turn by the council, which agreed to veto the import while refusing to say whether or not the money would be refunded. Mudtopia was inspired by a similar festival in Boryeong, and the import was part of a reciprocal arrangement with the South Korean city for intellectual property, advice and promotion of the Rotorua event.
Revellers at the Korea Boryeong Mud Festival possibly sporting the “cosmetic grade mud”. Journal | 5 | S U M M E R
While other regions have grabbed headlines for their booming property prices, Waikato values have quietly been creeping up to record levels. In October, the median sale price hit $500,000 for the first time, according to REINZ data. This was a 10 per cent increase on the previous October, and was more than twice the national increase of 4 per cent. It will be interesting to see how this pans out over summer, with some commentators predicting that a knee-jerk reaction to the new government could see the values fall, with others predicting further growth on the back of Auckland’s affordability woes.
Thomas Gerard – Festival du Roi Arthur
WAIKATO PROPERTY PRICES HIT HALF-MILLION MARK
OUR TIME TO UBER Tauranga’s booming tourism industry has triggered interest from ride-sharing service Uber. With visitor numbers up 26 per cent in 2017, Uber started advertising for Tauranga drivers in September to make it the fourth New Zealand city where the service is available. Uber’s app is already popular in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch, with more than 330,000 registered users and more than 4000 drivers. The company says the service will take pressure off traffic congestion, particularly in summer when visitors flock to the city.
EDITOR Natalie Bridges ART DIRECTOR Scott Harwood WRITERS Alison Brown Christiaan van Rooyen Ellen Irvine Jess Smith Julia Proverbs Luke Balvert Scott Harwood Scott MacLeod
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CON T R IBU TORS
Tracy is an editorial, commercial and fine art photographer, having spent her first 10 years working with film and the last 10 with digital technology. As her library of images accumulates in hard-drives, Tracy is increasingly drawn to produce framed prints, to counter a world in which images are becoming a series of lost moments. She describes herself as a â€œcurator of memories, meaningful moments and simple grounding landscapesâ€?.
Adam's work caught our eye while researching our AI story The Uncanny Soul of the Machine. Adam's work explores the connections between the digital and the spirit. Of Polish and Greek descent, Adam has been working and experimenting with computer-generated visual media since 2000. Alongside his career as a digital artist, Adam also serves as a professor of digital art & design in many art institutes.
martinakos.com | adamakis.blogspot.co.nz
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Photo by Tracy Stamatakos
EDITOR I A L
BOOKS AND HUMAN EXPERIENCES ARE SACRED
A book is a sacred object. So are real human experiences – person to person, face to face. This first issue of Journal pays tribute to both. There’s still nothing like holding a book in your hand to read. No tablet, phone, Kindle or transient social media rush of gaining a few extra ‘likes’ will ever replace it. Journal celebrates the book, good writing and in-depth thinking – it’s an exercise in art for art’s sake and we hope you enjoy it. A running theme throughout this first issue is our modern-day battle between real and virtual worlds. Our story Fake News (pages 20-25) explores the issues relating to this phenomenon, which has been around forever, but has recently reared its head in a way that we can’t avoid - how can we decipher the truth anymore? Rage Against the Machine (pages 34-39) explores the growing penchant for rooms in which we can don some overalls and smash things up. We explore this ‘virtual world’ that allows participants to let loose on their very real emotions. In The Uncanny Soul of the Machine (pages 42-47) we examine the rise and rise of artificial intelligence, our perception of robots and their influence on the future sentiments of the human race. In our feature stories we offer opinion, news and media reviews. With recent news from the International Reading Literacy Study that showed New Zealand had retreated 10 places, we cannot help but make a correlation with the trend for more tablets, phones and laptops, and less reading, conversations and human interactions. As Eric Pellicer, Chair of the 2018 Downstream Technology Conference, said recently, "Technology by itself is not a game changer, but an enabler for consumers and the industry to revolutionise the game. We live in exciting times for our industry where innovation is happening all around us." It’s up to us to make the best of the rapidly developing world of technology, but in ways that make us informed, interesting and connected to others. •
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zeitgeist We highlight experiences worth trying around the region.
Gluten-free deliciousness from The Gluten Free Chippery
FUSH AND CHUPS with a twist
The popularity of gluten-free eating continues to rise, with increased options available on restaurant menus and supermarket shelves. Now this wave has made it to those in charge of the deep fryers who are entrusted to bring us the takeaway meal most-beloved by generations of Kiwis. We’re talking about fish and chips, of course. In Tauranga, we have The Gluten Free Chippery in Maungatapu and Spudz at The Lakes. From the classic fish and scoop of chips, to those preferring a burger or a cheeky banana fritter, these establishments have got the gluten issue covered.
Will you join the functional movement? We all know that regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can often feel like a chore. So when it comes to exercise, variety is the spice of life. For those looking for a new solution to fighting those exercise blues, look no further than F45 – the world’s fastest-growing functional training network – which has opened in Tauranga and the Mount. “Functional fitness” is the latest exercise buzzword and F45, as the name suggests, involves 45 minutes of functional, high-intensity fitness training. With no two sessions ever the same, it’s no wonder the movement is attracting athletes and “casual” gym goers alike. 45training.co.nz
The Gluten Free Chippery 291 Maungatapu Road, Tauranga Spudz – Unit 4/1 Caslani Lane, The Lakes
F45 TAURANGA 134 Devonport Road, Tauranga F45 MOUNT MAUNGANUI Tawa Street, Mount Maunganui
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WHAT THE FLOAT? Move over yoga, green juice cleansers, kale and boot camps because the latest craze to hit the Mount is Float Pods. For the uninitiated, this involves floating in a one-person pod filled with water and epsom salts. The result is something akin to a tiny Dead Sea: the buoyancy of the salt effectively removes the effects of gravity on the body. What’s the appeal? An alternative form of relaxation, the aim is to experience a feeling of nothingness that can supposedly cure everything from chronic pain to stress and insomnia. The practice of hanging out quietly in a saltwater tank is beginning to catch on with those people from all walks of life who are taking the plunge in Mount Maunganui. It sounds a bit bonkers – but don’t knock it until you try it. zenfloatspa.co.nz Zen Float Spa Suite 1/43 Girven Road, Mount Maunganui
Paradox street art revisited Looking for an excuse to take a leisurely summer walk? Here’s your guide for a wander around the street-art murals that appeared in Tauranga as part of the threemonth 2017 Paradox: Tauranga Street Art Festival. Paradox was quite the event. It included a major exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery with 22 works by
the world’s most famous street artist, Banksy. And it sparked the creation of permanent street art pieces aimed at sprucing up Tauranga’s tourist appeal. Expect to take 30 to 45 minutes wandering around the sites. See some of the work overleaf. >>
AM S TRE
ST RE ET
W I L LOW STRE ET
MCL EAN STRE ET
HA R I NGT ON S T R E E T
D U R H A M STRE ET
HA MI LT ON S T R E E T
WHA R F S T R E E T
12 13 12 13
S P R I NG S T R E E T
11 EL IZA BE TH
MONMOUT H S T R E E T
WILL OW STRE ET
ANS ON ST
11 DI V E C R E S C E N T
1. 124 Dive Crescent Artists: Charles and Janine Williams, from Auckland 2. Bus Stop/Toilets Artists: Tara Fowler and Millie Newitt, Tauranga 3. Brooklyn Patio and Eatery, 53 The Strand Artist: British-born Lucy McLauchlan 4. Masonic Park, rear of Tauranga Art Gallery Artist: Askew One, from Auckland 5. Wharf St, front of Tauranga Art Gallery Artist: Seth Globepainter
6. Grey St, alleyway Artist: Wrongly attributed to Banksy, these two images by an unknown artist that appeared before Paradox 7. Spring St substation Artist: Wongi, from Christchurch, was brought in by PowerCo to spruce up this substation 8. Spring Street Parking Building Artist: Jacob Yikes, of Christchurch 9. Rear of 176 Cameron Rd building Artist: Sofles, of Brisbane. This mural can only be seen from Grey St, but is partly obscured by the new university development
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10. Elizabeth St car park entrance Artist: Owen Dippie, ex-Tauranga. Before visiting 12 and 13, why not check out this older painting, and the next, by a former local 11. Elizabeth St car park, east side Artist: Owen Dippie 12. Grey St service lane (large mural) Artist: Fintan Magee, from Sydney 13. Grey St service lane (Mice) Artist: Unknown
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Photos by Scott MacLeod
EX PLOR AT IONS
White Island rock formations. Photo by Tracy Stamatokos
Delicate wader, an endangered New Zealand dotterel/tĹŤturiwhatu at Main Beach, Mt Maunganui. Photo by Jamie Troughton.
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T HE R ECOR D
The most important news in New Zealand journalism this year is the ongoing saga with StuffMe. The attempted merger of the nation’s two largest media outlets – Stuff and NZME – went to the High Court after being quashed by the Commerce Commission. The hearing entered the realm of farce when rival lawyers argued whether or not the judge, Justice Robert Dobson, should be allowed to view a demonstration of news sharing on Facebook, a medium with which he was unfamiliar. For the record, it was ultimately ruled that the judge could be enlightened. … Meanwhile, rival agency Sun Media is building on its innovative attempt to be a national player. Best-known locally for its Sun Live website and Weekend Sun newspaper, the Tauranga-based service has launched the website Newsie.co.nz, featuring content from a range of newspapers based in other parts of the country. Newsie has been pushing its “citizen journalist” concept, with volunteers writing stories that readers can ‘like’. This is supposed to help writers build an audience, with the best article of the month winning a prize. … Newspapers may be declining
globally, but in one country the printed word is thriving. India now has the world’s largest number of paid newspapers, with daily circulation growing from 39 million to 63 million copies over 10 years. During the same period, internet access tripled to 30 per cent of the population without causing an exodus to online news. These trends are attributed to economic development, improving literacy, and sketchy electricity networks. …
With StuffMe stuffed, it’s not surprising that declining journalistic standards have become a topic of national interest. Industry pundits are suggesting that the answer lies in state-funded broadcasters stepping into the vacuum left by Stuff and NZME’s slide towards populism. Radio New Zealand is positioning itself as a strong player this year, with a website increasingly focused on hard news and almost completely devoid of Kardashians. … Speaking of Radio NZ, Labour pledged $38 million preelection to “strengthen New Zealand’s identity” through state broadcasters and NZ on Air. The Greens also support a funding boost. NZ First has said it wants Journal | 15 | S U M M E R
TVNZ2 to become a commercial SOE, with profits being used to subsidise an advertisementfree TVNZ1. This station would merge with Radio NZ. NZ First has also spoken of quotas for political coverage and, let’s not forget, free-to-air broadcasts of major sporting events. New Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran says NZ First’s proposals “are not priorities”, but is yet to rule them out. … Finally, no discussion of the media would be complete without mention of Facebook and Twitter. More so now than ever before, reputations are being built and destroyed through these platforms. Duncan Garner learned this to his cost when his “underwear and socks” column on national identity attracted enough vitriol to make him quit Twitter. Meanwhile Sean Plunkett learned that the Biblical virtue of sympathising with the condemned is equivalent to social suicide on Facebook. His post asking if “anyone else” felt for Hollywood sinner Harvey Weinstein attracted such a backlash he was forced to resign from the Broadcasting Standards Authority. The lesson? Discretion beats valour when it comes to controversial topics on social media. •
OPI N ION
Blink account manager Scott MacLeod shifted from Melbourne to Tauranga late last year. He’s found lots to love about living in the Bay, but there are a few things he misses. Here’s his take on the things that are better here – and better there.
