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The eco issue






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From hair to anywhere It was Elana’s 17th birthday when she received a call: she’d been hired as a hairdressing apprentice. Only three years’ later, Elana is a fully qualified stylist, awardwinning hairdresser, and Fashion Week veteran – and all without a student loan! Elana didn’t always want to be a hairdresser, but she fell in love with the industry after completing work experience at a family friend’s salon during the school holidays. Elana’s mother, a Legal Executive, encouraged Elana to pursue this career, as she herself had always wanted to become a hairdresser but had been discouraged from doing so. Stigma and misunderstandings about the opportunities within the industry still exist today. “People think [hairdressing] is like a schooldrop out thing, but it’s not like that at all”, Elana says. As a hairdressing apprentice, Elana worked in a hairdressing salon, learning skills on-the-job under the supervision of a qualified trainer and getting paid for her work. During her apprenticeship Elana learnt how diverse the industry is, and that working in the salon day-today is only one aspect of it. Closely linked to other dynamic industries like fashion, the hair industry is constantly evolving. Competitions and industry events where stylists push the boundaries are a regular part of work life. At the end of her first year as an apprentice, Elana entered the Joico Young Protégé Competition and won first place in the coloring section. After winning this

competition, Joico sent Elana to the Hair Expo in Sydney – Australasia’s biggest hair event, featuring awardwinning stylists and barbers and top brands from around the world. Elana also won the HITO Regional Apprentice of the Year award two years’ running, giving her the opportunity to attend an apprentice

“if you’re thinking about it – just do it.” boot camp and learn from some of New Zealand’s best as well as head to NZ Fashion Week two years’ in a row to work on runway shows and mingle with the industry’s best. “I didn’t want to be stuck in an office, sitting behind a desk all day,” Elana says. “I love being out in the salon and connecting with clients but what really keeps me in hairdressing is how creative I can be. The creative aspects of the industry are certainly rewarding and fun”.

Get a career in barbering, beauty or hair. Apprenticeships available now. 04 499 1180

Apprenticeships, and hairdressing, do have a bit of a reputation as being low-paid. When asked about the dreaded apprentice or ‘training’ wage, Elana admitted that it is hard to live off but “you’ve got to think about the big picture. Getting paid to learn is still better than borrowing money for your study”. Like anyone working towards a qualification, whether they’re a University student or an apprentice, budgeting is key. Elana’s advice for anyone interested in doing a hairdressing apprenticeship is “if you’re thinking about it – just do it. You come out with a career that can truly take you around the world, and with an apprenticeship you get valuable hands-on experience which you cannot get unless you are in a job”. Choosing an apprenticeship over going to University or polytechnic has not traditionally been the norm for New Zealanders entering tertiary education. But with student debt and the cost of living increasing, many parents and students like Elana are looking for more cost-effective ways to train. Consequently, apprenticeships are gaining popularity as a legitimate training option. So, while many others emerge from tertiary institutions with student debt and little work experience, HITO apprentices like Elana are already established and well on their way. “From Hair to Anywhere” may just be a marketing slogan to some but for Elana, and many others like her, that slogan is her reality.

“you’ve got to think about the big picture. Getting paid to learn is still better than borrowing money for your study”



Wellington waterfront, -41.288096 , 174.779746


ctober and we are all getting back to normal after a turbulent election. Water became a major topic during the campaign. It has been interesting to note how much many ‘eco’ issues have moved into our mainstream discussions. What became clear when preparing this issue was just how much volunteer time is given by the community to management and restoration of the environmental degradation. From diver Rob Wilson in our regular Tales of the City piece, schoolgirls Lily and Kate who initiated a scheme to supply personal hygiene products to those in need, and the Mount Cook Mobilised community group who have restored and still manage the Papawai stream, we have featured such voluntary efforts. Our annual eco issue always turns up far more stories than we can possibly hope to publish. However in this one we have done our best to range near and far, within the constraints of our local, Wellington region, gaze – although the eco-sex column takes a global angle. Paula Warren looks at urban streams and their surprising ecoimportance. We talk to a soap maker in Stokes Valley, and Sharon Stephenson talks to Otaki lifestylers Alexis, Raj and their children Levi and Elijah about the joys of living sustainably. It’s not all eco driven. Elspeth Sandys is delightfully frank talking to Sarah Lang about her life and writing. Margaret Medlyn chats about her next operatic role (Katya Kabanova) and a local bubbly is highly recommended by our wine writer Joelle Thomson. And of course all our other fascinating news about what is happening around the region. We look forward to seeing you next month.

Photograph by Brady Dyer

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C O N TA C T U S Phone +64 4 385 1426 Email Website Facebook Twitter @CapitalMagWelly Instagram @capitalmag Post Box 9202, Marion Square, Wellington 6141 Deliveries 31–41 Pirie St, Mt Victoria, Wellington, 6011 ISSN 2324-4836 Produced by Capital Publishing Ltd


Alison Franks Editor

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The opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Although all material is checked for accuracy, no liability is assumed by the publisher for any losses due to the use of material in this magazine. Copyright ©. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form without the prior written permission of Capital Publishing Ltd.





Alison Franks Managing editor Campaign coordinators Fale Ahchong Griff Bristed Haleigh Trower Lyndsey O’Reilly Factotum John Briste d Art director Shalee Fitzsimmons Designer Luke Browne Editorial assistant Laura Pitcher Accounts Tod Harfield Gus Bristed


Contributors Melody Thomas | Janet Hughes | John Bishop Beth Rose | Tamara Jones | Joelle Thomson Anna Briggs | Charlotte Wilson | Sarah Lang Bex McGill | Billie Osborne | Deirdre Tarrant Francesca Emms | Sharon Greally | Craig Beardsworth | Sharon Stephenson Claudia Lee | Dan Poynton

BRADY DYER Ph oto g r aph er

M E G A N B L E N KA R N E Fash i on c olum n i st

Brady has been utilising drones in his photography since 2013. Having an eye for design, he likes to visualise shots before the camera even leaves the ground. Brady is at the forefront of new technology, forever investing in the latest and greatest whether that be 360-camera rigs, VR equipment or drones.

Megan writes about personal style as a working woman and the fun and power to be found in dressing up on her blog, Mode & Methodology. Living proof that owning [undisclosed] pairs of high heels won’t diminish your intelligence, and a huge fan of New Zealand design.

Stockists Pick up your Capital in New World, Countdown and Pak’n’Save supermarkets, Moore Wilson's, Unity Books, Commonsense Organics, Magnetix, City Cards & Mags, Take Note, Whitcoulls, Wellington Airport, Interislander and other discerning region-wide outlets. Ask for Capital magazine by name. Distribution:

Submissions We welcome freelance art, photo and story submissions. However we cannot reply personally to unsuccessful pitches.

Thanks Jenni Filman | Lauren Anderson | Ryan Holland | Wellington City Council | Megan Bradshaw

SHA R O N S T E P H E N S O N Writer

SI M O N N E A L E Ph oto g r aph er

There's not much Sharon won’t do for a story, including getting married in Vegas! From her Mt Victoria home, she writes for a number of national publications. After five years in London, where she worked for the BBC, and another two in Bristol with her animator husband’s job, this staunch Wellingtonian is happy to be home.

Simon is an English Teacher and a photographer living on the Kapiti Coast. The two seem to bleed into each other. Talking and listening to people. Click.


We use & recommend | 262 Thorndon Quay | 499 9122







Five easy steps to embracing your eco-sexy side

Ecologist Paula Warren on what’s in our water


TALES OF THE CIT Y Rob Wilson’s fight against Ghost Fishing






Opera singer Margaret Medlyn plays the villain


High flying photography by Brady Dyer





Two Marsden students began Hygiene for Homeless





Dougal Dunlop gets salty


BEING FRIENDLIER WITH FASHION Fashion and nature can get along

59 taranaki taranaki st. st. 59







NZ made Thunderpants are staying put

Making cheese and living the eco-friendly dream




Elspeth Sandys opens up in her memoir Casting Off


A vegan and a meat-lover share a tasting plate



Joelle Thomson’s getting on the fizz


67 68 70



SOAPY SORCERESS Marcela Carvalho and her underground soapery



90 92 94 98 100








I've just visited Wellington again after some years away. I was horrified to see The Parade, that lovely wide street that goes down to Island Bay, has been very much spoiled by the odd arrangement for bike lanes and parking. It's now narrow and ugly and awkward. I'm all for bike lanes, but do you need one both sides of the road? Maybe make one a little wider and it could easily be two-way. That way you could at least get one lot of cars off the road. Maybe make a parallel street a bike lane? Surely it's possible to look after cyclists without wrecking the city. Peter Jamieson, Auckland.

We look forward to checking the mailbox for our copy of Capital mag each month and what a treat the latest edition was! Pipi doll was thoroughly enjoyed by my two-yearold who spent all afternoon reading her stories and putting her to bed in her sunglasses. Kristie and Neve, Invercargill.

Possibly I shouldn’t be surprised given some of the salient issues surrounding this year’s election, but I am astounded by the number of homeless people in the CBD. There are literally dozens of them from Courtenay Place to the end of Lambton Quay and I must admit I found it a little unsettling. Wellington is one of my favourite cities in New Zealand to visit for a number of reasons. However having to be wary of my ankles while walking, or feeling intimidated while getting money from a cash machine is not something I enjoy.

PIPI My family really liked Pipi, me and my sisters have all cut her out, and we like dressing her. I like her bag best. We would like more clothes for her. Will you be giving her more outfits soon? Greta and Lucy, Lower Hutt We hope to be able to give her another wardrobe at some time. Ed

G Washed, Blenheim You can send letters to with the subject line Letters to Ed



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GO DEB Our issue #26 covergirl Deborah Lambie – a Wellington Hospital doctor and beauty queen – continues to put mere mortals to shame. She’s a finalist in the education category of Next magazine’s Woman of the Year Awards for co-founding LearnCoach, which offers free online tutorials and resources to New Zealand school students. Other Wellington finalists include Liz Sneyd from Porirua’s Virtuoso Strings Orchestra, Lani Evans from social enterprise Thankyou Payroll, LGBTQIA advocate Tabby Besley, lawyer and humanitarian Stacey Shortall, Anna Guenther from crowdfunding company PledgeMe, and aged-care worker and equal-pay campaigner Kristine Bartlett. They’ll attend the awards in Auckland on 12 October.

ALICIA PANG What led you to get a tattoo? I am drawn to anything visually appealing, so why not wear that on your body? Why you chose the design? I don't believe tattoos have to be super meaningful (I cringe when people go on rants about their meaning). Aesthetic meaning is enough for me – my main focus was flow, balance and spacing.

27 AT 27 To celebrate 27 years at 27 College St, L’affare will be exhibiting a collection of art works curated by William Carden-Horton. L’affare’s Communications Coordinator Amy Dalziell says, ‘The injection of fresh art pieces foreshadows a larger change, as we gear up for a refit of our cafe over the summer break.’ Art will be on display and for sale in the months leading up to the renovations. This mix of Wellington artists can be viewed from 14 October.

Family – for or against it? I have a couple of aunties with tattoos, so my family is okay. My Dad, however, is strongly against it. He's pretty old fashioned and tattoos are generally associated with gangs and criminals in his culture. He warned me I wouldn't be able to get a job, but it's a different time now, everyone has a bloody tattoo. He's still never seen it. I wear long sleeves when I see him.



WELLY WORDS ENCOUNTERED CAT If you live in Mt Victoria you’ll know that it’s not often you walk home without spotting a cat peeping around a corner or lying in the middle of the pavement. One Mt Victoria Wellyworder has grown particularly fond of the cats she encounters on her way home and has started a local cat Instagram called ‘encountered cat’. What used to be her daily ten-minute walk home has now become a half-hour photo-shoot of her feline friends.

POKÉMON STOP A mother Wellyworder was playing Pokémon Go with her eight year old son on Courtenay Place when she spotted a group of 40 or so business professionals run out of their office building. Obviously word had gotten out at the office that a Tyranitar was outside. Together they battled the Tyranitar before it was time to Pokémon-get-going back to the office.

TARGET PRACTICE A Wellyworder walking down Vivian St was amused to overhear two parking wardens grumbling about their boss and their ticket targets. One was on 4.6 (per hour, we assume). The other, on a presumably negligent 4.1, said he wanted a specific target or he’d quit. Some ‘greaser’ was reportedly doing an outrageous seven. Said Wellyworder was relieved to arrive at her car before the wardens did.

IT'S COOL TO KORERO Ka tiaki ai koe i te whenua, ka tiaki ai te whenua i a koe. Look after the land, and the land will look after you.

H A R RY HA L L OW E E N Brush off your broomstick, grab a portkey or apparate over to Haunted Hogwarts this Halloween. This charity event invites guests to make their way through haunted chambers, completing a number of magical activities and experiencing frights and delights along the way. All proceeds go to the Child Cancer Foundation to support brave kids and families. So don’t be a muggle, experience the magic at South Wellington Baptist Church, Island Bay on 31 October. Tickets available from a number of sites around town including Small Acorns on Blair St or

NON-STOP FASHION In a New Zealand first, North City Shopping Centre is offering a 360° Virtual Reality fashion event, the North City Non-Stop Fashion Show. You’ll feel like a VIP as you sit front row and take in the latest looks from North City fashion retailers. A seat at the VR fashion show is free, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re pregnant, have high blood pressure or suffer from motion sickness, heart conditions, seizures or epilepsy, then better stick to IRL experiences. Ts and Cs include no drugs, no alcohol, no standing up and, same as IRL, no touching the models. Runs 12−29 October.



