Issue 21 / August 23rd / 2010
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06 Fro nt
08 Ne w
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FEATURES 18 DREDGING SUCKS 22 green diets 26 bike otago 30 Cartoon the problem 31 hold da phone 32 man made catastrophes
Schmack 30 - 41
CRITIQUE 42 - 53
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Disclaimer: the views presented within this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the Editor, Planet Media, or OUSA. Press Council: people with a complaint against a newspaper should first complain in writing to the Editor and then, if not satisfied with the response, complain to the Press Council. Complaints should be addressed to the Secretary, PO Box 10-879 The Terrace, Wellington.
Critic – Te Arohi
fter two weeks of a very heated election campaign, we’re back right where we started, albeit battered and bruised. Harriet Geoghegan is still the President and less than 20 percent of the student population care. The campaign for the 2011 OUSA Executive was nastier than usual and fucking pathetic. It confirmed the theory that the lower the stakes, the bigger the douchebags. There were four serious Presidential candidates, all very different and all of them capable. But the scrap for the job was gross. On Day One we were discussing Harriet’s boobs. By Day Three Critic was getting leaked confidential emails that she sent to other student association Presidents. The frontline in this epic battle was Facebook, and Critic’s page bore the brunt of the onslaught. It was pretty entertaining and our statistics say that hundreds of people were tuning in everyday. But I do think the candidates overstated the extent of its impact and it would have been key to see more campaigning amongst actual students. The postgrads are the big losers from this election. While the Presidential race was gross; this one was dirty. Well before the referendum there was an uproar when initial plans for the new Exec structure did not have a Postgrad Rep. This was rectified but only one candidate ran in the election, and she was based on the Wellington campus. Kate Amore, a PhD student with a skill set that included the ability to use Skype, wasn’t good enough though for the current Postgrad Rep, or his predecessor. Mass emails were sent out to all postgrads on University mailing lists (which Amore doesn’t have access to) presenting the case for voting ‘no confidence’. Apparently the Clock Tower, where all the important meetings happen, doesn’t have the technology to support an off-site rep, and who (who!?) would organise the drinks on Friday afternoons? Her campaign torn apart, Amore pulled out of the race and now there’s no one representing postgrads. There is also a lost opportunity to test out if OUSA could indeed deal with an Exec member based off-site. One thing Amore’s run did highlight was the neglect that OUSA members on other campuses do experience. It is an issue that Critic will look into after the break. Speaking of which, midsemester break is upon us. Perfect timing. If you’re stuck in Dunedin I strongly suggest finding a bike and go exploring. On p26 we give you a few ideas on where you could go. We also look into eating local – it’s healthy and it saves the planet (p22) and delve into the Otago Harbour and look at the potential impacts that massive dredging will have (p18). Enjoy the break.
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26.52m: The length of a fully stretched-out Slinky. 1998: The year that more US fast food employees were murdered on the job than police officers. 90: The percentage of bird species that are monogamous. 3: The percentage of mammal species that are monogamous.
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A Pennsylvanian woman has tattooed Paul McCartney’s signature on her back, after the rock star signed the woman in a less permanent fashion. The woman claimed that getting the autograph etched onto her body was on of the best experiences of her life, second only to the birth of her two sons. Fun life.
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A BBC weatherman made a little whoopsy last week, accidentally pulling the fingers at a co-host live on air. The renegade weatherman, Tomasz Schafernaker, naughty grin slapped all over his face, immediately attempted to pretend he was scratching his face when he realised shit was live.
Guy 1: “Oh shit bro I’ve gotta go to the lib” Guy 2: “I’ll come with you man, what you doing there” Guy 1: “I needa update my Facebook status” From Overheard @ Uni of Otago
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Dunedin has been confirmed as a haven for ugly people with the publication of new research that confirms beer goggles do exist. Apparently, when boozed, people lose the ability to properly judge facial symmetry, a crucial component of what humans see as beauty. Now we see how City College functions.
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An anti-seatbelt activist was killed in America when he was thrown from the back seat of a car after it hit a patch of ice. The car’s other, more pro-seatbelt occupants survived with minor injuries.
A homeless New Jersey man lived unnoticed in the basement of a public library for more then two weeks, stealing food from the employee fridge and whiling away his time with some light reading. Many Health Scis are expected to replicate this feat in the lead-up to exams.
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In 2010, there have been 27 reported sightings of UFOs in New Zealand. The majority of sightings have occurred at night and have involved flying saucers (and probably mushies and LSD). Only four reported sightings came from the South Island, and over half of the sightings came from Auckland alone. No one reported an anal probing.
Ophiocordyceps is a fungus that turns ants into mother-fuckin’ zombies. The fungus latches onto the head of its host and pumps chemicals into its brain that render the ant ‘brain dead’ and at the mercy of the fungus. The fungus eventually forces the ant to latch onto a suitable leaf, and then kills it, so that the fungus can become fused to the leaf through the decomposition of the ant. Nature is awesome.
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A thirteen-year-old British boy from Lowestoft was hit by lighting last week, on Friday August 13. He was hit by the lightning strike at thirteen minutes past one, or, on a digital clock, 13:13. The boy is suffering from minor burns, and a full on ass-kicking by coincidence.
OUSA President Harriet Geoghegan was successful in her re-election bid, after handily beating the four other candidates in the voting for the 2011 Executive. Geoghegan took the race with a total number of 948 eligible votes. Her closest rival was current Clubs and Socs Rep Dan Stride, who received 704 votes. Stride was, however, successful in attaining the position of Financial Services Officer for 2011, narrowly beating Brendan Asplin in one of the closer results of the day. Over 3130 votes were cast for the position of President, representing 14.9 percent of the student body, down 3.3 percent on last year’s turnout (18.2 percent). Brad Russell took out the position of Administrative Vice President in a landslide victory, and both Katie Reid and Sarah van Bellekom overcame ‘no confidence’ votes to take up the positions of Education Officer and Recreation Portfolio Executive Officer, respectively. The International Students Portfolio went to Ivy Lim, who almost tripled the amount of votes received by the nearest competitor. Shonelle Eastwood and Dan Beck both won tight races to secure the positions of Welfare Officer and Campaigns Portfolio Officer respectively. Meanwhile third time was the charm for Franscisco Hernandez, who took out the position of Colleges and Communications Portfolio Officer by nine votes. This was his third year of running for a position in the OUSA Exectutive, having been unsuccessful in his two previous attempts. A by-election will be held for the position of Post Graduate Students Portfolio Executive Officer, after the only candidate withdrew just days before voting closed.
Controversy. Of course there was controversy. The voting was not without controversy, after Geoghegan was docked 265 votes after it was decided by Returning Officer Victoria Nicholson that Geoghegan had used OUSA resources in the course of her campaign. 08
Geoghegan was accused of aiding her campaign when she took part in an OUSA art structure that illustrated how much collective debt University students were in. It was decided that this had impacted positively on her chances of getting re-elected, and a portion of the votes were accordingly rendered ineligible. Dan Stride was among those who complained to Nicholson. Speaking to Critic, Geoghegan said she was pleased to have maintained her position as President, after a campaign that was not always pleasant. “[The campaign] was absolutely horrible … people were so personal about it. I guess that’s because they couldn’t have any solid policy arguments against me … they resolved to use some really dirty tactics.” The dirty tactics Geoghegan referred to took the form of the leaking of emails, and a poster smear campaign by some of Strides’ supporters, asking whether the student body would prefer “Boobs” (Geoghegan) or “Brains” (Stride). Stride denies personal involvement in the campaign, saying he looked on in ‘horror’ at the way the Facebook interaction was playing out. “I would consider some of the elements of the campaign particularly bitchy … it never really appealed to me,” Stride says.
Geoghegan’s breasts weren’t the only casualty of the campaign, with Postgraduate Rep hopeful Kate Amore withdrawing from candidacy after a vicious campaign against her and a mass email questioning her aptitude was sent to all postgraduate students by a former OUSA Post Graduate Rep. This has left the Postgraduate position currently unrepresented, and it will be subject to a by-election shortly. While Stride was unsuccessful in his bid to become President, he managed to secure the position of Financial Services Officer, which means despite the tensions present in the campaign, he and Geoghegan will be working in very close proximity to one another next year. However Stride is confident this will not affect their ability to get their jobs done. “Harriet and I are both adults, we can work together. We both have the best interests of students in minds, and any disputes we have are political not personal.” Geoghegan is not so certain. She thinks the working relationship will be “interesting, given [Stride] had a lot to do with the [smear] campaign. I think Brendan [Asplin] would have been better for the job. I’ll just have to suck it up and move on.” Full results on p 15
OUSA has given a clear indication that it no longer wishes to be a part of the New Zealand Union of Students Association (NZUSA) and University Sport New Zealand (USNZ) last week. In a Budget draft it has been revealed that OUSA plans to budget $0 for NZUSA in 2011, in stark contrast to the $86 168 (before tax) it paid in 2010 levies. Education Officer Stephanie Reader says that NZUSA should know that the OUSA Executive has been unhappy for some time. However, NZUSA Co-President David Do was seemingly blindsided by the developments and says NZUSA has not received any indication from OUSA that it is looking at withdrawing. Do says it would be “important to have a full discussion” with OUSA before any such move were to happen and “reminds” OUSA that according to the NZUSA Constitution, they have to give one year’s notice of withdrawal. It is unclear what the sanctions would be if OUSA breached this rule. Financial Services Officer James Meager (who was Acting President last week) says that OUSA tabled a motion at the recent NZUSA Conference to decrease the withdrawal notice period to three months. “While we were prepared for a substantial discussion to take place on the merits of this, a motion was put ‘that the motion now be put’ and was passed, meaning that discussion would cease on [whether to change the notice period] and we would vote on it. This left many of our group, and a couple of other associations without the chance to talk about the proposed motion to alter the constitution,” Meager says. “As expected, the motion did not gain unanimous support, and was defeated. One would have expected that this be a reasonable indication that OUSA may be wanting to look out for its future, and where it spends students’ levies.” However, Meager says that the draft Budget figures represent the ‘extremes’ of Budget submissions – either the maximum or minimum amounts requested in the Budget submissions from staff and Executive. “It is not necessarily reflective of the Budget which will be open for submission by the student 10
body from 25 August to 7 September.” Meager says there are several options OUSA has to look at: either remaining as full paying members and exercising their 14 out of 60 votes (the most in NZUSA); shift to associate membership and pay a smaller levy, but receive only 1 vote; move and pass a constitutional amendment which would reduce the withdrawal notice period from 12 months to three months, “given … the outcome of the [Education (Freedom of Association) Bill (VSM)] is unknown, and it would be prudent for associations to be able to use their students’ money on providing local services and not be locked in to levies for 12 months”; pass the motion and remain in NZUSA; fail to have a constitutional amendment passed and give the 12 months notice of withdrawal, paying the 2011 levies; or fail to have the motion passed and just not pay 2011 levies. “Now, as you can see there are a lot of complicated outcomes.” If OUSA pulled out of NZUSA it would be a massive blow for the organisation, leaving it without a fifth of its funding. The news will further damage the strained relations that OUSA is developing with other student associations in the country. The draft Budget was announced at the height of last week’s election campaign, which had already been plagued by leaks of emails that Harriet Geoghegan had sent to presidents of other students associations around the country. Among the emails Critic obtained was one where she said OUSA was looking at a $0 student levy and an apparent endorsement of the 90-day employment bill. As well as removing itself from NZUSA, OUSA’s draft Budget indicates that the Association will not be allocating any funds to USNZ, the group behind Uni Games. This will free up the $37 000 it pays in annual levies. A students’ association does not need to be a member of USNZ to attend Uni Games. However, Meager says, “What you may need to be wary of though is that OUSA’s contribution is substantial, and whether UniGames or USNZ would continue on without it.”
ART WEEK THAT WAS photos courtesy of Art history 225
The Proctor reported a busy week this week, and speculated that it might have something to do with the number of winter balls held recently. We at Critic, however, aver that the main activity prompted by ball season is the frantic, large-scale revision of ‘People Around The Place I Would Totally Do’ lists, as people see their fellow hall monkeys nicely smartened up for the first time since 7th form. Consequently we are forced to put the following behaviour down to werewolves: The Campus Watch car recently answered a late-night call to a nearby cul-desac where a young man was said to be causing a disturbance. They approached carefully, and saw some jerk doing something stupid in a badly lit area of the street. On turning the car’s headlights up they discovered that he
was using a hatchet to mutilate a tree – not quite an axe-murderer, but close enough to warrant a trip to the Proctor’s office. This guy is paying to replace the tree, and has been warned to curb his moonlighting as a nocturnal arborist. Meanwhile another group of half a dozen young men took it upon themselves to walk the length of a noted Dunedin thoroughfare and test the structural resilience of numerous parked cars. In accordance with various consumer protection laws, cars are actually fairly solid machines, except with regard to wing mirrors, which yield nicely to a good solid kick. This tends to happen every year – and so every year the Proctor finds himself handing out four-figure repair bills to drunken idiots.
Late August and early September are far and away the busiest times of the year for Dunedin burglars. Nobody has ever really been able to figure out why this is, but keep your doors locked until after mid-semester break.