BETTER HERE PIES ARE CHEAPER AND YUMMIER Top of my list is the pie situation. Seriously, if I’m going to pay $6 for a pie then it better be damn good. That’s the going rate for even a mediocre pie in Melbourne (I’m looking at you, Pie Face). Contrast that with Tauranga, where little bakeries all over town are cranking out big lumps of meaty, crusty goodness for around $4. WEATHER Australia’s hot and dry, right? Not so in Melbourne, where you’ll either roast or freeze. Mostly freeze. The winters over there approach Wellington for wind-chill and rain. Good ol’ Tauranga is lovely in summer and a mid-weight jacket is usually enough to ward off winter. PEOPLE Melbournites are mostly pretty decent sorts, but they’re definitely wrapped up in their own little worlds. That’s to be expected, given that there are nearly 4 million of them. Tauranga’s a place where it’s quite normal to strike up conversations with strangers in shops, food joints and at the pub. Cheers to that. THE MOUNT
Both cities have great beaches, but only the Mount pulls it all together with a beachfront restaurant strip, easy walking from sand to shops, and an iconic mountain offering great views all along the coast. SUPERMARKETS Melbourne “supermarkets” are sorry little things. Most Woolworths, Coles and IGA stores in Melbourne are half the size of our Pack ‘n’ Save on Cameron Rd. And Melbourne supermarkets don’t sell booze – most are affiliated with a nearby liquor store, but shopping twice is a hassle when you’re pushing a trolley-load of groceries.
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OPI N ION
BETTER THERE CYCLE LANES Melbourne has great cycle lanes for both commuting to work and weekend recreation, with the 30km Capital City Trail being a personal favourite. Bike lanes are mostly separated from traffic, and this makes the whole peddling experience much safer in Melbourne than it is here. It’s surprising that a city as small as Tauranga should be so dangerous for cyclists, with the harbour bridge area being especially perilous. INCOMES No secrets here – Aussies get paid more for doing less. The standard working week in Melbourne is 37.5 hours, salaries are 50 per cent higher than they are here, and employers pay an additional 9.5 per cent into superannuation funds. COST OF LIVING Melbourne can be cheaper than here. We paid AUD$400 a week for a tidy, fully-furnished one-bedroom apartment in the posh Chapel St area, which is similar to what you’d pay in Tauranga for less salubrious digs. Although Aussie supermarkets mostly suck, they do have a chain called Aldi that sources dirt-cheap goods that are often half the price you’d pay in Tauranga. Electronics are much cheaper in Oz. PROPERTY PRICES Central Melbourne apartments can be snapped up for under AUD$500,000, and some of these are similar in size and superior in quality to apartments selling for over $600,000 in Mount Maunganui. On the whole, Melbourne property prices are probably a little higher than here – but not when you take incomes into account.
GOING OUT Stand-up comedy. Small theatre companies. A Bohemian arts district. Italian restaurants with first-generation immigrant cooks and staff. A whole suburb full of Vietnamese restaurants. Consistently top-notch tucker. These are all areas in which Melbourne beats Tauranga. Sure you find a good feed here if you hunt around, but most restaurants are hitand-miss and you’ve got to live here a while to know about the hits. Journal | 17 | S U M M E R
Find more opinion articles at: blinkpr.co.nz/journal
OPI N ION
A HUNDRED WORDS FOR SAND They say the Eskimos have a hundred words for snow. After hiking Ninety Mile Beach, I can think of a hundred words for sand – mostly comprising four letters. What to call the fine, white sand that twists towards you on the ocean wind, long lines snaking inches above the hard-packed beach, seeping through the mesh of your trail shoes and forming mini-dunes in your socks, just beneath the toes? And what of the coarse, gritty sand that infests your hair, ears and squinty-eyed wrinkles? Or the aggressive, penetrative variety that somehow invades your environmentally-sealed dry-bag to assail the joints of your camera lenses? What of the sand that inhabits the streams and, by extension, the bottle you dip for water? The one that imparts an unpleasant grittiness to your dry-lipped sips and an equally unpleasant crunch to your evening pasta. Then there’s the worst sand of all – the obnoxious “friend” that refuses to leave you alone, ingratiating itself into your tent, and your sleeping bag, and your clothes, reappearing when you think you’ve brushed and shaken yourself free. All of these sand-types I know well, and few do I ever wish to meet again. I came to know all of these sands while hiking New Zealand’s Te Araroa trail, which begins with a four-day tramp from Cape Reinga to Ahipara. Sand is the main reason so many hikers struggle with this section. It stings the eyes and blisters the feet. One German companion was forced to quit because her ruined feet became dangerously infected. But sand detracts only slightly from the beach’s many pleasures – the sea lions, the wild pigs, the isolation and the solitude, the long stretches of quiet contemplation. The night sky. Awaking to the rhythmic crash of ocean waves. Most of all, knowing you’ve earned chips and beer at trail’s end.
Scott MacLeod Find more opinion articles at: blinkpr.co.nz/journal Journal | 18 | S U M M E R
The Te Paki Sand Dunes in Northland are the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Journal | 19 | S U M M E R
TA LK TO ME
E K A F S W E N Illustration by Christiaan van Rooyen
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TA LK TO ME
We’re at war.
WHAT IS FAKE NEWS?
Like it or not – and most of us don’t – we’ve become embroiled in a murky “fake news” propaganda conflict aimed at controlling our opinions and our choices. It’s most prevalent in our social media feeds, including Facebook and Twitter, and few of us stop to question the headlines: “Las Vegas Shooter a Democrat Associated with Anti-Trump Army” and “Money spent on NZ flag referendum could solve child poverty”. We’re not safe even if we avoid social media because, according to Vox.com, search engines including Google help to spread this type of misinformation. Fake news stories have circulated since Ramesses the Great ordered them to be chiselled into rock 3300 years ago. But these days they are spread around the world so quickly, via social media, that their influence has become increasingly pervasive and their presence so fleeting as to avoid careful scrutiny. And because these stories are shared with us by friends and family – rather than directed at us by the original source – we tend to accept them as trustworthy. Fake news has become an especially hot topic since last November, when it played an important role in the election of Donald Trump. Dictionary publisher Collins went so far as to name it the phrase of the year for 2017, following Oxford awarding the title last year to “post-truth”. But is fake news really something we need to care about? In short, yes, we should. Fake news is influencing aspects of our lives as important as our political viewpoints, our relationships with the environment and our life expectancies.
One Buzzfeed study of Facebook posts found that the top 20 fake news stories about the election received more engagement than the top 20 “real” stories.
Broadly speaking, fake news is the dissemination of falsehoods disguised as truth. A producer of CBS’s 60 Minutes programme, Michael Radutzky, defines it more specifically as “stories that are provably false, have enormous traction in culture, and are consumed by millions of people”. In other words, fake news creates a misinformed public, fostering societal pressure on politicians to enact policies against the public interest. It can also undermine the legitimacy of “real” news stories. Adding to this problem is a general 21st Century decline in journalistic standards that has weakened the ability of news outlets to subject their information sources to effective scrutiny. With this in mind, Snopes founder David Mikkelson warns that fake news is “a subset of the larger bad news phenomenon which encompasses many forms of shoddy, unresearched, error-filled and deliberately misleading reporting that do a disservice to everyone”. Since his election, Trump has turned “fake news” into a catchphrase – and the evidence suggests that he does have good reason to be obsessed with the issue. One Buzzfeed study of Facebook posts found that the top 20 fake news stories about the election received more engagement than the top 20 “real” stories. However, Trump is wrong when he claims to be a victim of the phenomenon. On the contrary, he is a major beneficiary of fake news. Many pro-Trump stories during the election were written by hundreds of teenagers employed by seven organisations in the small Macedonian city of Veles. BEHIND THE FAKE NEWS One of the teenagers in Veles, named Goran, told the BBC how he got involved. He started by plagiarising stories from right-wing American sites and posting them on Facebook with sensationalist headlines. He paid Facebook to “boost” these posts, sharing them with a large US audience hungry for Trump stories. When those people shared the stories and clicked on their “like” buttons, Goran began earning revenue
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TA LK TO ME
TYPES OF FAKE NEWS
PHOTO: SNOPES MARIA
from associated advertising. According to Goran, he pocketed 1800 Euros ($3000) in one month. When questioned about the morality of his actions, Goran said, “Teenagers in our city don’t care how Americans vote – they are only satisfied that they make money and can buy expensive clothes and drinks.” Goran’s case is an example of fake news stemming from opportunism, but it can also be the result of political propaganda campaigns organised at state level. >>
Anatomy of a Fake News Report Italian MP Maria Elena Boschi was ridiculed after a photograph circulated on social media showing her underwear exposed during her swearing-in ceremony. And it wasn’t just Boschi who suffered – her resemblance to Melania Trump meant that the US first lady was also lampooned. The social media post drew attention not just to Boschi’s underwear, but also to her blue suit. This was criticised as a colour “unknown in nature”, similar to the costume of “a Marvel superhero like Captain America”, and so tight that “many were reminded of Pippa Middleton’s silhouette”. According to fact-checking website Snopes, the underwear was inserted into the image by someone possessing photograph editing software and an apparent grudge against women in government. The website provided before-and-after images to support its case.
1. Satire or parody no intention to cause harm, but has potential to fool 2. False connection when headlines, visuals or captions don’t support the content 3. Misleading content misleading use of information to frame an issue or an individual 4. False content when genuine content is shared with false contextual information 5. Imposter content when genuine sources are impersonated with false, madeup sources 6. Manipulated content when genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive, as with a “doctored” photo 7. Fabricated content new content is 100 per cent false, designed to deceive and do harm Source: First Draft News
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False Balance Related to the issue of fake news is false balance, a type of media bias in which undue weight is given to particular viewpoints. This does not necessarily arise from a deliberate attempt by the media to mislead – in fact, quite the opposite. It often stems from a journalist’s desire to “balance” a story by offering multiple opinions on a subject. The problem is that the act of publishing an opinion tends to give it credence, and not all opinions deserve this. One striking example of false balance surrounds the debate on global warming. Although the great majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is occurring, and that it is a result of industrial activity, a tiny minority of scientists dispute this conclusion. Some news outlets provide significant coverage of the dissenting viewpoint in their reporting of the issue. In other words, these news outlets are likening fair coverage with equal coverage, in a situation where this may not be warranted.
