Down in Edin Magazine Issue 16

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arts, culture, and lifestyle of dunedin and otago, in the south island, new zealand issue 16, March 2019


n w o



emily duncan rob burns wild dunedin

francisca griffin

richard huber

dunedin fringe festival ian thomson


yuan tze

gabby mckenzie rory harding Front cover for this issue and opposite page: Clouds over Otago Peninsula, Dunedin ~ Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2

In T h i s Is s u e Emily Duncan A Conversation with Penelope Todd Page 12

Gabby McKenzie Giving voice to creatures who cannot speak Page 82

Francisca Griffin the spaces between Page 36

Wild Dunedin New Zealand Festival of Nature Page 96

Richard Huber

Ian Thomson Photography Collection: Otago’s Fresh Water Ways Page 112

Another wonderful season for 2018 Page 42

What’s in a name? Experiencing Progressive Rock Page 52

Yuan Tze The Art of REN XUE Page 124

Dunedin Fringe Festival And a brief history Page 68/70

Rory Harding George Street Orchard Page 134

Rob Burns

Gifts in the Garden with Francisca Griffin Nasturtiums ~ Tropaeolum magis Page 152 Michael Harlow ~ Ex libris ~ the moon in a bowl of water - Page 158 New Books Page 160 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 © 2019 All rights reserved. 3

Photo: Caroline Davies Š 2019


Contributors Penelope Todd Raymond Huber Francisca Griffin Danny Buchanan Ian Thomson

Editor Caroline Davies And much appreciation to Dunedin City Council for their support!

Additional thanks to: Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature FaceBook page




FaceBook ~ Down In Edin Magazine

Down in Edin Magazine


Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


A note from the editor

creation - is included in this as a fantastic cultural event. Independently, Ian Thomson’s beautiful photography also reflects a deep appreciation for the freshwater ways that are being celebrated in this year’s Wild Dunedin.

Kia ora! Welcome to Issue 16 of Down in Edin Magazine. As the southern hemisphere falls into Autumn, we in Dunedin have much to feel joy for. Coming up (at the time of this writing), Dunedin’s Fringe Festival begins by calling in some fabulously talented performers from here, NZ and different corners of the globe. Next month in April, Wild Dunedin - NZ Festival of Nature - honours and appreciates nature, and in May, the Writers & Readers Festival promises to inspire readers and writers alike. And that brings us through to winter (and another issue), where Dunedin is graced with the magic and beauty of the Midwinter Carnival. Dunedin might be near the end of the earth, but it is certainly a wonderful hot spot for celebrating the arts, creativity, and beauty.

We get to dig a little in the dirt with Rory Harding too. George Street Orchard is an inspiration for edible gardens and what can be achieved in temperate zones like Dunedin’s. Big thanks to Gabby McKenzie and her big heart for the birds of Aotearoa, and Francisca Griffin’s music and plants. Ace bass player, Rob Burns, has a recent book out on progressive rock which we might call something else. And enormous thanks to contributors Penelope Todd and Raymond Huber for their stories - both on theatre icons - Emily Duncan and Richard Huber. There are many different pathways to improving well being, and it will be a treat for Dunedin to experience the beautiful energy that Yuan Tze is and has to offer. In fact it is most timely.

I included a brief history of the Fringe in this issue - it is worth noting how it all began. It came at a time when spending money on arts and culture was highly controversial, and partly what ignited the Fringe in the first place. But going back to that time and place, 1947 in a devastated Britain, and reflecting upon this time seventy two years later, it is a precious example of what investing in arts can do for society. To note that both the “official” Edinburgh Festival, and the “unofficial” Fringe, are highly recognized events acknowledged around the world, we have a time-line that is long enough to witness how beneficial arts, culture, and the festivals that go along with them can be. And celebrating nature - the ultimate

And most importantly - all our thoughts and the warmth of our hearts for those suffering, in grief and anguish in Christchurch! May the contents of this issue gently help counterbalance the shadow of this event, with the light, beauty and creativity of the subjects within these pages. May love prevail on earth for all people, all life, everywhere! Murimuri aroha Caroline Davies Editor, Down in Edin Magazine 7

Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019

Young shag


Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019




Photo Composite by Caroline Davies Š 2019


PENELOPE Â TODD interviews Playwright

Emily Duncan Emily  Duncan,  the  2019  Burns  Fellow  at  Otago  University’s  English  Department,  didn’t  intend  settling  in  Dunedin  where  she  was  born  and  schooled.  She  gained  her  BA  at  Victoria  in  Wellington  and  her  Honours  from  Massey  Universities,  trained  as  an  actor  at  the  Lee  Strasberg  Theatre  Institute  in  New  York  City  and  at  RADA’s  summer  school  in  London.  Her  one-act  play  Lips,  was  runner-up  in  the  New  Zealand  Young  Playwrights’  Competition  in  1999.  Emily  was  excited  about  theatre.  The  world  was  large  and  waiting  for  her...


Photo: Caroline Davies Š 2019

Comedy and Tragedy Masks

Based on a design by Scott Freihei - Wikimedia Commons 14

You came to Dunedin though, when you weren’t well. Your mother was alarmed, since you weren’t the slim little person you’d been, and you couldn’t sleep. She insisted you see her GP.

No, a memoir.

