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A M E T R E R E A D E R’ S V I E W

Th e Summer issue

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1073 Akatarawa Road, Akatarawa - Vendor testimonial “The service we have received from Ben Hawan has exceeded our expectations. He has been personable, professional and prompt. His guidance, planning and excellent communication skills resulted in a seamless process, and most importantly, produced a buyer. We would not hesitate to recommend Ben and the NZSIR team.”

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Made in Wellington Guest Editorial


ellington summers are gaining a reputation as worth sticking around for, and as the weather improves people flock to the beaches and parks.

SUBSCRIPTION Subscription rates $89 (inc postage and packaging) 10 issues New Zealand only To subscribe, please email accounts@capitalmag.co.nz

Personally, I look forward to getting out with my family into the hills behind the city and out onto the water in kayaks. The capital is one of the best places in New Zealand to get close to nature. We have a sparkling harbour right in front of us and green belts and regional parks in our back yard. I’d encourage everyone to take advantage of this!

C O N TA C T U S Phone +64 4 385 1426 Email editor@capitalmag.co.nz Website www.capitalmag.co.nz Facebook facebook.com/CapitalMagazineWellington Twitter @CapitalMagWelly Instagram @capitalmag Post Box 9202, Marion Square, Wellington 6141 Deliveries 31–41 Pirie St, Mt Victoria, Wellington, 6011 ISSN 2324-4836

Again, Wellington City Council is looking forward to a eventpacked season of fun, sun, and festivities in the city itself. Summer City returns with regular events such as Gardens Magic, Kids’ Magic in the Dell, Pasifika Festival, Te Rā o Waitangi, and of course our waterfront New Year's Eve celebrations. In the New Year, Wellington will take more steps on the transformational journeys that are Let’s Get Wellington Moving and Planning for Growth. We will start work on making the Golden Mile a better place for pedestrians, cyclists, and bus users – delivering bus priority citywide and reviewing our district planning rules.

Produced by Capital Publishing Ltd

We are moving on with a number of projects to cope with a growing city, which as one of the most liveable in the world, is attracting more and more people to live here. We have made fantastic progress getting rid of rats and stoats on Miramar Peninsula as part of Predator Free Wellington, and out West, Capital Kiwi is making great progress towards its goal of reintroducing our national bird.

This publication uses vegetable based inks, and FSC® certified papers produced from responsible sources, manufactured under ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems

Thanks to Capital magazine for contributing to making Wellington that little bit special, and I wish all readers a Happy New Year.

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.

Andy Foster Mayor of Wellington

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.



Staff Managing editor Alison Franks

Featured contributors


Campaign coordinators Haleigh Trower haleigh@capitalmag.co.nz Emily Wakeling emily@capitalmag.co.nz Factotum John Bristed


Art director Shalee Fitzsimmons shalee@capitalmag.co.nz Designer Luke Browne


Writer Francesca Emms


Editorial assistant Benn Jeffries


Accounts Tod Harfield


Contributors Melody Thomas | Janet Hughes | John Bishop | Beth Rose | Anna Briggs | Charlotte Wilson | Sarah Lang | Deirdre Tarrant | Craig Beardsworth | Griff Bristed | Dan Poynton Sarah Catherall | Tyler Hambleton | Chris Tse Claire Orchard | Freya Daly Sadgrove Brittany Harrison | Sharon Greally Finlay Harris | Maddie Le Marquand | Jess Scott Katie Paton | Marguerite Tait-Jamieson Maddie Tait-Jamieson | Elliot Martin

CLAIRE O'LOUGHLIN Writer Claire lives in Wellington, rides her bike, plays her dad’s guitar, writes nonfiction and makes installations and performance. She has an MA in Creative Non-fiction from the International Institute of Modern Letters.

S A N N E VA N G I N K E L Ph oto g r aph er Originally from the Netherlands, Sanne moved to Wellington to continue her passion for creativity. After completing an Honours degree in Photography & Design at Massey she now works as a commercial food and lifestyle photographer.

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: john@capitalmag.co.nz.

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


HA R R I E T PA L M E R Journ a li st

Gem is a Wellington writer who has been published in a number of magazines. She has performed at LitCrawl, The Dowse, Chop Suey Hui, and more. Her work focuses on the Pacific diaspora, family, inheritance, activism, religion, and ritual.

Harriet Palmer is a keen Wellingtonian who grew up in Lyall Bay and now lives on the side of a hill in Mornington. She’s come out of reporting retirement to write about her city.


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Melody Thomas hits play on Dawn Diver

34 HOMETOWN GIRL Porirua’s Sasha Gibb and the festival within the festival

O N T H E R OA D Meet the van fans

50 SUMMER LOVIN’ Not your usual holiday activities

52 36 STRANGER THAN FICTION Paul Diamond and a mayor with a secret


LOAD OF RUBBISH Harriet Palmer digs into Wellington’s waste woes



ELECTRIC RECORDS Nostalgic for the 90s? Revel in the view from a meter reader

59 taranaki st. www.mrgos.co.nz








Summer story by Benn Jeffries

A Pasifika take on a classic tarte



83 84

A project in Otaki



71 SC ORCHING BAY/ TITAHI BAY Luxuries for sand, sea, surf and sun


PUSHED TO THE LIMIT The midwife crisis – Meg Waghorn speaks out

Claire O’Loughlin revisits a childhood at sea



106 109 110 112





HETERO P OW E R I’m Chrissie and I’ve been a fan of your little mag since I moved here about a year ago. Just been flicking through your November issue and I have to admit that you’ve disappointed me for the first time. 1. All the power couples you mention as a reference from Hollywood etc are heterosexual. 2. All the power couples you interview are also all hetero. Would love to see you guys being more inclusive (and I don’t mean appeasing every possibility of a modern day couple but just branching out from the hetero norm/expected). Thanks for listening. Chrissie, Wellington I'm glad you're a fan of the mag. I acknowledge the point you are making. It was considered when planning the feature. We were ultimately happy with the diversity in the couples featured. – Ed PECA N POW ER I am a longtime reader and fan of Capital and wanted to tell you how good I think those nutty little pecan pies are to make (Cap#67). It’s an easy one to make and I am now making dozens to give as gifts instead of Christmas mince pies. Thanks to the Shearers. I always enjoy their recipes. S Williams, Auckland B O O K WO R M Thanks for your ‘Novel suggestions’ in the Christmas issue. It gave me some great ideas for presents for the family. And what a great mix of actors, writers, sportspeople and activists giving their suggestions – aren’t we lucky to live in a town full of such interesting people. Bess, Wellington

Send letters to editor@captalmag.co.nz with the subject line Letters to Ed

In Cap#67 Blow Up Hairdressing, who did our cover model’s hair, were not credited. The error is regretted.


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Ra t ra ve According to the Chinese Zodiac, those born in Rat years (2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948…) are optimistic, energetic, clever and successful. Welcome a new ratty year at the Chinese New Year Festival from 1–2 February. It opens with the annual East Meets West show, a cross-culture, cross-genre showcase. This year’s show is inspired by artist Guy Ngan, a second-generation Chinese New Zealander whose work is characterised by bold colours. From Stokes Valley, Guy was a prolific and passionate artist who made a significant contribution to Aotearoa’s cultural landscape. He was born in 1926 – the year of the Tiger, which produces people with fiery passion, daring, and fearlessness.

JANET COLLINGS What led you to getting a tattoo? This was my first one. My ex-husband said he’d divorce me if I got one, so when I left him I was like, ‘Now I need to do something for me’. Why did you choose the design? I wanted something that used a different colour to symbolise each of my four children, which made coming up with a design difficult. At first, the boys were funny about me getting flowers for them, but my son Blake just got his sleeve done, and it has this rose in the middle, which he said is for me.

Three D ye j o b Social media was awash with images of streams and rivers last month. National MP and Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller posted a photo of Te Papa’s ‘He Wai Water’ display, which shows bottled water from a variety of sources. The water in the ‘Farm stream’ bottle is dyed brown (not an actual sample) and has a picture of a cow pooping into the water. Muller called it ‘anti-farmer’ and asked for farmers to post photos of water from their own streams to compare.

Where is the tattoo and why? The back of my arm, I wanted to keep all my tattoos in one place so they look a bit tidier. Although I don’t actually ever see it, which is a problem. Next tattoo? I’d like to do a full sleeve and incorporate all my grandchildren.



New in town

A swe et ta ste of Belgium

Tw o Write it rig ht

La Belle Waffle, at corner of Willis & Manners Sts, is bringing a real Belgian waffle experience to Welly. Treat yourself with a Whittaker’s chocolate-dipped waffle or a tantalising Banana Royale. Their waffles are freshly baked everyday with pearl sugar – just like what you'd get on the streets of Belgium.

Our favourite paranormal cop/early childhood teacher, Karen O’Leary (Cap#67) is part of the team of writers who won Best Comedy Writing for Film or TV at the New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards for their work on Wellington Paranormal. Created by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, the mockumentary comedy horror television series follows Officer O’Leary (played by Karen) and Officer Minogue (played by Mike Minogue, who also has a writing credit) as they investigate spooky occurrences around the capital.


We l l y wo r d s A P O C A LY P SE N OW


A rather slight Welly Worder played the hero when an even smaller, elderly person needed help crossing the road in those incredibly strong winds last month. ‘We’ll have to move to Mars! This world’s gone bad,’ cried the wise old lady as she clung koala-style to our Welly Worder. Into the wind the two made their way slowly across the street. When the lights changed and the trucks started revving she gave them a stern word: ‘Hold your horses! Old lady walking!’

When someone yelled ‘Show us your growler!’ at Tessa Waters and her fellow performers at the New Zealand Fringe Festival launch, he was quickly put in his place. Tessa made him repeat the insult, remarked lightly on the wave of hatred now washing towards him, and then launched into a song and dance routine about respect. Our Welly Worder says it was so slick she thought the whole thing was planned.

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It's cool to kōrero Kia kaukau tātou!


Let’s go for a swim


LITTERBUG B E WA R E Expect a fine of up to $400 if you’re caught littering or dumping rubbish in Porirua. After receiving more than 400 complaints per year of illegal dumping, Porirua City Council has adopted a new litter infringement policy, allowing the city to issue fines of between $100 and $400, depending on the volume of rubbish that is dumped. But that’s nothing compared to Singapore, where dropping a cigarette butt can fetch a fine of $19,800 (SGD) – that’s over $22,000 kiwi dollars.




An extra $12 billion of Government funding is to go towards infrastructure in New Zealand. ‘Wellington has suffered from inadequate roads and public transport links into the city and through to the airport for decades. Now is the opportunity to do the job properly,’ says Business Central Chief Executive John Milford. He looks forward to the government ‘contributing its fair share to the full Let's Get Wellington Moving package, including a second Terrace Tunnel.’

Wainuiomata residents are helping Wellington Water with the most comprehensive flood mapping programme in Lower Hutt’s history. Lower Hutt is the most densely populated flood plain in the country and the mapping programme will provide data for urban planning, infrastructure investment and civil defence planning. Ben Fountain, Chief Advisor Stormwater for Wellington Water, says while the maps are peer-reviewed by independent experts, Wainuiomata residents’ local knowledge will help fine-tune the maps.

Wellington Central Library was all wrapped up just in time for Christmas. The hoardings around the building have been covered in artwork designed by Māori women’s art collective, Mata Aho. The work celebrates poet and short story writer J C Sturm. Also known as Jacquie Baxter, Sturm worked as a Librarian at the Central Library for over 20 years and was one of the first Māori women to appear in print.

Our hands-on Postgrad programmes provide industry exposure and real-world experience Master of Design Technology / Master of Software Development / Master of User Experience Design / Master of Professional Business Analysis


CIVIC DUTY Established in 2002 and held every second year, the Wellington Civic Trust Awards recognize projects which enhance the city. The Grant Tilly Memorial Award, for the preservation of character buildings, went to Cheops Holdings and McKee-Fehl Constructors Ltd for their work on the Public Trust Hall. The judges said the heritage building, which was thought impossible to strengthen and faced demolition, ‘has been beautifully and carefully restored.’ Cheops Holdings and McKee-Fehl Constructors Ltd also won the Wellington Civic Trust Excellence Award for their Press Hall Development.




Honiana Love is the new Tumu Whakarae (Chief Executive) of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Honiana has been the interim Chief Executive, and has been a member of the Leadership Team of Ngā Taonga since 2015. She has over 25 years of archival experience, working as an archivist at Archives New Zealand and Te Reo o Taranaki.

Air Chathams is offering scenic flights in their classic Douglas DC3 ZK-AWP this summer. The airline first offered Kāpiti scenic flights on the retro aircraft, described as ‘the pride and joy of our fleet’, at the Kāpiti Coast Airport Open Day held to welcome the new service to the District in August 2018. In addition to Air Chathams, Sounds Air and Heliworx also use the airport which has an estimated net economic benefit of around $4.3million annually.

Following a full review of South Wairarapa’s water infrastructure and operations, the council unanimously approved an initial $500,000 fund to bring the district’s water treatment plants into compliance with drinking water standards. A temporary ultra violet (UV) treatment container has been installed in the Memorial Park carpark near the water treatment plant in Greytown. ‘Council has committed to a multi-barrier approach for our water quality and this is an important step in achieving that,’ says Mayor Alex Beijen.

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For me summer is yellow – the beaches, the sun beating down, the Pinot Gris in my hand, and my jaundiced doubt that we’ll ever get our bus system back on track – all yellow. Here’s to a summer colour – Happy New Year.

Yellow daubed




number of years since the Lascaux cave in France was painted. It has a painting of a yellow horse, yellow ochre being one of the most commonly found pigments in the area.

year Pompeii was buried in ash from a volcanic eruption. Many preserved murals since unearthed sport yellow paint. The Romans used it to represent gold and skin tones.

common pigments used to produce yellow paint. Many, like cadmium, chrome, and orpiment, are toxic so have been replaced by synthetically produced pigments.

Yellow feathered





first appearance of Looney Tunes creation Tweety Bird. He (yes I checked) was a canary and hung out with Sylvester the Cat in 46 animated cartoons.

an unnamed bird companion started hanging out with the Peanuts gang. In 1970 Cartoonist Charles M Shulz finally named him Woodstock – after the 1969 music festival.

height in centimetres of Sesame Street’s most famous canary. Big Bird first turned up in 1969. He was bought to life by puppeteer Caroll Spinney for 49 years.

weight in kilograms of the world’s largest rubber duck (it’s 32m high and it floats and yes I’m considering enlarging my bath to accommodate one).