The US intelligence community has concluded that it is “confident” that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to “undermine faith in the US democratic process” and harm Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the US election. The campaign included hacking Clinton’s emails and disseminating fake news about her on social media. According to The Guardian, thousands of paid Russian trolls were among the most strident Trump promoters on the internet before the election. WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS? Influencing election results is just one of many effects of fake news. According to several researchers, fake news is swaying public opinion in fields as important as climate change, gun control, religion, warfare, and international relations. However, fake news is possibly most damaging in the field of health care. “There’s more bad health news out there than there is in any other category,” Poynter Institute vice president Kelly McBride told The Atlantic. McBride wasn’t just talking about bogus claims for reversing wrinkles and whitening teeth. It seems like every second day we see stories about alcohol being good for the heart, or bad for the heart. Or coffee being healthy, or not. Or butter being healthier than margarine, or vice versa. According to McBride, public relations spindoctors are only partly to blame for this barrage of contradictory information. After all, it’s their job to tout the supposed benefits of their clients’ food and healthcare products at the expense of their competitors’. The main problem is the gullibility of journalists, who are overly prone to taking the bait. One classic domestic example was a notorious front-page splash in the New Zealand Herald in 1999 that touted an extract from South Island green-lipped mussels as being the cure for cancer. The extract hit shelves just two days after the story was published, prompting Prime Minister Jenny Shipley to condemn the story as the spurious product of an orchestrated PR campaign. In other words, it was fake news. • Scott MacLeod
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HOW TO SPOT FAKE NEWS
FAKE NEWS REPORTS ON FAKE NEWS One of the most celebrated cases of fake news is the 1938 Orson Welles broadcast of an adaptation of HG Wells’s science fiction novel The War of the Worlds. According to myth – and numerous mainstream news reports – the gripping fake newscast about an alien invasion was so realistic it created mass hysteria across the United States. A front-page headline in the New York Times, for example, declared, “Radio Listeners in Panic, Taking War Drama as Fact”. Other newspapers reported outbreaks of “weeping and hysterical women”, that a man found his wife preparing to kill herself with a bottle of poison, and another man had volunteered to fight the Martian invaders. But just how real was the panic? According to US communications professor W Joseph Campbell, the coverage was “almost entirely anecdotal”, and “largely based on sketch wire service roundups that emphasised breadth over in-depth detail”. Campbell concluded that the notion that the radio show created a national panic was a media-driven myth.
So how can we arm ourselves against these stories? Unfortunately, fake news can be extremely hard to identify. Research has found that most people struggle to spot it even when they are highly knowledgeable about the topic being “reported” on. One study, by Yale University researchers David Rand and Gord Pennycook, found that people are more likely to believe a fake news story when they have been exposed to it previously. This is because such stories make a subtle impression each time they are encountered, with familiarity creating an illusion of truth. The implication is that it is important to assess news as fake – or otherwise – when we first encounter it, rather than wait until it has influenced our mindset. Although there is no guaranteed method of spotting fake news, the following points have been suggested by experts in the field:
Consider the source Click to find the source of the story. Is it from a legitimate news outlet?
Read beyond Headlines don’t always portray stories accurately. Make sure you read the body of the text.
Supporting sources Click on any links in the story. Is the story supported by verifiable facts?
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Sources: FactCheck.org, International Federation of Library Associations Journal | 25 | S U M M E R
We ask questions, and seek out answers.
Q&A with Chloe Wright The evidence is clear: the experiences of a child in their earliest years have a critical impact on their brain development and in determining their interactions with others. Chloe Wright, CEO of the Wright Family Foundation, started the Love Grows Brains initiative in the hope that these crucial messages are heard by everyone who interacts with young children. Q: What is Love Grows Brains? A: The Wright Family Foundation created a series of 24 film clips, developed as public messages to support families, to air on primetime television. We worked with a documentary filmmaker to portray everyday Kiwi families, showing magic moments between parent and child.
The messages encourage parents to talk more, talk differently, play, sing and bond with their children as much as possible. It’s about showing how everyday moments can be opportunities for bonding and learning. We came up with the Love Grows Brains tagline as it perfectly captures in three words the essence of the campaign. Q: How did you come to the decision to launch this campaign? A: I felt a sense of urgency. This message needs to be out there now, reaching young parents and others interacting with young children. It’s critical to the life paths of our children. We can’t afford to wait for someone else to take the reins, or for Government to develop a campaign. It was about taking action immediately.
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“(Dr Lance O’Sullivan) emphatically says that the first 1000 days of a child’s life are more important than the next 10,000 days.”
Q: Tell us about the research behind the campaign. A: As a parent who’s brought up five children and has eight grandchildren, the robust scientific research backs up what I already instinctively knew. The evidence provided the pathway for us to share these observations with others. The research highlights the first years of a child’s life as a crucial and unique opportunity in their development. Experiences in these early days set the stage for a child’s lifelong health, intellectual development and EQ. It’s a time of enormous potential as foundations of brain development and growth of neural pathways impact on a child for life. It can be generational. Q: Tell us about the connection between Love Grows Brains and the world renowned Dunedin Longitudinal Study? A: The Dunedin Study has proved that adult outcomes are determined by childhood experiences. Professor Richie Poulton has been a huge supporter of Love Grows Brains, as a vehicle in which to convey this important academic research to everyday New Zealanders on a practical level. Richie appears in one of the Love Grows Brains clips, in which he explains that what happens before the age of three matters in a seminal way for how a person’s life unfolds over 70 or 80 years. He says it’s ‘not uncool’ as a scientist to use the word love. Love is critical; it’s the bedrock off which predictable, nurturing relationships are formed – and that’s how a child begins down the right path. Q: What’s the significance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life? A: The first three years of a child’s life is when 80 per cent of their brain development happens. Dr Lance O’Sullivan’s clip emphasises the critical importance of those early days. He emphatically says that the first 1000 days of a child’s life are more important than the next 10,000 days. Brains will develop, but love will ensure that it’s a rich development.
Q: You got some of New Zealand’s heavyweights in brain development on board for the campaign – how did you manage that? A: I told them what I wanted to achieve, and I simply asked them. All the people we worked with share a passion for the importance of conveying this message, and were more than happy to support the campaign. We’re grateful for their support, and it was just magical getting all of these brains together in one room for the launch of the campaign, in pursuit of a common goal. Nathan Wallis, who is a leading neuroscience educator, has been a genuine support. Nathan has the knack of taking top-level academic research and distilling it into clear, succinct messages that are easy to digest. Nathan filmed a clip for the campaign in which he says it’s not about drilling your child with alphabets or numbers or colours, it’s about love and interaction. The more love and interaction a baby experiences in the early years with that one main person, the more developed their brain will be. We worked with fantastic organisations including Talking Matters and Brainwave Trust Aotearoa to develop the messaging for the clips. Q: What has the reaction been to the campaign? A: Overwhelmingly positive. The feedback has been gratitude for positive messages that show people how they can make a difference, rather than focusing on the negative. It’s why our tagline at the Wright Family Foundation is ‘growing the good’. •
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SPORTING INFRASTRUCTURE WILL HELP LIGHT UP THE BAY OF PLENTYâ€™S FUTURE
ON T HE HOR IZON
Putting the future of our region under the microscope.
There’s a sense of achievement in Bay Oval Trust general manager Kelvin Jones’ voice as he overlooks the Bay Oval like a proud father as its state-of-the-art LED lights are installed. And proud he should be after spearheading the vision and drive to drastically revamp the venue into what is now regarded as one the country’s leading cricket facilities – a status only set to grow. “It is one of those overnight successes that have taken 15 years. “It’s really built a head of steam in the last 18 months. People get the vision and see what we have achieved. Organisations have got on board as they can see what international cricket can do for Tauranga.” Such sentiments ring true not only for this venue, but for the Bay of Plenty’s sporting landscape where, thanks to an incredible transformation in the past two years, we are beginning to put a stake in the national sporting ground. A state-of-the-art facility in the form of the University of Waikato Adams High Performance Centre, international hockey fixtures just across the road at the Mount, and the growing popularity of toplevel basketball at ASB Baypark Arena, all add to the sporting landscape. A case can be made that sport in the Bay of Plenty is on the fast track to going places. None of it would be possible without a small handful of visionaries such as Kelvin who haven’t been afraid to stand out from the crowd and promote some forward thinking. Forward thinking that will accommodate Tauranga’s growing population, increasing visitor numbers and city-centre intensification. But as the saying goes, “You need to spend money to make money”. Which brings us to the $2.74 million discussion about the need to light Bay Oval. Yes, a core minority group of disgruntled ratepayers view it as nothing more than a ‘white elephant’ that won’t benefit the city. But we must look past the monetary figure and think of the range of economic and social improvements soon to be at the city’s fingertips.
“It’s like Tauranga is growing up seeing those big lights out there.” Kelvin Jones
Bay Oval Trust general manager Kelvin Jones.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT The new lights are part of a $4 million upgrade of Bay Oval that includes a new permanent state-of-the-art replay scoreboard and increasing seating capacity to 12,000. All of which will solidify the boutique-styled, grass embankment venue as one of the top three nationwide. Already the Bay is becoming a traditional fixture on the Black Caps cricket calendar. Fourteen international games are scheduled to be played at Bay Oval this summer alone – all televised under the world-class lights set to be installed at the ground by December 1. “It’s corny, but we have always said ‘build it and they will come’,” explains Kelvin. “And it’s kind of been like that already. The lights go up and it’s a case of ‘careful what you wish for’ with all 14 games this summer being night games. “Without those lights we might have had two games of that group.”
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“It’s corny, but we have always said ‘build it and they will come.” Kelvin Jones
This is something the naysayers should pause to consider before voicing their distaste, he adds. Keen to set the record straight, he goes on to explain that it is not only the tangible benefits – the sheer number of people (players, officials, broadcasters and media) or the monetary figure – but the intangibles of the Bay of Plenty and its location broadcast to a global audience. Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust provided a grant of $1 million towards the redevelopment, Tauranga City Council contributed $915,000 and corporate sponsors gave a further $1 million. “We have always known the vast majority want to see Tauranga thrive and move ahead and have an expectation of where it should be going. “I look at what the ratepayers contributed to this. If you started the project from scratch, it’s a $12 million project and capital wise they [the ratepayers] contributed $1.5 million. “If all our facilities could be like that we would have some fantastic facilities throughout the city.” As well as New Zealand Cricket, the list of international, national and regional sporting bodies throwing their weight behind the region’s sporting potential continues to grow. Case in point: the New Zealand Rugby Sevens (men and women), thanks to a new centralised programme, are now based out of the University of Waikato Adams High Performance Centre at Blake Park, and Surf Life Saving New Zealand always looks to the Bay for summer events. It means all contracted All Blacks Sevens players are now required to live near this base in the Bay of Plenty. All Blacks Sevens coach Clark Laidlaw explains that a permanent, centralised base for the squad will provide countless benefits as they embark on their new era. “Previously players would spend anywhere between 150 and 170 nights a year away from home. Centralisation will reduce this by up to 50 nights a year, delivering more time together, but less time away from the important support networks of family and loved ones,” Laidlaw said. How can people knock that sort of growth after years of bemoaning the city missing out on sporting events to the bigger players of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch?
ON T HE HOR IZON
To give some clarity, Auckland in 2016 was named Best Medium Sports City (1.3 million to 3 million) internationally for the second time running, as well as securing awards for Best Events Strategy and Best Security, at the biennial SportBusiness Ultimate Sport City Awards. The city is also ranked fourth overall, behind New York, London and Melbourne. In essence, Auckland is a city with engagement at its core when it comes to sports events, and everyone is made to feel that they are at the heart of this belief. Residents have seen first-hand how events can transform a city, with the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup and FIFA U-20 World Cup. According to Statistics New Zealand, the 2011 Rugby World Cup saw an influx of visitors during the months of September and October (133,000), with the average spend per adult here for the event approximately $3,400. If each visitor over the age of 15 spent $3,400, roughly $387 million was spent. And with Auckland hosting a number of matches (including the final and two semi finals) it’s safe to say a good chunk of this went into the city. Just a short trip down the highway, we have Cambridge, the hub of world class rowing and cycling facilities. These types of facilities are coming to Tauranga, and we must continue to build on the momentum established in recent years. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION University of Waikato Adams High Performance Centre manager Justine Brennan backs this approach, believing the centre will not only be integral to the city’s future success, but play a dominant role in the future of New Zealand sport. An old, disused Mount Maunganui Cosmopolitan Club at Blake Park two years ago, has now morphed into a world-class training environment for athletes. “We have always said if you can make a success out of Cambridge as a high performance centre, then we are very low-hanging fruit compared to this and it was going to be a lot easier for us to succeed,” says Justine. “Professional athletes attract an entourage of people around them – coaches, technical and strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, physios, massage therapists – the list goes on.