Have you written much straight prose before? Besides my PhD thesis (the handsome, bound tome on the table between us, titled Waipiata: A Practice-Led Exploration of Heterotopic Playwriting) no! That’s one of the reasons the fellowship will be so amazing. I applied for the Burns for 2018 with this memoir idea. And got the nice letter saying, not this time, but please apply next year. And I almost didn’t do so. I was in the midst of a big project, my play about Emily Siedeberg and Ethel Benjamin, the first Otago female graduates in medicine and law respectively. I’d been workshopping it with the director and actors that week up in the Fortune rehearsal rooms and had gone away with my draft, ready to attack it again … when out of the blue the Fortune theatre closed. ! That put me into a funk and I wondered, What’s the point? It was as if the work had been crossed off the ledger, entirely devalued. While the board claim they did a thorough review, you have to wonder what actually has currency here. If the board of a theatre can’t see, leverage, and communicate the true value and raison d’être of theatre, how can we expect to engage the wider community and draw in newer, bigger audiences? Feeling despondent, I very nearly didn’t put in that application, but then I kicked my own butt and

I’d been unwell for a while and had had some of the symptoms treated (acne, depression), but Dr Tim Medlicott quickly suspected a diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease, even though he’d not seen a case in 40 years as a GP. I presented with the classic round face and torso and testing revealed an adenoma on the pituitary gland. That causes the body to over-produce cortisol. Usually your body produces cortisol in a big rush at the start of the day, and it peters out towards bedtime. With Cushing’s, you’re making far too much all the time, so even if you’re physically exhausted, you can’t sleep. You’re wide awake instead, which becomes a kind of torture. And the illness meant that you’ve stayed in Dunedin. Since the diagnosis in 2000, I’ve had four surgeries for it, two here and two in Christchurch, and to a certain extent it remains a hidden force in my life. My doctors have urged me to write about it and in fact that project will be the main focus of my year as Burns Fellow.

It won’t be a play? 15

applied. I’ll be completing that play, too, while on the fellowship.

life this year. The last six years, to pay the bills, I’ve done copy editing for a psychology journal. And written teacher notes for Gecko Press’s books the past two years. Good projects, but you can feel as if your brain’s ping-ponging around. Writing for theatre too, especially if you’re producing at the same time, a huge amount of time is taken up with the logistics and arrangements for a show.

It’d also been a bumpy year, health-wise. In August I was in hospital again. Stefan, my partner, was sitting with me in the isolation room where I was in bed. We were both feeling quite knocked around, as if we’d been living a comedy of errors. We agreed we could do with a break. A fortnight later I was walking my mother ’s dog when I received a phone message from the Otago University English Department. It didn’t register what they might want. I’d mentally shelved the possibility of the Burns in an act of self-preservation. I got home and called back. Like many writers, I couldn’t come up with anything smart to say. Only wow. Wow. My little name on that list.

You generally keep both those disciplines going at once — writing and producing? It hasn’t felt like it recently. I have a play in the Fringe Festival (Le Sujet Parle, March 2019 and has just been shortlisted for the Adam NZ New Play Award) with my little production company Prospect Park, which I formed with producer H-J Kilkelly in 2016, so the last several weeks have been about schedules, planning, all the nuts and bolts that just have to be seen to. I’m actually directing this play as well. I usually prefer to hand the script over for someone else’s fresh eyes, someone who’s thinking solely like a director.

So that was the break you needed. Yes, and then you’re not supposed to tell anyone for a month. It didn’t feel real. I half expected to find I’d dreamt it. And in that time they had the big 60 th celebrations of the Burns Fellowship …

However, I wrote this play five years ago, so I have some distance on it. I took it out of the drawer and did some redrafting, then we did a table read-through in November. I like this stage of the process, when you can be objective about what you’ve written, and go back and do a sort of scorched earth thing on your own work.

… which you couldn’t attend? No, because my appointment was still a secret. It felt so unreal. It’ll be wonderful to lead a far less frantic writing 16

Le Sujet Parle Fringe Festival


Photograph by Aneta Pond ©

Hold Me by Emily Duncan With actors, Alex Greig (L) and Raquel Roderick (R)


as well means even fuller immersion.

I don’t think there’s any substitute for hearing the play aloud. With a play you’re writing something that’s meant to be on its feet; meant to be seen and heard. You write with four dimensions in mind. It’s the particular challenge of this medium, to convey all you mean or need to on the piece of paper.”

Which means I have to think practically about how my own ideas will be realized. I don’t have to be so responsible for that if I’m not the director. Regarding collaboration, rehearsal and workshop are so valuable. Hearing the words read, you can come to an agreement with the actor on the intended meaning of a line. The actor ’s often read the script already, and might have an entirely different take on it from the writer — sometimes a good new take that opens up another possibility, but other times you want to steer them back.

Unlike a novel where you can describe the scenery as necessary. Yes, you’re carefully weighing up the essential elements in order to convey the world of the story and the characters. There’s a certain amount of good faith that goes with writing a script, because usually you’re going to hand it over to someone else.

Some of my scripts are rather prescriptive but I try to give only the stage directions that really have to be there. Look at Tennessee Williams, in the opening scene of A Streetcar Named Desire, it’s so detailed. I like the challenge of handing the script over to a theatre director and designer and see how they interpret it. The key thing is that I’m clear about what my intention is. And in the best-case scenario, that will be picked up.

It must take enormous trust . Yes, but despite the horrible nerves of opening night — because this is so public and you’re also seeing it for the first time — you usually find that it’s coming back to you fresh. And sometimes in an entirely different way than you intended. Occasionally you don’t like the way they’ve interpreted a stage direction, or it’s been taken it a bit too literally, and then you can feel awful because it’s still your name on the play.

You’re an actor yourself … I initially trained as an actor, and concurrently wrote my first play, Lips, which was well received. I’ve done less and less acting over the years. I taught high school English for a number of years, and during that time didn’t get much writing done.

It’s an extraordinary collaboration you undertake when you write a play. And directing or producing it 19

Photograph by Ian Thomson Š 2019

Maniototo, near Waipiata


I didn’t have the mental energy or space. I stopped teaching after radiotherapy with consequent panhypopituitarism {reader, we’ll speak more about this shortly}, and that’s when I really started writing again, and started my PhD. It was a strange sort of blessing. For many people, a significant health issue means they have to put aside things they really value or enjoy …

And my step-father ’s uncle met his wife when they were both patients at Waipiata. It was fascinating to learn how the sanitoria were run, especially before the first Labour government introduced universal healthcare. It was really hard on families, especially if the father, the breadwinner, had to go there — for as long as it took. And there was a real stigma about having TB. One thing they did was to get patients, when well enough, to nurse the others. When first admitted though, they weren’t allowed out of bed. At all. For anything. One woman I spoke to recalled getting told off for getting off her bed to fetch a book. She wasn’t able to wash her hair for months. Total bed rest.

