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arts, culture, and lifestyle of dunedin and otago, in the south island, new zealand issue 14, September 2018


n w o



majella cullinane


owen marshall & view from the south

featuring the photography of grahame sydney arts festival dunedin david elliot

ruth arnison

tony williams

hocken collections ~ uare taoka o hÄ kena

francisca griffin


In T h i s Is s u e Majella Cullinane

Tony Williams Goldsmith Page 82

A Conversation with Penelope Todd Page 14 Owen Marshall & View from the South Featuring photography by Grahame Sydney Page 30

Down the Garden Path and the Road to Snark Page 104

Arts Festival Dunedin

Hocken Collections - Uare Taoka a Hākena

Another wonderful season for 2018 Page 48

Part One: Foundations with Sharon Dell Page 126

Ruth Arnison

Gifts in the Garden with Francisca Griffin

‘Setting Poetry Free’ by Carolyn McCurdie Page 60

Borago officinale Page 144

David Elliot

New Books Page 150

www.downinedinmagazine.com Front cover for this issue and opposite page: Pacific Ocean from St. Kilda, Dunedin ~ Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

All works, stories, articles, photographs cannot be reproduced without permission of authors, artists, photographers. Please contact the Editor at Down In Edin Magazine for any queries. Copyright Down In Edin Magazine © 2018 All rights reserved. 3

St. Kilda Beach, Dunedin Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018


Contributors Penelope Todd Carolyn McCurdie Francisca Griffin Danny Buchanan

Editor Caroline Davies

And much appreciation to Dunedin City Council for their support!

Additional thanks to: Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature and special thanks to Joe Barresi for your kind generosity across the great formidable Pacific Ocean

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Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018


A note from the editor...

created by a painting made with expert strokes of a brush soaked in colour, or a wonderfully thought out building that uplifts the soul with light and form, a rhythmic song, a chorus of artists singing out the best of humanity. We must value these immeasurable gifts more than modern society in general is doing. It is a risky business being a creative person, and yet creativity is the core of our very being and that is what advances humanity - makes us stretch, grow, reflect our strengths and weaknesses, become more aware of each other’s hearts, and thereby make a world more beautiful.

A special issue celebrating poetry and books Kia ora, welcome to Issue Fourteen! Every so often an issue finds itself expressing a very particular theme, and in this one, poetry and books is a big one. We go with that flow willingly. We begin this issue where Penelope Todd interviews poet and author Majella Cullinane, and the subject of writing and reading poetry as a form of mindfulness is discussed. A pertinent subject in today’s increasingly distracting flashy and virtual world - here today and gone today. How can we stay tuned in and focused to our individual heart beats when there are so many ‘things‘ vying for our attention. It doesn’t take much to turn all that off and re-focus; just sit down quietly and take a thoughtful journey with your mind as guide, breath as a pathfinder, and heart as the lantern to see with - something beautiful, like poetry, will often occur.

It was rather a co-incidence that a few weeks ago Majella Cullinane, Owen Marshall and Grahame Sydney, all featured in this issue, came together in a public talk to celebrate Owen’s new book in collaboration with Grahame Sydney, “View from the South”, in Dunedin. I took comfort in the discussion that emphasized the commitment these three have to their art, and within that discussion that unless one “tries something” themselves, one may not understand the value, let alone appreciate the time and talent honed - for any creative discipline. A thought similarly echoed in Tony Williams’ and David Elliot’s stories. It was certainly music to my ears when Grahame Sydney said, “...the greatest gift you can give yourself as an artist is the opportunity to be a full time artist!” And so it is with these pages, the deepest respect and appreciation is given to all those who sit, think, write, act, dance, sing, build, and value love, creativity and beauty!

For those wishing to claim a more calm, centred and alert way of being, “practicing art” and thereby creating culture is for sure one of the most fundamental ways to get there. One can understand then, that art and culture contribute to not only a much healthier life-style for individuals, but a world more beautiful. Imagine (or perhaps don’t even go there) our world of human expression without the poetry of poetry, or the story

Caroline Davies, Editor for Down in Edin Magazine.


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

St. Clair Beach, Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

St. Clair Beach, Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

St. Kilda and St. Clair Beach, Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

St. Kilda and St. Clair Beach, Dunedin



Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Port Chalmers, Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018


One foot on either side a conversation with poet and novelist

Majella Cullinane by Penelope Todd

Majella Cullinane came to live in Dunedin in 2014, at the start of her year as Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago. By then she’d lived a fair while out of her native Ireland, including the move to New Zealand in 2008 with partner Andrew. Her new poetry collection Whisper of a Crow’s Wing came out with Otago University Press this year.


And then there are poems where parenthood brings in more concrete, pragmatic elements: … a haze of terns slips through the air, switching the compass of attention back to you –

That was the start of all the trouble – a crow, ! Flying across the handlebars of your red bike As you cycled home … ! ! ! ! ! …you saw the fluid dark, ! The landscape of its iris as brilliant as a black rose. (‘Whisper of a Crow’s Wing’)

to your high-pitched child’s voice, to your careful progress … (‘Ciphers’)

Majella’s poems invite entry as a forest does. You know you’ll find there both dark and airiness. What struck me on entering her work is that the veils are swiftly pulled away between now and then, here and there, sea and sky, inside and outside, near and far, the self and the impression of the self. There are windows and mirrors, shadows and reflections, and empty space through which any object, thought or memory might pass and take on any form it will.

There are poems of wonder, intricacy, bemusement and keening loss, with lyrical beauty a constant. Because I haven’t yet read the whole collection (being slow and methodical, even with such a box of treats in hand), I’m borrowing a few lines from Nicholas Reid’s review about the poems up ahead: ‘The whole section “The Hours” links the traditional monastic canonical hours with present day urban life. Much of the final section “Cut Away the Masts” (including the surging and terrifying poem “A Woman Was Seen”) is based on materials drawn from letters written in the nineteenth century.’

I carry the memory of yellow back into the house, its changed tone, counterpoint – a lower octave, with a flourish of blue.

In the small spoon of your collarbone no more than a stroke first you feel it, a tug pulling you downwards, the anchor of grief … (‘A Woman Was Seen’)

Through the glass door, The ghost of a moon, like a leaf skeleton. (‘All That September’)


worm holes. It makes more sense to do the creative and critical each in sustained blocks of time – I can’t easily swap from one to the other.

In a quintessential Dunedin café, Majella chatted with author, editor and publisher Penelope Todd. Penelope Todd: Phew. You’re having a full year, Majella, with the poetry collection recently published to terrific reviews, a novel expected in November, and you’re currently at the University of Otago’s Centre for Irish and Scottish studies, doing your PhD in creative practice.

Likewise, I have to keep poetry and fiction separate when I’m writing. Someday I hope I’ll be able to switch more easily between the two. I haven’t been able to write much poetry of late because of the PhD, but that doesn't worry me now as much as it used to. I had one fallow phase which lasted about two and a half years, then bam, I suddenly had something I wanted to say that had been playing on my mind (I’ve learned to trust this process more as I’ve got older). I go around thinking and gestating. It’s all going in and then at some point I’ll get a massive spurt when I might write poetry for three or four months. I have to be in a particular mental space for poetry and I’m too busy for it at the moment. When you have to focus on the PhD other writing goes on hold. You might have an idea for a story or poem, but you have to stop the channel, build a dam. I do a lot of ‘composting’, which is probably why I consider myself a rather slow writer.

Majella Cullinane: “Yes, I began that in 2016. The PhD in Creative Practice comprises 40 percent critical analysis, and I'm looking at the work of Irish short story writer and novelist Colum McCann. The remaining 60 percent is made up of my own work: a novella and four short stories. I’m looking at place and setting in Irish short fiction. McCann writes about immigrants, and people who don’t quite fit in the places they find themselves. Although Irish, McCann has lived most of his life in New York. And since I’ve also lived most of my adulthood outside of Ireland I thought he’d be a good fit with what I wanted to write about. Bridging the critical and creative is an exegesis, which will look at intertextuality in McCann's work and my own.“

On the other hand, fiction – especially a novel – has a momentum to it, and you keep going even if you’ve got only half an hour, 45 minutes, you can jot down something that can advance the story. Whereas for poetry I have to be in a quieter, less busy state of mind.

Do you work on both elements concurrently? “I’ve kept them separate. If I do too much of the critical too soon, I tend to get lost down time research 17

I’d love to be able to do both at once.

being made redundant gave me an opportunity to stop and look at life. Suddenly I had time. I’d go down to the local library for anthologies of poetry and I started reading them again. That’s how I got back into it.”

Poetry, fiction and short stories: I find different forms appeal to my personality in different ways. Just as different genres can.” In your new poetry collection I enjoyed the change in energy and emphasis in the second part, ‘As Good As’ – touching on the pleasure and pain of parenthood, which more or less grounds the diaphanous quality of the early poems in the book.

Had you been writing already at that stage? “I’d been writing on and off since I was 13 or 14. We did a little bit of creative writing at school. Then came three years at university studying English and Italian and I didn’t do any writing. Nor when I did my teaching diploma. I’d tried, stop-start, stop-start, and had always wanted to do it, but at 29, it seemed like now or never. So I began writing poems. Poetry is a way of looking carefully at things we usually take for granted. That’s what I love about it. It really makes you see things.”

“That’s probably how I am as a person. I can be very practical and organised and act methodically. Another side to me is more dreamy and flighty, harder to pin down.” Fey? “The word has become almost derogatory, but it’s actually a good word to describe being half the time out of this world and tuned into something else. Or coming to realise something… For example, I was in a very well-paid job in Ireland, with the house and the whole thing, getting caught up in all that — just before I turned thirty. I was director of English language studies in a school in Dublin, and then I was made redundant. And so, I was at a kind of cross-roads. I thought, was this really the direction I wanted to go in? It felt a bit like staring down the barrel of a gun. But in fact,

I love the sense in your poems of being lost in the moment — and yet everything is still happening around about … “And bringing it into focus at the same time? Perhaps you can do that with the short story too, to a degree, but poetry’s really good for saying hang on, let’s just stop here for a second … if you look at something long enough, you’ll see something interesting in it — no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Lots of the time we’re in our heads, telling ourselves to do this or that, but 18

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Port Chalmers, Dunedin



Poetry equals mindfulness?

“That’s the funny thing about writing: although it’s in your head, it’s like you’re channelling something. It’s of you, but not really. I don’t mean that in a religious sense, at all.”

“Yes, and I recently saw that Bryan Walpert at Massey University has brought out that mindfulness/poetry book, which I can’t wait to get my hands on.”

No, I suspect we’re not so much collections of ideas as we are collectors (thinking here of a rainwater collector, for example), and we’re receptive or otherwise to ideas in the ether.

Yes, here it is. ‘Poetry and Mindfulness: Interruption to a Journey’. ‘His message is that reading and writing poetry are literary – and literally – antidotes to the multimedia “mindlessness” that pervades modern life and threatens to erode core human capacities, such as the ability to notice what’s around us, to empathise, to pause and reflect for a minute.’

“Yes, and that’s why I said poetry’s about listening too, about slowing down and listening to the world and what’s going on around you – channelling that as well.”

poetry makes meditative.”






Tell me how you came to be in New Zealand? “Andrew’s from Auckland. At first, I worked in the University of Auckland, teaching academic English. Then he found a job in Wellington, and we were living across the road from the Botanic Gardens which was really lovely. We used to go to Pauatahanui and Paekākāriki on the weekends. I’d always wanted to live by the sea. In Ireland, as here, you’re never far from the sea, a river or water of some description. My dream even now is to live by the Atlantic. When we lived in Greece and teaching, we were right bang in the middle, far from the sea, we felt parched. It was the same when we had a job in Spain, in Don Quixote country, it was hard. Anyway, I told Andrew I’d

“When I saw that I thought, that’s it. Poetry is a way of being mindful and quiet. And there’s also something to be said for letting go with poetry. For letting yourself play. I like that you can write a line and really not know what it’s about … then you play around with elements or knock things off, and suddenly see, oh, that works.” I’ve been painting lately for play, most recently flowers on the hallway wall, and I’ve been enjoying the notthinking of it. I’ll see something, and my hand with the brush will go there, or I’ll run off to find another colour … 20

love to live at Paekākāriki, and when our son Robbie was about ten months old, a house came up for rent overlooking the sea. We were there about three years. And then I got the Burns Fellowship at Otago University. We first rented a house in Ravensbourne and then bought a house In Port Chalmers.”

Theodore De’Ath, a twin, until he’s fourteen, when tragedy strikes the family and he ends up moving to Otago. He goes to live with his grandparents who are German — and this is just before WWI breaks out. His grandfather is a professor of German at the university and interested in literature to do with the underworld; he translates Dante’s Inferno, Goethe’s Faust, teaches Milton … Theodore becomes fascinated, particularly with Goethe’s Mephistopheles. Then the war breaks out and he doesn’t really want to go because he’s the quiet academic type, likely to follow the same route as his grandfather, but in 1916 conscription is introduced and he has to go. The story ends in France in 1919.

And it was in Paekākāriki that you started writing your novel? “Parts of it. I spent a good few months researching it while in Paekākāriki. I thought it was going to be about one thing: my grand-uncle who had two stints fighting in WW1 where he was injured. Later, he was recovering in a convalescent home in County Limerick when my grandfather went to visit him, only to find he’d disappeared. No one knew, and we never found out, what happened to him. I was going to write that story, but things took a different turn.