W H AT I S I T GOOD FOR? Justin Lester says that the New Zealand Defence Industry Association Weapons Expo will not be held in council-controlled venues while he is Mayor. However, this year the expo is being held at Westpac Stadium, which is owned and operated by the Wellington Regional Stadium Trust. Peace Action Wellington (PAW) is planning to protest, saying the expo hosts companies that produce weapons for sale to political regimes that violate human rights. The expo is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, one of the world's largest manufacturers of nuclear weapons. PAW spokesperson Ellie Clayton said, ‘Te Whanganui-a-Tara should not be tarnished with the business of war. We encourage the people of Wellington to join us at the protests on October 10−11.’




Nio and Orbell, Wellington’s first ever breeding pair of takahē, are settling in at Zealandia. A spokesperson says, ‘It’s great to see them relaxing into their new home.’ Orbell is slightly braver than Nio, letting rangers get quite close. They are both wild, though, and will take some time to be comfortable around humans. Orbell is named after Geoffrey Orbell, who rediscovered takahē in 1948 after they had been officially declared extinct. The release of these rare native birds was watched by 27,000 people via live stream back in August.

Three of the Hutt City Council’s four newly established Community Panels are chaired by women. Tracey Coleman for Western Hills Ward, Haley Small for Northern Ward and Jo Clendon for Central Ward. Michael Ellis is chair for Eastern Ward. Panel members represent the four wards, providing local views and feedback on issues affecting their communities and the wider city. Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says the panels provide a connection between ratepayers, residents and council.

Lower Hutt’s Riddiford Garden will be transformed into a wonderland of brilliant light installations this Labour Weekend. Hutt City Council have confirmed that Affinity, an internationally acclaimed light sculpture that explores the effects of Alzheimer’s, will feature at Highlight: Carnival of Lights 2017. The four day event will also feature live performances, interactive experiences and fireworks displays. Admission is free. 20–23 October.


B R E AT H E EASY John Clarke CNZM is the new Chief Cultural Advisor – Māori for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ. Chief Executive Letitia O’Dwyer says, ‘John is a highly-regarded leader with so much experience to offer. We’re absolutely privileged to have John’s support.’ Currently the Principal Cultural Advisor to the Minister of Treaty of Waitangi negotiations, John has 25 years educational experience. He pioneered the teaching of Te Reo at Wainuiomata College, and was principal of Wellington High School and Community Institute.




The annual New Zealand Innovation Awards will be held on October 19. Wellington finalists include Erik Zydervelt from Mevo, who is up for Young New Zealand Innovator. Mevo is New Zealand's 'climate positive car share', providing app-based, on-demand access to electric vehicles. They have been operating in Wellington since December 2016 with a plug-in-hybrid Audi A3 e-tron fleet. Each Mevo carpark has a charging station, so you can plug the vehicle back in once your trip is completed.

A poll will be held on the Local Government Commission’s proposal for a Wairarapa District Council. The proposed council would combine South Wairarapa, Carterton and Masterton District Councils into a super-council. Postal ballots will be sent out three weeks before the 12 December closing date. A simple majority vote will decide the fate of the councils.

More than a hundred amateur golfers from 41 countries will compete in the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship this month. The refurbished Royal Wellington Golf Club at Heretaunga is hosting the event, which will be broadcast live to more than 160 countries. The winner will be invited to the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club and the 147th Open at Carnoustie in Scotland. A Kiwi has never won the competition, now in its ninth year, but maybe a home ground advantage will change this.

your urban oasis









9 11

8 10






Eve rgree n 1. Designers Guild Varese viridian cushion – $210 – Small Acorns 2. McClures Pickles – $19.95 – Created Homewares 3. Green Goodness test tube – $16 – Wellington Apothecary 4. Forestry Wool pop green blanket – $249 – Cranfields 5. Anne of Green Gables – $25 – Unity 6. Change to Green 100% organic tampons – $7.90 – Sustainability Trust 7. French Country green glass vase – $46.90 – Avisons 8. Coconut & Lime pure glycerin soap – $10 – Botanic Beauty Co 9. Obus Callanish socks – $16 – Mooma 10. Canopy Stripe TooGreen cushion cover – $48 – The Cotton Store 11. Iliada exclusive selection PDO Kalamata organic Greek extra virgin olive oil – $18.90 – Mediterranean Foods 12. Katherine Smyth sea green tall vase – $35.99 – Small Acorns 13. Fibreglass pots white – $64.99 – Created Homewares 14. Ashley & Co Soothe Tube – $24 – Small Acorns 15. Kester Black Australian eucalyptus nail polish – $23 – Mooma 16. Doormat banana leaf – $44.95 – Created Homewares



Come and watch the next generation of international golfing heroes in our own backyard. Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship,Royal Wellington Golf Club, 26-29 October 2017 For the first time New Zealand is hosting the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, one of the world’s leading men’s amateur golf events. The venue is the Royal Wellington Golf Club, New Zealand’s premier parkland members’ course. The Club is honoured and excited to have been asked by The Masters, the R & A and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation to host this championship. Take your chance to watch top quality competitive golf in a beautiful setting. Entry is free, so come to Heretaunga, watch the golf and enjoy our hospitality.


E co s peci a l

Waste not want not Bring out the bins for your sins.

Number of household dwellings








Hutt City

Upper Hutt




2013 Statistics NZ Census

250k 225k 200k 175k 150k 125k 100k 75k 50k

Landfill tonnes of waste per year





Southern landfill

Silverstream landfill

Spicers landfill

Rangitikei landfill


Number of landfills serving the region: 4 There are also 13 transfer stations.

Wairarapa waste trucked to Marton

Kerbside Composition of kerbside recycling 2014/15

In other words – we’re recycling less than we were before. Kg/capita/ annum

Wellington Region Waste Assessment 2016








Mixed paper

Glass bottles & jars

Plastic containers

Aluminium cans

Steel cans



70 68 66 64 62 60 58 56 54 52 50

Wellington City

Wellington Region





Compiled by Craig Beardsworth | Illustrated by Shalee Fitzsimmons



Tonnes/ annum









Kazu Yakitori Bar

Fleetwood Mac


It by Stephen King

Brooklyn wind turbine

Scuba divers are often confronted with ‘ghost fishing’, a serious problem that ROB WILSON is tackling head on.


ost fishing gear, or ‘ghost’ gear, is among the greatest killers in our oceans. Literally hundreds of kilometres of nets and lines get lost every year and will keep on ‘ghost fishing’ for decades, possibly even centuries. ‘Ghost fishing is essentially the damage that redundant gear does to marine life,’ says Rob Wilson, founder of Ghost Fishing NZ. ‘Fishing lines, cages, nets and basically any manmade creation that’s been abandoned in the ocean can be harmful to the creatures or the environment.’ So what does Rob do about it? ‘I started doing clean up dives here in Wellington many years ago,’ he says. As his profile as an environmentalist and a technical diver gained some publicity he was approached by Ghost Fishing HQ to lead its New Zealand team. Now Rob plans and leads monthly dive and shore cleanups. He says it’s been inspiring to see so many people putting their hands up to get dirty, with over 300 volunteers turning up to a recent event. ‘The last few years it’s just snowballed. The community backing from all areas has been amazing and that’s including the local fisherfolk who have been very supportive.’ Ghost Fishing NZ has three primary focuses which Rob describes as ‘Posiedon’s Trident’ in the fight against marine debris: conservation, education and exploration. Rob says, ‘Raise awareness now. Educate now. Save the future. It’s that simple.’

A photographer and videographer by day, Rob’s spare time is mostly spent outdoors diving or walking the hills high above Wellington. A favourite spot is the Brooklyn wind turbine, so much so that it feels like home. Catch him at his actual home and he might be making a curry, reading or indulging his ‘broad spectrum of musical tastes.’ Fleetwood Mac is one of his all time favourite bands, and he’s just re-read Stephen King’s It. Rob’s not so hidden talent is martial arts. A fluent Japanese speaker, he studied martial arts for many years and lived in Japan for almost a decade. Not surprisingly one of his favourite hang outs is Kazu Yakitori Bar. ‘It’s a great place to eat and keep my Japanese language up to scratch.’ Salt water must run through Rob’s veins − his passion for diving and the ocean is a recurring theme. His favourite place in NZ? ‘Whakatane. White Island and the Volkner Rocks are some of the best diving I have ever had. I dove with sharks there this year. It was a dive of a lifetime.’ What’s he coveting right now? ‘I would absolutely love a new camera like a Sony A7S II and underwater housing to better showcase the underwater world and better document what we do as Ghost Fishing NZ. ’What’s his style? ‘Jeans and Ghost Fishing hoodie,’ he laughs, ‘It’s a bit of a trademark look.’



IN FULL SWING Can people with two left feet come along to the inaugural Wellington Swing Dance Festival over Labour Weekend? ‘That’s exactly who we want to see!‘ says organiser Saran Goldie-Anderson, co-owner of Full Swing Vintage Dance Company. The free public expo at Te Papa involves beginner and advanced workshops, demos, a public swing dance, and a talk. There’s a ticketed speakeasy at Full Swing’s studio, and a Wellington Museum ball. The festival springs from the sold-out Windy Lindy (20–30 October), a workshop week attracting dancers from around the country and world.




Fancy a nosey inside the Boulcott Street house that the Hannah family of shoe fame once called home? Tours of the elegant Antrim (Hannah) House, St Gerard’s Monastery, Government House and Wrights Hill Fortress are part of Wellington City Heritage Week (23–29 October), linking locals to the capital’s built, social and cultural heritage. Museums Wellington’s Magical Mystery Drawing Tour takes its participants to undisclosed locations to put pencils, charcoal or paint to paper. Most events are free or for koha.

Featherston raised writer/soprano Georgia Jamieson Emms, director of Wanderlust Opera, has adapted a popular musical comedy into The OTHER Marriage of Figaro especially for the Wairarapa’s ever-growing Kokomai Creative Festival (13–22 October). The festival offers 65 events spanning music, film, dance, visual arts, theatre, comedy, and writers-andreaders sessions. Wanderlust’s audience will follow smart-alec barber Figaro and his sassy fiancee Susanna around St Matthew’s Collegiate then repair to the school hall.

Known for ceramics that combine age-old techniques with political and pop-culture references, Karori-based artist Richard Stratton is guest selector and an exhibitor at the Wellington Potters’ Association exhibition Ceramicus (14–29 October) at the Academy Galleries. It shows simultaneously with Splash, Watercolour NZ’s national exhibition, where local Dianne Taylor is a guest artist. Expect pottery and painting demos in the weekends.

Organically grown Ethically treated Wild harvested Made in NZ Cosywear Weka conservation Natural Selection Sensory addiction Pitt Island wild sheep Elegance of simplicity

Pioneers of Cosywear


ON TOPP When the 2016 earthquake hit, the curators of The Topp Twins exhibition at Palmerston North’s Te Manawa museum couldn’t access the Archives NZ building in Wellington (which held material flagged for inclusion) in time for opening day. Jools, Lynda and their management came to the rescue, lending original photos and material. See them in character as Westies Raylene and Brenda, and posh socialites Prue and Dilly – and in their own skin as cultural icons and political activists – until 29 October.




Wellington artist Emma Lou has won the $5000 IHC Art Award, from nearly 400 entries, with her large, detailed pastel drawing, Emma Lou, with its faces and Cantonese characters. Lou creates art two days a week at Aranui Vocational Service in Kilbirnie, and has done so three days a week at Alpha Studio, a central-city vocational space for intellectuallydisabled adults.

Writer-director Eleanor Bishop, who is currently living between New York and her native Wellington, is having a busy year. Her play about rape culture, Jane Doe, showed at the Edinburgh Fringe in August, and now she’s in town to direct an abridged version of The Taming of The Shrew in the Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ’s triple-bill National Shakespeare Schools Production, at Mac’s Function Centre (7 October) and Wellington Zoo (8 October). Bishop has a BATS/Creative NZ STAB Commission for her show about female pleasure, Body Double in November.

To the shock of some, younger Capital staffers had never heard of the Moody Blues: the English rock band that pioneered ‘prog rock’. The three remaining ‘MBs’ still perform together occasionally, but vocalist Justin Hayward more often performs Moody Blues songs with two other musicians. Why is Hayward coming down under this month (Michael Fowler Centre, 14 October)? Waikanae-based concert promoter Tricia Macpherson worked with him 50 years ago in London as a recording engineer. ‘So this is an anniversary.’

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Soar prepares us for new heights and perspectives. Weaving through changing tapestries, you’ll find yourself adrift in daydreams (Ireland) where life’s complexity is seemingly simplified (Ritchie), primordial soundscapes pacify (Ker), and naivety is blissfully deliberate like a game of hide and seek (Schubert).

Heads up, film fans: the Cinema Italiano Festival finishes its national tour in Wellington. Screening exclusively at The Empire in ‘Little Italy’ – Island Bay, the Festival is a celebration of Italian cinema, language, culture and la dolce vita, and you can’t find that sitting on your couch at home!