… whereas for you it opened the door to fuller involvement? Strangely enough. And it came at a time when I knew what I wanted to research for a PhD, and I could work playwriting into that.

In the fresh air. A PhD on heteroptopia. Please explain! Okay. Coming back to Dunedin from Alexandra across the Maniototo I was told of a borstal that used to exist on the Rock and Pillar range. I was horrified. How could young men have been sent to such an isolated spot? I started to look into it. Waipiata. I found it had earlier been a TB sanitorium — an institution my generation knows little about. I had no idea how tuberculosis was dealt with before antibiotics. In fact, many people I speak to say they had a grandparent or uncle stay in a sanitorium…

Yes. With snow coming down on the balcony. And it’s so isolated. Even with the railway going by, it’s another nine km to the township. The Waipiata sanitorium closed in 1960 and became a borstal. You can still see the isolation cells where boys were locked in if they were really bad, with names scratched into them. Having said that, it was the only open borstal in New Zealand. There was no fence around the property because there’s nowhere to run to. There are old newspaper accounts of boys trying to escape, but they’d just give up, too tired, cold and hungry.

Yes, for me, an uncle.

Now, back to heterotopia! 21

Photograph by Ian Thomson Š 2019

Storm in the Hills, Maniototo


It’s a medical term referring to the displacement of an organ or part of an organ or a tissue from its normal position. The heterotopia I refer to is a concept described by French philosopher Michel Foucault …

Yes, Waipiata. It covers the worlds of the sanitorium, the borstal and — less so — of En Hakkore, the current Christian community at the site. I wanted to acknowledge not only these institutions but also the Maniototo. A key focus in writing the script was to conjure up a palpable sense of the Maniototo; figuring out how to convey the geography, schist rocks, wind, arid landscape, golden light etc.

What do you think of the definition I found online? A physical representation or approximation of a utopia, or a parallel space (such as a prison) that contains undesirable bodies to make a real utopian space impossible.

Along with playwriting, you’re also a dramaturg— another word I needed to look up.

It concerns the purpose or function of a site at a particular time. Foucault uses the term ‘découpage du temps’ — the cutting away of time. Often, at heterotopic sites, it’s as if that time is suspended, or removed from the rest of a person’s life. You ‘spend time’ in hospital, or ‘do time’ in prison. Also, people’s roles are often turned upside down. At a TB sanitorium, most patients were adults, but they were required to behave more like children, according to an imposed routine. Other heterotopia include cemeteries, prisons, brothels, theatre — places where people conduct themselves differently, according to particular conventions. Theatre illustrates the way time in a heterotopia is suspended from time outside. You enter time as it is in the world of the story in the play.

A dramaturg is a script advisor, who can be used in various fields, including dance. In theatre, it’s about mentoring a playwright or facilitating between playwright and director, especially when the play is first being workshopped. You’re almost a midwife. It’s not your play, but you’re assisting and advocating for the playwright so that their intention is realized. Advocating for the playwright and not for the director? Yes, an important distinction, and potentially tricky given the collaborative nature of the process. When my first play was a winner in a Playmarket competition, six of us were flown up to Auckland for a week to attend workshops and have our plays read. That’s when I first came across the role of dramaturg

You wrote a play, too, as part of your thesis. 23

Raquel Roderick in Hold Me by Emily Duncan

Photograph by Aneta Pond ©


and thought, ‘That’s what I want to do when I grow up!’ I joked about it for years because there’s no clear career path for it. So, over time I’ve tried to figure out how to do it.

what life was like on the boat and why they came out here. While the actors needed room to improvise and go with whatever happened between them and audience members, I gave them an over-arching narrative, a story with beginning, middle and end — and that was their character. That was much more a dramaturgical role than a playwright’s.

Who pays a dramaturg? It depends on who hires them. For example, when Playmarket runs a clinic they always budget in a script advisor/dramaturg. Professional theatre generally includes a dramaturg in the workshopping. Bigger theatres such as the Court in Christchurch and Auckland Theatre Company have in-house literary managers who often act as dramaturgs.

The last two years I was script advisor/mentor for the Studio 4x4 emerging playwrights programme run by the Fortune over six years. Four playwrights were selected for a free ten-week programme, each developing a ten-minute script, and at the end they’d get a professional, public reading. I was mentor to their writing and I’d stay for the workshop rehearsal if they wanted me to, making sure everyone was clear about their roles. While you want a director to have a clear vision, if they jump in saying, ‘I’ve read the script and this is how we’re going to put it on!’ I’ll want to say, ‘Hold your horses. Have you checked in with the playwright that that’s what they intended?’

A few years ago, an art school student asked me to be her script advisor for a really interesting project — not a play, but talking heads on film that she wanted to go alongside her sculptural work. It was a wonderful challenge. And I did a project last summer for WOW! productions. Two young women were to be in character at Toitū Otago Settler Museum as assisted immigrants in 1863. Members of the public would go through the ‘Across the Ocean Waves’ exhibition space with these young women. I didn’t write a script as such, because part of it was interactive, but did a whole chunk of research with diaries, wrote back-stories for the two women, one Irish, one Scottish, outlining which ship they would have come on,

So the role can take lots of different forms. And it’s a kind of mediation service. We don’t have as extensive a culture of script development in New Zealand as in the UK or US, say, for various reasons. It’s expensive to put plays on. We’ve got limited resource s. Often a play is 25

performed for only one short season. It’s quite bruising to put a play out there and feel you’ve only got one shot. If it doesn’t achieve all it could, we’re very quick to say, that didn’t work. More often than not the play gets put in a drawer. I’d like to see more fostering, more development — of playwright and play. And, of course, it takes years to foster someone; it’s not just a straight upwards trajectory working in the arts, as you’ll know.

who can afford it. It shouldn’t be something for which you have to dress up and pay 40 or 50 dollars for a ticket and a glass of chardonnay afterwards. If theatre is expensive, that’s an obstacle. People might pick their one play to go to in the year and that’s 100 dollars between them. If they don’t like that play, next year they’ll choose something else to do, or go to the movies, watch Netflix. It’s got to be accessible and seen as essential for whole community well-being. That means it can – and should – take many forms. Like any other art form.