The novel’s about a number of things: a soldier is supposed to be fighting for his country, but what if part of him is German and part New Zealander? There were cases during WWI of violence against Germans. Some were interned, sent to Somes Island. The Women’s Anti-German league were adamant that anyone with German ancestry shouldn’t be allowed to join the army.

I wanted to write something very different from my usual style and approach and if there was ever a time to be experimental, it was the year of the Burns, when you can do whatever you want. The novel is called The Life of De’Ath, and initially set around the Porirua Harbour, is inspired by that place. I like to make up the place names, leaving a hint as to the original which gives a bit of creative freedom. It begins in the 1890s and follows

One character in my novel is based on an actual deserter, a German who went and joined up with the other side and ended up working in a German sausage factory in East Berlin, where he was found in 1954. 21

Over the years, who or what have you drawn on for creative sustenance?

I’m always interested in characters who have one foot on either side of something or some place because I feel like that myself, with one foot in Ireland and Irish culture, one foot in New Zealand. And Theodore has this very rich European background, but he’s also a New Zealander, brought up here. He is being pulled both ways. His sister is a ‘white feather ’ sort of person and very disparaging of him when he doesn't sign up. So I think the story is partly about him doing things he’s uncomfortable with, and ultimately what he decides to do when he’s at the Front.

“Well, the ‘what’ would be books. And the ‘who’ would be Andrew. I’ve fallen on my feet with him since he’s very, very supportive. He reads everything, including the first draft of the novel. I sometimes disagree with him about changes. We definitely have fracas, but then I’ll give way. He’s very well-rounded: extremely creative with a scientific and logical mind, so he picks up on my inconsistencies, especially in early drafts. He helped me considerably with tidying up the novel. He’s always my first reader.”

The fact is that 14,000 plus New Zealanders died on the Western Front and that’s not well remembered. That’s where Theodore’s war is fought.

Did you grow up in a bookish house? “Not at all. And I think I realised at some point that I was missing something, and it was a question of finding out what. Ireland is very good for literature in schools, so we were always doing poems, short stories, that sort of thing. And I was always drawn towards English and History. As well as to fancy stationery, pens, and practising handwriting. My dad reads newspapers from cover to cover, and although my mum’s not much of a reader, she did read to us when we were small: Ladybird books or fairytales. Because both my parents left school early, there was always a push towards education. My sister and I were the first in our family to go to university. We were raised in

I was also really affected by Archibald Baxter ’s story, We Shall Not Cease, a brilliant book about conscientious objection. I guess mine is a Bildungsroman, showing how when things happen in your life you can be passive to a point, and then you get to a crossroads where you can continue the way you’re going, against who you are, or you make a decision that could be quite drastic, but it’s the one you need in order to be yourself. Steele Roberts will publish The Life of De’Ath in spring this year. It will be launched on 7th November which is close to Armistice Day on the 11th.” 22

“I’m always interested in characters who have one foot on either side of something or some place because I feel like that myself, with one foot in Ireland and Irish culture, one foot in New Zealand.” Majella Cullinane

Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2018


the 80s when a quarter of the population was leaving Ireland because there wasn’t enough work. There were two options: emigrate or go to university. So being educated was big. I tried to drop out after the first year, but my mother said: What are you going to do? Go on the dole? So, I’m glad she encouraged me to go back, for the satisfaction of finishing.

“I can say that being a parent focussed me. Before I had Robbie I'm not sure what I did with all the time I had. When you have someone to look after, any time to yourself becomes very precious. It focusses and grounds you. I was quite flighty, but this opened up a whole other side of my personality. It’s been a huge inspiration and really good for me. When I first moved here I felt quite disconnected from New Zealand. Ireland seemed very far away; the culture and sense of humour are different. Having Robbie formed a strong connection; he was my little New Zealander who made me feel more invested here, and then I became a citizen myself in 2014.

On the other hand, their view was very practical: you’re going to university to get a job. So, you were expected to go into a profession — and if you were going to write, you’d do it in your spare time, on the side.” Do your parents read what you write? “My dad will, cover to cover, and the odd time he’ll make a comment. My mum won’t, although I might read her a poem I’ve written about her. I know she’s proud of me though. Despite being not much of a reader, she was always a very good storyteller. Even a bit of news or scandal could be turned into a story. There’s a lot of that in Ireland, wanting not simply to impart information, but to entertain the listener — to tell a sceal, which is a story.”

Also, because Andrew’s family are very much into the natural world, and local flora and fauna, I opened myself to that. Andrew’s mum used to walk with me in the native bush of what I call ‘their retreat centre’, and test me on the names of trees: totara, puriri. I probably know more about New Zealand trees than I do about European ones. That’s been another enriching connection.” I can see the end of the page looming. Quick, what books do you have beside your bed?

That’s a useful skill for a mother, I reckon. For anyone. Talking of parents … we haven’t touched on combining parenthood and writing. Your son Robbie is eight now

“Just a few of those I’ve yet to get onto.” 24

Set out in a list like a pile. “Sinead Morrissey – On Balance John Banville – Mrs Ormond Rachel Joyce – Perfect Aifric Mac Aodha – Foreign News House of Names – Colm Tóibín Restoration – Rose Tremain Danny Denton – The Earlie King & The Kid in Yellow “ Ah, so your reading keeps one of your feet in Ireland and the UK. We’re glad your other keeps you living and writing here in Otago!

Penelope Todd publishes at Rosa Mira Books, is a notable author of fiction for young adults and beyond, editor for many fiction and non-fiction books, as well as a regular contributor to Down in Edin Magazine.


Prima for Andrew

Not the sound of ocean gushing through, but rather a spiral conch clasped to your ear and in that cavity of sound the resonance of your breath lingering, your sighs vigilant now, stirred by the predawn chorus of alarm next to me, tapping its code of ‘wake up’ into the still room. Half-light - the bruised, offended sky is a hieroglyph of rain. Small white brushes of cloud glide over trees, offering the briefest of manoeuvrings to the roused light of morning, to darkness softening.

Majella Cullinane Whisper of a Crow’s Wing


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

With an MLitt. in Creative Writing from St Andrew’s University, Scotland, in 2011 Majella Cullinane published her first poetry collection, Guarding the Flame, with Salmon Poetry in Ireland. Following the Burns Fellowship in 2015, she was the Sir James Wallace Trust/Otago University Writer in Residence at the Pah Homestead in Auckland in 2017. She won the 2017 Caselberg International Prize for Poetry, and has been shortlisted for the Strokestown and Bridport International Poetry Prizes. 27

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Dusk, Otago Harbour


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Dunedin Spring



In her foreword in ‘View from the South’, esteemed author Paula Green writes:

“Owen Marshall’s poetry resembles a luminous

album that reveals itself in shifting lights.

He frames little

pieces of the world, with an attentive eye, an acutely tuned ear and a ref lective mind.

The overall effect, transcendental and

transformative, is akin to the ground after it rains. The surface detail - the master of short story gathers this so nimbly anchors the poems in a physical world, a lived-in world. A lace handkerchief at a funeral, ‘buttoned white’ f lowers next to a girl b o u n c i n g , C h r i s t m a s c a r d s a s b r i g h t fa l l e n l e ave s , t h e kaleidoscopic details animate the white space of poetry.”


Story by Caroline Davies

Throughout his prolific career with over thirty books published to date, Owen Marshall has been awarded the Deutz Medal for Fiction at the Montana NZ Book Awards, the New Zealand Literary Fund Scholarship in Letters, fellowships at Otago and Canterbury Universities and the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship in France. He is also an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature, a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Fiction. Presently, he is an adjunct professor at the University of Canterbury.

his children, talked often of books and authors, and had a considerable library. Also, he wrote poems and stories himself, some of which were published. I was aware early on of the pleasure he took in reading and was encouraged to seek that satisfaction myself. Writers come from the world of books as readers and wish to take the additional step of creating something themselves. As well as being an avid reader my father was also a lover of nature and the countryside, a rambler, rather in the mode of the English Lake poets, and I too came to enjoy the outdoors as well as books. Perhaps that is one reason that I value the visual element in writing so much and the physical context of characters and events. During my boyhood in Blenheim and Timaru I camped and tramped as well as frequenting libraries.

It is clear that there is a sensitivity in Owen Marshall’s spirit and world view, an appreciation of the precious and tender moments in life, and an extraordinary way of describing people, places, things… With such a distinguished career, I asked Owen about his early life what influences surround a child to develop into such a considered and thoughtful writer?

Later my studies at Canterbury University increased my interest in the power and significance of literature. I took History rather than English for my honours year and have not regretted that. History is a wonderful window on human nature and the changing views and customs of societies.”

Owen: “The most significant early influence on me as a reader and writer was my father. He was a Methodist minister and a devoted reader, especially of British fiction and poetry. He read to

Perhaps influenced or inspired by living in “Janet Frame” country, Owen’s passion for writing emerged when he began teaching at Waitaki Boys’ High School in Oamaru.

Featuring Photography from “View from the South” by Grahame Sydney


Novelist, short story writer, poet and anthologist, Owen Marshall has a new book of poetry called “View from the South”. A collaboration with long time friend and renowned New Zealand artist as photographer, Grahame Sydney, this collection of poetry and images reflects a strong affinity with New Zealand’s South Island, particularly Otago.

Owen Marshall by Grahame Sydney 33

There were a series of defining moments that led to a full time and courageous commitment to writing that included the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship in France, the Canterbury Writer in Residence, the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago and the Michael King Fellowship. But in the beginning, Marshall honed his skills through the challenging discipline of short fiction.

writing is a dicey business. I was unfamiliar with its vagaries. Payment is irregular, precarious, almost always modest, and I was accustomed since university to a regular job and income. We were soon uncomfortably aware that more money was going out than coming in. To many folk it must have seemed I had done a foolish thing. Emotionally it was a challenging, sometimes buffeting period. I came to realise that having time to write is no guarantee of quality in what is produced, or that work will be accepted by publishers and editors. One is at the mercy of other people's predilections. There were times when I thought - what the hell have I done by relinquishing a secure position and putting my family in financial jeopardy because of my fanciful and selfish desire to be a writer? The decision kept me awake some nights, but also encouraged a fierce urgency to produce material.

“I concentrated on short fiction not just because it was best suited to the brief snatches of time I could devote to writing, but also because I have always valued and enjoyed the possibilities and challenges of the genre. I was influenced by such authors as H.E. Bates, Theodore Powys, Anton Chekhov, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Katherine Mansfield, Frank Sargeson, Guy de Maupassant, John Cheever and Flannery O'connor. I began to have stories accepted in literary periodicals and magazines. The New Zealand Listener was especially supportive.

In the end the move was justified I hope. I did take other teaching positions from time to time, including creative writing classes at Aoraki Polytechnic in Timaru, and the University of Canterbury, which appointed me an adjunct professor in 2005. Also I have been the fortunate beneficiary of the growing financial support for New Zealand writers and artists, having held residencies at the universities of Otago, Canterbury and Mas s ey, and been awarded such substantial

Increasingly however, my teaching responsibilities limited my writing, and in 1985 I resigned as acting rector of the school and became a professional writer. I realised that if I carried on as a full time teacher I could never hope to significantly develop my writing. It was a risky decision and not one I could have made without the support of my wife, Jackie. We had two young daughters to provide for and free-lance 34

Photograph by Grahame Sydney © “View from the South”


financial assistance as the Michael King Fellowship. I have been well supported and encouraged too, by my publishers and editors.

writer to visit such places as France, China, Antarctica, and Norfolk Island as well as many NZ venues to share my views and work, to meet and have companionship with a wide range of fellow writers and book lovers. I enjoy some enduring friendships within the writing fraternity. # The extended time as the Katherine Mansfield Fellow in Menton, 1996, was a particularly special experience for my wife and me, and our first taste of Europe. Interesting and liberating in all sorts of ways.

I was able eventually to become a professional writer and publish over thirty books, including novels, poetry, scripts and anthologies. Now I spend most of my time doing what gives me the greatest satisfaction, but in 1985 nothing of that was assured, and I still recall those years as ones of hope, determination, apprehension and an element of guilt. Often in life there is a single, well-defined path ahead, but every now and again there's a crossroad and a significant decision to be made which is binding on yourself and others you care for.

On the one hand such opportunity is enriching because you have the experience of new countries, landscapes, cultures and people.

To some extent the challenges and vicissitudes of that time came through in some of the people and situations I wrote about. Many of the characters in my early writing are fringe people, for my own situation gave me a greater sympathy for, and understanding of, people who don't have a sure footing in society. The loss of complacency and security isn't pleasurable, but perhaps salutary for a writer. I believe it was for me.

On the other hand it gives you a point of perspective on your own homeland. You have a means of comparison and may well become more judgmental and evaluative about your own views, and our Kiwi assumptions generally of how life is best lived. That time also enabled me to visit a great many fascinating places featured in literature and history. The pageant of human history is wonderfully evident there. The old hill villages of the cote d'azur such as Gorbio and St Agnes are especial favourites.�

Writing has not made me wealthy in monetary terms, but rich indeed in the people met and opportunities offered. I have been invited as a 36

Photograph by Grahame Sydney © “View from the South”



And I see a little girl bouncing fearless and alone upon a trampoline. Higher and higher until the perfect instant of equilibrium between momentum to the sky and the drive of gravity to the core. And she is transfixed there for ever weightless, smiling open-mouthed dark hair flung out, skinny legs free of duty, hands outreached as stars agains the buttoned white flowers of the dogwood trees. Owen Marshall View from the South - Page 119


Photograph by Grahame Sydney © “View from the South”


And what about writing…

My writing isn't overtly autobiographical , but the poetry has a stronger confessional or revelatory element perhaps. It's a generalisation, but valid I think. I cannot claim to be widely read in modern poetry, or indeed in poetry as a whole. This is because of a lack of time, not enthusiasm. My early favourites were such as Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Wilfred Owen, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and particularly Dylan Thomas. More recent overseas poets I admire are Americans Billy Collins and Gary Soto and Australians Les Murray and David Malouf. In our own country I think James K. Baxter pre-eminent. Vincent O'Sullivan, Brian Turner, Fiona Farrell and Lauris Edmond are senior poets I admire, and among the younger ones Frankie McMillan and Emma Neale. # Poetry is perhaps the most idiosyncratic and subjective of literary forms, and all the more fascinating for that. Poetry has many faces, and different writers favour different expressions. I value technical virtuosity, imaginative reach, personal sincerity and intellectual acuity, but most of all I respond to emotional power.”