Join Greg & Mel at one of their two Wellington region concerts on Sun 12 Nov. Plus1 presents two of NZ’s finest songsmiths:

1 Nov–14 Nov

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Thur 9 Nov, City Gallery Wellington, 101 Wakefield Street, Civic Square,


1pm, St Peters Hall, Paekakariki 7.30pm Meow, 9 Edward St, Wellington.


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Making it happen

The squint

By Sarah Lang

By Sarah Lang

Lucy Marinkovich’s passport is thick with stamps. The Wellington dancer-choreographer of Croatian descent has had choreographic residencies, attended workshops, and created work in Germany, Spain, Austria, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Palestine, Israel, France and Malaysia in recent years. Her choreographed works and performance art have shown at festivals, theatres and galleries in New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Croatia. ‘I try to make things happen.’ In 2015, Marinkovich set up a multi-disciplinary performance collective, Borderline Arts Ensemble, collaborating with Wellington talent from various disciplines. Now Borderline is staging her two-year work-in-progress, the dance-theatre piece Lobsters, at Circa ( from 20 October). ‘It’s a surrealist work about a lobster that was Salvador Dali’s muse, and about the naivety and disappointments of romances.’ Marinkovich, who choreographed and co-directs, also performs alongside dancers Matthew Moore (Black Grace) and Emmanuel Reynaud, with Carmel McGlone playing the lobster. Composer Lucien Johnson (Black Seeds) plays saxophone live. Marinkovich has also danced and choreographed for Footnote Dance, under mentor Deirdre Tarrant. ‘She was my ballet teacher from age five!’ A guest tutor for Footnote, NZ School of Dance and Toi Whakaari, the keen baker and crafter spends ‘too much time’ at Ekor Bookshop & Café and her sister’s cakery Tomboy.

In April, Wellington writer-comedian Alexander Sparrow made it to the Trump Impersonator World Finals in Los Angeles. He didn’t win, but he enjoyed the repartee with his fellow orange-faced, squinty, pointing impresarios. Sparrow wrote his one-man show The President when Trump was the Republican candidate, and performed it just after the shock election result. It was nominated for Best Show and Best Concept at the 2016 Wellington Comedy Awards, where Sparrow won Breakout Performer. Now, after a popular May season, he’s reprising his one-man show DJ Trump at the Cavern Club (19–21 October), before touring it around the South Island this summer, while also writing a sequel. Sparrow looks nothing like Trump before he transforms himself. ‘I've had people amazed after shows when I tell them I'm 24. The makeup designed by Katie Boyle works wonders, but the expressions really make it, especially the squint.’ He’s also mastered making a point amid all the tangents and non-sequiturs. ‘Sometimes I'll be standing in the sun – which doesn't happen a lot in Wellington, let me tell you – very rainy place – there's a lot of wind – and the sun is shining and I'm under the sun – and I feel my eyes squinting like Trump’s.’

















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BREAKING BA D Written by Sarah Lang Margaret Medlyn likes being a villain. As an opera singer who considers herself a singing actor, she’s played plenty of nice women. ‘But, in the end, nice is boring. It’s much more interesting to be nasty. So when I heard Kátya Kabanová was coming up, I asked if I could be the baddie stepmother Kabanicha and got a yes.’ Set in 1950s America, the Seattle Opera’s production of Leoš Janáček’s tragic opera earned rave reviews earlier this year. The NZ Opera’s production uses the same setting and creative team, but a new cast. Kabanicha, whose son marries the passionate Katya, has been described as contemptible, disturbing and evil. Medlyn disagrees. ‘She’s a widow trying to manage in a restricted society with a drunkard son and daughter-in-law who spells trouble. She’s in damage control.’ The Auckland-raised soprano sang opera in Europe for many years until moving to Wellington with her husband in 1988. ‘I love Wellington: the coffee, the compactness, the scenery, the extreme weather.’ For 30 years, she’s been away for months at a time to sing with leading opera companies, particularly in Europe and Australia. Performing in China this year, this champion of New Zealand music and female composers sang music by Jenny McLeod and Ross Harris. Medlyn, who has two children and two grandsons, lives in Paremata, Porirua. It’s a 20-minute drive to her job as Head of Voice at Victoria University’s NZ School of Music. ‘When I’m performing, my colleagues cover for me and vice versa.’ Last year she finished a PhD titled ‘Embodying Voice: singing Verdi and singing Wagner’ about how opera performers embody characters through not only music but also acting. Now the girl who grew up wanting to be a doctor can call herself Dr Medlyn. *Kátya Kabanová, St James, 7–14 October









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GO WITH THE FLOW By Sharon Stephenson & photograph by Anna Briggs Most students spend their holidays topping up their tans, bank balances and sleep accounts. Not Katie Daly, who spent the summer of 2015 organising hygiene packs for Wellington’s homeless. "I saw something about a New York organisation which supplies toothpaste and tampons to the homeless and it struck a chord,” says Katie (18). “I knew there was a need for it here." She contacted pharmaceutical companies for donations and before long, fellow Samuel Marsden Collegiate student Lily Marsh (18) joined her. And so was born their not-for-profit, Hygiene For Homeless. "We both have a passion for social justice and want to help people in a tangible way," says Lily. The pair contacted Rev Tric Malcolm at the Wellington City Mission who agreed to help distribute the packs to Wellington’s homeless community. Fundraising and donated products enabled them to create 200 hygiene packs containing deodorant, soap, socks, underpants, sanitary packs and tampons, toothpaste and baby wipes. "We donated 100 packs to the Wellington City Mission and 100 to The Free Store to distribute to

those in need," says Katie. Thanks to an ongoing relationship with Change to Green, an organic tampon company in Tauranga, they’ve distributed thousands of sanitary products to the Wellington Women’s Boarding House, including 2,500 in July. Recently, they distributed hygiene products donated by Wellington City Council staff to the Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust. The girls, whose efforts won them a 2017 Regional Community Award, say they are humbled by how well the packs have been received. "It’s such a small thing but it means so much," says Katie. "Hygiene products are expensive and for many people on the street, they can be a low priority as they’ve got so much more to deal with, such as where their next meal is coming from." And despite the fact they’ll be attending different universities next year (Katie to Victoria, Lily to Canterbury), they plan to continue the good work. "As long as there’s a need, we’re going to keep doing this."






Eco-sex is a movement that is making its way across the globe. With an eco-‘sex house’ opening in Melbourne last year, it’s only a matter of time before eco-sexuals start making their naked way to New Zealand forests. But fear not − you don’t have to have sex with the earth to have a more eco-friendly sex life.


he top result on Google for the term eco-sex is an article titled ‘Ecosexuals Believe Having Sex with the Earth Could Save It’ which features people rubbing moss-covered...I want to say facemasks...on each other. Further down the list is a video with the description “woman has sex with tree named Tim”. Watching this, I suddenly felt the way you do when you’re watching a movie with your parents and a sex scene comes on and you’re trying to act cool about it because you’re a relaxed kind of person, y’know? But you’re not. You’re not relaxed. Tim could have splinters. It turns out that being an ecosexual is part art, part environmental activism and part, well, sex. From taking erotic pleasure in sunbathing naked, to putting veggies up their bits, to considering themselves to be in a sexual relationship with the earth, ecosexuals are trying to save the planet and have orgasms while doing it. And honestly, if it’s all between consenting grown-ups (and willing trees like Tim), good for them. Frankly, I hope they win that battle because imagine how pushy clipboard-wielding street collectors will feel if what solves climate change is more people getting turned on, not trying to talk at people with headphones on. While we wait and see how they go with that, most of confine our naked encounters with the earth to the realm of the occasional skinny dip. But there are still some eco-friendly things we can do in our sex lives.

1. Don’t buy dodgy sex toys. Jelly-type dildos, vibrators and plugs are often loaded with phthalates and other nasties. Phthalates are plastic softeners that can leach chemicals into your body when you use them, and into the environment when you clean or dispose of them. Sadly, there’s very little requirement for sex toy manufacturers to declare what their products contain. In fact, ‘novelty’ sex toy manufacturers tend to stamp “silicon” on anything they want, accurately or otherwise, and since most politicians are uncomfortable saying the word “vibrator”, not a lot gets done about it. So save your pennies for something better. Toys made from genuine silicone, hard non-porous plastic, glass, metal and wood (possibly named Tim) are safe bets. 2. Use sustainable condoms. Most condoms and their wrappers are bad for the environment, and too often they end up in our waterways (ever flushed one down the loo? Now you can join me in feeling guilty about that). Fortunately, the market for all things sustainable has extended to what we put on our junk, and a quick internet search will give you heaps of brands to choose from. 3. Use organic lube. Lubricants are often petroleum-based − literally made out of fossil fuels. Commonsense organics stocks a lovely range of organic lubes called Bonk, and you can find more options (including hypoallergenics) online and in reputable adult shops. 4. Take off the PVC. The manufacture of PVC or polyvinyl chloride gives off dioxin – one of the deadliest man-made poisons. It’s really hard to dispose of and can act as a cumulative toxin, which hangs around in your body for a long time. If your kinks involve all things sleek and shiny, consider switching to rubber or ethically-farmed leather. 5. Consider long-term, multi-purpose sex investments (sexvestments?). Do you use coconut oil for cooking or cosmetic use? Congrats, that’s a lubricant. While research is unclear whether it affects condoms adversely, coconut oil can be used for massage and stuff that doesn’t require condoms. Want to invest in some kink equipment? Save up and buy something that will last. Fluffy plastic handcuffs are for really bad hen nights, not the bedroom.



Eco city walking 36



Ecologist, artist, chair of the Growing Places Trust and one of the artist collective that produced the Inanga Love Park at Korokoro Stream, Paula Warren is interested in helping people reconnect with their urban streams. We asked Paula to give it to us straight when it comes to the state of our urban waterways.


ater might seem like a rural issue, but it’s also an issue in cities, and the problem isn’t dairy cows. It’s the way we organise our cities – particularly our love affair with concrete, and our dirty stormwater. Did you know that there are nine streams running through the Wellington CBD? Why would you, when they are mostly now in pipes, with roads built over them? But once you could have sat in what is now Woodward St next to a shaded stream, watching clear water bubbling over mossy rocks and through small pools. You could have fished for whitebait or fed an eel. Now we have a pipe under the road, with only a few very hardy animals surviving. Even where our waterways are still visible and loved, they are often not what they once were. The bit of Porirua Stream by Kenepuru railway station doesn’t belong there at all. It used to meander behind Moore Wilsons and the neighbouring businesses. Look at an aerial photo and you can still see traces of the original route. But someone thought it was a nuisance and put in the diversion. The Hutt River was forced into a narrow space between stopbanks, with no chance to meander or form beaches. That means that floods now cause problems, instead of benefiting fish and bush. Many creatures that live in the river have lost their best habitat. And people have to look at the river from a distance, gazing down over rock wrap, rather than sitting on a beach under shade. Whitebait (inanga) used to spawn in lower Porirua Stream by the Porirua CBD, but their spawning site is now concrete. They need plants to spawn on, so that source of new whitebait is gone. Small wonder the big runs of fish are also gone. And this isn’t just about historic damage. Major changes to our urban waterways keep happening. Between 2003 and 2008, the Wellington region lost 12.79 km of stream, mostly in Wellington and Porirua cities. Those bits of stream are now either not there at all, or piped. All urban streams suffer from urban stream syndrome. The causes of this nasty disease all come back to us urban-dwellers. The main cause looks harmless but is deadly to streams’ health: asphalt, concrete and roofing iron. In a forest, almost no rain gets into the stream directly by running off the land surface. It all goes through the soil, slowly, and pollution is filtered out. In cities, we create impervious surfaces – roads, driveways, carparks, roofs. And then we catch the water that runs off them, put it into a stormwater drain, and get it to the stream (or the sea) as fast as possible.

So the water level in an urban stream rises and falls very rapidly. One minute a fish is sitting in a small pool in a shallow stream. Next minute it is struggling to cope with a raging torrent. And then all the water goes away again until the next rainfall. Imagine living on a coast that had a tsunami once a week. That’s what it’s like to be an urban fish. And the water coming down the stormwater drains isn’t clean. The stormwater system from the Wellington CBD delivers around two tonnes of zinc to the harbour every year. And 230 kg of copper. And 160 kg of lead. And oil, sewage, dog poo, plastic, cigarette butts, car-washing chemicals, and everything else we put into the gutter or down the wrong drain at home. One of the biggest sources of heavy metals is normal car operation, from wear on tyres and brake linings. We’ve cleaned up our industries (trade waste is treated), but not our roads. Animals also need homes. Koura like to hide under rocks and logs. Native fish use spaces behind tree roots and logs as refuges, but are also happy in pipes put into the banks. A caddis fly larvae might want a smooth rock with fast water flowing over it, while a bristle worm might need some sand to dig into. They all want some shade, and some leaves and other food dropping in. So our streams need to be complex, with riffles and pools, logs and rocks, and trees on the banks. And yet, even the worst stream in Wellington has life. Kumutoto Stream (which runs from above the University and beside the Terrace down to Woodward St) has only 10 metres left open to the sky behind Kelburn Park. But that 10m has native fish – banded kokopu. And we know there are eels under the Basin Reserve, in Waitangi Stream. Daylighting piped streams is too expensive. But by improving the remaining areas of open stream, we can make life in the pipes easier. What the Government and councils do to manage water use and pollution matters, but what every Wellingtonian does matters most. Every time anything other than clean water is put into a roadside gutter, fish suffer. Most of the litter on our beaches got there via the stormwater system, so instead of a beach clean-up, clean up your street. Walk instead of drive. Harvest the water from your roof and use it to water the garden. Get to know your local stream, and help make it a wonderful part of your city.