We have a lot of impediments to risk-taking, I think. It can be hard to make brave choices when there are limited resources. The arts are increasingly commodified, or focus goes on the next bright young thing. Many people, if they haven’t had a hit by 25 or so, have to try something else in order to survive.

How are we doing without the Fortune? It’s left us with a lack of infrastructure for practitioners. Prospect Park produced my play Eloise in the Middle last year at the art gallery auditorium. It worked, but it’s not a theatre. We’re a small company hiring the space by the hour and can’t afford to have our audience standing around talking with the actors about the show afterwards. And that congregational aspect of a show is important. Playwright Simon Stephens wrote that theatre ‘exists to exercise our empathy. It is an empathy machine.’ They’re places where we come together. You might attend solo but you can’t but be aware of others in the room. Sometimes I’m taken not so much by the play itself as by people’s reactions to it, their unfiltered responses. There might be a joke in the play that makes my toes curl,

And that’s one of the wonderful things about the Burns Fellowship: it allows me to try something quite new and write in a different form. You have irons in many fires. So many things you’d like see happen in the whole theatre scene. Especially in Dunedin. It was such a blow that the Fortune closed in the way it did. It’s true we needed to rethink professional theatre in Dunedin. We need to draw in wider audiences involving more of the community. Everyone should have access so it’s not just a highbrow activity for people 26

Photography by Lara Macgregor ©

Sarah Georgie in Eloise in the Middle by Emily Duncan


Photography by Lara Macgregor ©

Sarah Georgie in Eloise in the Middle by Emily Duncan


but someone else is guffawing with laughter, so I’ll ask myself, what’s that about? On social media we fire off our different points of view, but to be in the same space allows for more nuanced listening, watching and interacting. Another outcome is simply the joy of being entertained.

We also need accessibility around who can create theatre. I was at a women’s playwright forum in Christchurch last year, and a friend who’s an actor was apologetic. She said, ‘I’m trying to write a script, but I can’t do it like you do. It’s come out like a storyboard.’ And I said ‘Why can’t you write like that? It’s not that my stories are better or more valid. Why does it have to be in the format that’s been around forever? Why can’t we find another way for you, or anyone, to tell it. Why not?’ We need to think a lot about the psychological barriers people put up around participating and creating, as well as the material ones.

I feel ambivalent about the fact that with theatre you’re not in a private space. I might respond in a way that I can’t contain. There’s something so raw about the field between actors and audience. It’d be great if we can get people acknowledging or talking about that. If people find themselves uncomfortable in the space, let’s give them license: tell them, you are allowed to leave the room; your response is perfectly valid. It’s about accommodating a range of human behavior, not about conditioning people to like something or respond in a uniform manner.

Meanwhile, you’ve been gearing up to start the Burns residency. Starting on February 7th. It’s really wonderful to be able to put aside all the other little jobs this year to focus on my own creative work. I’m hoping this year will be more balanced in that respect. I’ll probably work from both home and university, which will be quite a different environment. I’m looking forward to seeing how it changes the way I work — my usual being ‘gentlemen’s hours’. I tend to get a second or third wind later at night, after dinner. It’s going to be interesting to play with the routine. And choose which of my books to take down to the English Department room.

It must be interesting to see how audiences respond in different settings or seating arrangements. My dream is for Dunedin to have a fit-for-the-21 st century black box theatre that you reconfigure as you wish. There are so many ways you can do it other than have all facing one direction with the action taking place within the frame of a proscenium arch.

Which texts you’ll need as you approach the memoir? 29

I remind myself about the memoirs I love and why. A memoirist doesn’t want to come across as selfabsorbed; I need to justify writing my own story, to know why it will be of interest to the reader. Someone who writes really well about endocrine issues is Hilary Mantel, especially in her memoir Giving up the Ghost. She’s had a full hysterectomy quite young so had a lot of hormone issues. She writes about it in a way that seems spot on. Reading her, you almost feel rewired. And I discovered Scottish writer Janice Galloway a couple of years ago. I love what she terms her ‘antimemoirs’: All Made Up and This Is not About Me. Incredible accounts of her growing up in very trying circumstances with her mother and older sister.

data on me already.

In my approach, I’m making comparisons with the elements of a playscript: the way you have settings, characters, and clear objectives. Then I was talking the other week to my specialist, about how I might tackle it. I’ve resisted writing about the Cushing’s until I could find a way to do it without going crazy. One of my coping mechanisms is to think about it objectively, almost in third person. There’s a big pile of case folders that represent me, and stacks of tests from over the years — all that data! In fact, one of the reasons I no longer wear a watch is because of a kind of metaphysical resistance to having a measuring device on my person. There’s so much

So Cushing’s is a longterm visitor to your life?

Erving Goffman is the other main theorist I referenced in my PhD and in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life he documents his thesis field research, for which he stayed on a very remote Scottish island and looked at how people perform differently in different settings, for example at home you do what you like, whereas at someone else’s home you behave differently. As you do in the pub, or the post office. You’re no less yourself in each place, but you take on different roles in order to function in each environment. Whenever I have to go in to hospital, I want to take on the role that best helps me deal with that environment. It can be challenging.

Yes, after the first surgery in 2000, to remove the tumour, I went into remission. Three years later, symptoms returned, quite quickly — the tumour regrows if every last cell isn’t removed. A second surgery put me into remission until 2005, when my father died. That recurrence meant a third surgery. In 2010, symptoms returned again. I can tell you, this diagnosis never gets easier to deal with. I had a fourth surgery. This time I didn’t have the quick reversal of symptoms that indicates success, so I agreed to radiotherapy, which killed off the pituitary gland, leading to panhypopituitarism, 30

Sarah Georgie in Eloise in the Middle by Emily Duncan

Photography by Lara Macgregor ©


meaning that I have to take multiple medications daily to cover the work of the pituitary.

