Capital 77

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The Build issue

Best design

Introducing our 2019 Hua Nui Pinot Noir. A pure expression of site, season and soil. This limited edition single vineyard wine is the first under Guy McMasters’ watch and only available at our cellar door, online and at select fine wine retailers We suggest you snap it up before it’s too late!

Cellar Door Open 7 Days Buy Hua Nui SV online at Bottles strictly limited!


HOULT ELECTRICAL If you need expert electricians for big or small jobs in the Wellington region then look no further than Hoult Electrical. We offer a range of services from general electric work through to specialised heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Give us a call today for a no obligation quote.

• • • • •



Power for the future High quality residential and commercial solar installations.

• On grid • Off grid

• Commercial • Residential

Learn more at #polarsolar

Sustainability Trust

We’re a social enterprise that supports sustainable living.

When it comes to healthy homes, helping people to reduce their impact on the environment and giving back to the community, we’ve got all the bases covered. Here’s a selection of the programmes and services we offer the Wellington region. For a complete list, check out our website.

Curtain Bank We upcycle pre-loved curtains and provide them to lowincome families and individuals in the Wellington Region.

Free Home Energy Assessments* Book a free home energy assessment! We offer advice on ways to make your home warmer, healthier and more energy-efficient. Our home energy experts come to your home to conduct an in-depth assessment of everything that affects the health and energy efficiency of your home. From there, they will give you a personalised action plan to help you create a more energy-efficient, sustainable and low-carbon home. *Terms & Conditions apply

EcoShop Our EcoShop is your one-stop-shop for all things sustainable living. We have a wide range of productsfrom composting, insulation and ventilation solutions to eco beauty, home and office goods. We are located at 2 Forresters Lane, Te Aro, Wellington and are open Monday - Saturday, 9am - 4.30pm.



We run a variety of sustainability-focused DIY workshops, from making beeswax wraps and building upcycled pallet planters to making 100% natural beauty and cleaning products. We can travel to you or host your group in our EcoCentre.

Wilderkids is the ultimate adventurebased school holiday programme for young explorers aged 5 to 12 in Wellington. It is centered on care, curiosity, connection and respect for each other and the environment.

Your Sustainable Workplace After the home, workplace waste is the second-largest waste stream to landfill. Your Sustainable Workplace is a stepby-step programme designed to help organisations reduce workplace waste.

Our Recycling Programmes Don’t send them to landfill, bring them to us! We have a range of recycling programmes that can help you divert more waste from landfill.

Car Seats

Curtains (Curtain Bank)

Oral Care

Razors & Blades

Plastic & Metal Bottle Caps All recycling programmes are free of charge except for E-Waste (prices vary) and Car Seats ($25 each.)

Writing instruments

E-Waste 2 Forresters Lane, Te Aro, Wellington 6021, New Zealand



More info about exactly what we accept is available on our website.

CAPITAL The stories of Wellington

C Subscriptions Subscription rates

$73.50 for 6 issues $119 for 12 issues New Zealand only

To subscribe, please email or visit

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

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

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.

apital magazine has inaugurated the first ever Wellington-specific photography competition – Capital Photographer of the Year. It has been great to engage with the community, our judges, sponsors, and Mazz Scannell who brought the idea to us. The response has exceeded all our estimates and we look forward to showing you the finalists in the mag and at an exhibition later in the year. In this issue we have taken our theme, Build, in a firm but flexible tradie’s grip, and looked at it from a number of angles. Family living is the focus of the three houses we present for you, and property developer Ian Cassels shares his views on city development. Property prices have been an issue preoccupying all of New Zealand for a long time, and now that preoccupation has blazed into genuine anger at the absurd position young people find themselves in. Unaffordability of housing is consuming the energy of an entire generation. Economist and adviser Michael Reddell's opinion offers a practical ways in which local government could seriously begin tackling the housing crisis that we all know will take years to resolve. Wellington’s position – front and centre – regarding earthquakes means it has played a fascinating role in the science of seismic structural design. Matthew Plummer investigates. Kiwi conductor Holly Mathieson doesn’t live here but this month is making her NZSO debut. She tells Dan Poynton why having females lead the orchestra is a no-brainer. In our new expanded food section we explore the fifth taste on the flavour spectrum – umami. Jacqui Gibson tells us about this savoury sensation and explains why it’s arguably the best. Speaking of best, our Best of awards have returned in a new, more sustainable format, offering local businesses of all sizes a chance to promote themselves in our pages and to engage readers in a fresh look at their region. In the previous issue, Cap #76, I mentioned that we had launched a Love Local campaign in 2019; with the Best of Wellington project it has been an important part of what we do for more than a decade. We hope you enjoy flicking through that section. For the complete list of nominees, and to vote for your favourites, please go to We’ll be back in time to celebrate Matariki with you. Alison Franks Editor

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.


Wellington business is unique. Your insurance should be too. QUALITY ADVICE ON INSURANCE SOLUTIONS TAILORED TO MEET YOUR NEEDS. Running your own business is not easy, and that’s without worrying about earthquake risk. I offer insurance products and services, from many markets, that others simply don’t have access to. In a city as unique as Wellington, this is important. Your business is unique, and your insurance coverage should be too. I believe that business owners should be able to focus on what they do best, confident they have the right coverage. For the right insurance, get in touch today.

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Staff Managing editor Alison Franks

Featured contributors

Campaign coordinators Haleigh Trower Emily Wakeling Ava Gerard Olly Campbell Factotum John Bristed

Art director Shalee Fitzsimmons Designer Luke Browne

Writer Francesca Emms

Publishing assistant Callum Turnbull Accounts Tod Harfield


KUMI MATSUMOTO I l lu str ator

M AT T H E W P LU M M E R Writer

Kumi is a Wellington graphic designer, originally from Japan. She has been working for both local and overseas clients. You can find more work at and on Insta at @100percentkumi.

Matthew is in the buildings team at Beca. In his spare time he runs the Old Wellington Twitter account (@oldwgtn), and is slowly renovating a 1900s house in Mount Cook. He’s a seventh generation Wellingtonian and reluctant bicycle mechanic.


O L LY C A M P B E L L C amp ai g n c o ordi n ator

Sarah Lang writes about books and culture for Capital, has written for many national magazines including North & South, and also does some copywriting gigs. She is in charge of Theo, six, and the seven-year-old Wellington Classic Literature Meetup group.

From Brooklyn, New York, Olly has returned to Brooklyn, Wellington. After years away from the city he has come home to nest. The newest member to join the Capital team, you can find him drinking flat whites or having a few too many pints wherever there is a happy hour.

Melody Thomas, Janet Hughes, John Bishop, Anna Briggs, Sarah Lang, Deirdre Tarrant, Griff Bristed, Dan Poynton, Chris Tse, Claire Orchard, Freya Daly Sadgrove, Harriet Palmer, Sharon Greally, Jess Scott, Claire O’Loughlin, Chev Hassett, Joram Adams, Sanne Van Ginkel, Rachel Helyer Donaldson, Matthew Plummer, Fairooz Samy, Adrian Vercoe, Sasha Borissenko, Courtenay Scott-Hill, Kirsty Frame, Elaine Loh, Siobhan Vaccarino, Harley Nguyen

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. Distribution:

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


Laura Williams,The Evening, 2021, acrylic on board, 400mm x 500mmx 45mm. Photo: Sait Akkirman.



PAGE GALLERIES 42 Victoria St Wellington 6011

Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 5pm Saturday: 10am – 4pm

+ 64 4 471 2636



Coupling beams located in the central lift core

Diagonally reinforced coupling beam

5th floor - 10th floor

Basement - 4th floor

34 A female for the job Conductor Holly Mathieson is more interested in the music

40 Salad daze

Twin sisters live in the “five sisters”, with their ceramicist mum and architect dad

Conventionally reinforced coupling beam

51 An active earthquake laboratory Matthew Plummer looks inside local buildings for a lesson on seismic design



Build or bust

Money man Michael Reddell knows how to fix the housing crisis

67 The city that Ian built Love him or hate him, you gotta admit Ian Cassels gets things done




Best of Wellington

The fifth flavour

The Best of awards return and we need your vote

You’ve heard of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, now meet umami



120 101 Reverse Gabriel Dyangco’s Cleaner Boy introduced by Claire Orchard

105 All in the family Three generations, two roofs, one happy family

Get those vulva pants on Melody Thomas refuses to age gracefully


Best columnist


B EWA R E M A D C U LT U R E V U LT U R E Being a bit of a culture vulture I look forward to the mix of good, bad, indifferent, and occasionally outstanding offerings at the annual Fringe Festival. With many performances costing less than a full priced movie ticket it’s a great deal. This year a couple of incidents marred the experience and made me mad. The most irritating occurred when I called one venue well before the scheduled Sunday performance and was told there were plenty of seats available but did I realise the show started in 10 minutes at 8pm not 9pm as advertised. Apparently one is supposed to check online “especially for Sunday shows” as many were running an hour earlier than the programme stated. Really! Other friends have shared stories of similar experiences. I feel sorry for the performers who are denied an appreciative audience and more income. Come on WCC, you’ve been involved with the Fringe for years, the system should be down pat by now. Andrea Shore, Kilbirnie EGGS CITED Thank you to the Shearers for their new spin on an omelette. Eggs are my go-to dinner, and their coconut poached chicken omelette has helped me up my game. S Smith, Whitby D O OM SDAT I N G FA S C I NAT E S I very much enjoyed Jess Scott’s piece on “Doomsdating” in your new “Social” issue. I’ve been (mostly) happily married for more years than I’d care to admit, so I find it fascinating to read about what the young and/or single folk are getting up to. More of this please, my nosey soul wants to live vicariously. G Oveton, Lower Hutt L O C K D OW N L OW D OW N Your feature looking back on lockdown, “From the fish bowl” was a great read. I particularly liked the piece on Dr Michelle Balm. Aren’t we lucky to have people like her?! I also loved the photo of Conrad and Rachel the chicken. I think that’s what keeps me coming back to Capital: the mix of good story telling, interesting reads, the fun and silly, and the serious and thoughtful. Makes me proud to be a Wellingtonian. I have noticed the gap the now two-monthly issues leave (due to Covid?). Will you be returning to monthly issues? Lucie, Mornington SONGS O F P R A I SE There seems to be no way to comment on your new-ish website online, so I just wanted to write and say it’s a beauty. Well done team! Mara S, Hataitai Thank you. Your point about feedback has been noted. Ed

Send letters to with the subject line Letters to Ed 12

Now There’s a Coffee for Every Occasion. Get a little bit personal with our new Coffee Supreme Gift Bags.

G E T G I F T I N G AT C O F F E E S U P R E M E . C O M


Wild Banana What’s in a name? Strelitzia nicolai is commonly known as Wild Banana or Crane Plant. The Strelitzia nicolai is the larger, not so common, white-flowering relative of Strelizia reginea – the orange-flowering Bird of Paradise. Strelitzia was named for Charlotte Muecklenberg-Strelitz (1744–1818) who became wife of King George III of England. What does it look like? This plant is often grown for its foliage alone, which looks similar to that of a banana tree, with wide grey/green paddle-shaped leaves. The flowers are thought to look like a bird’s head and are in fact pollinated by birds, the horizontal flowers making a perfect landing strip! The colouring, white with a bluish/purple tongue, is fascinating. Where should I put it? Find a warm, bright spot indoors and Strelitzia will be content. It will test your patience with flowering but when it does you will not miss it. Perfect in a pot so go big and leave it to establish itself, feeding with a liquid fertiliser from Spring through to the end of Summer. Although they will live happily outdoors they will shudder at a frost and dislike brisk wind.

One P i c t u r e p e r fe c t More than 500 entries in the inaugural Capital Photographer of the Year competition have been received and our judges have their work cut out for them. “The calibre of entries has blown us away. We’re excited to share these photographs with the public,” says convener Shalee Fitzsimmons. “It demonstrates what we already knew, that Wellington is home to incredibly talented and creative people.” The Whenua category is the most popular (with cats, children, sunsets, and flowers dominating the images) while entries in the Youth category have been particularly innovative, she says. The finalist and winning photographs will be exhibited at Te Auaha Gallery from 1 July.

Two Powe r o f t h re e

What’s the best thing about this plant? It rests during the cooler months so you can hold the watering until the warmer days of Spring begin.

United Kingdom international music manager Seamus Morley saw three-person psychedelic-pop group KITA play in Wellington, signed them to his production company, and linked them with Grammy-winning Italian producer and “mix engineer” Tommaso Colliva. Impressed by the local group, Tommaso flew to Wellington to work on their EP pre-pandemic, then during the pandemic worked (juggling time zones) on their just-released, self-titled debut album. “This stuff just doesn’t happen in real life!”, says vocalist/guitarist/ songwriter Nikita Tu-Bryant. They play 19 June, San Fran.

This plant would suit… a slightly forgetful owner. They do not mind drying out on the odd occasion but if you pay attention to its needs, you will have a long and happy relationship. Our plant of the month was chosen by Katherine Beauchamp, the proud owner of Palmers Miramar.



Four Eid Mubara k

Three H o w ’d yo u v o t e?

Eid al-Fitr, or the "Festival of Breaking the Fast", marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. The exact beginning and ending dates of Ramadan are based on the sighting of the Moon but this year Ramadan is expected to end at sundown on Wednesday 12 May. Last year, Eid-AlFitr fell while New Zealand was at Alert Level 2, meaning the communal festivities were restricted, so we’re wishing Wellington’s Muslim community a particularly special “Eid Mubarak” this year.

Wellington City Council has twice declined official requests to create a database of voting records, claiming it would be too much work. “I don't think that's true or that the council is trying hard enough to make this work, particularly considering the significant public benefit,” says Island Bay Healthy Streets member Regan Dooly, who has made a new request under Section 15(2) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act. Regan says although records of voting in WCC meetings are accessible via the minutes of individual meetings there is no easy way to collate, search, filter and analyse them by particular councillors or areas of interest. Hopefully third time’s the charm.

F i ve F i r s t fa c e Kiingi Tuheitia, the seventh Māori monarch, will attend the awards ceremony when the winners of the Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award are announced at the TSB Arena on 27 May. A public exhibition of all the finalists opens at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata the following day. The award, with a first prize of $20,000, aims to showcase emerging Māori artists on a national stage.

It's cool to kōrero Mō taku tōmuritanga, manawanui mai. Kua pahū katoa te kōrere!

Six By the numbers

Sorry for being late. The pipe burst!







categories in total are open for voting

nominees available for you to vote for

seconds, about how long it'll take you to vote at capitalmag.

May is when voting opens

July is when voting closes

times you can vote


o See page 74 for more inf


S e ve n Longest night The Winter solstice marks the symbolic death and rebirth of the sun. It’s traditionally celebrated with feasting, lighting fires and candles, gift-giving, and parades or processions. (Yes, Christmas is based on this pagan festival.) Wellington’s Lōemis festival, held annually before the winter solstice, is back this year with 10 days of events ending in a ceremonial burning on the shortest day of the year, 21 June.

Nine Ant-see When Victoria University academic and literary translator Marco Sonzogni (Cap #36) was thinking about the 700th anniversary of his idol Dante’s death, he spotted an ant on his desk. “Then I had a fun idea.” With the publisher Beatnik, he’s created Quantum of Dante, a slim volume which reprints Dante’s long narrative poem Divine Comedy in the original Italian. The objet d’art resembles a medieval prayer book, with tiny text in double columns. There’s a twist: Marco bolded every occurrence of “ant” within another word (e.g. “Tanto”). Illustrator Ant Sang (the obvious choice) drew the ant that appears in the title and some of the margins. “It’s more to be looked at than be read,” Marco says.

Te n

Eight The least yo u ca n d o We asked your mum what she’d like for Mother’s Day (9 May). She said she’d love a phone call, and our special Mother’s Day gift box. Filled to the brim with candles, face masks, chocolate, and a couple of our magazines, it’s (almost) everything she needs to “take the edge off.” If we could put a glass of wine and a hug in there, we would. Go to to get yours before they sell out.

Cheers Highball is sure to raise your spirits this winter. For two days (7 and 8 May) the historic art deco Dominion Museum Building will become a cocktail lover's dream as it hosts this cocktail and spirits festival. More than 40 distilleries, showcasing gins, whiskies, rums, vodka and other spirits, will be serving tastings and cocktails, and interactive spirits sessions and hands-on classes will be led by expert distillers. The Highball Speaker Series features local and international experts including Imagination Gin’s Chris Charteris and Giancarlo Jesus from Yakisoda. Highball is followed by Wellington Cocktail Week from 10 to 16 May, which showcases the capital’s eclectic and colourful cocktail scene.


WI N E TO PI A WE L L I N G TO N 21 - 2 2 M AY I TS B B A N K A R E N A


*RGV Earlybird Tickets $35 + Booking Fee. Premium and GA options available.