Last week’s meeting was a dull and dreary affair, stretching three whole yawn-inducing hours. James Meager once again took over the Presidential role, although it seemed his main job was to make Harriet shut up. Presidential hopeful Dan Stride was M.I.A. (along with about half of the Exec), which was unsurprising given the election-week tension. Much of the meeting was taken up with the recreation unit review report. The report recommended a number of controversial changes, including getting rid of the aquatic centre, reconsidering membership with USNZ, and creating a tiered system to encourage clubs to be properly affiliated. Harriet seemed to have a problem with everything, asking endless probing questions whilst typing on her iPhone. Ultimately, the Exec voted to accept the
recommendations of the report. The 2011 Budget first draft was discussed in great length. General Manager Stephen Alexander and James had made three alternative budgets, to allow for whether there was an increase in levies. In a passionate outburst, General Rep Imogen Roth said that no increase was appropriate as it was not in the students’ interests. “This is just shit,” she exclaimed. Ros agreed: “I don’t feel comfortable adding to our students’ loans.” On the other end of the spectrum were claims of “fiscal responsibility” and “it’s only $6.” After seemingly endless debate, the Executive voted to increase the student levies to allow for inflation, and to future-proof in the case of VSM. Once again, John ‘jokingly’ ‘whispered’: “a 50 percent increase, that’s what I’m shooting for.”
Although the Exec had certainly made quorum, the motion to increase levies by more than three percent to an undisclosed sum had been passed by only six Exec members. Just before leaving, the Exec discussed the University’s intention to increase the Welfare Levy. Once again, Imogen Roth spoke out, stating that the University doesn’t need OUSA’s approval, so OUSA should not endorse their increase as they are responsible for the students. Her views were rubbished by many of the Exec, who then voted to increase the levy by around a dollar to cover GST and a new 0800 number. The meeting then ended because Harriet, Stephanie, and David had to go get OTP. They were later sighted going into a George Street liquor store. Now that’s investigative journalism at its finest.
A group of “large young gentlemen” recently decided to walk through a lecture theatre in the middle of a lecture they weren’t invited to. The lecturer made some aggrieved noises at them, causing them to leave “in haste”. While so doing, one of them missed the door entirely and crashed through a window, chopping himself up quite badly in the process. Dropkick.
The first draft of the OUSA Budget, written by Finance Officer James Meager and General Manager Stephen Alexander, has been released amidst controversy over levy increases and withdrawing from NZUSA. However, there are several other changes in the proposed new Budget, and Meager was quick to point out that the proposed Budget is not final and will be altered to fit with the increase in levies. One positive change is the rebalancing of the levy system to properly reflect the Association’s needs. The levy is split into two parts, one for the operational activities, and one for building expenditure. In previous years the Buildings Levy funds have run at a massive surplus, while Operations have run at a loss. This is because the Buildings Levy was increased to fund the construction of the Clubs and Societies building, but never decreased when this was paid for. Rebalancing the two levies will solve this issue. Talking specifics, Brand Awareness and Marketing is budgeted to increase by 422 percent, from $50 000 in the 2010 Budget, to $261 000 in 2011. Meager says that this “more accurately reflects actual spending” and responds to “a request from the manager of that line to increase the budget overall.”
There are a number of other significant increases. The University Union Limited is to receive a 637 percent increase, from a mere $9 500 allocated in 2010 to $70 000 in 2011. Planet Media is to receive a 59 percent increase of almost $64 000. In the Grants line, $50 000 is being given for sports, societies, faculty, and special grants, where previously no money was allocated. $84 650 has been allocated to Te Roopu Maori, the result of an agreement between Te Roopu and OUSA that means OUSA passes on 75 percent of the levies of Maori students to Te Roopu. Recent complaints about the lack of satellite support obviously haven’t fallen on deaf ears either, with $30 205 being allocated to satellite campus support. Planet Media, the parent company of Radio 1 and Critic, is asking for a 59 percent increase in its subsidy which would bring it to $172 000. Student consultation will begin this week when the debate opens this Tuesday, August 24. Submissions from the student body on the Budget will be open from next week. Students will have a final say on the Budget as they are able to pass or reject it at the next SGM, which will be held online.
Monday “Oral Delivery of D-Lys6GnRH for Fertility Control of Wildlife” 1pm, Hercus d’Ath Lecture Theatre
Tuesday “Membranes and Membrane-Bound Magnetic Nanoparticles with Tunable Properties for Biomedical Applications” 12pm, Room 228, Biochemistry Department
Wednesday Student Exchange Fair 10am, School of Business Atrium “Energetic Requirements for Growth of the Deep-Water Red Seaweed Anotrichium Crinitum” 12pm, Union Street Lecture Theatre
Thursday OUSA Grants Applications Close “An Integrated Approach to Modelling Constant Effort Bird-Ringing Data” 11am, Room 241, Science III
Friday “The Distribution and Chronology of Southland Argillite in New Zealand Prehistory” 3pm, Richardson 10C15
PRESIDENT Abstain: 177 No confidence: 137 Dan Stride: 704 Harriet Geoghegan: 948 Matt McKillop: 515 Mitch Edwards: 348 Nathaniel Hatch-Stevens: 36
ADMINISTRATIVE VICE PRESIDENT Abstain: 577 No confidence: 405 Brad Russell: 1761 Chipo Zimba: 342
FINANCE AND SERVICES OFFICER Abstain: 395 No confidence: 188 Brenden Asplin: 1138 Dan Stride: 1332
EDUCATION OFFICER Abstain: 436 No confidence: 398 Katherine (Katie) Reid: 2198
WELFARE OFFICER Abstain: 566 No confidence: 225 Nicky Thomas: 769 Shonelle Eastwood: 977 Shubhangi Kaushik: 466
POST GRADUATE STUDENTS PORTFOLIO EXECUTIVE OFFICER Candidate withdrew before close of voting
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS PORTFOLIO EXECUTIVE OFFICER Abstain: 16 No confidence: 14 Alexandra McIntosh: 29 Ivy Lim: 113 Stephanie Ruddock: 41
CAMPAIGNS PORTFOLIO EXECUTIVE OFFICER Abstain: 613 No confidence: 265 Dan Beck: 1180 Kinga Peckowska: 917
RECREATION PORTFOLIO EXECUTIVE OFFICER Abstain: 453 No confidence: 320 Sarah van Ballekom: 2180
COLLEGES & COMMUNICATION PORTFOLIO EXECUTIVE OFFICER Abstain: 458 No confidence: 218 Anna Kissick: 1117 Francisco Hernandez: 1126
University Won’t Ban Staff-Student Relationships The University of Otago has confirmed that it will not ban relationships between staff and students. The University’s review of its policy on relationships between staff and students has been completed, and the University Senate will now discuss a revised policy, which mandates that staff disclose such relationships, and governs how they will be managed. The University did not respond to Critic’s request for comment on the revised policy and the reasons behind it.
Former OUSA President Throws His Hat In Former OUSA President Simon Wilson has formally expressed an interest in being chosen as the Labour candidate for North Dunedin. He is the third person to express interest in the candidacy, along with the Selwyn College Warden Dr. David Clark and a woman named Glenda Alexander. Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, Wilson said “Dunedin is my home, I was born here and grew up here. I have a good understanding of the electorate right from my grandparents living here through to my connections with the University, students, and the city.”
Organic Festival The Students for Environmental Action will hold their sixth annual Organic Festival at Sammy’s this Saturday. The main aim of the festival is to raise awareness of the environmental and health benefits of organic food and drink. Tickets to the event cost $5 and include one free organic beer or wine, and free finger food and nibbles. Up to 600 people are expected to attend the event, which kicks off at 7pm.
Quiztacular On Thursday OUSA will hold its second annual quiz evening, Bride of Quiztacular. This mega-quiz night, which aims to bring together Humanities students from across all different disciplines, will feature 10 rounds of “intense quiz competition,” Humanities Rep Walker MacMurdo says. Teams are of four or five people. The event is being held at the Gazebo Lounge, and includes free pizza and snacks, subsidised drinks, and fair-trade prizes. Doors open at 7pm and the quizzing gets underway at 7.30.
Marc Ellis is a bit of a Scarfie. He left Dunedin some fifteen years ago, but he’s still living the dream. This week, he is returning to his roots to release his much-awaited book – Good Fullas: a Guide to Kiwi Blokes. In anticipation of this auspicious occasion, Critic spoke to him last week about pranks, his yardie, and a few of the urban legends that surround his person. How did you enjoy your time at Otago? It was wonderful – they were the most formative years of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The thing I thought was quite unique about Otago University was that it didn’t matter who you were or what background you came from, there were always pockets who were exactly the same as you. What do you think of the recent closure of Gardies and the possibility of The Cook shutting down? I think it’s incredibly myopic. I think what the Board of Directors at the University, who are undoubtedly old grey-haired men, fail to understand is that students come to Otago not just for the academic opportunities, but also because they know they learn as much outside the University lecture theatre as they do in it. One of the benefits of having such a meeting place as Gardies is that you do get to meet people from all different walks of life. I mean once again it is a bloody classic example of the majority getting stiffed because there are a minority of halfwits out there who behave inappropriately. I would have thought Otago University would have been above that, but clearly they’re not. What was the best prank you ever pulled here? I know there was one we always planned but never came to fruition and I would love to see someone do it ... That was as you come into town down Cumberland Street, if you set up a road block at the Alhambra Union Ground and pretend to be doing road works, direct traffic towards the 24-hour dairy and then road block it there and send them back out of Dunedin and road block it again, you would be able to send them around and around in circles. That was one we had planned but never did. But I quite like another idea which was to take a number plate off a Police van, attach it to another van, and drive past a speed camera a few times. How fast did you drink your yard glass? I wasn’t a huge yard glass person; everybody did a hell of a lot better than me. I think I chugged my way through mine in like ten minutes. I just wanted to clarify a few urban legends we have down here. Is it true that you hit a six through the Chapel window during your time at Wellington College? I think I hit it, but I don’t know if it went through it. It was a great game. It was the Memorial window which anyone who knows Wellington College will know, but it bounced off.
Did you ever fail a paper? Did I ever fail a paper? I only passed three papers in my first two years. I got the official letter saying pick your grades up and then I got my degree in my last three years. No, the first couple of years ... see this is the thing, in my first year, I failed five subjects but if I had had ten percent to sprinkle around those five subjects I would have passed everything. I didn’t know about an aggregate or anything like that. If you think you’re on the borderline, go to the doctor and get a doctor’s certificate to say that “I’m feeling a bit crook” and they’ll give you three percent. I didn’t know about that, but if I’d done that I would only have had four years down there instead of five. I understand you are releasing a new book Good Fullas: A Guide to Kiwi Blokes soon. What inspired the book? Well, I was always an avid reader of Barry Crump books and a wonderful book he wrote was called Bastards I have Met, it was a very amusing tale of his experiences with various types of guys throughout New Zealand. Today, there are all sorts of ethnicities, we’re a bit of a melting pot and I thought it would be a good idea to put together a book as light-hearted and humorous and conversational. So that’s where the idea came from and then, a very good mate of mine came back from Italy and we got together every now and again, had a beer, and wrote a few chapters. Georgie Fenwicke
*They’re using suction dredges to do the work
For several years now, turmoil has been brewing in Dunedin. The fate of Otago Harbour lies in the balance. Some groups claim that dredging the harbour will be a step forward for Dunedin; others say it will destroy it. Caitlyn O’Fallon looks into it.
he plan that sparked the controversy goes by the somewhat grandiose name of ‘Project Next Generation’. According to Port Otago, the company planning the dredging, Port Chalmers needs to make itself available to the new, larger ships if it is to continue to grow and serve the country’s supply chain. Currently, only around half of the harbour reaches the 14-metre clearance required for the largest container ships. To create this deeper channel, Port Otago will be dredging large parts of the harbour. Dredging involves using specially fitted-out boats to lift rock, clay, sand, and silt from the sea floor. Widening of the channel near Harrington Bend and Swinging Basin will involve blasting away the rocks. The resulting sediment will then be dumped at a site about six kilometres northeast of Taiaroa Head. Port Otago already carries out routine dredging to maintain the current channel. In fact, the first dredger to work in the harbour was built in 1868 for this purpose. The harbour is already a very altered environment from what it was when the first settlers arrived. As ships grow in size, the port has continuously dug deeper to keep them coming in to Dunedin. What distinguishes this project is its scale. Currently, around 200 000 cubic metres of sediment per year are dumped near Aramoana. This project will involve up to 80 000 cubic metres of material per day being dumped at sea. A total of 7.2 million cubic metres may be moved in total. The effects of this alteration, which add up to a total of 34 million cubic metres dredged over about 135 years, are quite dramatic. Some of the effects can be clearly seen. Logan Park, for example, was Logan Lake before the land was created using the spoils of early dredging. Others are less obvious to the casual observer. The first comprehensive survey of the area in 1850 showed that the maximum clearance available to ships coming in to Dunedin was four metres. This is drastically different to the 14 metres planned after Project Next Generation. Clearly, dredging projects have been of great value to the port, and probably to the city as well. But the issues arise when one considers the potential ecological effects of changing the local environment
to such a huge extent. Environmental groups and Port Otago have widely differing views on the potential effects of Project New Generation. Richard Reeves, the organiser of Friends of the Otago Harbour, a group opposing the alterations, claims that the dredging will “radically change” the marine environment. In an opinion piece for the local paper he said that for shellfish, the economic advantages translated to “widespread death, an underwater Pompeii.” Port Otago has repeatedly assured the public and interested groups that there will be no such devastation. Their claims are at least partially backed up by the research done by NIWA (the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research), which concluded that most of the effects were likely be short-lived and underwater life would likely recover. However, these conclusions can only describe what is likely to happen. There are more serious possible outcomes, and some scientists believe they are risks we should be worried about. Dr. Chris Hepburn and Associate Professor Liz Slooten, both from the University of Otago, believe that the consequences for the environment could be more serious than what NIWA predicts. Dr. Hepburn explained that the biggest concern, one that is shared by commercial fishers and tourism operators, is the deposition of sediment after the material that is dredged is dumped off-shore. According to the models presented by NIWA, this should be present in only low levels near the shoreline. This model has been repeatedly called into question during the consultation process. If it is wrong, then sediment from the dump site could be deposited much more heavily along the coastline from Shag Point to Warrington, smothering rocky reefs, kelp forests, and other habitats. The interconnected nature of marine environments mean that it is difficult to predict what might happen next, but it could have serious consequences for life in the harbour. The consultation process regarding the project has stretched out over the last three years. The consultative group involved representatives from groups as diverse as the Department of Conservation, Southern Clams, Monarch Wildlife Cruises, and the Otago Yacht Club.