“Most of my work starts with mood, character or place. I'm not particularly interested in plots, or the didactic treatment of issues. Character is central to my work. For most of us, people are the most important part of life, ourselves preeminently, then those we care for, then the wider community. That's our psychological make up. So it's no wonder that readers come to books programmed to look for the people - and what an advantage that is for writers. I enjoy the adroitness, wit and intellectual sleight of hand evident in modern writing, from the postmodernism of Donald Barthelme and Italo Calvino to the laconic humour of Garrison Keillor, but if pushed to name my present favourites I find they are all realist – people such as Annie Proulx, Ian McEwan, Alice Munro, William Trevor and Cormic McCarthy. What I look for in all the arts, is some insight into the business of living. I have for a long time been a reader of poetry, but came to writing and submitting it later in life when I had the time, and the urge to test myself in another genre. Most writers like to challenge themselves rather than just continue in habitual modes. I find it interesting that I can't will poetry in the way I can prose. The poems have a mind of their own and come in their own time, or not at all.

d 40

Photograph by Grahame Sydney © “View from the South”


View from the South

There is Nature and Place, Family and Friends, History and Arts, and Heart and Mind. He describes the arrangement as, “poems that seemed comfortable together for reasons of tone, or content, encouraged to be companions.”

It is evident Owen Marshall is moved by this place in the south of the south. He writes beautifully, and vividly, about Otago’s many layers. He sees this country with his eyes, heart and spirit.

I wondered if there were particular favourites in amongst the rich 150 offerings?

“Although I was born in Te Kuiti and have travelled extensively overseas, most of my life has been spent in the lower half of the South Island and I often use my familiarity with the area in choosing physical settings and life styles. Central Otago in particular has a very individual and recognisable physical character, and also a fascinating history. The landscape affects the people who live there and in turn the people affect the landscape. I like to reflect this relationship in poetry and fiction. My Central Otago tends not to be the tourist centres of Queenstown, or Wanaka, but the sparsely populated natural areas such as the Maniototo. I love the space, the history of stern endeavour, and a landscape composed of essentials only. My wife, Jackie, and I were fortunate enough to spend 2013 in Alexandra where I held the residency at the architecturally renowned Henderson house, and the time enabled me to experience all four seasons in Central Otago, and strengthened my links with the area.”

“A difficult question for several reasons, not least being the variety of poetic modes in the selection. The book is dedicated to our daughters Andrea and Belinda, and certainly the poem `To a Daughter' is one of special significance for me. The emotional bond between parent and child is one of the most intense and rewarding we can experience. Another poem special to me is `Abul-Abbas and My Father.' I hope however that most readers find something within the collection that chimes with their own feelings and concerns.” Collaborator, Grahame Sydney sees himself as a painter, not a photographer. Photography is something he does when he feels motivated to pull out his camera if he has one on hand. Nonetheless, his evocative images bring forward the feelings of Owen’s collection as a perfect reflection between two very long time friends who share a love for place and poetry, each compliments the other. Wanting to understand how Owen connects with this land, I asked if there was a favourite Grahame Sydney photograph in ‘View from the South’…

In ‘View from the South’, Owen’s poems are loosely arranged thematically rather than chronologically. 42

Grahame Sydney Photograph by Grahame Sydney © “View from the South”


“So many stunners to choose from! Grahame and I have been friends for over thirty years and it's a privilege and a pleasure to have the poems enhanced by his insightful photographs. My favourite perhaps is the wonderful double page spread of landscape on pages 132/133 – so moody, so balanced in composition, so typical of Central. I also particularly like the portrait study on page 68, and the avian flight moment on page 141. Grahame lives in the countryside of Central Otago, knows it intimately, and his paintings enshrining it are unsurpassed. In many ways we have a similar outlook on the world and similar values. Both of us in our craft have an element of realism that is immediately apparent, but we are concerned essentially with imbuing the observable with our own interpretation of what is significant.”

TO A DAUGHTER (for A and B)

We have a history beyond your memory, you and I. In a sense I know more of your life than you do yourself, as witness of the years of infancy. First steps, first words the passing tantrums and enduring affection as character was formed. The worn, soft toy you slept with the upper cot bar you gnawed on the unguarded childish trust before that adult cynicism that engulfs us all. So much about you, about us and though you have no recollection of such things, they happened, were a part of life still held dear, still full of meaning. And when you smile, touch my arm, the images are luminous once more. I am the privileged curator of your first encounters with the world.

`View From the South' is not just the result of a collaboration between Grahame and myself. Poet Paula Green contributed a generous foreword and I appreciate this commentary from such an accomplished practitioner. Harriet Allan of Penguin Random House acted as both editor and and publisher for the book. Her ability in the latter role is clearly evident in its splendid production values. Her care and expertise as editor are less obvious, but equally significant.”

Owen Marshall View from the South - Page 86

Owen Marshall Grahame Sydney


Photograph by Grahame Sydney © “View from the South”



Danny Buchanan danny@otagorecording.co.nz

Stephen Stedman stephen@otagorecording.co.nz

High Quality Audio Recording Services

Otago Recording Company


Celebrating the

Excellent and

Extraordinary Introduction by Down in Edin Magazine Images and accompanying text courtesy Arts Festival Dunedin


Arts Festival Dunedin 2018 Theatre



Visual Arts

Every two years extraordinary artists from around the world descend upon Dunedin to surprise, delight, inspire, provoke, uplift, expand and entertain audiences in this beautiful city of the south. It is no small feat juggling schedules, venues, budgets, shows and availability of artists.

Festival Director Nicholas McBryde has said: “It’s always a complex and

exciting task curating the Festival programme. Our Tenth Anniversary Season is brimming with beautiful and varied shows and artists from throughout New Zealand, with great representation from Dunedin, as well as performers from Australia, America, Austria and Hungary. We can anticipate a terrific ten day celebration.” This year ’s festival events, 38 shows and 81 performances held between 21st and the 30th September, are located in 15 different venues around the city including The Regent Theatre, Olveston House, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Town Hall, Mosgiel Coronation Hall, The Globe Theatre, Hutton Theatre, Allen Hall Theatre at the University of Otago.

Special walking tours of selected fine art galleries in

Dunedin are also part of the festival’s events. Full programmes listing shows, venues, maps, and ticket information for Arts Festival Dunedin 2018 can be found in bookstores, libraries, theatres and cafes around the city and here on the Arts Festival Dunedin 2018 web site. 49

Left: Airplay - Theatre Air Play is a circus-style adventure about two siblings journeying through a surreal land of air, transforming the ordinary into objects of uncommon beauty. Fabrics dance in the wind, balloons have a mind of their own, confetti turns into the night sky, and an enormous canopy of hovering silk defies gravity. The creation of husband and wife team Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, Air Play merges circus and street theatre performance with sculptural artistry. With visual images seemingly sewn from the sky, this poetic ode to childhood will enchant and electrify the young and young at heart in an evening of pure joy, magic and beauty.

Right: Dark Matter - Dance The mysterious images in Dark Matter are on the edge of visibility where the imagination creates sights that could not possibly be true....or are they? The trick of the eye will feed the mind with inner phantasms and wraiths stirring in the darkness. The light will fascinate and enchant as it becomes a solid form in front of your eyes, only to vanish from whence it came.




Left: Ann-Droid - Theatre Ann-Droid is the story of Pinocchio set in the 21st century. In this story Pinocchio is a little robot called Ann who is at home in the virtual world, using digital devices as easily as any 21st century child. Her goal however, like Pinocchio, is to become a real child; exploring human relations and trying to connect with her scientist/creator.

Above: EMAKI - Dance: Using the construct of the picture scroll and the ancient art of Suminagashi, the dancer figure voyages through digitized forms suggesting sentient hills, mountains, ocean, geology, weather systems and the Five Elements. Japanese dancer Meri Otoshi embodies in her movement a choreographic meditation and a physical response to the multi-dimensional world of the EMAKI picture scroll. Through a series of narratives, Meri Otoshi conveys the human figure held deeply in nature.

Adventures abound as she tries to understand what it means to be human.


Tell Me My Name - Music Over many years, leading New Zealand poet Bill Manhire has translated Old English riddles. Tell Me My Name is a selection of these, alongside new riddles written by Manhire. The riddles are performed as songs, in settings ranging from meditative ballads to joyful jigs. The sublime voice of Wellington’s Hannah Griffin is woven in counterpoint with Martin Riseley on violin (concertmaster of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra) and composer Norman Meehan at the piano.


Beloved Muse by Penny Black - Theatre In this solo play Maxi Blaha plays Emilie Floge who was the muse and life companion of the great Austrian painter Gustav Klimt. Setting up a clothing factory and haute couture store in Vienna, years before Chanel in Paris, Emilie Floge was also a revolutionary, both in liberating the constraints of women’s clothing design and in the Suffrage movement.


Robbie Nicol aka White Man Behind a Desk - Theatre Having just finished a sell-out season in Wellington, WMBADx: Idea Worth Spreading is the conference we need in the current comedy climate: one hour to convince you that politics and comedy should never mix again. It would be the world’s strangest TED Talk, if only it had been accepted into TED.


Ali Harper in Songs for Nobodies - Theatre Penned by Melbourne playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, Songs for Nobodies is a tribute to five musical superstars: Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday and Maria Callas. The play is a brilliant, simply structured stage celebration with great songs. Songs for Nobodies is essentially a one-woman show, but is crowded with very real women in 90 minutes of engaging, poignant and, at times, humorous, dramatic story-telling


Rhian Sheehan - Music Regarded by many as archetypal amongst the ambient post-rock genre, fused with electronic and chamber music, Sheehan leads eight musicians to perform a truly sublime and emotive, immersive audio-visual show. Soprano, Sophie Morris and members of the Dunedin Youth Orchestra, directed by Dunedin composer Anthony Ritchie, add a rich layer of sound to this cinematic experience. Captivating live visuals, time-lapse, portraits, animations, landscapes and starscapes combine with music to turn the Dunedin Town Hall into a world of breath-taking sound and light.


Full programme and booking details can be found at:

arts festival DUNEDIN




Setting Poetry Free Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2018


Finding Billy Collins in the fiction shelves

He was leaning against Jackie Collins with Tamara Cohen peeping over his shoulder. I whipped him off the shelf hissing, you’ve taken Aimless Love too far. There’s no point in going ballistic, said the assistant, we’ve always had trouble with poetry. Billy, I said, shelving him next to Emily, you’ve got to stop this sailing alone around the room. I think he got my message. Next week he was still there, Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes. Ruth Arnison


St o r y b y C a r o ly n M c C u r d i e P h o t o g r a p hy c o u r t e s y R u t h A r n i s o n a n d Po e m s i n t h e Wa i t i n g R o o m , a n d C a r o l i n e D av i e s

What I want to do, Dunedin poet, Ruth Arnison told me, is take poetry off the page. The image that flashed across my mind was of a gumbooted Ruth, deep in a forest, holding a small cage. She is opening the door, so that the poem within can leap with a wing-flurry, scuttle into hiding in the undergrowth and find a natural territory, unhindered by conventions and judgements.

Blasphemy for Sam Hamill Let the blasphemy be spoken: poetry can save us, not the way a fisherman pulls the drowning swimmer into his boat, nor the way Jesus, between screams, promised life everlasting to the thief crucified beside him on the hill, but salvation nevertheless. Somewhere a convict sobs into a book of poems from the prison library, and I know why his hands are careful not to break the brittle pages.

The Poems in the Waiting Room cards are where the doors fly open. Sometimes the new territory is a prison. Sometimes it’s a rest home, a hospital, hospice, and of course, a waiting room. For ten years Ruth Arnison has sent the cards to places where she thinks people could be touched by a poem. These are places where people are in crisis. There may be pain, distress, loss or other sorts of vulnerability, and anyone who loves poetry will have experienced times when a poem was a lifesaver. Even those who may not consider themselves to be poetry readers, may reach for a poem to read at a funeral. Poems can say the unsayable. This, Ruth’s central project, is concerned that where there is a need for a poem, they should be available. They should be in unexpected places, lying quietly within reach for everyone, to read, to take away and keep.