R18 Event


LUCKY FOR SOME According to latest figures from, property prices show no signs of slowing down with the nation-wide average asking prices up 16.9% year-on-year. Wellington is worse – the average asking price for a Wellington residential property has hit $845,641, an increase of 17.9% between March 2020 and March 2021. It’s looking less and less likely that first home buyers wanting to live in the capital will be able to use their Kiwisaver First Home Grant or First Home Loan, as the house price cap for the Wellington region is $550,000.




Wellington has been confirmed as a host city for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The previous tournament, held in France in 2019, attracted a combined television audience of 1.12 billion, so the eyes of the world will be on Wellington on match days. Exactly how many games will be played in Wellington will be determined later this year, but all will be played at Wellington Regional Stadium aka the Cake Tin.

Wellingtonians have until 10 May to have their say on the Wellington City Council’s 10-Year Plan. There are seven key areas set out in the plan, including water, cycleways, emissions, landfill, and the repair and upgrade of the Central Library. The preferred options in the plan will require an average rates increase of 13.5% in the first year, and an average of 9.9% over the first three years. Submissions can be made online, orally, hand delivered, or sent by email or post.

The Nikau Foundation supports the Wellington community, focusing on local arts, conservation, health, and community wellbeing projects. According to their 2020 Impact Report, last year they gifted millions of dollars to communities in the wider Wellington regions. This included $78,630 towards fostering the arts, $29,142 towards protecting and preserving our environment, $187,025 toward helping youth, $197,599 for mental and physical health initiatives, and $82,093 to nurture families and babies.

Lake Mangamahoe




LOWER T HA N MO ST Residents of Lower Hutt are likely to have one of the smallest rates increase across the region. In the city’s 10 year plan, which was released for consultation last month, the council has proposed a modest 5.9 per cent rates revenue increase for 2021–2022. "We know times are uncertain due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. This is why affordability is front of mind,” says Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry. "However, now is not the time to wind down investment and run the risk that our infrastructure will reach a crisis point and fail."




Consultation on Porirua City’s Long-term Plan, which sets the direction and budget for the next 30 years, has closed. The plan proposed putting $800 million into the critical “three waters” infrastructure – stormwater, wastewater, and drinking water – and investing $323 million in roading. An average rates increase of 8.05 per cent for the next three years would be required to fund this. The Mayor and councillors will now consider the feedback and the Long-term Plan is set to be formally adopted on 30 June.

Miromoda, the Indigenous Māori Fashion Apparel Board, has opened up its annual fashion competition to Pasifika designers. The 10-yearold competition offers emerging indigenous fashion designers the chance to win a spot in the Miromoda Showcase at NZ Fashion Week in late August. This year a new Pacific category invites designers of Pacific Island descent to join others of Māori descent. Entries close Friday 14 May.

Wellington musicians cleaned up at the 43rd National Youth Jazz Competition in Tauranga last month. The Best of Festival Trophy for the most outstanding jazz band was presented to Wellington’s Crumbly Jack and Mel Stevenson combo. Crumbly also took home the Baker/Allen Trophy for best arrangement, and Mel grabbed the Ken Mitchell Trophy for best original composition. Other Wellington winners include Louis Holland, Eden Brown, Miro Holland, Chester Bodman, Nico Buhne, and Luke Sutton, who all won individual trophies, and Wellington College and Wellington Girls College who won Gold in the Big Band Awards.

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge

Discover Taranaki, a region brimming with unique attractions and stunning natural wonders. Explore the magnificent Maunga and the endless beaches, be captivated by the beautiful gardens and amazing arts and culture. Whether you’re travelling with big or little kids, you’ll be spoilt for choice.


It’s just around the corner!



4. 1.





8. 7.




Raw materials

1. Bulb vase, $19.90, Tickadeeboo Store 2. Almonds, $44.90 per kg, Commonsense Organics 3. Rowan Yarns felted tweed 8ply, $15.90, Wellington Sewing Centre 4. Camden Co wheat bag, $49.90, Te Papa Store 5. Castle butterscotch scallop shag floor cushion, $225, Small Acorns 6. Miss Harriet slate possum merino knit vest, $205, Vest Practice 7. MM Linen cable linen throw, $179.90, McKenzie & Willis 8. Serving bowl with knobs, $35, TradeAid 9. Emma Kate Co planner carry pouch, $35.95, Small Acorns 10. Romy by Wonders rust boots, $369, I Love Paris 11. Wagner sofa in ice, custom-made, Living Room




Transmission Gully Are we there yet?

LGWM Let’s gooooooo already

Local water Flushed away





the year building the pass between Linden and Paekākāriki was proposed

tonnes of asphalt is produced every day to pave the roadway

percent of the asphalt mix is recycled from the Wellington Airport Runway

Sky Stadiums’ worth of earth moved to complete the 70-metre cut into the Wainui Saddle





allocated to the joint initiative Let's Get Wellington Moving

years that have passed since the programme’s first public consultation

people on average biked in Wellington every day through February

submissions made on the 30km/h speed reduction project






required to fix the capital’s chronic water issues

average number of pipes bursting every week, according to Wellington Water

percent of water never makes it to taps because of leaks

km of piping currently sits under the capital

years the average age of the underground infrastructure


Frank Kitts Park Parked up



the new estimated cost in millions of redeveloping Frank Kitts Park – the project has been in the council’s books for nearly a decade

the estimated cost in millions to build the long-proposed Chinese Garden at Frank Kitts Park








Beat builder BY F R A N C E S CA E M M S P H OTO G R A P H Y BY TA M A R A J O N E S

CHEAP EATS Noodle Canteen






The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Zanaka on Taranaki Street

Willow, a papillon x shih tzu

By day Takudzwa Paradza paints newly built homes, while at night he’s busy building beats


K Paradza is more than 200 days into a 365 Beat Challenge – he is making a new beat every day for one year. “The one-year challenge was something I began on Instagram as a way of getting better at my craft and to apply all the skills and techniques I learnt during my university studies.” TK describes himself as a beat maker and songwriter. “I make podcast music, Afrobeats music, Trap beats, lo-fi beats, hip-hop beats, and R&B/Pop music.” The process is quite organic; he doesn’t go into making a beat knowing exactly what he’s going to make. “I’ve got a library of sounds that are my go-to, then I play around with some melodies on the keyboard for ages until I hear something that excites me.” From there he’ll add sound ideas and rhythmic patterns into a beat until he’s exhausted his ideas. “Then I begin the process of removing sounds out of the music with the intention of keeping the beat simple but interesting enough to inspire an artist who might be keen to write and record to it.” He knows the beat is done when he feels it’s good enough to upload to his beat store, Taku Musiq, for an artist to purchase. Growing up TK was surrounded by music and creativity. “My grandfather was a song composer. He would sing his compositions mostly at family gatherings, and my uncle was an animal sculptor. My family play a variety of music, Central-West African music, country

music, South African music, and Zimbabwean music.” TK says he doesn’t go out much. If he’s not at work as a painter/decorator, he’ll be in his home studio creating music. “When I noticed how much my music production was ‘levelling up’ and I started making money from selling beats I focused on creating an album/playlist of songs that I wrote, produced, mixed, and mastered myself for release later in 2021.” Outside his day job all he does is create music, he says, although “I make a decent breakfast at weekends and Sundays are my Ultimate Fighting Championship days where I mostly watch the main events.” He also spends time with family and his partner, Sarah, who he describes as the most important person in his life. “She has really seen me through some of my worst times and very best times.” Home is wherever his family is, “I was born and raised Zimbabwean so my home country and heart will always in Zimbabwe, but Aotearoa is where I live now and it’s home.” TK loves Wellington. “On a beautiful day, everything in Wellington looks greener, clearer, and more peaceful.” Another favourite place is Tauranga: “It reminds me of Surfers Paradise in Australia but with much nicer people,” he laughs. And he loves holidaying in Fiji. “I would go back there often if I could because their culture reminds me a lot of Zimbabwe.”





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and nationally, New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty

International Realty has to offer.

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S TA R S T R U C K A practitioner of taonga pūoro (traditional Māori instruments), Wellingtonian Ruby Solly is also a cellist, composer, music therapist, and poet. Commissioned by the Wellington Jazz Festival, her gig Te Karanga o ngā Whetū is a world-premiere “celestial jazz experience” where Ruby will convert the frequencies emitted by stars significant in connection with Māori myths into musical notes from taonga pūoro. Tararua, her group, which includes taonga pūoro practitioners Alistair Fraser and Ariana Tikao, double bassist Phil Boniface, and three guest musicians, will play at St Peter's on Willis St, 12 June.

CHECK THE DATE The dates she goes on are fodder for Janaye Henry’s stand-up comedy. Once she didn’t tell someone she’d (previously) dated about that, and they came to a show. “Whoops!” Janaye says. Having done many stand-up shows in the capital, she’s performing (4–8 May) at her first New Zealand Comedy Festival show. “I just feel ready – like it’s the right time. It’ll be political, flirty, silly.” Janaye’s “Scan In” rap about the Covid tracer app has had 3,500 views on YouTube.

IT’S JUST THAT GOOD In 2012, the applause was deafening for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s sold-out premiere season of Giselle, the classic tale of an innocent girl courted by a stranger. Becoming one of the RNZB’s signature works, this production created in Wellington went on to tour the world, and now it’s coming home again (following an encore season in 2016).

Be inspired by Autumn The perfect season to be outdoors in the garden

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DALI AND FRIENDS “I AM surrealism” said Salvador Dali (1904–1989), who was known for his pioneering surrealist art but not for his modesty. Thirty-five of his artworks, including Mae West Lips Sofa (a couch shaped as red lips), are part of a globe-trotting exhibition Surrealist Art: He Toi Pohewa, at Te Papa from 12 June. Coming from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam – which is renowned for its surrealist art collection – the exhibition displays 180 works including sculpture, paintings, prints, and photography.


S WA P P I N G B A C K Greytown couple Steffen Kreft, originally from Germany, and William Connor have released the final-ever (sob) episodes, 12 and 13, of animated web-series Lifeswap (Cap #48). Drawing 500,000 viewers in 147 countries, the laugh-out-loud-funny episodes (each under 10 minutes) show Jörg, a German, and Duncan, a Kiwi, swapping countries and Skype-ing each other for advice. William, as writer, and Steffen, as animator, gently poke fun at Germans’ and Kiwis’ different traits and habits: including frankness/indirectness, toilet inspection, and teatowel (mis)treatment. Also, six one-minute episodes follow Jörg and Duncan coping with lockdown.




As Upper Hutt has grown, so have visitor numbers at the Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre. On 15 May, it will become Whirinaki Whare Taonga (house of treasures) – and an extension five years in the making will be opened. The Gillies Gallery showcases Upper Hutt stories, plus there’s another exhibition space, and workshop and educational areas. Cue the first major historical exhibition about Upper Hutt: Te Ara: The Stories of our Streets from 15 May.

The New Zealand part of the 2019 global student climate strikes have been captured in High Tide Don’t Hide, a Rebel Film Collective documentary following five teenagers as they organise the protests and learn about the interaction between activism and authority. Don’t expect (just) smartphone footage from the four-person film-making collective. Co-director/co-producer Emily McDowell, from Ōtaki, has directed social-issues documentaries for BBC World and MTV. The film premieres at the Doc Edge International Film Festival (17–20 and 24–27 June).

The Greek expression “meraki” – doing something with passion, creativity, or devotion – is the name of the 2021 New Zealand School of Dance’s annual Choreographic Season. Third-year contemporary-dance students have choreographed individual short works and turned them into a group performance, keeping “meraki” in mind. This year, the season is at Bats from 28 May to 5 June.

Thu 27 – Sun 30 May 2021 Te Whanganui-a-Tara | Wellington, Aotearoa

A new Wellington-wide visual arts festival

EXHIBITIONS & TOURS Thu 27 – Sun 30 May

LATE NIGHT Sat 29 May 5 – 9pm

TALKS SERIES Sat 29 – Sun 30 May 11 – 2pm

GALLERIES Adam Art Gallery | AVID Gallery | Bartley & Company Art | Bowen Galleries City Gallery Wellington | The Dowse Art Museum | Hamish McKay Gallery Jhana Millers Gallery | McLeavey Gallery | New Zealand Portrait Gallery Page Galleries | {Suite} | Solander Gallery | Te Papa Tongarewa | Toi Māori Aotearoa






How does a doctor of synthetic chemistry end up running a Viking-themed music venue? “There was always music in my life,” says Dr Ben Mulchin. “The beauty of laboratory spaces is that you’ve got to listen to something. So you're blasting whatever you're listening to for eight to 10 hours a day.” After a stint in London Ben returned to Wellington and started to think about what to do next. He said to his sound engineer girlfriend, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we owned a music venue?” Then a familiar space on Vivian St popped up.

“I was always coming here, was always a patron. So I just went in headfirst and rock and roll!” In other lives it had been Medusa, Hole In The Wall, and Valve. Ben renamed it Valhalla (a nod to his Norwegian paramour) and eight years later is still the proud “bossman”. Over the years Ben’s watched the redevelopment of upper Cuba St, the departure of the “red light” establishments, and the arrival of new neighbours. His favourite places to eat are still there: Midnight Espresso and Aunty Mena’s Vegetarian. As “every metal band has at least one vegan” he recommends both joints to touring artists. Weta Workshop, the glowworms on Tinakori Rd, the Putangirua Pinnacles, and Lyall Bay are on his list of “must-sees” for visitors to the Wellington region. Hataitai Bakery is a personal late-night favourite and he often pops in on his way home to Miramar.


Ben says since Covid people are really making an effort to get out and turn up. It makes for busy days and long nights. He doesn’t have time to take a holiday, so he’s camping on his lawn. “It’s good to get away,” he laughs. Contrary to public perception, Valhalla’s not just for metalheads. It’s diverse, both in clientele and in music genres. “The general vibe is loud guitars,” says Ben. “We do everything from trap, hip hop, all the way through to punk and drum and bass. We probably have more electronic music, dance parties, and DJ stuff than metal.” His advice to newbies is simple; grab a drink (he recommends a mug of skippers), and get amongst it. “Just be yourself. It’s different every night. You might get a crazy metal night or dub step or rap. It’s a box of chocolates.” Love local, support local

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A female for the job Holly Mathieson will conduct the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for the first time when she visits in May. Dan Poynton catches up with her at her home in Glasgow by vid-call.


ew Zealander Holly will conduct the NZSO in three concerts over the next couple of months. Conducting symphony orchestras is the ultimate macho job in classical music; and let’s be honest, it’s still unusual to see a woman whipping the troops into order, up on that patriarchal podium, especially with top orchestras like the NZSO. But a new generation of female conductors are confident this is historic, and are giving crusty old maestros a run for their money. For Holly the issue’s all a bit passé. “It’s kind of interesting to not talk about it,” she says, looking like she wants to yawn. And that’s not because it’s 10pm in Glasgow; she’s bursting to talk about stuff. Just not women-conductor stuff. “It’s actually a bonus to be a woman for my generation. Look at the three New Zealand conductors at the moment who are forging ahead and making careers – we're all women.” The other two she means are Gemma New and Tianyi Lu, also rising international stars. The NZSO is hosting a record three female conductors this year – Holly, Gemma, and pioneering US conductor Marin Alsop. And just three male conductors – such gender equality is rare in this business. The NZSO could list for us only 10 female conductors in its entire history – and that’s not bad for an international orchestra. Why don’t they think it’s a big deal these days? After all, famous female conductors don’t spring to mind, and Google doesn’t even list one woman if you search for “great conductors”. “In the UK it’s now very normal. There are loads of us,” says Holly. “There’s been an explosion of talent and interest – same in parts of North America.” She says a colleague was talking to some kids after a children’s concert recently. “She asked them if they’d

like to be a conductor when they grow up, and a wee boy said ‘Oh no, it’s a girl’s job’, because he’d only ever seen women conducting!” Though Holly admits a lot of European orchestras tend to give their women conductors the less glamorous jobs – the education and family concerts, rather than the Mahler symphonies. “They’re incredibly important work, but I worry some orchestras use that as their way of getting the diversity tick.” Holly says a big reason women have been put off conducting is plain old gender stereotyping. “A young girl’s job is to be pretty – to look slim, not make unattractive faces or whatever. Of course as a conductor, you’re not doing your job if you’re holding your stomach in or trying not to get a double chin. You just have to be totally free physically, and that's a wonderful thing to do as a woman. And it is shocking when you first see it.” But Holly’s upbringing helped protect her against these old femininity tropes. “I was surrounded by women running the world. I didn't think anything of it. And my mum is the heart of the family. She’s a matriarch – a very powerful woman.” Holly is very grateful to her mother because she’s always loved the arts but isn’t an arts practitioner. “She has a much healthier relationship to it in terms of keeping one’s life balanced. That was a very important lesson to learn.” Ironically perhaps, there’s something distinctly feminine and Swan Lake-ish about Holly’s movements when she conducts. At 16 she went off to study ballet at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington, but illness and injuries forced her home to Dunedin. “I’m not naturally built like a dancer. I’m five foot one and shaped like Betty Boop,” she laughs. But the dancing has evidently helped her project in gravity-defying