Yellow fevered

Yellow footed




the year Yellow Fever became the first human virus to be isolated.

number of severe infections in 2013, resulting in 45,000 deaths worldwide. Sadly its early isolation has not limited its spread and deadliness.

million citizens who the Brazilian government promised to vaccinate by April 2019 (the disease is common in tropical areas of Africa and South America).




year the Wellington Phoenix football team was formed. Their club colours are yellow and black.

registered users on YellowFever.co.nz. Begun as a Phoenix fan website it’s now come to publish general news for all football fans.

number of appearances for former captain Andrew Durante. He retired in 2019 after 11 years at the helm.

Compiled by Craig Beardsworth 21


Home strait W R I T T E N BY F R A N C E S CA E M M S P H OTO G R A P H Y BY A N N A B R I G G S






The Botanist

Sticky Fingers

Ziva, a German shepherd

Awhi Yoga & Wellbeing

Crime docos

Leah Woodford is preparing to swim between her two homes.


his April, Leah Woodford will swim Cook Strait. She’ll start in Wellington, covering 29 kilometres over approximately nine hours to reach the mainland. ‘I’ve always had the goal in the back of my mind,’ says Leah. ‘When I moved from Nelson to Wellington I thought it would be an epic opportunity, as it’s like swimming from home to home.’ Health, wellbeing, mental health, and fitness are big passions for the criminology student, who teaches swimming part time. She would like to see more awareness of how you can ‘understand what your body needs and when it needs it.’ She’s using her Cook Strait swim to raise awareness of and promote mental health. ‘Although the swim is a massive feat, it’s nothing compared to what someone goes through day to day battling a mental illness.’ It’s personal for Leah who has nearly lost a few of her closest friends and family to mental illness. ‘My mission is to help get these hard conversations started and raise funds for Voices of Hope.’ Right now Leah is training, which involves swimming in the ocean several times a week, a lot of long hours in the pool, and gym sessions. She swam competitively for a number of years at high school but quit when she began to struggle with mental health issues. ‘I lost my passion,’ she says. It was ocean swimming that helped her get back in the water. ‘I did Thursday night sea-swims at the port (in Nelson) and enjoyed the little thrill of being back in the water with no pressure.’ Ocean swimming requires a different

technique. ‘You have to look upwards to where you are going, weave around other swimmers, and battle the tides and currents. Pool swimming is back and forth up the black line with a few turns and no waves.’ When she’s not in the water, Leah’s most likely to be found at Lyall Bay – at the Botanist, Good Dixie’s, or Maranui Cafe. Soon she’ll be back at Victoria University to complete her last year of study – ‘super excited to finally finish and live in debt for the next century.’ She wants to work in the criminal justice system, helping criminals with rehabilitation and integration into society, ‘when I settle down.’ Leah loves walks, yoga (at home or at a studio), running, catching the sunrise or sunset, brunch (‘this is a serious hobby’), taking photos, listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and watching TED talks. ‘I have the goal to read more, but I have become quite partial to The Twenties Club blog’ which, she says, is relatable for ‘people of any age.’ And she’s always up to date with the Self-Love Club podcast. Leah’s Sunday routine varies. However, it always includes brunch, which is usually choc chip pancakes with her flatties. ‘I’m the baby of the flat who usually gets picked on for leaving the stove on or for leaving my washing in the washing machine for a day or two,’ she admits. How did the flatties react when she told them about her swim? ‘The reactions are all mixed but end up being “Whoah, that’s a long way, good on you!” It’s so humbling and makes me more excited to do it knowing that I have such a support network here in Welly.’



MARK T H E DAT E Premiered in 1942 by army recruits and those professional musicians who hadn’t yet starved to death, Leningrad, Shostakovich’s seventh symphony, is seen as a heroic expression of the Russian people’s fight against adversity. It is scheduled for July 2020, in the concert line-up recently announced by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Following the performance of Leningrad, conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, an interactive presentation will unpack the symphony, which was written during the Nazi invasion of the city, and explain Shostakovich’s subtext hidden in the work.




In Katherine Mansfield’s famous short story ‘The Doll’s House’ the said house is ‘too marvellous; it was too much for them. They had never seen anything like it in their lives.’ Delight in the minute at The Doll’s House Te Whare Tāre, an exhibition of dolls' houses and miniatures at Katherine Mansfield House in Thorndon. The exhibition, produced in association with the Lower Hutt Miniature Maker’s Club, is open until April.

A film that was banned in Czechoslovakia for showing food fights and milk baths is playing at City Gallery over the summer. Daisies (1966) is an experimental feminist feature film by Czech director Vera Chytilová, who was out to break as many rules as her heroines – two young women called Marie who play pranks on gullible older men, consume conspicuously, and speculate about existence. Daisies is showing four times a day.

Award-winning Māori actress Grace Hoet will play Oberon, King of the Fairies, in this year’s Summer Shakespeare offering, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (13–29 February). Catherine Zulver (pictured) has been cast as Oberon’s wife Titania, Queen of the Fairies. She says the casting removes the classic king-dominates-queen story and ‘allows us to build our characters and our relationship outside of gender inequality, so we can look at the way we struggle for power and play games with each other in a more complex (and less problematic) way.’

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A LEAP F O R WA R D The Royal New Zealand Ballet will be the first professional company to perform in the brand new Kāpiti Performing Arts Centre. ‘The new theatre has a proscenium arch with a full fly-tower/counterweight flying system, complete with a sprung floor stage – a stage fit for Aotearoa's royal ballet company,’ says the centre’s manager, Sonia Hardie. The ballet returns to the coast, for their first performance there since 2013, rather fittingly on Leap Day (29 February), with Tutus on Tour.




Pātaka Art + Museum will host free art activities for all ages on Waitangi Day. There’ll be colouring books, treasure hunts in the galleries, creative activities on the Waitangi Day theme, and talks about the importance of the arts in sending messages of togetherness. Artist Wayne Youle will also be leading tours through his exhibition, 20/20: words of wisdom, on the day.

As well as Capital’s regular summertime short story (on page 86), we also have a Summer Fiction Series on Confetti, an online platform. Jackie Davis’s ‘Reading the Waves’ takes us from a melting hot Taranaki summer to a swim in Lyall Bay, and in ‘The Ministry of Lost Beliefs’ by Janey Thornton we wander through Karori cemetery. Look out for a new addition to the series every Friday over the summer at confetticonfetti.co.nz

Ceramicist Paul Maseyk plays with proportions in his new exhibition Out of this World which opens at Page Galleries on 13 February. ‘Some works appear more as totems than vessels, their sheer size dwarfing and demanding attention. Others are like small obscure creatures,’ says Page Galleries Manager Lily Hacking. The exhibition is part of Fired Up: Festival of Ceramics, which takes place at multiple galleries in Wellington as part of the New Zealand Festival of the Arts.


Ship ‘n’ Chip

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Little Cottage - Big Stories

Looking for something different to do over summer? Why not experience a day tour at Wellington Museum to learn about the importance of the harbour and hear favoured local stories, before heading to Matiu/Somes Island by ferry with some delicious fish ‘n’ chips for lunch. Adult $55, Child $39.

Love turns the world upside down. Clothes and social skins are shed, nice people turn nasty and imaginations run riot. Expect ferociously beautiful poetry, robust physicality, anarchic invention and a donkey, as Shakespeare’s oh-so-magical play is brought to life this summer. Supported by Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington.

Beautifully presented and rich with history, Nairn Street Cottage was built in 1858 and is one of the oldest homes in Wellington. Enjoy a guided tour and an exhibition that goes back in time and provides a snapshot of lives in Aotearoa since mid-19th century. Adults $8, Children $4.

Daily 3 Jervois Quay, Wellington city. museumswellington.org.nz

13-29 February 2020, summershakespeare.nz

Hourly 12-4pm daily 68 Nairn Street, Te Aro, Wellington. museumswellington.org.nz

Aphrodite’s Delight

A Songless Land

A Short History of Suffrage

You couldn’t get much more romantic or unique than a Valentine’s Day enjoying Greek mythology stargazing in the planetarium dome with bubbles, and treats. Tickets are sold in pairs so you can bring a date, a mate or someone who you want to impress. $95 per couple Wine included, $70 per couple Wine excluded.

Whanganui-based artist Sue Cooke’s new exhibition ‘A Songless Land’ eulogises lost New Zealand forests, and highlights the plight of those forests remaining, including the devastating issue of Kauri dieback. On show at Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and Heritage, Palmerston North. Free Admission, open daily.

Immerse yourself in history with a guided walk and in-depth tour of two Wellington exhibitions, He Tohu and Suffrage in Stitches. Learn and be inspired by the power of a collective voice in NZ’s history and let us celebrate those moments today. $10 pp.

14 February 2020 Space Place, Carter Observatory, 40 Salamanca Rd, Kelburn. museumswellington.org.nz

14 Dec–5 July 2020 326 Main Street, Palmerston North temanawa.co.nz

13th, 15th, 16th January, 10am National Library of New Zealand, 70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon museumswellington.org.nz



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A Whole Tiny World

Poetry in Motion

New Zealand Arts Icon photographer Ans Westra is responsible for the most comprehensive documentation of New Zealand culture over the last 60 years. The {Suite} Westra Museum is a dedicated exhibition space for Ans' photographs. Prints are available for sale.

Open again after a vibrant redevelopment, Katherine Mansfield House & Garden presents ‘The Doll’s House | Te Whare Tāre.’ An exhibition of dolls’ houses and miniatures that will delight all ages. From the towering to the tiny, prepare to be enchanted!

A poetry night like no other - be entertained on the iconic Cable Car before heading into the Cable Car Museum for a fun night of poetry with the amazingly talented poets - Ben Fagan, Sara Hirsch, Jordan Hamel and Tarns Hood. Cash bar on-site. $15 pp.

Tues–Fri 11am–6pm, 11am–4pm Saturdays 241 Cuba St. suite.co.nz

13 October–26 April 2020 25 Tinakori Road, Thorndon. katherinemansfield.com

Thursday 20th February, 7pm Meet at bottom of Cable Car, Lambton Quay, Wellington. museumswellington.org.nz










Warm and gorgeous BY M E LO DY T H O M A S P H OTO G R A P H Y BY A N N A B R I G G S


t’s been a long time since a song stopped me in my tracks, sent shivers the lengths of my arms and had me hitting play immediately after it finished, but it happened when I heard Warming to You by Wellington band Dawn Diver. The first thing that hit me was Ben Lemi’s voice, which resonates over a background of sparse drums and driving guitars with a gorgeous warmth. I’ve seen Ben play and sing in numerous bands over the years, but I had no idea he could sing like that. ‘I was always someone that hummed quietly along to the radio, but only in situations where I was certain that no one was listening,’ he laughs. Lemi was born in Wellington and grew up the kid of a diplomat, living in Washington DC, Tehran and other places before settling back here in the fifth form. He was introduced to music through his Dad’s record collection, and later through his teenage step-brother Rowan, who taught him how to play the guitar and ‘who knew precisely what music and culture I should be exposed to throughout most of my teenage years,’ says Lemi. After high school, Lemi enrolled at the New Zealand School of Music (‘the jazz school’) where he studied for a couple of years before he started getting busy playing music outside of school, and dropped out. The next wee while was spent working in nightclubs, DJ-ing, and slowly adding other instruments to his roster as a way to gain a greater understanding of music. These days Ben does a bit of everything – he’s the drummer for Trinity Roots, plays bass and guitar and sings backing vocals in French for Rabbits, and does all of that plus singing his own songs and sometimes drumming in Congress of Animals, alongside Bret McKenzie. He supplements band life with studio work, mixing bands

and composing for film and documentaries (his 2017 EP under the moniker Courtesy Caller is a super-evocative little collection of offcuts from this work). Most recently he’s been working with Estère on her forthcoming album and release gigs. And on top of all of this, he’s hard at work on Dawn Diver – which started as a solo project but evolved into a band project. With the help of Will Sklenars on bass, Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa on drums, and Deanne Krieg and Rose Blake lending their voices to three-part harmonies, Dawn Diver has recently taken to the stage. Another single is due out at the end of February and we’ll see an album in autumn. It’s official – Lemi is no longer singing quietly when no-one is listening, he’s front of stage, leading his own band. ‘At first I found the whole idea quite terrifying. I can’t hide behind the drum kit, palm backing vocal parts off to someone else, or pretend that I’m playing chords while my amp is actually turned down like I did (only once) in my 8th grade big band!’ he laughs, before adding, ‘The process is scary but it’s cathartic. It helps me feel alive.’ Dawn Diver is music for musicians; dense, and at times possibly impenetrable by the average punter. Even Lemi’s description of the music is labyrinthine; it’s an ‘aural kaleidoscope’ combining the complex harmonies of jazz with rigid song structures borrowed from his favourite classical composers, and, as an antidote to this rigidity, flowing circular rhythms inherited from African music, both tribal and Western-influenced. It’s never boring, and even when you find yourself drifting off during a song, your mind goes to creative, dreamy places rather than the mundane. From the sounds of things, this is exactly Lemi’s intention.