Martin Espada

‘Blasphemy’ reproduced with kind permission of Martin Espada


Photograph by Ruth Arnison ©


It began with a small, simple act of thoughtfulness. When Ruth first heard about the charity, Poems in the Waiting Room (UK), she emailed the founder, Michael Lee, to congratulate him. She was startled when he replied, offering her a free license to use the name in New Zealand and also funding for the first card! Her initial reaction was: no. Then, because she’s Ruth, she thought: why not? So in 2008 she began with 500 cards and approached Dunedin medical practices, asking permission to leave them in their waiting rooms. Over the years the numbers gradually increased to the current print run of 8000. And they fly further. Every summer, autumn, winter and spring the 8000 cards go throughout New Zealand, to 453 rest homes, 644 medical practices, 8 prisons, 26 hospices, the Dunedin Public Hospital,   contributing poets, and people who ask for one. On National Poetry Day, August 24 th, Dunedin Hospital is working with Ruth to ensure that poems appear on every patient’s meal tray. All day, haiku will rotate on their information screen.

delight is to be found in language. If you’re already feeling low, these poems will not bring you down further. Apart from that, it’s hard to categorise them. Some are favourites from bygone centuries. There are haiku, and poems for children. The work from contemporary poets comes from every corner of the globe. While, as you’d expect, there are many poems from NZ poets, Ruth also contacts poets from everywhere for permission to reprint their verse. She is rarely turned down. And if that wasn’t enough, for the last seven years, every season’s card has been transcribed into braille by the Blind Foundation, and distributed as booklets to members of NZ’s sight impaired community. First, the UK, then NZ, and then the world. Ruth has been contacted from Australia, the US. How do we set this up in our countries? She worked with poetry enthusiasts from Colombia and their production of Spanish language cards is now well established. Ruth says about Poems in the Waiting Room, that much of its success depends upon the generosity of the Dunedin community. From the start, in this and her many other ventures, she has had huge support. But specific, day by day, year by year support comes from a smaller group. Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ) is a registered charity with four trustees. Together with Ruth, they are her husband, Barry Arnison, son Chris Arnison, and friend, Sheryl McCammon. Chris is her ‘IT guru’

Like the UK cards, each is A4 sized, folded into three, light and easily carried away in a handbag or pocket. On the front, it says: Yours to Keep! Inside there are between eight and ten poems, and aside from relative brevity, what they have in common is a kind of gentleness. They’re accessible. Sometimes playful, funny, sometimes quietly thoughtful, the poems here have no message to relay, except that 64

St e p S i s t e r s

and fulfils this role no matter where on the globe he may be at the time. Barry is the rock-solid background support with responsibilities that range from sticking down envelopes to keeping their household in good working order.

Sheryl has another important role, beyond that of trustee. She is an artist. She and Ruth are the Step Sisters, whose logo is to be seen in a growing number of places around Dunedin. The Step Sisters have a mission to take poetry further off the page, off paper entirely, and into the streets, playgrounds and other public spaces. In 2016, they began in the middle of town, transcribing poet Andre Surridge’s tanka on to the steps leading from Moray Place up to the Filleul Street car park. These steps had been admirably functional, but in truth, without much personality beyond the grey and dour. No longer. The weariest worker, plodding up or down, must feel her feet lifted just a little by the childlike glee of pink gumboots and splashing in puddles. Since then bright colours and their Maori names have made nondescript steps a happy focus of the children’s playground on the St Clair Esplanade. The Arthur Street playground has newly poetic steps. This year the Step Sisters have been down at the cross wharf at the Steamer Basin. As with the steps, this cannot have been easy on Sheryl’s knees or back. At the wharf, there’s a curving wall, a very low wall, that now bears lines from Hone Tuwhare’s poem ‘Sea Call’.

Photograph by Ruth Arnison ©

Poems in the Waiting Room


As Sheryl paints, Ruth reads to her. ‘Paddington Bear ’ and the Roald Dahl stories, ‘Boy’, and ‘Matilda’ have given their venture an additional literary flavour. Ruth also keeps the parking meter fed, chats to passersby, and to Sheryl. All the socialising and reading in the sunshine might make this sound like the kind of cruisy job we’d all like to apply for. We might be sorry. ‘Dunedin Summer ’ by Jean Lonie

The Sisters plan to complete two Poems on Steps projects every summer. Preparation begins in early winter. Ruth has learned to allow at least six months to obtain the necessary consents from the council. Three departments must be advised and permissions received. Three other departments are required to provide sign-off for the project. If the DCC deems additional departments to be relevant, these must be approached as well. Department staff are busy. Other matters are given priority. Ruth allows for waiting time, reminding time. Poets must be contacted for permission to use their poems. The steps have to be measured and a mock-up of the finished poem prepared to be sure that it will fit the space. The surface has to be waterblasted, cleaned and prepared for the painting. Arrangements have to be made for Taskforce Green workers to carry out this work and other maintenance that might be necessary. Then the publicly visible Step Sister work can begin. So easy.

St Clair Esplanade, Dunedin


St Clair Esplanade. The Arthur Street playground.

Photographs this page and opposite by Caroline Davies Š 2018


Just another Dunedin morning 7.00am spoonbills are breakfasting in the harbour, heads down, methodically patterning across the water, like police walking a grid.

Motorboat voices microphone muffled instructions as blades catch and drive, catch and drive, shooting the double scull forward. We watch raucous seagulls squawking, squabbling, swooping, skimming, and soaring through unpopped bubble wrap clouds. Worn out pizza and burger boxes are scattered on the rocky shore – the tide is not a takeaway business. Our walking-to-work legs never falter as our voices swerve, dip, and dive between conversations  and observations. We gasp as pink hues, plucked from the sunrise palette, spread across the city skyline.


Silent fisherman, hooked to their deck chairs, line the wharf with baited buckets, rods wavering like multiple forward slashes on a keyboard. Pedestrian Cross Now signals are ignored as vehicles rush the red lights. Our relaxed repartee shifts to taut body language, clenched hands, tense shoulders. Police and ambulance sirens scream with indignation as they’re stalled and snarled in the city’s early morning gridlock. Outcast smokers slouch against graffitied alleyway walls before being inhaled into another work day. As we’re drawn in, we’re affronted by an overwhelming stench. The weekend staff have left fast food remains and half-drunk chocolate milk bottles lying comatose in the kitchen. We open office windows, check Facebook, then heads down, methodically wade through another work day in the city. Ruth Arnison


Otago University College of Education Campus, Union Street, Dunedin

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018


Lilliput Libraries

is done for free.

The Step Sisters see their existence as having a limited life-span. It will not be the indefinite project that Poems in the Waiting Room is. Another of Ruth’s projects that outgrew plans and expectations is the Lilliput Libraries. This began in 2015 with an email from a Melbourne based son. At the end of his street was a small free library, about the size of a mail box, and he attached a photo. This is clearly a son who knows his mother well. She approached a neighbour who drew up plans and then Ruth launched into the funding application process. The name Lilliput Library came to her in the wee small hours, as distinctive and self-explanatory. Then she approached Cargill Enterprises, the trading arm of the Disabled Citizens Society (Otago) Inc., to build ten. She was anxious about the ten. Was that too many? Maybe hardly anyone would be interested in volunteering to be a Lilliput guardian. The response was overwhelming and hasn’t stopped. The total is now 178, and growing.

Resene Paints supplies the paint, and their Crawford Street premises as a book collection centre. Local artists, school art groups, university students, community and disability art groups have all donated their time and talents to paint the libraries. That leaves the building materials. Fundraising pays for those.

After Cargill Enterprises, the next fifteen were built by inmates of Dunedin’s prison, the Otago Corrections Facility. Since then, the libraries have been made by the men of the Taieri Blokes’ Shed. Ruth mentions in passing that they’re partial to fruit cake, which gives a hint about the way that she operates. Their work, like that of the inmates

In 2017, Ruth called a halt. She’d intended it to be a one year project. She had other things to do. But the interest continues to grow, spreading throughout NZ, with enquiries from Europe, Australia, the US, Thailand. Now, Ruth invites people to organise further libraries themselves. She shares with them plans, advice, and the

I’m one of the guardians. There’s a Lilliput Library on my front fence. Neighbours and passers-by are invited to borrow, or exchange, donate, or take a book and keep it. No due dates. No overdue fines. Just a sharing of the love of reading with no pressure. I’m amazed at how it works. I began with books that Ruth had collected from various donors, and had enough to fill my two small shelves twice over. Now I can fill it ten times over and can rotate the books regularly. And most have come from my Pine Hill neighbourhood. Sometimes, I eavesdrop on conversations at my fence. People are delighted, and proud, and want to be part of it. I love it.


28 Brown St Waitati, Artist: Mandy Mayhem-Bullock Photograph by Ruth Arnison


Left: 7 Bayne Terrace, Macandrew Bay Artist: Kerry Mackay Photograph by Ruth Arnison

Right: 49 A Balmacewen Rd Artist: Clem Trengrove, Photograph by Ruth Arnison

Below left: 33 Baldwin St Artist: Andy McCready Photograph by Ruth Arnison

Below Right: 21 Edinburgh St, Green Island, Artist: Louise Ind Photography by Ruth Arnison


opportunity to have their library included on the Lilliput Library Google Map. The map was created as an another act of generosity by a stranger. Rich Field of Black Sand Solutions saw the libraries as he walked around the peninsula, borrowed some Lilliput books, and then contacted Ruth to ask if she’d like him to build her a map, free of charge. She did.

(sponsor since 2015), the Otago University Bookshop (sponsor since 2013), and the poet Diane Brown’s creative writing school, Creative Writing Dunedin. CHAIRity FUNdraiser Other fundraising initiatives are wonderfully creative. Ruth believes in and is skilled at collaboration. In 2017, she organised a CHAIRity FUNdraiser. Over 40 wooden chairs were given to artists, together with nine poems. The artists were asked to use the chairs as a canvas on which to respond to a poem. Paint was again supplied by Resene Paints who hosted the auction of the finished works. Lively, colourful, fun, and one by one the chairs found new homes and Poems in the Waiting Room had cash to keep sending those cards out into the world.

Po e t r y C o mp e t i t i o n s One of the reasons Ruth wanted to move on from the Lilliputs is that much of her energy is needed for projects that are also fund-raisers for Poems in the Waiting Room. Every year there is a Poems in the Waiting Room poetry competition. There is a small fee to enter. A NZ poet is recruited to be judge. Among the stipulations for entrants is that the poems be suitable to be included on the poetry cards. So the project benefits two ways. The money from the entry fee goes to the project, and payment for the judge, and the poems provide a selection for inclusion on the cards. The prize winners are automatically featured, and then Ruth goes through the submissions and notifies other poets that they have also been chosen. As someone who has been a judge for this competition, I can say that the numbers of entries make a formidable pile. It’s a hugely successful venture from everyone’s point of view. This year, 2018, cash prizes for the placegetters were donated by the Otago University Press

Artist: Claire Beynon, Poem: Love Waltz with Fireworks by Kelli Russell Agodon Photograph by Claire Beynon


Artist: Kerry Mackay Poem: ‘Eggs’ by Claire Beynon Photograph by Kerry Mackay

Artist: Pauline Bellamy Poem: ‘Small Stanzas in Autumn’ by Barbara Crooker Photograph by Pauline Bellamy


Road tripping The farmer on the quad bike nods as we inch past his sheep, dogs metronoming behind him. We smile and wave, laughing at our country selves. In our city suits, delays herald horns, windscreen shaking fists, angry wound down window words.

We spy an astronaut-like beekeeper, feet firmly grounded, smoking his hives.

After the 45k bend the road’s clear, we pass empty school bus shelters, open mouthed letterboxes.

Ivy cottages, blinded by corrugated iron, slumber in the winter weary sunlight. Hay bales in green

Toitois sway like drunken sentries at roadside’s edge.

plastic pipelines stretch towards the sheep pebbled hills.

Sacks flap across faded summer signs, fresh p ums, rawberries, ears.

We hear a rumbling like our neighbour’s wheelybin being Monday trundled down her concrete driveway.

Driveways curtsey past washing lines pegged across

It’s Jim Hickey’s thunder, which someone has stolen.

paddocks before arriving at tucked away farmhouses. It was forecast for the north only. He didn’t mention clouds dawdling across the sky as though on their reluctant way to school. In the distance snowflakes freckle the mountains. Our city flash drives are being erased country clean. Ruth Arnison


Artist: Sarah Marshall Poem: ‘Penguins’ by Fiona Farrell Photograph by Ruth Arnison


PoARTry Exhibitions

Ruth Arnison, poet

For these she again brings poets and artists together. An exhibition may involve 40 poets and 40 artists. The artist creates a work that is a response to a poem and these are displayed in public exhibitions and offered for sale. Poems in the Waiting Room takes a commission. There have so far been five of these and Ruth is planning another.

So who is this amazing woman? Ruth agreed to work with me on this piece, on the firm understanding that it not be about her. She wanted her projects featured, in particular, Poems in the Waiting Room. I agreed to this. So I won’t say much.

But no matter how creative you are, some things are not fun. Applications for funding, for example. This part of Ruth’s work sounds to me like a total grind, but as a result of her form-filling expertise, financial backing for the poetry cards comes from the NZ government, via Creative NZ, from the Dunedin City Council, the Lion Foundation, the Bendigo Valley Sports and Charity Foundation.

Ruth’s poems have appeared in journals, anthologies and ezines in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and USA. She won The Robbie Burns Poetry Contest in 2006 and 2009. In 2008 she was awarded a NZSA mentorship with Cilla McQueen. In 2010 her poems came First and Second in the Timaru Festival of Roses poetry competition. In 2013, 2014, and 2015 her poems were selected for the NCEA Practice English exam papers.

Except this:

All money received goes only towards the costs of printing and postage. Poets donate their work. The work Ruth does, including the sourcing of poems from poets and publishers, the editing, and organising the printing and distribution of cards is unpaid.