ways. “My mum always says ‘I find it so weird when I watch you conducting because all of a sudden you look enormous!’” In her teens Holly often stepped in to conduct her school choir, and while studying music at Otago University she was encouraged to do more. “I just took to it, but I think that’s very much because of the ballet background. I knew how to think about my movements critically.” Later she ended up in London, still conducting small gigs here and there, but not daring to hope for a real conducting career. However with persistence she finally got a break and became assistant conductor at the BBC Scottish Symphony. Now, after a career conducting top orchestras such as the London Symphony and Philharmonia, she is the first ever female musical director of the Symphony Nova Scotia in Canada. But now Holly has made it as an international conductor, she wonders if women conductors shouldn’t be shaking things up more. “So you’ve broken through glass ceilings and you’re smashing the patriarchy and all of this, but you just get hired to do the exact same programmes that white men have been doing for 200 years. Why do we shake hands and bow and do all those funny rituals? Actually by doing it the same I’m not smashing it – I’m endorsing it.” And she says the orchestral world is a long way from true diversity and equality. “What will be amazing is when we can look at the podium and see a black woman – or someone in a wheelchair.” But could efforts to “decolonise” this old and quintessentially Western art form by imposing diversity just lower the quality? “Some of the most phenomenal young players I know are from other ethnicities. They haven’t been not getting the jobs because they aren’t good enough! To say that orchestras at the moment are meritocracies is bullshit.” Diversity is necessary to keep classical music alive, she said. “We should be welcoming people in because the art form has been stagnant for 200 years.” Holly says many orchestras love hiring women conductors because they come up with unexpected

and diverse programmes, thinking differently from men. She doesn’t know if this is more a matter of nature or nurture, but she alludes to elemental forces. “If you’re someone who menstruates, you have a totally different understanding of the effect on your physical self of time than someone who doesn’t. But I don’t think it changes the tempo we conduct or anything!” she smiles. And with the NZSO, Holly will be taking on the intoxicating Symphonie Fantastique by the radical 19th-century firebrand Berlioz, in a concert of “night, sleep, and dreaming”– with its archetypal feminine associations. In his Symphonie, Berlioz takes us on an hallucinatory journey through his famously opium-fuelled dreams.“He’s bonkers! It's no secret that a lot of the romantic composers took a lot of very heavy drugs.” Holly will be conducting this seminal masterpiece for the first time. “It’s terrifying! It’s genuinely like wearing the wrong size shoes, so who knows what will come out, but I’m sure we'll find something interesting to do with it.” Legendary Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu will also feature, with his Australian Aboriginal-inspired Dreamtime. “Beautiful, beautiful music” says Holly. Finally, she has specially chosen The Third Dream, by New Zealand composer Dorothy Ker. “I’ve been to dinner at Dorothy’s – I’ve gotten drunk with Dorothy – but I’ve never conducted her music,” she laughs. “We programmed it not just because it’s by a Kiwi – these three pieces work so well together.” There’ll also be a concert with Alien Weaponry, currently taking New Zealand by storm. “It’s brilliant – a thrash metal band singing in Te Reo Māori.” Of genres for popular/classical mashups, “probably metal is one of the better ones to put with a live orchestra – both open up possibilities for the other. But it won’t be polite string backing tracks – this’ll be proper orchestra in the mosh pit noise,” beams Holly, at well past midnight Scottish time. I try politely to let her go to bed, but she’s not interested. Holly seems keen to keep the music party going.



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Robbie Motion in his Wellington studio. Image courtesy of the artist and Page Galleries. Photo by Ryan McCauley

In motion


Robbie Motion describes his paintings as “moments of quietness” that show “only what’s necessary.” The figures and faces are distorted, cut, or pushed into one another. In Only Part of the Story a girl with a red face and snarling dog are fragmented and intertwined. The title leaves the viewer free to imagine what the rest of the story might be. “I like the works to remain open, I don’t want to force a narrative on the viewer.” His work is part of a group exhibition at Page Galleries as part of Face to Face: Portrait Festival. The portrait festival will take over nine dealer galleries and five public galleries from 27 to 30 May. “It is a bold new format designed to encourage the general public into

Wellington’s galleries, which can sometimes be intimidating for new audiences,” says Grace Ridley-Smith, gallery manager of McLeavey Gallery and coordinator for the Face to Face Portrait Festival. Figure Skating at Page Galleries brings together a selection of artists whose painting practices all relate to the human form, including Star Gossage, Laura Williams, Hiria Anderson, and Robbie. British artist Francis Bacon is one of Robbie’s biggest inspirations. He was introduced to his work by his high school art teacher in Dunedin. “That was quite a moment for me,” Robbie says, “There was so much in them. Small epiphanies and fragments of emotion.” Robbie describes Dunedin as a moody city. “There’s a lot of high cloud and overcast days. There’s a stillness. It’s beautiful.” He imagines he’ll return to Dunedin one day, but for now Wellington is home. “Expressing yourself is the norm in Wellington. It’s easy to navigate. There are opportunities and resources for young creatives, whatever your practice is. It’s nourishing.” 39




Salad daze BY R AC H E L H E LY E R D O N A L D S O N


When ceramicist Lucy Coote and her husband, architect Mark Leong, happened across a two-bedroom brick villa in Berhampore in 2019, they saw the chance to create both a family home and a studio space for Lucy’s pottery business, Salad Days Ceramics.




uilt around 1900, the Rintoul Street property at the end of a row of five identical small villas reminded the Wellington couple of terraced houses in which they’d lived in Sydney. According to local lore the houses were built from bricks made in the local brickworks, for the owner’s five daughters, says Lucy. “They’re nicknamed ‘the five sisters’.” The double-brick construction could put some buyers off, she admits, and it was “a bit small” for the couple and their twin daughters Daisy and Margaux, now almost four. But the property’s two out-buildings and garage were perfect for pottery, and Mark had worked on a lot of brick houses. “We had seen what you could do with this kind of house, we could see the potential. We saw that we could afford this house and add to it.” Moving in, they whitewashed the nineties-era colour scheme – “there was a lot of red and yellow” – in the living areas. The burgundy bathroom was painted Half Cardrona and its rimu tongue-and-


groove wallboards (not original, installed in the early nineties) were redone in Resene Triple Duck Egg Blue. The main bedroom, previously a deep terracotta, is now painted an orangey blush pink, using Resene Just Right. In the kitchen, the couple kept the contemporary-looking light green walls (Resene Bach), black-and-white chequered vinyl floor and wooden shelving. They took down the chimneys, removed the fireplace from their bedroom, and put new curtains in. Mark and Lucy’s furniture – much of which they brought back from Sydney – complements the house’s interior: a black leather sofa, a Scandinavian-style wooden dining table, a wicker and glass kidney table and a vintage bentwood rocking chair. The Swedish-designed String shelves in the lounge came from Mark’s parents, who bought them from a second-hand shop in Johnsonville 25 years ago. The couple’s style is “classic design, but not from any particular era.” Various pieces tell a personal story. The bust of Artemis and a “spooky but interesting”



Geo Chance photo were owned by Lucy’s great-uncle Brian Coote, a distinguished legal academic. Two Iittala glass vases by Alvar Aalto were bought on honeymoon in Copenhagen. In the twins’ bedroom, there’s a print by artist-illustrator Flora Waycott. The accompanying quote “we are growing well together” was Lucy’s yoga mantra throughout her pregnancy. Works by other artist-friends are placed around the house. On the String shelves, there’s a vase by Wellington ceramist Pip Woods and a shark by Auckland ceramist


Tim Grocott aka Taus. Unglazed, it is smooth with a hint of sandpaper roughness, like shark skin. Many of Lucy’s own pieces can be found on mantelpieces and shelves. One is a vase she made for her wedding. In the kitchen, her beautiful stoneware includes fruitbowls and storage vessels, mugs and cereal bowls, candle holders, and plates. Elegant in shape and glazed in subdued, sophisticated white, black, and clear glazes, they are tactile and functional. Making something “starting from nothing, and ending up with something you can use every day” is what Lucy loves about making pottery. She has trained in hand-build pottery techniques, but mostly throws on a wheel. Lucy came to pottery via classes at the Wellington Potters Association,

after studying fashion design at Massey and completing a Commerce degree at Victoria University. Wellington potter Rosemary O’Hara taught her the craft, while teachers in Sydney, including potter Anthony Brink, gave her the confidence to be more creative, and develop her own style, or language of form. She describes her work as “quite pared back and minimal, but earthy”. It’s important that the pieces “feel special, but not too precious.” Hence the name Salad Days, referring to the best days of our lives. Lucy first heard the term in a song of the same name by Welsh post-punk band Young Marble Giants. It seemed the perfect label for her ceramics: “I want people to enjoy the pieces, and use them. Also to enhance their daily rituals, such as eating and drinking.


I’m all about now being your best days – doing small things that help you enjoy the present.” Lucy sells through her website and demand, she says, is good. Her team includes production assistant and “right-hand woman” artist Teresa Collins. Two of Teresa’s paintings hang above the fireplace in the dining room. Today, she is busy packing orders, while Ben Pyne is at the wheel throwing and trimming. Last year Ben developed five new glazes for Salad Days: “He is really meticulous and scientific”. Meanwhile Wellington High student Luca comes in to clean the studio. Mark is also currently working from home. Once known around Wellington as a member of indie four-piece So So Modern, these days he runs a boutique architecture practice, Studio Myla. He’s just hired a new employee and the lounge is about to be converted into a temporary office.



Fortunately the couple have plans for a fullscale renovation, designed by Mark. “Hopefully in the next year” they will have two more bedrooms, a new kitchen and second bathroom, and a new garage for Salad Days to work out of. “I enjoy living in this house as it is, but it will be good to have more living space, and good for my work.” They’ll lose part of their courtyard but the north side of the house “will be pretty much all glazing, and we’ll put in skylights. In Wellington, it’s better to have a warm inside space with more light”. The buttercream-walled, green-roofed house has a special aspect to its street appeal. About 20 years ago former owner Annie Scott commissioned the “Rintoul St Cafe” mural on the Lavaud Street side of the corner property, to discourage graffiti. The now faded mural was painted by a group of art students, who were simply given the theme “coffee”. The cafe never existed, but the idea is a homage to an era when Kiwis



regularly misspelt “cappuccino”, lattes were $2 and Berhampore villas could be bought for $120,000. Passersby are always photographing it, says Lucy. Even on a stormy Monday morning in late March, Capital noticed a raincoat-clad woman snapping pictures in the driving rain. Berhampore wasn’t one of Mark and Lucy’s preferred locations. But now, says Lucy, “we really, really love it, and we just can’t think of another suburb we’d want to get a house in. The community spirit is really strong.” In lockdown, Lucy noticed a lot of orders came from customers in Berhampore. “It was really lovely to see that support.” In fact, the majority of her customers are in Wellington. She had been nervous moving from Sydney. “I had a good customer base, and thought maybe people there had a higher disposable income. But I’ve been really surprised how Wellington has embraced me and my ceramics.”


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An active earthquake laboratory I L LU ST R AT E D BY K U M I M ATS U M OTO

Earthquake design has always taken top billing in the Wellington region yet world first and groundbreaking engineering design that we all benefit from is mostly unknown. Matthew Plummer has taken his expert knowledge of the built environment to investigate four local buildings that standout as groundbreaking world first, seismic engineering design.



Jerningham Apartments First use of “capacity design” 1968


ellington’s post-war baby boom and predictions of enormous population growth unleashed a new generation of high-rise apartments. To the casual observer these 1960s behemoths look relatively indistinguishable, but in the world of seismic engineering the large block at 20 Oriental Terrace is a global icon. Design work on Jerningham Apartments started in 1964, with the tall structure stepped back from the street to take maximum advantage of the town plan’s height limits. Developers Wilkins and Davies were experienced hands in the Wellington apartment market, having completed Wharenui further along Oriental Parade in 1960, and Hollings & Ferner (a relatively new Wellington engineering practice) were engaged as the project’s structural engineers. John Hollings was interested in improving the performance of concrete frame buildings in earthquakes, which typically failed in a brittle manner as movement occurred in a single storey low down, ultimately risking a “pancake” collapse. He envisaged the new development as a tall building with movement evenly distributed up the height of the building, and flexing occurring in carefully specified areas, a concept he described as “lead hinges” protecting “glasslike columns” from damage. Jerningham’s concrete columns were strengthened considerably relative to the beams so they would not fail. The connection of the concrete beams to the columns included extra steel re-

inforcement to allow them to flex and dissipate energy without losing integrity during a big shake. The precision of the calculations in an era before calculators or computers was extraordinary, but Hollings was still not fully satisfied as to the performance of the junctions between the floors and internal columns. He had his team build a full-scale rig at the building’s base to undertake testing at the start of construction – the design passed with flying colours. Hollings’ structure had significantly better seismic performance than the conventional approach proposed by the developer; it was also commercially more attractive. The revolutionary design reduced the scale of the foundations required, saving $100,000 on the original cost estimate (around $8 million today). And by opting for a low-profile floor system he had fitted in an extra level of apartments – all of which helped increase the affordability of the high-rise housing needed to accommodate Wellington’s steep population growth. The strong columns, weak beams design philosophy sounds like common sense now, but it was a revolutionary concept at the time. It was refined by the University of Canterbury to become known as “capacity design”, now a fundamental design philosophy in most major seismic design codes around the world. Meanwhile recent property listings state that Jerningham has been assessed as 84%NBS – better than some apartments a third of the building’s age.


Oversized columns stronger than ßoors

Movement distributed evenly up the height of the building

Ductile structure reduces forces on the foundations


The Beehive

First use of diagonally reinforced coupling beams 1979


n 1951 a young refugee family arrived in Wellington, sponsored by Catholic students at Victoria University of Wellington. Tom Paulay, 27, had fled Hungary three years earlier, after his two years as a cavalry officer fighting the Red Army on the Eastern Front had put him at odds with the new Communist regime in Budapest. Paulay completed his engineering degree in Christchurch and returned to Wellington, where he spent eight years as a consulting engineer, before taking a 35% pay cut to return to the University of Canterbury as a lecturer in structural design in 1961. 1960s New Zealand was a curious mix of forward-thinking confidence and lingering attachment to the Mother Country – epitomised by the plans to replace the rat-infested, earthquake-prone1871 Government Buildings at the southern end of the Parliamentary Estate. Parliament Building’s incomplete Edwardian design was viewed as old-fashioned, and Britain’s star architect Sir Basil Spence was engaged to make the case for something more progressive. Construction work on his circular modernist tower (quickly dubbed “the Beehive”) started in 1969, just as Paulay was completing his doctorate on the vulnerabilities of interlinked shear walls during earthquakes. Paulay’s research was perfectly timed: damage from the 1964 Alaska earthquake had confirmed his hunch that the existing approach to reinforcing the beams coupling shear walls was inadequate, with the side-to-side rocking of the building stretching these links diagonally, producing large

X-shaped cracks that significantly weakened a building. The improvement Paulay landed on was simple: introduce steel reinforcement in an X-shape to mirror the stress from the building’s movement, and allow ductile steel to take the load, rather than brittle concrete. New Zealand’s reputation for earthquake engineering was growing rapidly – Paulay’s peers would greet him at international conferences by crossing their arms over their heads, imitating his new design. A culture of co-operation between academia, the engineering profession, and government was spurred on by the 1968 Inangahua earthquake on the West Coast, the strongest felt in the capital since 1942, and encouraged by the Ministry of Works’ enthusiasm for seismic design innovation, under Chief Structural Engineer Otto Glogau. It began a new period in New Zealand engineering when we stopped copying what was coming from California and became an innovative world leading laboratory for seismic design. The Ministry was overseeing the construction of Parliament’s new Executive Wing, and Glogau immediately requested that the new “diagonally reinforced coupling beams” be included in the remainder of the building; the circular concrete lift core was modified to accommodate the new design from level five upwards. Half a century later, Paulay’s coupling beam reinforcement design is global standard practice. With the steelwork encased in concrete it’s invisible to the general public: a hidden witness to the Beehive’s place in earthquake engineering history.