The Dawn Diver's, from left to right: Will Sklenars, Deanne Krieg, Ben Lemi, Rose Blake, Hikurangi Shaverien-Kaa



Hometown girl P H OTO G R A P H Y BY A N N A B R I G G S

Growing up in Porirua Sasha Gibb dreamed of producing and directing. In 2020 her dream comes true as she returns to her hometown as producer of the Te Ata Festival. She talks to Gem Wilder about the next stage in her career.


t’s the idea of telling stories that has always appealed to Sasha, and as a child she sought out whatever creative opportunities were available to her – performances at family functions, a Spice Girls number performed with friends at an end-of-year concert, and directing her siblings in plays from school journals, and later in home movies. Sasha took part in school plays, auditioning for every school production during her high school years, and helping as assistant director on a production when she was in sixth form at Bishop Viard College. Thinking, producing, and directing for film was her future, she headed to Victoria University where she took theatre and film papers. But ‘The areas that they were focusing on weren’t quite the type of work that I wanted to make in the future,’ says Sasha. ‘It didn’t quite target where I imagined I was going to end up being, which was very much about telling New Zealand stories.’ Rethinking her options, Sasha looked up drama schools. ‘If I was going to stand in front of people and direct them I needed to understand their processes and how they worked to be able to best instruct them.’ Visiting the New Zealand College of Performing Arts to make enquiries, she found herself doing an impromptu audition and being accepted into the programme. While studying Sasha saw her first professional theatre production. She also met Jim Moriarty, who became a pivotal figure in her creative career. Fresh from drama school, Sasha took up a position with Moriarty’s Te Rakau theatre. It was a live-in role, for which Sasha moved away from Porirua for the first time in her life. For five years she worked alongside Moriarty and his wife Helen, as a youth facilitator, producer, and operations manager. Through Moriarty Sasha met and began working with Nina Nawalowalo and Tom McCrory of Pacific theatre company the Conch. This ‘took my development as a producer to the next level.’ In 2012 Sasha started her own production company, Jandals Inc, and teamed up with Le Moana dance company to create the Measina Festival, which annually showcases contemporary Pacific arts, dance,

and theatre from around the world. With all these roles under her belt, Sasha leapt at the opportunity to take on a producer role with Tāwhiri, the team behind the New Zealand Festival of the Arts, in February last year. For 2020, the festival has brought in three guest curators. One of them, director and choreographer Lemi Ponifasio, set about creating a festival within a festival – Te Ata. Te Ata, meaning dawn, or a new day, aims to celebrate young people and bring visibility to all the things that are important to them. It made perfect sense to base Te Ata in Porirua – a city where nearly 45% of the population is under 25 years old. It made sense also for Sasha to take the lead in producing Te Ata, given her knowledge of and connections to Porirua. The artists assembled to perform in and run Te Ata are composers, musicians, poets, visual artists, opera singers, haka performers, and dancers. ‘The interesting thing about the artists that we’re bringing in to Porirua is really that each of them has this massive body of work that is all about challenging the world that we live in, and transforming our thinking,’ says Sasha. She says the festival will be ‘provocative’ and ‘rewarding – I want as many people to participate as possible.’ An open registration process allows anyone to take part in one of Te Ata’s five development workshops. Then two weeks of development will be followed by a week of public performances and events. The open process means the final form of the performances is as yet unknown. Sasha says that’s the whole point. ‘It’s about creativity in whichever shape or form it takes. It’s about being fluid.’ There’s a sense that Sasha is helping to create exactly what she needed when she was growing up in Porirua. You can imagine a young Sasha throwing herself into the festival in any way she could, participating and learning and thriving. I ask what else she is doing alongside her work with a major international arts festival? ‘Day to day? I’m doing a post grad in Psychology and training for a 100km Oxfam walk.’ Oh well then, just one of the projects this capable woman is juggling!






Stranger than fiction Paul Diamond talks to Sarah Lang about a homosexual mayor, coming out himself, and a year in Berlin.


n 1920, Charles Mackay, who was married with children, had been Wanganui’s mayor for 12 years. It shook the town when he shot and was charged with attempting to murder a handsome young poet, D’Arcy Cresswell. Turns out Cresswell was blackmailing the mayor, threatening to reveal that Mackay was homosexual, and had made advances to him. Back then, men found guilty of ‘sodomy’ potentially faced being flogged and imprisoned with hard labour. Mackay was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment with hard labour for the attempted murder. Wanganui renamed Mackay Street Jellicoe Street, removed Mackay’s portrait from the council chambers, and chiselled out his name from the Sarjeant Gallery’s foundation stone. A condition of Mackay’s release after six years was that he leave the country. He moved to England then Berlin, working as a language teacher and a reporter. Mackay was covering Berlin’s 1929 ‘May Day Riots’ – clashes between Communists and police – when he was mistakenly shot dead by a policeman. The 100-year anniversary of Mackay’s conviction falls in 2020. You can read all about him in a book by Wellingtonian Paul Diamond – when he finishes it, that is. A formal, affable, impeccably dressed man, Paul shakes my hand when we meet, then inclines his head in a tiny bow. I can imagine him sharing whiskey and cigars with Dickens, Thackeray, and their circle of publishers and journalists. Paul’s been working on a book about Mackay for 15 years – and counting. ‘That’s a bit embarrassing!’ But it’s not that he has been idle. Over those years he’s worked for Radio New Zealand, and as a government historian, and has published three books. For 10 years, he’s

been ‘Curator, Māori’ at the Alexander Turnbull Library: a research library housed within (and, technically, a division of) the National Library. The Turnbull was established in 1920 after merchant Alexander Turnbull died, bequeathing to his country tens of thousands of books, magazines, newspapers, maps, photographs, paintings, drawings, coins, and other artefacts. The Turnbull now has millions of items (largely through donations and bequests), 85 staff members, and 16 collections. ‘As Curator, Māori I do research, help people do research, work with curators of specific collections, create exhibitions, connect people – and I’ve written a book on [depictions of] Māori in cartoons.’ (The NZ Cartoon Archive is part of the Turnbull collection.) In 2004, Paul and a Radio New Zealand colleague stumbled on Mackay’s story, and made a radio programme about him. Unfortunately, Mackay’s 90-something daughter didn’t want to talk. Intrigued, Paul began research for what will be his fourth book. ‘Not because it’s a sensationalist story, but because it resonates. He was a journalist, I was a journalist; he was gay, I’m gay; he spent time in Berlin, I’ve spent time in Berlin. I’m following his footsteps in some weird way.’ (Hopefully without firearms being involved.) Mackay was one of the first New Zealand men to come out publicly (if unwillingly). ‘Mackay told the court he’d been treated for homosexuality – likely through hypnosis. Most Wanganui people were more shocked by him being gay than they were by the shooting.’ Paul, 51, recently took 11 months’ leave from the Turnbull to finish the book, thanks to the Creative NZ Berlin Writer’s Residency: use of a



flat, $40,000, plus a stipend for expenses. Paul delayed the residency for two years because he got prostate cancer. ‘I had my prostate removed. I'm fine now. I think more men should talk about prostate cancer.’ Paul has visited Berlin seven times since 2007 – for research (producing one major find: Mackay’s will), and to continue learning German with support from the Goethe-Institut (which promotes German language and culture worldwide). Paul came out aged 27, in 1995. ‘Before that, I channelled energy into other things: drama, debating, hockey, enjoying university. I probably wasn’t confident enough to be “out” any younger – for instance, to be assertive about safe sex. Those were the AIDS-plague years. But I had my friends’ and family’s backing. Mum supported me, though she was fearful initially. Her cousin, a nurse, told her about gay men coming to hospital following violent arguments. Mum was a teacher, and said it wouldn’t be professional to be “out” as a teacher.’ Although New Zealand decriminalised consensual sex between men aged over 16 in 1986, bias still existed in the 1990s. ‘I wanted to be a diplomat but thought it’d be impossible.’ 1995 was a big year for him. ‘I actually came out to the whole city.’ Say what? Well, then-Evening Post assistant editor Karl du Fresne wrote a column titled ‘Here comes the annual look-at-me orgy’ about the Devotion gay-pride parade. ‘Karl wrote “for every outlandish homosexual of the classic hairdresser variety there’s also a homosexual accountant or music professor who’s anything but flamboyant”. I was a gay accountant, so I wrote a rejoinder for the newspaper. Karl wrote me a gracious letter about us respecting each other’s views.’ Paul (Ngāti Hauā, Te Rarawa, and Ngāpuhi), his parents (both teachers) and brother moved from Putaruru to Stokes Valley when Paul was four. ‘It took a while to feel comfortable with being Māori. I didn’t want to learn te reo at school. When I did a Bachelor of Business Studies, getting a Māori Kupe Scholarship made me identify more as Māori. I did extra papers to

learn te reo. It’s funny: because I’m fair-skinned, often [Pakeha] people talk about Māori, not realising I’m Māori, while Māori people say “your te reo’s good for a non-Māori.”’ Paul was an accountant for eight years, for the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission among others. However, finding himself more interested in writing and history than receipts and spreadsheets, he did a journalism diploma at Wellington Polytechnic, then became a reporter/maker of docos about Māori for Radio New Zealand. Two radio docos were turned into his first two books, one of them on Māori leaders. ‘They had to say yes because I'd done their expense claims as an accountant,’ he jokes. Paul then became an oral historian for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, from 2007 to 2009 running the Vietnam War Oral History Project. This project collected oral interviews with veterans and their families, and created an online digital-history archive for them. Then came the Turnbull job, which draws together his skills and interests. Paul is lead curator of an exhibition celebrating the Turnbull’s centenary. Pūkana: Te Ihi Te Wehi Te Wana: Moments in Māori Performance is on until 23 May at the National Library, just downstairs from the Turnbull. It includes tiny, carved 19th-century karetao (puppets), a poster advertising an exhibition of Māori warriors in Edinburgh, and a photo of two girls performing an impromptu haka after the Christchurch attacks. ‘I’d like young Māori to come to the exhibition and the Turnbull.’ Do some people wander in not really knowing what the place is about? ‘Every day.’ Including him, initially. ‘I thought this library which you couldn’t take anything away from was a bit strange. But I’ve come to love the place.’ For now, he’s enjoying Berlin, despite four-degree temperatures. His partner Richard King will join him this year. ‘There’s such a variety of gay people and gay life in Berlin,’ Paul says. ‘It’s quite liberating. And I’m determined to finish this book!’


Happy New Year from all of us at the Hudson! Don’t forget to join us for our infamous $5 coffee & sweet treat deal, Monday’s 2 for 1 burger deal and much, much more The Hudson On Chews 56 Victoria Street Wellington 04 471 2266 www.thehusdon.co.nz thehudson@yugroup.co.nz

On the road BY R AC H E L H E LY E R D O N A L D S O N P H OTO G R A P H Y BY SA N N E VA N G I N K E L

Pull out onto any state highway this summer and you’ll see scores of recreational vehicles (RVs) trundling the length and breadth of New Zealand. Most are occupied by holidaymakers on a classic Kiwi road trip, although a growing number of people live fulltime in these tiny homes on wheels. Daisy


he cost of renting a motor home can be exorbitant, as Tawa newlyweds Lara and Ben Maher found when planning a South Island honeymoon. So, on a whim, they bought a gutted out, rusty 1972 caravan the week of their wedding in January 2017. With a one-year-old daughter, Charlotte, the Mahers always intended to delay their honeymoon. What they hadn’t planned for was starting married life with a caravan reno project in tow, involving cleaning, scrubbing and water blasting. There were cockroaches, a lot of mould, three broken windows and rust all over the chassis. ‘It was testing,’ says Lara, ‘that first year of marriage!’ Ben, a building project manager, built the internal cabinetry, did the 12V wiring and spent hours stripping rust. Tradie friends helped with the painting and plumbing. RV Dreams in Lower Hutt did the specialist electrical work and installed a solar panel.





The Mahers wanted an open layout. It was also important to keep the caravan’s character. They kept the original number plate and sourced classic ‘beehive’ caravan lights and other retro fittings. Lara, a part-time kitchen designer, came up with the ‘neutral, classic’ look, with a tiled splashback and patterned vinyl floor to add personality. The end result is ‘Daisy’, now painted a smart grey and white and residing on the grass beside the Mahers’ midcentury home, awaiting her next summer sojourn. Setting off for the first big trip, they encountered ‘a few hitches’, says Lara. On Daisy’s inaugural run, to Palmerston North for Christmas, a wheel came loose near Foxton. It happened again, a few days later, near Blenheim. Thanks to kind locals and the online caravan community, they were on the road again pretty quickly. They spent the next three-and-a-half weeks visiting glaciers and lounging by lakes. Daisy cost $1,200 to buy, the reno just over $15,000. Ben estimates additional labour would have cost ‘in excess’ of $10,000 if they’d had to pay for it. Doing up a caravan is ‘quite an undertaking’ but

money well spent. ‘We won’t be spending a lot on accommodation now for holidays.’ Charlotte, now four, has a one-year-old brother, Ollie, and the family did a Wairarapa weekender last Easter. They’re planning more adventures in their mobile holiday home. Apart from the sheer enjoyment of caravanning, Ben thinks it’s ‘quite cool’ that the kids will ‘grow up with the experience.’

Lemòn A lot of people thought actor Lydia Peckham and web developer William Barber were ‘crazy’ spending $30,000 to live in a campervan, rather than on a house deposit. Says Lydia: ‘Now, so many of my friends are like, gosh we want to do that too!’ In 2018 the couple was living ‘quite a routine lifestyle’, flatting in Newtown, says William. Working part-time and intermittently, they found ‘all this time between jobs wasn’t rewarding.’ Lydia craved an alternative to the typical acting life –


‘do a job in America, live the high life, come back and work in a bar’. The answer? A 1998 Ford Transit motorhome. ‘You don’t have to pay rent, you can go wherever you want for jobs. In between, you can go wherever you want for yourself.’ The couple have lived in their RV (named Lemòn because she’s an old vehicle, ‘a lemon, but a bit more fancy’, says William) since April. But life’s not all one big road trip. William, a former digital producer with Garage Project, works as a freelance web developer. Lydia has had two big acting jobs – in a forthcoming Netflix series Cowboy Bebop, and a starring role in new Chinese feature film Only Cloud Knows. The couple have mainly been ‘orbiting Auckland’ where Lydia’s been filming, says William. ‘When we get a window of four days we would go up north or go to the Coromandel.’ Too much freedom can be a challenge, says Lydia. ‘You sometimes lack routine and can get lost in the day.’ The pair start each day by writing a list.



As well as a few hours working, it might include a morning swim, a lunchtime walk, and a BBQ. Living the ‘glam life’ of an actor can be difficult in the tight space. A shelf-and-a-half each for clothes leaves little space for red carpet outfits. In May, Lydia had to rush to Auckland to meet with film executives. With just hours to spare, the campervan broke down, then her straighteners blew the power. She did hair and make-up behind the counter of a Pukekohe petrol station while waiting to be picked up. Arriving for dinner, she was unfazed: ‘You just act casual and no one knows.’ Winter was hard, says William, ‘especially in Auckland because it rains a lot.’ There’s ‘a continuous starting again’ when it’s time to move, or dump grey water (from the kitchen, bathroom sinks and shower) and black water (from the toilet). Overall, though, ‘the pros outweigh the cons so massively.’ He goes spear fishing for their kai and being reliant on solar power has made the couple more energy conscious. ‘We’re doing a lot more drawing, playing chess, things that aren’t screen-based.’