In 2014, Dunedin’s application to UNESCO to be awarded the designation City of Literature was successful. The list of Ruth’s achievements in enriching the city were part of the application, and credited with contributing to its success!

Poems in the Waiting Room has also signed with the Spark Foundation’s fundraising tool Givealittle. This is an easy way for individual supporters to help out with a donation.

Carolyn McCurdie is a Dunedin writer of fiction and poetry. Her first poetry collection 'Bones in the Octagon' was published in 2015 by Makaro Press.


A Palette of Poetry 2 is this year's Poems in the Waiting Room fundraising poARTry exhibition opening October 14 at Resene and runs through until October 28. Resene and Gillions Funeral Services are our sponsors for the second year running. Contact: waitingroompoems@gmail.com Links: Poems in the Waiting Room Lilliput Libraries For donations: Give A Little To donate books: Resene Paints Colour Centre 172 Crawford St, Dunedin. Facebook: poems in the waiting room – nz

In June 2018, the annual Queen’s Birthday Honours List came out. Among the luminaries was: Queen’s Service Medal Ruth Margaret Arnison Dunedin For services to poetry and literature

Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2018


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Morning light, Otago Harbour Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Morning light, Otago Harbour Dunedin



From the book ‘Tony Williams Goldsmith’: “Tony himself is described by fellow practitioners, curators and critics as ‘an excellent role model for aspiring craftspeople’ (Kobi Bosshard); who ‘followed his own bold, independent career path’ (Judith Carswell); having a ‘vivid, unusual imagination’ (Bronwyn Labrum); and ‘a fascinating character; like someone whose true era was the Renaissance; a real romantic in vision’ (Fiona Shaw), Tanya Ashken has written about his use of ‘noble materials and precious stones in the tradition of the greatest jewellers’. His skill, she says, is ‘without peer’.” by Emma Neale, in ‘Tony Williams Goldsmith’ “Part One: An Interview with Tony Williams”

Opposite page: Front cover for “Tony Williams Goldsmith” by Neil Pardington Design Tony Williams’ Necklace: Silver, 18ct gold, garnet and rutilated quartz, 2006


Dragon – 18ct gold, platinum, plique à jour enamel & diamond, with ruby eyes, on a black New Zealand jade base, 130mm, 1991. “I was inspired to make this objet d’art after my return from working for Kempson & Mauger in London.”


Tony Williams Goldsmith Extraordinaire Photographs of jewellery from Tony Williams Goldsmith © Story by Caroline Davies

With compelling essays written by Emma Neale and Rigel Sorzano, and striking images representing over forty years of outstanding production, “Tony Williams Goldsmith” celebrates the exquisite art of this master craftsman from Dunedin. It’s quite the powerful force when acclaimed author Emma Neale, and publisher Bridget Williams in collaboration with Potton and Burton come together in one beautifully produced coffee table book presenting the intricate work and collections of Master Goldsmith, Tony Williams. Contributors to this exceptional presentation include award winning designer and photographer Neil Pardington, publishing consultant Barbara Larson, art and craft historian Rigel Sorzano, and coordinator of archives and images, Biddy Waldron.

Tony Williams ~ Photograph by Caroline Davies


As the crafting and business of jewellery have changed significantly over recent decades, documenting this extraordinary body of work as an elegant biography in words and pictures couldn’t be more timely. Advanced by the current mode of global corporatization, the mass production and marketing of trinkets combined with the reduction of funding to arts and humanities in public education, society’s understanding and appreciation of fine craftsmanship is fading into the ethers of history. It is however, through Emma Neale’s inimitable story telling, Rigel Sorzano’s critical eye and beautiful drawings and photographs of rare work that the reader can treasure the skill required of a bona fide craftsman.

come at it, and it is a status symbol. This is not necessarily just high status; it is also wedding rings, and your rotary badge is a form of jewellery and that is a status symbol too. Jewellery has all these things and it is worn to be seen and worn not be seen which has always intrigued me. The jewellery you wear under your shirt, or the jewellery you have to look inside of or the back of. Graham Hughes (author of “The Art of Jewelry”, 1972) called that ‘the secret art’ because it is so often not shown.” From all accounts it was Tony’s mother, Mary, who recognised her son, the youngest of three children, was not an average little human. Tony was a bit of a solitary boy and she ensured he received extra curricular opportunities that exposed him to art, pottery and sculpting. “I remember at primary school that we used to have art specialists visit. Before I started school I always wanted to go, and then from the first day I didn’t, but I did enjoy the art classes, so my mother organised highly regarded artists like Roy Cowan, Juliet Peter and Grant Tilly to help me.

The predominant social order in New Zealand during Tony’s youth would not have been the most reassuring for an aspiring jeweller either. Tony: “Ostentation was not admired in those days in New Zealand and jewellery seemed ostentatious. That was part of the old social democracy we had from the 50s to the 80s. It was a very egalitarian society and you didn’t blow your own trumpet. But, at the same time I think jewellery is so much more than that and even though I see myself as a contemporary jeweller, jewellery comes from a line of historical traditions. When you look at jewellery it does so many things. It’s money and it’s also adornment. It’s also magic, and it is also religion which may or may not be the same thing as magic depending on how you

Working with my hands has always been something I enjoyed. It is still good therapy to sit down and fix something. It doesn’t have to be creative work necessarily, just fixing something is a comfortable thing for me to do.” 86

Pearl Necklace and Clasp - 18ct gold and enamel, 20mm. 2000


After a short stint at Elam School of Art in Christchurch, Tony made his way to the Birmingham School of Jewellery in England. This was where Tony found his element, his joy, his excitement, his obsession. Even through sleet, snow, rain and hail, if he could get to his classes and be the only one who did, he would be there. “Making jewellery occupied everything. I had been moved from not being interested in what I was doing to being very interested. I finally had a vision of what I was going to do. I was going to be an artist craftsman in New Zealand. A bit of a desert in terms of resources, I assiduously bought tools and acquired skills on the assumption that there would be no way of sorting these things out once I returned. I took classes in all that Birmingham offered, including gemmology and diamond setting, then spent a year working for one of my teachers, Hamish Bowie in Birmingham, followed by two years working in the trade in London including for Grima. Many years later I returned to London and worked for Kempson & Mauger where I learned the delicate art of enamelling”.

Ring: 18ct gold, platinum, pinpoint enamel & diamond, 2004

Opposite page: Pendant – 18ct gold, platinum, madeira citrine, diamond & enamel, 30mm, 2000. “A fabulous citrine, and one of my all-time favourite pieces. Made for an Art Deco week exhibition at Statements in Napier. I hesitated about the fine red stripe, but in the end it worked extremely well.”

Ring: 18ct gold, platinum, pinpoint enamel & diamonds & emeralds, 2004



Left to right: Honeybee pin – 18ct yellow & white gold, with diamond eyes, 21mm, c.1993. Bumblebee pin – 18ct yellow & white gold, with diamond eyes, 30mm, c.1990. “The bumblebee came first, but I wanted a smaller bee, so made the honeybee. They were made as pins, but I often wear my honeybee as an earring!”


The White Rabbit Brooch. 18ct gold, platinum, enamel, diamond, pearl & ruby, 60mm, 1999. “The White Rabbit” from Sir John Tenniel’s drawing in Alice in Wonderland. Tony: “His arms, legs and head all move. I was very sorry to see him go, he had so much character. I was going to make another - I had to buy a pair of pearls so there was one spare - but it wouldn’t have been the same.”


It is when all the components of a design begin to come together during the creation of a piece of jewellery that gives Tony the most satisfaction. “I draw everything I make first and then start making it. Initially, things don’t seem to be going anywhere and then quietly it all starts dropping into place and that’s what I like. Although I’m not as enthralled with many a technical challenge today, the battles won in the past evoked a huge feeling of triumph. I can look back at a piece now and wonder how I did that!”

work with but that doesn’t dictate or limit choices when creating a design and diamonds don’t necessarily reign supreme either. “Really it’s about the right metal and the right stones for an individual piece. Sometimes I can pick up a semi precious stone that has something very special about it, but it might wait years or even decades before it finds its place. Although I like gold, there are places where silver is better.” There is a vast difference between the way a mass produced piece of jewellery is assembled, often with inferior quality stones and metals, and the careful crafting and consideration given a unique hand sculpted piece made by a master. People like pretty things, and for some buying a piece is not only about the sparkle, but the easy price. Hand crafted work will hold high value not only because of the quality of materials used and the fact a caring human is spending a considerable amount of time making a piece of jewellery, but also through personal meaning, and often bought and gifted as a way to express deep emotions or commemorate very special occasions. How can you look at a piece and know the difference...

Feeling well pleased when his own designs are completed and sold, commissions can be equally gratifying. “I don’t think I would like to be doing just one thing. I like working with most commissions as they are always slightly retrospective by their nature in the sense you can push things in the direction you would like to go, but they are coming from where you’ve been. Commissions teach me something and take me in a direction I might not otherwise go in. I’ll usually draw up a conservative representation and then something else that is a bit more fanciful. I’ve also enjoyed making pieces for fashion shows. I enjoyed the drama and the opportunity to go out on a limb. As many of my pieces are small, it’s nice to work on larger pieces too. “

Although jewellery making is an art form that can be measured in mathematical and geometric terms, the unique elements utilized to create it - design, shape, quality of stones and metals, colour of the materials, durability and how that piece sits upon the wearer - all contribute, along with its maker, to its value.

Gold is generally Tony’s favourite precious metal to 92

Tony Williams in his studio in the midst of firing the enamel on some rings - a challenging and delicate process to get right. Photograph by Caroline Davies Š



Above: Dragonfly brooch – 18ct gold, platinum, diamond, black opal & plique à jour enamel, 90mm, 2000. Opposite page: Finished drawing for the brooch.




Final design

In the making...


Above: Drinking Like a Fish Under the Table Brooch - a.k.a. DLAFUTT - Silver with opal bubbles, & a fire opal eye. 80mm, 2013 Opposite page: DLAFUTT “Doodling, while idly contemplating mixed metaphors over a bottle of wine”


But is appreciating a piece of jewellery subject to an overriding personal taste and individual meaning or are there defining rules that go across the board and can be measured by an educated eye beyond the obvious things already mentioned? “Certainly it is not totally subjective and certainly there are pieces that are good and pieces that are not good, but then within the context of pieces that are good, some will work for you and some won’t wok for someone else. So that is subjective. There are pieces which are not as good or well made, but are really important to someone because that piece represents something really special to them.

Tony Williams Goldsmith is an extraordinary life and body of work presented in a beautiful book. But there is also much more to this master craftsman’s life and work. Biddy Waldron, Tony’s wife, who worked for the better part of two years on the book added... “It is amazing to have the book, but I am also very aware of how much isn’t in the book. There is also a huge amount of work not represented - just the sketches alone - the beautiful volumes of sketches. Every piece designed and made goes through a sketchbook and most of the pieces have finished drawings. It was incredibly difficult choosing which pieces to go in, sometimes it was based on whether we had a good photo, or if it was a particularly special piece, if we could get hold of it again to photograph. We tried to use pieces that were made with Tony’s own hands because for a lot of his career with a very successful business he employed highly skilled craftsmen to assist, and had two apprentices. Huge amounts of thought went into the design and how pieces looked together as groups or opposite each other. There was a lot of to and fro-ing, but I am delighted with it. Emma’s essay is stunning and Rigel had the incredibly difficult task in trying to contextualise this jewellery in the overall picture of jewellery making and she achieved that beautifully!”

I think the actual process of attempting to make something yourself with your hands is also part of understanding what goes into a well crafted piece of jewellery. I am a strong believer that there is intelligence in your hands and even for people who don’t go on to become significant artists in their own right, the fact that they have nailed something, the actual tactile experience of making something gives you an understanding of the art form. Jewellery needs to be handled. You don’t understand a pot unless you pick it up, turn it over and look at it from all sides, and only then do you understand it. But if you attempt to make it then you understand it even better. I think this is hugely important in my own work. You don’t always know how you are going to do things until you pick up the bits and pieces and begin work.”

Tony Williams Goldsmith is available through Tony’s website www.twgold.co.nz and in good bookshops. 98

Sycamore pendant – 18ct yellow gold, platinum, diamond, plique à jour enamel, topaz & pipi pearls, 50mm, 2001. ̃ A very fine precious topaz with that perfect almost peachy colour of the finest imperial topaz. The colour is repeated in the unfurling leaves of the sycamore in the early spring, which I find incredibly beautiful. Pipi pearls are lovely – they come from Rarotonga, are all natural (not cultured), and have a range of peachy bronze to white colours.” 99

Caterpillar brooch: 18ct gold, platinum, diamonds & enamel. 55mm, 2001. From the Alice in Wonderland drawing by Sir John Tenniel. “A team effort, I turned it into jewellery, Richard van Dijk made it, I enamelled it, Grego Holland set it, and Jeffrey Chambers made the box, the inside of which resembles the underside of a mushroom. 100

Ouroboros brooch – 18ct gold, platinum, diamond, cloisonné enamel & black pearl, 50mm diameter, 1987. ̃ The serpent holding its tail in its mouth – the Worm Ouroboros or Miklagard serpent – it has many names and is an ancient symbol.


Photograph/collage by Caroline Davies Š 2018


down the gard en path . . . d an




the road to

snark a story about David Elliot and his stories Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018



Henry from “Henry’s Map” written by David Elliot Illustration by David Elliot © 106

Down the Garden Path and the Road to Snark

best. Perhaps complete freedom from the constraints of formal training during his younger years enabled David to just go about his business of drawing unhindered and leave his imagination unencumbered from the sway of other’s opinions. Although everyone’s developmental needs are different, in this case, circumstances were just right. In the end (at school), “me and a mate got together and conned the school into letting us do art in a senior class. We just played chess basically, but in actual fact, I was hungry for knowledge.”