One time when the triage nurse was doing her check and I was outlining my condition, she said it wasn’t my job to self-diagnose. She wanted me to be the patient and let them take care of me. Having a rare condition, however, I find that very few triage nurses know what they’re faced with, so I do have to advocate for myself even while feeling horrible and needing to be the patient.

And does that feel anything like ‘normal’ again? No. Not at all. It’s a bit like your body’s been highjacked and you have to drive on ‘manual’ all the time, constantly monitoring medication with regard to stress levels or any sign of illness. Sometimes I just get sick of it. I think, I don’t want to be counting out pills this week. I don’t want to be planning everything around that. It’s hidden too. It might be what Susan Sontag describes as ‘the night side of life, a more onerous citizenship’.* You’re in the same space as others, but your reality is different, and invisible. It makes for a constant state of heightened awareness. I preferred it when I could take life and bodily functioning for granted.

I see the dilemma. Not too unlike the dilemma of where to place yourself in your memoir, as you try for a writing voice both dispassionate and authentically yours. First, though, I’ll finish off the Ethel Benjamin, Emily Siedeberg script, so if it still gets produced as part of the 150th anniversary of the University of Otago celebrations in September, I’ve done my bit. It’s a long way along so I know where I’m going with that!

Cushing’s Disease and its surgery are so rare in New Zealand, doctors get almost perversely excited by the chance to look in on my case. Having so much contact with the medical system brings its challenges. When I was in hospital last year someone died late one night a couple of doors along from me. I found myself making the decision not to be upset by it. I thought, I’m going to be in this environment periodically and people die here. At least it’s not me. Which sounds harsh, but it’s a way of mentally dealing with the situation. Of survival.

* “Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.” Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag first published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux (USA) 1978.

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.


Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019

Emily Duncan 33

The Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival The Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival (9-12 May) is just the thing to deliver a spot of brightness and mental stimulation to your Autumn. Held every two years, the festival offers a vibrant guest list of New Zealand and international authors and a programme of events that this year will span fiction, poetry, drama, children’s literature, mental health, feminism, politics, history, te reo Māori, humour, outdoor adventuring, crime and illustration, and an international line-up including bestselling Irish novelist John Boyne and Australian Children’s Laureate Morris Gleitzman. The full programme will be available from March 19. For more information and updates go to

Photograph opposite: John Boyne Courtesy of Penguin Random House



Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


Francisca Griffin on

the spaces between with Caroline Davies

the spaces between the words, the notes, the spaces between a breath, a sigh, a glance, the spaces between is where all life lies - between the spaces are the traces..... of who you were, who you are, who you will be.


Where has your music taken you since Look Blue Go Purple - the highlights and experiences you’ve really enjoyed as a musician along the way to the spaces between?

“Making a record didn’t occur to me until Forbes Williams ( engineer, producer, also contributor) told me one day he would be more than happy to record with me, and my friend & fellow musician Deidre Newall started encouraging me to record. Only then did I realise I actually had enough material to make a record!

Francisca: “Playing in Cyclops, as 1/3 of Carter/ Jefferies/Bull, and with Sandra Bell, all in the late 80s and early 90s. I loved playing and recording with them. I also made the decision to play solo - I found that easier when I had children in my life.

As soon as I made the decision the title arrived in my head - lower case for some reason - the spaces between.”

The songs on the spaces between were written during the last 20 years; Ghost Boy, Martyn, and Magdalena are at least 15 years old. I think Stardust must be the oldest. It’s a mash of 2 songs. It originally had other words, but they kinda sucked. One day I saw in my lyric notebook the words I sing now, and realised they were perfect - they were written in 1995. Rising Tide has also gone through a bit of reconstructing, it’s about 15 years old as well. Bones & Lies too - but it took years to settle into its current form. One Eye Open came out perfectly formed in 2000 I think, but never really took on life until Gabriel (Francisca’s son) started drumming on it. Falling Light, In the Woods, and My Wish are newish. My Wish, being the newest, was written in September, 2014.”

You made the record at The Anteroom in Port Chalmers over the Easter weekend 2015, then overdubs for 18 or so months at Forbes’ studio ‘Otoitu City Rise’ in Dunedin. Who played with you over this super creative period of time? “My sons Gabriel (drums on 5 songs) & Alexander (mandolin on Bones & Lies), Deirdre did some background vocals and shakes the egg on Bones & Lies, Alan Haig plays electric piano on Magdalena, Alastair Galbraith is on 3 songs - playing violin & guitar. Forbes makes an appearance on 2 tracks, Kath Webster from Look Blue Go Purple plays guitar on Falling Light, and Ro Rushton-Green plays baritone sax on Martyn and Mick Elborado who is now my bassist plays farfisa on Rising Tide. And, we uplifted a sample of Peter Stapleton's (a cymbal) for Bones & Lies.”

How did the concept of the spaces between evolve from the thought or desire to make a new record - to its realisation?

More about Francisca


Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019

Bandcamp: CocoMuse Releases

Bandcamp: Francisca Griffin



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Richard Huber A Way With Words by Raymond Huber


Gloria: What’s it called when you stare longingly into the face of the Night ? Jimmy: Astronomy Gloria: Bright stars wrapping the voluptuous dark in heavenly silk Jimmy: You have an interesting way with words Miss Lord Gloria: Words are like men. Once you get your tongue around them they’re yours for life. That’s a bit of banter from Richard Huber’s play Glorious, inspired by Hollywood’s Screwball comedies. Richard certainly has an interesting way with words and has put them to creative use in all areas of theatre production: he’s a professional playwright, director, actor, and theatre teacher with almost 40 years experience. He’s much respected for his innovative productions for local and national theatre, and for his skill in incorporating music, dance, and film into his work. (And yes, he’s my brother).

Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


Richard’s visionary approach to directing is well illustrated by his production of Blood of the Lamb by Bruce Mason for the 2018 Dunedin Arts Festival. Reviews praised his ‘bold’ and ‘ingenious’ directorial choices in staging the play: seating the audience on either side like a jury; having an opera singer appear at key moments; and creating a soundscore which blends Mozart, sheep bleating, and scratchy recordings of the actors’ voices. Richard had liked the play ever since seeing the original 1981 production: ‘I was drawn to it because of Mason’s great language. It’s a bit of a flawed masterpiece really: the characters love wordplay so the dialogue is quite verbose, but it’s written in a very musical manner with a lot of rhythm and repetition. It’s not a naturalistic way of speaking, which can be hard for contemporary actors to deliver.

the soundscores of my pieces in a very filmic way.’ An example of this is his play Paper Cut, a comedy examining life and the universe set to Chopin's Nocturne #1 in G Minor.

‘Musicality one of the themes of the play; there’s an operatic quality to the writing, and I’ve always instinctively liked that. I staged the play in a very bare way, stripping back the sets and the props. Again, that’s like opera, the core of which is a human body standing in space singing; it’s very minimalistic.’ The production reflects Richard’s growing interest in opera: ’It’s leading me to be less interested in the visual side of theatre and more in the aural soundscapes that I can make; going back to the rhythm and structure of language. And I’ve always added a lot of music to

‘Some people don’t like too much wordplay: they think you’re over-writing or being too clever, which doesn’t allow room for the actor to create character. There’s a tendency now to minimise dialogue which I think is wrong. But with Glorious I could put characters in a context where wordplay is essential. Romantic comedy isn't really a genre you see in theatre very often and audiences seemed to like the play because of that. It's a very theatrical piece that goes against the grain of the typical television and film underplaying you tend to get these days.’ Anya Tate-Manning, who first played

For me, Richard’s play Glorious best embodies his love of wordplay and film. The play is a Screwball romantic comedy that’s a sustained verbal sparring match between two characters (Gloria and Jimmy) who could easily be Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The Screwball tradition (named after an unpredictable baseball pitch) stretches from 1930s film back to Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Reviewer Terry MacTavish wrote of Glorious: ‘Huber nails the style perfectly: crazily unconventional characters, in a titillating battle of the sexes, complicated by class conflict, and expressed in fast funny dialogue delivered at breakneck speed.’


the role of Gloria, said of the experience: ‘It’s an unusual piece, and, I think, brilliant. It’s an exercise in genre and skill, the writing is delightful to perform and it’s a total work out as an actor.’ It was a finalist for the Playmarket New NZ Play Award.

The tragic fire killed and injured hundreds of workers, mainly young women. The production is a combination of spoken text, video imagery, and a soundscore which includes interviews with those involved in the fire. Richard has been a workshop director for the piece – workshopping is a theatre technique which involves practical brainstorming, ‘playing around’ with material, and test performances. ‘For me it’s about being an outside ear and eye, so the writer can clarify what they want. And test audiences can also provide valuable feedback: sometimes you think you are going this way but an audience takes you that way.’

Jimmy: I’m a lone wolf – I don’t hunt with the pack Gloria: That’s interesting, I’ve just read in the National Geographic that male wolves are very loyal and good with the kids Jimmy: I’m a mongrel dog Miss Lord Gloria: Then think of me as a bone to chew on when you get home Jimmy: I’m a stray. I don’t need a home, just a

Unlike individual art forms, bringing a play to the public involves bringing multiple artists together. Richard says ‘I think all theatre and performance is collaborative in some way – in the simplest sense because you take on a specific role in a process made by many people. It works best when you understand your own role within that larger collective process. One of the things I’ve learned being a director is that it’s a lot to do with setting up the process over time and space, and bringing all those people together; almost like a project manager.’

place to lay my hat Gloria: I look good in hats Jimmy: Why is it so hard for you to understand I don’t want you ? Gloria: Because of the way you purr when I stroke you A dynamic soundscore is integral to the production Richard is currently involved in, The Toy Factory Fire, developed by local actor Simon O’Connor and to be performed in the 2019 Dunedin Fringe Festival. He’s collaborated with Simon for several years helping him to shape the project, including them making a trip to Bangkok to research the 1993 Kader toy factory fire on which it’s based.

Collaboration is not always easy because writer and director and actors might all see things differently at times. ‘For me, the principal thing as a script-writer is that, while you write for yourself 45

Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


(and that’s a pleasure), you are writing a tool for other people to use. That’s also why I became a director, so I could understand what people then did to scripts – if you know how the tool is used then you can usually avoid conflict in a production. When I write for myself as a director, I have an internal dialogue where often my director-self will rework my writing-self, or my writing-self will reframe what the director ’s doing.’

stage and the actors then replay it on the spot in theatrical form. Playback was developed in New York by New Zealander Jonathan Fox (with Jo Salas) and is based on psychodrama. Richard also worked as a performer and director with What A Mess, an environmental education programme in Canterbury schools, and with a stilttheatre company called Splinter for several years. He and his friends formed a group called Burning Airlines Theatre, and he worked as a director and writer: ‘That was a very satisfying group because essentially we did what we wanted to do: plays that we liked or wrote ourselves.’ This included a premier of The Birthday Stain by New Zealander Mark Casson; a spectacular production of the mountain-climbing play K2 by Patrick Myers; and a large-scale piece in Dunedin called Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss.

In 2018’s Fringe Festival, Richard worked with actress and dancer Moira Fortin, and choreographer Sofia Kalogeropoulou to create The Motorway and The Subterraneans. Kalogeropoulou described it as ‘a fantastic collaborative experience’. The Subterraneans included recordings of taonga puoro (Maori instruments) played by Dr Jennifer Cattermole. Richard says: ‘What resulted was a piece that’s musical in form, as well as a coherent dramatic performance’.