Lydia’s ‘big fear’ was that they might become ‘really antisocial’ but in fact ‘it’s probably the most social I’ve ever been.’ However, the couple always turn down the offer of a bed. ‘We’re like, “no, we love living here”.’ William says he can’t imagine selling Lemòn. ‘Right now, the idea of living in a flat feels really restricting. No part of me wants to lose this anytime soon’.

The mother ship Growing up in Kilbirnie, Mels Berg and her father would spend school holidays touring the country on a motorbike, trying to go down every road. Road trips are in her blood, she says, ‘You have that adventure and curiosity in you, to see what’s out there.’ Yet, working at iconic cafes Midnight Espresso and Deluxe, she was a self-described city girl. ‘I thought I’d never leave.’ Nevertheless, save for winter breaks, Mels has spent the past 18 years on the road. She lives in a 20sqm house bus with her partner Jonas Karsten, their eight-year-old



daughter Koco, and two chihuahuas, Izzy and Pepper. Son Jamal, now 19 and living in Wellington, was a pre-schooler when he first started tripping around. When they met, Jonas was a German backpacker, keen to see more of New Zealand. Mels’ dad encouraged the couple to get a bus and trip around. They planned to live in it for a year, she says. ‘Then we joined travelling markets and did some music festivals, and we’ve managed to make a life of it, running shows and events.’ The bus is a 1964 Bedford J4, once the Mt Cook school bus. Inside it is surprisingly roomy, thanks to alterations – a pop-out side room, an extended ceiling, and a roof deck. ‘It’s like a Tardis,’ says Mels, ‘it’s way bigger than you think.’ Also in tow is the Lucky Star, a glittering blue caravan where Mels sells Havana coffee and freshly made juices. Jonas runs their clothing stall. One of the biggest music events they do is Splore. Their 24-hour Lucky Star Zone is ‘legendary’ among festival-goers, Mels says.




Five years ago they set up the Extravaganza Fair, a family-friendly old-school travelling fair, complete with circus acts, clothes stalls, candy floss. This year there are 34 trucks, more than 70 adults, 24 children, and 26 dogs travelling the length of Aotearoa for 32 weeks a year, a different town every weekend. Last September, while parked near Lyall Bay, the family returned home from dinner to find the bus ‘engulfed’ in flames. Their two chihuahuas were right at the back. Mels found Pepper straightaway. But it took five attempts, in thick smoke and darkness, before she located tiny Izzy. ‘She was completely limp, no heartbeat.’ Happily, a burst of mouth-to-nose revived her. The bus was saved too, but it was completely gutted. A year on, the ‘Mother Ship’ (or ‘Mother Phoenix’, her post-fire nickname) has a new look: white walls and pops of teal.

‘It used to be all house-trucky and wood and dark but we’ve lightened it up. It’s quite vintage-y.’ Winters are spent in a cosy cabin in New Plymouth, maintaining the Extravaganza fleet, and on buying trips to Bali, Thailand, and India. Koco attends school in winter. On the road she does correspondence and home school, and ‘adapts really quickly.’ Raising children on the road makes them ‘the most confident, adaptable little humans’ says Mels. ‘They all have jobs around the fair – they’re doing money handling, learning people skills.’ Mels still calls Wellington home. But there are always new roads to discover. ‘If you’re prepared to go down a dirty, dusty road, there’s usually something magic at the end of it. We’re lucky enough to stay there, because we have our house with us. We get to enjoy the mountains and the serenity and no people.’



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Summer lovin’ The pohutukawas are flowering and the water is warming. It’s time to get out of the city and experience something new, like really new… Benn Jeffries has collected a list of experiences to try out over summer.

Orion’s belt

Financial strife? Love life run amuck? Sexual partners keep leaving you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to consult the stars. Star Date is a night-sky festival at Stonehenge Aotearoa – a replica in the Wairarapa of the ancient English Stonehenge – from 21 to 23 February. The night sky is a beautiful mystery to most of us. We might be able to point out the Southern Cross, Orion’s belt, or even Mars, but it tends to end there. Whether your interest is astronomical or astrological, the festival will be sure to teach you something new. Star Date welcomes all levels of star-gazers, and hosts workshops, lectures, and field trips to the galaxy and beyond.

Muddy waters

It’s catfish season. Not the online dating type; we’re talking real-life, swimming creatures.; spearfishing competitions that double as culling exercises are one of the best ways to keep populations of catfish, sometimes called the possums of the waterways, in check. The lake Taupo Polespear Competition on 1 February is the country’s largest, with divers spearing close to 4,000 fish in a single day. Struggle into your wetsuit and get involved.



We love our per capita statistics, and one that stands out relates to the settlement of Ngawi. This quiet seaside fishing village is full of throaty torque, with more bulldozers per capita than anywhere else in the world. It may be hard to believe, but these steel giants are genuinely a tourist attraction. People come from all over to see the ‘dozers launch the Cook Strait fishing boats – a process that can only be described as a dance of steel and surging ocean. Ngawi is a two-hour drive from Wellington city.

Golden era

After the Napier earthquake in 1931 the town rebuilt in the aesthetic of the time, which would eventually become a world-renowned architectural, cultural, and historical Art Deco drawcard. The Napier Art Deco Festival celebrates this story from 19 to 23 February with events like a soapbox derby, late-night jazz, Gatsby balls, and speakeasy bars. A festival favourite is the Depression Dinner where guests dress in their filthiest rags and enjoy the ingenious food from a time of hardship. Diners do their own dishes before singing and dancing the night away.

Now with unlimited swimming at all our pools when your child is enrolled in a SwimWell class. Learn water safety, gain confidence, and swimming skills for life at Wellington’s biggest swim school.


Load of rubbish BY H A R R I E T PA L M E R

It’s 2020, we’ve banned the plastic bag, half the city is marching around with keep cups, and we’re about to trial kerbside composting – so why exactly is Wellington looking to extend a tip that opened in the 1970s?

What’s happening? In four years, our dump is going to run out of room. The Wellington City Council’s resource consent to use it will end in 2026. Meanwhile, the city is still tossing out 100,000 tonnes of rubbish a year. There are solutions to this problem of disposing of our mammoth amounts of trash, among them mass burning, better sorting, and converting it to energy. We could also close Wellington City’s dump and send everything to the Hutt Valley equivalents. But the option that Wellington City Councillors have approved is a 2.5-million cubic metre extension of Happy Valley’s Southern Landfill. If the volume of stuff we throw out remains the same, this will give us another 26 years of dumping. Is this the way to go or is our council taking the easy way out? Could we be using the rubbish we are throwing out to feed and fuel our city?

Can’t we be like Sweden? This isn’t the first time the council has looked at an extension. In 2013 it applied for a resource consent, but reversed its course in


the face of community opposition. Both the councillors and public hoped that changing technologies and consumption patterns meant a more effective option would arrive later on.But it’s been six years and time is running out. A few things have changed. The volume of rubbish has been reduced slightly, perhaps because of growing awareness of how much waste we’re producing. Legislation is catching up, with announcements almost weekly on Government plans to tackle plastic. Technology is improving too, at least overseas. In Sweden, 34 rubbish-fuelled power plants produce enough power to heat millions of homes in the country’s sub-zero winters. But for Wellington, after much deliberation, consultation, and an independent assessment by environmental engineers Tonkin and Taylor, Council has concluded that an extension is still the best option. Wellington City Council Waste Operations Manager Emily Taylor-Hall says the extension may not be the most sophisticated technology but it is considered to be reliable, and it won’t lock the city into something very expensive and very large. ‘We would really like to think that within that 25-year period we will have clocked on to doing something smarter than just creating so much waste that we then have to put it in a



million dollars – cost to extend the dump



years before the remaining room runs out

million cubic metres – the amount of space needed which will last another 26 years


100,000 tonnes – Wellington’s annual dump tally or 600kg per person per year

13 11 6 4

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

Happy Valley Road Main gate Administration buildings Recycle centre/tip store Weighbridge/kiosk Storage area

5 3

7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

12 9



8 1


Contaminated soil/asbestos dry cell Sledge de-watering station Compost preparations operations Compost storage and sales point Transfer station Tip face Proposed landfill expansion

Southern landfill site map 1:7, 500



330 metres


hole in the ground.’ Taylor-Hall says waste-to-energy was looked at among the technology options, but ultimately it was a massive investment that wouldn’t suit the city. The idea has been considered in other parts of the country, with Auckland City Council about to divert much of its food waste to a plant in Reporoa, which is being built with $7 million from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund. The plant will also produce enough fertiliser for 3,000 hectares of farmland annually. A plant proposed for the Buller region attracted a $300-million pledge from Chinese investment and environmental engineer company China Tianying Inc, and was expected to provide a projected 350 jobs. It flopped earlier this year. ‘That kind of machine is mega-scale. The volume of waste required to make the Buller plant viable was 600,000 tonnes a year. At Southern we would get in a really high waste year 100,000 tonnes. So we are looking at six times more – we don’t have enough rubbish,’ Taylor-Hall says. If you build a mega-machine, you really eliminate any good opportunities to make inroads into reducing waste. With the landfill there isn’t a fixed amount of waste that you need to push through.’ Any incineration option would also produce emissions that are harmful to the environment and human health, including carbon dioxide. The incineration of a tonne of waste can produce up to 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide, a leading cause of climate change. Taylor-Hall says that while burning produces smaller quantities of waste, the leftovers contain higher concentrations of pollutants, and still ultimately require landfilling.

Landfills also produce emissions (roughly half carbon dioxide and half methane). The methane, which traps much more heat than carbon dioxide, is mainly produced by food scraps, which make up 30 percent of the Southern Landfill’s contents. To combat the greenhouse effect of the methane emissions, the Council has installed gas wells in the landfill, which suck out the gas and burn it in a generator to produce electricity.

Why not just close the damn thing? ‘It’s called a landfill because that’s literally what it is. A place where we fill the land with rubbish,’ says Iona Pannett, the only city councillor to vote against extending the dump. Pannett’s preferred option is to close the facility and force Welllington to send its waste, including an annual 15,000 tonnes of sewage sludge, to either the Silverstream Landfill in Lower Hutt or the Spicer Landfill in Porirua. ‘Once we have the space the thinking will become “let’s fill it up”. It’s too convenient, and it’s going to cost millions. If we had no landfill, we would be forced to change. Right now it’s out of sight, out of mind.’ Pannett’s argument is that it is so cheap and easy to dump resources we no longer want that there is no incentive to change – or to support schemes that would make the way we deal with waste circular rather than linear. The sewage sludge for example, is currently sent to the landfill from the wastewater plant – a move that diverted it from the sea. The Council used to turn it into a good compost but few people used it. Pannett says we need to stop being so



squeamish about our rubbish and start considering it as something useful. The council did recommend closing the dump as its second and third choice options, but Tonkin and Taylor’s assessment said that transportation made it too expensive, particularly for the sewage, and it would mean a loss in revenue from fees paid to dump rubbish.

food waste that would otherwise be landfilled to grow food for low-income households in Wellington. The council is also looking for ways to help households reduce organic waste and is starting its own trial next year. Possibilities include introducing kerbside organic waste collection, and encouraging home composting. The council has warned Wellingtonians that kerbside collections could cost $5 million a year and ‘will be a big hit on rates’. Auckland is just about to introduce organic waste collection, while Christchurch has had a successful scheme for more than 10 years. Taylor-Hall says we can’t just launch a similar scheme in Wellington, as its waste collection needs are unique because of the wind and the topography. A third of the city can’t have wheelie bins, and bags of scraps on the footpath could blow away or attract pests.

So what are we putting in there and how do we stop it? Kate Walmsley of urban farm and community composting experiment Kaicycle says the idea that we will keep a landfll open so we can keep dumping food for the forseeable furture is insanity. Walmsley would like to see the landfill closed and Wellington become a place of wasteinnovation. ‘If we set limits and say we are not extending our landfill, we will have to find other ways to deal with our waste. We do have four years, I feel with the right incentives we would be able to do something useful. ‘We’ve seen with other places around the world where the landfill isn’t as accessible. It’s further out of town and the levies are higher, there are more barriers, which means there is all this awesome innovation helping make the most of materials and helping give them a second, third, fourth, fifth life. We don’t have that here because it’s just so easy to go to Happy Valley.’ The council has a $100,000 Waste Minimisation Seed Fund, which has just provided Kaicycle with funding to start a community composting trial, to encourage households to drop their compostables close to home. Walmsley says this model recognises that people are time-poor and composting at home isn’t always easy. More importantly, it will use

It’s the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. The real answer, Taylor-Hall says, is for every individual and business to start thinking differently about what we throw out. ‘From a waste point of view we will need to change how we live, how we behave as consumers, and how we view and treat the waste we produce. We need to be more conscious about the choices we make about what we buy, or what we don’t buy – so that we create less waste to be managed in the first place. Reduce, reuse, and recycle, with an emphasis on reducing waste in the first place.’ If we want a future without a landfill, or a facility to burn rubbish, or hundreds of trucks rumbling up the motorway every day loaded with waste, we need to stop putting so much stuff in the bin.