Story by Caroline Davies Illustrations by David Elliot

I think David Elliot was born with his imagination in a fine and robust state of development. From all accounts of his early childhood, he showed signs of this whilst leading his playmate, an imaginary lamb, around on the end of a string. The rest is history.

Down the garden path.

Not surprisingly, considering the nature of his collective works, David had mild inclinations to become a vet at that young age when pre-adults are pressured by society to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives. In David’s case, one can certainly see where the pathways between veterinary science and writing and illustration converge harmoniously. The connections are clearly drawn out because a vet, like an artist, would need to understand the very make up, essence and personalities of animals as well as their anatomy. “It was a lot of work to become a vet though.” And he wasn’t really up for it. “I wasn’t up on science much but if you didn’t do art at school then you couldn’t get into art school.” So there was a conundrum. But of course David worked it out and discovered he could go to design school first. “I scraped in with 51%. I ran into a guy there who was a fantastic drawing teacher, Roger Hart. He used to wander around singing at the top of his voice. He was also a real hands-on guy, he would just sit down and draw

David grew up in Ashburton, located in the middle of the Canterbury Plains and spent many summers on his aunt’s farm where there were lots of sheep and pine trees. We might consider David’s fortunate circumstances as being a person born in the right place at the right time. Surrounded by farm animals to talk to and inspire him, this environment couldn’t have produced better humus to create the fertile ground essential for a young lad to stretch his imagination. In addition to his countryside surroundings, David recalls, “my mother had a cutting sense of humour, was a great story teller, and loved animals. My dad had great respect for drawing, and they both loved books.” Curiously, there were no art teachers to be found at Ashburton College to influence and guide this young man, despite its size. But sometimes circumstances that might seem antithetical at the time, can work out for the 107

his art and say this is how you do it. There was no mamby pamby - ‘I think it’s lovely but what if you do this’ - no - he would just say ‘bad’. That year was great for me.”

same boat at the beginning. All the other kids turned up from schools that had fantastic art teachers and had ability coming out of their finger nails. Strangely enough though, when they hit the first hurdle they fell off and went and did something else, whereas my friend and I muscled and chewed our way through it all. In retrospect, I think it was a really good way to learn about and experience the overcoming of hurdles. Once you realise that you can overcome one challenge, then you can overcome others.”

The next year David made it into art school - a different palette of paints all together. “There were a lot of people smoking pipes and pointing them at you in art school. It was really the friends I met there who had the same love for drawing that was the most important thing about it and has been ever since. Those people have been a great support to me over the years. We had a fantastic year at school, but as far as learning anything in particular, it was Roger Hart who had really shaken me up the year before.”

Having completed art school and walking around Christchurch one day pondering his future as an artist, luck struck again (as it has many times according to David). This fortunate young man came upon something akin to an art factory with a romantic touch of the French Salons in a rough New Zealand kind of way. “My first job was painting grapes on glass panels for themed pubs, quite popular back in the day. I soon got bored of those bloody grapes and the guy who insisted how I went about my job. I thought his technique with paint and cotton wool wipes was bollocks and so then I got into trouble and an argument.” Chance would have it though that the manager called down to sort things out promoted David to a designer. “That was great. The best part about that experience was you didn’t muck about doing things. I moaned about it but honestly, you got paid at the end of the week. It was great practical education after art school with all the pipe

Surrounded by “naturally gifted” students in his first year of art school, David wasn’t sure he had a real gift for art, although he must have shown some aptitude for it to be there in the first place. “Honestly, I had to work hard, and I still continue to work at it. I think that once you get a hunger inside of you to be good at something, it doesn’t stop, and the more you do it the more you realise you can never really satiate that hunger. You continually think about how to do something better - that’s really the driving force behind it. A friend of mine from art school, now an accomplished sculptor, and I, were both in the 108

couldn’t spend much of in Antarctica, and the second thing was that it was such a mind bending place (this was 1979), especially at the beginning - it was just this magical twilight world down there. It was like being on the cover of an Arthur C. Clarke science fiction novel. It was this incredible space. You really ended up listening to your own heart beat. You also got a sense of how small and insignificant you are but simultaneously how important you are and how good it is to be alive.

smoking and pointing. You just had to get on with it and get over yourself. As I was doing that during the day, I became more and more interested in my own drawings and I developed a routine of practice at home after work.” Personally, I think that “luck” attends those who make a full commitment to their inner drummer rather than societal pressures. Courage and trust are important attitudes to accompany the beat of the heart, and doors open when and where you least expect them and often in unexpected ways. “When I turned up for the job in the art factory, there was a naked man hanging from the roof of the mezzanine floor. He was all taped up with brown packaging tape. He was an outrageous showman and it was entirely appropriate that they had taped him up like that. His job was the one I eventually got as a designer. He was crazy about garden gnomes too and had this idea that he wanted to put the first garden gnome on the South Pole, which he eventually did. After he came back from his first journey to the South Pole he decided to try for the catering contract for McMurdo himself and went around rousing up his friends to help him. He missed out but I ended up going down with the successful contractors on the first flight of the season after the winter and helped them break open the base.

The Antarctica experience was really a major mind shift and is something I often go back to in order to remind myself, after growing up and trundling up the step ladder of life in Ashburton and Canterbury, that you can do anything you like.” In fact, David went down with another gnome and managed to get it flown all the way around Antarctica, and finally, all boxed up, presented the well travelled garden gnome along with a letter from his friend Henry to the Russian Commandant of the Vostok Base. It was very well received. (A note: Henry, David’s crazy friend who had been taped up back at the art factory, and had successfully placed a gnome on the south pole the year before, had furnished David with a letter to go with the gnome in the box. In the letter, Henry stated that gnome stands for Guarding Naturally Over Mother Earth, and so they are putting them on the last gardens of the world.)

It was a great experience for the five months I was there. For one I earned a lot of money that you 109

David’s first published illustration which appeared in a Russian scientific journal called ‘Siberian Lights’ (1980)


The road to Snark.

After a short but impactful meeting and drinking vodka, eating fish and swapping jeans with the Russian scientists, David was presented with a fresh cucumber as he was about to board his plane. You have to get a grip on how rare and precious a fresh cucumber grown in the coldest place on earth and covered in ice is. “The engines of the Hercules plane had to keep running so they wouldn’t freeze up and leave us stranded. A Russian guy came out as we were leaving and introduced me to another Russian scientist who opened his hand and said, ‘this is from the earth’s garden’. He had taken a little seed from its parent cucumber, plus a little soil from Siberia, and then after travelling for months overland in hazardous conditions to the Vostok base as they couldn’t fly at that time of the year, managed against all odds to grow a cucumber.

With the money he earned from his adventures on the ice, David took himself northward to warmer climes of South East Asia, then Europe and then Britain, by which time he had spent all of his savings. “I had this idea that I wanted to go to Germany to art school because I always liked German drawing and Northern European art, so I thought I would go up to Aberdeen and try and get a job on the rigs there to pay for it. After hitch hiking up there and staying on a lovely friend of a friend’s couch in Edinburgh, it was clear that job wasn’t going to come off. Penniless and looking for a live-in job in a hotel next to the zoo on the outskirts of Edinburgh, I came upon a little note in the gate house of the zoo advertising ‘Gate Man Wanted’. The crusty old Scotsman in charge said, “nah the job has gone”, and I thought “nah” it hasn’t, so I went round to see his manager and kept hounding him. I promised him the earth for the job, I promised drawings, but it was promising him an All Black jersey that finally landed me the job. I was deeply needing a place of my own. I didn’t want to go back to London or New Zealand and to find this cottage at the zoo - it was fabulous! And at night I could close the gates and the whole place was mine. This was where I met my wife, G i l l i a n. She came along

That was so spacey - it was a great personal story for me. The second thing about it was, ‘look, you can just do anything you like. All it takes is a bit of luck, stick to your guns, and things will happen’. And sure enough, they happened.”

The Bellman from ‘Snark’ by David Elliot © (after Lewis Carroll)


about a year later in search of a summer job. It was certainly a wonderful period for me. During the winter no one would come to the zoo and so I would sit in my ticket office with drawings from one end to the other and I could go down to the National Gallery and look at the beautiful medieval art.”

This was another massively important period for David that left an enduring imprint through to today. It was a precious time availing him the opportunity to develop new techniques and improve his drawings. Understanding the anatomy of an animal became a vital part of his work. What a perfect gift in life to be living at a zoo. It was also a time where he was finally able to integrate sculpture and drawing. “I started drawing the animals the way I made clay and paper figures, and as an illustrator, that has been very good for me. I try to work with the whole integrity of the subject I’m drawing. It’s not a superficial thing. Even if I make a cartoony kind of drawing in the end, it still has the guts of a creature underneath. I have this need to understand how the subject works and functions and as soon as you get down to the anatomy, the structure and movement of a creature, you are working with a whole subject on a three dimensional plane. That’s given me the capacity to turn things around in space and think of the variety of angles as you would do with a movie camera.” It’s clear the journey is as important a part of the process as the final work for David and something that many of us can appreciate or be reminded of… “I actually like my rough drawings a lot more than my finished ones because it is the hunt for structure and understanding what I’m trying to do that intrigues me and gives a drawing life. An illustration all tidied up for a book has already

The Whistler - David Elliot ©


Moonlight - David Elliot ©


Red Dragon - David Elliot © 114

been discovered through the translation from the sketches. What you are doing is going over old ground, tidying it up for the publisher. Because of that I like to collect other illustrator ’s roughs. Like many other illustrators I prefer them to the final publishable illustrations. The finished piece is just the front for the actual drawing.

teaching I will give kids clay to play with. For example if you were going to make a dragon, you wouldn’t try and make its nose straight away. You would actually start with blobs of stuff and you would just say, ‘well, that’s crap’. Then you begin to squash it and move it and change it. The same thing goes with drawing. If you start off with something you know you are going to change - you are setting yourself up for a journey into a piece of work that’s a journey unto itself.

If there is anything I would like to explain to people is that the process of drawing is such a wonderful experience. It’s a bit like Michelangelo finding the body inside a piece of marble. Often you will get half way into a drawing and it will start telling you what it wants to be - it comes out of the paper at you. You are setting up a kind of theatre on the paper in front of you allowing the drawing to happen. You work away until suddenly this lovely bounce comes off the end of your pencil. You just feel your way into the whiteness of the paper and you draw the thing out and you explain it to yourself. The drawing becomes alive and starts turning into what it wants to be.

I’m certainly a bit of a dinosaur now in terms of illustration because I’m such an old fashioned pencil and water colour kind of person. A lot of kids will use computers to produce their work and I suppose I would be doing that too if I were starting out now. On the other hand I think I would miss the process of the drawing being evident on the paper. The ghosts of change are there. Those serendipitous things are there.”

What I say to kids I’m teaching is that we’ve all got these images in our heads about what we want a drawing to look like but you are just setting yourself up for failure because what you are doing is trying to capture this thing that is uncapturable. It can never be. What you need to do is head in the direction of what you are after and realise you are going to make mistakes and just make them. Just change the drawing and change it and change it. When I’m

Gobbo from ‘Doomwyte’ written by Brian Jacques Illustration by David Elliot © 115

Back in New Zealand and A Slight Detour New York Calls David doesn’t really know how he was discovered by a major New York publishing house. He has an inkling it might have been through Joy Cowley. Joy had been working with Patti Gouch at Philomel Books but she would never confirm or deny the story.. Whilst illustrating others and his own books for Random House in Auckland, one of the perks was to be able to pick up books from the publisher’s free book bins. He would fill his bags up with these books for his daughters. In particular, he was rather taken with these funny little books with mice on the covers and had stacked them up by his telephone. A few days later, “I got this call from America with a voice saying, ‘David Elliot? Have you ever heard of the Redwall books by Brian Jacques?’, and I had to laugh. The voice said, ‘we would like you try out for these books’. I did seven books in the end. It was a big series. I was the 4th illustrator to work on them. I couldn’t have had a better apprenticeship in drawing. It came quite late in life and was fantastic. A manuscript would arrive requiring about forty illustrations and I would do upwards of a half dozen roughs for each, , trying never to repeat a composition. In the beginning Patti would show the drawings to Brian Jacques and would then come back to me with questions and suggestions. She really helped me open up my own imagination to things. Very gently I have to say. She was a great mentor.”

Fortuna from ‘Mossflower’ written by Brian Jaques Illustration by David Elliot ©


Roughs for ‘Redwall’ written by Brian Jacques Illustrations by David Elliot © 117

Back to Snark - we’re getting closer!

In actual fact, it turns out that David Elliot’s Snark: Being a True History of the Expedition that Discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock... and its Tragic Aftermath (2016) had a very long incubation period. Physical evidence of it apparently appeared for the first time when David, aged 14, wrote a short story on a jotter about snarks living in the creek behind his aunt’s house, the one on the farm in Ashburton, Canterbury. He’d forgotten about that story he had written until it miraculously reappeared decades later whilst he was having a good clearing out of stuff. “I’m really proud of the ‘Snark’ - and I’m pleased not just because it’s done well and won awards, but it embodies how I feel about books - that they are worlds to fall into and go sideways in. And as much as anything else, that is the way I think about stories and images. I’ll immediately think of 15 different versions on a theme. I can never work out which one is the best and so I’ll go onto something else, but that’s what I like - ‘Snark’ is a book about a book about a book. It’s got layers to it, and when you get to the end you revisit the story by looking at it from another point of view.