However, critics of the plan, like Reeve, claim there has not been enough publicity or public discussion for a project of this scope. Reeve says “The process of public consultation undertaken by Port Otago has to date been underwhelming at best, at worst smoke and mirrors.” Dr. Hepburn does not take such an extreme view. “I don’t think the port’s the most evil company around ... they’ve tried but I don’t know if their process was quite right. They listen but then don’t do anything.” Dunedin advertises itself as the nature capital of New Zealand. The validity of that claim is inextricably intertwined with the wellbeing of Otago Harbour. The ocean around Dunedin is an important habitat for conservation. A 2003 survey carried out by the Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries identified 275 different species in the harbour. Rocky reefs and kelp forests stretch along the coastline. A huge variety of fish and other creatures live here and further out to sea, including scallops, starfish, sea sponges, and tubeworms. There are also many species of bird that make their home on our coast. The Yellow-eyed Penguin is one of the rarest species of penguin on the planet, making the breeding colony on Otago Peninsula important for both research and conservation. The albatross colony at Taiaroa Head is the only mainland breeding site for any albatross species in the southern hemisphere. The Stewart Island shag, pied oystercatcher, bar-tailed godwit, and banded dotterel are some of the other vulnerable bird species that inhabit the area. Hooker’s Sea Lion is also among the most endangered of its kind. They had been hunted almost to extinction, by both Maori and European settlers, when they gained protected status in the 1890s. A colony is established on Otago Peninsula, and once again this is the only place where these magnificent animals breed on the mainland. New Zealand Fur Seals are another resident with a similar story of near-extinction by hunters after their pelts. They also became protected in the late nineteenth century.
The bucket dredge Vulcan circa. 1877 20
A group of about 20 Hector’s dolphins, unique to New Zealand and under serious threat of extinction, live in the area around Blueskin Bay, the very area that may be affected if sediment is pulled inshore. Dr. Slooten, whose research interests include marine conservation biology and marine mammal biology, stated at a public meeting in July that these sediments could affect the dolphins, as well as fish and seabirds. Hector’s dolphins forage for food near the shore, and would be disrupted by the presence of cloudy sediments. According to NIWA’s assessment, seabirds are unlikely to be affected. Several species, like the albatross and penguins, travel many kilometres in search of food and will simply avoid the dredging and dump sites. Other birds forage in waters nearer to home, and the models predict that the sediment reaching these areas will not be enough to affect these birds. However, if these models are wrong, increased levels of sediment will drive fish away from the area, and those that are left would be difficult to find in the murky water. Birds that would be harmed if this happened include rare species of gull, shag, and tern. Another threat to birds is loss of roost sites. A large variety of birds roost on sand islands opposite the port at high tide. Some of these islands may be removed by the dredging process. NIWA recommended replacing any lost habitat by creating new islands with the spoils from dredging. As well as hosting important conservation sites and eco-tourist attractions, Dunedin is also popular with fishers, both commercial and recreational. Tarakihi, sole, elephant fish, lobsters, clams, paua, and squid are some of the species harvested in the area around the harbour. According to the East Otago Taiatupere Management Committee, which is responsible for managing fisheries along the coastline, marine life in the area is already under threat from overfishing, and will be even more threatened by the dredging project.
The Port Chalmers Fishermenâ€™s Co-operative Society has expressed concern that the dump site and resulting â€œplumeâ€? of silt and other material might damage fishing. Another group with an interest in maintaining the harbour in its current state is the surfing community. The Otago Peninsula offers some of the best surfing around, albeit some of the coldest. Local surfing groups South Coast Boardriders and the Surfbreak Protection Society are concerned that the dumping of large quantities of sediment off the coast might negatively impact surfbreaks around Dunedin. They say that past dredging has already impacted breaks; and this dredging is on a scale that has never been done before in the area. So, what will happen? Dunedin is not the first city to object to modifications to its harbour. Melbourne had a similar controversy in the lead-up to the Port Phillip Channel Deepening Project that was scheduled to begin in 2008. Opponents claimed that the impact on sensitive marine habitats in one of the most diverse and valuable areas in Victoria would be catastrophically and possibly irreparably damaged by the process. So what happened? Work on the harbour was completed late last year. The company behind the project declared it a complete success. Certainly, there have been none of the predicted algal blooms and dead zones. But the original opponents point to increased erosion, higher swells, decreased fish populations, and the disappearance of certain rare sea sponges, and say that this should never have happened. It could be years before the full impact can be observed. In Dunedin, it seems very likely that Project New Generation will be going ahead as planned. If its opponents fail to force substantial changes to the project, then the best we can hope for is that Port Otago was right, and our precious harbour is safe.
How your plate affects your planet
here are ever so many reasons to change what you eat, ranging from the laughable to the admirable. We make eating choices for the sake of our weight, our wallet, our health, our image ... or sometimes (and perhaps less often) our beliefs. Animal rights crusaders have campaigned long and hard to convince the masses of the evils of meats, but these days there is another concern changing the tabletop spreads of some homes. Today, more and more people are choosing to base their diets on minimising their environmental impact. Susan Smirk delves into a few ‘green’ diet options, including vegetarianism, veganism, and the vibrant new ‘locavores’ movement.
Vegetarianism The New Zealand Vegetarian Society claims that animal farming is one of the most significant contributors to the planet’s most serious environmental problems. Their website is also full of health, ethical, and even anatomical reasons why the vegetarian lifestyle is the way, but they have a whole extra page dedicated to the environmental contribution of vegetarianism. The World Health Organisation backs them up and says that eating plant foods is both healthier and more efficient than feeding animals to produce meat. The most fashionable criticism of animal farming at the moment is its contribution to climate change. Cows produce nitrous oxide and methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Hence we have the ‘fart tax’ proposal, much controversy, and a field day for political cartoonists. Not surprising, New Zealand’s agricultural sector is our biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, the main cause of deforestation is animal farming. It also causes land degradation, erosion and sedimentation of waterways, and soil/water contamination. Even in New Zealand, water quality has declined in regions of intensive animal farming. Quite logically, biodiversity also tends to decrease as native land is converted into farmland. Then there’s the less chic ‘resource consumption’ question. The ways the numbers stack up, there’s no doubt that the flavour of flesh comes at a cost. It can use up to 1 million litres of water to produce 1kg of meat, but only 1-2 thousand litres to produce 1kg of wheat A plant-based diet requires 10–20 times less land than a meat-based diet.
Meatless Mondays Figures like this make it quite clear why so many people are beginning to see vegetarianism as the perfect way to make a difference to our planet, while enjoying some obvious health benefits. But lets face it, we are not all ready to take the plunge into a life of tofu and lentils. So, lessening our intake of meat is more realistic goal for most of us than simply trying to go ‘cold turkey,’ so to speak. Since it can be hard to adhere to the vague measure of ‘less’, you could try picking one day of the week, and not eating meat on that day, such as the famous ‘Meatless Mondays’. Sure, it’s not quite so exciting as Naked Tuesday, but still a good challenge to take on.
Veganism Vegans – now they are hard-core. Their ‘no animal products’ mantra cuts out not only meat but any food derived from living or dead animals, including milk, eggs, cheese, and many other tricksy common minor ingredients. Daniel Simpson Beck told Critic that he became vegan just one month ago, for both ethical and environmental reasons. “It is no coincidence that veganism is a positive choice both for ethical and environmental reasons. The animals and the environment are both intimately linked to the natural system.” He said that before he became a vegan his diet was ‘terrible.’ But after investigating the ethical arguments for and against veganism, he decided to abandon the takeaway regime and try the high road. 22
If you are planning to try a vegan diet: • Make sure you are getting enough calcium from foods like broccoli and calcium-fortified soy milk. • Take B12 supplements. Also, make sure you get vege-caps as most capsules are made of gelatin, which comes from animal hooves. • Then there is the protein issue. This isn’t really as much of a problem as it seems. It is actually fairly easy to get all your amino acids from a vegan diet. This site explains it well: http://bit.ly/38TCRE
Many of Beck’s friends have become vegans in the last few years, he says, and many more are embracing a locavore diet. He says it is “hard to refute” the evidence for the benefits of such choices. “It should be plain to the conscious human what the right action to take is when presented with the facts. Then you can either choose to act right and make a positive impact on the world or choose the low path and continue the lifestyles that are tearing our natural system to pieces.”
“doing their darnedest to eat delicious local in-season produce” ‘Locavore’ was the 2007 word of the year in the Oxford American Dictionary. It might be a new term to you, but the locavore ethos is gathering a stalwart Dunedin following and a significant local presence. Sian Hannagan, who started the Dunedin Locavores Facebook page, says you can be a locavore without having to make big changes. “You don’t even have to alter your diet in terms of what kind of food groups you are eating.” This is because being a locavore (or ‘localvore’) is not so much about what you eat, as it is about where you food comes from, with a focus on eating locally-grown food. The Dunedin Locavores group is not about a hardcore dietary regime, but instead, simply spreading consciousness about how little lifestyle changes around eating can affect the environment. Hannagan, originally from Nelson, has been in Dunedin about four years, and has “really started to like the place.” She caught the locavore fever after reading a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which is about a family’s attempt to live off the land. Hannagan freely admits that it can be tricky to pick out foods that are healthy, natural, and produced locally. “You have to be really smart, and I guess that’s why I got the locavore group going, to start making people aware of the brands they can buy, so they know that choice is there.” Her main advice is to eat as simply as possible: “the less ingredients an item has, the less food miles and additives it will have. Go for whole foods. And make your own meals rather than getting ready made.” She also suggest you get as close to the growers as possible: “avoid supermarkets if at all possible!... I mean I go to the supermarket, don’t get me wrong, but even if you just quit getting your produce from the supermarket, and get it from the farmers’ market, and local growers.” Hannagan personally laments how difficult it is to obtain locally-grown mushrooms at a reasonable price. Mostly, however, she says a bounty of vegetables is available locally-grown. Getting fruit out of season can be tricky, and she says in this case “sometimes it’s worth considering changing what you eat.” She also compliments the quality of poultry, pork, and beef available locally. Hannagan has never been a vegetarian, because she doesn’t believe it is ethically wrong to eat animals. In fact, she argues convincingly that large monocultures of grain, for example, can be just as ecologically damaging as animal farming. Local, organic, and ethical is the way to go. “For me it’s not saying animal versus vegetable, it’s saying conscious choices rather than unconscious.”
Fair Trade Fair trade, you say, is about poor people, not the planet – so why does it deserve a mention here? It’s because the guidelines that govern the fair trade system (ensuring that six-year olds aren’t wielding machetes to cut down your cocoa beans) also ensure that the producers who grow the products are doing it in a sustainable, eco-friendly way. Since most producers with which not-for-profit companies like Trade Aid work are pretty small-scale, they won’t be using big dirty machines, genetic engineering, copious noxious chemical, or other mass production techniques. In other words, Trade Aid’s food and hand-craft partners have a very low carbon footprint. Trade Aid Dunedin’s Education Coordinator Dave Butler-Peck explains that Trade Aid “has built some amazing relationships with so many fair trade cooperatives around the world, almost all of which use organic production methods, which is a really important part of what Trade Aid does.” 24
GROW-IT-YOURSELF IN DUNEDIN There’s no doubt that growing your own food is a good thing. But with the constant game of musical flats that most students play, it can be tricky to put down roots in any one location. Planting a garden by the sweat of your brow, and then having to abandon it when you move, is not the most productive experience. But growing a few things is still possible. Lots of plants can be grown in pot or planter boxes: lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, and all sorts of herbs, just to name a few. And it’s going to be a lot cheaper than buying the finished product in the supermarket. Sian Hannagan suggests that “having just five lettuce plants would save you whatever you spent on lettuce every week for three months.” Dunedin has a few community gardens, although there is yet to be one specifically for students. The food-growing ethos is, well, growing. They even plant edible crops outside the Railway Station at this time of year, although the council claims that the silverbeet and parsley outside this landmark are simply for the pleasing colour and coverage. The Polytech, too, has started a growing spree, with spring onions, parsley, broccoli chard, and spinach growing around their campus.
The Locavore’s Guide to Consuming with a Conscience Whenever considering what to eat, use the steps below as a guideline! • Grow/farm your own using organic methods. or • Buy locally and ethically grown organic in-season produce. or • Buy New Zealand-grown or farmed food, ethically and organically produced and in-season if possible. or • Buy locally processed or imported seasonal food from small local businesses, Or if none of these are available: • Buy ethically grown or produced products imported from overseas. • Limit rubbish and waste, limit pollutants, limit carbon footprints and support local businesses!