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The Capital crossword CO M P I L E D BY B E N N J E F F R I E S






























































































H 20






N 27


















A 5





U 17























I 16




U 6















L S Ac ro ss

D ow n

1. Sweet potato 9. Colony of flying insects or politicians 11. Over the hill 13. Mt Victoria tunnel activity 14. Ruby stones (3,5) 16. Move between islands 17. John Martin’s town 19. Promontory 23. Windmill 24. Wellington’s highest peak 25. Western suburb 27. Grill

2. Ruru 3. Caribbean island; street 4. Inhabitant of Matiu/Somes Island 5. Insect; special effects company 6. Wellington author (last name) 7. Tremor 8. Natural disaster; rugby team 10. Arabica 12. Summer journey 15. Māori word for summer; Kāpiti coast town 18. Rises from the ashes; football team 20. Zephyr 21. Flat topped island 22. Summer footwear 25. Early Māori explorer 26. Eastern suburbs cinema


Your ultimate unwind experience www.whitimanuka.co.nz

SustainaVille Summer



9.30am - 3.30pm MON - SAT PART OF

4 Queens Wharf, Wellington PRINCIPAL FUNDER



Electric records Derek Smith spent the early nineties photographing New Zealand while on the job as a meter reader. Between 1990 and 1992 he took over 1,000 photos of Wellington, documenting everything from abandoned cars on the South Coast to dairies in Johnsonville. Derek was inspired by the movement known as New American Color Photography. Described by the New York Times as ‘perfectly boring’, artists focused on contemporary life, presenting suburbia and overlooked everyday objects in vivid colour. Closer to home, he was inspired by photographers Ans Westra and Marti Friedlander. A self-proclaimed non-creative, Derek explains, ‘I’ve got no imagination at all. I’m more perceptive than creative. The subject is secondary. It’s all about form, composition, and detail for me.’ His film photographs, published on flickr.com in 2010, have received 2.5 million views, his Wellington album being the most popular. Now 62, Derek still travels around New Zealand taking photos, with the odd pit stop in Wellington. The ciggie advertising may no longer figure, but an early morning in Island Bay or the crowd enjoying the cricket at the Basin looks pretty similar 30 years on.







O rg a n i c , E c o l o g i c a l & S u s t a i nabl e In t e r i o r s , H o m e w a r e s & Te x t i l e s

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Stockists of the iconic Saltwater Sandals - from tiny to big 04 499 7046 | 102 Wakefield St, Wellington


Love local Whether you’re looking for food, drinks, flowers, jewellery or whatever – wouldn’t you rather love local? Yeah, that’s what we thought. In the Love Local directory cool people doing cool stuff to tell us what they’re up to.

Wallflower Boutique Florist Weekly flower service starting in February - fresh flowers delivered straight from the flower market to your door! We specialise in weddings and also offer corporate and function arrangements, so don’t hesitate to get in touch. www.wallflower.net.nz

Quality, Magic & Endurance

Greek Eats

For those seeking the unique, Cranfields offers an unparalleled selection of remarkable objects. You’ll find luxurious organic cotton nightdresses made for the most comfortable sleep possible. www.cranfields.com

Bringing authentic Greek food to the streets of Wellington. We’re around the city and at the markets. Or why not cater your next event with our delicious Greek food! www.thegreekfoodtruck.nz

Inner Body Freedom

Creating Freedom in Your Busy Life

Experience the health benefits of Stillness Touch at Inner Body Freedom. A form of craniosacral practice, Stillness Touch assists you to relax profoundly, releasing deeply held tension and increasing your vitality. Come and experience Stillness Touch for yourself. www.innerbodyfreedom.com

Life PA makes your life easier by taking care of your have-do’s, so you can enjoy your want-to’s. Running errands, home staging, travel planning and more, we can look after it all. www.lifepa.co.nz



Hidden in Hataitai

Good Vibrations Sound Therapy

Plates of exciting and eclectic neo-Japanese flavours and a cocktail list of delicious surprises makes BambuchiSan the perfect place to relax with family or friends after a day of summer entertainment, especially when you discover the secluded patio oasis. www.bambuchi.co.nz

Our bodies contain 'energy frequencies'. Sometimes when we are stressed, they go off key. Sound Therapy can be used to retune these energies. All you have to do is lie down and bask in the tuneful beauty of 'pure' resonance. www.goodvibrationssoundtherapy.co.nz

Frank’s Coffee

Thistle Hall Upgrade

City life can be busy. If you found yourself in need of a respite, you’ll be pleased to hear Frank’s offers exactly that. A modern minimalist escape offering award-winning coffee, freshly baked goods, delicious brunch menu, and neat retail goods. www.frankscoffee.co.nz

Our upstairs hall floor replacement has been delayed. We now reopen in late January 2020 after a holiday break. Check out our website for what’s happening at Thistle Hall. www.thistlehall.org.nz

Going on a beer hunt

TORY & KO. Jewellers

It’s hot, you’re thirsty, and pausing for a beer and bite to eat is never a bad idea. Capital have produced a handy pocket sized guide to tempt you on beer adventures around the city. Find a copy free around the city this summer. www.capitalmag.co.nz

Luxury designer jewellers who work with precious gemstones and diamonds. Their collections are world renown: seen on fashion runways, red carpets and royalty. Specialising in engagement rings and bespoke pieces, Victoria and Kirstin welcome you to their glittering boutique. www.toryandko.com


80 Boulcott St

04 499 1636





Scorching Bay




White sand, golden-tanned, packed lunch, quick plunge


5. 9.



1. Extra wide brim hat in berry pink, $489, Paris Georgia 2. Chunks classic round sunglasses in flame gradient, $75, Mooma 3. Bandeau bikini top in marigold, $119, Kowtow 4. High waisted bikini brief in marigold, $119, Kowtow 5. Castle Damn Nice beach towel, $99, Small Acorns 6. Kasbah picnic blanket, $99, Shut the Front Door 7. Reid & Reid barrel-aged gin, $68, Moore Wilsons 8. Drawstring backpack in umber, $85, Mooma 9. Ada long slip dress, $249, Kowtow 10. Jaggar Cybele heels, $220, I love Paris 11. Ashley & Co soothe tube in tui & kahili, $25, Small Acorns


11. 71





2. 5.

Titahi Bay


Good surf, linen shirts, lip balm, boat sheds


7. 8.

9. 10.


plus size 12.


1. Kererū sandalwood essential oil, $34, Commonsense Organics 2. Hair moisture & protein infusion, $50, Sans Ceuticals 3. Toothpaste, $19, Aēsop 4. Doty dress, $495, Harry’s 5. Faculty pant in sand canvas, $259, Kowtow 6. Large sport backpack in kelp, $150, Mooma 7. Alfie & Evie sense shoes, $149, I Love Paris 8. Reti & Rose lip duo in grapefruit, $30, Small Acorns 9. Delacroix one piece in blue, $113, Zebrano 10. Waffle hand towel, $29, Tea Pea 11. Capital south coast drink bottle, $22, confetticonfetti.co.nz 12. Rosemary & cucumber tonic, $6.50, Six Barrel Soda 72

You should sit in nature for 20 minutes a day... unless you are busy. Then you should sit for an hour. Zen saying

EXPLORE DISCOVER RELAX Come join us this summer Family & Guided Tours - Night Tour - Māori Cultural Tour Wildlife Photography Workshop - Ranger for a Day

Open everyday 9.00am - 6.00pm (except Christmas Day) 20 minutes north of Masterton SH2, Mount Bruce pukaha.org.nz

Blue-Tessellation, Michelle Walton (Backhouse)

IN ONE PIECE Michelle Walton (Backhouse) MAHARA MARKS 25 YEARS Robin Rogerson, Mary Zohrab, Bob Gibbs 15 December 2019 – 16 February 2020

AMOKURA Erena Baker and Reweti Arapere Let’s NOT celebrate Cook Robyn Kahukiwa 21 February – 12 April 2020

20 Mahara Place, Waikanae, PHONE: 04 902 6242, EMAIL: info@maharagallery.org.nz www.maharagallery.org.nz. OPEN: Tues to Sat 10am–4pm, Sun 1–4pm


OPEN HOME Winifred Wallis’s refusal to vacate her home for developers in 1972 resulted in the preservation of her Nairn St cottage as a museum. Outside, the heritage garden is the same size it was when Winifred’s grandparents William and Catherine built the house 155 years ago. It’s a good representation of a colonial garden, with quince and crab apple trees, lemon balm, purple sage, winter savory, bloodworth, and English lavender. Plus chickens, bees, and the old ‘outhouse’. Nairn Street Cottage is open daily, with hourly tours, throughout the summer.




Community is at the heart of the Wellington Pasifika Festival on 18 January. Church, school, and community groups will perform on the stage at Odlin’s Plaza, including Newtown’s Mafutaga Tagata Matutua Senior Exercise Group (who recently celebrated 20 years of weekly exercise sessions set to island tunes) and the Ex Nihilo Gospel Band. The festival also has food, art, and family-friendly activities.

Pat Shepherd, Founder of the One Percent Collective (Cap #57), encourages people to regularly donate 1% of their income. So far Pat’s donors have raised almost 1.5 million dollars for charities including the Neonatal Trust, Sustainable Coastlines, and Kaibosh. To inspire generosity Pat produces The Generosity Journal, a free booklet about ‘good humans doing good things and making good stuff.’ The seventh issue is out now.

Deep in Kaiwharawhara is a warehouse full of treasures. It’s where Roz of Tickadeeboo, a home-staging business, keeps the furniture, art and other items used in her business. Over the summer, her peak season, Roz will be staging 15 to 20 houses each month. ‘The rooms have to connect with each other, so all the rooms tell a story of the imaginary family or persons that look like they live there.’ There’s a retro coffee machine, chairs, vases, lamps in the shape of bunnies, mushrooms and bottles, and a golden robot.


15 December 2019 – 29 March 2020


I’ll be the one wearing the pink carnation, standing in the corner (sweating) 2017, mixed media, collection of the artist. Photograph by John Collie, courtesy of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū


Monarch butter fly Name: Monarch butterfly

Habitat: The monarch butterfly is considered a New Zealand native because it became established here on its own – island-hopping its way through the Pacific from North America and feeding on swan plants grown here by settlers.

Māori name: Kākahu (meaning cloak) Status: Native (more on that further down), declining. Scientific name: Danaus plexippus Description: Beautiful! Glorious! Stunning! It’s impossible to describe the monarch – in caterpillar, chrysalis or butterfly form – without using a bunch of words like this. The kākahu is Aotearoa’s most recognisable butterfly, with bright orange wings (sometimes darkening to red in places), black veins, and a couple of rows of white spots running around the wings’ black margins, plus some orange spots near the tips of the forewings. The monarch caterpillar is covered in striking bands of yellow, white and black, and grows up to 5cm long before metamorphosis (if you’ve never seen it, there are a bunch of horrifying/fascinating videos of this process online that are well worth looking up). The chrysalises are magical little bright green ornaments wearing a shining crown of gold; the word chrysalis actually comes from the Greek word for ‘gold’, khrusos.


While monarch butterflies in North America make a long migration to overwinter, our population make smaller journeys to overwinter in temperate places around the country including Tauranga Bay and Christchurch. Look/Listen: Keep an eye out for the orange flutter of monarchs over the coming months, or plant swan plants and watch the whole life-cycle for yourself. Tell me a story: Because swan plants are the primary source of food for monarchs in New Zealand, planting them is one of the best things you can do to help support the butterfly population. Ideally you want only two or three eggs per plant, as many more than that will strip the plant bare; if you find yourself with too many caterpillars (or an excess of plants), the Facebook group Monarch and Milkweed Matchmaking New Zealand should be able to sort you out.



from top new zealand wineries!

Wellington, Porirua, Masterton + Online


Brunch your thing? Open for delicious brunch Monday-Friday 7am and Saturday - Sunday 8am. www.thearborist.co.nz

Lulu’s Favourites: Succulent slow roasted 1.2kg Lamb Shoulder, Pineapple Mustard, Fried Agria Potatoes, Sesame Soy Dressing. Book your table online today www.lulubar.co.nz


HOT OFF THE PRESS You gotta be quick if you want a bottle of Apostle Hot Sauce. Made in small batches by Mat and Lydia of Paekākāriki, at the time of writing two of three flavours were sold out! There’s Saint John (Mango, turmeric, and ginger), Saint Peter (kiwifruit and kawakawa), and Saint Phillip (roasted capsicum and chilli). The couple say they have a passion for using local ingredients. ‘The peppers we use are hand-picked from Penray Gardens in Ōtaki and the Kawakawa leaves are from our own garden.’




Boaties can pull up right alongside Compass Coffee at Seaview Marina now that their $300k expansion is complete. The cafe has grown to include seating on a pontoon and a large deck over the water. Owner Michael Meads says customers can enjoy ‘a close up view of yachts, fish and bird life and great coffee.’ The coffee is Havana’s Pacifica blend ‘because it fits with our nautical theme.’ All the baking is Mum and Nanas’ recipes.

When The Brothers Coldpress say their juices are ‘raw’ they mean not pasteurised, processed, or made from concentrate. ‘It’s relatively simple – we wash and press fruit and vegetables and then package them into sterile glass bottles. Keeping our juice raw means more living enzymes, vitamins and minerals make it into each bottle.’ Their summer range is available in cafes around the region, or you can order online.

Six of the thirteen major Cuisine Good Food Awards went to Wellington eateries: Logan Brown, Hiakai, Shepherd (pictured), Noble Rot, Charley Noble, and Boulcott Street Bistro. A number of Wellington establishments also received hats, including new kid on the block Atlas which was described as ‘unabashedly luxurious’ and ‘elaborate’. They received a mark of 16/20 for their ‘inspired food and fine wines in an intimate setting.’



K AW H E TA L K Order your coffee in te reo six times at Seashore Cabaret or Miss Fortune (pictured) and you’ll get your seventh free. The Good Fortune team has produced a handy little booklet called Kōrero Kawhe to help you order the right drink, in the right size, with all your extras. Here’s one to get you started: He mōwai nui māku, ki konei, koa – A large flat white for me, have here please.




Anna Petro and Victoria Matthews of the Damn Good Food Company make their kids taste-test their plant-based, raw, gluten free, dairy free frozen snacks. ‘If they didn’t like the taste – it was back to the drawing board,’ says Anna, who describes herself as a ‘former Wairarapa farm girl.’ The company won two silver medals, with Double Berry and Citrus Zing, in this year’s Outstanding Food Producers Awards, and the pair has two new flavours to launch this year.

Wellington is New Zealand’s hot spot for vegetarianism, according to the report Hungry For Plant-Based: New Zealand Consumer Insights, which says if you are a vegetarian you are most likely to be from the capital. Those wanting to reduce their carbon footprint further and go completely plant-based can attend the Sustainable Plant-Based Cooking Workshop at the Aro Valley Community Centre this January. ‘The Organic Cook’ Hagar Ozri will teach attendees how to make the shift.

A little bird told us that Mean Doses will have their ‘Mean Juice’ on tap at the Great Kiwi Beer Festival in Christchurch this month. The hazy, fruity pale ale has proved to be popular among craft beer enthusiasts and it’s not one to miss. This is Mean Doses’ first year at the festival; other Wellington breweries are also attending.