Now in its 17th year, the Sustainable Farming Fund has reached a milestone, having funded 1000 projects. In our area alone the fund has supported riparian planting, slip recovery, improving aquaculture, olive oil, sheep farming, and of course climate science, and research into irrigation and drainage. South Wairarapa Fresh Start Farmers are working on a project that pursues innovative solutions to reducing nutrient loss and enhancing natural habitats. Applications for the next funding round have just closed and successful projects will be announced early 2018.

Five of the fourteen marae in the Wellington area have signed up to Para Kore, a waste education programme that has been specifically designed for marae and Māori organisations. ‘Through recycling and composting at the marae, we can ensure that less ends up in landfill,’ says Para Kore waste advisor Te Kawa Robb. Para Kore, which means Zero Waste in Te Reo, lays out simple steps to make it easy to reduce landfill waste, including using separate bins and clear signage, talking about why it’s important and leading by example.

Sustainability Trust’s EcoCentre is a dropoff point for all sorts of stuff that would have otherwise been sent to landfill. If you have old curtains, mobile phones, PCs, laptops, printers, batteries, bikes or car seats then take them down to the EcoCentre on Forresters Lane. Items are reused, recycled, or disposed of responsibly. Bikes go to Rebicycle to refurbish and give away, curtains are upcycled for low income homes and broken child car seats are stripped and recycled by Seat Smart.






Conservation Week is 14–22 October. This year the Department of Conservation is running a Love Your Backyard campaign, encouraging Kiwis to get involved in activities either in our own backyards or in our big New Zealand backyard. Zealandia is running a number of workshops including bird identification, Green Cleaning and how to make a wētā hotel. In the Wairarapa, Pukaha Mount Bruce is running the inaugural Nature Lego Competition. Check out doc.govt. nz/conservation-week-events to find out what’s happening near you.

Reusable bags are being given away at Coastlands to encourage customers to reduce the number of plastic bags they use. Coastlands Manager Jan Forrest says it’s about doing their bit for the environment. ‘We have a responsibility to raise awareness and encourage customers to recycle existing bags and use reusable bags where possible.’ Spend $20 at any participating Coastlands retailer to receive a free reusable cup or bag, while stocks last.

Sustainability Trust helps people to warm up homes and be more energy efficient. In the past year they have installed 89,916 sqm of insulation and 428 energy efficient heaters in Wellington homes. They have replaced 1200 power-sucking bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs and made 2194 lined curtains for low-income homes. On top of that they’ve done 538 home energy assessments and 244 healthy home assessments for people experiencing housing-related health issues.

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Bird’se ye v i ew

Hutt River at Melling, -41.204174 , 174.906961


s the technology for drone photography becomes more accessible, professionals and amateurs alike are snapping more and more bird’seye views. But getting a truly stunning shot takes skill and planning. It’s not a simple as sending it up and hoping for the best. We needed an expert. With more than a decade in the industry, Brady Dyer of Brady Dyer Photography has been


recognised nationally and internationally for his work. Brady prides himself on having the latest gear and equipment at his disposal. That includes, of course, an aerial photography drone. This collaboration snatches moments in time and showcases our region’s, rivers, roads and railway. So come fly with us as we catch a view from above.


Western Hutt Rd, -41.158254 , 174.974757



Petone wharf, -41.227404, 174.872102




Wellington Railway Station, -41.279052, 174.780326

Basin Reserve, -41.291433 , 174.788089


Wellington cable car, -41.285115 , 174.769407

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Wainuiomata swimming pools, -41.268038 , 174.955112

IN THE DRINK By Francesca Emms & photograph by Anna Briggs Every morning at 7am, Dougal Dunlop kicks things off with a swim. He‘s in the harbour off Freyberg Beach all year round, with no wetsuit, in water that ranges from 8 to 20 degrees depending on the season. ‘To me it’s not cold,’ he says, ‘In my head I know I will feel better after the swim. Temperature doesn’t come into it.’ About seven years ago Dougal began teaching some of his adult swim students in the sea over summer. He noticed that when he was back in the pool the pain in his back, the result of three fractured vertebrae, got worse. The next summer he just kept sea swimming through into winter and hasn’t been in the pool since. He says sea swimming keeps his acute back pain at bay and he feels ‘relaxed and always refreshed’ after. Dougal first taught swimming more than 50 years ago. ‘I still have the same passion now that I had when took my first lesson at the Boys and Girls Institute Pool on Tasman St,’ he says. Now he works at Freyberg Pool six days a week and coaches the Maranui Swimming Club in his spare time. He loves seeing his pupils getting it. ‘I never tire of the look on a swimmer’s face when they’ve just done their first length of the pool unassisted. Can’t describe it.’ He’s lost count of how many people he’s taught to swim, ‘probably a few thousand.’ But there’s one pupil who stands out. ‘I taught a local boy,’ says Dougal, ‘He was totally deaf, chronic asthmatic and suffered badly from eczema. He was so bad with asthma some days he could barely walk, his mother would carry him in for his lesson. He was always able to walk home after. He eventually swam competitively. I’ve never forgotten this.’


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Being friendlier with fashion BY M EGA N B L E N K A R N E


fter many happy centuries together, the relationship between fashion and nature is going astray. While designers have been inspired by the natural world since cavemen first put a handprint on a hide, they haven’t been quite so enthusiastic about preserving the very environment that they reference in their work. The internet informs me that garment manufacturing is second only to oil production in its environmental impact. It’s time for fashion lovers to change the relationship, and to think about nature’s needs. If fashion has a language of love, it’s ‘Acts of Service’, and luckily there’s a few things you can do to show nature how much you love her without sacrificing your style. Roll up your sleeves everyone! You can start by stopping – shopping, that is. Everyone has made an emotionally-charged purchase on an impulse, but it’s time to cut back. If it helps you, imagine every thoughtless purchase is the equivalent of throwing a plastic bottle into Wellington harbour. There’s no way we’re going to line up on Oriental Parade and recklessly throw bags of rubbish into the sea – but apparently New Zealanders are happy to throw literally thousands of tonnes of clothes every year into the dump.

For some of us, going cold turkey is going to be tough. The great news is that in addition to the thousands of tonnes of clothing we’re burying in a hole like delusional labradors, there’s even more tonnage going into secondhand shops around the country. Pop an antihistamine and get ready to treasure hunt! If finding someone else’s old hanky in a coat pocket doesn’t sound like you, there are plenty of shops that will sift through the chaos for you. Buying something that’s as perfect as the day it was made, for a ridiculous fraction of its retail price, after a careful hunt, is extremely satisfying. I know, I know, you are a busy person. Too busy to mooch about in second-hand shops for hours at a time, trying to find a coat that actually fits and doesn’t smell. Even you can show nature you love her! Try buying locally made clothes, or finding labels you love that use organic cotton or cut no-waste designs. You might have to spend more, or buy less, but the warm, smug glow of wearing something environmentally friendly will make it all worthwhile. If we all pitch in, we can get this thing back on track. The thing is, if we keep abusing nature, it will disappear. And who knows what fashion will look like when all the flowers are gone. 53

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Spring me


Spring clean with a touch of green. A smear of sunscreen for the flower scene – update your wardrobe with our new season's picks.










1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Gramercy Cape – $329 – Goodness Valencia Jumpsuit – $199 – Goodness Emile cashmere jersey – $389 – Designer Clothing Gallery Miss Crabb Selene Dress – $520 – The Service Depot SACAI Beige & Black Tote Bag – $1,995 – No16 Naturalizer shoe – $160 – Willow Shoes Obus Seedbed socks – $14 – Mooma Age Eyewear Eager – $229 – The Service Depot NIX Patio skirt Gabby – $299 – Designer Clothing Gallery Kowtow Escape Crew Evergreen – $239 – Goodness Elbow relaxed pocket tee – $97 – Zebrano Été Summer Heel – $369.95 – Wittner


Anywhere b u t u p yo u r bum PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERINA WOOD

JOSIE BIDWILL scorns suggestions her patterned organic cotton undies could be made in Vietnam or somewhere similar. She cheerfully insists that if her label Thunderpants is sold in New Zealand they should be made in New Zealand and they should be as sustainable as possible. She chats to JOHN BRISTED about how she began the business.

Thunderpants? Why Thunderpants? Because that’s what we used to call them at school. ‘Underpants that don’t go up your bum’ – where did that come from? Our Thunderpants are cut for women by women, with enough fabric to actually cover the bum, so they stay where they’re meant to be, and they don’t …! You’re a Wairarapa farm girl. How did you move into making clothes? I’ve always been a maker, right from five or six I was making things. I liked stitching things. My grandmother taught me how to make little felt mice, and I made so many of them that later I managed to buy myself a ticket to London. Then at school I was interested in design on fabrics so I did a lot of screen printing. What’d you do when you left school? I went to Christchurch for my six-week university career. I ended up in kitchens. My mother taught me well and I had quite a good career in kitchens until my early 30s and then I decided that working in hospitality was incredibly antisocial and quite bad for me. I went back to my original passion which was textile design. I was living in Port Douglas (Queensland) at the time, and screen printing things for the tourist market there, and I soon became limited by my lack of skill, and came back to New Zealand and went back to school. I went to Nelson where I had two sisters, and studied clothing and

textile design for three years as a mid-30s student, which was great; a really good time to study. We were allowed into the classroom at any time and had our own keys; I pretty much spent three years in that building. I loved it. During the second year there was a lingerie component. Victoria McKenzie, my flatmate at the time, and I started making undies we were screen printing them at the polytech, and gave some away for birthday presents. People wanted more, and when I was at home for the holidays, my mother drove Victoria and me to Levin with $30 each in our pockets and took us to the Levana factory shop, where we spent those dollars on fabric, and that’s how we began making our things. People wanted to buy them. Then in the third year of the polytech course there was a business component, so I used Thunderpants and set it up as a real business. It was hilarious trying to persuade the bank manager that ‘comfy, styly undies that don’t go up your bum’ was a viable business model. That was twenty something years ago. Do you think women need to change their approach to careers and money? I’m not sure women need to change their approach – maybe men need to change their approach to women. How did you sell those first undies? In our holidays we’d do road trips throughout New Zealand, with the mocked-up cardboard display units, photocopied packaging, and hand printed sample



garments and get orders from shops to back up the loan request to the bank. Advertising was word of mouth and guerrilla paste-ups in cities, plus we had an exhibition of our printed undies that got national press coverage – some good, some not so much: mail order was done literally by mail or telephone. What did you do after Polytech? I moved home to the Wairarapa. Victoria was in Auckland, so I took over the company debt and the company. A couple of years later my sister Sophie joined the business and we haven’t looked back since. How did you get started? I opened a weekend shop in Martinborough in a hairdresser’s premises. I hired the shop for $20 a day, and for six weekends in a row went in on Friday evening and moved the old barber’s chair and all the furniture around and I turned the hairdresser into an underpants shop for Saturday mornings and then on Sunday nights back into a hairdresser so they could use it on Monday. On the strength of those six weekends we opened Thrive, a full-time shop in Martinborough, which we ran for eighteen years. We stocked all sorts of fabulous New Zealand labels alongside Thunderpants, and our own Thrive label, which we designed and had made in New Zealand as well. Thrive grew and there came a point where we needed to decide if we were to be fashion people or underpants people. We chose Thunderpants because it was less risk, more potential, we already had a niche market, and for our own sanity which was really quite high on the list. Closing our physical store and moving all our sales online was the best business decision ever. We lost a third of our turnover overnight and found that bigger is not always better. By the end of the first year our

were back to roughly the same turnover with less stress, fewer working hours, steady cashflow, and more money in the bank. Where are your customers from? Our customers are all over New Zealand and Australia. We wholesale all around New Zealand; it doesn’t make us any money, but it does get the product in the face of new customers. We look at it like paid advertising. To export we separated the company into a trading company and an intellectual property company and now Thunderpants NZ, Thunderpants USA, and Thunderpants UK or wherever, make under licence, and pay a royalty to our IPC. We’ve now got these people overseas who sell our product, and we’ve never even met them. We’ve never skyped or telephoned, we’ve done it all with emails. We’re friends on Facebook though. Why don’t you manufacture overseas? It might be cheaper. There is a huge difference between New Zealand-made and New Zealand-designed. It’s really important that we support New Zealand manufacturing. Our undies are sewn in Carterton. Sandra, the business owner, has worked with us for 20 years and her business has grown with ours. I constantly want to educate people on the importance of buying New Zealand-made quality products, or at least understanding what goes into it and the benefit of buying New Zealand-made. Directly and indirectly we employ seven people in Martinborough, seven in Carterton and more in Auckland, where we’re very keen to keep our primary screen-printer going. We are proud to be a provincial rurally-based company in an urban type of industry, and it would be awesome if there were incentives from the



government to encourage more businesses like this in the provinces. Should we have a buy NZ-made rule for the Government such as they’re trying in Queensland? I think that uniforms for police and so on should have some New Zealand component. We’ve lost nearly all our manufacturing base and it’s sad. It would be much harder to start up now. In the past 20 years the ability to get smallish quantities of fabric printed or these buttons or those zips has almost disappeared. Creativity shouldn’t be defined by cost. We used to muck around trying things and it might cost $50; these days to do the same thing might cost ten times as much. Nobody knits cotton here anymore. We get our cottons shipped in from Australia which is good because we use a stretch material made of 90% fair-trade cotton and 10% spandex, there are a lot of processes, and it’s highly scientific. They’re putting a lot of work into developing our product to a better standard. How did you learn about that? I’ve just picked it up over the years. I don’t know exactly how they do it, but I know when it’s right or not. They’re a team of keen young guys. You said you are as ‘green as possible’; How? We’re zero waste. We send no offcuts to landfill – rather give them away to crafters. And we sell bags of scrap at pretty much freight-only prices. Our bundle ties become garden ties. Did you have pocket money as a child? No, I made things and sold them, as well as doing jobs and pinching Dad’s loose change out of his pockets. I know you think it’s important to be philanthropic. Yes, very. We’re always getting asked for undies, and every year we do a thing called Philanthropants, a two-month campaign. And for two years we’ve done it with All Good bananas, supporting Kaibosh, and this last season we teamed with Pakaraka