Coupling beams located in the central lift core

Diagonally reinforced coupling beam

5th floor - 10th floor

Basement - 4th floor

Conventionally reinforced coupling beam


The William Clayton Building

First use of lead-rubber bearings 1982


he Wellington Urban Motorway ripped a long gash though Thorndon when it was built in the 1960s. Whole streets disappeared following the government’s compulsory purchase of properties, leaving awkward slivers of land adjacent to the roaring traffic, and too far from the CBD to be attractive to commercial developers – but the perfect location for the new Ministry of Works headquarters, which was to be named after William Clayton, the architect of the 1876 Government Building at the other end of Molesworth Street. The building was located on the site of May Street, a cul-de-sac off Tinakori Road lost under the motorway, and would have a long, low form sympathetic to the surrounding houses. It was also just 100m away from the Wellington Fault – and an ideal candidate for Otto Glogau’s interest in seismic isolation. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Ivan Skinner devised sacrificial steel dampers: then a conversation in the staff tearoom prompted his metallurgist colleague Bill Robinson to hunt out a metal with better damping qualities. Two hours later Robinson had settled on lead: its low melting point could turn pressure from an earthquake into heat, it had the right crystal structure to ensure ductile behaviour at low temperatures, and it was cheap to buy at a high purity for consistent performance. Robinson’s genius lay in using the combined properties of simple materials in his revolutionary “lead-rubber bearing”, where a

lead core is contained by a “spring” formed by layers of rubber and steel, which allows lateral movement. The elastic properties of rubber isolate the building from the ground movement and return the bearing to its original position once the shaking has stopped, the steel plates maintain the bearing’s shape, and the lead core damps the action. The experimental bearings were tested by a second-hand Ministry of Works Caterpillar bulldozer modified to power a rig called “MASHER” – the Machine for Simulating Earthquakes. By 1978 the concept had been proven, and 80 isolators were despatched to the construction site at the top of Molesworth Street. The building was something of a prototype, with an overly-strong structure in case the isolators didn’t work, and too little “rattle” space for the building to move in a major shake (this was later rectified). Bill Robinson died in 2011 having spent most of his working life in Wellington. Robinson Seismic (still based in Lower Hutt) is a global leader in seismic protection devices, with their lead-rubber bearings (like those visible underneath Te Papa) manufactured under licence around the world; their effectiveness has been proven by countless earthquakes. The William Clayton building was refurbished and extended five years ago: one of its 1970svintage isolators was removed for testing by Robinson Seismic and performed like it’d just rolled off the production line.



8 Willis Street

Breakthrough in modelling fluid viscous dampers 1987 / 2021


lder Wellingtonians will remember the partially completed steelwork of the BNZ Tower (dubbed “Darth Vader’s pencil box” by Ian Athfield) during the late 1970s. The Boilermakers’ Union’s strikes turned a 48-month construction programme into 11 years, and drove up costs fourfold by the time the building was completed in 1984. The saga contributed to the Lange Government’s labour market reforms, which in turn fuelled an economic boom. Understandably the 1980s property developers weren’t keen on steel, opting for precast concrete floors made with non-union labour. Quick to install, they were manufactured offsite, lifted into place by crane, and held in situ by the adjacent beams and the building’s structural frame – like very rigid sardines in a tin. Today central Wellington has dozens of buildings with precast concrete floors. The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake’s long, powerful shaking hit these structures particularly hard, with flexing in the buildings’ frames damaging the edges of the concrete units. Built in 1987 on rock and to higher “investment grade” standards as Trust Bank’s new home, 8 Willis Street fared better than many of the CBD’s buildings from the 80s and 90s, and came through the shake undamaged So what makes the building next to Stewart Dawson’s Corner so interesting? Many of the structural upgrades incorporated reflect lessons from the Kaikoura shake – more concrete to stiffen the building, and improvements to the seating of floor units. However the building’s new tenants will quickly spot large pistons

running diagonally from floor to ceiling. These “fluid viscous dampers”, developed for NASA’s Apollo moon landers, work like giant versions of the shock absorbers in a car, stiffening the building when it starts to move. Compared with applying the simple concept of base isolation, configuring the optimum damper arrangement in a relatively tall structure like 8 Willis Street is complex. Install too many dampers and you risk creating unwanted forces in the structure; too few will leave the building vulnerable during a large shake. Previously the modelling approach would have been trial-and-error: running different configurations through a range of historical earthquakes, adjusting their arrangement and rerunning the tests. The breakthrough is engineering firm Beca’s work to automate the process used to determine the best damper layout – which is then tested against dozens of historical earthquake models. This world leading approach enables a level of evaluation that would previously have been impractical. The optimised damper configuration means the building, now rated at 130%NBS (IL2), has significantly more resilience to shaking than conventional strengthening work, without the complexities of costly retrospective base isolation – unrealistic for many of Wellington’s tightly packed buildings. It has also paid a large sustainability dividend, with the materials used in construction substantially reduced and thousands of tonnes of concrete retained rather than sent to landfill – demonstrating a lowcarbon way of delivering high-performance structural retrofits.




Bolt of electricity coming to Wellington CBD


vibrant workspace that encourages employees to

industry which at the moment is under the microscope for

come to work is the vision John Moffett, General

all the right reasons, as businesses look to be more nimble,

Manager of flexible workspace provider Generator, keeps

to evolve their approach to their workplace, especially

in front of him when developing new locations. They’re

post Covid.” He says Generator’s Capital offering will suit

opening their first capital location at 30 Waring Taylor

all sorts of people and businesses. “Our sites have historically

Street this spring.

catered to everyone from a one man band to larger

Precinct Properties, which owns Generator, is a specialist in developing city centre office property. They bought the old Dunbar Sloane building, a historic five-level building

corporates. Generator sites always succeed best when there is a mix of industries and a mix of business sizes located in them.”

on Waring Taylor St – where the Lambton Quay shop-

Generator is known for its collaborative community,

ping district meets the parliamentary precinct and have

character-filled work and event spaces, and innovative

redeveloped it into a cool, modern shared workspace. “The

thinking. The Waring Taylor St premises will showcase

Wellington location is really special,” says John. “It’s an iconic

the full Generator experience with private offices, cow-

building in Wellington and we really want to do it justice. It’s

orking spaces, breakout zones, chill out spaces, cutting

so well known.” Having a heritage building brought up to

edge meeting and event suites and a well-stocked, fully

100% New Building Standard is really important and seeing

licensed bar downstairs for the enjoyment of the dynamic,

how this engineering has come together is really exciting.”

like-minded community of businesses and people within.

“The Wellington location is really special”

“We have cut out a massive void between the second and third floors to allow heaps of natural light to fill the space, which will be such a great talking point for our members and their guests. We see a real gap in the

John began his career with Generator as Sales Manager

Wellington market for the meeting room technology,

and worked his way up the Generator ladder. He says, “I

and event spaces that we are providing and feel sure

like that the team and I get to work in a really dynamic

they are going to be really well received.”

Generator is a service business first and foremost says John. “The level of amenity coupled with this service is unrivalled in the New Zealand market and we pride ourselves in seeing the person behind the business. We support our members in a way that allows them to focus on their business and not be worried about the printer toner, the wifi connection or whether the coffees for the clients in the boardroom have been ordered.”

“seeing how this engineering has come together is really exciting.” John will be back and forth from Auckland quite a bit and will continue to be in the capital often to support Wellington business when the new space is up and running. “I like that I can walk everywhere, it’s compact but doesn’t feel small. I love exploring the bars and restaurants when I get some down time and can’t go past Highwater down on Cuba.”



Build or bust Michael Reddell has seen money through every lens imaginable. The former International Monetary Fund representative picks apart some common misconceptions about our housing scarcity, and explains exactly how far behind we’re at risk of falling.


ew Zealand house prices, even adjusted for inflation, have more than tripled over the past 30 years. The persistent trend was unmistakeable even before the latest surges. Million-dollar houses were once the rare exception in Wellington, but now are almost the norm in too many suburbs. The Wellington region’s median house price is now perhaps 10 times the median income, putting home ownership increasingly beyond the reach of an ever-larger proportion of people in their 20s and 30s. Most of the talk is loosely about “house” prices but what has really skyrocketed is the price of land in and around our urban areas; whether land under existing dwellings, or potentially developable land. And this in a country with so much land that all our urban areas together cover only about one per cent of New Zealand. It is scandalous, especially because it is an entirely human-made disaster. Land isn’t scarce, and hasn’t become naturally much more scarce, even as the population has grown. Rather, central and local governments together have put tight restrictions on land use. They release land for housing only slowly and make it artificially scarce, not just in and around our bigger cities but often around quite small towns. And if there is a tendency to suggest this is “just what happens”, citing absurdly expensive (but much bigger) cities such as Melbourne, or Vancouver, nothing about what has gone on is inevitable or “natural”. The best way to see this is to look at the experience in the United States, where there are huge regions of the country – often including big and growing cities – where price to income ratios are consistently under

four. Little Rock, for example, is the state capital of Arkansas. It has a growing metropolitan population of just under 900,000, and a median house price of about NZ$300,000 – little changed, after allowing for inflation, over 40 years. The US also helps illustrate why it is wrong to blame (as many do) low interest rates: not only are interest rates the same in both San Francisco and Little Rock, but US longer-term real interest rates are typically a bit lower than those in New Zealand. The same goes for tax arguments: they have much the same tax code in the high-priced growing US cities as in (much) more affordable ones. High real house prices are a policy choice; not necessarily the outcome desired by central and local government politicians, but the inevitable outcome of the land-use restrictions they choose to maintain. Both central and local government politicians sometimes talk a good game about making housing more affordable, but neither group seems to have grasped that in almost any market aggressive competition among suppliers is what keeps prices low. People sometimes suggest there isn’t enough competition among, for example, supermarkets or building products suppliers, but if we really want widely-affordable housing again in New Zealand what we need is landowners aggressively competing with each other to get their land brought into development. And that has to mean an end to local councils deciding where they think development should happen, within the existing footprint of a city or on its periphery. We need a presumptive right for owners to build, perhaps to two or three storeys, on any land (and, of course, councils need to continue



to be able to charge for connecting to, for example, water and sewerage networks). It could be done now. That it isn’t tells us that councils are the problem not the solution. Too many – including in Wellington – seem to think it is their role to use policy so that in future lots of people are living in townhouses and apartments, even as experience suggests that what most (but not all) New Zealanders want, for most of their lives, is a place with a back yard and garden. And they seem to fail to understand that simply allowing a bit more urban density, perhaps in response to a build-up of population pressure, hasn’t been a path anywhere else to lowering house prices. Instead, such selective rezoning simply tends to underpin the price of those particular pieces of land. Sometimes people suggest that even if this sort of approach would be viable in Hamilton or Palmerston North, it isn’t in rugged Wellington. But as anyone who has ever flown into or out of Wellington knows there is a huge amount of undeveloped land in greater Wellington. And if the next best alternative use should be what determines the value of land that could be used for housing, much of the land around greater Wellington simply does not have a very high value in alternative uses (not much of it is prime dairying or horticulture land). Unimproved land around greater Wellington should really be quite cheap, although the rugged terrain would still add cost to developing it to the point of being ready to build. Some worry about, for example, the possibility of increased emissions. But once we have a well-functioning ETS the physical footprint of cities doesn’t change total emissions, just the carbon price consistent with the emissions cap. And for those who worry about traffic congestion, congestion charging is a proven tool abroad, which should be adopted in Wellington (and Auckland).


I’m not championing any one style of living. The mix between densely-packed townhouses and apartments on the one hand, and more traditional suburban homes on the other, shouldn’t be determined by the biases and preferences of politicians and officials but by the preferences of individuals and families, exposed to the true economic costs of those preferences. Similarly, policymakers should respect the (changing) preferences of groups of existing landowners as to what development can, or cannot, occur on their land. The behaviour of councils over many years reveals them as, in practice, the enemies of the sort of widelyaffordable housing which the market would readily provide (as it does in much of the US). If councils won’t free up the land, to facilitate the aggressive competition among land providers that would keep prices low, central government needs to act to take away the blocking power of local councillors. And this need not be the work of decades. Of course, it takes time to build more houses, but the biggest single element of the housing policy failure is land prices. Once the land use rules look as though they will be freed up a lot, expectations about future land prices will adjust pretty quickly, and prices will start falling. We could be the boutique capital city with widely-affordable housing. The only real obstacles are those who hold office in central and (especially) local government. Michael Reddell was formerly a senior official at the Reserve Bank, and also worked at The Treasury and as New Zealand’s representative on the board of the International Monetary Fund. These days, in additional to being a semi-retired homemaker, he writes about economic policy and related issues at


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The city that Ian built P H OTO G R A P H Y BY A D R I A N V E RCO E

Property developer Ian Cassels is at the centre of controversy over his company’s plans to develop Shelly Bay. He talked to John Bristed about that project and other aspects of success.




ho influenced your attitude to money? Possibly my father, who was careful. I didn’t like that. I can’t stand money getting in the way of people.

So property; how did you get started? I saw that inner Wellington was an ideal place to live, but it hadn’t been “seen”. I got stuck in subdividing city properties around Cuba St. Living in inner Wellington it was such an obvious idea. There was easy access to buildings which were reinforced, insulated, often air-conditioned, close to shops, and safe. Wellington was the very best place to start again after the (financial) crash of 1987. The value of the city had quartered. The banks basically fled in fear and sold buildings whose owners had been unable to pay the mortgages because their tenants had gone broke or been unable to pay their rent, for nothing. It was a lack of bottle and common sense. After that 87 crash we lost faith in our own city. One afternoon, government departments and various people came out and in 20 minutes leased buildings for 20 years at prices never dreamt of before. But that was just the way of markets, hysterically behaved. That’s what small people get obliterated by. It is totally not fair.

Was your father short of money? No. So what do you do differently? Well, I vaguely ignore it. It’s never the point. If life was about money, wouldn’t it be wretched? Like if the score was money? Do your siblings feel the same way? Not as avidly. And your children have a similar attitude to you? Yes I seem to have infected them reasonably well. Having four sons, theoretically in the same business, is quite wonderful for a father. What did you do when you left school? At university I painted houses to get myself through, and played cards, and drank and generally led a proper good existence, which was required to teach me that I had to go and do work one day.

What made you decide that was the right thing to do? Most careers are founded on accidents. I was there and the opportunity was there. In similar circumstances, other people might have gone nowhere, because, if you're not in a field that’s growing, you don't grow. A lot of people are trapped in those circumstances.

What did you study? Religious studies, maths, and philosophy. I got a BA. After university I painted a lot of houses, and I painted storage tanks all over New Zealand. I’ve breathed a bit of crap. I’ve got a lung condition, which is not excellent.

How did you actually start? I bought a building and developed it into apartments.

What got you started? I had Auntie Doreen. When I was about six, I overheard her saying to my mother, “That boy will be good with property.” There would have been no reason why she said that. But it stuck in my mind. And it set my course. I think that’s true of most people’s lives; there’s something that happens, often a little thing that gives them a clue about something and off they go, programmed, much deeper than they understand.

Was the money you had enough? It wasn’t much money, but if you’ve got a really good idea, you don’t need massive amounts of money to make money. Did you have to borrow lots? Ah, once we got going, we were recidivist borrowers. I’m the sort of borrowing version of an alcoholic. It’s just The More The Better. Cheap credit is what rich New Zealand is having a hell of a party on at the moment, getting kitchens and cars. It’s not money. It’s cheap credit, because the banks have decided the rich people are the best

Did you start your own business? Apart from five weeks as an employee, I’ve always worked on my own account.



Have you an example of an important decision you got right? We sold some buildings to some Australians very successfully.

bet to unload piles of money onto. The cheap credit benefit is all going to people who can borrow cheaply because they already have equity. It’s not going to the first home buyers. It’s not going to the careful people. It’s going to people who can get it because they’re already wealthy at some level. The people who aren’t borrowing actually look as though they’re going to be paying.

How do you think people perceive you? Poorly. I don’t communicate. I just spit it out as fast as I can. And I want to go to the answer, because I’m not interested in the process. I don’t want to negotiate. What’s the point in spending years crossing things out sending it forwards and back? I prefer to go straight to the end result. Unfortunately, people want to haggle.

What’s the Wellington Company? My partner and me. Its a conglomeration of propertyowning entities with a reasonable set of ambitions. Do you have investors? We have banks. Some of our projects are done with my eldest son, Alexander. And some increasingly will be done with the younger ones.

“[I think people perceive me] poorly. I don't communicate. I just spit out as fast as I can.”

What has the Wellington Company done? Our buildings include the Spark building in Willis St, Zero (corner Taranaki and Wakefield Sts), ANZ Tory St, Conservation House in Manners St. People now live here in all sorts of rental apartments, hotels, and apartments that we built and sold. We believe we’re responsible for about 2,500 extra beds in various formats. That’s how Wellington becomes wealthy, encouraging and putting people up in the city.

Do you work hard? I never really worked hard. I turn up at work and wait for the realisations to come. It sounds odd, but you need somebody who’s divorced from the panic and the noise to just say, we’re going to do this or that. Not because I’m any brighter. That’s just my particular role. And I love ideas.

What single decision has had the biggest financial impact on your life? If you work a situation backwards, you find that you could have got to anything, let’s call it Nirvana, in probably five or six steps, as long as they were all the right steps. If you choose the right gates, you can be wherever you want to be. It’s not always easy to pick the right one. You’ve got to find that it exists, and go through it. You’ve got to have courage and not give up easily. But thinking about it drives you mad. For example, I continually ask myself: What should I be doing now in these circumstances which are so odd? This virus, this government, the way we’re going, what should I be doing? If I make the right decisions I’ll be in a totally different position in two years’ time. If I make the wrong ones, I probably won't be much worse off.