Co-working made simple 40 Taranaki St | credenza.nz

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

Pineapple and rum tarte tatin with coconut sorbet



arte Tatin is a traditional French dessert that is a real crowd pleaser and so easy to make with whatever fruit is in season. Summer calls for the tropical flavours of pineapple and coconut, but what would these flavours be without the addition of rum? In the Shearer household this dessert holds a special place as whoever slips up and says the words ‘Tarte Tatin’ out loud has to

then make one for the whole family. Needless to say, we are all dab hands at whipping one up. On Masterchef NZ we made this on the fridge surprise challenge and then went on to win the challenge. We think it’s pretty darn good. If you do not have an ice cream maker you can simply freeze the sorbet once all the ingredients are mixed together.

Tarte tatin

Coconut sorbet

½ cup caster sugar ½ pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into segments 2 Tbsp spiced rum – optional 20g unsalted butter 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry Toasted coconut, thyme sprigs, and edible flowers to garnish 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

1 cup caster sugar ½ cup water 40g of mint (don’t be shy with the quantities as you need to be able to taste the mint) 400ml coconut milk 4 Tbsp lime juice 1.

Heat oven to 180°C. In a 20cm saucepan that can be put in the oven, add sugar and heat over medium heat until the sugar starts to colour. Add pineapple pieces and cook for 2 minutes. Sugar should start to turn golden. Add the rum and butter and cook until mixture starts to caramelise. Take off the heat and, using tongs, rearrange the pineapple pieces in a single layer. Cut the pastry to fit the pan snugly, and place over the pineapple, gently pressing down the sides. Bake in oven for 25–30 minutes, until pastry is golden. Just before serving, flip the tarte tatin onto a serving plate so that the pineapple is on the top.

2. 3. 4.

Serves 4


Dissolve sugar in water over medium heat. Take off the heat and cool for 5 minutes before adding the mint. Leave for at least an hour to fully infuse the flavours. Strain the mint leaves out and add the coconut milk and lime juice. Churn in an ice cream maker according to instructions. Freeze until needed.


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person, significantly developing your thinking style” according to alumni Apratim who works at ANZ. Students learn about databases and analytics, process design, project management, strategies and more. Other degrees at the Graduate School focus on furthering existing skills like their Master of Design Technology (MDT) which concentrates on visual effects (VFX), gaming, animation, and extended reality (XR). It is taught at the Miramar Creative Centre among the Weta group buildings on Park Road by experienced lecturers from the industry. Raqi Syed, Programme Director, previously worked at Weta Digital as a Senior Technical Director. The classes are small and Camden Wright, a MDT alumni, said this allowed him to have “a hands-on relationship with the lecturers which made me feel like my work was more appreciated and I could take confidence in it.” Camden is now working at SideFX, a famous VFX organisation whom the School have a partnership with, in Canada which was a dream of his. The Graduate School’s students engage with industry leaders through guest lectures, projects, mentoring, and networking events. To date, the majority their students have found work relevant to their degree within a year of graduating. Visit www.wellingtonict.ac.nz for more information


Re-verse I N T R O D U C E D BY C L A I R E O R C H A R D

About the poet: Oscar Upperton was born in Christchurch and grew up in Whangārei and Palmerston North. He now lives in Wellington. His work has featured in magazines and Best New Zealand Poems. His first collection of poems, New Transgender Blockbusters, is out in March with Victoria University Press. Why I like it: A good poem can be hard to write but many good poems are not hard to understand. This poem, for instance, uses something we’re all familiar with – the blockbuster – as a vehicle to carry us through the scenarios it describes. Like any good blockbuster, it’s well-constructed and well-paced, entertaining and suspenseful, has moments of pathos and connection. When I arrive at the final line of this poem, I feel the same as I do at the end of a good movie; that moment, when the end credits are rolling, the lights are going up, when I’ve been successfully prised from the shell of my own experience and dropped head-first into that of another person. Why read it: Because it’s smart and engaging, thought-provoking and poignant, well-reasoned and reasonable, understated yet emphatic. Read it because poems and the places they take us to are good to think about, and even better to talk about. This summer, this blockbuster poem speaks eloquently for itself.

NEW TRANSGENDER B LO C K B U ST E RS If we put on make-up the camera won’t linger and we’ll change our clothes out of frame or if we change our clothes in frame it will be done casually, talking as we shrug T-shirts over our heads or pulling on the spacesuit to try to fix the loose coupling one last time. We won’t die, or if we die, we’ll die surrounded by our grandchildren, handing out bequests of stolen property and vowing vengeance on rival families. We’ll travel in time, and save the world, and doom the world but not in an earthquake-causing, crime-against-nature sort of way. We’ll have transgender friends and family members, the frame of the film sustaining with ease the image of transgender people talking to each other. We’ll all be very very brave because being a person requires great bravery, and we won’t have to wear signs around our necks saying I am a Person. We’ll become immune to all tropes, and win every prize. If we find a gun under the floorboards in the first act, we will bring world peace by the fourth act. If we open our lockets to show the platoon a photograph of our loved one, we’ll be guaranteed to survive until the end credits. By Oscar Upperton, published in Sport 47 (VUP, 2019)

Best moment to break out this poem: Don’t be saving this one just for special occasions. I’ve shared this poem at my kitchen bench, in cafes, in my workplace staff room, with three generations of my family. I recommend multiple screenings all over the place.



DE-VINE Rebecca K Reilly (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Wai) has won the 2019 Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing for her comic novel Vines. Awarded by Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters, the $3,000 prize is supported by Wellington philanthropists Verna Adam and the late Denis Adam. Vines tells the story of Greta and Valdin Vladisavljevic, a brother and sister flatting together who are ‘precocious, prone to over-sharing, and mournfully sceptical about their ability to get on in the ordinary world.’




More than half of New Zealand children only read if they have to, according to the latest OECD Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA) study. ‘Our children need to see adults reading,’ says Jo Cribb, CEO of Read NZ Te Pou Muramura. Perhaps our tamariki could take a page out of a millennial’s book? Expert Editor reports that millennials read more than any other age group and, contrary to popular belief, prefer print books to digital.

The first book by poet, writer, performer and Capital ReVerse columnist Freya Daly Sadgrove will be on sale in February. Head Girl is a collection of poems about ‘selfhood, relationships, and memory’ says Freya. One of Freya’s poems was published in ReVerse (Cap #53) with commentary by Hera Lindsay Bird, who said Freya, ‘hasn’t published a collection yet, but when she does it’s going to ruin everyone’s life.’ Can someone check Hera’s ok?

Hera Lindsay Bird has won a Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship for 2020. Moving away from poetry, Hera plans to work on a book of linked short stories during her four-month tenure. Hera has gained attention particularly for the content of her poems. ‘I write about sex sometimes, because I'm interested in human relationships and sex is an aspect of that, and also good for a joke, but if you're going to poetry for specifically horny reasons, you've obviously never heard of the internet,’ she says.

Showroom Cnr Riddiford and Green Streets (next to duncan mclean) See website for opening hours


Open 24/ 7 at new townhouse. co. n z


Original Summer fiction

Headwater BY B E N N J E F F R I E S


can’t remember why I was so angry. The ads on the telly used to say things like ‘don’t take it out on the family,’ but they never mentioned a ponga. I was swinging uppercuts and haymakers at this poor tree, all the while yelling the few Māori words I knew at the top of my lungs. Now what they won’t tell you about getting in a fistfight with a ponga is that you get showered in these tiny brown hairs that itch like hell. I had to strip naked and wash in the Ruamahanga River to get rid of the damn things. The water was ice cold from snowmelt and calmed me down better than a beer ever could. I floated downstream on my back, listening to the river stones shift in the current, until I washed up on a gravel bar. My grandma had taught me to fly fish on this river. She was a hard woman, harder than a bag of nails. She’d raised me from when I was just a young fella and used to try and scare me with stories of the taniwha who lived in these waters. I never did get scared though – I knew bloody well that any taniwha with half a brain would steer clear of her. I sat down on the river bank to dry off in the morning sun and watched a pīwakawaka dart around catching sandflies. Most people will go their whole lives without knowing a single thing about the birds they see every day – a goddamn tragedy if you ask me. My favourite bird is the house sparrow. I know they aren’t native and all that, but you gotta hand it to the little bastard for spreading his seed far and wide. The sparrow has got to be the most successful bird ever, and most people can’t tell a male from a female. It’s an easy thing to do in breeding season, the male’s chest turns black like some kind of lion’s mane. My

chest is black year-round which some might say is fitting. My grandma once told me that my good for nothing father was two things besides being good for nothing – a drunk and hairy as hell, so at least I inherited something. I realised I was hungry and lumbered back to the hut to get my clothes and fishing kit. I found a nice pool a little way upstream and caught a decent two-kilo brown, then fried it up with cannellini beans and garlic. Up in the Tararua backcountry where this river meets the Ruapae Stream, the fish are less common but you’ll find fat browns and the odd rainbow trout. I cracked open my last beer after the meal, which normally signalled the end of the trip. I threw it back then spent an hour cutting firewood for the DoC hut before I left. The walk out was gentle, and not far from the road end I spotted a hind grazing on a broadleaf tree. I could’ve snuck around the ridgeline and grabbed my rifle from the truck but I was enjoying watching her too much. After a few minutes, the wind swirled and she scented me, running for cover like I’d seen too many women do in my life. On the drive back to Wellington I stopped in Clareville for a pie and a coke. The only better combo being raw kingy and soy sauce. Over the Remutaka hill I picked up a bottle of red and a four-forty can of beer to tide me over. Most cities give me a pain in my chest, but the constant wind in Wellington seems to calm me. I have a place round the south coast the old lady left me when the smokes finally caught up with her. It’s rusted out and cold as hell when the southerly pushes up from Antarctica, but I like it that way. When I

You're home now, 2018, The Children of Māui, Chevron Hassett




was a young fella I went to the far north when my little brother Joe died. The old folks were always saying the cape was where our people left from when they karked it. I couldn’t get my head round where they were all going to and I’m ashamed to admit it, but for years I thought Hawaiki – the ancestral homeland – and Hawaii were one and the same. On the day Joe died, I stole the neighbour's trailer-sailer and thought I’d go see my brother in Hawaii. The coast guard picked me up out from Karori rip the next day. Seems along with my dyslexia I couldn’t work out how to sail either. Anyway, it’s too damn hot in the north. The way I see it, the colder it is the more useful people tend to be. Plus, on those real cold Wellington nights, some women round town start to look at me like I’m a hundred-kilo heater they can curl up with. I arrived home in the afternoon and washed down my boots and the truck then washed down myself. I was having a smoke out the front when I suddenly realised I didn’t own a dog and couldn’t figure why that was. I drove over to Grace’s place in Newtown, where she didn’t smile at me until I handed over the bottle of red. I met Grace a few months ago at a deerstalkers meeting. She doesn’t hunt, she just really likes venison. I heard about this thing called Stockholm syndrome the other day, which is when you fall in love with someone you probably shouldn’t. I reckon I might have that with every single woman I’ve ever met. They scare the shit out of me and Grace is no exception. She probably weighs more than me but claims otherwise. When I first brought it up she gave me a look that said don’t bring it up. I’ve never thought much about marriage before but when you get to my age you start to look at things differently, like a hangover for instance, or fruitcake. The trouble with Grace is


I know for a fact she’d turn me into one of those handbag dog husbands before the honeymoon in Ngawi was over. We sat around her kitchen table and she drank the best bit of the bottle while I told her about the whole me not having a dog problem. She volunteered at the SPCA and said they had a cat that would suit me well. I liked birds too much to even look at a cat so I told her no, I needed a dog. She rolled her eyes and said we’d go up in the morning and have a look. She’d finished the bottle by this point and moved over to the telly where she watched some show about spoilt kids in love on an island. I woke up at dawn to her smooth skin smothering me and her snoring rattling the walls. How do I know if she’s the one? I thought to myself and pulled free. There was a dull light coming in through her curtains and I enjoyed the sight of her body while I dressed. I don’t see the point in sleeping past sunrise because that’s when the birds are out and the fish are biting. I left her place and walked to the SPCA where I waited for it to open. The building was up in the town belt where the cicada song drowned out the traffic. I watched one finish its song and fly off from its branch, only to be caught in mid-air by a tui. I jumped up cheering and fist-pumped the air. There was an old woman watching me from the car park and I apologised to her for some reason. She told me she liked birds too and walked over to unlock the SPCA. I helped her feed the dogs and found a mutt that looked like he might have come over with Kupe. The woman said he was a mixture of god knows what, but a good-natured dog all in all. I said I’d take him and she asked if I’d like to make a donation. I told her I dug holes for a living and she smiled at me like I imagined a mother might do.


What's the shape of our city tomorrow? How good are we at picturing our beautiful city 30 years from now? Will our kids be in cars, or scooting along a wide and leafy Lambton Quay? Might the Sunday lawn mowing tradition have given way completely to growing veggies with neighbours in an inner city park? Could an apartment on the sixth floor of a complex in the suburbs be the new dream home for first time buyers? In the next 30 years Wellington will be home to another 50,000 to 80,000 people, and a recent report tells us that without some serious changes to the District Planning rules, we’ll be short between 4,600 and 12,000 homes by 2047. But it’s much more than a numbers game. Forward thinking cities around the world are creating spaces for public life, taking advantage of this time of change to put people at the centre of their urban planning. Wellington City Council Mayor Andy Foster says the District Plan review that’s happening this year is our moment to think about the future of our city. “Things are already on the move. Over 30 percent of all dwellings are apartments and most of these are in the central city. We are beginning to see some really creative multi-unit constructions happening. If we are to meet demand, this is the model to get us there,” he says. The Mayor also knows it’s a balancing act. “It’s not just about the quantity of housing, but also the quality to protect what we value and to improve the urban and natural environment, as well as the way and quality of life for Wellingtonians.”