Otago Farmers’ market Every Saturday morning the Railway Station parking lot fills with food, colour, flavour, music, and people. It’s a cornucopia of locally-grown fruit and veg, meats, plants, bread, pastries, jams, cheese nuts, crepes, berries, sweets, and all sorts of other exciting extras (mmm falafal!). Have a chat to the growers themselves, and get the healthiest lot of groceries you could find anywhere. Just remember your re-usable bag ... you’ll want to fill it!
The Otago Central Rail Trail
Difficulty: Medium Distance: 150 km Time: 4-5 days recommended (could do faster or slower, depending on interests/ability) Located in our own backyard, the Otago Central Rail Trail runs for 150km from Middlemarch to Clyde and is not to be missed. Bike touring this trail will give you countless hours to enjoy the beautiful vistas. The Otago Central Rail Trail meanders through seemingly endless countryside, over classic viaducts, and into chilly tunnels. Small towns line the trail, usually with a quaint pub or cafe full of friendly locals. Bike touring the Otago Central Rail Trail is a perfect excuse to spend a few memorable days with a good friend surrounded by the natural beauty of Central Otago. History Originally, the railroad running from Cromwell to Wingatui (near Mosgiel) carried fruit, wool, and meat from Central Otago back to the city. After ripping up the tracks in the 1990s, the resurfaced route now carries cyclists, hikers, and the occasional sheep. The Otago Central Rail Trail Charitable Trust and the Department of Conservation now manage the trail. How difficult is the rail trail? Conveniently for the cyclist, this railway didn’t have steep hills, as this would have been impossible for a steam train to climb. Instead, the Otago Central Rail Trail follows a gently climbing gradient until it reaches the highest elevation about halfway on the route, near Wedderburn, and then gradually descends the rest of the way. With no steep hills, a well-signed route, plenty of places to rest, and the ability to alter daily distances, the rail trail can suit most abilities. When to go You can ride the Otago Central Rail Trail any time of the year. However, temperatures drop in the winter and extremely sunny days occur in the summer. Whenever you decide to ride, make sure you bring the appropriate clothing for the season. And, no matter what weather you might expect, be prepared for unanticipated conditions. What kind of bike do I need and how can I rent one? The best type of bike to have on the route is either a mountain bike or a hybrid bike.
Most people use mountain bikes with front suspension, since the surface of the route is not paved. Usually, the rail trail is a hard packed surface with loose gravel. Bikes can be rented from several companies. Cycle Surgery (67 Stuart Street, Dunedin Central; 03 477 7473) offers bike rentals for $40 a day which includes a rear rack, two panniers (bike saddlebags that attach to each side of the rear rack), bike lock, helmet, flat tire repair kit (including pump, patches, spare tube, and tire levers), and water bottle cage. You must bring your own water bottle. Consider bringing along two bungy cords so that you can strap camping gear and/or groceries onto the top of your rear rack. Cycle Surgery rents their bikes from Dunedin, Middlemarch or Clyde. How much support is there along the route? The route is well supported with toilets (take your own loo paper), information panels, and small shelters for shade. In addition, small towns along the route have varying degrees of food, drink, and accommodation on offer. However, be sure to bring along plenty of food. Do not rely on getting all your food in the towns. You will require more food than usual since you’ll burn a lot of calories cycling. Sandwiches, granola bars, energy drinks, candy, and fruit are good items to have on hand. Also, carry plenty of water with you. Two to three litres of water per person per day is recommended, and fill up at every opportunity (note that not all towns have treated water, so you may have to purchase it). The hot and sunny weather encountered in Central Otago (especially in mid-summer) can dehydrate you quickly! Accommodation options are located on or near the route (campgrounds, hostels, bed and breakfasts, and hotels). It is a good idea to book ahead for accommodation so that when you are ready to stop for the day, you are sure you have a spot. To eliminate accommodation costs, there are a few spots to camp along the trail (in particular, a nice site between Kokonga and Ranfurly). Spend some time trying to plan out your route before you start to aim for these areas. If you are camping along the trail, it’s necessary to be a considerate, responsible camper. Keep in mind that it’s not particularly common to camp along the rail trail since this requires bringing more equipment, etc. However, with a bit of planning it can add to the adventure. Do not plan to light any fires – no fires are allowed.
Expenses Cost will vary depending on the comforts and luxuries you desire while on the Otago Central Rail Trail. However, here are some estimates of the necessary costs, assuming you do the rail trail in five days. Rented bike with panniers: $200 Food: $100 Accommodation: $80-$500/person (designated campsites or hotels) Getting there and away: varies (see below for options) Total: $380 to $800 for a five-day trip (not including getting there or away) Getting there and away There are three main ways to access the Otago Central Rail Trail from Dunedin. Option 1: Take the Taieri Gorge Railway. This is a popular option for getting to and from the trailhead in Middlemarch. If you bring a bike to and/or from Dunedin, bikes are carried for free on the train. Try to book a train that goes all the way into Middlemarch. Otherwise, the train will stop 20km away in Pukerangi. If your schedule doesn’t let you catch a Middlemarch train, you can cycle from Pukerangi to Middlemarch. It’d be a good first day! There are accommodation options in Middlemarch and you could begin the rail trail the next day. Tour operators can shuttle you back to Middlemarch from Clyde to catch the train back to Dunedin (Cycle Surgery charges $45 + $10 bike relocation fee – book in advance). Taking the Taieri Gorge Railway is the most expensive option (about $90 round trip for the train, plus the $55 mentioned above to get both you and your bike back to Middlemarch), but includes the experience of the Taieri Gorge Railway. It is also possible to hop on an Intercity bus in Clyde back to Dunedin (see intercity.co.nz – book in advance). Option 2: Shuttle your cars. Drive to Middlemarch with friends, in two cars. Drop off your gear in Middlemarch first, if necessary. Drive both cars to the end of the trail in Clyde. Leave one car in Clyde. Return to Middlemarch in the other car to start the trail and leave one car in Middlemarch. Once you’ve finished the trail in Clyde, shuttle back to Middlemarch to get your other car. The benefits of this are that the only costs are petrol and the only headache is a bit of car shuttling. Not a bad option if there is a group of you bicycling the trail with two cars between you. Option 3: Bike there and back yourself! This adds 6-7 days, and 280kms (80km from Dunedin to Middlemarch, 200km from Clyde to Dunedin). This is a great option if you are a confident cyclist, are riding on a 28
hybrid or touring bike, and want to extend your bike tour. Instead of starting your bike tour in Middlemarch and ending in Clyde, you can bicycle out to Middlemarch from Dunedin and then return from Clyde on the roads! Give yourself two days to ride out to Middlemarch from Dunedin. Head towards Mosgiel on side roads (the South Bike Route is a marked bike route out of Dunedin that keeps you off the motorway), then head north on 87 towards Outram and Middlemarch. Prepare yourself for one long climb (about 10km) over the hills before descending towards Middlemarch. Leaving Clyde, return to Alexandra either on the rail trail or the road that runs parallel to it. From here, take 8 south towards Roxburgh, Raes Junction, Lawrence and Milton. Enjoy the downhill through Manuka Gorge Scenic Reserve. In Milton, turn northeast onto SH1 heading back towards Dunedin via Waihola and Mosgiel. For a route with less traffic, turn right off of SH1 in Waihola and ride over the hill (another long climb) and descend to Taieri Mouth. Here, turn left (north), returning to Dunedin via a coastal road through Brighton. Make sure to plan your accommodation and food/water accordingly. If you plan on camping along the way, make sure you camp in acceptable areas. If you require accommodation, plan this in advance as there is not much to choose from along the way. Where can I look for more information? The best source of information while planning your bike tour is the Otago Central Rail Trail website (otagocentralrailtrail. co.nz). Another great source is a book available at the iSite office called Otago Central Rail Trail: From Steam Trains to Pedal Power ($15). It’s also helpful to talk to the bike shops in town and others who have done the trail, as this will help you get the right preparation for your journey.
The Otago Peninsula
Difficulty: Medium Distance: 40km Time: 4-5 hours’ riding time (not including time for suggested stops) Want something to do on one of our precious sunny Dunedin days? Hop on a bike and check out a great loop on the Otago Peninsula! The first half of the ride is flat and the second part climbs before descending back to Dunedin.
Suggested Route • Leaving from the Octagon in central Dunedin, head south on Princes Street, and turn left at Jetty Street. Continue on Wharf Street, which changes names to Portsmouth Drive. • Notice the large relief map on your left. It’s worth checking out. Also there is a tourist information sign here with some interesting information. • Continue straight/merge left onto Portobello Road to cross the bridge onto the Otago Peninsula. Stop for a picture under the brown Otago Peninsula sign that spans the bike lane. • Continue for about 6km until the Glenfalloch Woodland Garden on your right. A nice place to wander and have a snack. ($5 admission) • Continue for 10km to Portobello. Grab a snack or cup of coffee at the café in town. • After your snack, take Highcliff Road out of Portobello. Stay on Highcliff for about 10km. • Here, look to your left up the hill for Soldiers Memorial. There is a marked footpath that climbs about 500m up to the memorial and has great views of the harbour. • Continue on Highcliff Road for 4km, going downhill. • Turn right at Silverton Street and a slight left at Musselburgh Rise. Continue on Musselburgh Rise for 1.5km. • The road changes into Andersons Bay Road. Turn left onto Macandrew Road. Take the second right onto King Edward Street. Follow this around the Oval as it changes names into Princes Street. Follow Princes Street back to the Octagon. Additional Options The peninsula has heaps of neat spots to check out. If you want to make a longer day out of it, consider hiking down to Sandfly Bay or Boulder Beach. Also, this route goes near Larnach Castle ($25 admission to castle, gardens, and grounds), which can be accessed by taking Camp Road off of Highcliff. In Portobello, you could visit the Marine Studies Centre, which is 2km down Hatchery Road ($12 admission). This road is not paved, so if you’re on a road bike, leave your bike in Portobello and walk to the Marine Studies Center. Be careful! Peninsula roads are winding and narrow. Ride single file if you are part of a group of riders. Wear high visibility clothing so cars can see you easier. Bring extra clothing (layers, rain jacket, gloves, etc.) as Map courtesy Mountain Biking Otago
the weather can change unexpectedly. Also, if you are out on the peninsula after dark, be sure to have lights on your bike to get you back to Dunedin safely! Renting a Bike. Cycle Surgery (67 Stuart Street, Dunedin Central; 03 477 7473) rents road and mountain bikes for $35/day, which includes a lock, helmet, and flat tire repair kit (pump, patch kit, spare tube and tire levers). If you are planning a whole day adventure, $5 more will add panniers and a rear rack to your bike which can be nice for food, a picnic blanket, extra clothing, etc.
Downhill Mountain Biking:
Signal Hill, Dunedin Difficulty: Difficult Distance: about 2km (not including the ride there) Time: How fast can you ride?
This track was used earlier this year in the Oceania Mountain Biking Championships, so it should provide plenty of challenging terrain: rocks, roots, jumps, switch backs, single track, four wheel drive road, and a boulder field! See the map for details of the downhill route. Get there From the Octagon in central Dunedin, go north on George Street 2.5km. Turn right on Bank Street, which changes names to Opoho Road. After 1km, turn left onto Signal Hill Road. Stay on Signal Hill Road for about 3km. Remember, you must go up to go down, so be prepared for a slow uphill ride. Renting a Bike. Cycle Surgery (67 Stuart Street, Dunedin Central; 03 477 7473) rents mountain bikes for $35/day, which includes a lock, helmet, and flat tire repair kit (pump, patch kit, spare tube and tire levers). Other options and more info. The Signal Hill area has mountain biking trails for all abilities. For other mountain biking options in Dunedin, visit mountainbikingotago.co.nz. Jennifer Turek grew up in the small town of Athens, Ohio, USA. After completing an undergraduate degree at Boston University, Jenn was eager to see the world and has shared her experiences through travel writing in both newspapers and magazines for the past four years. Currently, she lives in Dunedin, New Zealand, attending the University of Otago for her Master’s degree. She continues to pursue travel writing and is working on her first children’s book. 29
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To govern, in the simplest of terms, is to direct and control the masses. For centuries people have appreciated the fairness of majority rule. In a democracy you have a say in who you are governed by, which should theoretically mean that policies are implemented which bring about the greatest good to the greatest number. But what good is your vote if you know nothing? Do you know, for example, if your Prime Minister is doing a good job? Do you really have any idea? It’s a huge opportunity, and a privilege, and it pays well. The competition should be fierce and John Key should be striving to impress us, constantly informing us of the developments he has contributed to our society, and his ideas for the future; but when’s the last time you even heard from him? Considering the responsibility he possesses, the thousands of your dollars you let him allocate, the fact that he controls the laws and regulations you live by (at least you do if you don’t want him to lock you up), he doesn’t tell you much about the day-to-day goings-on of his office ... Why not? Is he that bad at his job? Or does he just not want us to know what’s going on? (Trust me, it’s not the incompetence option.) A term in government is three years, a long time, and there are hundreds of issues he has to consider over that time. What are they? What’s the last bill he passed? Wouldn’t you like to know his train of thought on every issue, every upcoming problem, every justification that goes through his head, or at least have the opportunity to find out without having to listen to the mind-numbingly boring parliamentary radio? Why do we only get the opportunity to hear the leaders of the various parties in a well-controlled debate once or twice every three years? Why aren’t they meeting every week, okay fine you have to start somewhere, every month or two months … or three. I thought a lot of parties have opposing views don’t they? Then why aren’t they demanding that they debate the issues over the television and try to get their opposing point across to the public? Maybe they’d say that they’re too busy? Well I’m sure we’ll be able to find someone to be straight up with us considering the salary we’re offering. Just because you have to pay tax no matter what party is in power, doesn’t mean they aren’t spending it on very different things. Where is the accountability, where is the receipt at the end of the news? The page or two on the tax they received, the tax they have accumulated overall, and the tax money they have spent each week. I don’t mean down to the last cent, but it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars a week spent, how about a bit of a summary? It’s your money they’re spending … let’s see if it matches up. If addressed I can imagine John Key shifting his eyes left and right and mentioning something about the cost of broadcasting and accountants … The cost!? It’s our money you’d be spending, let us worry about the cost, on the top of that page at the end of the news isn’t going to be the cost of informing us, and getting the airtime each week, it’d probably be something you’d never agree with if you had any idea. Imagine what monthly broadcasted debate could do for the country. I don’t mean the nonregulated ranting matches you see most of the time either. No, I mean interviews run by competent non-biased reporters that stop the politicians mid-sentence if they’re avoiding and running circles around the question asked. Reporters that don’t stand for schoolyard yelling-over-the-top-of-eachother marathons. Just imagine every voter being neutrally informed. Not being swayed this way and that by photo ops and billboards come election time. The country might actually improve, equality might come a step closer, who knows, maybe people would actually start to pay attention.