Permaculture, small-plot farmers in the Thames area, supporting Project Grow which creates community gardens around New Zealand. We, ridiculously, gave away more in money and product last year, than dropped out the bottom as profit. Did you have trouble borrowing money from that bank manager? I got turned down by multiple bank managers. It had to be underwritten by my father really. But we got rid of that quite quickly and since then it’s always been growth on cash flow. It’s only since we’ve bought property and built a building here that we’ve actually been in a borrowing situation. What do you invest in other than Thunderpants? My twelve-year-old daughter. Did your attitude to money change once you became a parent? Yes. I’d been single for a long time, and been able to whip off here and there and do whatever I liked, but as soon as there were two dependents, because my partner hasn’t been able to work much because of his health … but he’s getting back into his groove. Have you got health insurance? Yes Have you got a Kiwsaver account? Yes Do you invest in shares? No but I quite fancy the idea. Wait until I get rid of my mortgage. What made you motivated to work so hard? Being self-employed is much preferable to working for someone else. I think I’m unemployable now. There must have been some stressful times? The mantra, when the world gets a bit out of perspective, is “It’s only pants”. Where do you go from here? Maybe some more customers in Australia would be good. There’s Europe to do – that will be under licence though – and it could involve quite a lot of travelling. We’ll like that. Our daughter will like the idea of that too.

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M A RY, M A RY Is your Little Garden a collection of mouldy pots on your window sill? Well, now’s the time to be re-planting them. The Stack-a-Pot vertical garden system is a great option if you have limited space or just want a pretty and practical way to keep an indoor garden. Available in four colours, each Stack-a-Pot layer holds 20 litres of potting mix to allow for substantial plant growth. They’re made from UV-stabilised materials and feature a patented internal irrigation system. Available exclusively from Twiglands.




With warmer weather on the way, it’s a good time to think about swapping the bus for a bike. If you’re a bit nervous, Pedal Ready offer free cycle skills training for children and adults in the Wellington region. Marilyn Northcotte, who has been instrumental in the development of the Pedal Ready programme, was recently nominated for the Outstanding Contribution to a Bike-Friendly Future Award at the 2017 Bike to the Future Awards. Winners on 19 October.

Roger Beattie’s Weka Woo beanies come with a single weka feather. The feather is a symbol of Roger’s struggle to farm the endangered Buff Weka as a means of saving them from extinction. ‘No farmed species as ever died out,’ he says. Since he started farming them in 1994 Roger has given hundreds of Buff Weka to wildlife reserves. It is an offence to sell protected wildlife, including their feathers, under the Wildlife Act but this renegade conservationist maintains he is not selling the feathers – they come free with the hat.

Wellington Fireplace got an early birthday present. Last month one of their gas fireplace manufacturers, Dunedin-based Escea, won a TVNZ Marketing Award for their retail brand ‘Stoke Fireplace Studio’. Esceas feature a closed combustion system so the heat goes into the room not up the chimney, and uses powered direct vent technology, which keeps your home free of moisture and fumes. Wellington Fireplace, which is celebrating their 25th this month, is home to the only Stoke Fireplace Studio showroom in the Lower North Island.



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F a ke i t t i l l yo u m a ke i t A vegan and a meat-lover sit down at a table, and what sounds like a set-up for a punch line becomes a fake-meat tasting from the opposite ends of the spectrum. Our office vegan, LAURA PITCHER, looks at the issue.


s with reality TV and Uber Eats, New Zealand has been arguably slow at jumping on the fake meat bandwagon. I remember visiting the UK more than 10 years ago and being amazed at the meat alternatives that weren't available back home. This could be because meat is such a part of Kiwi culture and of our economy. Statistically, we’re big meat eaters. We rank number seven in the world, with our neighbours in Australia ranking first. The OECD calculated that in 2015 New Zealanders on average ate 72.8kg per capita of meat, which is more than double the world’s average. Still, slowly but surely, meat alternatives are making their way onto our shelves. There’s no doubt that meat production has serious environmental implications, which is why a meat-free diet has long been sold as an environmentally better choice. Growing plants to feed to an animal before eating the animal is less environmentally effective than eating the plant. The reality is, ultimately, not so simple. Not all meat has the same environmental impact, and neither do all plants. Lettuce, broccoli, rice, nuts and potatoes, for example, all have a significant carbon footprint. New Zealand is known for farming two of the most environmentally costly meats on offer: beef and lamb. A USA study estimated that beef requires 28 times as much land, and 11 times as much water, and produces five times as much greenhouse gas emissions as dairy, poultry and egg production. Agresearch had similar findings on the Co2 emissions of lamb farming in New Zealand. They found that lamb produces a whopping 19kg


of Co2 per kg. Compare that with another popular New Zealand export, the kiwifruit, which only produces 1.77kg of Co2 per kg. In 2015, New Zealand farmed around 29.1 million sheep and 10 million cattle, and the effect on our rivers and other natural resources is becoming increasingly apparent. Over-farming was a frequently raised topic in relation to this year's election, but does that mean the New Zealand public is ready to give up their 72.8kg of meat a year for a plant based alternative? Winston Peters called for action against fake meat earlier this year, arguing that it is challenging the quality of our exports and calling it a ‘blatant mis-description’. And he is not alone. The thought of fake meat tends not to make the public’s mouths water. But perhaps the fear of the unknown could be overcome once fake meat becomes more, well, known. For vegans like me, fake meat is always going to be a win because it’s something we can add to the list of things we can eat. But for meat-lovers, it’s all about the taste. When customers who haven’t had meat in years claim that the alternative tastes ‘just like the real thing’ it is time to do a taste test. So I looked around the Capital office for the most meat-loving, moleskin-wearing man I could find. Griff likes hunting and fishing and his wardrobe has been described as ‘bush meets office’. We sat down to dine together and tried the New Zealand-made meat alternatives on offer, to see if any of them might be an authentic-tasting, ecofriendly replacement for the real deal.


3 1 2

1 The Alternative Meat Co Chicken Free Strips 2 Angel Food Vegan Salami Slices

3 Angel Food Smoked Salmon Alternative

4 The Alternative Meat Co Beef Free Chunks

Main ingredients




The verdict

Soy flour, soy protein, calcium carbonate

Good shape but colour isn’t really like chicken.

This is yum. I want an extra bit.

This texture is better than beef. Very close to chicken.

I think it tastes like chicken, which actually makes me feel weird.

Gluten flower, coconut oil, soy

Carrots, oil, seaweed

It’s not as white as chicken, kind of green.

Looks close to salami but with funny orangecoloured bits.

Actually quite nice.

It’s odd. I think the bits look Definitely different good. It almost could but quite good. pass for salami. It’s very Nice spices. fancy but wack in colour. I feel slightly scared of eating it. Looks like salmon. It looks like salmon a lot. Can see carrot but overall looks good.

Soy flour, soy protein, spice

It is good but not particularly chicken.

This really looks like beef chunks. Good beefy colour. It just looks like super-processed beef.

The vegan

Feels like you’re eating salami. I agree. The texture is a straight 9/10. Felt realistic.

I like.

On a pizza it would taste like salami. This one was easily my favourite. I’d want to try it in a cheese toastie.

I hate it. It doesn’t Slime. taste fishy at all, just Carrot left in like slimy carrot. oil for days. Gunky carrot.

Never had salmon before but I don’t want this in my life.

The strong smoky It almost pulls flavour takes some apart like beef. getting used to. It’s close. It is very smoky. But also has a Good beef flavour. very soft squish and no fibrous deliciousness.

It’s quite different from tofu and does feel ‘meaty’ to eat.

The meat-lover 65

Yes, although still lacks the fibrousness.

No thanks. But it definitely had a few similarities. On a cracker with cheese maybe.

Very close to meat, but also not. As a beef-lover it was always going to be tough to impress me.

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Crayfish Name: Crayfish, aka red crayfish, “cray”, red rock lobster or spiny rock lobster. Māori names: Kōura, kōura moana, matapara, matapuku Scientific name: Jasus edwardsii Looks like: Similar to a lobster proper but without the large pincers, red crayfish are dark red and orange with yellowish abdomens, with a pair of long antennae projecting from their heads which help the creatures explore and serve to poke and frighten off potential predators. They can grow to 23 cm long and can exceed 8 kgs in under-fished or protected areas. Another species of cray encountered on New Zealand’s coastlines is the green packhorse crayfish, which are olive-green in colour and can be twice as large. Habitat: Kōura are found throughout New Zealand coastal waters, living in and around reefs at depths of five to 275 metres. Feeds on: During the day crayfish hide out in cracks and holes, emerging at night to hunt for sea stars, kina, crabs and shellfish. Catch: If you’re diving, you’ll want to find a nice, rocky shoreline that continues underwater, harbouring the deep cracks that cray love to hide in, and get right down to their level so you can see under rocks and into the backs of caves. Once you’ve spotted one it’s a good idea to take a moment to look around and plan your next move as they are rarely found alone. Some divers use a cray snare to increase their chances of hooking

a cray once they have spotted it, and for reaching into deeper caves. If you’re going for a hand grab, move with confidence and ensure you get a good grip on the antlers and head. Decent gloves are a must. You can also catch cray without getting wet if you have a craypot. One top tip if you’re setting pots for the first time is to line a few up perpendicular to the shore. If one pot is successful, the rest can be shifted to line up parallel with that one. Cook: Be sure to euthanise your crayon humanely by putting them in the freezer. If boiling them, use seawater (or water with salt added) and cook for 6–12 minutes depending on their size, or until their shells turn bright orange. You can also cut them down the middle, remove the mustard-coloured liver and grill them on the BBQ with some butter, lemon or lime, garlic and chilli. Did you know? Juvenile crayfish have been known on occasion to undertake extraordinary migrations – it’s been reported that crays tagged in Otago have been re-tagged in Fiordland after walking against the current down the Southland coast, around the southern tip of Stewart Island, then up the Fiordland coast towards South Westland. The reason for these migrations is unknown. If they were human they would be: Keen explorers who are prone to random migrations and happy to bed down in a cramped space with many others? Kōura could be a suitable spirit animal for the many New Zealanders enjoying the country’s great walks.

Remarkably Fresh Fish

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A LITTLE BIT OF R I TA I S A L L I N E E D Tucked away at 89 Aro St, in a former worker’s cottage built in 1910, is Rita. The product of hard work from the good folk at Nikau, Rita is named after head chef Kelda Haines’ grandmother, who was coincidentally born in 1910. Simplicity and seasonality are important aspects of the menu at Rita. At a fixed cost of $65 Rita presents a set menu of three courses, which varies according to the availability and quality of produce, and is tweaked daily. The small size of the cottage dictates two dining sessions, the first at 5.30pm and the second at 7.30pm. Bookings are essential.




The Hutt City’s favourite art gallery, The Dowse, has a new eatery. Bellbird has replaced Reka. Guy Littlejohn, from Revive in Petone, has brought an interpretation of the popular Vietnamese chicken salad with him. Our contact at the Dowse says the Huevos Rancheros are proving extremely popular too. Open seven days a week, plus dinner on Thursday and Friday.

Whittaker’s have been named New Zealand’s ‘Most Loved Brand’ for the sixth consecutive year in a Colmar Brunton survey. This is in addition to being named “Most trusted brand” in a Reader’s Digest survey, also for the sixth consecutive time, earlier this year. It is still a family-owned business making all its product in one factory in Porirua.

Full-time pharmaceutical company sales rep Jo McAlpine has taken out one of two supreme awards at the New Zealand Chocolate Awards. McAlpine’s salted caramel and sesame bon-bon was described as texturally interesting by head judge Luke Owen Smith, of the Wellington Chocolate Bar. McAlpine’s produce can currently be purchased only at La Bella Italia in Petone.










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GREEN BEANS There are more than 400 coffee roasting machines in New Zealand, but Geoff Marsland of Havana Coffee works says they have the only eco-friendly mass-production roaster in New Zealand. It can roast up to 10 tonnes per week, using 80% less energy and releasing 80% less emissions than the typical roaster. This, according to Marsland, is achieved because of a unique ability to ‘burn its own smoke.’ It is also said to improve the flavour of their beans. Designed in Germany and built in San Francisco, the machine cost half a million dollars.