Have you always worked alone? Yes. Apart from fleeting joint-venture partnerships. What about financial advice? I get a little bit of financial advice from my eldest son, which is quite good. And from my partner. Thoughts on women, careers, and money? I would have thought life has moved on a lot for women in the workforce. And personally, I think any hard job is best done by a woman. Males want too much excitement and entertainment on the way through. Women really get on with it. If there’s a hard job to be done, find the female.



Have you ever protested about anything? I haven’t been happy about some things, but I’ve never gone out marching because it doesn’t do anything. I’ve written endless submissions to the Wellington City Council, but nobody takes any notice. “Consultation” when it’s not meant is a bitter process.

a lie. But it wasn’t a lie because his scheme was huge and had buses going to and fro, and the motorway was going to be diverted out to Shelly Bay for Peter’s big thing. What about the narrow road around Shelly Bay? We love narrow roads in Wellington. The city is full of narrow streets. And we love it because that's Wellington. Somebody says “the roads to Shelly Bay are too narrow. You’ve got to have a four-lane motorway.” We don’t need anything like that. Most of the people who’ll live there will not be in traffic jams.

What’s the job of a developer? To steer society into better places, really. To see what’s wrong. Do you understand people's concerns about Shelly Bay? There’s been a lot of building of perception out there. There are genuine grievances and disagreements within the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust. They have 19,000 members, and some feel hacked off about the past and how they’ve got to where they are now. That’s understandable. It comes about from a lot of wilful and unwitting mistreatment by the Crown, and others, and misunderstandings. It didn’t differ too much from the usual. The chiefs get to decide what they do. And the people are expected to follow. But actually, when enough people get together and talk about it, they don’t follow.

“I’ve written endless submissions to the Wellington City Council, but nobody takes any notice.” What about sewage and water? Sewage and water has been uncared for by Wellington City Council for years. We’re going to fix it, but we shouldn’t have to. I believe the city should be ready for development.

Why is it important to you to develop Shelly Bay? My son Alexander has asked me this. It’s important to measure yourself against people in your field. We do a lot of houses for low-to middle-income people, but now and again, we would like to do the stuff at the Willis Bond end of town, because we can. Just to flex a few muscles from time to time is good fun.

Would you redevelop the Shelly Bay wharf? I want to; it’s very expensive. I see it as a huge shame that Wellington could build all those wharves, and hasn't done anything to maintain them. When building do you consider such things as the changing environment? Earthquakes? Climate change, sustainability? Absolutely. We wanted to get into that electric revolution. We got fibre into our buildings early, we got electric cars before anybody else. We bought three although we knew we were losing money hand over fist, because that was early generation stuff. We put a windmill on top of our building, which just about blew off.

What is it that people don’t understand about the development in Shelly Bay? Most of Wellington isn’t fiercely fighting for the Māori splinter group. We’ll help bring them back into the fold. And there will be a great result for everybody. It’s not a massive development, it’s a tiny percentage of eastern suburbs houses. It’s not a massive increase in the housing stock (which is needed anyway). The historical reason for Peter (Jackson’s) opposition was that it was virtually understood that he was going to end up owning it. But the council told him it was going to cost $100 million for the roadway, which he thinks was

Did it make electricity for you? No, hopeless. But we are overly enthusiastic about such things.



Do you like your Tesla electric car? Not really, it doesn't let you decide anything. It’s like sitting on a big fat couch. They ought to supply them with radar detectors. What is your opinion of the Wellington City Council? Everybody’s well meaning and I think the council finds it hard to grapple with where we need to go and getting us there. It’s complex. I’d prefer policy implemented by the officers. I think councillors tend to believe they're qualified for things that perhaps some of them aren’t. This will raise hackles. I quite like the old city fathers’ approach, where people who were interested in helping


their business interests, but were generally also deeply interested in the quality and direction of the city, would run for council and didn’t get any money. And not getting any money is quite a good thing. I know there's a difficulty because then it's only for rich bastards and the city goes a particular way. But whichever system you use has problems.

“[Young people] must be allowed to get some of that cheap credit that everybody else is living on.”



How should young people get on the property ladder? Shared equity should be the new rage. We’ve pulled the ladder up so far from where the young people are. They can usually afford the interest on a property which would be half as much as the rent they pay. They must be allowed to get some of that cheap credit that everybody else is living on. The way to do that might be to give them $100,000 for five years, which they’ve got to pay back. And there’s got to be a calculation about any capital gain that accrues so the person who lent it to them gets some of that back; people who can do that will keep on investing. The churches for instance have money. They should be putting it into shared equity to let young people get onto the cheap credit ladder.

What's the biggest frivolous luxury you've ever bought? Probably that Tesla. I bought a McCahon painting for $30,000 at a charity auction which I felt awkward about because I don't really like it that much. Are you philanthropic? We are very strong supporters of the City Mission.

“I think councillors tend to believe they're qualified for things that perhaps some of them aren’t.”

I know you're doing something with prefab houses? We're doing panel houses. These are not cheap. They’re high tech, with one or two bedrooms, designed to be erected, ready to walk into, in less than a day. Insulation is at least 200% of the code, and the outside will need very little maintenance. We are going to make thousands of these houses. The factory’s in Christchurch. We should be able to bring them on for less than $2,000 a square metre. We're going to build basically one design.

Any interest in sport? I’ve had a go at most things. I’m a keen Phoenix supporter; they’re fantastic for Wellington, they need support. I’ve enjoyed tennis, cricket, and so on. I play GO (a Chinese abstract board game invented 2,500 years ago, which has an estimated 20 million players worldwide).

In blocks? Not a Soviet concentration camp but scattered around the place. We're in prototype; we’ve built some in Wainuiomata. We're slow but we're very close to pressing the button on the machine.

You choose your own clothes? Yeah, I'm not very good at it. Sometimes my partner gives me a hand. I need a hand.

Do you invest in anything other than property? We do a lot of startup support for people. Most of those I couldn’t tell you whether they’re going well or badly.

Does money make you happy? No, losing money makes me unhappy. Being successful in what I'm doing makes me happy. Money is the consequence. If you're very good at what you do, and you've worked it out properly and you deliver it, then money comes.

What do you do for fun? I’ve got a piece of land in Te Horo that I like to plant trees on, and mow the grass and lupins.


La Maison Louis Carré —— Alvar and Elissa Aalto, 1959

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Welcome to Capital’s biennial Best of Wellington competition.

w to v o t e Ho Voting is easy as Monday takeaways, and just as quick. Head to our website, check out the full list of nominees, pick your favs for each category, and you're all done.

For 2021 Best of returns with a new, more sustainable format. There are no fancy judges or panels. Businesses have put their money where their mouth is, and now you – the public – vote on the winners.

Prizes All voters go in the draw to win four months’ worth of Acme & Co coffee, a year’s supply of Fix & Fogg, or return flights to anywhere in New Zealand + valet parking at Wellington Airport. Entries close 1 July.

This is your chance to pick the best barista, the flourishing florist, or the late night-snack saviour.

Check out some of these nominees and find the rest on our website.

at t voting n ow e G italm nz/bow c ap

Best pizza

Best pizza

Best burger

C u rri z z a

P i z z a Pom odoro


You’ve tried curry, you’ve tried pizza. Now try Currizza, the spice on a slice you never knew you needed! Serving our famous curry-pizza combo from the Basin. Delivery available.

Pizza Pomodoro is a family run pizzeria since September 2000. At Pizza Pomodoro we pride ourselves on delivering you the “original” pizza experience. Neapolitan Style Pizza. Buon Appetito!

75 75

BurgerFuel has a wide-ranging menu featuring 100% pure grass fed NZ beef, grilled free range chicken, vegetarian & vegan options. Delivering the ultimate experience in gourmet burgers in NZ since ‘95.

Best burger

Best fish & chips

Best fish & chips

Gori l l a B u rger

T he C hippe r y

Wellin g t on S eam arket

Best barista

Best barista

Best coffee

L au ren – Emp o r i o C o ffe e

W i lly - Sw im suit C offe e

Caffe L’affare

Best coffee

Best coffee

Best bakery

Empori o C offe e

Good Fortune Coffee Co.

A robake

At Gorilla Burger we’re all about messily delicious burgers served with a side of genuine Kiwi personality. Catering for Vegan, Gluten Free, Vegetarian & Dairy Free, we’ve got it all!

Tats, chats and a mean espresso are served with an infectious Mancunian accent by Emporio’s talented barista, Lauren Hadfield-Pilcher. Lauren also enthusiastically shares her skills as Emporio’s barista trainer.

One of the original Wellington coffee roasters, Emporio has been creating exceptional coffee for over 20 years, embracing the latest technology while holding onto the principles of great espresso!

Our fish, craft beer batter and hand cut agria chips all locally sourced. We source fish from local and other NZ fisheries to ensure quality and variety year round.

Willy, quite potentially, has the silkiest milk in town. Along with pulling some of the finest coffee shots we’ve seen, Willy also provides you with something special, a unique experience.

Fantastic little coffee roasters big on making a difference. 100% Fairtrade 100% Organic and Living Wage employers.


We use only the freshest fish caught from our own boats! Customers can choose their own fish from the window and our chips are always golden crunchy.

Caffe L’affare, the home and capital of great coffee ever since 1990. Expertly roasted and brewed - all of 31 years in the making. Relished by New Zealanders far and wide.

Wellington’s iconic bakery! Famous for our Lemon Sour Cake, Sunflower Rye Sourdough and Rhubarb & Custard Tart. We’ve been delivering consistent quality product and service since 1989.

Best bakery

Best café

Best café

Shelly Bay Baker

M i ss Fort une’s

R ipe C offe e - Hauora

Best café

Best sweet treats

Best sweet treats

Sea sh ore C a bar et

C r êpe s A Go Go

Home B ake d

Best sweet treats

Best Asian

Best Asian

Tea Project

Hot Sauce

Lit t le Pe n an g

Sam Forbes is a bread head and his quest is to produce the tastiest, healthiest bread. He does this by milling NZ grain to produce flavourful and nutritional sourdough bread.

Amazing cafe in Petone. Living wage employer serving fine food and the best organic and fairtrade good fortune coffee! Experience this eclectic cafe. A feast for the eyes and tastebuds!

Simple, organic and packed with deliciously fresh ingredients, Tea Project is on a mission to make the healthiest bubble tea in town! Try it yourself at our Cuba Street store.

Come and visit us! We have a wide range of amazing counter food and delicious Good Fortune Coffee.

Sweet treats galore! Since 2006, we’ve prided ourselves on our home-made Crêpes, and the 15 different variations and toppings our customers love. Find us on Manners and try for yourself.

An ideal spot for vibrant evening dining or a cheeky nightcap…or three. Hot Sauce offers mouth-watering traditional Singaporean, Japanese, Korean and Thai flavours with a contemporary twist and electric vibe.


Ripe Coffee are nice guys bringing nice coffee to the hub of health. Their Ministry of Health café, Hauora, serves single-origin and batch brew coffee alongside fresh smoothies and cabinet food.

Home Baked delivers delicious homestyle baking to your door. We hope it brings up fond memories and reasons to keep sharing your favourite sweet treats over stories and a cuppa.

From Penang, Malaysia to Wellington, our mission is to share our heritage and culture through authentic Nyonya and Street food. Our accolades speak for themselves.

Best Asian

Best Asian

Best Asian

Mo n s o o n P o o n

M r G o’s

S aigon Van Grill B ar

Best cheap eat

Best cheap eat

Best cheap eat


Mr Go’s

Winne r Winne r

Best Mexican

Best artisan food & drink

Best artisan food & drink

V iv a Mex i co P et o ne

Apostle Hot Sauce

B ar o n H a s s el h o ff ’s

Since 2001, Monsoon Poon has been spicing up the lives of Wellingtonians and visitors alike with favourite dishes from Thailand, Malaysia, India, China and Indonesia.

Hideout provides delectable, authentic Asian cuisine at an affordable price. The best bang for your buck in the city! Daily deals, excellent service and cheerful atmosphere; Hideout is a must-try.

For a Mexican fiesta, you can’t go past Viva Mexico, the real authentic Mexican Restaurant in Wellington! Recipes and salsas, brought over from Mexican kitchens, showcase Mexico’s many regional flavours.

A happy mix of East meets West, Mr Go’s serves quality, quick and tasty Pan-Asian. Open seven days on Taranaki Street.

From $7 bao specials to sharing plates at $4-22, Mr Go’s gives you bang for your buck. It’s a quality, quick and tasty taste of Asia, every day on Taranaki Street.

A unique range of small batch sauces handmade in Paekākāriki. Apostle has used locally grown chillies and perfectly balanced spices to craft deep, complex sauces that beautifully complement any meal.


Proud to serve dishes from southern Vietnam, please sample many dishes and share them with friends & family. Good times are what we are here for.

The inclusive, all-day local chicken shop where everyone is welcome. Family-style dining with hearty dishes made for sharing; making it an affordable, tasty choice for lunch, dinner and the in-between.

Best known for their Rosemary Sea Salt Caramel and epic stories of taste adventures. Artisan chocolatier Baron Hasselhoff’s always brings the mouth party. Located in sweet little Berhampore.

Best artisan food & drink

Best artisan food & drink

Best restaurant

Hone st

Ho u se of Dumplin gs

B am b u c h i S an

Best restaurant

Best restaurant

Best restaurant

El Matador

O li & M i Kit che n

Om b ra

A delicate infusion of six botanicals, notes of citrus are balanced by a hint of vanilla from the tonka beans. Tones of ginger, cinnamon and, nutmeg create a warmth throughout.

Serving the tastiest tapas and best woodfired steaks since 2012, El Matador features an Argentinian parrilla, open kitchen, sheltered courtyard, superb service and great vibe - fantástico for any occasion!

Handmade dumplings using only natural and ethically sourced ingredients. Great selections of NZ free-range meat and vegan flavours. Find us hiding in the freezer at your local supermarkets.

Cook with passion, season with soul, that’s our mantra at Oli & Mi kitchen. Served by our highly skilled team, modern fusion at its best dining awaits you in Petone.

Pop in for dinner and grab a table in the cosy dining room or on the gorgeous outdoor patio. Enjoy friendly, welcoming service, fantastic drinks and mouthwatering food.

Serving simple rustic Italian fare, Ombra is where Cuba Street meets the streets of Venice. Ombra’s menu features Italian sharing plates and is open seven days.

Best fine dining

Best fine dining

Best brewery

Arti s an at Bo lt o n Ho t el

H i ppopotamus

Doub le Vision B rew ing

Nestled within Wellington’s Bolton Hotel, Artisan offers sophisticated comfort, seasonal flavours and authentic kiwi cuisine from Executive Chef MacLean Fraser. The menu encapsulates his ethos of ‘honest ingredients, classically refined’.

From quirky themed high teas to degustation dinners, Hippopotamus serves French-inspired fare featuring local producers, plus plenty of theatrics and all the ‘ooh la la’ you can handle.


Double Vision Brewing is Made in Miramar. We spend our waking hours creating the kind of damn fine beer that delivers mouth parties.

Best brewery

Best bar

Best bar

Mean D os es

C h o i c e B ros Ghuz ne e S t

Lit t le S prig

Best bar

Best bar

Best bar

Sprig & Fern Berhampore

S p r i g & Fe rn Pet one

S prig & Fe rn Tawa

Best bar

Best homewares

Best homewares

Sp ri g & Fern T i n ako r i

C ranf i elds

McKe n zie & Willis

Bringing you a rotating line up of small batch, fresh, local beer, crafted at our Tory St brewery by Dean. Our beer is mean but we’re not!

Bringing award winning NZ brewed craft beer, cider and delicious food to Berhampore.

Purveyor of award winning craft beers and a community base for regulars and newcomers alike. Warm and welcoming with that feel of a proper local craft beer Tavern.

Choice Bros Ghuznee Street is located in the heart of Wellington. A vibrant alleyway hideout perfect for those hot summer days and cold winter nights.

Petone’s craft beer paradise. Set in the historic Raynor & Woodward hardware store building. Comfortable, friendly, and with a great calendar of events, there is something for everyone!

This treasured Wellington institution offers unique pieces boasting premium craftsmanship. Treasured gifts from Cranfields have marked many occasions and are enjoyed in untold homes around the globe.


The first Little Sprig. Set a stone’s throw from the beach, Little Sprig Seatoun is the perfect mix of cosy atmosphere, award winning beer and great food.

Bringing great NZ brewed beer, cider and pub food to Tawa. A great place to catch up with friends for lunch, a beer after work or weekends!

Our designers love what they do. In your home or ours, we work with you, combining your ideas with our expertise to create truly beautiful homes, designed perfectly for you.