A legend in the world of rare books, Dr. Donald Kerr is a familiar name to bibliophiles, printers, collectors, presses - all things to do with books. He is also the Special Collections Librarian at the University of Otago in Dunedin. “Meeting Donald was an important moment for me. First of all, I’ve always loved libraries, but to actually meet somebody who is so entrenched in the collection, so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the special collection was just fantastic. He organises collaborations between authors, artists, printers and printmakers and they work on that as a project for the year. (Printer in Residence programme at Otago University). I wanted to do the Snark. And so in 2006, the first handpressed special edition of ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ sold out at 101 copies. 100 went to collectors all around the world and one went to Margaret Mahy for being able to recite Lewis Carroll’s ‘The Hunting of the Snark’.”

Lewis Carroll’s ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ is a very round about story with a kind of very roundabout explanation. It’s this glorious expedition that is doomed to fail, but it makes just as much sense as anything else in life. It is so full of silly holes and why I think Snark is so attractive. It’s one of my favourite stories. It’s like Beethoven’s quote, ‘it’s 118

Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2018

“I’m really proud of ‘Snark’ (referring to the 2016 edition). I’m pleased not just because it’s done well and won awards, but it embodies how I feel about books; that they are worlds to fall into!” David Elliot Image Opposite Page : Limited edition print of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark (2006). Printed by Tara McLeod & illustrated by David Elliot.


not the music, it’s the silence between the notes that counts’. It’s the same with Carroll’s nonsense in that poem in that there are so many holes for your imagination to fall into. He twists reality so strangely, so surreally, that it is a dead setter for anyone to try and come up with real meanings behind these things, and yet so many people have written books on what ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ is supposed to be about.”

So the ‘Snark’ was going to be a natural history of The Island with Lewis Carroll’s characters. When I visited Oxford for research a publisher suggested there was a story there and might be the way to develop the book. So the story is quite realistically tied to that loony Victorian world of discovery and collections of things. And then there is the quest I put into the story as well, which is my story, and also there is this looking back into the tale again at the end of it. I’m really pleased I had the opportunity to do that with ‘Snark’. I can’t imagine another book where you could ever do that quite that way.”

The final (we think) development of Snark began with a generous and much appreciated grant from Creative New Zealand when David proposed he create the book as a natural history. “There was a vibrant curiosity about Australasia during Victorian times. By accounts of the time, Lewis Carroll would take little Alice to the Natural History Museum in Oxford which was full of kangaroos (taxidermals I presume) and other unusual animals and plants from the great frontier of the Antipodes. It just seemed like a wonderland to the Victorians. Carroll had written the initial stanzas for ‘Jabberwocky’ when he was a young man and it was 25 years later that he came out with ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ with the same characters. The Island must have existed in his imagination for that whole period of time. I know from my own experience that if you come up with a scenario like that, it just takes on its own life. Image: The Butcher in clay by David Elliot ©


Jabberwocky from ‘Snark’ by David Elliot © (after Lewis Carroll)


With all that behind him now (although personally I think ‘Snark’ would make a very fine movie in the right hands), David has new works coming up. “I have a new book coming out at the end of November which is another fun wee book called “Oink” about a pig farting in the bath - one of my greatest literary moments! I’m also working on a book about Captain Cook’s charting of New Zealand written by Tessa Duder which is quite a big book marking the 250th anniversary of Cook’s first voyage to New Zealand. And, I’m really looking forward to doing a few more things for the “shop” - The Flying Whale Gallery in Port Chalmers (Dunedin) Gillian created and is running. I love making things with paper - it’s like the idea of the diorama with ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ (2006). I love the imaginary world that can be created with paper. There are wonderful opportunities for me to slide sideways into a lot of funny little things!”

https://flyingwhale.co http://www.davidelliot.org

Jubjub bird mache by David Elliot ©


Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2018

David Elliot and the Flying Whale wall mural in Port Chalmers, Dunedin Painted by Daniel Mead and Tessa Petley working from David Elliot’s original concept and artwork.

Notes on titles: Lewis Carroll’s poem is: “The Hunting of the Snark” (An agony in 8 fits) written. 1874-76 David Elliot’s 2006 special and limited edition is titled:  “The Hunting of the Snark” and the 2016 edition is:  “Snark:  Being a True History of the Expedition that Discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock … and its Tragic Aftermath”  by David Elliot after Lewis Carroll (this title, shortened, is often referred to as “Snark” in the text of this story) 123

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Peninsula Mist Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Peninsula Mist Dunedin


Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2018


Hocken Collections - Uare Taoka o Hākena The first in a series Part One: Foundations Dr. T. Morland Hocken and an interview with Hocken Librarian, Sharon Dell

“This work has been to me a labour of love and in it I have put into practice a sentiment I have always held: that it is the bounden duty of every citizen to do something for his state in the welfare of which his own happiness and prosperity are very largely found.

A desire, then,

to do something for the people among whom I have so long sojourned … has been the actuating motive in the formation of this collection….” Dr. T. Morland Hocken

All archival and historical images are, with permission, from the Hocken Collections - Uare Taoka a Hākena, University of Otago

Image under text: [Hocken and Gladys] Kate Boyes. Hocken Family Photographs. R7083


Otago’s gold rush was in full swing by 1862 when Dr. Thomas Morland Hocken arrived in Dunedin as a 26 year-old young man and established his much needed medical practice. The spritely Hocken, an energetic and invaluable member of the community, also became a keen researcher, an avid collector of historical and contemporary artefacts of the time, and a bibliophile. Over a forty year period, Dr. Hocken amassed an incredible number of books, art, historical documents, letters, and artefacts from local, national and Pacific regions. In March 1897, Dr. Hocken announced his intention to gift his collection to New Zealand at an event marking Otago Anniversary day, and on 2 September 1907 signed the deed of trust which endowed his extraordinary personal collection to the Otago Museum - then a part of the University of Otago. Hocken's library opened in a specially built wing of the Otago Museum on the 31st March, 1910.

papers of prominent writers such as James K. Baxter and Hone Tuwhare, Janet Frame and RAK Mason, and a considerable amount of material tracking and noting the more recent “Dunedin Sound”. Sharon Dell is The Hocken Librarian. A person more perfectly suited to this important task I cannot imagine. Gracious and articulate for this interview, Sharon’s family background also accounts for some influence on her sensibilities and abilities. Along with her three sisters, Sharon was brought up in a stimulating home environment where curiosity was encouraged and collecting was a family past time. Richard Dell, Sharon’s father, was a former Director of the Dominion Museum in Wellington (now known as Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa). Her mother, Dame Miriam Dell who studied science at the University of Auckland, and was considered a gifted teacher, is a highly regarded advocate for women’s rights. Before Dunedin’s great fortune of attracting Sharon to this fair city, she spent 21 years at the Alexander Turnbull Research Library in Wellington and 12 years at the Whanganui Regional Museum.


Today, as one of New Zealand’s top research libraries and stewards of social history, the Hocken Collections is a highly valued repository of artefacts held in posterity for contemporary and future generations. The storage and holding rooms are vast, containing historical and cultural materials dating from as early as the 17th century through to present times. The Hocken Collections safeguards archives of books, drawings, maps, music, newspapers, paintings, photographs, posters, letters, archives and manuscripts. There are documents covering the work of Reverend Samuel Marsden, the establishment of Christchurch, letters and

With a substantial period of time immersed in the Alexander Turnbull Library, and now Hocken Collections, Sharon was well able to speak about the two contemporaries who had the vision and enthusiasm to accumulate and preserve knowledge, and in satisfying their own passions, bestowed a great gift in perpetuity for all to use and learn from. 128

Thomas Morland Hocken (1836-1910) was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, the son of a Wesleyan minister, Hocken qualified in medicine in 1859 and worked as a ship's surgeon between England and Australia until settling in Dunedin in 1862. Hocken Collections

[Hocken headshot] S09-393e


An amicable acquaintance of the older Thomas Hocken during the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Alexander Turnbull, a wealthy and flamboyant merchant based in Wellington, accrued an immense collection of over 55,000 books, artworks, prints and maps during his relatively short life of 59 years. Like Hocken, Turnbull also donated his library for the benefit of New Zealand. Turnbull’s library was bequeathed in 1918, and opened in Wellington in 1920 - ten years after Hocken’s Library opened in Dunedin as an annex of the Otago Museum. Although Turnbull’s collection was larger and is now part of the National Library of New Zealand, Hocken’s is and was considered no less important.

Hocken collected just as avidly and wanted the same completeness but he was motivated by the research he wanted to do. He wanted to have the materials to support his lectures and tell people about the amazing history of New Zealand. Hocken also created the first bibliography of New Zealand literature which was published in the early 1900s. It took almost 70 years before a more comprehensive one was compiled.” Hocken and Turnbull’s common ground with the desire to acquire full collections diverged in the way they went about it. Turnbull was a very cultured, affluent man who believed he was doing something that would help future researchers seeking truth and put his income into it. Hocken, although not as wealthy, made up for that by having an enormous amount of energy and determination. “Hocken had no qualms about approaching anyone who might have been connected to New Zealand’s history and asking if they had material. That is why we have an entire set of the founding documents of Christchurch here in Dunedin because Hocken went directly to the descendants and key characters of the Canterbury Association and asked them. We’ve also got the Church Mission Society papers because Hocken went to London and persuaded them, who knows how, to let him have a considerable amount of material from that early period. The Samuel Marsden journals, reports and letters, and journals of the

The two benefactors were driven by different motivations and Sharon gave some clear comparisons. “We (at the Alexander Turnbull Library) always thought of the Hocken as our Southern equivalent but we didn’t really know a lot about Hocken himself and the way his particular character shaped his collection differently to Turnbull. Turnbull was a bibliophile with a desire for completeness in his collections. He was a wealthy man who bought custom-made shirts by the dozen from Jerym Street in London. He would even have the smallest pamphlet bound in leather and decorated with gold tooling, made by the best in London. That was his motivation. 130

Original Deed of Trust (1907, 1966) Misc-MS-1566 131

early missionary settlers from the Bay of Islands are here because of Hocken’s determination.

corresponded regularly. He didn’t want to acquire knowledge from just reading, he wanted to have a personal experience of visiting the places and meeting the people he was interested in. He developed a very strong connection with the history of New Zealand from his own experiences and often found those experiences very moving.

Hocken was a remarkable person - he had a very active medical career and by reports considered kind, compassionate, and discerning. He was the city’s Coroner for 22 years, he was a Fellow of the Linnean Society, he was instrumental in starting the Otago Branch of the New Zealand Institute where he gave lectures, and sat on the University Council. Hocken was at the foundation of the institutions centred around knowledge and education here in Otago. He travelled widely, and was one of the main organisers of the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition. Hocken was in charge of the Early History and South Seas Court. At the time (18891890) the population of Dunedin was around 49,000 but during the 125 days the exhibition was on over 625,000 people came to it.”

He also had an interesting partnership with his second wife Bessie. She was an artist and just as engaging a person in her own right. The well travelled and educated Elizabeth Mary Buckland helped her husband in many ways. For example, Hocken would acquire a painting and Bessie would make a copy of it so he could annotate what the places were in the painting, keeping most of the original works collected in pristine condition. He also kept notebooks full of well organised details he’d written as well as his own drawings.

Contemplating the social structure of that time in history, it seems remarkable that Hocken was able to co ordinate so much in a relatively short period of time. Mail was the main mode of communication across regions often taking weeks if not months to arrive at their destination, and then receive a response. Travel, often arduous, was by horse, boat, trains, and trekking through dense and difficult terrain. “Hocken had forged strong relationships with other collectors, explorers and experts. He worked very c l o s e l y with certain people and with whom he

It is good to make note here that Hocken had a very good woman behind him who also kept the house running amongst other things. Turnbull (who had remained a bachelor) on the other hand, had acquired books that hadn’t been looked at. I am absolutely sure he read a lot, and had interest in those subjects, but some of the books in the collection hadn’t been slit open from their original and new binding.” 132

Dr Hocken visiting Ruapuke, 1896. Album 45 p57. S14-078a


Churton Photograph with notes by Dr T.M. Hocken, 1905. Acc. 689.01711 .


Journal of Dr T.M. Hocken’s holiday trips to various parts of the North Island and to Christchurch, 1879-1905. MS_0037_B.