New Zealand uses 1.6 billion plastic bags per year. That is 348 plastic bags per person. To help reduce the number, Countdown and New World have altered their online shopping and delivery system. At the end of your online order, there is an area labelled ‘Special Request’ where you can type a request to have your groceries delivered in a box, rather than bags.

Lombard St in Wellington’s CBD is undergoing a series of facelifts to make it a shared space and also more inviting at night. One of the businesses that will benefit is Pickle and Pie, which has just opened at 2 Lombard St. They are a modern take on a New York delicatessen, serving classic deli staples, such as pastrami sandwiches.

Garage Project have undertaken various ‘projects’ to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their positive social impact. One is Mashbones, in which the mash left over after a craft beer brew is combined with beef, dried and cut into bite-sized nutritious, healthy treats for dogs. They were developed with dog experts, and were finalists at the 2017 sustainable business awards. Garage Project also recycles broken pallets for art, and misprinted paper with The Misprint Co.




S H E A R E R S ' TA B L E

Ha lloumi and blueberry sa lad with fennel flatbreads BY N I K K I & J O R DA N S H E A R E R


s the weather gets warmer and we begin to glimpse the summer to come (fingers crossed it’s a goodie this year) we thought it was time to explore some salad ideas for fresh, healthy eating. While spring is playful and pretty, summer is the time for partying and this recipe would be great to add to your entertaining repertoire. Think laid-back days, beaches, bonfires and the familiar smell of sun-block. We absolutely love salads with halloumi –


Serves 2–4 Salad

½ cup rice bran oil ¼ cup black rice 1 head broccoli, sliced 1 tsp sesame oil 1 Tbsp olive oil Flaky sea salt 200g Zany Zeus halloumi, sliced 2 cups baby kale, washed 1 punnet blueberries, washed ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted Large handful Italian flat leafed parsley (or your choice of herbs)


Juice 1 lemon 1 tsp dijon mustard 2 Tbsp runny honey 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 3 Tbsp olive oil 3 Tbsp frozen blueberries, pureed Salt and pepper

a delicious grillable Greek treat, matched perfectly with fresh blueberries and toasted almonds. Wellington is home to Zany Zeus and we have used their halloumi in this recipe. It‘s inspired by cheese-maker Michael Matsis’s mother, whose halloumi inspired the creation of Zany Zeus and the introduction of a traditional Cypriot halloumi cheese to the New Zealand market. Team this salad with deliciously moreish flatbreads, which we can assure you will soon become a firm family favourite.


Salad 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

In a small, deep pan or pot bring the rice bran oil to deep frying temperature (test by adding one grain of black rice and it should puff up in 3–4 seconds). Add all of the black rice and fry until puffed. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. In a large pan saute the broccoli in the sesame and olive oil until just cooked and starting to colour. Remove, season with salt and set aside to cool. In the same pan, grill the halloumi slices on both sides until golden brown. In a small jar add the dressing ingredients and shake until combined. Assemble all the salad ingredients on a platter and drizzle with the blueberry dressing.

Fennel flatbreads 7. 8. 9.

Fennel flatbreads


4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 tsp fennel seeds ⅓ cup good quality olive oil 4 pita breads, halved horizontally 50g shaved parmesan

11. 12. 13. 14.

Turn oven to 180°C. Mix together garlic, fennel seeds and olive oil. Slice pita breads in half horizontally and place on a flat oven tray. Evenly spread and drizzle the olive oil mix on top of the breads. Top the pitas with the shaved parmesan. Bake for 18–20 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and chop randomly. Demolish.


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Bubble hubbub BY J O E L L E T H O M S O N

A large Marlborough winery is swimming against the tide by increasing production of its top-shelf fizz.


ew Zealand winemakers enjoy great commercial success with high-volume, low-priced sparkling, but it’s the top shelf stuff that really gets me going. It’s modestly priced, compared with its classic European counterparts (we’re talking champagne here), and New Zealand’s bottle-fermented sparkling wine can meet the best of them head-on, when it comes to quality. New Zealand’s cool climate, burgeoning South Island wine industry and exceptional commercial success with white wines all bode well for the growth of high-quality sparkling wine, so it seems surprising that few wineries focus on it. All of which makes it heartening to hear Jane Hunter, managing director of Hunter Wines, announce that she is increasing production of her fizz, MiruMiru. This is the 20th anniversary of MiruMiru, which is Māori for bubbles, and it has just won for the third year

in a row, the top award for New Zealand wines at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships in London. Hunter’s Wines was the second Marlborough winery to go into bubbly production. Jane used the winemaking expertise of consultant Dr Tony Jordan, a sparkling wine specialist, from day one of Hunter’s sparkling wine production, for advice on choice of grape varieties, aging and production processes. Producing sparkling wine is not a cheap exercise but, done well, it can be an extremely tasty one. ‘In our mind’s eye, we are modelling MiruMiru on Bollinger, and over the past decade, we have modified our winemaking methods to enhance the complexity of MiruMiru. These methods include using a higher proportion of barrel fermentation for the base wines 73


and using old oak (with the occasional low proportion of new oak) as well as incorporating a higher percentage of reserve wines where possible,’ explains winemaker James McDonald. So, MiruMiru gets plenty of taste-enhancing processes before its second fermentation in the bottle, where the CO2 from fermentation dissolves into the wine, creating the bubbles we love. There are three wines in the MiruMiru range; Hunter’s MiruMiru NV, Hunter’s MiruMiru Rose NV and the vintage dated reserve wine, the 2013 Hunter’s MiruMiru. ‘High end bubbly has a huge amount of capital tied up in making it, due to the tank space it takes up, the barrel space we need to allocate for it and the money we don’t make while we are aging the wines, so we will

be judicious about how much we increase production,’ says Jordan. Hunter agrees, saying that she doesn’t want to grow her sparkling wine production ‘too much’ because of the sheer cost of stock tied up in aging. That said, she is committed to increasing Hunter’s fizz production, as are their winemakers James McDonald and Inus Van Der Westhuizen. This year is not the first time I have tasted MiruMiru bubbles in a line up but it is the first time I have seen such a pronounced difference between the three styles. I am very impressed by the high quality and affordability of these wines. MiruMiru’s yeasty complexity, fresh crisp acidity and long finish makes it outstanding value for money at NZ$29.99.

Top fizzy drop

Post script on MiruMiru Hunter’s was the second winery ever to produce bubblies according to the traditional technique used in the Champagne region, creating bubbles in the bottle during a second fermentation. This results in a greater density of bubbles and massively more complex, yeasty flavours than making sparkling wines in sealed tanks, where the CO2 from fermentation dissolves into the wine. Hunter’s Wines was founded by Ernie Hunter in 1979. He made his first wine in 1982 and the first sparkling was produced in 1987 and named Hunter’s Marlborough Estate Brut. Jane Hunter took over the winery in 1987. It is still an independent family-owned winery.

If you like BBCs, try these


Hunter’s MiruMiru NV $29.99 MiruMiru NV is fresh, clean and full bodied, with intense flavours but a light touch − pronounced fresh bakery flavours add depth to the refreshing style of this bubbly, which is modelled on the world’s best, but is vastly more affordable.

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S OA P Y SORCERESS By Sharon Greally Marcela Carvalho is more used to creating in restaurant kitchens than underground. From Brazil, Marcela moved to Wellington after partying and cheffing in Queenstown for a few a years, but she was ready for something different. She was ready for a quieter, more simple life. She arrived in Wellington two years ago, and has worked at some local cafes. 'I love the cool lifestyle, the hipsters, the weather!' She says she fell in love with the city, and a local. But one day, 'I googled "How To Make Soap" and Underground Soapery was created.' She and her partner have set up their soapery in the garage under their house in Stokes Valley. They make artisan all-natural plant based soaps, body butters, bath bombs and salts. They make their products from natural vegetable oils and butters. Like themselves, all their products are vegan. They only use essential oils – no palm tree oils, and no synthetic fragrances or artificial colours are used in their products. ‘Being vegan, we don't use beeswax, so we're currently experimenting with sunflower wax to harden the soaps’. ‘Our bath bombs are made using only Epsom salts and Himalayan pink salt.’ ‘We don’t use microbeads which are so bad for the environment. We use upcycled coffee grounds instead. We are totally environmentally friendly. I make my own paper bags out of old books and magazines – there's no plastic used. Each pack is unique. I collect old jars


to reuse. We keep our rubbish to a minimum, and we are committed to reduce, reuse and recycle‘. Even her moulds are made out of recycled nut milk cartons, and things she likes the shape of in op shops. Carvalho wants to keep the business small. ‘We don't want to create a global footprint. We want to encourage people to live better, healthier lifestyles,’ and to think about their products' provenance. Where does it come from? How did it get here? She wants to encourage people to buy local. ‘It's a vicious cycle’, says Marcela. ‘It's hugely frustrating to see the Amazon [rainforest] cut down, animals lose their habitats,’ for our consumption. If we all do what we can do, we can make this world a better more sustainable place. Marcela’s partner also makes furniture for their home, and stalls for the market, out of old wooden pallets. Even the cats’ scratching posts are made from recycled materials. Their business cards and labels are all hand-typed by Marcela on an old typewriter she found in an op-shop. ‘Our business cards are the coolest’, she smiles. ‘Handmade, rustic, and recyclable’. With combinations such as lavender and eucalyptus with rosehip seeds, lemongrass and coconut milk, activated charcoal and peppermint, and sweet orange with turmeric and poppy seeds with lavender, these are almost good enough to eat. Find them at the Riverbank Market Lower Hutt, Vegan Vault in Wellington.

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BOOK OR BOOKS? In 1923, 19-year-old dancer Phyllis Porter died after her tinsel dress flicked against an electrical switchboard and caught fire onstage at Wellington’s Opera House. Nearly a century later, Nina Powles (24) was waiting in line for the Opera House loo when she saw a framed newspaper cutting about her death behind the door. Porter’s story inspired 12 of the poems in Powles’ first full-length poetry collection Luminescent (Seraph Press, $35). The collection‘s format is distinctive. Slotted into in a hardback box folder, its five zines each feature poems about a different New Zealand woman.




Lawyer Brent Williams has self-published a graphic novel, Out of The Woods, to tell his story of a decade-long battle with debilitating anxiety and depression. With gorgeous illustrations by Korkut Öztekin, the comic-bookstyle pages feature simple dialogue and narration, weave in the latest medical research and share tools for recovery. Founder of the Wellington Community Law Centre, Williams writes about his terror of his father, the late property developer Sir Arthur Williams.

At the Book Trade Industry Awards, Ruth McIntyre from The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award on her own and her late husband John’s behalf. Wellington publishers cleaned up, with children’s publisher Gecko Press winning Nielsen Publisher of the Year, for its ‘innovative and successful brand’. The Special Industry Award went to Victoria University Press, whose titles won five Ockham NZ Book Awards this year.

Zora Patrick, a Year 12 student at Wellington High, won the International Institute of Modern Letters’ National Schools Poetry Award for her poem Dampening, about a man floating and diving at the seaside. Zora won $500, and books worth $500 for her school library, and will attend a poetry masterclass with judge Ashleigh Young and fellow poet James Brown, alongside the nine other shortlisted poets. Read the top ten at

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No secrets P H OTO G R A P H BY A N N A B R I G G S

Elspeth Sandys had already forgiven those who’d done her wrong. Writing her memoirs was more about forgiving herself. She talks to SARAH LANG.


lspeth Sandys admits she has terrible taste in men. The awarded author of novels, short stories, memoir and radio plays isn’t referring to her first marriage of eight years (which ended fairly amicably) but to her second, 13-year marriage to actor Bruce Purchase and her subsequent eight-year marriage to literary great Maurice Shadbolt. The three men have since died, but the latter two crop up in Sandys’ new memoir Casting Off (OUP, $35). Sandys’ son and daughter, who are close to their mother, didn’t want to be written about, so she’s written around them. As honest and eloquent as her memoir of childhood What Lies Beneath (2014), Casting Off begins as Sandys marries aged 20 and becomes a theatre actor. She moved from Auckland to London aged 29, after her first divorce. There, as a jobbing actor, she met Purchase, a New Zealand-born character actor. Sandys doesn’t try to ‘write around’ his misuse of money. ‘Well, it did affect my life rather dramatically. His financial disasters were so outrageous and I was so naïve for so long.’ In Casting Off, Sandys describes their decade living in a Cotswolds village (Ascott-u-Wychwood) that she dearly loved, and her regret at selling their home there (which she paid for) at Purchase’s insistence. They split soon after, when Purchase admitted an affair and suggested he continue both relationships. Sandys threw up in the pub carpark. She also throws up when good news comes. ‘Because it might go away.’ Casting Off ends when Sandys and Shadbolt begin a long-distance relationship (they met in England as friends). After 21 years in England, Sandys moved in with Shadbolt in Titirangi, West Auckland. There will be no third memoir, but Sandys knows many will treat her novel Obsession (Upstart Press, $34.00) as just that. “You can’t deny it, but these are echoes of my life, not retellings’.