limate change denial: it’s as frustrating, intellectually twisted, and unfalsifiable as creationism, but way more dangerous. Climate change doubt: it’s just lazy. New Zealand research company UMR released one fucked up report this year on public opinion of climate change. They begin by stating that “polls around the world are showing both falling belief that climate change is happening and that it is largely the result of human activity.” They go on to show that in New Zealand public belief in human-induced climate change has slipped from 71 percent in 2004 to 52 percent in January of this year. Their worst finding, though, is that “predictably, given media coverage, only 18% believe that most scientists agree about climate change and 78% that there is a lot of disagreement.” Apart from poor leadership and useless media, this is because Joe Public is a sucker. US Republican spin doctor Frank Luntz knows this. This genius is so adept at spin and bullshit that he could whizz some up in a fairy floss machine and sell it to kids for $5 a pop. Ever wonder what happened to ‘global warming’? Luntz happened. He advised the Bush administration (correctly) that people hold catastrophic associations with ‘global warming’ but that ‘climate change’ sounds much more natural and benign. He’s not a denier. Nevertheless, political expediency always wins the day: “should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.” For the sake of sanity I’m going to assume everybody attending university is educated enough to know that climate change is happening, that its primary cause is human activity, and that there is a massive scientific consensus on this. We’ve known this for years now. However, scientists are failing to get it through to the masses. The IPCC’s latest report, based on the work of thousands of reviewers and authors, made statements on the likelihood of their conclusions. Unfortunately when they assert things like “climate change is ‘very likely’ to have a human cause,” it isn’t very compelling to the layman. ‘Very likely’ in the technical sense actually means there is over 90 percent certainty. ‘Virtual certainty’ means there is a 99 percent probability of an outcome. You don’t get ‘absolute certainty’ because then you wouldn’t be doing science; you would be doing pseudo-science (just like climate-change-denying hacks). It’s easy to feel sorry for scientists. One said it’s “like a marine in battle against a cub scout when it comes to the scientists defending themselves … We’re not PR experts like they are, we’re not lawyers and lobbyists like they are. We’re scientists, trained to do science.” They bear a strange burden. “Climate scientists have, en masse, become Cassandras – gifted with the ability to prophesy future disasters, but cursed with the inability to get anyone to believe them.” Sound like a bunch of masochists to me. Poor bastards.
ichael Laws leapt in to control the possible story over his apparently scandalous relationship and resulting text messages. His claims of there being political motivation behind the story seem a little odd, though. As Laws is not running for Mayor of Whanganui again, the only person with political motivation I can see is from Laws himself. Seeking to gain maximum exposure, and possibly gain some sympathy, Laws may have reached the point of no return in the belief no publicity is bad publicity. While both Laws and New Zealand First have denied any kind of future alliance, a Michael Laws-Winston Peters comeback is still anticipated and secretly hoped for by many. National politics has been sadly lacking since the last election. Whatever your views on his politics, and on any possible impropriety, no debate is complete without Peters having his say. It is hardly surprising the media went chasing him up whenever issues around superannuation were raised, and no one has taken over his position as outraged spokesperson for the elderly patriot. He knows how to get his opinion heard, and how to get just the right balance of controversy. This is something that he shares with Laws, whose columns and radio spot have been used to fuel controversial debates. His ability to get Whanganui in the news has been phenomenal as well; what other council chamber is home to news cameras as often? Laws has honed his ability to dig down to the slightly rednecked subconscious of many voters, and has done a better job at it than even David Garrett. So, many see a union with Peters as almost inevitable, and as each has a slightly different target base, the ability to pander to as many stereotypes as possible could see New Zealand First gain more support than under Peters alone. The coming election will be an opportunity for the minor parties, as disgruntled National supporters from the centre and the extreme right abandon the party for either doing too much or not enough and without a strong Labour alternative, they have everything to gain. John Key has even refused to rule out working with Peters after the election, suggesting the astute gambler considers he may have a serious chance at gaining either a seat or enough votes to make it back into Parliament. If they pick up the votes of grey power, the xenophobes and those who see their vote as the chance to make a joke now that the Bill and Ben Party has de-registered, New Zealand First could hold the balance of power once more. Such a party, with two egotistical, larger-than-life men trying to lead it, could make a much more unstable, if much more entertaining, Parliament.
Paul: As the most influential economist of the modern era, Milton Friedman points out government intervention usually harms the very people it’s designed to help. This situation is no different. Mandatory carbon labelling will delay the world’s response to climate change. Why is that? Let’s assume carbon labelling does actually make consumers buy more environmentallyfriendly products – a dubious assumption, but one the affirmatives case relies on to succeed. This will result in a decrease in sales in products from poorer nations. Why? Firms in developing countries do not have access to the technology and information that would enable them to reduce their carbon footprint. Products from rich nations will be able to market themselves as more environmentally friendly, and thus have a comparative advantage. Why is this a bad thing? Cooperation from all nations is necessary for action to reduce global emissions. Developing countries already resent having to make sacrifices. After all they didn’t cause the problem, so feel no obligation to bear any costs. That’s why the hyped Copenhagen negotiations failed. This policy only creates further harms for developing countries: fewer sales of their goods means fewer jobs and people continuing to live in destitute poverty. Given they will (correctly) see this harm as stemming from an initiative from the rich world, this further reduces their incentive to commit to global agreements. Global agreements are paramount given no individual nation will ever make the necessary sacrifices alone. Why? Because if they do, their economy will be at a relative disadvantage. Mechanisms such as emissions trading schemes necessarily make that country’s products more expensive. You only need look at the carnage on both sides of the political spectrum in Australia to see why even rich nations will never do enough by themselves. So if we want to tackle climate change, don’t cause any more suffering for already poor nations. Allow their goods to access all markets. That way their economies can develop to allow them to afford the technology which will reduce their emissions in the long run. But more importantly we need to avoid pissing them off, so we can finally get a decent global agreement.
Shoul d We I mp Label ling S lement a Ma cheme ndato r for al l Com y Carbon moditi es?
Hana: We have access to good information around how carbon emissions are shaping the global environment so it seems bizarre that we don’t encourage this information to be distributed as widely as possible. Let’s assume there are two types of producers” those who want to label their goods as they are relatively ‘carbon friendly’ and those who don’t (‘carbon meanies’). The friendlies are often barred from labelling their goods for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if you’re the only carbon-labelled product, there is the risk that consumers will see the label and be put off by a large-looking carbon footprint (remember they have nothing else to compare it to), and secondly, that people will view the brand as ‘some lefty hippy thing’ and steer clear altogether. This means there is less information available for consumers who do want to take carbon into account when making decisions. Now I realise that the environment is not first on everybody’s shopping considerations list and so green labelling won’t change consumer behaviour overnight. But, most decision making occurs in the margins. Consumers balance up competing interests, (cost, flavour, size, convenience, etc) all the time, and by ensuring carbon labelling we’re giving consumers another part of the equation: information about the true (environmental) cost of the product they are buying. If the choice is close between two brands of cereal and consumers are now aware that one kills less rainforest this will have some impact on decision-making. We should also know the full cost of what we’re buying. Production costs are passed on to us at the till but we have no way to access the price the planet is paying for our shopping trolley. While the overriding incentive of price will ensure that products stay cheap and low earners won’t be priced out of the basic commodities market. ‘Carbon meany’ producers now have an incentive to make their production greener. So compulsory labelling brings us: more information for consumers, greater understanding of how we interact with our environment and a dollarsbased incentive for producers to ‘green up their act’.
Debatable is a column written by the Otago University Debating Society. They meet every Tuesday at 7pm in Commerce 2.20. 37
An ima l Upr is in g
nimals: we all love ’em, but in many ways humanity has been quite rough on our furry little friends throughout the ages. Sure, we like to pet them and hug them, but we also like to eat them, wear them, ride them, test makeup on them, and occasionally shoot them into space. In short, the animal kingdom is kind of our bitch: the Colmes to our Hannity; the Rob Schneider to our Adam Sandler. But what if one day the animals were to reverse this great injustice and try to take the place of humans as the dominant species on the planet? Our popular culture has already given us terrifying glimpses of animals acting as if they were people: Mister Ed, the talking horse; those chimpanzees in the PG Tips ads; Rambo III. But could animals ever really rise up and take our place? Most would agree that our greatest threat comes from our fellow primates, or what scientists refer to as the ‘monkey family’. Monkeys are generally quite smart, have the ever-so-useful opposable thumb and can even perform primitive tasks, such as fashioning rudimentary tools or writing an article for the ODT. Perhaps it’s not so hard to imagine that, with a little effort and determination, they could develop sufficient tools to overthrow humanity, just like in Planet of the Apes. (Ummm … retroactive spoiler warning?) Of course, primates aren’t the only animals we need to worry about. Let’s not forget our so-called ‘pals’ the dolphins, who are also extremely intelligent and just begging for an excuse to come and show humanity who’s the boss, Tony Danza-style. Shit, they can even breathe air – all they have to do is figure out some way of walking on land (which can’t be that hard) and we’re toast. I also hear they’re good pals with the whales, which is not good news … Now cast your mind to even more terrifying, yet equally plausible, scenarios: wildebeest evolving ten extra legs and trampling us all into oblivion! Twenty-foot-tall ants sending us to toil in their underground sugar caves! Badgers badgering us to within an inch of our lives! Octopi using their tentacles to suck the eyeballs out of our very heads! No one would be spared! And yet, in a way, we would deserve it, as payback for all the terrible things we have done to them. So, perhaps it is time we started treating the animal kingdom with a little more respect. Maybe cut back on those mink scarves you love so much. Try ordering a double Quarter Pounder instead of a triple. Hug a horse. Maybe if we learn to love our animal friends then they will be able to resist the urge to evolve into hyper-intelligent super-animals and kill us all. So, readers, I urge you all to heed these words of warning, lest you wish to be kicked to death by some kind of intelligent mule.
A ski bum
recently had the privilege of spending the weekend skiing in Queenstown and I was shocked to discover that Queenstown ski fields are more stereotype-filled than a North Shore high school. So this week, Matthew, I’m going to be a ski bum. There are four common strains of ski bum; I’m going to describe them all and you can decide which one you want to be. For starters we have the ‘old school’ or ‘retro’ ski bum. Characterised by their neon one-piece ski suits and their ‘straight skis’, these guys can be one of two things. They can be a grizzled old skiing veteran who’s been on the mountain since before you were born, or a farmer from Gore who’s on his annual holiday. So if he looks like Santa Claus, he’s probably a veteran; whereas if he’s wearing rugby socks and smells like a sheep’s vagina, he’s the farmer. Next we have the racer. These guys are essentially a ball of pretentiousness wrapped up in a racing suit. They think that the mountain was created solely for their purposes and they ski faster than anyone else. If you want to be one of these guys, ski as fast as possible and make sure to wear extremely tight ski gear. They argue it’s for streamlining, but I’m convinced that they’re just having a ‘who can look like the biggest douche’ competition. The most common stereotype you’re likely to see on the mountain is that of the tourist. Their skiing style generally resembles an infant that’s just filled their diaper. They come to the fields with fistfuls of cash and clad in clothing that has so much kiwiana on it you’d think it was raped by a gumboot. These guys are great fun; not only do they scream when you ski past them at high speed, you can tell them myths about New Zealand. Such as: “No seriously dude, Kiwi are just Moa that haven’t grown up yet.” Finally we have the freestyle skier. These guys are the cool kids of the mountain. If you see someone wearing a t-shirt that comes down to their knees, ridiculously baggy pants, and skiing on twin-tipped skis, you’re looking at a freestyler. It’s not easy being this cool, but if you want to try, make sure to showboat whenever possible, and then act like it’s no big thing. Pull a back flip in front of learners and act like it’s as simple as tying your shoe laces. Freestylers also modulate their vocabulary. Use words like ‘dope’ and ‘sick’ instead of ‘cool’ and ‘good’, and use the phrase ‘pow pow’ instead of ‘powder snow’. Finally, I do realise that a lot of this may not make that much sense to you poor souls stuck in Dunedin, but for the sake of your education, I’d advise you to head to the slopes and check it out for yourself. After all, the pow pow is dope this time of year.