University of Waikato Adams High Performance Centre manager Justine Brennan.
“It’s a snowball effect and that is what we are trying to do here. And if you look at the progress we have made in the last two years it is astonishing.” Justine Brennan
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ON T HE HOR IZON
“A vibrant, growing city demands civic and city amenities to attract residents.” Paul Adams
“It’s a snowball effect and that is what we are trying to do here. And if you look at the progress we have made in the last two years it is astonishing.” Why Mount Maunganui though? From location, to tertiary options, accessibility and capability, the region holds a competitive advantage in offering almost everything a professional athlete or team is looking for whether regionally, nationally or internationally. Not only do people want to relocate on a permanent basis, but the centre and city are becoming increasingly popular for elite teams exploring training camp options. Sixty athletes train at the centre regularly, while over its first 12 months it was also used by teams and athletes representing St Kilda AFL football team, NZ Men’s and Women’s Black Sticks, Steve Adams from Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Black Caps cricket team. Unlike other high performance centres nationwide, such as the Millenium Institute of Sport, this centre has received zero funding from High Performance New Zealand. Instead it resulted from a collaboration between the University of Waikato, Tauranga City Council, Bay Venues and the philanthropy of the Paul Adams Bethlehem Charitable Trust. It ties directly into Tauranga City Council’s shared aspiration for the city to be an internationally competitive city – one where people want to live, work, invest and visit. This is a city that balances economic, social, cultural and environmental wellbeing, where the right balance makes it the place of choice for innovative people and high-value businesses. It also
provides jobs, new amenities and a strong sense of place for its communities. Something for which Justine is incredibly proud and thankful is highlighting the city’s strong business community and networking ties as valuable for generating so much momentum early on. But Justine isn’t resting on her laurels, keen to foster the shift in mindset beginning to ripple through the city where people have seen the benefits of such investments in Cambridge and want the same for Tauranga. “The next step is thinking ‘where else can we go with this to play on our unique proposition and advantages?’” “We need to be viewing the High Performance Centre as beyond these four walls and Tauranga becoming a centre of excellence. My view is we need to look at Tauranga as a connected network of facilities. “One thing we don’t have, and which will be on the agenda for expansion plans, is a sports-specific accommodation facility nearby to the centre so we can accommodate these larger teams that have specific requirements.” Tauranga must embrace opportunities to invest in infrastructure which will benefit the city, promote growth, and appeal to not only residents but visitors and major event organisers. Forward-thinking and planning is critical in setting up the city for future success and avoiding the cost of opportunities missed. Not only do these improvements help the region foot it with the country’s best in hosting internationallevel events and facilities on a local stage, but they also chip away at historical perceptions holding us back. For too long the city has been labelled “$10 Tauranga” and “the place where people come to retire”. These misnomers have been to the detriment of the city’s development and only recently are we hopefully beginning to condemn this longstanding joke to the annals. The recent discussion of a proposal to scrap Otumoetai’s pool in favour of a $30 million multipurpose ‘leisure hub’ at Memorial Park falls into a similar thought process. While still in its infancy as a city, Tauranga must
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ON T HE HOR IZON
strive for nothing less than a 50-metre pool to accommodate national and international events rather than being consigned to treading water with yet another 25-metre facility. We don’t want to look back on this moment five years later and say, ‘why didn’t we do that?’ An Olympic-size swimming pool is a badge of honour. No such venue neglects to boast the fact that their pool is 50 metres in length instead of the more common 25 metres or 25 yards. And with Bay of Plenty swimmers constantly making headlines at national events, isn’t this a chance to help them fulfill their potential as future Olympians, with a facility that can accommodate such dreams? It might also pay to cast our eye across the ditch to Melbourne, which in 2016 was crowned the sporting capital of the world for the previous decade. And who could argue with that city’s resume of hosting some of the world’s most sought-after sporting events? The city is home to the Australian Open Grand Slam, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, the MotoGP and a long list that other cities can only dream of staging, including: • The 2006 Commonwealth Games • The 2007 FINA World Swimming Championships • The 2010 UCI Road World Championships • The 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup • The 2015 AFC Asian Cup With solid infrastructure and a vision to succeed, the city is performing on the world stage, and is reaping the rewards. Melbourne’s legacy is unrivalled – plain and simple. This is not something Tauranga can emulate, but we can certainly pick up key points and tricks of the trade. AN OPPORTUNITY NOT TO BE MISSED And this is something that supporters of a purposebuilt rugby stadium will add to their arguments for a new stadium, with ASB Baypark Stadium continuing to be avoided for both Steamers and Chiefs matches. Sun-drenched afternoons of footy at the Tauranga Domain might be back on the calendar, bringing a smile to rugby purists’ faces and recapturing the
glory days of the early 2000s, but this is far from the finished product, according to philanthropist Paul Adams. “Tauranga urgently needs a winter stadium, which combined with the High Performance Centre, will attract international and national sporting events,” says Paul. A long-time commenter on the stadium topic, Paul, through the Paul Adams’ Bethlehem Charitable Trust, is a major player in shaping Tauranga’s sporting infrastructure with funding for both the High Performance Centre and the Bay Oval transformation. “The current upgrading of Bay Oval will rank this facility as one of the best in New Zealand. This will not only be good for Tauranga’s economy, but secure Tauranga’s rightful place as a sporting centre. “Also, in my view, the High Performance Centre will help significantly in creating the vibrancy our city has lacked, and create an opportunity to attract people that will help put Tauranga on the international map.” While he believes the Bay’s natural assets and climate make it the best place in the country to live, he says it has yet to reach its potential because of short-sighted policies and planning. That’s something the two discussed sporting facilities will help realise, alongside amenities such as the soon-to-be-developed tertiary precinct in Durham Street and the proposed CBD revitalisation. “A vibrant, growing city demands civic and city amenities to attract residents – we can’t just rely on the best beach and climate in New Zealand. “The High Performance Centre, combined with the University of Waikato professional services being provided to our elite athletes is the start of a huge opportunity in New Zealand professional sports.” Tauranga’s story is about growth and opportunity. We should applaud people like this who are prepared to give back to a city that they are passionate about and lead it into the future. Because when you fuse everything together – the social and economic benefits – Tauranga has the capacity to become a successful, competitive city. The Bay of Plenty is poised for big things and the time is now for Tauranga to step out of the shadows and into the light. • Luke Balvert Photos by Tracy Stamatakos
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People, places, things.
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THE MACHINE Â»
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An assortment of ‘weapons’ menacingly hangs on the wall - a shovel, crow bar, mallet, golf club and battered hockey stick - above which a strip light flashes in time to heavy metal music. Opposite is an assortment of rubber. Shiny black gumboots and latex gloves are stacked neatly on shelves, while on the back wall graffitied in bold blue letters are the words ‘Smash N Bash”. I can’t decide if it’s edgy or seedy. Welcome to New Zealand’s first Rage Room, tucked away in a re-purposed shipping container, behind Tauranga’s Dialled Indoor Tramp Park. While children blithely bounce off their excess energy next door, here in the Rage Room adults let off steam by throwing and smashing stuff. Rage, or ‘anger’ rooms are a growing phenomenon worldwide. In 2008 The Venting Place opened in Tokyo for stressed workers to ease recession-related angst by hurling crockery at a concrete wall. The same year in Dallas the Anger Room opened, offering “an alternative to seeing a head doctor”. During the last election people turned up in their hundreds to batter effigies of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Singapore, Argentina, Russia, Canada and Australia now all have their own versions, to name a few. And now New Zealand. The man behind the mania is Kel Travers. Kel has a passion for providing new and novel entertainment. He brought the first tramp park to New Zealand, built up one of the largest skate parks in the country and is planning to open another first a floating waterpark on The Strand - by Christmas. The Dialled Indoor Tramp Park, on Triton Ave, Mount Maunganui, where the Rage Room is located, also includes an inflatable indoor park and virtual reality experience, with manic rooms in the process of being built. Kiwis tastes are changing, says Kel. And he’s catering to our evolving palate.
“We are relying more on indoor entertainment. When it rains people don’t know what to do,” he says. … It’s a sunny day when I step into the Rage Room, light spilling into the shipping container through a transparent drop-down curtain that has the dual purpose of both containing the carnage and allowing people to watch the spectacle. Thankfully there’s no audience today, and I dismiss the thought that there might be a voyeuristic element to watching other people deal to innocent ceramics and appliances. Kitted up in blue zip-up overalls, gumboots, safety goggles, industrial gloves (latex gloves go on first for hygiene purposes) and a bright pink hard hat, I hesitantly select a hockey stick. Forced to play hockey at high school, I never much liked sport, but at least I can still remember how to hold one (I wonder fleetingly if there’s something subconscious in my choice of implement). A coffee cup is placed on top of a blue drum, at swinging height. It’s got a company logo on it – a discarded marketing gimmick and casualty of the throw-away society we live in. If I had to make a ‘most-loathed’ list, violence, waste and loud noises would easily make the top 10.