Published in March, it’s an absorbing read about a well known, charismatic writer and hermit called Dick. Obsessed with his writing, his literary standing and his isolated house, he professes instant love for Tessa, moves her in, manipulates and undermines her, has multiple affairs, and eventually replaces her. Dick doesn’t like women, but punishes them because he needs them. Meanwhile the narrator, a poet, loves Tessa. Sandys abandoned a draft of Obsession many years ago, then suddenly realised how to structure it. ‘I couldn’t really change the story, couldn’t mute it or clean it up much. It just was.’ Shadbolt and Sandys split after eight years. ‘He replaced me with Barbara Magner [then his ex-wife]. There was always a spare: someone he was keeping warm in case. What he needed from a woman, no woman could give: filling the hollows that made him desperately unhappy. I told him ‘You should be a monk with an underground passage to get to the nuns, then return to being a monk.’ Shadbolt died in 2004 after suffering dementia. In 2005, Sandys returned to England for a year’s writing residency. Considering staying, she applied for the British pension, to which you contribute weekly over your working life. ‘Bruce had handled our finances, and I thought he was ‘paying in’ for my pension – I was usually the breadwinner – but he was only ‘paying in’ for his.’ Her only option was suing Purchase. ‘I said “It’s pointless, he’s always bankrupt.”’ With no pension to supplement her writing, she couldn’t move back to Ascott-u-Wychwood. Sick of Auckland, Sandys moved to Wellington eight years ago, mainly to be nearer her daughter. “Now I wouldn’t live anywhere else in New Zealand.” She lives in a small art-deco apartment in Mount Victoria, and enjoys the theatre and music.


A ‘geographic schizophrenic’, she spends three or four months in the UK most years, seeing her son, friends, and literary agent. She hasn’t had another relationship since Shadbolt, and doubts she will. ‘I’m safe on my own. I don’t trust myself with men. I yield too easily then I get resentful.’ She thinks her relationships were affected by the ‘screwed-up sexuality’ of her adoptive mother, Alice Alley. Madness ran in the Alley family. Alice’s mother (also Alice Alley) was dragged around the backblocks by her bush-clearing husband Henry Alley. On 25 November 1897, Alice senior tried to drown herself and her six children in the river. She died with Rose, three weeks, and Lucy May, 18 months. The four eldest survived, including Alice, seven. Henry remarried and had 12 more children. Alice slaved as a nursemaid until she ran away aged 28, became a nurse, and eventually married much-older businessman Tom Somerville. The Dunedin couple adopted a son John, who Alice loved, then Elspeth, who Alice never pretended to love. Elspeth’s adored elderly father largely protected her from Alice’s vitriol. Sandys thinks Alice had manic depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and possibly post-menopausal syndrome. ‘There was a great shame around mental illness. My father’s family said “Aunt Alice is just a bit strange.”’ When Tom died, Elspeth was 14, John was at boarding school, and Alice was sicker. Each breakdown saw Alice go unwillingly to an asylum where she received electroconvulsive therapy, and sometimes tranquillisers. During her ‘islands of reprieve’ at home, Alice yelled ‘Jezebel’ at Elspeth if she spotted her in public, and burned Elspeth’s ‘disgusting’ period-stained underpants. After Alice lunged at her with a knife, Elspeth jumped out a window and stayed with family friends for extended periods. Still, Elspeth lived on and off with her mother – and was under Alice’s legal and financial control – until she married aged 20. In the absence of an agency like CYFS back


then, does she think an adult should have advocated for her? ‘Yes, I do,’ she says quietly. Sandys doesn’t blame her mother. ‘I do forgive her. She was terribly sick.’ Has she forgiven everyone? ‘Everyone except Margaret Thatcher!’ Does she ever think she’s had very bad luck? ‘Things have happened that made life very difficult. But I’m not in a refugee camp. Had I been brought up by my real mother, who everyone adored, I probably would have had a happy life, because I’m a very positive person. But then I probably wouldn’t have written a word, because I think you write to understand or distract yourself from your life.’ Motherhood brought great happiness. ‘If I’d been more fertile, I’d probably have 12 children!’ Sandys knew nothing about her biological parents until her middle age. The search proved difficult, but eventually she discovered her birth mother’s name. Betty James – who had married, without children – had died. But Sandys met her extended family. Sandys also visited her biological father Ken Tompkins once. His wife asked for no further contact. In What Lies Beneath, Sandys imagines scenes and dialogue to fills the gaps around the facts surrounding her conception in New Plymouth. She imagines Ken (a family friend) taking Betty (just jilted by her fiancé) for a drive. The pair never met again. ‘I’m the bad news my parents never wanted to hear,’ Sandys writes. Ken was married with his third child due, and Betty was under intense financial and social pressure to adopt out the child. So ‘Frances Hilton James’ spent her first nine months in the Truby King Harris Hospital. Oddly, what Sandys discovered about the circumstances of her adoption closely resembled the adoption in her earlier novel River Lines. Sandys has published nine novels and two shortstory collections, and all but her earliest fiction draws from her life ‘capital’. ‘For me, there isn’t a great difference between writing fiction and memoir.’

However, she often ponders the nature of memoir. ‘You must respect the truth even though you won’t reach it. You don’t deliberately invent or falsify something.’ Writing her memoirs was, in part, an attempt to forgive herself for her lifelong ‘obsessive need’ to please others and avoid conflict. As a reader, I kept silently urging her to stand up for herself, especially financially. Sandys laughs sadly at that. ‘I was feeble. I’ve left myself without much to leave my kids. But I don’t feel I need more than I’ve got.’ Having a Queen’s Honour (ONZM) doesn’t guarantee a steady income nor a queue of publishers. ‘I could paper a wall with the rejections and nasty reviews.’ Feeling fiction was failing her or vice versa, in 2003 she took a 10-year break from fiction, focusing mainly on writing radio plays, largely for the BBC. Next up is a biography of her adoptive mother’s cousin Rewi Alley (1897–1987), a communist who spent 60 years establishing schools and industrial co-operatives in China. Visiting China in April for research, Sandys met vice-president Li Yuanchao at a banquet held in Alley’s honour. She’s annoyed she’s lost all but one of many letters Alley sent her. ‘I don’t have anything valuable because I’ll break or lose it.’ Describing herself as a socialist and a pacifist, the former ‘foot-dragging Anglican’ also considers herself ‘a Pope Francis Christian’ whose aim is ‘to be loving’. She’s unsure if there’s life after death. ‘I do believe this life can’t be all it’s about, because the people I love who have died haven’t gone away. They’re still very vivid and real to me.’ Sandys, who writes about once seeing a ghost, sometimes wakes and feels her father’s presence. ‘You know, I snuffed it once.’ Giving birth to her son in hospital, she haemorrhaged with no medical staff in the room. ‘I felt pulled into this beautiful, sweet-smelling tunnel, but I was trying to get back to my daughter.’ A nurse noticed just in time. Sandys has no problem sharing so many intimate things about herself. ‘We should all be open. Everyone would be happier if they weren’t carrying around secrets.’


A c o m f r ey setting W R I TT E N BY S H A RO N ST E P H E N S O N P H OTO G R A P H Y BY S I M O N N E A L E


rive past the Otaki shops and take a right off State Highway One. Meander past paddocks thick with daffodils and a driveway lined with gum trees like sentinels, where you’ll probably have to circumnavigate the odd chicken. It’s here you’ll find the home of Alexis Murti. The two-acre setting makes perfect sense when you meet the cheese-maker whose company Curious Cook runs cheese-and pasta-making workshops around the lower North Island. If it all sounds very Good Life, that’s because it is. Alexis and her husband Raj bought the rural property almost 10 years ago, pursuing their desire to live as sustainably as possible. They arrived with son Levi (now 9), and Elijah (7) joined the family soon after. The couple were from Wellington, but couldn’t find a large rural property close to the capital that fit their budget. So they widened their search. ‘Raj’s sister lived in Otaki so we had some connection to the area,’ says Alexis. ‘But it didn’t bother us that we had to move out of


Wellington if it meant we could live the way we wanted to.’ For Alexis, that involved recreating the childhood she’d enjoyed on a lifestyle block out the back of Wainuiomata, where she and her two younger sisters and brother had roamed free, camped out and were as energetic as they liked. ‘We wanted our kids to have that same experience,’ says Raj, who was born in Fiji but moved with his family to Khandallah when he was 13. The couple were drawn to this property by the four paddocks and the fact that the previous owners had renovated the fourbedroom villa. ‘It meant that we didn’t have to do much to the house, although I had big plans for the land because the reason for moving here was to become more self-sufficient and give back to the land, while giving our children the benefit of a country lifestyle,’ says Alexis. The couple met in 2001 when they both worked for Telecom (now Spark ) – Alexis in sales, Raj in finance – before moving



to London for their OE. During those five years Alexis discovered her green thumb. ‘Although my father is a fantastic landscaper and totally transformed my parents’ 10-acre Moore’s Valley Road property, I was a bit indifferent about gardening,’ admits Alexis. But the couple’s East End flat came with a tiny garden, where she sowed some potatoes and flowers. ‘They grew and so did my love of gardening. I’m not a terribly creative person but the garden is my canvas. It’s definitely my happy place.’ It’s taken a decade, but Alexis has managed to coax at least 500sqm of their land into an organic veggie garden where she grows everything from cauliflower and leeks to broccoli and aubergines, and an orchard where she replaced the three spindly apple trees with plum, pear, peach, nectarine, lemon, lime and fig trees. A portion of the garden is also given over to an extensive herb garden where, alongside the usual suspects, are plants I’m unable to find a name for. ‘That’s comfrey,’ says Alexis, pointing out the herb she calls her ‘secret ingredient’. ‘Comfrey is key in organic gardening because it helps to keep insects away and puts nutrients back into the soil.’ Spend any time with this couple and it’s


clear that green is more than just a colour on a palette to them. They use no sprays on the garden, employ salt to get rid of weeds on the driveway and, until recently, had four sheep (“They’re in the freezer now,” jokes Alexis). The firewood comes from their land, and the eggs from two rescued battery-farm chickens, and they’re thinking about installing solar panels. ‘We’re living the eco-friendly dream and proud of it!’ Making cheese, which Alexis discovered when hearing notable cheesemaker Catherine Mowbray speak, is also part of their sustainable plan. ‘I was listening to her on the radio and she said making cheese was really easy, so I thought I’d give it a go.’ Cheese-loving Raj enrolled his wife in a cheesemaking course at the New Zealand Cheese School (‘He was thinking of his belly’) and she was hooked. The tutor was Mindi Clews, a New Zealand cheese master, who subsequently asked Alexis to assist with the classes, which she did for 18 months. ‘I basically washed a lot of dishes but learned an incredible amount about making cheese from Mindi.’ When her son’s kindergarten was fundraising, Alexis ran a cheesmaking course. .



‘I was nervous but it went really well and gave me the confidence to do more.’ In 2012, Mindi announced that she was keen to move on and asked if Alexis would like to take over the company. By that stage, Alexis was totally smitten with cheesemaking, so jumped at the chance. Since then, she has put hundreds of kilometres under her tyres, driving from Wellington to Palmerston North and the Wairarapa, running classes where she teaches groups how to make creamy Mozzarella and halloumi as well as a flavoursome farmhouse cheddar, a runny brie and camembert and a sharp feta. As much as possible, cheeses are made with fresh milk Alexis sources from a local farmer. The hands-on classes run from between two to five and a half hours, depending on the type of cheese being made. Alexis’ classes have proved popular with corporate and teambuilding events. Probably her favourite class so far was the one she recently ran for chefs and staff of Wellington restaurant Charley Noble. ‘Naturally, I was nervous teaching great chefs how to make Mozzarella, but it was a lot of fun and I loved watching them turn the cheese they’d made into canapes.’

She also teaches people how to make pasta, such as tagliatelle, lasagne and spaghetti, from scratch. ‘I love getting back to basics with cheese and pasta, taking something simple like milk or flour and turning it into delicious food.’ Alexis recently started a full-time job at Tuatara in Paraparaumu, where she’s responsible for sales of the popular craft beer. She’s not the only one in her household who has had a career change: in July, Raj gave up his job as a manager in the public service to start his own business testing houses for residues of drugs such as methamphetamine. ‘There’s a huge need for this service and Raj loves being his own boss. It also provides much more flexibility with the kids.’ Next on the wish-list for this eco-friendly family is two goats, which Alexis hopes will provide a source of fresh milk. ‘It’s a natural progression because we’re all about reducing our carbon footprint and being able to grow and produce most of our food. I think we’ve got the best of both worlds – living the good rural life but not being too far from the city.’



Wh a t wo u l d D e i r d r e d o? CHEAP DATE



What do you think is a good non-cheesy thing to do for a date that is free? I’m always struggling to find date ideas on a tight budget. Dateable but poor, Roseneath

My neighbour thinks it’s okay to send her grandkids over to our house while we’re smack-bang in the middle of dinner. We don’t mind her grandkids over now and then, but every night during dinner is getting silly! I want to leave a note in her mailbox, but is this too harsh? Self-confessed curmudgeon, Melling

I have diabetes and my partner couldn’t be less understanding. It’s annoying sitting down at night to watch telly and he’s munching back a bag of lollies. I’ve talked to him about changing his diet, it wouldn’t hurt him to eat less junk, but he’s not interested. Help! Blood sugars rising, Aotea

Talk to them all and just send the children home straight away a couple of times. This is absolutely not something to have happen on a regular basis. Make a point of inviting them to dinner? Sounds like they like visiting though and that is lovely. But put mealtimes off limits – now!

Tricky, but it is you who have the diabetes and you need to find a way to cope. Let him know how you feel, but make yourself a delicious platter of treats you can eat and settle in together – or get off the sofa and go for a walk.