Best homewares

Best arts & crafts

Best arts & crafts

So u th C oa st C o lle c t ive

E llen G

M iss M aude

Best arts & crafts

Best arts & crafts

Best bookshop

OR A Gal l er y

Wellington Sewing Centre

Good B ook s

Best bookshop

Best bookshop

Best fashion

M r s B l ackwel l ’s V i l l age B o o k s h o p

The Children’s Bookshop

Good A s Gold

Aro Valley’s SCC is a shop focused on sustainable homewares with style. Find organic textiles, custom soft furnishings, pottery, baking dishes, fermenting pots, bird feeders, zero waste, stationery & gifts.

ORA is a locally owned gallery offering a diverse range of contemporary New Zealand Art + Design. Pop in to view exceptional paintings, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewellery, pounamu and gifts.

In a building that once housed Greytown Library, Mrs Blackwell’s Bookshop feels like stepping back in time. Curious minds and romantic souls will enjoy our carefully curated selections.

Created entirely by Ellen Giggenbach, her retail store Ellen G is filled with her distinctively colourful New Zealand inspired prints, cushions, homewares, clothing, paper crafts and lovingly hand made gifts.

Our store features a wonderful selection of quality yarns, dress fabrics, sewing machines, haberdashery and classes. Our expert, friendly staff are here to help you make the right choices for your next craft project.

Our huge range of books will encourage children to laugh - and sometimes cry, discover amazing facts, unleash their creativity and be transported into magical worlds.


Fine fabrics, haberdashery and yarns curated to delight, inspire and bring joy. Quality, natural, independent products from NZ and worldwide, presented in the delightful inspiring Greytown store or online.

Good Books is a small independent bookshop in Te Aro. We’re proud to be NZ’s first Living Wage-accredited bookshop, with a select and inclusive range of books for all ages.

GAG is an independent, multi-brand fashion, streetwear and sneaker store. We bring together the best local and international brands from around the globe. Good S**t ~ Exceptional service.

Best fashion

Best fashion

Best fashion

Goo dnes s

J u li et t e Hogan

Nat ure B a b y

Best fashion

Best fashion

Best fashion

St y l e on Jack so n

S u p e ret t e

The M ake rs J ewelle r y

Best fashion

Best shoes & accessories

Best shoes & accessories

U ntou ched Wo r ld


I Love Paris

Goodness is a Wellington fashion institution, with two uniquely curated boutiques showcasing emerging and established designers from New Zealand and afar. Visit us in Wellington CBD, Petone or online.

Rebels against fast fashion. We love what we do & sharing it with you! Our boutique sells pre-loved designer clothing handpicked for quality and style. On Jackson Street since 1996.

We create thoughtfully made, sustainable lifestyle clothing that doesn’t compromise on comfort and style, and gives back in a bunch of ways to make our world a happier, healthier place.

Bringing you everyday luxury and simple sophistication, visit Eugenie and team at the JH Wellington boutique for outstanding service and styling advice, beautiful statement prints, knitwear, and timeless wardrobe essentials.

As a leading multi-brand retailer spanning across fashion and lifestyle, Superette remains unique in its identity, customer service and as a space to discover the best of the best.

Renowned since 1946 for comfortable, stylish, quality women’s footwear and robust children’s shoes at the fairest prices in town! See our new boutique range of Josef Seibel footwear for men.


Nature Baby works to create a world that nurtures you, your baby, and nature; providing products that are as soft on little one’s skin as they are on the planet.

The Makers is a bustling jewellery workshop and gallery showcasing the best selection of contemporary jewellery made by New Zealand Jewellers. Find one-of-a-kind, handmade, edgy jewellery online or instore. Ring by NSJ.

An iconic Wellington shoe boutique which stocks an eclectic collection of footwear from the word’s most exciting designers, located in the beautiful Old bank Arcade in Lambton Quay.

Best shoes & accessories

Best florist

Best florist

L az u l é

F loriade

Flowe rs M anuela

Best florist

Best wellness & beauty

Best wellness & beauty

T he F l o wer S t u d i o

Anytime Fitness Kent Terrace

Wellin g t on A pot he car y

Best barber

Best attraction or activity

One of Wellington’s longest standing stores, heading into our 28th year! We offer a huge selection of gorgeous Sterling Silver jewellery from New Zealand, and all corners of the globe!

The best little hidden treasure found on Bay Road, Kilbirnie. A beautiful selection of NZ grown flowers, stunning range of house plants, and gifts.

Floriade is a boutique Wellington florist specialising in unique fresh and dried floral arrangements. We are a family-owned and operated business that’s passionate about designing with flowers.

Many people struggle with regular exercise. At Anytime Fitness Kent Terrace, alongside 24/7 convenience, we take the time to provide the guidance and genuine care needed to ‘make healthy happen!’

C u ba St So c i al

O ld S t Paul’s

A master barber with experience in Aotearoa and NYC, Wayne Newman’s ‘straight up’ nature is why Cuba St Social feels like home. Find him cutting amongst friends and passer-by’s down Left Bank.

Old St Paul’s in Pipitea is an iconic Wellington attraction – illuminated by glowing stained glass and rich in history. Make sure you vote for this treasured 154-year-old Gothic Revival masterpiece!


We love flowers! We offer quality and interesting blooms and provide a personalised service in a warm, inviting and quirky haven. Proud supporters of local and nationwide growers since 1998.

Rituals for daily self care - Herbal teas, tonics and skincare, made fresh, by hand in small batches at our Cuba Street store with the finest natural and organic ingredients.

e now at Vot capitalmag.c



Slater BY M E LO DY T H O M A S

Name: Woodlouse or pillbug, commonly referred to as a slater. Māori name: Pāpapa Scientific name: Order Isopoda, suborder Oniscidea. Two introduced species, Armadillidium vulgare and Porcellio scaber, are especially common in New Zealand. Status: Common and widespread Description: Any New Zealand child who’s ever picked up a brick or large piece of wood in the garden knows what a slater is. The elliptical, segmented bugs with seven pairs of legs are common and prolific, ranging in length from several millimetres to more than 2cm. When disturbed, some slaters will roll themselves into a ball for self-protection, which is likely part of why children have always loved to poke and prod where they live. Slaters are not actually insects, belonging to the order Isopoda, which is part of the arthropod class crustacea (including crayfish, prawns and the like), of which most members are marine dwellers. Slaters however are entirely terrestrial. Habitat: Slaters like to live anywhere dark and damp,

spending their days hiding away from the sunlight, and venturing out at night in search of food. Pāpapa are mostly scavengers, feeding on everything from decaying vegetation to tree bark and rotting wood to dead insects and animal carcasses. Look/listen: Chances are, if you were to walk outside right now and start poking around in the garden or the local park, slaters would be one of the first “bugs” you came across – just lift up a rock, brick, or rotten chunk of wood, or turn over a pile of leaf litter or compost, and they’re likely to go scuttling. If your kids are particularly interested in pāpapa and you have an old glass tank lying around, there are great instructions for how to build a suitable enclosure and care for slaters at the Ministry of Education’s online portal Te Kete Ipurangi – just go to their homepage and search “slaters”. Tell me a story: Woodlice are known by a bunch of different names all over the world.“Slater” is used here, as well as in Australia and Scotland, but the best names for them come from all over England, including Cheesy papa (Essex), Chiggy pig (Devon), Dandy postman (Essex and East London), Monkey-peas (Kent), Cheeselog (Reading) and Carpet shrimp (Ryedale).

love love

Old Bank Arcade Lambton Quay

love love

knows no boundries,

no boundries, and knows neither should your rings. and neither should your rings.

The Measure

knows no boundaries,

and neither should your rings.

knows no boundaries,

and neither should your rings.

A natural furnishing fabric store in the heart of Wellington, offering made-to-measure curtains, blinds, cushions, and upholstery.

241 Cuba St


WWW.DEBRAFALLOWFIELD.COM debrafallowfieldjeweller


DWH | 1


CLARE’S C RUM PET S Squirrel café in Blair St is championing sourdough crumpets, a new offering for jaded palates from Clare Van Leeuwen. It’s a classic lockdown story – Clare dedicated her time to developing the perfect sourdough crumpet. “So much love and hard work goes into it. You need perfect fermentation and then you have to cook them slowly. It’s that low heat that makes those perfect pockets of air and creates the bubbles.” Little Spoon Sourdough Crumpets are available at Squirrel (the café sibling of Small Acorns) or can be ordered online.




Commonsense Organics have a new zero-carbon vehicle, so getting veges delivered is even greener. They offer home delivery three days a week in Wellington. For orders worth $150 or more, delivery is free of charge. And in other news they’ve officially done away with disposable cups at their stores’ water coolers and coffee machines.

A “magical petting zoo” and a “psychic supper” are two of the events planned for Eat, Drink, Play, a new festival that seeks to generate some buzz for the city’s hospitality community after a challenging year. From 6–16 May, the festival offers events and entertainment, and themed meal and drink pairings. The headline event, Opera on the Menu, promises a performance from a “multi-platinum-selling, internationally acclaimed tenor” and a three-course banquet-style dinner.

A massive line-up of talks, tastings, and entertainment will take place on three stages at Winetopia over 21 and 22 May at TSB Arena. Visitors can meet winemakers from around the country and sample the goods. The events are laid out regionally, so the day of discovery can begin in Central Otago, before moving on to North Canterbury, to Marlborough and all the way to Northland, stopping off at Martinborough, Hawkes Bay and every wine region in between.



SHELF LIFE Wellington City Mission has opened New Zealand’s first “social supermarket” at their Newtown centre. It looks like any other supermarket, but without price tags. Instead of being given pre-packed food parcels, people will choose their own grocery items. City Missioner Murray Edridge (Cap #69) says the new system aims to provide dignity, self-respect, and encouragement to vulnerable people. You can donate food products to the Social Supermarket at 19 Gordon Place, Newtown.




Diners will be asked to “pay” for their leftovers in an effort to tackle food poverty. Mr Go’s and three other capital eateries have signed up to the new Everybody Eats (Cap #75) programme in which diners can donate $5 when they take their leftovers home in a Goodie Box. A reimagined “doggy bag”, the compostable takeaway box features a QR code which, when scanned, takes an instant $5 donation through Apple or Google Pay. The donation pays for a three-course meal at an Everybody Eats kitchen.

New Zealand's most popular grocery item – the humble banana – now has its first environmentally friendly option on supermarket shelves. All Good bananas are certified Carbon Zero, and FairTrade. Production, transport, and packaging of the bananas, imported from Ecuador, have been addressed and remaining carbon is offset by support for rainforest projects in Peru. Available at Moore Wilson's and Commonsense Organics.

Watching artists respond to intense upheavals and anxieties of the current world, Dr Chelsea Nichols noticed “a repeated embrace of the sweet, sugary, cute, bubblegum aesthetic.” She is the curator behind Candy Coated, a new exhibition at the Dowse Art Museum which features sickly sweet images such as lollies exploding out of faces and disaster-inflected dessert commercials. “Like the feeling of eating too many lollies, this exhibition will certainly stimulate the senses…in both a delicious and a queasy way,” says Chelsea.









The fifth flavour We're doing food a little differently from now on. Each issue we'll ruminate, munch and chew on a food trend, ingredient, or movement. We kick things off by looking at the fifth flavour. You've heard of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. But what about umami? Translated from Japanese, umami means “pleasant savoury taste”. There’s currently no English equivalent of the word but "meaty", "savoury", and "brothlike” are pretty close descriptions. By itself, umami is often not palatable, but it can turn a pretty good meal into a stunner. We’ve asked Jacqui Gibson to tell us about what she says may be “the greatest flavour of them all.” And the Shearers share a recipe.


Seeking kelp


How to umami



Nasu Dengaku


Seeking kelp BY JACQ U I G I B S O N


n a calm afternoon on Wellington’s south coast, seaweed forager Lea Bramley cuts off a few leaves of wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) from the jetty at Karaka Bay. Handing a sliver to the young man next to her, she urges him to smell it, taste it, and roll it round in his mouth. “I was blown away to be honest,” says Chris Charteris, co-founder of Kāpiti-based Imagination gin distillery, and one of the brains behind its new wakame seaweed gin, which was launched in February. “Lea had introduced me to five or six types of seaweed. Some had a gluey mouth feel and a bitter taste. In contrast, wakame has this savoury flavour that’s like a healthy, watery sip of the ocean.” That’s why seaweed, particularly wakame, has been popular in kitchens throughout China, Korea, and Japan for thousands of years. And it’s why the ocean vegetable is taking off in Wellington, too, says Lea. Living at Tora on the Wairarapa’s south-east coast, Lea has experimented with seaweed for more than 30 years. One of the first people to get the official okay to commercially harvest wild seaweed from the Wairarapa coast, she’s now one of a few fishers permitted to commercially harvest wakame in Wellington (it’s considered a pest species, and has to be carefully collected to avoid spread).

Ten years ago, her obsession with edible seaweed took her to Sligo, Ireland, to meet the author of The Irish Seaweed Kitchen, Prannie Rhatigan. “In Ireland, dried seaweed is a common pub snack you have with a pint of Guiness.” She collaborated with chef and former Wairarapa local Al Brown writing the seaweed foraging tips in his 2011 cookbook Stoked. “I eat it every day – it’s just so good for you. I put it in stir fry. I bake it in bread. With Al, we cooked freshly-caught paua stuffed in bull kelp on a beach fire – and ate the lot. How good is that? Seaweed is full of every vitamin, nutrient, and trace element known to humans. Our clean water and strong ocean currents mean New Zealand’s the best country to grow, harvest, and eat it.” As for its taste? Lea says: “It’s that musky background umami flavour that Japan made so famous. It blends in and gells with other flavours. To me, it’s just all kinds of wow.” All up, there are around 1,000 different kinds of seaweed in New Zealand according to NIWA scientist Wendy Nelson. Seaweeds each have distinct properties and uses. Some, such as brown seaweeds, contain alginates that can be made into a gum paste for dental moulds. Others, like the red seaweeds known as nori in Japan and karengo in Māori, are used in sushi and bush kai. Green seaweed





has become a regular on supermarket shelves as seasoning and as thin, cripsy snacks. Karori chef Joe McLeod (Tūhoe) grew up in Te Urewera eating native seaweed and still cooks with it today. “I have imported wakame in my pantry. I eat it with miso soup. I love to fry karengo in butter and eat it with smoked eel and steamed baby potatoes.” “Back home, you’ll find many of us who are a bit landlocked source seaweed from our coastal cousins, swapping it for delicacies we find in the ngāhere. The harder seaweeds we use on hangi. We stuff bull kelp with kaimoana, so your fish absorbs those extra umami flavours. The translucent sea lettuces are popular on salads.” Wairarapa fisher Claire Edwards, (Cap#73) meanwhile, is a superfan of Tora’s ecklonia radiata, which she describes as New Zealand’s answer to the wildly popular Japanese kombu. As Tora Collective, she and her partner Troy supply fresh seaweed, paua, and crayfish to consumers and restaurants throughout New Zealand. “Ecklonia has this insane rich, savoury taste, making it perfect as seasoning. It’s completely moreish.” On the Kāpiti Coast, Awatoru Wild Food’s Scott McNeil forages for free-floating, beach-cast seaweed about once a month, regularly providing it to local restaurants such as Shepherd, Hiakai, and Charley Noble. He’s also setting up a commercial partnership to farm native seaweeds and wakame at Mahanga Bay. “I can only see demand for fresh, New Zealand-grown seaweed increasing. Chefs use it as oven bags to flavour fish and tenderise wild meats like venison. They’re grinding it into seasoning. Blanched, some seaweeds look like pounamu on the plate.” The Food Lab’s head chef Fifi Leong recently sampled Scott’s seaweed, mixing it with miso and wasabi pastes to create whipped butter for Charley Noble. “Personally I love the strong ocean flavour, but I’d say eating seaweed still scares a lot of Kiwis. To me that’s just a lack of understanding. There’s a buzz about it now. It might take a bit of education. But I can see a time when it’s a staple on our dinner plates.”





Specially crafted cocktails poured just for you


le @le cafeplum 103A Cub a Street, Wellington


a te mi

Bl a







nd Tomato

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How to umami

scoop into meatball gravy for added richness

m it

Green olive s

mix with lemon juice, fresh herbs to top chargrilled chicken

e veg

plop it into spaghetti bolognese for a deeper flavour

Delicious to the Japanese, the fifth dimension of taste to others – umami just may be the greatest flavour of them all. Get to it through heat, slow-cooking, curing, drying and fermentation. Sensation-wise, it romps across the tongue, lingers in the mouth and gets the



juices jiving. Discovered by Japanese chemist


Professor Kikunae Ikeda in 1908 as the crucial ingredient in savoury broths, it’s now considered one of the world’s five basic flavours of food. Think: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and – umami. It’s that savoury taste in favs like spag boll, kombu dashi, and marmite. It’s that yum-yum flavour that keeps you coming back for more.