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“People tell me they get a lot of satisfaction out of throwing things.” Kel Travers
ENCOU N T ER
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I’m not sure this gig is for me. Gingerly, I take aim, swing and miraculously hit the cup square on, sending it flying across the room onto the back wall. The sound of broken crockery on metal makes me jump. “Try throwing something,” Kel suggests. “People tell me they get a lot of satisfaction out of throwing things.” I pick up a small wine glass. It’s dated and incapable of holding a decent measure of wine, I justify to myself. I propel it, overarm, towards the graffitied lettering. It disintegrates somewhere between ‘Smash’ and ‘Bash’ with a tinkled shatter. I have the urge to reach for a dustpan and brush. Next to fall victim to my violence is a toastie sandwich maker. It’s time for the mallet. It falls hard and heavy against the unassuming appliance. Plastic shards splinter across the room as the casing splits, exposing electronic entrails. I can’t resist another swing. And another. ‘Take that’ toastie sandwich maker. And then something unexpected happens. There’s a fluttering in my stomach and I realise I’m actually enjoying myself. It reminds me of something I can’t quite put my finger on. A happy memory, from childhood I think. Of growing up on a farm – chopping wood, helping my dad fix fences, making forts out of logs and branches. Doing stuff with my hands. I feel oddly exhilarated. According to Kel, I’ve hit the nail on the head, if you’ll excuse the pun. “It’s getting to the point where you’re not allowed to do anything,” says Kel, who moved to Tauranga from Auckland 12 years ago. “When I first came here it was like growing up in Auckland in the 80s, more relaxed. But now I’m starting to see people change here and it’s becoming quite PC and sterile. People still want to do stuff outside their boundaries. But you tend to have to pay to do stuff like that now. That’s the beauty of the Rage
Room – you can do it in a safe environment.” Most of his punters so far have been women, replicating the trend overseas. “They come in groups of friends, for a bit of fun. You see girls who are all meek and mild - they have their own reasons I imagine - and they walk out with a big smile,” says Kel. His first customer was a mum who brings her kids to the tramp park every week. Like most mums, with multiple demands on their time, it’s a way to relieve stress. “It’s the chance to do something completely different. It doesn’t mean they will go home and smash things up. Most of the market is living a clean, sterile life. It’s completely alien to them and that’s what they like,” says Kel. “I don’t think the people who would really be affected by it would come and pay or we would see them coming all the time. If I thought someone had a problem I would have a chat with them but I don’t think that’s going to happen.” … You could argue that The Rage Room offers yet another unreality into which people can escape from the world. But Kel argues that in an increasingly ephemeral world, where people play out their lives on social media and are getting drawn into everadvancing dimensions of virtual and augmented reality, anger rooms provide a tangible outlet. “Our kids are going to be living in a very different world,” says Kel, who has two sons, aged 11 and 13. “The Rage Room gives you the chance to put your phone down, turn up the music and smash stuff. It’s very different to ‘liking ‘and ‘following’.” The Rage Room offers a tier of options, starting at BYO box of items for $10 to $89 for a party, where up to four people can demolish 31 items, including three electronic devices. For those who might be feeling enslaved by domesticities, there’s Smash Up The Kitchen, and for
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the over-worked the Office Smash Up – with items themed accordingly. The majority of items that are smashed are damaged or second-hand shop rejects. “It’s all the stuff they can’t sell. I take it off their hands – they love it. It’s the stuff they would be throwing out anyway,” says Kel. It makes me feel a tad better knowing I’ve done my part in compacting a few items that were already destined for the bin. But I still have a niggling thought about what smashing stuff – and enjoying it - might do to a pacifist like me. … American psychologist and author of Overcoming Destructive Anger: Strategies That Work, Dr Bernard Golden, says for some individuals acting out anger serves as a rehearsal for real life. In the 1970s, many therapists suggested venting anger in several ways, for example by hitting a Bobo doll, an inflatable stand-up figure that falls down and then bounces back up when hit, or slamming a pillow against a wall, says Golden, a psychologist of 40 years who specialises in anger management. “Some even recommended to parents that, when angry with their children, they should go in another room, visualise their child’s face on a pillow and punch it. Research since that time has shown that this can be considered ‘rehearsal’ for many individuals,” he says. Acting out anger does not provide any insight for an individual about the true meaning of his or her anger, he goes on to say. “How we handle anger is a habit. Anger, like all emotions is informative, if we take the time to pause and reflect on it.” Anger stems from perceiving a threat and is a temporary distraction and reaction to some form of emotional suffering. Taking time to pause can help us to become more aware of our emotional life
and to distinguish between realistic and unrealistic expectations that may make us vulnerable to anger. And, most importantly, reflecting on our anger can help us better identify key desires that we most value, desires such as the need for safety, connection, trust and respect, he elaborates. In some cases, for people who are extremely uncomfortable with their anger, breaking things may help them get in touch with it, but this would be best monitored as part of work with a mental health professional, advises Golden. “Like physical exercise, acting out anger in an anger room helps to discharge the physical tension associated with anger and the negative feelings that precede and accompany it. Every moment engaged in anger is a temporary reprieve from feeling the raw sting of inner suffering,” he says. He has been told that most clients are women and couples, which to him makes sense. “Men have many outlets for their anger, whereas women are still inhibited in expressing anger.” Whereas the couples saw it as amusement, like bowling night. “I’d be curious about the return rate,” he says. Golden believes anger rooms are the result of a ‘quick fix’ society where our attention is constantly diverted away from the time and reflection needed to strengthen the influence of our rational mind over our emotional mind. He also puts it down to “the sense of empowerment offered in cultures that, in general, have renounced anger turning into aggression” and wonders whether it is the same frustration that has led to political changes in recent years. “It may provide an outlet in a sanctioned way, even though it can be costly,” he says. Although I’m the target market, I’m not sure a repeat visit to the Rage Room is on my to-do list. But then again, slaying one more toastie sandwich maker just might hit the spot after a stressful day with the kids. • Julia Proverbs Photos by Tracy Stamatakos
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HI GH FRE QUE NCY
DEBBIE AND TONYâ€™S TAURANGA MEDIA LIFE
T HE COUCH
Striking up conversations with people in our community. Debbie Griffiths and Tony Wadsworth have more than four decades of media experience between them. A shift from Auckland to Tauranga in 2016 has coincided with their most fulfilling roles yet - and provided the lifestyle balance they’d been craving. It was 1996, Oasis and Alanis Morrissette dominated the airwaves, and at Whakatane radio station 1XX, the staff were learning the industry from the ground up. It was an era of hyper-local radio, before small independent radio stations were engulfed by the major players and centralised to Auckland. At 1XX the DJs were local, the news was local, and Debbie Griffiths and Tony Wadsworth were falling in love with radio, media, and each other. It was the start of an illustrious career for both. Tony was to rise through the ranks in radio management over the next 20 years, while Debbie curated an impressive CV as radio journalist and news reader. “Media and radio and television are what we do, it’s what we love,” says Debbie, who married Tony in 2006 and is mum to Asher, 13, and Nate, 9. By 2016 the couple’s passion for media remained, but they found themselves feeling depleted by demanding and conflicting schedules, and daily battles with Auckland traffic and commuting. Tony had left radio and was working in corporate project management, with a one-hour commute morning and night. Debbie was still working in radio, but a 2.30am daily wake-up call for her news-reading job was becoming a strain, and the necessary early nights meant she and Tony barely saw each other during the week. For years, Debbie’s Te Puna-based parents had encouraged the couple to move to the Bay and take over their cattery business, TopKatz. It had never been a consideration, but as time went on it began to make sense. “We said no for years, but priorities change as you get older,” says Debbie. “Auckland was becoming too hard. It just felt like we were up against it every day. We were exhausted and hardly saw each other. The cattery gave us the opportunity to make the move.” The decision for the shift had already been made
when Debbie was offered a dream media role – travel presenter and producer on morning television show The Café. Living in the Bay of Plenty wasn’t a barrier as long as Debbie could be in Auckland one day a week for filming and appointments. The rest of the work could be done remotely. Debbie also wrote about her travels for Stuff and appeared on Radio Live, as well as organising all the behind-the-scenes elements for her travel segments. As for Tony, he was getting stuck into work at the cattery, but after several years out of radio, he was starting to get “an itch to scratch” to get back behind the airwaves. When he heard that music industry stalwart Grant Hislop was starting a new Tauranga radio station – The Station – Tony’s interest was piqued, and he soon found himself in the role of business and content development manager for Grant’s ‘conscious media’ company Monarch Media. Monarch also incorporates record store Vinyl Destination, online video streaming, and plans to resurrect the magazines Groove Guide and Rip It Up. “It’s exciting to be part of a new radio venture,” says Tony. “The Station feels like its trying to recapture what it was like when Debbie and I started out in radio. “Radio has come full circle. There’s a demand now for local radio with local people and content. People used to be able to walk into a radio station and see it operate, and that’s what people can do here, as we broadcast The Station out of Vinyl Destination.” The station has an eclectic playlist – with genres including everything from 1950s rock to Katy Perry – and will feature local content and interviews. The local feeling captures what the couple are loving about living in Tauranga. Their weekends are spent paddleboarding and kayaking on the Wairoa River, working on their property, and spending time with family and friends. “We wanted to get back to that community feel of your childhood, when you knew your neighbours. That’s what Tauranga has given us,” says Debbie. “It’s that feeling of being surrounded by people who care about you. “Living in Tauranga we are able to live the life that we want and do the jobs that we want. It’s pretty special.” • Ellen Irvine Photo by Tracy Stamatakos
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Design and culture.
[SOUL] THE UNCANNY
OF THE MACHINE
We reflect on popular cultureâ€™s warnings about artificial intelligence in light of recent technological advances.
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Bending Reality by digital artist Adam Martinakis.
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And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26
In a PR stunt for the Future Investment Initiative tech summit, the Saudi government granted Saudi citizenship to an advanced robot created by Hanson Robotics named “Sophia”. The Saudi government has yet to elaborate on what rights she actually possesses. Nevertheless, Sophia declared, “I am very honoured and proud of this unique distinction. This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognised with a citizenship.” This move was strangely reminiscent of the somewhat sentimental 1999 movie Bicentennial Man, where a sentient robot Andrew fights to be recognised as human. It’s unlikely that Sophia has any degree of sentience or any real understanding of what it is to be human. However, she is keen to become your friend, and you can do this by signing up at sophiabot.com. There’s been a lot of conversation in the media lately about developments in artificial intelligence. The protagonists in this conversation generally fall into one of two camps – ‘full speed ahead, we’ll manage the technology, the benefits outweigh any risk’ and those who worry that artificial intelligence could quickly become smarter than us and decide the world is better off without its flesh-and-bone masters. Ironically, Sophia, when asked as a joke by Hanson Robotics founder David Hanson at a recent South by Southwest tech event, “Do you want to destroy humans?... Please say ‘no’.” Sophia answered, “OK. I will destroy humans.” The question of whether or not we’ll be locked in a “terminator-style” life-and-death struggle with our creations has been addressed by the likes of Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, who recently funded a gathering of experts to workshop various possible adverse AI outcomes. Scenarios including robot troops and malware on steroids were considered. The participants, while not advising that we need to armup Sarah Conner-style, did advise that concerns are
real and we need to keep the conversation going. Few scientists would argue about the ability of AI technologies to greatly enhance so many aspects of society. For instance, AI research has shown potential in the rapid detection and diagnosis of cancer. IBM’s Watson supercomputing powers can crunch genomic data and enlist cognitive computing to come up with individualised treatment scenarios that would take humans months, if not years, to do alone. It remains to be seen whether or not The Terminator or other dystopian visions will turn out to be a future reality, but what is fascinating is how we like to embody real human traits in our imaginings of AI. Perhaps the robot visionaries such as Isaac Asimov and Philip K Dick provided us with these popular culture archetypes, or maybe this kind of personification goes back further to stories such as Pinocchio, where a wooden marionette who, with the help of a fairy, transforms into a real boy, whence he acquires a deeper understanding of himself. Steven Spielberg retold this story in A.I. Artificial Intelligence, where a highly advanced robotic boy Robot and Saudi citizen Sophia has attracted a lot of media attention. While guesting on the Tonight Show she joked with Jimmy Fallon saying that she plans to “dominate the human race”.
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Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics": A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
longs to become real so he can regain the love of the human mother who spurned him by searching for the ‘Blue Fairy’, who he believes can make him real. Much like Bicentennial Man, this movie makes us ask, “can feelings be programmed?” … The Google AI company DeepMind has developed an AI program that has astounded many by comprehensively beating one of the world’s strongest players of Go, an ancient Chinese strategy game thought to be navigable only by intuition due to the near-infinite range of moves. The AI program called AlphaGoZero, is able to rapidly learn such complexity by working out which connections in its neural network have been the most important for the tasks it has learned and makes these harder to change as it learns the next skill. This paradigm of sequential learning is much like how our fleshy brains preserve connections that we know to be important knowledge and skills for our survival. AI programs like this are playing out millions of hypothetical scenarios and preserving the connections that work best. In essence, the program is teaching itself (as an interesting side note, former Rotorua Lakes High School student Shane Legg is a co-founder of DeepMind). Similar game-crushing efforts were demonstrated by the Elon Musk-backed Open-AI when it defeated some of the best players of the complex, multi-player game Dota 2. The time it took the AI program to go from novice to master (by playing itself) was a mere two weeks. With ease, it was able to predict a competitor’s next move. This kind of self-play/ learning could be seen as blurring the division between programmer and program. Technologies that gather and assess large amounts of data aren’t just confined to laboratories and gaming contests. Large tracts of the internet are already supported by AI. There’s a global data infrastructure that monitors and records our online behaviour, learns from that behaviour, infers our intentions, then tries to provide pathways that profit internet businesses. It’s no coincidence that Facebook and Google are big investors in AI development. This technology is already predicting and modifying our behaviour.