here has always been talk that American sports are overhyped and too glitzy. Sports such as rugby and cricket are the sports of gentlemen and true sports fans love the sport for what it is, not for the cheerleaders at halftime. It is easy for the bright lights of American sports to blind the actual competition, but that doesn’t mean the athleticism on show is not world-class. The NBA has to be one of the greatest sporting spectacles on the planet, due to both the great entertainment and athleticism of basketball and the players. It is the epitome of modern day sport; you will never feel you have left a basketball game disappointed by not seeing enough goals. You might, in fact, feel you saw too many, such is the way the game is played. The NBA has also produced the biggest sporting stars in the world, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and of course Michael Jordan, who could not only make a jump shot to win a game in the dying seconds of a game, but he also probably makes more money a second than the whole of our fair little nation. The other two American sports seem a little harder for many to swallow. American Football may have big hits but it also takes a bullshit long time and it doesn’t have anywhere near the global reach of basketball. There’s not a lot to say about baseball except that it’s like cricket except they cut out all the interesting stuff and just try and hit the ball out of the stadium. What also turns away a lot of people is the way the teams seem to run like businesses: if your team doesn’t get much support or the owner runs out of money and sells the franchise, the whole team can be changed to a different city and a new set of fans. I’m not so sure Adam Smith thought about professional sports teams when he imagined the free market at work, but what the hell it’s all about the benjamins – or rutherfords, depending on what currency you deal in. With all the talk about how American sport is trash compared to our sports, the number one complaint that you will get from talkback callers is the ‘Americanising’ of our beloved sports, whether it’s the New Zealand cricket team being named the Black Caps or the introduction of new uniforms every year. The thing is, we probably should get used to it. It’s the way of the future. You can blame Generation X, Y, or Z but really it’s nobody’s fault except our own and our insatiable appetite for top quality entertainment – that and Dan Carter in his penis huggers. For all our whining about American sports, they really don’t give a thought to the sports we partake in. Most Americans still think the All Blacks are the ones who voted for Barack Obama, and that cricket is that lovely Mexican immigrant who mows their lawn for two bucks an hour.
Ways To Hide Porn On Your Computer This goes out to Shane Jones, whom the media dubbed the “Minister of Porn.” I’m totally on his side. He was just having a bit of man time and besides, ‘choking the weasel’ never harmed anyone! Unfortunately he just needs a few tips on how to hide his porn like a gentleman. 5. Use a Different Internet Browser: This surprisingly effective strategy was perfected by my flat-mate last year. In an encounter with his girlfriend, she said to me, “I tried going on his computer to see if he was looking up porn and didn’t find anything!” Finding this very odd, I queried him that afternoon and with a massive grin on his face he said, “She didn’t find anything because all my porn is on Internet Explorer!” Good on ya mate. 4. Have a Porn Folder: Simple yet effective, this is generally the easiest way to hide your vast amounts of Russian lesbian porn. The trouble is, it’s all also the easiest to bust. You probably think you’ve got a clever name for your porn folder so that no one will ever find it. Well I have news for you – naming it “Timaru livestock prices” isn’t fooling anyone! In fact, you look kinda creepy. Maybe you use a more subtle name, like “Pictures from Fiji.” The trouble with that is if someone genuinely wants to see those ‘photos’ they will be in for a horrible surprise. “Oh God, Sam! What is that girl doing with that gerbil?!?”
Play spot the odd headline out!
3. Imagination: The most secure place to store your porn is
the several inches of space between your skull – a.k.a. your Wank Bank. No girlfriend, suspicious flatmate, or alien ass probe is going to get in there. Best of all, no one will be aware of your expertise in Brazilian Fart Porn. Yes, I know about your tendencies, you sick fuck!
Brilliant! The horse’s name is Kidunot! That’s great.
2. Someone Else’s Computer: Some might call this weird.
I call it risk mitigation. Why have all your porn stored on your computer, when you can just store it on someone else’s? Best part is, if they get caught with your porn, you can say “Fuck, I didn’t know you were into fatty porn ... who’s into that shit?” Then spread the rumour that they like fatty porn so when the person finally realises it’s you, it’s easy to defend against. 1. Polyamory: Known to everyone else as ‘multiple fuck buddies’, this technique cancels out the very need for porn in the first place. Some of you must be thinking “Oh, but I don’t do that, I have standards.” Well let me point you to Overheard@ Otago and just look at the amount of sexual shenanigans on that. Everyone does it! Think of it this way – what have you got to lose? If all goes wrong, at least you’ll have made several deposits into your Wank Bank.
On a roll!
Thank. God. 40
Dear [insert MP here], University of Otago is full of intelligent, enthusiastic (not always) young people who are working incredibly hard to get a tertiary education and put back in to NZ society. In two days on our campus we asked students to tell us what they were working towards, how much they have borrwoed to date and how many years it will take to pay off and the results were astounding. There are some HUGE debts owed by students who are going to be our future doctors, lawyers, CEOs, teachers and many more. Looking at the amount of time required to pay back a student loan, it is no wonder they are leaving the country so quickly. On behalf of the students at the University of Otago I urge you to consider the impacts of changes to the Tertiary Sector on the young (and not so young) people of our nation, in particular reductions in funding to Universities and the potential of adding interest to student loans. Please find attached some images of our recent installation for OUSA Art Week. Yours Sincerely,
Kia ora whanau, E ai ki te korero kua mutu tenei wahanga o te tau, kaore i roa kua mutu te tau, a, kua hoki matou ki te kainga, kit e matou whanau mo te hararei, tera pea te mahi mo te tau kei te heke mai. Engari ko te wawata me mutu pai ai tenei tau. Kia kaha ra whanau. So, apparently it’s the end of this quarter of the year; soon it’ll be all over and we’ll be home with our families on holiday, or maybe working to fund our 2011 antics. However, all we want is to end the year on a high. Keep it up whanau. Nga Panui: Te Wiki O Te Ture Maori/Maori Law Week was a great success last week. Te Roopu Whai Putake thanks everyone who helped out and participated with Te Wiki O Te Ture Maori. Te Rito would like to thank tauira who voted in the 2011 elections and congratulate the successful candidates. Tau ke! So, I sit in the library contemplating what to write, and look around at all the lights that are on and the amount of power switches that are switched on but not being used. I venture outside and look around at the buildings as I walk home, and see so many computer screens glaring their shades of blue or photos of families, lights lazily left on, and I wonder: do people have a concept of how much electricity they’re wasting? Not only that, do they understand the impact their wastage is having on our environment? Now, I’m no electricity/power station/power company/ environmental expert but reports show that households are wasting $129 million a year, so imagine how much we waste as a university. The majority of New Zealand electricity is supplied by hydro dams and wind farms and are therefore dependant on environmental factors such as rivers and, funnily enough, wind. In 2003 and 2005 we had power shortages due to drought, which resulted in the ultimate ‘save power’ campaign. But why do we need to wait for a crisis to do anything about it? Sure, the electricity demands of New Zealand are going to keep rising, but could it be that they’re only rising to accommodate power wastage that can easily be prevented if we stopped being lazy? If we turned off our computers, switched off the lights, turned off appliances at the wall, and installed this way of living in our pepi and our rangatahi, we may prevent a repeat of the crisis and learn to be kind to our environment. Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
Letter of the Week wins a $30 book voucher SCARFIE BRO.
I rarely shave and I wear my trackpants and Jandals to Uni in the middle of winter. I really love it here. I have met so many great broskis at Castle Street parties. Otago is the most friendly place for dudes who enjoy a bit of dubstep, longboarding and man on man action. After a long day of repeating BSNS205, I just want to go to Pint night and down some beers with my GC’s before kissing a scarfie bro and rubbing my facial hair against them to melt the stress away. I love Dunedin FASHION ADVICE.
My dear tie dyed Zara Finally, a girl who doesn’t equate my wearing of pastels and brights as being gay. A girl who isn’t afraid of colour; cheerful and outgoing. I’ll bet you can take a compliment on it without feeling like a victim too. So.... Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes. Shall we make it for the fall? Surrounded in the glorious colour of autumnal hues? Or a prismatic statement in contrast to virgin snowfall? Oh my. I’ve got to call my mother. Chromatically yours -Ham P.S. We’ve got to find a talisman to keep the monochromes away or that can remove the collective stick from the majority. TOUGH QUESTIONS.
Dear Debatable, I know you’re a debating society and all, but do you think could could debate some things that are a little less hardcore every now and then? Perhaps something like “who would win in a crump battle between T-Pain and Lil John?” or maybe even “does the female ‘G-spot’ exist?” (of course that one is slightly one sided). Or how about “would you rather be able to fly or go invisible?” The options are endless! Yours excitedly, Avid Debater 44
News from the forth dimension Sometimes I wonder who to sue for lost earnings and damages. Is it to the exuberant, ‘Get over it’ Advertising campaigns? Edinburgh Realty’s consistent neglect of properties in its ‘care’. Is it the crucibles of team culture for their massive bully production that maintained my constant harassment by herds of errant youngsters fed daily on delusions, presumptions, wish fulfillment stories its all riot here until I came old enough to get off the list of ‘fair game’?’ The years engaged in trench warfare. Short term tenure removed the worst of it and tuesday night I stood with wonder in the street with nary a sound but the wind whistle and tinnitus in part from the constant pounding of the bass years. No drunks kicked their way past or with the letterbox. Had I at last traversed the rings of hell?The injury mainly financial as all parties but the remnants of adulthood waited to destroy my land and turn it into revenue. The feeling persists the Campus Watch portfolio is too narrow. The concept of ‘residential caretaker’ needs examination by the new executive for negotiations with the forthcoming council. I have a physical disability that prevents application for public office. Everything hurts if I sit in a chair very long, so I am simply the meme provider. The Residential Caretaker includes ‘clean and tidy’ in the job prescription. That a residential caretaker is a sitting duck of anger frustration and tender year boredom, as a measure of the street zeitgeist, bearing in mind a happy ego soaks up surrounding contentment and a relaxed paradigm or behavioral model provide real life alternative to the mirages of Gen Digital; and its progeny. Seagulls passed over and fled back to the sea. Sue Heap
a complaint, it was more formal recognition than anything else. I believe that this battle, as it were, needs to be fought politically, not legalistically. So, while I was -thrilledto see myself in that political cartoon, -love- the work on the beard, by the way, it wasn’t -technically- accurate. Secondly, Harriet. Look, even though she may keep on saying that she isn’t trying to cut down representation, we have to realize that the people being affected by this, the minority groups don’t care what her motives are. They see that by placing their only representation in appointed committees which simply do not have the power of an actual exec member, that their representation will be diminished. Whatever policy the executive bring out around the changes will not prevent an executive from having the power to completely ignore them. Lastly. To be relevent, OUSA needs to be politicial. The way to do that isn’t through jumping on exec positions, or trying to change the structure, its about getting involved and demanding that the exec throw its weight behind campaigns such as Thursdays in Black. James Gluck International Socialists. ELECTIONS.
Dear Critic, I am appalled by the people who are running for OUSA this year. In the face of Voluntary Student Membership your members have acted like silly little children. It is almost as if they have gone out of their way to be the poster girls for why VSM is not such a bad idea. The petty infighting, the slurs, the attack on a candidate who wants to represent the third of students who don’t study at Dunedin campus, it is simply pathetic. Regards, Danny Mucus
Long time, no write, Critic. Well, for me, at any rate. First off, I’d like to clarify a couple things. First off, I haven’t been one of the people trying to defeat the referendum through legalistic means, and while I put in
Dear Critic, Those elections were stoopid. From A student
Apply for an OUSA Grant. OUSA helps Clubs and students by providing grants. Round 5 closes 4pm Thurs 26 August 2010. Check out ousa.org.nz/home/deals/ grants/.
Dear Critic: The elections this week made some students blood run red but it seemed to be mainly about the candidates discrediting the current system and not trying anything new. It seemed like a kindergarten play of what our actual government is like, which worries me. Also the bloody fresher flat hunters are out in force, someone needs to tell them to get a bloody flat list and not to just knock on peoples doors because the flat looks nice! Come on! Perhaps we could bring back the egg throwing just for those incidences? Otherwise, good week I thought. – passed out in a tree
any where in the world regardless of race, colour, religion, cultures or country. I am interested especially in keeping a reliable and long-lasting relationship with someone that is sincere, reliable, trust-worthy and open-minded, with whom to share opinions, views, advice, secrets and cultures without any special selfish interest. Please can you reply and tell me if we can be good friends pls if you really like to be frriend with me you will do me a favour by telling me precisely the country you come from and a little of you. i wait to hear from you soon. Best Regard, Miss.justina
DUNEDIN FILM SOCIETY SCREENING
Emir August 11 – Life Is A Miracle – phed, Kusturica’s brilliantly choreogra of reak outb the of vision absurdist r the Bosnian War in 1992. Half-yea student memberships now available ($30 for freeadmission to all nine ite for remaining films). See their webs further information: dunedinfilmsociety.tripod.com
WE’RE PRETTY SURE THEY’RE JOKING.