Being together is the thing. Go for a walk along the south coast with a date scone at Maranui Cafe, catch a train to Paekakariki, do some tree planting for the city council, join a club together or volunteer for a community activity... or go to the Attic at City Museum, or the City Gallery. There are lots of things to do – start talking and find your common interests. Have fun.



I have an ensuite in our flat which is the only bathroom I ever use. My flatmate insists on going halves for the toilet paper for the bathroom that he and his girlfriend use. Surely this isn’t fair? Conscious consumers, Mt Cook

My child has been at school for three years now and is still yet to receive a certificate! Every assembly they hand out certificates to kids in his class – every Friday I pick him up from school and he’s disappointed. He’s an average child who doesn’t cause much trouble. Do you think it’s inappropriate to mention it to his teacher? Certifiably annoyed, Karori

Toilet paper is right up there with toothpaste tube rolling – one of life's irritations. This seems a bit petty on both sides. Agree that loo rolls are on your shared shopping list then just get on with bigger issues – or take them off the common list and all buy your own (and name them with a felt-tip pen). Let this go, there are better things to worry about in life.

Definitely have a quiet word with the teacher. Schools are generally very aware of this sort of thing and they are there to encourage children. Don't make a big thing about it so that expectation is not an added issue.

GRINCH FAMILY My partner’s family don’t celebrate Christmas and each year I am talked out of it. I want to get in first this year, and celebrate at our place. How can I convince him it’s an important family festival and enjoy it at my place? Sad, Houghton Bay I am so with you on this. Christmas is totally about rituals and families and togetherness. Get in first by all means but it might not work with a nonChristmas family if that is their tradition. I suggest you two make your own time to celebrate. Maybe a Christmas Eve dinner and make your own rituals around this? Make it your own the first time but next year invite his family etc. Good luck and Happy Christmas!

If you’ve got a burning question for Deirdre, email with Capital Angel in the subject line.








The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship is one of the most important golf events ever staged in New Zealand. With entry into the 2018 Masters Tournament and The 147th Open at Carnoustie on the line for the region’s top-ranked amateurs, the intense competition between more than 100 players from 41 countries is not to be missed. Come and see golf’s future heroes in the making.


L ex u s appeal Hybrid vigour gives this luxurious car a greener tinge. W R I TT E N BY RO G E R WA L K E R | P H OTO G R A P H Y BY R H E T T G O O D L E Y - H O R N B LOW


here was a BBC programme a few years ago in which Sir John Harvey-Jones, the ex-CEO of ICI, troubleshot businesses that he thought needed improvement. Noting that the Morgan Car Company had a two-year delivery time for orders, he said to an old fellow on the production line : ’I know that the appeal of your cars is that each one is hand-made, but you could really speed up production by using electric screw drivers, and the car would still be hand-made.’ ‘Yes,’ the old fellow replied, ‘but an electric screw driver doesn’t know how to finish the screw slot vertically, and at Morgan we don’t like to leave anywhere where water will sit.’ After the show was screened the number of orders placed and the delivery waiting time at Morgan doubled. Lexus have a similar semi-fanatical attention to detail. Since their inception in 1989, they have striven for the highest build-quality modern technology can achieve. They took on the German manufacturers head on and are now the leading Japanese manufacturer of premium branded cars, as well as the biggest selling luxury brand in the US. The marque’s founding promise is ‘that we will treat each customer as we would a guest in our home’. The waiting areas in dealerships are replete with amenities, some with on-site cafes, designer boutiques and even putting greens. After this elaborate introduction, we get to evaluating the brand new Lexus LH450h, the world’s first luxury hybrid SUV, which has just arrived on our shores. It's super smooth and quiet 3.5-litre V6 petrol motor amplified with an electric drive system produces a total output of 230 KW. Amazingly for such a big, bold family vehicle, however, it’s extraordinarily green and achieves a consumption of only 5.7 litres per 100km. As an architect, I enjoy constructed shapes. The LH450h’s all new body exhibits a distinctive combination of concave and convex surfaces derived from the Japanese concept of ‘kirikaeshi’ or arrow shapes. Lexus have worked hard to establish a distinctive brand and unambiguous brand recognition.

I liked the salesperson’s explanation to me that the LX450h is primarily a ‘driver’s car’, not arrogant enough to try and take over steering, braking and accelerating functions (unlike some vehicles I have tested this year). Sure it has things to simplify the driver’s boring chores like looking behind while reversing, operating the driving lights and turning on the windscreen wipers, but it respects the car-nut behind the wheel. The car is whisper-quiet in motion and supremely comfortable. The transition from electric to petrol power is imperceptible. The full-length glass roof made me feel as though I was in a mobile conservatory. I adjusted my driving position to perfection. I drove over a variety of road services and in different climatic conditions. When it‘s parked at night, approaching the car with the open-door button in hand produces a flutter of blinking rear lights, some dear little chirps, and charming twinkling door handles. It all made me feel so welcome. I seriously bonded with this car, and really loved my time with it. You know that gravelly-voiced American male at the cinema who voices all the movie trailers with such authority. Somewhere in the world is a young woman of indeterminate nationality who seems to do all the world’s in-car voices. I would really like to meet her someday. She hides somewhere in the Lexus’s dash and tells me such things as ‘alert, we are about to enter a high accident area’ and ‘caution, speed camera ahead.’ I also felt nostalgic. My children are all grown up now and have left home. Back in the day at the top of the Ngauranga Gorge en route to Hamilton for Christmas with the folks, my daughter would routinely enquire ’are we there yet?’ If we had have been in this Lexus, dashboard lady would have doubtless provided a soothing response to her question. It’s pretty clear to me that the old fellow at the Morgan Car Company would approve of this brilliant vehicle.


B A B Y, B A B Y

Sleeping l i ke a b a by BY M E LO DY T H O M A S


hen I was a few months pregnant with our first, my then-boyfriend and I went to visit some friends with a nine-month-old baby. They were exhausted, at one point confessing they were still up all night with a baby that refused to settle anywhere except on the boob. As we left I made one of those ridiculously unsympathetic comments you make when you have been reading too many parenting books but have no idea yet what it’s really like – about how the baby was running circles around his parents, who were orchestrating their own exhaustion by giving the baby a ‘crutch’ to rely on. My brain was full of jargon like this, and I knew that when it came to our kids I would put them down when they were ‘sleepy but not asleep’ so they could learn to ‘self soothe’ and be sleeping through the night a couple of months in. Fast forward five years and it’s been about that long since our bed was reliably ‘ours’. The baby is 16 months old and we’ve finally begun the rough process of night-weaning, though our own gentle version. Meanwhile his older sister snores from her mattress on the floor. My husband is in her room, getting the best sleep of all of us, so he might come in at 5:30, grab the baby and give me an hour of uninterrupted, solo rest before we all go off to work and daycare. I’m a bit of a wreck – only making it to the end of each day with a microbiome-destroying amount of caffeine and sugar, though on the flip-side I’ve been amazed at just how productive a person can be on so little rest. The old me – who proclaimed myself a zombie on less than nine hours uninterrupted sleep – would be horrified. This is not how I like to parent. I knew babies would change things, but I imagined them more like little moons circling around us, adding to our universe but not really

changing its shape in any way. In reality, we were re-born when they were – we the moons, and they the celestial bodies around which everything else revolved. That first year or two is so intense, and even when you’ve done it before you still fall into the trap of thinking that the nappies and breastfeeding and night waking will never end. But over the past couple of nights, as I’ve started to reclaim my body for my own (at least when it’s dark), I’ve started to feel a slight shift – one that I remember from the time before the baby arrived, when his sister was gaining independence and freeing us up to do the same. And suddenly I’m not in such a hurry for it to happen. Of all the advice we’ve received since the kids came along the one thing we’ve heard more than anything else is not to squander the time when they are little. And that can be so hard. When your nipples are cracking, and a good night’s sleep is a year or more away, and the person you once loved enough to start a family with is like a stranger. It’s natural to wish for time to speed up, for things to return to something resembling ‘before’, at least a little. But in my experience the tough times come in waves, and while you can have whole weeks or months where you struggle to keep your head above water there is usually a moment of respite – a period where things seem to calm, allowing you to regather your strength before the next storm hits. During those times I try my best to remember that while it can be suffocating to be needed so much, there will come a time soon enough where that is no longer the case and I will wish for this again. In those moments I snuggle closer into the baby’s back, hooking my arms in under his bum and breathing in the smell of his hair, trying to stamp the feeling in my memory so that later I might not find myself misty-eyed and regretful, advising a new mother to make the most of the time when they are young.






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► Starts 5.45pm-7.45pm Tuesday 10 October Out in October

The family issue


► Starts 6pm-8pm Wednesday 25 October


► Starts 5.45pm-7.45pm Monday 30 October

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The girl with the enamel eyes - one of the most famous and most favourite of story book ballets The story of Dr Coppelius and his mysterious toy shop, and of Swanhilda and Franz - two young, mischievous lovers and their rather rocky road to happiness!

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WISE WEEK More than 15 free events will be run by the Wellington City Council to celebrate Te Wiki Kaumātua Seniors’ Week, which runs from 14 to 22 October. Community activities are organised for those who would still remember when the Beatles came to Wellington. If tours tickle your fancy, there are various guided tours on offer. Other free events include a community gardening workshop, a talk on brain health from Alzheimer’s Wellington and a beginners’ Tai Chi class. This year InsideOut is also hosting a free afternoon tea for the senior members of the Rainbow Community to share stories.

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A ‘tasting platter’ of music from Spain, Argentina, Brazil and beyond.

NZ School of Dance students perform programme of choreography celebrating the school’s 50th anniversary.



7–9pm, Carterton Events Centre, 50 Holloway St, Carterton

20 Oct, 7pm & 21 Oct, 2pm, Expressions Whirinaki, Upper Hutt



1–31 Oct

This psychological thriller explores memory versus reality in a touching and unsettling mystery.


13 Oct–11 Nov, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St





Join Al Brown for an evening at the Boatshed as he talks about his new book and cooking with local ingredients.



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Justin Hayward performs his greatest hits in his New Zealand tour.


10.30am, Basin Reserve

7.30–10pm, Michael Fowler Centre

RACHMANINOV WITH JOYCE YANG In her New Zealand Symphony Orchestra debut, Yang performs Sergei Rachmaninov’s famously difficult Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor. 6.30pm, Michael Fowler Centre

28 WELLINGTON PET & ANIMAL EXPO 2017 28 & 29 Oct, 10am, Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua

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Get advice for identifying weeds in your garden, part of Conservation Week.


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The Architect of Shock-Rock returns to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his first New Zealand tour.

6 & 7 Oct, 8pm, San Fran, 171 Cuba St

7 ALL VEGAN NIGHT MARKET 6–10pm, The Vegan Vault, 171 Victoria St NEW ZEALAND OPERA: KÁTYA KABANOVÁ A contemporary reimagining of the story, of a loveless marriage and an overbearing motherin-law. 7, 10, 12 & 14 Oct, St James Theatre

7pm, TSB Bank Arena

17 SENIORS’ WEEK ’17: WALK WELLINGTON CITY WALK Experience a two-hour-long guided tour of the city, free for senior citizens/ Gold Card holders, to celebrate Seniors Week. 11am–1pm, Civic Square


10 VOLUNTEERING MEETUP GROUP Hear community organisations talk about practical ways you can get involved in helping the community. 6pm, Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant

7pm, Nga Taonga Sound & Vision, 84 Taranaki St

19 AFTER HOURS: SOUND SYNAESTHESIA 7.30–9pm, Wellington Museum, 3 Jervois Quay


30 HALLOWEEN All day HAUNTED HOGWARTS Bring the kids to celebrate Halloween Hogwartsstyle and raise money for kids and families affected by child cancer. 3pm, Wellington South Baptist Church, Island Bay


N ove m b e r




Inspired by the Surrealists, Lobsters explores humour, eccentricity, sensuality and the surreal.

7.35pm, Westpac Stadium

20 Oct–4 Nov, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St

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T i m e fo r a cuppa' BY F R A N C E S CA E M M S


echnically Papawai Reserve doesn’t exist. The area, which is officially part of Prince of Wales Park, lies on the edge of the town belt between Papawai Terrace and Salisbury Terrace. It was ‘adopted’ by Mt Cook Mobilised, a community organisation that advocates for Mt Cook and its residents, nine years ago. They named it, set up a regular gardening group and have been restoring and maintaining it ever since. Papawai Reserve includes native bush, a small stream which contains native fish and other stream life, and a big grassy area that’s perfect for the annual Mt Cook Spring Fling. On the second Sunday of every month the Papawai Reserve Group meets for their regular Papawai

Gardening Working Bee. They weed and plant for two hours, and catch up over a cuppa. ‘There’s a real sense of community and a great connection to it. It’s not just the morning tea,’ says Karen Smyth, a member since the beginning. The team agrees the morning tea is good, but the real reward comes from seeing their hard work being enjoyed. ‘Papawai Reserve is a special place to spend time,’ says Mt Cook Mobilised Coordinator Carol Comber, ‘The people who come to the working bees enjoy the gardening, the increased birdlife that it brings, but most of all, the sense of fun and friendship that has developed, with children and dogs helping out too.’

Karen Smyth, Carol Comber, Kirsty Stewart (with Maddie), Colin Taylor, Frank Cook (with Ivo) and Susan Cook



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