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iano go a hefty handful with mashed spuds

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ovi es a punch of flavour in creamy alfredo pasta sauce

the x-factor in a homemade salsa verde dolloped on soup

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ella mushroom

add them to a no-meat burger with a melty layer of cheese


sprinkle over thin pizza then bake for a snack


b rta

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ta shi i


uce stir in with soy and japanese mayo for a distinct dressing

st a p


splash it into tonight’s stew

Mi s 95


S H E A R E R S '


Nasu Dengaku Miso eggplant with cauliflower rice & pickled veg



apanese cooking and flavour profiles expertly harness the fifth important element of taste – umami. Umami is that intense savoury yumminess – think dashi (kombu seaweed broth), marmite, miso, parmesan, kimchi, soy sauce, mushrooms – that adds an element of wonder to any meal. Nasu Dengaku is a classic Japanese dish usually served as a side; eggplant scored and brushed with a sweet and savory miso glaze. Pickle ⅔ cup apple cider vinegar Juice of ½ a lemon 1 tsp cracked black pepper 1 ½ tsp flaky sea salt 3 tsp coconut sugar 1 large carrot, julienned 3 radishes, finely sliced Nasu Dengaku 4 eggplants 2–3 tsp flaky sea salt 3 Tbsp mirin 3 Tbsp sake (or substitute sherry ) 2 Tbsp brown sugar 3 Tbsp white miso paste 1 cm finely grated ginger 1 Tbsp sesame oil Cauliflower Rice 1 cauliflower head 3 Tbsp olive oil 2 tsp sesame oil Salt and pepper To serve Toasted sesame seeds Finely sliced chives Pea shoots or your choice of micro greens

The translation is literally eggplant grilled over a fire, which is exactly how it’s done in Japan. Get out your barbeque or your Hibachi if you dare, rather than using an oven. Serve as a main event, or as a tasty entree. This dish is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free (just make sure you use gluten free soy sauce if you are making the smoke and fire sauce). Serves 4 as main (6 as entree) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

Smoke and fire sauce (optional) 3 tsp Fix & Fogg Smoke and Fire peanut butter 3 tsp soy sauce 2 tsp white miso paste 2 Tbsp hot water 96

Make pickle: Heat vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper, and sugar in a pot. When it reaches a boil, turn heat off and add carrots and radish. Set aside until ready to use. Heat oven to 200°C. Slice eggplant lengthwise in three sections. Slice diamond pattern across one side of the eggplant flesh. Lay eggplant on a lined baking tray (patterned side up) and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Rest for 30 mins. After 30 mins pat the flesh of the eggplant dry removing any moisture and residual salt. To make the miso glaze combine mirin, sake, sugar, miso paste, ginger, and sesame oil in a small pan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Prep cauliflower rice by blitzing in batches in a food processor to a rice-like consistency. Lay on a large lined baking dish and drizzle with olive and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper. Generously brush the miso glaze onto the patterned side of eggplant. Place both cauliflower rice and eggplant trays in the preheated oven and cook for 40 minutes, mixing cauliflower rice every 10 mins. After 30 mins remove cauliflower rice and set aside. Brush extra miso glaze on the eggplants. Turn up heat on eggplant for 3–5 mins to ensure they are golden and caramelised. Remove from oven and serve eggplants on cauliflower rice, with pickled vegetables. Scatter sesame seeds, chives, and pea shoots on top of eggplant. We served ours with a fiery smoke and fire peanut sauce. Mix ingredients together to form a sauce.






GET DRESSED When Claire Regnault, Te Papa’s Senior Curator New Zealand Culture and History, handles one of the museum’s 19th-century dresses, she sometimes imagines crisp silks rustling on the dance floor. Claire’s book Dressed (Te Papa Press, out 13 May) is a gorgeously illustrated social history of New Zealand clothing from 1840 to 1910. Its 300 photographs and delicate illustrations depict everything from exquisite dresses and plaid bodices to ornamental lace caps and a small sewing kit. A small exhibition based on the book’s “Feathermania” chapter opens at Te Papa on 26 June.



Historian Dr Monty Soutar (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Ngai Tai ki Tamaki, Ngāti Kahungunu) has been awarded the Michael King Writer’s Fellowship. The $100,000 award will fund the completion of Kāwai – a saga from the uttermost end of the Earth, a trilogy of novels about nine generations of one Māori family, inspired by actual events in pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial Aotearoa. Why turn from history to novels, we asked Monty? “Because the immersive nature of fiction can transport readers into another time and place.”

Literary luminary Patricia Grace always said she wouldn’t write a memoir. “But one day, after being encouraged by Harriet Allan from Penguin Random House, I decided I would.” From the Centre (out 11 May) covers everything from Grace’s childhood and being a mother of seven, to prejudice faced as a wāhine Māori author, and fighting to hang onto Ngāti Toa land at Hongoeka (near Plimmerton) where she lives.

WELLINGTON REPRESENTS A wee pat on the back: Capital has covered, at some point, five of the six Wellington authors shortlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards (the four categories have four finalists each). Congrats Brannavan Gnanalingam and Pip Adam (Fiction), Madison Hamill (Pictured, General Non-Fiction), Nina Mingya Powles (Poetry), and Monique Fiso (Illustrated Non-Fiction). We’ve yet to pin down Lower Hutt’s George Gibbs, whose An Exquisite Legacy (up for Illustrated NonFiction) is about G V Hudson – a naturalist, astronomer, and George’s own grandfather.

"We have left a bequest in our will to the Cancer Society because By leaving a gift in your will, your legacy lives on of the invaluable support they provided to us throughout our cancer experiences. We give annually but also want to give in the future." - Robin & Feriel

Leaving a gift in your will to the Cancer Society helps ensure a future where no one has to face cancer alone.

The Cancer Society can assist with a $250 (+GST) contribution towards your legal service costs. For more information call 04 260 4569 or visit

the interestings

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Wellington’s leading Tumescent Liposuction Clinic This is the latest, safest form of liposuction, using only local anaesthetic Designed to target those spots that do not shrink to the proportion of your body after diet and exercise If you’re considering making a positive change for your body contact the Vein & Skin Clinic today Phone 0800 NEW-YOU (639 968) or (04) 939-1353

The book shop for children who are environmentally aware, curious, imaginative and who love to read. New books arriving regularly Meet Joy Cowley in-store Sunday 9 May 2–4pm. Visit Featherston, an International Booktown 28 MAY – 5 JUNE, 2021 BATS THEATRE $12 — $23 MORE INFO AT NZSCHOOLOFDANCE.AC.NZ/MERAKI

3 Clifford Square Featherston

Friday–Sunday 10am–4pm

(beside the playground)

Also Thursdays during school holidays and on Public Holiday Mondays

2021 NZSD contemporary dance students. Photography by Stephen A’Court.

UNTIL 23 JANUARY 2022 Explore the significant stories behind the streets of Upper Hutt, our people and places, our meetings and memories, told and untold. From the first meetings of Māori and early settlers, to today; these are the stories that our city is built on.

836 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt Open 7 days a week, 9am to 4pm

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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

C L E A N E R B OY The poet: Originally from the Philippines, Gabriel Dyangco came to Aotearoa with his family. He is studying fitness, and is a cleaner at a Porirua rest home at weekends. In brief: This poem is from a recent anthology of poetry and prose written by people who are, or have been, cleaners. I’m impressed by the range of voices the editors have assembled. Why I like it: It provides a window into these few moments between Gabriel and Dora. He’s there to clean her room, and he takes care in doing so. But in the process he takes the time, and has the inclination, to talk with Dora, listening patiently as she repeats the same details about herself, week after week. It seems likely, given her sons live in Australia, that Dora has few visitors, meaning this brief interaction with Gabriel is a rare moment of human connection in her day. We find out a few snippets of personal information about Dora – that she likes coffee and dislikes her daughter-in-law – but nothing about Gabriel. He’s a calm, compassionate stranger to Dora, but also to us. Reading this poem, and indeed this collection, enlarged my understanding of the vital roles thousands of cleaners perform within our communities. Why read it: I’m hopeful one of the effects of living through a global pandemic is we’ll continue to offer those around us more patience and kindness. This poem provides an exemplar of what that can look like, and the impact it can have.

I put my trolley in the hall and knock on her door. She says, ‘Come in.’ I say, ‘Hello Dora, how are you today?’ She says, ‘Who are you?’ ‘It's me, Gabriel, the cleaner boy.’ I start to clean the mirror then I clean the sink. ‘Who are you again?’ ‘Gabriel. Cleaner boy.’ I start with the photos. Dust in the corners. There she is, young. ‘Who’s this in the photo?’ I ask every week. ‘My sons. In Australia. Married. I don't like my daughter-in-law.’ She says that every week. I put back the photo. She says, ‘Put it there. In the right place.’ I run my finger on the shelf, checking for dust. She says, ‘Who are you?’ ‘Gabriel. Cleaner boy. Want a coffee?’ I remove my gloves, my apron, sanitise my hands, and we walk to the lounge. I show her, again, how to use the coffee machine. She says, ‘That's brilliant. I didn't know it can do that.’ We go back to her room. I collect the rubbish, put in a new liner. ‘What's your name again?’ ‘Gabriel. Cleaner boy.’ By Gabriel Dyangco, from Somewhere a cleaner, Landing Press (2020)












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All in the family BY SA R A H L A N G P H OTO G R A P H Y BY TA M A R A J O N E S

Architect and jeweller Fiona Christeller and her daughter Vida Christeller, Wellington City Council’s Manager for City Design and Place Planning, tell Sarah Lang about how living next door to each other works.




ight-year-old twins Agnes and Flora Noergaard have two homes, of a sort – right next to each other. The girls, their mum Vida Christeller and their father Kasper Noergaard live next door to Vida’s parents’ home in York Bay, Eastbourne. Architect and jeweller Fiona Christeller and her husband Nigel Oxley (a former architect) own both homes on a subdivided section. One house shares a single driveway with three other houses. For clarity’s sake, in this story about two households, let’s call Fiona and Nigel’s home the “little house” (which they built in 2011) – and Vida, Kasper and their daughters’ home the “big house” (built in the 1930s). They’re separated by what Fiona calls the “democratic space”: a lawn, vege garden and small orchard, which provides produce and privacy. This three-generational arrangement began two years ago, when Vida, Kasper, and the girls moved to New Zealand from Copenhagen, Kasper’s home town. “Vida and Kasper both have full-time jobs in the city,” Fiona



says, “and with the twins, it made sense that they live in the big house owned by their grandparents for a while and see how it goes.” It’s going well. “I like to think our relationship with Vida has changed from parents and child to a more equitable relationship as friends.” Fiona is a direct, dynamic person, while Nigel seems more relaxed. The two families maintain their privacy – “separateness” might be a better word – to a degree. “For example,” Fiona says, “we all eat together two or three times a week but not the other days.” But, Nigel adds, “the children always have ‘free range’ of our house. They often come when we’re in bed or the shower! But seriously, I enjoy the kids wandering in and out.” On weekdays, Fiona or Nigel takes Flora and Agnes at 8.15am to catch the school bus. “Normally,” says Fiona, “they come home by school bus, and we take them to after-school activities or look after them until their parents come home.”




Vida feels very lucky to have her parents so involved, for practical and philosophical reasons. “I think multiple adult influences enrich children’s lives.” What do the girls like best about Wellington? “That you’re next door,” Agnes tells her grandparents, as Flora nods. And Fiona and Nigel – who used only to see the girls on visits to Copenhagen – clearly enjoy being part of what Fiona calls their “growing up-process”. From a young age, Fiona’s family often visited friends who lived on this driveway. From those family friends, Fiona’s parents bought and moved into the big house for their retirement. “After Vida and Francis left home,” Fiona says, “and my parents died, Nigel and I bought the property, intending to live here permanently.” One of those aforementioned family friends lived on the driveway, with his wife. “We’d been close friends since high school and decided we’d like to grow old together and look after each other.”



Fiona and Nigel subdivided the section, and built the little house. They rented out the big house, in case one of their children wanted it later. Their son Francis is a performance producer who lives in London with his partner, architect Hayden French. Nigel and Fiona designed the little house together, with its open-plan kitchen, and living and dining space leading onto a deck. “It’s very private, light and airy,” Fiona says. Floor-toceiling windows frame the tops of the trees, evoking a tree house. “I think people benefit from being in beautiful spaces,” Fiona says. “Not necessarily the furniture or artwork but the building’s context, outlook, proportions, lightness, and openness to the landscape.” The house has striking architectural and design features, with an aesthetic that’s “minimalist, modern, almost Japanese”, Fiona says. Despite the eye-catching artworks and objects, the space doesn’t feel crowded or cluttered. It’s been carefully curated. “Yes, but you should see the garage!” says Fiona. She and Nigel like abstract contemporary art. “For years we had a maximum $1,000 per year [art-buying] allowance.” It has mostly been spent on works by emerging artists.


“This house is really the story of Nigel’s and my life together,” Fiona says. “We’ve collected stuff: inherited some, bought some.” They bought the floorboards in the 1980s as surplus from a site they were working on. For a balcony, they commissioned a local artist to create glass panels, visible from inside and outside, that depict species of birds that live in trees around the house. A chest painted with Indian mythological creatures is Vida’s. “In 1999 we took the kids to India,” Fiona says, “for them to experience third-world culture. Vida chose that chest, and I took home a sari that is now that curtain there.” Some objects have been made by family members. Fiona’s Mother was a potter and her father a woodworker. In the 1940s, Nigel’s great-aunt imported Liberty brandedgoods, including ceramics. The slightly-damaged ceramics (“seconds”) now sit on dining-room shelves. Other “seconds” getting a second life: mismatched handpainted tiles that Fiona’s potter mother brought home from a well-known craftsman in England. Vida remembers rifling through boxes of these tiles as a child. While still in Copenhagen, Vida’s contribution to the little house was designing how the



tiles would fit together to form a kind of mosaic, on a bathroom wall. As for the big house, it was built 90-odd years ago by a boatbuilder, using recycled car crates, from the Seaview Ford Factory, for timber. Since Vida and Kasper arrived back in New Zealand, the two families designed and oversaw a major renovation. “The house was dark with small windows,” Vida says. Now there’s a large, open-plan living/dining room and kitchen, with big windows, and glass doors leading onto a deck. They use the sheltered, sunny porch and deck a lot, sometimes eating dinner there. Vida brought some “special” lamps and furniture back from Denmark. “Mum and Dad buy art and Kasper and I buy furniture!” Vida loves her bedroom with its tiny glimpse of Wellington city. “I fall asleep to the lights of the city and wake up looking at the city, watching how the sky changes.”



Vida left home at 17, travelled in Europe for a year, returned to do an architecture degree, then spent 13 years in Copenhagen, having met Kasper there. “We lived in a high-density area in the city centre,” Vida says. “The school was 50 metres away and the supermarket was 100 metres away. We lived in a sort of co-housing situation: a building with 20 apartments and a shared garden. We shared tools, a BBQ, looked after each other’s kids, and ate together once a week.” “I worked for Copenhagen City Council in planning and architecture for nine years, and for three years was project manager at a non-profit housing company – developing new housing concepts and projects, and working to densify existing areas.” Going from co-housing in Copenhagen to the Wellington suburbs was quite a change. “We moved back so the kids could grow up experiencing my culture, and have active grandparents.”



Vida is Wellington City Council’s Manager for City Design and Place Planning. “I lead the transport-planning, spatialplanning, urban-design, district-planning teams and heritage teams. Combining the urban and transport-planning teams allows comprehensive, cross-disciplinary approaches to how our city should look and feel in the future. As we densify and as people move differently around the city, it must be done well, be vibrant, and feel good for people.” She loves her job, but doesn’t drive the long commute. She tries to bike as much as possible, or sometimes takes the ferry. Kasper also worked at Copenhagen City Council as an architect and planner and now works at Kāinga Ora as a Senior Urban Designer. His current projects include the Porirua Development initiative, which will provide more state housing, and more affordable housing. Fiona and Nigel ran a joint architectural practice in Wellington for decades, Fiona says, “in order to have a balanced, gender-neutral lifestyle.” Meaning they shared work

or split it down the middle at the office and at home. “When I started as an architect in the 1980s,” Fiona says, “you needed premises in the city, especially as a woman wanting to be taken seriously. That’s changed now.” In 2014 they closed the practice and Nigel retired while Fiona works from home, mainly on residential projects. She also completed a visual-arts degree and now makes jewellery. Time spent is about 80% architecture and 20% jewellery. “Both occupations are part-time, to fit in caring for Flora and Agnes, and an active social life.” She and Nigel recently biked around the South Island. Her website showcases her architecture and jewellery. “I see jewellery and architecture as a similar design process.” Jewellery had always interested Fiona, but making it herself was prompted by Vida who suggested they do night classes together. They did. “I’ve always enjoyed having a daughter to do things with.” Now, she doesn’t have to look far.