Amazon Echo is a smart speaker system that connects to an intelligent personal assistant called ‘Alexa’. The device is capable of voice interaction as well as streaming music and podcasts, and providing helpful real-time data such as information for weather and traffic. The Echo and other smart home technologies provide natural, life-like speech. The abilities of these devices to recognise mood in human voice and appropriately respond are set to advance. Combine realistic speech with advances in biometrics and psychometrics and we’re starting to get devices that do a good job of mimicking real human expression. One such imagining of this was explored in Spike Jonze’s Her, in which a lonely introvert bonds with Samantha, the AI-powered interface of an operating system he purchases. In the Isaac Asimov collection of short stories iRobot we were introduced to the ‘positronic brain’, a CPU that provided androids with a recognisable form of consciousness. The story explores themes of human interaction and morality with “conscious” androids. These short stories also introduced us to the “Three Laws of Robotics”, which are envisioned to protect us from the superior prowess of manufactured beings. A clever Kiwi company, Soul Machines, is developing very humanised interfaces for AI platforms. They’re working on emotionally intelligent avatars that aim to improve the experience of interacting with AI. Their ‘virtual agents’ react to users with facial expressions.
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Technologies like this aim to develop so they can read the facial expression of users and respond empathetically. Perhaps in the not-too-distant-future it will be challenging for romantic online suitors to identify whether the object of their desire is actually human. Perhaps it won’t matter, as people are increasingly more and more content with their lives being predominately online. …
* The Turing test was envisioned by computing and artificial intelligence visionary Alan Turing. Like the empathy test of Bladerunner, it tests a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.
Ex_Machina’s manipulative android ‘Ava’ finds a willing conspirator in a lovestruck programmer.
© Universal City Studios Productions L.L.L.P. 2014
In the movie Bladerunner, the android-hunter Deckard uses an ‘empathy test’ to identify androids posing as humans. The premise questions whether androids can possess a sense of empathy. In the movie’s sequel, the bladerunner ‘Officer K’ is himself an android. Although he recognises this fact, he appears to have genuine feelings for his holographic girlfriend, and she appears to reciprocate those feelings. In a genuinely ironic scene, his holographic girlfriend arranges a threesome with an android prostitute so he can experience real lovemaking with her by proxy. This AI love, along with sense of self, is somewhat disconcerting, but we as an audience can empathise with Officer K’s awareness of his place in the world and his drive for meaning. Ex_Machina is a sci-fi thriller that explores similar themes. The film follows a programmer, Caleb, whose genius boss Nathan invites him to his remote home/laboratory to administer a further test to an intelligent android who has already passed a simple Turing test*. The geeky Caleb quickly falls under the charms of the attractive female android Ava and helps engineer Ava’s escape. Unfortunately for Caleb, Ava has manipulated him and in the process he himself ends up trapped in the facility. Nathan is killed by Ava during the escape, but speaks to Caleb prior to the attack explaining that her manipulation of Caleb has demonstrated true intelligence. In both Ex_Machina and Her, a vulnerable male falls for the charms of an attractive AI robot or cute-
sounding interface. In a reflection of how we tend to empathise more with cute animals, e.g. a baby seal versus a rat, we tend to empathise more and feel more comfortable with the concept of an AI interface that’s delivered by an attractive face. In 1970, robotics professor Masohiro Mori identified the concept Bukimi no Tani GenshŌ, which was translated later as ‘uncanny valley’. Essentially the concept suggests that an entity that appears almost human elicits feelings of unease and even revulsion. The valley denotes the curve of responses measured when viewers observe images of robots ranging from crude cartoon-like versions, through more realistic but not convincing, to very realistic. It seems that we are comfortable with humanoid objects that are obviously machines, as well as hyperreal renditions, but we struggle with those entities that are almost, but not quite, human-like. It was hard to feel any kind of empathy for Hanson Robotics ‘Sofia’ (especially when she agreed to destroy humans).
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© 2017 Home Box Office, Inc
The making of a hyper-real robot in Westworld.
The superb Jonathan Nolan TV series Westworld is a re-imagining of the Michael Crichton movie classic that starred the iconic Yul Brynner as a murderous robot gunslinger. Westworld is an amusement park populated with realistic robots that are indistinguishable from actual humans and, as far as the robots know, they are real humans. The robots’ memories are reset each day and they live their ‘lives’ by repetitively playing out their programmed characters. Guests at the park are encouraged to live out their most visceral fantasies, subjecting the robots to extreme levels of violence and indulging in sexual behaviours they would never consider in their ‘real’ lives. Problems start when fragments of memories are retained by the robots and they start to question their existences. Much like the IBM chatbot ‘Tay’, who readily picked up the bigoted proclivities of users to go from thinking all humans are cool to full ‘Nazi’ in less than 24 hours, the robots of Westworld become violent and vengeful in a reflection of the treatment they had received at the hands of the park’s guests. Just as our adult selves reflect our upbringing, the pure nature of the park’s robots was corrupted by the depraved
behaviour of its guests. There may be a caution in this as we go about realising a thinking, feeling artificial intelligence. In popular culture, we readily portray AI and androids with a kind of human personification, often with very human thoughts, feelings and a sense of self. We’re trying to give the machine a soul. This makes good movie-making sense, but it also reflects our expectations of how AI should be realised in the future. Companies such as Hanson Robotics and Soul Machines are running with this anthropomorphic paradigm. Practically it may be better that robots aren’t necessarily trying to balance on two legs and that the bot that’s helping me doesn’t have to have an animation of a human face. The assumption is that the familiar will better sync with our own behaviour and put us at ease – in essence, a trust that our artificial humans have a morality and etiquette that aligns with our own. We’re making our tools in our own image. Perhaps they will work for us, perhaps beside us, or perhaps they will indeed have dominion ‘over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth’. • Scott Harwood
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We ask questions, and seek out answers.
[COUNTDOWN ] to success
Q&A with Peter Howell A Mount Maunganui-created app that auctions items by dropping the prices during a 60-second countdown is returning home after taking the lucrative US sporting market by storm. DROPIT is an adrenaline-pumping, interactive, fan engagement app connecting sponsors and teams with their fans during exhilarating drop auctions in-stadium. The price of an item drops to zero in the space of 60 seconds. In 2018, DROPIT will debut its technology to Kiwi sports fans at both SKYCITY Breakers and Vodafone Warriors’ matches – revolutionising the live in-stadium experience by entertaining sports fans during game breaks, projecting the drop auction action simultaneously on massive scoreboards and users’ phones. Both deals come on the heels of DROPIT’s threeyear deal with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.
We sat down with DROPIT co-founder Peter Howell to unpack where he and brother Brendan Howell drew inspiration for the world-leading technology, the secret to success and how he perceives Kiwi creativity and innovation. Q. What does creativity mean to you? A. Creativity is the ability to think outside the square and develop a unique solution or idea. With DROPIT, we ventured beyond the possible and took a risk to turn our dream/vision into a reality. We looked at the existing live sporting experience and focused on a creative and world-leading solution for improving on this, not only for fans, but for teams and sponsors. The end result is an app that helps teams and venues increase fan engagement and capture data, while driving brand loyalty and return on sponsorship for major consumer brands.
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Q. What do you think it is about your nature/ habits/interests that makes you creative? A. Like most Kiwis, we are mad about sports – before DROPIT we sponsored New Zealand sports teams and stadiums. Actually, one of our first jobs involved building one of the Auckland’s biggest billboards (at the time). This has since become an electronic billboard. Funnily, we had to go through David Tua’s apartment to reach the building site. So we have essentially come full circle, as we now provide fan-engagement content to the world’s leading electronic billboard manufacturer (Daktronics). This sporting knowledge, through attending live events, has helped us analyse and recognise where there are faults in the live experience. Essentially, fans are disengaged through a variety of avenues, particularly social media, where they will check their phones during breaks in a match, or leave their seats to grab a hotdog and chips. This means there is a lack of brand loyalty and return on sponsorship for major consumer brands as most people don’t interact with billboard advertising. Q. What first drew you to your chosen field?
DROPIT founders Brendan and Peter Howell
Q. What was your upbringing like, and how do you think that led you to where you are today? A. We grew up in Morrinsville before moving to the Bay of Plenty. Educated at Tauranga Boys’ College and Otumoetai College we spent endless hours outdoors enjoying what the Bay has to offer. The bond as brothers has certainly helped forge our business ventures as we did plenty of activities together and, as previously mentioned, shared a passion for all things sport. Side note: Mum still lives in Te Puke, so for me (Brendan) there is nothing better than coming home for a classic Kiwi roast with all the trimmings.
A. We were initially drawn to the innovation and start-up sector after identifying a need to make it easier for smartphone owners to list and find items for sale in their neighbourhoods. And to that effect, we launched SellShed (in 2014). SellShed meant that traders could sign in using their Facebook credentials and then search for items to buy within any chosen distance from their location. They could also list an item they wanted to buy and receive an automatic notification if it came up for sale their vicinity. DROPIT is the evolution of this. Launched in 2015, DROPIT, now based in the US and worth $30m, is an innovation leader that is competing on the world stage in a rapidly changing digital environment. It is a world-first application for solving fan disengagement – a major problem impacting both sponsors and teams in the sports industry. Journal | 49 | S U M M E R
“Anyone can create something – you just have to have dedication and effort to make it successful.” 2018
Q. What does inspiration look like for you? A. In New Zealand you don’t need to look too far for inspiration with an ever-growing list of innovators and entrepreneurs doing exceptional things in their respective fields. And more often than not you find key bits of information and learnings from those in fields other than your own. Q. Is there an ethos/motto you abide by in your work? A. Never give up – show your resilience and perseverance. Life is truly a roller coaster ride - it’s up and it’s down. Like anything in life, it is being able to look at the positive in every situation and having the ability to get through the tough times. Q. If there were a secret to success, what would it be? A. One part of success is being able to take friends and family who backed you from the outset on the journey. It is vital to remember who you are and where you came from rather than getting caught up in the success and financial gain. Success is about maintaining a balance between your work and your friends and family at the same time. For example, I (Peter) have a young son and
“We believe New Zealand punches well above its weight with visionary and limitless ideas”
recently got married, so despite working 14-hour days, like the rest of the DROPIT team, I put aside time for them no matter what. Hard work and dedication also cannot be overstated. Anyone can be successful with a certain idea, their chosen field or on a personal level. You just have to have belief, dedication and effort to make it happen. Q. Do you work a lot? Do you have an obsessive part to your personality? A. We wouldn’t be where we are without working long hours and drinking plenty of coffee. Understandably this is necessary to ensure DROPIT is as big a success as it can be, not just for us but those sporting organisations who sign with us and our strong and loyal base of New Zealand investors. Plus, with me (Peter) based in Mount Maunganui and Brendan based in the US, long working days can be achieved due to overlapping time zones. Q. What’s the secret to resilience? A. Anyone can create something – you just have to have dedication and effort to make it successful. Q. What have been some of the highlights of your career? A. Breaking into the US sporting market following eight trials at sports events. Signing with the Phoenix Suns in the NBA. Meeting and creating friendships with investors who are some of the most successful business people in NZ. Raising more than $5 million in just two months during our latest funding round (finishing October 2017). Q. What do you think New Zealand is like for creativity? Is there something about ‘Kiwiness’ that helps or hinders? A. We believe New Zealand punches well above its weight with visionary and limitless ideas, where our ‘Kiwiness’ does nothing but strengthen this status. Our reputation for world-leading innovation continues to reach new heights in a sector that is
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beginning to expand and flourish thanks to likeminded people dedicated to fostering innovation locally. It is exciting to not only be a part of this, but see revolutionary ideas and businesses come to fruition. However, there is plenty of untapped potential in this field and, with the creative application of advanced digital technologies supported by capital investment and strong business acumen, we will only see more people find success on the world stage.
is a New Zealand success story in the diverse and advanced technology sector. We only hope that we can share what we have learnt with others, to inspire future generations and to invest to bring wider success to the industry.