Richard visited Dunedin many times to work in the Theatre Studies department, then run by Lisa Warrington; mostly teaching, and directing Lunchtime Theatre at Allen Hall. He shifted permanently to Dunedin in 1993 to work full time teaching Performing Arts at Otago University for many years. ‘It was an interesting choice for me because I’m not an academic, but I learnt a tremendous amount there. Personally it gave me a chance to explore how theatre works, its history, and the process in greater depth; because when

Back in the early 1980s Richard was studying at Canterbury University when he had a holiday job in children’s theatre – this made him realise that drama was what he most loved doing. He left his degree unfinished and went straight into full time professional theatre in Christchurch. He was one of the founding members of the Playback Theatre group, a performance style which uses improvisation to tell stories provided by audience members: they tell their story to a ‘conductor ’ on 47

you’re making productions you tend to be pragmatic and not think much about the form. I think the reason I enjoyed teaching is that it gave me the space to think about these issues myself and then convey them to students.

Major theatres only have a set amount of time and resources, so can never programme everything the community wants. That said, I think the closing of the Fortune is a huge loss to Dunedin, partly because it was a community space, and civil society requires spaces like this where people interact with each other; and there’s also the loss of its all its production resources for theatre companies.’

‘Teaching at university broadened my interests and I thought a lot about interdisciplinary performance, especially how theatre relates to music and dance. We’ve evolved performance into disciplines that in some ways are very separate camps. These days I don’t usually think about disciplines, but I see I performance in a wider sense. There are three basic categories that feature in all performances – sound, movement and image – and these allow me to talk about other disciplines in an equal way. For example, looking at how movement is used in music; I’ve always been fascinated by how musicians move…just look at Jacquline Dupree in performance.’

Richard’s WOW! credits include directing Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love by Brad Fraser; Whaea Kairau: Mother Hundred Eater by Apirana Taylor; and Glorious. His production of Waiting for Godot at the Globe Theatre won him Best Director Award in the Dunedin Theatre Awards. Richard directed a superb interactive project in the 2015 Heritage Festival: Farley’s Arcade was a real-world history experience where audiences promenaded through the cavernous Athenaeum Building in the Octagon as performers recreated the carnival of Henry Farley’s 1865 Royal Arcade, including a staging of Richard’s mini-melodrama, The Golden Handkerchief.

In Dunedin he’s also worked as a director for the Fortune Theatre and several WOW! Productions, he’s produced his own plays, and has acted on stage and in film. WOW! is a group of independent professional actors, formed in the 1990s. ’The bigger cities have their own major professional theatre, like the Fortune or the Court, but there are also groups of floating independents like WOW! who create opportunities for local work – not necessarily alternative theatre, much of it is mainstream

One of his favourite regular jobs for the past ten years is working as an actor in medical and crisis role plays in Dunedin. These are organised by Outstanding Performance, a national company run 48

by Dunedin couple Janine Knowles and Keith Collins which provides vital employment for local actors. Roles include being a patient for trainee doctors and Med-School exams, and acting as the ‘victim’ in emergencies such as car crashes and hostage negotiation simulations. Actors must learn not only bodily symptoms but also absorb the patient’s backstory and emotional state.

you have to have your blood pressure taken forty times in a day.’ Richard has two brothers in his family who are also writers: “I think our mother laid the foundation for this: she is a great reader and she worked in a children’s library when we were young – to become a writer you have to love reading and it was Edna who introduced us to literature. Our father had an influence too, with his carpentry and ability to plan projects – the message I got from Willi is that there’s a basic creativity to life; that you can problem-solve and you can make what you want.’

‘I really enjoy this work, especially the educational side – in a way you’re teaching the trainee doctors – and I’ve learned a lot about medicine and my own body. I like this idea of ‘applied theatre’ with a specific purpose beyond entertainment. Medical role plays are about the human condition, both physically and psychologically – in a role-play you can explore the idea that the body has an emotional subtext; it’s not just a piece of meat. A lot of this work is training doctors to understand they are dealing with people’s inner lives and relationship lives as much as with their physical symptoms.’

Richard’s current project is based on a book his mother gave him to read: Station Life in New Zealand by Lady Barker (1870), a classic of colonial literature. ‘It’s a fantastic set of stories and I immediately thought this would make a great performance. I’ve written a script and now I need to find a way to get it staged. You always need the structure of a production process around you: people, spaces, and resources. That’s the interesting thing about creating a performance – it’s not just individual creation, it’s collective creation.’

The crisis simulations are naturally the most dramatic for the actors, with real ambulance officers, firefighters, or police involved: ‘It can be quite hard work: you’re in a wrecked car, covered in glass, with the roof being chopped off. It requires a more intense emotional involvement! One of the crash characters I play has to die and a doctor briefs us first on how to fade away convincingly. And for medical exams, sometimes

Raymond Huber is an author and editor; he's written children's novels, picture books, science textbooks and radio plays.



Gloria: I like the new chapter you’ve been working on. I took it to a publisher friend of Daddy’s Jimmy: You had no right to do that Gloria: A wife should support her husband Jimmy: You’re not my wife Gloria: Then why do you treat me like one ? Jimmy: Because we’re not married

Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


Jon Anderson of Yes Long Beach Arena, 1979 Danny Buchanan Š 2019 52

Progressive Rock What’s in a name? An interview with Dr. Robert Burns Experiencing Progressive Rock: A Listener’s Companion by Caroline Davies Photography by Danny Buchanan


T hat which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet

and liberation from the past, embraced and expressed by many a young person. Tight social restraints fashionable in the ‘50s were unravelling quickly by the ‘60s and by the end of that decade progressive rock began to make its mark.

(William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet)

Kenneth LaFave states in his introduction to Robert G.H. Burns’ Experiencing Progressive Rock: A Listener ’s Companion: “No music genre lives alone. Music is a tree, every genre is a branch, and the roots run in every direction”.

We all choose different sound tracks to score our lives with and progressive rock was certainly one of mine where anything and everything felt possible. It is epic music that offers to take the listener on an extended journey. It is musically theatrical and dramatic. A twelve minute piece can move you to a different place in your mind and emotional state as you listen to a virtuosic performance by a well trained musician, a twenty eight minute piece can take you on a wild ride - a journey marked by complex time signatures, multi layered rhythms, dense chord changes, and beats and counter beats.