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ONE FOR T H E LU NA- T I C S A four-metre, internally lit, spherical replica of the moon by artist Luke Jerram will be the feature-piece at Expressions Whirinaki’s free yoga course Moon and Mindfulness. You may find yourself chanting, “one small downward dog for man, one giant cobra pose for mankind” as you contort yourself into a series of poses designed to connect you with that big ball of Swiss cheese in the sky. This out-of-this-world event will be happening weekly during the month of May.




The Wellington Loaded Tough Guy and Gal Challenge will have you crawling, squatting and climbing through obstacles ranging from water and barbed wire to native forest and mud. The challenge can be done alone, in pairs or in a group of your choice, and offers two courses to choose from – 6km or 12km. The event will be held at Camp Wainui, Wainuiomata on 29 May.

If the only marathon you’ve ever participated in is a Netflix one, maybe it’s time to swap those slippers for running shoes and give the Wellington Marathon a try? A full and a half marathon, a 10km and a kids’ Magic Mile are offered on 27 May. There’s something for all ages and capabilities. Sign up online at

With Covid-induced travel restrictions, Limoncello Race Day is probably the closest thing you can get to a day in Italy. An Italian-style long lunch – bowls of food shared in true Italian style and glasses of Aperol Spritz – accompany the horse races. So dust off those glad rags, don a funky fascinator, and you’ll be hot to trot. Trentham Racecourse, 29 May.

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What would Deirdre do?

N O T A M U SE D My husband has a friend who makes sexist, misogynist jokes all the time. They’re demeaning and I’ve said as much to the both of them. They think I’m being overly sensitive. Do I just put up with it? Anxious feminist, Newtown


You need to keep speaking up and hold to your feelings. You are right. Your husband must support and respect you so it starts with him. Keep at it and keep calm. Remove yourself from conflict but tell it to them straight. Letting this continue without change makes this a continuing cycle. All women in your life should support you. Go girl!

SP L A SH T H E C A SH I have a good income and no kids so have more disposable income than my friends. We’re always talking about travelling together or meeting up (we all live around the country), but when it comes down to it, everyone pulls out because they don’t have the money. I’ve visited them loads, how do I do things with my friends when we’re in different places, geographically and financially? Still mates, Eastbourne

O T H E R P E O P L E’ S C H I L D R E N Recently I had to collect my four-year-old son early from a play date because he was upset. The other child, a female, had told him he’s not allowed to like rainbows or unicorns or anything pretty because he is a boy. Talking with other parents I’ve discovered she often holds forth to the other kids about what they can and cannot enjoy based on their genitalia! I assume it’s coming from her parents. I think it’s unhealthy and hurtful, but I’m not sure how to respectfully bring it up with them. What should I do? Aghast, Lower Hutt

Tricky but maybe you need to develop friendships with people who can travel with you? When you visit your friends maybe take them to shows/events or for walks/ picnics etc to give them a treat and take the pressure off them. Think about scheduling trips well in advance so you can all get deals. Invest your spare dosh and live at their financial level so you are all on the same playing field! Don’t let it all be about money.

You cannot bring up other people’s children and at play date age you choose your child’s friends to a large degree. Lead by example rather than by raising it as an issue with the parents concerned. It is a magical challenge bringing up your own children and you sound strong and caring – rainbows and dreaming are for everyone and every child explores for themselves. Open all the doors! It sounds like parental influence on both sides. Children only grow up once, they are shaped by their family and surroundings so share this time and lead by example on values and ideals.

P R O P E RT Y G OA L S I’m 30 years old and feel pressure to “get on the property ladder.” I’ve got no savings but no debt and make an average wage. I’d love some suggestions on what my first steps should be please. Beginner, Trentham Top of topical at the moment! Make sure you know the rules/law and talk to your bank. You will need a deposit and a way to make mortgage payments, so perhaps a bit more than a steady income. I don’t know the details about what you can access – go and talk to banks and property people, family and friends, and get going on the research. Good luck! Just do it!

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



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NZ Art Show is back for 2021

Whirimako Black

NZ's largest art show is set to impress with more than 150 artists, carefully curated and selected to represent the best of NZ art. All under $5,000 - the ideal place to start or add to your collection. Buy tickets online or at the door.

Don’t miss the chance to experience one of Aotearoa’s most distinctive singers and champions of Te Reo Māori, Whirimako Black. Described as the country’s undisputed soul diva, this award-winning artist brings her rich and versatile sound to Wellington Jazz Festival, alongside a special line-up of musicians for this exclusive performance.

What is contemporary art? Conversations about Contemporary Art at City Gallery Wellington is a new thirty-minute lunchtime tour, inviting participants to analyse and debate art, and discussing delightful and curly questions along the way. No prior knowledge of contemporary art is required.

Fri 11 Jun, 8pm. The Opera House, Wellington.

Fri 14 May and Fri 18 Jun, 12pm | Koha. Te Ngākau Civic Square.

4–6 Jun 2021, 10am–6:30pm daily. TSB Arena, 4 Queen's Wharf, Wellington.

Space is the Place

EKB: Artist & Friend

Space Place presents a handpicked selection of good music and dreamy visuals over four Sundays of NZ Music Month this May. Groove to local music legends Riki Gooch, Al Fraser, Paddy Free, Motte and more while the stars dance in sync on the planetarium’s dome. Tickets $20 - Book online.

"The little girl with the fringe is fascinating me..." With her talent, ambition and independence, artist Edith Kathleen Bendall captivated the teenage Katherine Mansfield at the turn of the 20th century in Wellington. This is the first exhibition of Edith's delicate portraits and children's illustrations in over 30 years.

Sun 9 May–Sun 30 May, 40 Salamanca Road, Wellington.

1 Apr–25 Jul, 25 Tinakori Road, Wellington.


New Contemporary Art Tour

SGCNZ National UO Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival Extraordinarily talented NZ students present innovative and creative interpretations of the Bard's work in delectable bite-size 5 and 15 minute performances. They'll capture your imagination and bring Shakespeare to life in new and fascinating ways. Generously supported by University of Otago. Visit 5–6 Jun, Michael Fowler Centre.


Get those vulva pants on BY M E LO DY T H O M AS

When I was growing up, there were two occasions that always resulted in Mum locking herself in her room for a bit: a new haircut and her birthday. At the time, both felt like an overreaction. Haircuts were unimportant, plus Mum always looked great to us, and birthdays were fun. Presents, attention, cake, songs sung just for you – what was there not to love? Recently, Mum pulled out a box of old memories and we pored over the birthday cards we’d made her as kids. My little brother’s were random – “I love you more than a fat kid loves cake Mum and that’s the truth!” – my little sister’s were sweet (someone had to be), and mine were an exercise in parental torture: scrawled evidence of kids’ uncanny instinct for the things that hurt you, and their curiosity, which drives them to dig their fingers into wounds just to see where their edges lie. “Try and enjoy being old,” I wrote in one, “Don’t look at me and think ‘I wish I was young and beautiful like that girl Melody again’ for two reasons: 1) You can’t travel back in time 2) You were never as beautiful as me! STOP KIDDING YOURSELF.” Despite the clear message that getting older was not fun, a message I clearly received and understood, my own 30th birthday wasn’t accompanied by any angst over my age. This was in part down to denial – at my workplace the median age was about 50, and I was still referred to regularly as a “spring chicken”. Partly it was distraction – I had my daughter at 28, so was quite busy trying to keep a human (and a romantic relationship) alive. But at the beginning of 2021 I turned 36, and overnight I felt the spring disappear from my chicken. Logically, I know that 36 is still young, but I also know that 36 is basically 40, which is pretty much 50, which is the same as 60, after which you’re 70, then

80, then dead. I also know that many older women describe their 50s onwards as the best years of their lives, when they are their most competent professionally, they know how to say no, they often have killer sex and – best of all – they give zero shits about what other people think of them. But I have also read enough articles about how, after a “certain age,” many women describe encountering an unsettling invisibility, a tendency to be overlooked and ignored, their opinions and needs deemed even more unimportant than they were before. I am not ready to be invisible. The mere thought of it makes me want to shave my hair off or dye it pink, to wear pants hand-painted with a vulva and, if I’m honest, to lock myself in my bedroom and cry (but only after I’m done screaming). Why should men get to grow more distinguished, more respected, in many cases more attractive with age – while we, already so accustomed to shrinking ourselves, disappear entirely? The other day I went for what was probably my last swim before the warm weather returns, pausing to take a selfie before I got dressed. Later, I went to post the picture and hesitated – I had no makeup on, my hair was wet and stuck to my scalp like a swim cap, and the lines around my eyes were so obvious. Then I noticed lines in the sand behind me, perfectly mirroring those of my own: the natural folds of the beach spreading out all the way to the horizon. Suddenly, a rejection of myself felt like a rejection of the beauty all around me. I posted the picture. Our society’s obsession with youth is a fact, but it is not the truth. We are a part of the natural world, and we too move from seed to sapling to tree. Just because too many people who tread the forest floor fail to look up, this doesn’t change the fact that towering above them stand forest giants who provide shade, sustenance and a home to whole communities who depend on them. This is the image I want to hold on to as I move, in fits and starts, from denial to acceptance. Beyond this weird in-between of my late 30s into my 40s, 50s, and 60s. Towards a future I might be lucky enough to inhabit: as a cute little old lady wearing vulva pants.






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Wellington Fri, 14 May, 6.30pm Michael Fowler Centre

Holly Mathieson Conductor


Toru Takemitsu Dreamtime (Yume no toki) Dorothy Ker The Third Dream Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique


The NZSO presents a programme of dreams, with music inspired by love, memory and mythology. PRINCIPAL PARTNERS

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May NEW ZEA L A ND MUSIC MONTH A N IMPOSSIBL E B OUQUET New work by the 2020 winner of the Whanganui Arts Review, Tracy Byatt Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui, until 9 May KĀ KA HI: PETER A ND SA R A MCINT YRE New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Wellington, until 16 May SOUNDSCA PES Capital E PlayHQ, Queens Wharf, until 16 May 2 0 2 1 PATIL LO W HA NGA NUI A RT S REVIEW Winners and finalists exhibition Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui, until 16 May A DA M W INNERS Exhibition of all previous winners of the Adam Portraiture Award New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Wellington, until 21 May EKB : A RTIST & FRIEND Exhibition of works by Katherine Mansfield’s friend Edith Kathleen Bendall Katherine Mansfield House and Garden, Thorndon A MONG A L L THESE TUNDR AS Contemporary art by Indigenous artists from around the circumpolar world Pātaka Art Museum, Porirua

Until 18 July. Open daily 326 Main Street, Palmerston North 0800-4-A-MUSEUM

W HERE MEMORIES SL EEP Multimedia installation explores Antarctica Pātaka Art Museum, Porirua TENDER BRICK: THE MATERIA L EPIPHA NIES OF PETER HAW KESBY Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui W IL DL IFE PHOTO GR A PHER OF THE YEA R Te Manawa Museum and Gallery, Palmerston North

1 FA MILY DAY Drop-in art activities for the whole whānau City Gallery Wellington, 11am–4pm, free






INT E R NAT IONA L DA NC E DAY Free workshops and performances Te Papa, 10.20am–4pm

PA R A DISE OR THE I M PE RMA NENCE OF ICE CREA M Performed by Jacob Rajan and presented by theatre company Indian Ink Te Auaha Theatre, 20 May–5 June


C OME DY F E ST IVA L Various events and locations, 2–23 May

Students from around New Zealand present their interpretations of the Bard's work Michael Fowler Centre, 5–6 June

AST RONOMY ON TA P Space Place at the Planetarium, 8pm

R E SE N E A RCHITECTURE A ND DE SIG N FIL M FESTIVA L Lighthouse Cinema Cuba and Embassy Theatre, 20 May–6 June




T UATA R A OPE N L AT E Art, talks, and performance City Gallery Wellington, from 5pm

W I NETOPIA Tastings, talks, and new experiences TSB Arena, 21–22 May



H U R RICA NES V REBEL S Sky Stadium, kick-off at 7.05pm


HIGHBA L L F E STI VA L Cocktail and spirits festival Wellington Dominion Museum, 7–8 May

9 MOT HE R’S DAY N Z MU SIC MONT H AT SPAC E PL AC E Good music and dreamy visuals to celebrate New Zealand Music Month Space Place, Sundays in May, 8.30pm

12 GI SE L L E Performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet Opera House, 12–15 May EID A L F IT R Marks the end of Ramadan Sundown

14 FA N TAST IQU E Part of the NZSO’s Podium Series Michael Fowler Centre, 6.30pm


27 FAC E TO FACE: PORTR A IT F E ST I VA L Visual arts exhibitions, talks, and tours Galleries around Wellington, 27–30 May



Various events and location, 9–13 June

10 PREVIEW PA RT Y Be the first to see the Surrealist Art exhibition Te Papa, 8.30pm, bookings essential

11 HURRICA NES V REDS Sky Stadium, kick off at 7.05pm

K I I NGI TUHEITIA P ORT R A ITURE AWA RD Finalists exhibition New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Shed 11


CHOREO GR A PHIC SEASON NZ School of Dance 3rd year contemporary dance students Bats Theatre, 28 May–5 June


29 H E A D [CASE] Surreal ceramic works by Julia Morison Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui


W INTER SOL STICE Shortest day of the year

THE MA RRIAGE OF FIG ARO Performed by NZ Opera Opera House, 23–27 June

27 W EL L INGTON MA R ATHON Based at Sky Stadium, from 7am


MODE L T R A IN SHOW Hosted by the Wairarapa Railway Modellers Carterton Events Centre, 15–16 May, 10am–4pm


T E A R A : T HE STOR I E S OF OU R ST R E ET S Significant stories behind the streets of Upper Hutt Expressions Whirinaki, Upper Hutt

K IA M AU FESTIVA L Māori, Pasifika and Indigenous theatre and dance Various events across the wider Wellington region, 4–19 June

NZ A RT SHOW Art works by more than 150 artists for sale TSB Arena, 4–6 June


1 CA PITA L PHOTO GR A PHER OF THE YEA R Winners and finalists exhibition Te Auaha Gallery, Dixon St, 1–11 July












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31. 32. 33.













46. 47. 48.

Answers from issue # 76 Across 1. Disease 5. Necrophobia 9. Cut 10. Technology 13. Rain 16. Blue 17. Toil 18. Habit 19. Uno 20. Colours 23. Octopus 25. Taint 26. Eggs 27. Anthropophobia 30. Pagan 31. Arachnophobia 33. Algophobia 34. Chickens 38. Alpha 41. Hell 43. Sociophobia 45. Bear 47. Pyrophobia 48. Odd 49. Beards

Down 2. Inch 3. Agoraphobia 4. Ego 6. Claustrophobia 7. Orb 8. Acrophobia 9. Childbirth 11. Yeti 12. Bibliophobia 14. Venustraphobia 15. Flying 21. Oust 22. Solo 24. Astraphobia 28. Hip 29. Capo 32. Failure 35. Clap 36. Saviour 37. Blood 39. Hex 40. Hair 42. Love 44. Spy 45. Bin 46. EA


Acros s


2. Large celebratory event (8) 6. King who said “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!” (4) 8. Shortage of this building material (6) 10. Prevents heat escaping (10) 11. This with 2 across makes a musical gala (4) 12. Mid-year test (5) 13. Tubular scarf / hair net (5) 15. Common textile for hats (4) 19. Energy efficient heating unit (8) 21. Celebrated on 9 May (7,3) 23. Chequered or tartan (5) 25. Hearth (9) 28. Long weekend in June (6,8) 30. Fire, in Te Reo (3) 32. Swedish oven and cooker (3) 33. Marks shortest day (8) 38. Thin fog (4) 39. Understand or know (3) 40. Winter, in Te Reo (6) 42. Vino festival (9) 43. Snowboarder, Hannah _____ (5) 45. Classic Sunday lunch (5) 46. Obligation (4) 47. Slang for rugby (5) 48. Sheep prized for its wool (6) 49. Sleeping place (3)

1. Coffee without the hit (5) 2. Kipling poem quote, “Are you ____?” (4) 3. Snow house (5) 4. RNZB perform this in May (7) 5. Cold character, Jack _____ (5) 7. Zoi Sadowski-Synnott’s sport (12) 9. These keep chins warm (6) 14. Bitingly cold (5) 16. Liquid food (4) 17. Twin sign (6) 18. Danish concept of coziness (5) 20. Warm grape drink (6,4) 22. Type of potato (3) 24. Very very frightening (9) 26. Spiced tea (4) 27. The same (5) 29. Whiskey, honey, lemon and hot water (3,5) 31. Snug bedding (5) 33. Violent meteorological phenomena (5) 34. Used to glide over snow (4) 35. Portable shelter (4) 36. God of love and sex (4) 37. Heated, jetted pool (3,3) 41. Out of tune, off ___ (3) 42. Moderately hot (4) 44. Arabic for festival or feast (3)


Answers will be published in the next issue