Dear Critic, I am so pleased at the generosity of students these days. With the mid-semester exam season coming up and everyone having assignments due, it warms my heart to see people leaving their expensive electronics scattered around the library for other students to use. And they don’t even limit access to their laptops just to people who need to study, either – why, some kind souls even leave their Facebook open for their poor, computer-less compatriots to get in a bit of identity theft before lunch. Speaking of which, the occasional philanthropist will be so kind-hearted as to leave some nibbles in their backback or handbag, so if you see one lying around, it’s always worth a rummage. Like dumpster-diving, but (slightly) less messy! Hugs and kisses, Opportunist @ Otago THIS IS DEFINITELY A LETTER.
dearest, Hope that all is well with you today. I deem it fit to contact you based on your profile’s recommendation which I saw in the internet today and became interested to contact you for us to become good friends, Actually; My name is Miss justina ; I’m not married and I’m in search of a friend from
UNIQ PRESENTS COFFEEQ CoffeeQ is a weekly coffee meeting for queer and queer-frie ndly students. Join us every Wednesday from 4-6pm in the Otago Room at Clubs & Socs. Hang out with old and new friends, and enjoy some tea, coffee or hot chocolate goodness. Best of all, it’s free! For more details on CoffeeQ or other queer events round campus, email email@example.com.
Free Film Tuesday presents Food, Inc, an unflattering look inside America’s corporate-controlled food industry. Screening on Tuesday 24 August, Evison Lounge, Clubs & Socs, at 8.30pm. Free entry. Brought to you by Students Environmental Action. You’ll never look at dinner the same way again!
LETTERS POLICY Letters should be 200 words or less. The deadline is Tuesday at 5pm. Get them to us by putting them in the mailbox under the Union stairs, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or posting them to us at PO Box 1436, Dunedin. All letters must include full contact details (name, street address and phone number), even if you don’t want these details printed. Letters of a serious nature addressing a specific group or individual will not be published under a pseudonym, except in extraordinary circumstances as negotiated with the Editor. Critic reserves the right to edit, abridge, or decline letters without explanation. We don’t fix the spelling or grammar in letters. If the letter writer looks stupid, it’s because they are.
OUSA EVENTS REVIEW
To evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of OUSA’s Events Unit. Terms of reference available at: ousa.org.nz/ events-and-recreation/get-involved/ousa-reviews/ Further information from: email@example.com Submissions: to the Secretary OUSA, P.O. Box 1436 Dunedin, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org by 4pm Thursday September 9th 2010, marked “Confidential: OUSA Events Review.” To make an oral submission to the Review Panel please include this in your written submission. 45
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Beloved: Works from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Publisher: Dunedin Public Art Gallery
ell, OUSA Art Week might be over, but the Dunedin Public Art Gallery is open all year round, and has been for just over 125 years. Beloved: Works from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery was published last year as a part of its 125th anniversary celebrations. The first thing to be said about Beloved is that it is a beautiful book, and not just because it contains lots of images of beautiful art pieces. The book – which deserves a place on the coffee table, not just the bookshelf, by the way – is elegantly laid out: I enjoyed everything from the placement of the images and text to the choice of fonts. Flipping through the book for this review was something of an aesthetic pleasure, and I certainly look forward to doing it again. Beloved begins with an informative historical introduction to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and carries on by proudly displaying and discussing over 200 favourites from the gallery’s permanent collection. The pieces – paintings, photographs, sculptures, antique furniture, and installations – are arranged chronologically, in six periods. I say ‘periods’, but the publishers (refreshingly) have chosen not to name them thus. So, the 1300-1700 section contains mostly religious art and iconography, beginning with the gallery’s oldest painting: Jacopo del Casentino’s Two Wings from a Triptych (ca. 1340-1350) consists of two parts of a three-piece portable altar. These two surviving ‘wings’ show St. George slaying a dragon, Christ crucified, and St. Francis receiving stigmata (from an angel in the sky, which looks like it’s shooting laser beams at St. Francis. Very cool.). I was also really struck by the woodcuts and engravings on paper, especially Titan and Britto’s St. Jerome in the Wilderness and Dürer’s Assumption of the Virgin. I’ve seen these pieces at the gallery, but they’re helpfully printed here in greater clarity. The other sections are more diverse, and I found myself drawn to the non-painting pieces in the book, which tends not to be the case when I’m actually at the gallery. There is, for example, this delicate silk waistcoat in the 1700-1800 section which I’d love to try on “under a longer unbuttoned cut-away frock coat with kneelength breeches,” as prescribed, and these great little carved nineteenth-century netsuke of crabs sitting on monkeys and wolves standing on decapitated human heads. Awesome. All right, I won’t go on listing stuff in the book. I think Beloved is well worth the purchase price: it’s designed, written, and produced very well, and actually complements actual excursions to the gallery. I do urge you to visit the Dunedin Public Art Gallery from time to time; they have special exhibitions periodically, but as Beloved testifies, its permanent collection is splendid too.
REFLECTION Walking in a harmonic progression across the University, one could only become invested in the diverse range of creativity on offer for us, the student body, to absorb and enjoy. Art became a prominent feature within campus life last week, with various locations being infiltrated with new, old, and revised ideas. Many of the components of Art Week were intriguing to the typical student. However many pieces only momentarily engage the student. The more successful works were those that allowed the student to not only individually absorb the work as whole, but also have some input into what they have experienced. The strongest of these pieces were; Aroha Novak’s stunning C.R.E.A.M, We Are Optimistic’s highly engaging Patriarchy free zone: Imagination station, Ted Whitaker’s rather amusing livestock, the diverse range of works on offer in the exhibition space, and activities such as badge making. These pieces directly involved the student population, encouraging their creativity, stimulating responses, challenging ideas, and bringing about engrossing discussions about the society we live in. Notably they didn’t have a specific agenda. The primary function was an open invitation for interpretation. However a few works displayed were fleetingly interesting, but lacked the poignancy demonstrated by stronger entries. Other works were completely un-compelling. This was due to their reliance on the viewer investing into their contrived idea. Having a specific agenda obstructs any kind of open discussion or interpretation. On reflection there was an abundance of talent, whilst some lacked the artistic merit of their counterparts.
EXHIBITION CHAOS!... albeit controlled chaos would be the easiest way to describe the hours we wiled away arranging the orderly and aesthetically pleasing exhibition of paintings, prints, and pictures. You no doubt encountered, upstairs in the Link, this year’s Art Week. Not to be outdone by the political machinations that threatened to steal your eyes away from what was really important, a crew of beleaguered volunteers and dynamic overlords (organisers) gave up their Sunday to arrange a varied display of artworks from our student corpus. Eagerly, we waited for the art to pour in. As a stream of work trickled down towards us, some noticed that the stream was becoming a deluge. This threatened to wash away the symmetrical perfection that we had agonised over for what seemed like eternity. Rogue elements had infiltrated our group, venturing instructions couched opinions as to how they would like to see their Meisterwerk displayed. It appears that most artists like to do their dirty work personally. Undismayed by their audacity, negotiations ensued; compromises were fought for, and occasionally easily gained. As the day wore on we discovered that the greatest way to surmount an impasse was to wait until your opponent’s back turned, and then it stopped. Even wearier-eyed than before we drifted off in separate ways, carrying a sense of pride that comes with a job well done. It was not until the next day did I find that we had been deceived; all is not fair in art and war.
INSTALLATION For those of you who were slightly confused by the appearance of art works around the University last week, I am here to explain to you what went on behind the scenes during Art Week. The Installation Art Works around the University only began last year (while Art Week has been going for three years) with OUSA aiming to involve the students by “Bringing art to the students, and putting it in places where art is normally not seen,” as the events coordinator Kitty Brown informed me. Kitty Brown said one of the most difficult works to install was Aroha Novak’s C.R.E.A.M which involved newspaper airplanes cascading down from the second storey of the link. The piece required a lot of time and effort by the artist and her volunteers, as a cherry picker was needed to hang the work after the artist and her volunteers had threaded the planes with string. Fund Our Futures was another interesting piece, which actually required students to help with the installation process by writing on blue or green paper and then attaching it to a wall, in which the coloured paper formed a message about student debt. Overall the installations were well received, with students actually participating! This is amazing that students did take part, as the amount of effort installing the works could not have received a better reward than students actually getting involved, especially as the main idea behind the installations was to confront people with art.
MURAL We are all used to seeing murals. They range from the professional paintings on the side of businesses and the illicit street art created under the cover of darkness to the well meaning but dubious looking ‘community work’ such as can be seen at Carisbrook. It is rare to get an opportunity to paint on University property without the campus security getting worked up and making a big deal of chasing us, so it was nice to create a communal mural that was both encouraged and actually pretty cool. Local artist Aaron Manuel from Visual Intelligence painted the outline, the paint was supplied free by the lovely people at Resene, and both were put to good use by the University’s local talent. Surprisingly it did not appear to be the free hot chocolate and biscuits that drew people to the wall but the prospect of painting itself. As a person of limited artistic talent, it was nice to see that the mural did not belong exclusively to those who can actually paint but to anyone who wanted to pick up a paintbrush. There was an amazing array of sections painted on the wall, from the purely decorative and the ever-popular block colours to the much more personal declarations of identity, and together they create a cohesive whole that is both visually and conceptually impressive. Interactive art is always hard to orchestrate but the mural appears to have hit a good balance between artistic integrity and good old fun.
have mixed feelings about The Palms Restaurant (18 Queens Gardens). Over the years, I’ve had several really good dishes but also several so-so meals there. Still, The Palms has stayed on my good list. Therefore, when I heard about their $10 lunch menu, the prospect of having posh, cheap lunches was a very appealing one. My friends and I have lunched there twice and I have … mixed reviews. At our first lunch, S had a delicious, elegant, beautifully balanced pumpkin risotto (it has a more elaborate description, but unfortunately, I neglected to record it) which she very generously shared with me because I was very disappointed with my order … and it was my birthday. You know someone’s a good friend if she’ll swap half of her ‘something delicious’ for half of your ‘something bleh’. I, unluckily, had the ‘fish and potato cakes infused with fennel, maryrose sauce and dressed greens’, which was altogether rather bland. We also indulged in an apricot (I think) crème brûlée with pistachio biscotti and a coconut and pineapple thing (the name escapes me, sorry!). The coconut and pineapple thing wasn’t bad but it was the crème brûlée that we had high hopes for because we once had a fantastic, luxuriously rich and smooth coffee crème brûlée here (for dinner). The apricot crème brûlée was pretty good, but not as luscious as the coffee one. Yesterday, on our second visit, I, thinking I couldn’t go wrong this time, ordered the ‘rich tomato risotto, spicy chorizo and parmesan puff pastry twist’. I was wrong. I’ve had some amazing risotto in my time and this one was a little one-dimensional in comparison. It was okay and wasn’t bland or anything like that but it didn’t have the depth of flavour that a risotto can have. S, two times lucky, had the ‘chipotle braised chicken tortilla, cheese, capsicum, bean sprout salad and Greek yoghurt’, which was very, very good. The nicely sauced, succulent chicken pieces wrapped up in tortilla were not only incredibly tasty, but also beautifully presented. This time I did not get half of her ‘something delicious’. To be fair, I’m pretty sure I had higher expectations because it was The Palms, as opposed to any other normal restaurant in town with a $10 lunch menu. The portions are not small but not massive either, which is an understandable trade-off for the quality food and low price, and perfectly fine as an occasional treat. So you may be left wanting more if you only order a main, but that simply means you have room for some dessert after.
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage
Available on DVD or by rental
Prime 9:35 Thursdays
Reviewing a series that first screened thirty years ago may seem strange. You may think it can’t possibly be relevant anymore. But nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. I was told two things about Cosmos by a friend: 1) It will change my life and 2) By the end of it Sagan would seem like a great friend. Both have proven to be true. There is nothing in the natural world that Sagan is not willing – and more than able – to explore. He explains science with passion and finesse, with reason and wide-eyed wonder. His explanations are easy to follow, but they also don’t simplify everything too much. There’s a more recent edition of the series that’s been developed to update the show a decade on. It tells you how research has developed, and also covers how certain problems raised in the series (such as pollution) remain relevant. The series has a way of making you view the world with a new perspective. I’m not ashamed to admit that after an episode talking about trees I went and stared at one for a good half hour – Cosmos is simply that good. There’s something in Cosmos for everyone, from the most empirical of science students to the airiest of humanities students. Sagan’s love of all parts of the cosmos and his fascination with the workings of the entirety of existence – from the interior of cells to the vastness of space – is more than infectious, it is intoxicating. I found myself sitting curled up in my seat with my eyes wide and my mouth agape as I listened to this vibrant man talk of the wonder of anything and everything. It completely sucks you in. It never feels silly, even when we find Sagan in a very 2001: A Space Odyssey-type spaceship set. The graphics are surprisingly good, and the show never pushes its technology further than it could go at the time, so it doesn’t seem too sci-fi or outdated. In sum, Cosmos is universally appealing and genuinely mind-boggling. In the words of Carl Sagan: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
I’m not even going to attempt to hide my fawning praise, respect and adoration for the work of Stephen Fry; he’s TV’s well-articulated answer to droning dramas, annoying MTV retards, and soporific reality TV dross (he manages to dominate other mediums also). So as you can imagine from this intro, this is another in a line of positive reviews. You’ll have to forgive me, because you just simply need to know about this show if you don’t already. If indeed you haven’t taken in QI (Quite Interesting) just yet, luckily, there’s still time to convert. This comedy show masquerading as a quiz program (or perhaps, vice versa) is a great example of the mildly nonsensical but wildly entertaining British panel/gameshow formula: get several amusing people in a room, tie the discussions together in a loose quiz format, then give out faux points for bizarre or interesting answers and performances. It’s worked for Shooting Stars and Whose Line Is It Anyway? in the past, and Eight Out of Ten Cats recently (another highly recommended show); but this is its apotheosis. Anything hosted by the erudite Fry is bound to be interesting, but adding Black Books alumnus Bill Bailey, the mischievous cheshire-grinned Sean Lock, and the perennially clueless Alan Davies to the mix often elevates the show above its namesake. Along with these established names, a multitude of other guests rotate through the QI universe, allowing for a melange of fresh talent to be on display. Fry drags the contestants through the most improbable of facts, from the bizarre revelations of science to the hinterlands of recent historical discoveries. He presents a seemingly established fact or myth to the contestants as a question, such as: “How many moons does the Earth have?” (As Davies points out, it is called ‘The Moon’ after all, so ... one?) Points are not given just for the right answer, but for the interesting or funny ones too. In the end, we only have one moon though, as the potential second moon presented by Fry (Cruithne) is merely a ‘quasi satellite’. Still, you get my point. So, the show thrives on punishing anyone that finds themselves repeating common misconceptions or half-baked facts. QI is committed to pushing the boundaries of our general knowledge, and challenging what we thought were cold, hard facts with wit and humour. Simply put, the show is immensely entertaining, informative and most of all - quite interesting.