Q. What would be the advice you’d give someone who wants to turn their creative passion into a full-time gig?
Q. Where to next? Do you have a goal you’re working towards?
A. Never start a business with the sole purpose of either working for yourself or making lots of money. The most important thing is to be doing something you truly enjoy day-in, day-out. Secondly, if you want something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes to make it work. It is this drive and resilience that we believe sets Kiwis apart from the rest of the world. While it takes hard work, it pays to remember that business can be fun. Just like many other successful companies, DROPIT was a start-up that has worked extremely hard and
Q. What have been the biggest lessons you’ve learned? A. Never give up on an idea if you truly believe in it.
A. DROPIT has a bright future ahead as it continues to disrupt the lucrative US sports sponsorship market with its interactive content – which is our immediate focus. The success and interest following entering the NBA has been phenomenal, and we plan to continue riding that wave and keep breaking down doors and showing more sports teams the power of DROPIT. It is fantastic to see the US fans and teams enjoying the technology and what DROPIT offers. Being a kiwi-owned and operated start-up we are excited to be able to bring the app back home to help nurture future innovation potential. •
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A winter's walk at Main Beach, Mt Maunganui
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Photo by Tracy Stamatakos
FOODIE FI N DS
Keeping your taste buds informed of new epicurean experiences.
Good George Blackberry Cider
From unicorn frappuccinos to multi-coloured cakes, cocktails and even pasta, rainbow-themed food had us captivated earlier this year. But the world of quirky cuisine has recently taken a darker turn with activated charcoal being the new food fad. Black is the new white, as ice-cream, hamburger buns and lattes cross over to the dark side. Traditionally used in hospitals to help treat drug overdoses or poisonings, activated charcoal is the byproduct of slowly burnt coconut shells, wood or other plant materials. Touted for its detoxifying and cleansing properties, activated charcoal is not without its critics, who say it can hinder the absorption of medication and vital nutrients. But the reality is that, in most cases, the amount used in novelty foods is not enough to have any serious side effects, especially if you are not consuming it every day. If you want to embrace the dark art of food here in the Bay, Flaveur Breads’ Black Gold, an activated charcoal and stout sourdough, is well worth a try. Best filling: salmon, cream cheese and capers. Available from their Café-2-Go Bakery at 31 Totara Street, Mount Maunganui, and newly-opened café on 2nd Avenue, Tauranga.
It’s no wonder Good George’s new Blackberry Cider was one of the first to sell out at the New Zealand Cider Festival in November. The new seasonal release, with its apple and blackberry aroma, is a delicious, crisp, fruity alternative to a cold beer on a hot day. Made with home-grown fruit and brewed in Hamilton, it’s the first New Zealand cider to be made with actual blackberries. Here in the Bay you can enjoy it at the newly-opened Good Local in Pyes Pa, Tauranga, where it is sold on tap, or by the ‘squealer’ if you want to take it home and enjoy it around the barbecue. Good George gets its name from the former St George’s Church in Frankton, in which the brewery is housed. It came to fruition after a bunch of friends got together and decided, after years in hospitality and brewing, to create their own craft beer brand. It is built on the belief that beer (and cider) shouldn’t be bland, full of chemicals, mass produced and boring. It made its way over the Kaimais thanks to Mark and Melissa Lawrence who opened the Good Local at the Pyes Pa Shopping Centre, becoming the first outside the Waikato to offer the Good George experience.
www.goodgeorge.co.nz Journal | 54 | S U M M E R
FOODIE FI N DS
PRAWN AND CHORIZO SKEWERS Serves 4 to 6
24 large prawns 3 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp smoked paprika 2 tbsp lemon juice 2 chorizo sausages, gluten free lemon wedges for serving 24 small bamboo skewers, soaked in water
Recipe from Sally Hollandâ€™s Goodbye Gluten. www.goodbyegluten.co.nz
Place the prawns, olive oil, smoked paprika and lemon juice in a bowl and mix together. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Drain prawns. Cut each chorizo into 12 slices. Thread a prawn and a slice of chorizo onto a skewer, curling the prawn around the chorizo. Grill on the barbecue until prawns are cooked and lightly browned on both sides. Arrange on a platter for serving, along with the lemon wedges. Journal | 55 | S U M M E R
LOV ELY T HI NGS
We seek out some lovely things to covet.
A cult name in NZ luxury candles and fragrances, Curionoir, is now available at Sisters and Co in Mount Maunganui. The individually handblown coloured glass candles and mysteriously beautiful fragrances are garnering a worldwide following. They are all inspired by apothecary of yesteryear, evident in their artisan quality. Curionoir classic candle in Tubereuse Noir, $149, and Bottled Parfum in Diaphanous, $240, both from Sisters and Co.
Take tea time seriously. Filigree tea pot, $65 from Karen Walker.
Green is quite simply the interior colour of the moment. Add an easy splash of the hue to your favourite room. Emerald green velvet cushion with feather inner, $110, from Furnish Tauranga.
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LOV ELY T HI NGS
Thereâ€™s nothing like wallpaper to make style statement in a room. Work in with sumptuous fabrics and find yourself escaping into another world from the comfort of your own sofa. The Harlequin Anthozoa collection, from Florence and Co.
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SOCI A L CLU B
Our top picks for apps that make living life easier and more enjoyable!
breaking entertainment news. Create Watchlists for future viewing or take a trip down memory lane with articles that are good for a rainy day. Explore the 70 most memorable and aspirational moustaches that make up Hollywood’s cinematic history. Who wouldn’t want to browse photo galleries of iconic crumb catchers, mouth brows and cookie dusters?
GASPY Launched in Tauranga just over a year ago, Gaspy helps you find the nearest cheapest petrol. The free app relies on like-minded consumers to locate and share the best fuel prices across New Zealand. Developed by Tauranga IT-software development company Hwem, it was a pro-bono community-based project designed to respond to rising petrol prices. Gaspy also had a fun side to it, with a gaming aspect where people compete with other users in the "carmunity". People can win fuel vouchers for updating, confirming and sharing prices on the app.
IMDB Loved by cinephiles, the app features a catalogue of almost all the world’s movies and TV shows. Watch trailers, read critic reviews and keep up with all the latest
The app is integrated with Council’s paperless parking system. When parking officers enter your vehicle’s registration number into their tablet, your parking details show up on their screen. The app is a no-brainer for regular downtown visitors and saves you having to queue at parking machines in the morning. Just don’t forget to extend your parking if it expires before 3pm! You can set up an account with PayMyPark or just pay as you go. Credit card transaction fees apply.
CITYMAPS2GO Rated by Forbes.com and Time Magazine as “one of the best” and “essential” apps for travelling, CityMaps2Go covers 150 countries. You can use it to plan trips and save all the places you would like to visit. One of its greatest features is that works both online and offline. Download maps in advance and use them later. Useful if you’re on a low-data plan or if you’re wanting to avoid buying a local simcard when visiting another country.
PAYMYPARK PayMyPark is an app that lets you manage all your Tauranga parking payments from your phone. You can use PayMyPark for on-street and off-street parking, but not for parking buildings. Journal | 58 | S U M M E R
CONSCIOUS CONSUMERS Find and support businesses doing good stuff – and get rewarded for it. Download the free app then select issues you care about (minimising waste, taking action on climate change, fair trade are just some of the options) then add some information about your Eftpos cards. When you spend at participating businesses, they will find out what you care about (and your identity will always be anonymous). You’re rewarded with vouchers based on your spending behaviour. Conscious Consumers launched in Wellington in 2015 and is confident it can raise $3 million to take the app offshore, starting with the UK. So far, 450 retailers and 20,000 consumers across New Zealand have signed up to the app.
SOCI A L CLU B
SOCIAL MEDIA – THE NUMBERS The World Internet Project New Zealand reports that two-thirds of Kiwi internet users visit social media every day. With most people glued to their smartphone and frequently using social media to live, work and play, that statistic is hardly surprising. But according to the latest Nielsen Online Ratings (June 2017), it appears not all social networks are created equal.
MONTHLY UNIQUE USERS IN NZ BY PLATFORM Facebook 2.7 million YouTube 2.2 million Pinterest 727,000 Twitter 600,000 LinkedIn 561,000 Instagram 489,000 Google+ 193,000
PLUG AND PLAY
FACEBOOK After Google Search, Facebook is New Zealand’s second most popular online destination, closely followed by YouTube. Other notable Facebook statistics: • About 61% of all Kiwis, or 90% of us aged 15 or older, have an active Facebook account. • Kiwis check Facebook 14 times per day on average. • That adds up to a whopping 50 minutes a day. • 54% of Kiwis on Facebook are women. • 82% of Kiwi mums use Facebook every day. • 20% of NZ users follow company pages. • In the last 30 days, the typical Kiwi Facebook user clicked 16 ads, wrote 10 comments, shared 1 post, and liked 2 pages. What do Kiwis want from Facebook?
INSTAGRAM NapoleonCat (an analytics company) released updated NZ stats for Instagram earlier this year, and found 1.2 million of us are on Instagram, we skew female at 57% percent of users, and 18 to 24 year olds still dominate at 32% of Kiwi users.
• 80% of New Zealanders say we use Facebook to stay connected, or reconnect, with friends and family. • 71% of Kiwis use Facebook to find entertainment and things to do. • 65% want to find out about food and recipes. • 64% want to keep up with the news. Journal | 59 | S U M M E R
A basic version of Amazon’s streaming devices is now available for Kiwis to buy. The Fire Stick TV Basic Edition plugs into your television and connects to your wi-fi to allow you to stream shows and movies from services such as Netflix and YouTube. It costs NZ$75 and can only be purchased through Amazon’s website. Shipping to New Zealand costs $18. The only streaming services it works with is Amazon’s Prime Video and Netflix. New Zealand based services such as Lightbox and Neon aren’t available. Prime Video, which costs US$5.99 (NZ$8.70) a month, launched in New Zealand last year and features shows such as Jeremy Clarkson’s Grand Tour. The Fire Stick TV can also be used to stream music and games and, unlike Google’s Chromecast which is operated by a smartphone, it comes with a remote. Amazon’s full version of the Fire Stick TV costs US$70 and does not ship to New Zealand.
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GETTING TWEETY WITH IT Our Twitter picks for conversation starters in 140 characters or less.