In March of 1910 an annex at the Otago Museum had been built and completed to house the collection Dr. Hocken had gifted to the University of Otago in 1907 Hocken died a short time after the opening in May. He was terminally ill with cancer of the oesophagus and never saw his life’s collection displayed in its new home. “Money had to be raised to set up and create the wing of the museum as well as a fund that would enable ongoing staffing and upkeep of the collection. There was an agreement with the government at the time that it would match each pound donated by the public. The agreement also included reference to having a suitable ‘man’ to be the librarian who would keep looking after things.” Document right: First page of: Letter, 24 March 1910, from Dr T.M. Hocken, to George Fenwick, Chairman, Hocken Library Trustees (24 March 1910) MS-0451-031/003


On 9 January 1908, the Dunedin architect John Burnside was appointed to design the extension to the Otago Museum that would house Dr Hocken’s collection of books, manuscripts and pictures. The Hocken Wing, the first substantial addition to the Otago Museum, was opened by Lord Plunket on 31 March 1910. The books and manuscripts were held on the upper floor and a Maori Hall based on artefacts in his collections on the lower level. From Otago Witness, 6 April 1910. S14-078d 137

[Hocken in library] SO7-253 138

“It wasn’t until the mid 1930s that the Hocken Collection formally became part of the University Library, so up until then, it was a poor relation really. It was always physically separated so that it was operated rather differently. Idiosyncratically one might say. I can see that Hocken wasn’t an easy child to have in the family, and from the Hocken perspective, felt it wasn’t understood for a long time. Universities have academic libraries with strong special collections, but Hocken's is of an order that is a lot bigger than that.

they were interested in was for the information that it conveyed. That is, they weren’t just pretty pictures. The same mandate was used for the Turnbull acquisitions. “Things began to change in the New Zealand art scene in the mid 20th century. In many ways that change in art came through, in, and out of Dunedin. The Department of Education had developed a scheme that brought artists who were trained in the British tradition to New Zealand in order to help improve the quality of art education in schools throughout the country. The Dunedin School of Art was particularly influenced this way with the likes of Colin McCahon, Toss Woollaston , Doris Lusk and others who went on to influence NZ art. At that time, the work of art teachers was not accepted into the Art Society shows, let alone the challenging new work of their pupils. Public institutions were not collecting the work of those artists because those institutions were still quite conservative.

As the collections are to be held for posterity, inevitably we grow. The collection is open to anyone and researchers and visitors will come from anywhere and everywhere, so it is not just a university or city based facility. One of our challenges today that both we and the university talk to the Government about is how important the collection is, how it is part of a national documentary heritage infrastructure and that it would be really useful for us to have additional support for what is really a national role.”

It was people like Charles Brasch, Rodney Kennedy and a group of like-minded family and friends who were supporting artists in as many ways as they could - with their own money, their personal interest, or writing about them and promoting them. They were also buying artists’ work and giving that work to the Hocken. Brasch and Kennedy were members of the Hocken Pictures Committee and they were able to persuade a change

Changing Times By the mid 20th century, the library began to change and shift its focus in regards to fine art. It was clear the Hocken had procured paintings, photography, maps and objects that documented historical events, but the art 139

in the Hocken’s art collecting policy so that we took and now include contemporary and expressive works. That is very different from the Hocken’s original plan, or the Turnbull Library’s mandate that still stays true to the collecting of art works that are documentary in nature.”

ahead. Today, the team at Hocken Collections are also carefully considering the impact digital and virtual systems have on historical collections. “ I think about how these collections are here to record and mark the history and culture of our country; the lives of the people, their aspirations, their achievements and how they have lived. The way people did that in the past was by writing things down, taking pictures, making drawings and paintings and these days we don’t do that in the same way and that’s a problem for posterity.

In fact, not a lot of fine art was collected in either library after the turn of the 19th century as photography emerged and was considered a more accurate mode of record keeping. However, because of that change in policy, the Hocken now holds a fantastic contemporary art collection representing the finest of artists from all over New Zealand. “A Trust Fund was set up by those patrons of art who had the money to support both artists and the Hocken Collections. That’s the money we still have and the only money we have to purchase new material. If it wasn’t for Charles Brasch, Robert Kennedy and their ‘art family’ instigating change in our policy and providing us with the ability to do so, it would be a very different kind of institution. It has also enabled us to provide an ongoing exhibition programme and one of the ways our art collection can be seen more expansively.”

Today people express themselves differently and communicate electronically with phones and computers. If we want to have a record of this period, we have to think of other ways of documenting. It is an interesting challenge to have and we need to grapple with it. What legacy of this time is going to exist into the future when we know our digital footprint is difficult to maintain? We all have computers, USB files and corrupted discs of photographs we can no longer access, documents we no longer have, or the way we might use Facebook or our blogs as a diary. Whatever we might do to record our lives, it has a constantly changing and unknown future!”

Currently, Hocken Collections is a well staffed facility set up to meet the challenges a treasured library such as this is faced with for cataloguing, space and housing their growing collection, but they still need to look

Hocken Collections - Uare Taoka o Hākena 90 Anzac Avenue, North Dunedin Tel: (03) 479 8868


Picnic at Long Beach 1896 Kate Boyes. Hocken Family Photographs. R7083 Sharon Dell - Hocken Librarian, University of Otago (Dunedin, Aotearoa/New Zealand) Sharon Dell has long experience working with New Zealand/Pacific heritage collections. She was at the Alexander Turnbull Library, working primarily with unpublished collections, from 1974 to 1995. She then served as Director of the Whanganui Regional Museum until 2008, when she was appointed Librarian of the University of Otago Library's Hocken Collection. 141


Ten things I want to tell you about my ducks

1. They are Khaki Campbells, but they are not khaki. They are assorted ratios of brown and white, though they have khaki beaks and feet.

5. … except for Lucy, who lays hers wherever she happens to be at the time the need overcomes her. Lucy has orange feet.

2. They are all girls, including the transgender one who looks and sounds like a drake. They need a guard while they eat, and she drew the short straw.

6. Sometimes they lay their eggs in the sunken bath in the lawn that is their pond, for us to find when we change the water. These are inedible.

3. Their eggs are exactly like chook eggs, only bigger. Get over it. The eggs are especially good for baking because of their greater loft.

7. I suspect the pond eggs are Lucy’s. 8. They do not eat bread but Hi-Lay chicken pellets, whole dried corn and wheat. They love lettuce. Lettuces are very expensive in winter.

4. They hide their eggs under leaf litter or on straw that I leave out in the hedge or beneath flax bushes or behind the incinerator …

9. The checkout operator at Pak’nSave asks me if we will eat them when they stop laying eggs. 10. No.

Pages 58 and 59 the unexpected greenness of trees


My favourite (poems), 2011 judge Bernadette Hall wrote, ‘are fresh and surprising. They’re well built, there’s air and imaginative energy in their making. The world looks replenished through their windows.’ Six years of the Caselberg International Poetry Prize in the first Caselberg Press imprint, a limited edition anthology, “the unexpected greenness of trees”.

To purchase a copy, contact: info@caselbergtrust.org Caselberg Trust


G ifts i n t h e G a r d e n by

F r a n c i s c a G r i ff i n B o ra g o o ff i c i n a l e Borage - Borago officinale - also known as Bee Flower and Starf lower, is an annual plant that originated in Syria, and is now found world-wide. Like many of our herbs, Borage has been used for centuries, in cooking, brewing, beautifying, and as a medicine. It was in regular use, alongside rosemary, thyme & mint.


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018


It is a wonderful plant to have in your garden, is it beautiful and of course the bees love it. Makes a useful addition to the compost pile, and is a good companion for tomatoes, squash, strawberries and cabbage. In the kitchen Borage lends a refreshing taste of cucumber to salads, try putting flowers in, or sprinkle a few chopped leaves over steamed vegetables. The leaves & stems will make any liquid into which they are steeped a   cooling and soothing beverage, a cordial that is. Cordialis is the Latin word from which cordial is derived, and it means ‘belonging to the heart’. Brewers of all sorts of beverages still use Borage in their beers, ciders and fortified wines. Medicinally, the leaves and flowers are used as infusions & decoctions of varying strengths. A poultice made with the crushed leaves mixed with extra virgin olive oil can be applied to the chest to alleviate colds, coughs & bronchitis. Accompany this with a tea of the flowers & leaves and it will impart its febrifuge (fever lowering)

Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2018


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Honey bee and borage flower


abilities. This tea is also a galactagogue/ emmenagogue, it will help a mother ’s milk, and was used in the past for menstrual and menopausal troubles. Traditionally Borage was used for melancholy (such a descriptive and evocative word for depression). A tea of leaves and flowers is called for here. Borage Oil - often called Starflower Oil these days is high in gamma-linolenic acid (Omega 6) making it a great vegetarian and vegan alternative to Cod Liver Oil. As an anti-inflammatory it has been used internally for congestion, arthritis, and other inflammations such as hypertension. It has been used as a supplement in a diabetic diet - makes sense really, as diabetes is yet another manifestation of systemic inflammation.  Externally it can be applied directly to eczema, seborrhoea, fungal infections. Try adding the oil to a simple cream for regular use. For cradle cap it is best diluted, a good oil to use would be sweet almond or apricot. Cosmetically it is found in many ‘anti-aging’ products. It can be added to a massage oil or wax for sore joints. Try massaging some into the scalp for dandruff prevention.

francisca@beighealthy.co.nz http://www.beinghealthy.co.nz/ Being Healthy Naturally Wordpress

Francisca Griffin has been practicing Naturopathy from her home based clinic in Port Chalmers for 15 years.


Important: Always check with an expert if you are not sure about identifying any plant accurately. Botanicals can have varying characteristics at different times of the year and growth, & look different in varied light. The borage plant on this page was photographed in a Dunedin garden at the end of a mild winter. 149

s k o

Recently and soon to be published fiction and non-fiction books

o B

From Writers in Otago Publishers in Otago Or stories about Otago

Otago University Press

See No Evil: New Zealand's betrayal of the people of West Papua Maire Leadbeater

New Releases

Poeta: selected and new poems Cilla McQueen

See No Evil is a shocking account by one of New Zealand’s most respected authors on peace and Pacific issues, issuing a powerful call for a just and permanent solution – selfdetermination – for the people of West Papua.

Bluff-based Cilla McQueen is one of New Zealand’s best-loved poets. Poeta: Selected and New Poems brings together a definitive selection of her poetry spanning five decades.

To the Mountains: a collection of New Zealand mountain writing Edited by Laurence Fearnley and Paul Hersey

The Farewell Tourist Alison Glenny Pushing against the boundaries of what poetry might be, Alison Glenny’s The Farewell Tourist is haunting, many-layered and slightly surreal.

Drawing on 150 years of published and unpublished material, Laurence Fearnley and Paul Hersey, two top contemporary authors, have compiled a wide-ranging, fascinating and moving glimpse into New Zealand’s mountaineering culture and the people who write about it.

Niue and the Great War Margaret Pointer Charles Brasch Journals 1958–1973 Selected with an introduction by Peter Simpson

The story of tiny Niue’s involvement in the Great War has captivated people since an account was first published by Margaret Pointer in 2000. This moving story has now been set in a wider Pacific context and also considers the contribution made by colonial troops, especially ‘coloured’ ones, to the Allied effort.

This third and final volume of Charles Brasch’s compelling private journals covers the years from when he was 48 to his death at 64.

Landfall 235: Autumn 2018 Edited by Emma Neale

Edgeland and other poems David Eggleton

Landfall is New Zealand's foremost and longest-running arts and literary journal. It showcases new fiction and poetry, as well as biographical and critical essays, and cultural commentary.

Edgeland is a dazzling display of polychromatic virtuosity, teeming with irrepressible wordplay, startling imagery and anarchic wit, from one of New Zealand’s best-loved poets.


Whisper of a Crow’s Wing Majella Cullinane

Filming the Colonial Past The New Zealand Wars on Screen Annabel Cooper

Cullinane’s remarkable second collection, Whisper of a Crow’s Wing, is the work of a poet with a distinct and powerful voice. These poems weigh and examine oppositions – the distance of time and place, the balance of life and death, the poet’s New Zealand home and her Irish heritage. In stores.

Charts Māori/Pākehā relations in filmmaking. In stores November 2018

OTAGO 150 Years of New Zealand's First University Alison Clarke

Flu Hunter Unlocking the secrets of a virus Robert G. Webster

A comprehensive history. In stores December 2018

Gripping account of tenacious scientific detective work. Clear Explanation of the science behind the headlines. In stores.

Slippery Jim or Patriotic Statesman? James Macandrew of Otago R.J. Bunce Biography of a colourful and controversial politician, church elder and convicted debtor. In stores December 2018

Otago University Press Out Soon

Hudson and Halls The Food of Love Joanne Drayton Riveting account of legendary New Zealand TV chefs in 1970s and 1980s. In stores October 2018

My Body, My Business New Zealand sex workers in an era of change Caren Wilton Based on interviews with sex workers. Frank moving accounts. In stores November 2018

The Unconventional Career of Dr Muriel Bell Diana Brown Compelling biography of NZ’s first state nutritionist. In stores November 2018


Penguin Books New Zealand

Potton & Burton

Penguin Random House

Tony Williams Gallery

The Vineyards of Central Otago Viv Milsom A beguiling, beautiful snapshot of Central Otago wine – its history, its distinction, and the people who have made it all happen. In stores October, 2018

Tony Williams Goldsmith Tony Williams Goldsmith explores the jeweller’s inspired career starting with his training in Birmingham and culminating with the triumph of his Dunedinbased gallery.. In stores.

New Zealand’s Great Walks: The Complete Guide Paul and Shelley Hersey

Flying Whale Books

New Zealand’s Great Walks are truly world class. In a country blessed with hundreds of spectacular tracks to choose from, these are considered the best of the best. In stores.

The Adventures of Sydney Penguin Written and illustrated by David Elliot A story for children. Re-published by Flying Whale Books. December release. Available at the Flying Whale Gallery, Port Chalmers

View from the South Owen Marshall featuring Photography by Grahame Sydney

Gecko Press

This collection brings together Marshall’s most powerful poetry from his previous three collections with many more recent works. They are complimented by photographs taken by his friend and fellow Mainlander, Grahame Sydney. In stores.

Oink Written and illustrated by David Elliot A story for children. December release.      


Dunedin Spring


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Hereweka’s quiet sister West Harbour, Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2018

Hereweka Otago Peninsula


Pacific Ocean from St Kilda Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2018


Profile for Down In Edin Magazine

Down in Edin Issue 14  

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