“Compact cities like ours are more walkable, bikeable and allow higher public transport use. This is crucial to reducing energy and carbon emissions,” Mayor Foster says. Earlier this year Wellington City Council went to the public with four growth scenarios, and the results show a strong preference for keeping development close to the central city and existing suburbs. There was little support for any new green field development, with most people saying it’s important that we avoid urban sprawl and the negative impact this has on the environment. The Council has since been busy drafting this feedback into a master plan for the city, and will soon want to hear what you think before setting the rules for the new District Plan. “This is an exciting time. Never before have we seen an opportunity of this scale for transformational change. How we grow, how we move around, and how we deal with the causes and impacts of climate change will impact generations to come.” “If we want a city that our children and grandchildren are as proud of as we are, then we need to take the time together now to get this right,” Mayor Foster says. Join the conversation. Help shape your city tomorrow. • Come to the free Speaker Series (5.30pm on Thursday 20 Feb, 27 Feb, and 5 March at Prefab Hall). Email planningforgrowth@wcc.govt.nz to register your interest. • Drop into the mobile pop-up to see what’s proposed for your community, and have your say. See the visiting schedule on the website. Make a submission from 13 March. Visit planningforgrowth.wellington.govt.nz

Spatial Plan – Wellington City Council


Curated wilderness BY SA R A H CAT H E R A L L P H OTO G R A P H Y BY SA N N E VA N G I N K E L


arah Caughley often looked wistfully down the driveway to Pahiko, the homestead, on a rambling Otaki property. Sarah, a Wellington landscape designer, has several ties to the 1880s house on 10 acres in rural Te Horo, which she now owns with her lawyer husband, Richard. She first saw the house about three decades ago, when Richard, then her fiance took her to meet his mother, who was visiting one of the former owners of Pahiko. ‘I thought, ‘‘this is a neat place’’,’ Sarah recalls. ‘Then I’d be driving north every summer with my kids to see my family and I would always look out for it.’ She had another connection, too. Her English grandfather, Somerset Playne was a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, and he travelled around New Zealand and published a book about the country in 1912. He wrote about Pahiko at some length in the book, describing it as an established estate of 1,500 acres. ‘Fun fact is that they had award winning pigs they bred which originally came from Highclere Castle in England – the castle in Downton Abbey,’ Sarah says. Over the decades, the house and property evolved. Blocks of land were sold to Chinese market gardeners, and one of the owners added a top storey to the homestead in the 1960s. When the house came up for sale seven years




ago, Sarah was desperate to buy it. ‘I needed a new focus. I thought, ‘‘that is a place I would love’’. It was perfect timing.’ Now Sarah and Richard’s second home, the rambling, expansive property which runs all the way down to the Otaki River is their weekend retreat from Wellington. Sarah worked with an aborist for three weeks to remove gums and pine trees. ‘Everything was throttling everything else.’ She planted Psyche roses and ‘let them go mad. I want them to grow up into the trees.’ They turned paddocks into lawns and a rambling garden. While Sarah has spent her career designing gardens professionally, she wanted a natural, organic garden in Te Horo. ‘Richard would have loved a plan

but I don’t want any plan. I’d love to turn it into a wild nature reserve.’ On the south side, she has created a wilderness paddock, bursting with fruit trees. Her lemon and lime trees are usually laden with fruit. Richard has made award-winning apricot jam from the apricot tree. ‘I’m only inspired by organic and wild. As a society, we are too tidy. Everything is too perfect.’ Farming and Otaki is in Sarah and Richard’s blood. Richard’s family farmed one of the first dairy farms in the Otaki area, and his grandfather drowned in the rivermouth. Sarah grew up on a farm at Lake Okareka, near Rotorua. ‘My father who was English gave me a love of trees and bush. I wanted to farm our farm





growing up, but I wasn’t allowed because my brother was meant to take over. Then he didn’t want to be a farmer and I still wasn’t allowed to.’ Comfortable in a paddock in a pair of gumboots, she regularly returns to the family farm to help with annual tasks like docking. At Pahiko, the 10 acres are home to 30 sheep. Richard tends the sheep and enjoys pottering around the property. They sold a quarter share in a boat to buy a ride-on mower. While the section was the main drawcard, they also loved the house and its history, and the wellworn farm buildings. However, the five-bedroom house needed work. Sarah loves the living room with the open fireplace where they burn logs from the property, and the billiard room.

Many of the walls were painted different hues, and one of the first things she did was to arm her daughter, Rachel, and friends with paintbrushes. They painted over the maroon walls in the living room and the purple walls in the billiard room with white. Ditto the yellow walls in the hallway and deep red walls in the master bedroom. Richard frequented auctions for secondhand furniture which is now in use throughout the house, giving it a relaxed, eclectic feel. Some of the furniture Sarah inherited from her grandmother, Lucy (Somerset’s wife), along with a solid wood carving of a cobra. As soon as they walk into the house, Sarah and Richard feel comfortable and relaxed. Their three



twenty-something children often stay too. ‘We love the contrast between our country life and our city life. When I’m back in Wellington, I love the culture and the restaurants.’ Inside the living room, Richard built a large bookshelf. Cane chairs are spread along the wraparound verandah. The kitchen is a classic farm kitchen, and here they took out the stable door, replacing it with a standard door. The dining room has built in cabinetry. They converted the disused stable into a distillery, as their son George was interested in making gin,

but that has changed and it will, in time, have another incarnation. The homestead is just 80 metres from the Otaki River, where they explore in kayaks and catch whitebait. ‘Every summer we look for our own waterhole. It’s so hot and beautiful in the river.’ They would like to be self-sufficient at Pahiko. They eat hogget from their farm, grow vegetables and have two beehives. ‘Sometimes I’ll pick up the whole frame off the hive and eat the honey, which is so delicious. Here, I want to create a haven for the birds and the bees.’



Campus Day



Sunday 22 March, 10am Rathkeale College is a State-Integrated Boys’ Boarding and Day Secondary School catering for Years 9-13. We are extremely proud of all we have to offer so invite you and your family to come and have a look for yourselves. Staff and students will be on hand to help you explore our 123 acres of outdoors, take an eco walk down to the river, try the confidence courses, check out our bike track and see what is happening in Agri-Business with our developing Land Lab.


There will also be a chance to view our excellent boarding facilities. In an age where parents are often referring to their “screenager”, we believe we offer the best of both worlds in developing confident, successful and happy young men. Martin O’Grady, Principal. COME AND SEE WHAT RATHKEALE COLLEGE HAS TO OFFER.

To register or for more information please email principal@rathkeale.school.nz or phone 06 370 0175

W W W. S TA G I N G H O M E .C O. N Z



Family all at sea From August to November, climate activist Greta Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic twice, covering around 10,000 kilometres and spending five weeks in total at sea. Since then there’s been a dramatic increase in interest in this old-school type of travel – a far eco-friendlier option than flying. Sailing is an entirely different experience, as Claire O’Loughlin explains.


hen I fly, I basically teleport. Airports are liminal spaces, nowhere places. Sailing, by comparison, is a reckoning with every moment and the elements everywhere between the origin and the destination. It is a slow process and an immersive, full-body experience. I grew up on a 42ft sailing yacht with my two sisters and my mum and dad. Much of the first 15 years of my life from 1988 to 2003 were spent at sea, sailing all around the world. On our sea passages, everyone had something to do. Dad was usually at the chart table, watching the GPS or talking on the radio, or up in the cockpit adjusting the course and the sails. Mum would be inside with my sisters and me, organising fun activities, helping us with our New Zealand Correspondence School work or cooking in the galley while we played in the saloon. We were forever making things and our theme was always the ocean. We made aquariums out of paper plates and cellophane, deserted islands out of plasticine, ships in bottles, and turtle figurines out of shells and googly eyes. We played dress-ups, always as pirates. We made paper kites that we flew off the stern, and paper fish that we dangled on strings over the side of the boat – you can lose a lot of paper fish doing this. We lived in tight quarters but found our own space, orbiting around each other like planets in a tiny solar system. When I wasn’t playing with my sisters, I could be found reading and listening to music in my cabin, or standing at the bow, safely clipped on by my harness, singing and licking my fingers after running them along the salt-crusted railing. I would stare at the ocean


with its infinite textures and colours for hours. Rough seascapes like jagged rocks, or soft and rolling like farmland hills. We were always going somewhere slowly, but that was easily forgotten. With no land in sight and the 360° horizon encircling us, we were at the centre of the world. Other lives were going on all around – the sea was teeming with creatures: seabirds, turtles, whales, and dolphins. Pods of varying sizes came by almost every day. Once in the Pacific, between the Galapagos and the Marquesas, we found ourselves at the convergence of a superpod, hundreds and hundreds of dolphins leaping in towards us from every side. In the mornings we’d walk around the decks finding smelly flying fish and flicking them back into the sea. They’d met their grisly ends by slamming into us throughout the night and they ended up tangled in ropes, wedged in the scuppers, and once one came flying right through the saloon hatch, landing in a flapping panic on the cushions. Another time when I was pumping in salt water to flush the loo I sucked one right up into the toilet bowl, where it swam around startled until I pumped it out into the sea again. At night, we would lie in the cockpit looking at the sky, cuddled up together under a checked woollen blanket, of the kind found in every bach. We counted shooting stars and identified our favourite constellations – Orion with his belt, bull and bow, the Big and Little Dippers, and Matariki, which we knew as the Seven Sisters. If there was no wind, the glassy sea would reflect the night sky, so we would be chugging along through a starry universe, our wake a trail of


phosphorescence behind. Later, curled up in my tiny cabin, listening through the hull to the water whooshing past, I would reach up and touch the glow-in-the-dark stars on my roof and walls, the constellations carefully arranged in a copy of the sky outside. While we slept our parents kept watch throughout the night, and as we grew older we took turns as well. Three hours alone in the cockpit in the dark, or sometimes with a moon so bright I could read by it. Once I saw moonlight make a rainbow of grey hues through a passing squall. Another time I was scared by a giant glowing sea snake weaving around and under us, but it was just a lone dolphin illuminated by phosphorescence. An alarm went off at regular intervals, reminding us to scan the horizon for ships’ lights, and record the position, weather and wind direction in the logbook. About a week into passage most of our fresh food would run out, and we all got cravings. We had only a very small fridge and no freezer. The fridge could fit one block of cheese, the EasiYo yoghurt jar, and some veges with a long fridge life, like iceberg lettuce and cabbage. Once they ran out it was all preserved food, and, if we were lucky, fresh fish. The best catch was mahi-mahi, with its luminescent scales that would flash green, blue, and yellow when Dad hoisted it on deck. Mum would fry it along with thin slices of potatoes so we could pretend we were having ‘real’ fush ‘n’ chups. Mum cooked in the galley with her back pushed hard against the galley strap – a strip of material hooked diagonally across the full one-metre length of the galley. She leaned against it because she wasn’t level. Nothing except the water in the cooking pot was technically level, and even that sloshed around as though it was drunk. Everything seems drunk at sea, lurching back and forth. The ocean shoves the boat and the boat shoves you. Whenever

we moved, we had to hold on and wedge ourselves in so we wouldn’t tumble. Our tiny fridge was run off the batteries, which were charged by the boat’s engine and solar panels. If it was a sunny, still day, the sails would flap despondently, and we would have to turn the engine on to get anywhere. The double hit of the engine and the sun blazing down on the solar panels would put the batteries into overdrive. We would plug in everything we had to charge, and the fridge would get cold enough to make ice blocks out of Raro. It was such a treat to have an ice block at sea. It made us feel like we were back in New Zealand and had popped down to the dairy. Each boat skipper would set a different limit as to how low their speed would drop to, before they turned their engines on, depending on how soon they needed to get to their destination and how much they wanted to conserve precious and expensive fuel. And of course, running the engine meant we weren’t a zero-carbon-emissions boat. Back then, although we were living off the grid, sailing was about escaping the ‘real’ world and its problems. But the problems of the earth are not escapable. Not a day passed without plastic bottles and bags, aluminum cans, and pieces of styrofoam floating by. Occasionally we passed huge rafts of rubbish several metres wide. That same rubbish will very likely still be out there, perhaps now part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We stored our own rubbish in the stern locker until we reached port and could dispose of it. But I think the chance that it ended up in the sea anyway is pretty high. By all means, we should find alternative ways of travelling to flying. But really, travel by sea isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey, and about savouring every moment of the world we need to save.


Wishing you and your loved ones the very best for 2020.

Nicola Willis

National List MP based in Wellington Funded by the Parliamentary Service. Authorised by Nicola Willis, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160.

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TOP DOG Edward Osei-Nketia is New Zealand’s 100-metre sprinting prodigy, with a personal best of 10.19 seconds, just 0.61 seconds behind Usain Bolt’s world record. Edward’s time puts him close to the qualifying time for the Tokyo Olympics in July and his eyes are on the goal. After intense interest and offers from rugby union, league, and AFL, the Scots College pupil has confirmed his commitment to Athletics New Zealand. Osei-Nketia follows in the footsteps of his father, who holds the current New Zealand 100m record.




When the opening shot of the promotional video reads ‘Mud is thicker than blood’ you know you’re in for a doozy. The legendary Karapoti mountain biking classic is back for the 35th time on 29 February out at Karapoti Park. The race is credited with kick-starting mountain biking in New Zealand, and traces a route that pre-European Māori once took. It famously starts with a sprint across the Akatarawa River before climbing into the bush. A 50-km and a 20-km race and a 5-km kid’s race are run on the day.

The White Ferns will be slugging sixes and whacking over wickets against South Africa 9 and 10 February at the Basin Reserve for two T20 fixtures. New head coach Bob Carter will face his first official eight games over a busy summer before the team head to Australia for the T20 world cup. The White Ferns’ first game of the tournament is on 22 February, against Sri Lanka.

The waters are warming, the kahawai are schooling, and the tuna are marauding. Strap on your gimbal and triple-check those knots ready for the Castlepoint fishing competition on 10 and 11 January. With fishing from both land and boats, the competition is a highlight in the local angler’s calendar. There’s loads of prize money to be won, including $1,000 for the heaviest snapper, kahawai, and tuna, as well as spot prizes and raffles.