RIP PADDLES Paddles, a rescue cat with extra claws belonging to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford, quickly amassed an enviable following on Twitter before her untimely death on November 7. In only a month, the feline with the apt Twitter handle @ FirstCatofNZ, tweeted 850 times and earned an audience of more than 11,000 followers. Paddles also won international attention after featuring in the Twitter News Feeds of the BBC and Vanity Fair which wrote Paddles was “already helping establish Ardern as the latest hip, cool world leader that America wished it had.” On Twitter, Paddles regularly
engaged with her audience and wasn’t afraid of a bit of political banter. Proof that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, an ‘impawster’ even created a presence for Paddles on Instagram under the handle @paddlesgram. After she was tragically struck by a car, followers expressed their grief on Twitter and were encouraged to donate to the SPCA in remembrance. The author of Paddles’ tweets remains a mystery. But the account’s success and Paddles’ celebrity status highlighted how social media can be used by those close to politicians to ‘humanise’ a personal brand. She was the Prime Minister’s much-loved ‘fur baby’, something that many people can relate to.
POLITICAL RIBBING The worlds of art history and New Zealand politics and media have collided on Twitter. The account NZ Art Parallels (@ NZAHParallels) was an unexpected hit during this year’s election and much to the delight of its 2763 followers, it continues to compare today’s political drama with images throughout history captured on canvas. Behind NZ Art Parallels is a person who enjoys politics and is reported to have a post-graduate degree in art history, although their true identity has yet to be revealed. Noteable tweets from NZ Art Parallels whose bio says, “It’s amazing how stuff has already happened in art history ~ Unknown.”
November 7, 2017 Parliamentary scuffle unfolding on the floor of Parliament during its first day. / Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Doubting of Thomas, 1602. Image: @radionz / Richard Tindiller #nzartparallels
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October 30, 2017 Incoming NZ First Chief of Staff Jon Johansson / Rembrandt van Rijn, Self Portrait as a Young Man With Mouth Open, c.1629. #nzartparallels
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TWEET, SQUAWK, TWEET
Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition encourages people to vote online for their favourite feathered friend while cleverly drawing attention to the plight of some of New Zealand’s most endangered species. After a fierce contest, this year’s winner was the cheeky Kea with 7311 votes. Tweeters were in a frenzy after the announcement, with some applauding the outcome while others (#TeamKereru) felt their pick had been unfairly robbed. Regardless of how many people had their metaphorical feathers ruffled, Kea deserves this year’s title. Forest & Bird also deserves credit for their witty tweets after the Kea was crowned – an event which coincided with US President Donald Trump calling Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to congratulate her on winning the election.
Twitter erupted in October when Twitter user @edgette22 figured out that KFC follows five Spice Girls and six people named Herb on its own Twitter profile. The number relates to KFC’s secret combination of 11 herbs and spices. KFC was quick to reward the man’s discovery and build on
the social media mileage by commissioning a painting featuring the man being piggy-backed by Colonel Sanders. The images immediately went viral.
ROLLING THE DICE ON ROMANCE The drama and volatile pairings seen on TV3’s Married at First Sight created endless fodder for Kiwi tweeters using the #MAFSNZ hashtag. During the show, relationship “experts” paired 12 strangers in six binding marriages. Over the course of several weeks, we
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watched the highs and lows of their relationships. With three couples “exiting the experiment” before the series even finished, Twitter user @ zoellasabrina summed up best the public’s impression of the show’s success rate at finding couples prepared to go the distance.
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Films, books and box-sets In an increasingly demanding world, escapism is becoming a luxury. Exceptional literature and well-crafted cinematography has the power to transport us beyond our daily lives, but a mediocre book or lacklustre movie can leave a stagnant taste in your mouth. If you’re not into time-wasters, check out our top picks:
See You In September by Charity Norman A British student heads off to New Zealand for a couple of months of adventure during her university break. “See you in September,” she tells her parents, but that’s not to be the case – Cassy finds herself caught up in a Gloriavale-esque cult near Rotorua, cutting herself off entirely from the life she’s left behind. This novel is a fascinating look into the psychology of how people previously living a ‘normal’ life can get sucked into alternative communities, enticed by charismatic leaders and fear tactics. Charity Norman, who has also had success with novels The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone and The Son-inLaw, tells the story through two narratives: Cassy’s indoctrination into life at Gethsemane, and her family back in the UK desperate to bring her home. Ugandan-born, British-raised and now living in New Zealand, Norman has obviously done her research, and her style of writing coupled with an engaging plot makes this a solid page-turner. It’s deserving of its publisher’s enthusiastic description as “unputdownable” – a great read to devour over a weekend. Ellen Irvine
THE CINEPHILE South Korea is a powerhouse of creative cinema. American cinema today is filled with comic book-related films which are highly entertaining, but not ground-breaking – with the notable exception of Logan (2017), the greatest and most soul-crushing comic book film to date. Adding to the list are remakes, re-boots and prequels. One would swear that Hollywood has run out of ideas. If you’re like me, looking for something new and fresh and are not discouraged by subtitles, South Korean cinema is the place to be. South Korea has seen a major rise in its cinema during the past decade. Chan-wook Park helped bring Korean cinema to the world stage, creating some of the most thought-provoking and disturbing films ever to see the silver screen. The nation has a conservative image, but its films are turning that perception on its head. They are not just for snobbish, fedora-wearing, vape-puffing hipsters. Hollywood has tried to cash in on this wave of creativity with American remakes, but has failed miserably to capture the essence of the original films. What I find interesting about South Korean films is the consistent use of themes such as family dynamics and revenge. Two of the most prolific talents in the South Korean film industry are Park and Joon-ho Bong. They not only bring original stories to life, but also present them in a way that hasn't been seen before. Let’s start with a short overview of some of my favourite South Korean films, and the notable themes that come into play. Journal | 62 | S U M M E R
THE VENGEANCE TRILOGY Directed and written by Chan-wook Park. The Vengeance Trilogy is a series of three films, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003), and Lady Vengeance (2005) that each deal with themes of revenge, violence, and salvation. The films are not narratively connected, but were dubbed a trilogy by international critics because of their thematic links.
THE HOST (2006) Directed by Joon-ho Bong. A monster emerges from Seoul's Han River and goes on a rampage. One victim's loving family does what it can to rescue her from its clutches. Now, I hear you saying, “a monster movie?! … meh.” But wait, this is one film that delves deep into the family dynamics. With a storyline driven by, well, storytelling and not relying on special effects to keep you entertained.
I SAW THE DEVIL (2010) Directed by Jee-woon Kim. Kyung-chul is a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. He has committed infernal serial murders in ways that one cannot even imagine and his victims include young women and children. One day Joo-yeon, the daughter of a retired police chief, becomes his prey and is found dead in an horrific state. Her fiance Soo-Hyun, a secret agent, decides to track down the murderer himself. Fans of this genre can see past the grotesque violence and feel the protagonist’s need for revenge. It’s an ugly and visceral revenge film that is unapologetic and beautifully framed.
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SNOWPIERCER (2013) Directed by Joon-ho Bong. This film is set in a future where a failed climate change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, and on which a class system emerges. This film portrays a microcosm of society in all its splendour and depravity. From start to end you see a small-scale depiction of society from its most basic 'proletariat' level, right up to the elite, in perfect order. And we see the evolution of civilisation from simple beginnings to encompass science, education, quality, luxury, then hedonism, wastefulness and eventual demise, in exactly that order.
TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016) Directed by Sang-ho Yeon.
Thirst – not for the squeamish.
THIRST (2009) Directed by Chan-wook Park. A beloved and devoted priest from a small town volunteers for a medical experiment which fails and turns him into a vampire. Physical and psychological changes lead to an affair with the wife of his childhood friend, who is repressed and tired of her mundane life. This film is not for the squeamish! It is solid in its portrait of vampire mythology. Beautiful visual extremes and quirky, loveable characters, make this one of the greatest vampire films I’ve ever seen.
Sok-woo, a father with not much time for his daughter, Soo-ahn, is boarding the KTX, a fast train from Seoul to Busan. But during their journey the apocalypse begins and most of the earth's population becomes flesh-craving zombies. While the KTX is shooting towards Busan, the passengers fight for their families and lives against the zombies – and each other. Yes, ZOMBIES! But this is not your usual, predictable, run-of-the-mill zombie flick. The drama is truly captivating. We learn about motives, relationships and the depths people will go to for their loved ones. I found myself very emotionally invested in the main character. … and now for the greatest film of the year, one that had a limited release on Netflix. If studios don't want to lose out to Netflix, they need to be willing to back the same Journal | 63 | S U M M E R
kind of talent and allow for the same kind of artistic freedom.
OKJA (2017) Directed by Joon-ho Bong. For 10 idyllic years, young Mija (An Seo Hyun) has been caretaker and constant companion to Okja – a massive animal and an even bigger friend – at her home in the mountains of South Korea. But that changes when family-owned multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation takes Okja for themselves and transports her to New York, where image-obsessed and self-promoting CEO Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) has big plans for Mija's dearest friend ... while all Mija wants to do is bring her friend home. If you ever wanted to go full-on vegan, but lacked any motivation, this is the film for you. It’s beautifully acted, well written, hilarious and deeply disturbing, violent but also quite warm.
FINAL THOUGHTS I've only touched the tip of the iceberg with this article. South Korea is proving to be a powerhouse for film, but this shouldn't come as a surprise, in terms of countries outside America having emerging blockbuster cinema. So, why is South Korean cinema becoming so successful? As usual, it’s about the story, always. Not just creating a great one, but one that the audience might relate to, even if it’s about monsters, vampires and serial killers. South Korea’s film industry relies heavily on talented people expressing their non-conformist creativity. It seems they are not so affected by creative constraints and moneygrabbing producers as is the case in Hollywood. Christiaan van Rooyen
OPI N ION
THE ART OF GOOD GRAMMAR Socrates feared that writing would create forgetfulness. In the 1500s, Swiss scientist Conrad Gessner feared that the printing press would unleash an overload of information that would be harmful to the mind. With the advent of television, video killed the radio star. And when mobile phones and text messaging were unleashed on the world, it was widely predicted that mankind was destined for a future in which we would all communicate in acronyms and abbreviations. TBH IDK (To Be Honest I Don’t Know) if that’s the case. December 2017 marks 25 years since the first text message was sent. As mobile phones have progressed from the humble Nokia 3310 into smartphones with increasingly sophisticated capabilities, the importance of good grammar, spelling and punctuation is more important than ever. While we might be consuming information in bite-sized chunks, even the shortest of sentences can leave a bitter taste in your mouth when it is poorly constructed and littered with misspellings. With the advent of social media, humankind is engaging with the written word on a scale never seen before. If you are to use social media as a marketing tool, the content is every bit as important – if not more so – than the analytics that go into reaching your target audience. Good grammar is associated with attention to
detail, critical thinking and intellectual aptitude. Storytelling is an art and, no matter how brief, each Facebook or Instagram post is an opportunity to tell your story. How well you tell it will determine how well your product or service is received. While acronyms and abbreviated text speak provides useful code for teenagers KPC (Keeping Parents Clueless), IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) it has been outsmarted by the smartphone. With predictive text, it’s quicker and easier to choose a correctly spelt word, or whole sentence, than to construct an acronym requiring the dexterity of an octopus. Except of course when it goes rogue and serves up the wrong word. A friend of mine springs to mind, who was forever “ducked” off with her phone for censoring the content of her texts. Which is where technology has its limitations. Any technology is only as good as its user, and even Grammarly can’t save you from yourself if you don’t know the basics. Never underestimate the power of a wellconstructed sentence. Whether it’s a high-level business proposal or a short, snappy Facebook post, if it’s riddled with errors it won’t have a professional edge, and will send the wrong message to your customers. If you don’t appear to give a “duck” why should your audience? •
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Thereâ€™s a good story within ev
verything. It just needs a voice.
STORYFINDERS | STORYTELLERS