Written by Sarah Kane Directed and designed by Eryn van Dijk Starring Jennifer Aitken, Damian Bertanees, Jerome Cousins, Dell McLeod, and Mel Shaw
PREVIEW Ding Dong
Directed by Amanda Rees Starring Clare Adams, Sophia Elisabeth, John Glass, Anna Henare, Elizabeth McGlinn and Tim Raby Fortune Theatre Aug. 20 - Sept. 11
our characters, identified by only the letters A, B, C, and M, exist. They speak lines that may be to one another, or to themselves, or to no one at all; lines which range from poetic to obscene to mundane to allegorical to deeply disturbing and impossibly beautiful. Crave is a play left entirely up to interpretation and van Dijk did a commendable job of realising it in a clear and intriguing stage image. The audience was split in two, seated on bleachers back to back, so that each side saw a different stage. My side had A (Bertanees) and M (McLeod) seated between two televisions on which were broadcast B (Shaw) and C (Aitken). The other half of the audience saw the reverse. The live feed from one side of theatre to the other was the most successful part of the production, underlining the play’s themes of connection and isolation, and contextualising them explicitly within our mediatised culture. I’m biased when it comes to live performance: I prefer human interaction whether among characters or between characters and audience. The difficulty with an abstract script like Crave is keeping a sense of connection and intent. In that respect I felt the production let itself down. When McLeod and Bertanees knew what they were doing, and why, they came alive, but some lines were clearly unmotivated; the actors’ gaze and posture projected that ten-fold and the energy slumped to the floor. That was where the television sets stepped in, filling the stage with their electric energy. In some ways I felt more connected to the characters on those two screens. We expect people on TV to ignore us while still drawing us in so I didn’t mind their abstraction, and when Shaw or Aitken glared down the camera filming them, their images on the screen felt more real and present than McLeod and Bertanees in front of me. It was an intriguing experience and while I didn’t find Crave engaging as such, it was definitely mesmerising.
Bernard has discovered that his wife Jacqueline is having an affair with Robert. Bernard gives Robert two options: 1) Bernard will sleep with Robert’s wife, or 2) Bernard will kill Robert. Naturally Robert chooses the former. What escalates from here is a rather, let me say, far-fetched but incredibly hilarious series of events centred around a dinner party and a call girl. This play, written originally in French by Marc Camoletti, is written in the style of a classic French farce where characters find themselves in extravagant and improbable situations and there is often a case of mistaken identity. This fast-paced plot, seeping with sexual innuendo, bolts forth at a miraculous pace until the revealing and climactic finale. So, come along and see the New Zealand premiere of Ding Dong for a jolly good laugh!
his week Critic had the pleasure of listening to a new Pikachunes track. Pikachunes is Miles McDougall, a Christchurch-born Auckland based electro/Detroit house act. The new Pikachunes track is a remix of Tono & the Finance Company’s ‘Barry Smith of Hamilton’. It’s no surprise Pikachunes paired up with Tono. Tono’s new EP received 5 stars in Real Groove; CD of the week in the Sunday Star Times; and he’s talked about on NZ music blogs, just like Pikachunes, who has just come off a six-week stint on the Radio One Top 11 with his track ‘Nervous’. So here’s the story: Tono and Pikachunes meet a party in Ponsonby, they talked away, and Pikachunes mentions he’d like to remix one of Tono’s tracks. Easy as that, they meet later over an interview Tono was doing on Pikachunes and Tono hands him a CD. I tracked down Pikachunes for a quote: “I’ve always been impressed by Tono’s song-writing ability, in particular his lyrical content. I thought it would be fun to put his writing into a new context. Despite our almost opposite styles of writing, I enjoyed this project and am happy with the final product.” Here’s what Critic makes of the whole thing: 1. Pikachunes has a great compositional ear. 2. Tono has a great compositional ear. 3. Pikachunes has a great idea of what sound looks like. 4. Tono sometimes gets a bit blind and makes things complex. 5. To remedy this, Pikachunes strips the song back and makes it look better and by doing so he provides a key to understanding one of the country’s most talented emerging songwriters. And by doing so, Pikachunes demonstrates how incredibly honed his talents are. Pikachunes is the king of mundane everyday simplicity, and Tono rules the cities of mundane complexity. Somewhere in the middle, your head rests, filled with E (don’t fall off the balcony) and pilsner (don’t fall off the balcony), and you’re safe as houses. So, have a listen; you can vote for this track at www.r1.co.nz on the top 11 if you like.
Mountain eater and Operation Rolling Thunder 12 Below 6 August
romoted (justifiably) as “the absolute pinnacle of Dunedin’s sonic rock spectrum,” Mountaineater and Operation Rolling Thunder at 12 Below certainly delivered on its promise, proving Dunedin is endowed with two of the greatest sonic rock bands in the world. Having never witnessed ‘Thunder live, but with a huge appreciation for their recorded output, my expectations remained decidedly high. Thankfully once again, the promise was delivered upon. Composed of brothers Rob and Adam Falconer, Operation Rolling Thunder performed a stunning set of post-rock instrumentals with a sound impossibly large for their two-piece membership. The searing, looped drone of Adam’s guitar, counterpointed with Rob’s tasteful and crisp drumming, saw the Falconers showcase their extremely cerebral compositions with precision and power. Throughout their unfortunately short set, Operation Rolling Thunder displayed an uncanny talent for using dynamics, creating textured sonic landscapes capable of crushing the listener before relenting – creating claustrophobic tension within their music. Rhythmically, Rob showed how well the idea of space could be used to add rather than subtract from each song, reminding me of the old musical cliché: “it’s not the notes that you do play, but those which you don’t that are important.” His simple yet breathtaking drumming was easily the highlight for this reviewer. Following an act of Operation Rolling Thunder’s power would be virtually impossible for most bands. Mountaineater, however, aren’t like most bands. Trading in a similar musically territory, Mountaineater showed their own prowess in creating huge, densely textured platforms upon which to explore the boundaries of rock music. Once again, tension was used in a devastating manner pushing the music and the listener themselves to the limit. With more overtly structured songs than Operation Rolling Thunder, Mountaineater leant further towards traditional rock music, the heavier style bludgeoning the audience into submission. Overall, an outstanding gig.
Medieval II: Total War
edieval II is a turn-based strategy game with real-time tactical battles. It is the most addictive game Iâ€™ve ever played. Its play style is very similar to other Total War games, where the player chooses a faction to play as such as England, Germany, or France and attempts to conquer as much of the world as possible. A faction becomes playable once you conquer it, except for certain ones, such as the Papal States, which are not designed to be playable. This game draws the player in with the â€œjust one more turnâ€? internal argument. I, and many friends, have found the sun coming up in the morning after losing the argument again and again. A player can choose to do small custom battles focusing only on the real-time tactical side of the game, or can choose to play the campaign. In the campaign, the player builds armies, towns and cities, moving their armies to defend their lands and to take enemy settlements. They can choose to either focus only on the strategic side, allowing the computer to statistically calculate the outcome of battle, or they can enter the real-time tactical battles and command their own troops. While there are Total Wars that came before Medieval II, as well as more recent Total War games; Medieval II: Total War is one of the best of them. It is an immensely enjoyable game, and well worth playing.
Directed Phillip Noyce Hoyts, Rialto
Angelina Jolie is CIA agent Evelyn Salt in the spy-action-thriller Salt. Her identity comes into question when Orlov, a Russian ‘defector’, claims that she is a sleeper agent planning to assassinate the visiting Russian president. Salt flees the scene, making her appear guilty to investigator Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor); all the while her boss Ted (Leiv Schreiber) pleads with him that Salt could never be a Russian spy sent on an assassination mission. But it turns out that Salt was indeed the product of some kind of Cold War era indoctrination school for American children in Russia. Orlov taught them as children to kiss his ring and study hard so that they can get into Princeton and someday work for the US State Department. On revealing himself to Salt as an adult, she immediately knows what she has to do. But we’re not meant to know exactly what that is; why would the heroine of our story be on a mission to kill an innocent man? It might have something to do with her husband, a German spider expert, and some time being beer-bonged in a North Korean jail. There’s plenty of action and ass-kicking, as you’d expect, and Salt’s final kill is a beauty, I have to say, gruesome and acrobatic. But in the end, Salt doesn’t really match up to the other thrillers of our day, and the extra-complicated plot twists were confusing for confusion’s sake. The whole film is about wondering whether Salt is good or bad, and by the end we’re supposed to realise that she was good all along. But it takes too much convincing, I like action heroes to finish it on their own terms, which Salt doesn’t. Predicament
Directed Jason Stutter Rialto
Predicament is a stylish, dark comedy from Jason Stutter, known for his Tongan Ninja and the Careful With That Axe shorts. Based on the novel by Roland Hugh Morrieson, Predicament is set in a small NZ town in the 1930s, where the young Cedric (Hayden Frost) is feeling like an outcast because his eccentric father (Tim Finn) has built a massive tower out of old junk on their front lawn. Cedric is befriended by Merv (Heath Franklin) and Spook (Jemaine Clement), a pair of strange lowlifes that seem to be up to no good. Cedric smells trouble coming but Merv and Spook are his only friends, and together they hatch a wild scheme to pretend to photograph people in promiscuously compromising positions and then extort them for all the money they can. They hope to nab the wealthy Blair Bramwell, whose father exploited Cedric’s family in a bad land deal years ago. As expected, nothing goes according to plan and poor Cedric gets mixed up in a high-stakes caper, having obviously been taken advantage of by the crooked Merv and Spook. The lead actors all shine, with Frankin and Clement giving some outstanding performances as some really fun scoundrel characters. Stutter sure does love his violence, and what’s better is that he knows how to use it properly to build tension and emotion at crucial parts in the story. The cinematography and excellent attention to detail gives the film a lovely gothic, fairy-tale like feel. I definitely recommend Predicament to folks who enjoy a good witty dark comedy. It’s homegrown NZ talent; what’s not to love?
Eden is West
Directed Costa Gavras Rialto
After watching Gavras’s dramatic road movie Eden is West, I was left in that uncomfortable place where you don’t know whether applaud or half-heartedly chuck veges at the screen. The film follows the adventures of naïve illegal immigrant Elias (Riccardo Scamarcio) as he embarks on an epic odyssey to Paris. After jumping ship, Elias is hounded by the law as he sojourns all the way from paradise (a nudist colony) to hell (a scrapyard factory), to something in-between. On his journey he encounters characters from all walks of society, most of whom try to have sex with him, including a German tourist (Juliane Koehler), a peasant bird-seller, and a gay security officer. Some folks, like gypsies, street-vendors, and waiters, offer him help in the form of bread, or a new jacket (both of which he has a penchant for). By and large, the bourgeois class treat him like a bum, while the lower class empathise with his struggle. This poetic film feels more like a fairy tale than a movie, which, consequently, is both its biggest draw and drawback. The film is unexpected, thoughtful, and well directed. Yet it tries to hard to convey an emotional, artistic, and symbolic message, and gets carried away doing so, becoming too depressing and simplistic in the process. And in the end, Scamarcio, who has a grand total of only around 20 lines, ends up just looking like eye candy. Simply put, it had the potential to be better than it was.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Directed Edgar Wright Hoyts, Rialto
Trying to explain, let alone review this film is like trying to teach quantum physics under the influence of crack. You’re not going to understand anything and I’m going to come across as bat-shit insane. Nethertheless, I’ll give it my best shot. Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a scrawny and bizarre 20-something living in a small one-room flat with his gay best friend. At a party one night, Pilgrim is introduced to the new girl in town, Ramona Flowers, and instantly falls in love. Unfortunately, Ramona comes with baggage and Pilgrim is forced to defeat her seven evil exes in order to win her heart. The best way to describe Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is as a video-gamer’s wet dream. The film follows Pilgrim as he fights the “evil exes” in a Tekken- or Dragon Ball Z-like fashion, with people getting thrown into buildings and coming out unscathed. The film feels like a living, breathing comic book set in a universe with no logic or reasoning behind it. But despite the ridiculous atmosphere and scenes that sometimes make no sense (eg: at one point, two golden dragons wage war with a troll) there is something strangely captivating about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Even with the unrealistic hyper-universe, the characters are all relatable, humorous, and interesting. Sure, the plot may be a re-hash of your typical “boy meets girl, boy falls in love” formula, but the execution is cartoonish, satirical, and thus refreshingly entertaining and original. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is not a film for everyone, but if you’re into quirky humour and don’t mind scenes that resemble Pac-Man on acid, then the film may be for you.