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Pushed to the limit Meg Waghorn describes the midwife crisis in our region, and calls on the government and DHB to step up and fix it.


few days after I returned home from hospital with my second baby, an external review of Women’s Health Services at Hutt Hospital, where he was born, was released. It had found major safety concerns in the Hutt Hospital maternity unit. Reading the report fresh from my own pregnancy and birth experience was stomach-churning. I was already aware I had been lucky to have had a community midwife to act as my lead maternity carer in pregnancy and the postnatal period. The attentive and highly-skilled care I received from community midwives during my pregnancies was hugely important to my physical and mental wellbeing, and undoubtedly helped me to birth and parent the way I wanted to. But with community midwife numbers down to around 20 in the Hutt Valley from over 30 two years ago, I’m worried that midwifery care as I experienced it will become a rare privilege for women in our region. The shortage of community midwives also affects our hospital maternity wards. More women need hospital midwives to provide their care during pregnancy, and fewer women arrive at hospital in labour with a community midwife to lead their care. As our


hospitals also face their own staff shortages –both Hutt Valley and Capital and Coast DHBs have multiple maternity care vacancies – this is extra pressure the hospitals do not need. Hutt and Wellington maternity units have both had ‘Code Reds’ over the past year, when they are at so full they cannot safely take any more admissions. Despite this, the Hutt DHB has so far refused to allow any of the funding allocated for birthing women in the Hutt to go to the Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre, which has made the survival of the centre uncertain. After reading the report of the external review, I wrote to the DHB, local MPs, and the Associate Minister of Health to express my concerns. I started to receive stories from local women who felt their pregnancy and birth experiences had been adversely affected by the under-resourcing of maternity care in the Hutt. In their accounts women wrote of feeling abandoned on understaffed wards, of essential appointments changed at late notice, and of being scared by the obvious fatigue and stress of hospital staff. They spoke of rundown facilities and a clear lack of basic equipment. Some linked diagnoses of post-natal depression directly to their hospital experiences. At a public meeting in Lower Hutt in November, tearful midwives echoed these concerns. They spoke of the extreme stress they felt turning up to dangerously understaffed shifts, and frustration accessing vital equipment. The community is deeply concerned about the current state and future of our local service, and women and midwives are in real distress. One of the benefits of our current midwifery model, where women build a relationship with their community midwife from

early pregnancy, is the formation of an individual birth plan, in which the woman’s preferences and hopes are balanced with the clinical expertise of her midwife. However, this sense of birth as a wholly individual experience can obscure the fact that currently our birth experiences and outcomes are affected by systemic failings and under-resourcing. No woman wants to feel that decisions around birth are being made for any reason other than her own and her baby’s wellbeing. The review of Hutt maternity services pointed to the high rates of caesarean sections and of babies being admitted to the Special Care Baby Unit, and linked both to understaffing. Every day more and more births are affected by the over-stretched staff and facilities in over-stretched hospitals, and every day midwives and others providing maternity care are pushed closer to leaving their profession by the stress and anguish of trying to meet the needs of mums and babies. We simply cannot afford to lose a single midwife, from the community or the hospitals, in the Wellington region. The constant response from government and DHBs has been that this is a national crisis and that staffing shortages take time to fix. The New Zealand College of Midwives has stated there are currently more midwives with an annual practicing certificate than ever before. We do not have a shortage of midwives, we have a shortage of midwives willing to practice under current working conditions. Women, families and midwives cannot change those conditions; only the government and the DHBs have the power to do so. We need them to act now. We need our Wellington region DHBs to prioritise improving work environments for their staff and to be respond effectively to their concerns about safety and conditions.

We need to stop government funding specifically allocated for maternity care being diverted by DHBs into other areas. DHBs across the country, and especially in the Wellington region, have shown that they will not prioritise maternity care of their own accord. The Minister of Health needs to seriously consider how maternity funding can be protected. We need the Ministry of Health to urgently implement a better funding model for community midwives, and complete the pay negotiations that started in 2015. We need the constant shuffling of responsibility for this crisis between the Ministry of Health and the DHBs to stop. After five months immersed in the ongoing emergency in maternity care in our region I am exhausted from hearing stories of distress from local women working and birthing in our maternity system. Those who have been working for change in this area for much longer are heart-sore and angry. Midwives are hanging in there because they care about women, babies, and birth. I’m just not sure how much longer they will be there if the government, the DHBs, and the general public don’t get in behind them, and fast. We cannot wait any longer. Meg Waghorn is a primary school teacher and mother of two who lives and works in the Hutt Valley. She is the secretary of the Lower Hutt Parents Centre and cares deeply about the birth and parenting experiences of women.



What would Deirdre do?

M E A N M UM I was happily adopted in the 70s in a private adoption. I am fortunate and have close family relationships from my childhood. Both my adoptive parents have died and I have attempted to make contact with my birth parents. My father has responded warmly but my mother who has had several more children has said she does not want any contact with me and asked that I not make any more attempts. I am extremely hurt and angry and think she owes me some contact. What do you think? Tessa, Island Bay


L IG H T F I N G E R S I travel a lot on work trips and bring home the surplus little soaps and shampoos that the hotel leaves out. I saw them as part of the hotel deal. A workmate says it’s stealing and we ought not to take anything. I didn’t like to mention a friend who routinely leaves with a towel, or slippers or bathmats, even once a dressing gown; now that I see as stealing. Which one of us is right? Kiri, Wadestown

She does not ‘owe’ you anything. Being angry and upset are your responses but she has made it very clear that she made a decision many years ago and does not want to revisit it. Let her be and move on with your own life.

Well the moral high ground says you are both at fault! Certainly this is stealing and must be the bane of all hotels. Fixtures like bath mats and towels belong clearly to the hotel – bathroom samples are a generous gesture and intended for short term personal use so I think it is quite acceptable to take the ones you use. Usually if the product is particularly liked you can buy the range when you leave? I once complimented a hotel on its shampoo and they sent me a Christmas gift box of it! Each to their own but do you really need little plastic bottles?

WA L L OW My best friend/flat mate’s mum died quite recently after being sick for a long time. They weren’t very close, but she’s still of course very sad about it. We sit in silence and drink wine a lot. I’m just trying to be there for her, and am happy to go along with whatever she feel she needs. And now I’m worried I’m enabling destructive behavior. What’s the best thing to help someone grieving? Bex, Mt Cook It takes two to tango. There are many ways that grief affects us but this sounds as if it has become an indulgent and rather morose habit. Get out and about. Get on with other things. Don’t indulge yourselves. Be a positive, energised, active friend. Be a friend.

MOOD KILLER My husband of many years likes to wear women’s lingerie. I’ve known for a long time that he’s bi, but he has said repeatedly that he is only interested in me. Now he wants to wear the lingerie when we are having sex and it turns me off. What shall I do? Does he really want me? Jill, Lower Hutt

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

This is all about you two. Sort it out. Whatever makes you both happy.







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Lets toast

I also want to see more of this summer: Fat and chubby people in crop tops! Chunky legs in shorts! Non-binary fashion statements! Pubes poking out the sides of bikini bottoms!


Exercise, but make it fun.


appy New Year! It’s 2020, the very beginning of a brand new decade, and I’m sure you’ve hit the ground running with a bunch of New Year’s resolutions aimed at building a better, brighter you. Well I’m here to tell you to throw them out the window and follow me down the path of hedonism instead. Here’s my theory: New Year’s Resolutions are a concept dreamed up in the northern hemisphere, where it’s freezing, and it makes sense to sit about and reflect and make goals. We have our own time like that – Matariki, and if you haven’t before I highly recommend getting onboard with that kaupapa next time winter rolls around. But here in Aotearoa, we’re well through the cold, dark months. We even survived the torrential rain, relentless winds, and thunderstorms of the bonus New Zealand season the internet has named ‘Shitsville’. We’ve made it to January, the unofficial start of actual-summer, and why on earth would we spend even a minute of it doing anything other than feeling good as hell? On that note, here are some suggestions for New Year’s Resolutions to swap out for the tired old ones you always make (and give up on soon after, because they’re dumb).

Eat what makes you feel good.

Some people love to run. I love to climb a good hill. But there are many other activities that are also exercise and are frankly a little under-appreciated, like riding a bike for the first time in years after a couple of glasses of wine, skinny dipping at 1am, dancing all night with a group of girlfriends, karaoke, pashing, getting into fights and/or running from the police, going to the park and playing with dogs or children that aren’t yours. Did you know the average number of calories a woman burns having sex is 69? Nice!

Invest in female friendships.

At this point we all know that everything we were told about women being catty, gossipy, and bitchy was aimed at forcing us into competition so we might never know the true power we can wield together, yeah? Let’s surround ourselves with incredible, resilient, funny, caring, passionate women and watch as their light empowers us to shine our brightest too.

Care less!

I love a good salad, be it ancient-grain, lettuce leaf, or soba noodle-based. And a good salad will make my body feel incredible. But you know what else makes me feel incredible? Birthday cake. Hollandaise at brunch. A grapefruit FruJu. Chocolate everything. There’s no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food, ask your body what it wants, then give it what it wants. Say no to guilt.

Wear what makes you feel good.

Growing up, I got it into my head that a pear-shaped person couldn’t pull off jeans. This year, at 34 years old, I bought my first pair. They make me look short (I am short) and my belly a bit fat (it is a bit fat) and I love them so much, I’ve barely taken them off. Things

This year, as I made yet another cake for the school gala, I stopped myself just as I was about to cut it in half to ice the middle as well as the top. ‘What would happen,’ I thought, ‘if I just cared less?’ I slapped some icing on the top, chucked it in the box and was done. Nobody noticed the difference. Care less! Except about yourself! Which brings me to my last resolution:

Prioritise you.

Next time you’re offered a chance to do something completely selfish, think about what you’d tell your best friend to do and then do that. I bet you’re very good at putting everyone else’s needs first, but how are you meant to do that if you’re all burnt out? Figure out what you need to flourish – be it space, a night away, a date, time with your friends, an occasional massage, an ocean swim, a sleep in – and claim it. You deserve it. See you at the beach you babes. Pubes and all.



January MAHARA MARKS 25 YEARS Robin Rogerson, Mary Zohrab, Bob Gibbs Mahara Gallery, Waikanae, until 16 February






Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, Porirua, 10am–4pm


RUST + RESTORATION See historic films rescued by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Te Puna Foundation Gallery at the National Library Building, until February 22 NEWS FROM THE SUN Three photographers explore the window, the horizon, and the still life City Gallery

Concerts at the Soundshell


Wellington Botanic Garden, 7–26 January

California Home & Garden, Lower Hutt, 3pm





Plant in the play gardetn and discover a compost worm’s world

Ocean swim

PlayHQ, Capital E, Mon-Fri until 29 February A SHORT HISTORY OF SUFFRAGE

STEVE CARR: CHASING THE LIGHT A six-screen video installation showing fireworks City Gallery

A guided tour of two Wellington exhibitions, He Tohu and Suffrage in Stitches National Library of New Zealand & Wellington Museum, 13, 15 & 16 January


Sue Cooke explores the plight of Aotearoa’s forests

Oriental Bay, from 7.30am

31 BLACKCAPS v INDIA T20 Sky Stadium, first ball 8pm SYMMETRIES First of the NZSO’s Shed Series Shed 6, 7.30pm



Locally made crafts, artisan food, live music, with proceeds going to Wellington Free Ambulance

A day at the races


Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and Heritage, Palmerston North

Trentham Racecourse, gates open 10.30am





Art, crafts, food, jewellery, and more

A survey exhibition of work by artist Wayne Youle



Martinborough Square

Pātaka Art + Museum, Porirua



Classic and muscle cars

Welcome the year of the rat


Various events, Wairarapa, 23–26 January

Various events, 1–2 February







Headlined by The Warratahs

A summer mix of events, live music and family fun

Tauherenikau Racecourse, gates open 10am

Tauherenikau Racecourse, 24–26 January

Queens Wharf, every Saturday


Walk down the aisle at Wellington’s Old St Paul’s www.heritage.org.nz


2 December




WHITE FERNS v SOUTH AFRICA T20 Basin Reserve, 2pm, 9 & 10 February

BIG BIKE FILM NIGHT Watch cycling films from around the world Lighthouse Cinema, Lower Hutt, 6pm

Guided walk through 1,000-year-old native bush Wainuiomata Rec Area, Lower Hutt, 9am


3 SUN 101 Solar cycles, solar flares, solar telescopes, and more Space Place, 3 & 10 February, bookings essential

5 WHĀNAU FILM NIGHT A night of Māori films under the stars


PATILLO PROJECT 2020 Dr Kathryn Whightman Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui

WAITANGI DAY SUMMER FESTIVAL A day at the races Tauherenikau Racecourse, Featherston


KOTAHI All ages concert: Tiki Taane, Ria Hall, and Laughton Kora Kahurangi School, Strathmore, gates open 2pm

Te Rauparaha Park, 11am–4pm


ASIA AND FRIENDS NIGHT MARKET Kite flying, music, and food trucks

NEW ZEALAND FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS Various events, 21 February–15 March


7 MARTINBOROUGH J a n u a r y FAIR Art, crafts, food, jewellery, and more Martinborough Square

8 NEWTOWN FESTIVAL Food, music, and crafts Newtown, from 9.30am







Carrington Park, Carterton, from 4pm


GOLDBERG VARIATIONS J S Bach’s Goldberg Variations performed by the NZSO Carterton Events Centre, 7.30pm, 4 March Lower Hutt Town Hall, 7.30, 5 March

LET’S NOT CELEBRATE COOK Robyn Kahukiwa Mahara Gallery, Waikanae

Shorland Park, Island Bay, 8–9 February


HURRICANES v SHARKS Sky Stadium, 7.05pm kick-off



March PLIMMERTON FUN RUN Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay, from 7.30am

POETRY IN MOTION A night of poetry with Ben Fagan, Sara Hirsch, Jordan Hamel, and Tarns Hood Wellington Cable Car and Museum, 7pm

Food activities and entertainment to celebrate culture, heritage, and history

Royal New Zealand Ballet performs four tailor-made works Kapiti Performing Art Centre, 6.30pm

An outdoor screening of cat videos, donations go to the Upper Hutt Animal Rescue Society Expressions Whirinaki, Upper Hutt, 7pm




Punk band the Stranglers perform with special guests Mi-Sex



NZ FRINGE FESTIVAL Theatre, music, dance, art Various events, 28 February – 21 March


Opera House, 8pm

Waitangi Park, free


APHRODITE’S DELIGHT Greek mythology, stargazing in the planetarium dome, bubbles and treats Space Place, tickets sold in pairs


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