I couldn’t agree more. Today, the influences of early or classic “progressive rock” can be found in metal, hip-hop, and even sophisticated punk and pop. Prog rock also opened the gate for electronica, ambient, new age, and world genres. Folk, jazz, classical, contemporary classical, and blues were the forks of the tree from which prog rock came. I haven’t forgotten the sub genres, the smaller branches and leaves of the tree, there’s just too many to list here. This year, the band King Crimson celebrates 50 years of making music and contemporary or neo-progressive bands are still pushing the boundaries of what defines them as the term “progressive” implies.

The progenitors of prog rock created a sumptuous arrangement of musical styles brilliantly fused into one song or album. Many of these musicians were classically trained, well educated and virtuosity was a trade-mark. Their lyrics were often influenced by timeless myths and legends, literature and art, historical events, or major social issues of the time. Technological advances in sound-tools and recording techniques inspired further invention and experimentation. And for a brief time relatively speaking, record companies supported and encouraged them.

I still remember the excitement I felt (and still do) when I first heard “In the Court of the Crimson King”, and oh, “Epitaph”, or new albums from Yes, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and of course The Beatles. It was a politically and socially challenging time (nothing has changed in that department) but it was also a time of hope with a new wave of self-determination 54

“Frank Zappa’s firm views about progressive rock, given his own struggles with record companies in the early days of the Mothers of Invention, which was not a “singles” band and whose experimental music is extremely hard to define. In a television interview in 1984, Zappa was asked to define his own music as well as that of other several genres, one of which was progressive rock. He maintained that progressive rock was anything that did not sound like “regular rock”, a style that just sounds like itself, all songs that sound the same, like everything on MTV, everything on the radio, that’s rock. Progressive rock is stuff that doesn’t sound like that.” Rob Burns - Page 1, EPR Editors Note: There is more to this story found in Chapter 1 of Experiencing Progressive Rock

Image Right: Frank Zappa University of California Santa Barbara, 1981 Photography by Danny Buchanan © 2019


In conversation with author (and stellar musician in his own right), Rob Burns, I began with the confession that I’d never really considered Progressive Rock as a defined term for such a broad selection of bands and their music until I had read Experiencing Progressive Rock. My own understanding of it until that time was fairly narrow - but then again, I wasn’t trying to understand it - I just appreciated it for the music it was and is, and how I felt when I listened to it. I wasn’t looking for the Prog Rock bin at the record store and who was in it, I was looking for King Crimson, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd, Yes,10CC, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Procol Harum and later on, bands such as Radiohead.

“I think a lot of people now think of that as one of the hallmarks of what we call progressive rock. Your piece of music might be ten minutes long, it might take up a whole side of an album, it has this sense… which I guess very much comes from the classical music form of journey to it and of storytelling to it. So that it is analogous to someone sitting down and writing a novel or someone making a feature-length movie. And I think that’s a beautiful thing about music that you can do that, and it seems a shame in a way to me that it’s not more embraced by modern music makers. I guess part of that is because the attention spans get shorter and shorter and it’s harder and harder to sell music that doesn’t capture you in thirty seconds. I can go to pretty much any country in the world and play to at least a reasonable audience, and this tells me there is still an appetite for music, that as I say, is analogous to moviemaking and writing novels.” Steven Wilson, EPR Chapter 5, Page 91

Rob: “That was one of the problems I ran into when I was interviewing some of the musicians for ‘Experiencing Progressive Rock’. A lot of them just don’t like the term Progressive Rock. It was originally a marketing definition brought about by record company executives.”

When Nick Beggs introduced Rob to Steven Wilson to interview for ‘Experiencing Progressive Rock’, Nick warned Rob that Steve won’t like hearing the term progressive rock. So prepared and upon first contact, Rob diplomatically apologised for the book’s name, a title given by the publishers. Steve Wilson responded , “It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that I don’t like my music pigeon holed.” 56

Photography by J and S Yount © 2019

Steve Howe and Jon Anderson of Yes Aladdin Theater, Las Vegas, 1977


What was going on in the late sixties in amongst the pop, jazz, blues, country and early rock of the day where the jump came from comparatively simple forms of contemporary musical expression to this extremely sophisticated style?

‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ (The Beatles, Revolver, 1966). Geoff Emerick, The Beatles’ recording engineer at the time, quotes John Lennon saying to George Martin, “I want my voice to sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a mountain top, miles away.” (Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles.) Lennon’s voice was recorded through a Leslie rotating speaker system, and that’s why it sounds the way it does. It had never been done before.

“A lot of it was tied to emerging technology (Mellotron, Mini Moog, electric guitars, synthesisers) and the sophistication in song writing was because many of the musicians were classically trained, well informed and well read. They were using classical tropes to write songs that weren’t just twelve bar pieces that had been done twelve years before.

So literature comes into it as does virtuosity, which kept pace with technology. What could be produced in the studio, could eventually be reproduced live. With education comes literacy - and the ability to write something well. Those are all the main tropes and of course if you have had a good education across the board then it was inevitable that something like prog would happen.

Many of these musicians were very well educated in classical music because choices were limited tertiary studies in rock music didn’t exist back then. Or they’d come from art school, or they had been accomplished jazz musicians who drifted towards rock. They were also curious about what rock could become. There was a degree of sophistication with everybody I spoke to and interviewed for Experiencing Progressive Rock - they knew what they were talking about.

Although some of the players and their fans were not an erudite from tertiary school, a good portion of progressive rock’s audiences were student based, as bands in their earlier days were often booked on the university circuit, at least in the U.K. In the U.S. FM Radio Stations developed an “Album Oriented Rock” model by the late sixties and became highly influential in popular music trends and neither did those FM rock stations have any qualms about long plays.

From a literary point of view, think of Genesis’ album ‘Foxtrot’. You will find references from or to Keats, The Bible, George Orwell, Blake. Genesis was not alone in that. John Lennon was reading the ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’ when they recorded 58

“Given the student based progressive audience in which there was a certain amount of musical and cultural elitism, the same might be said about many of the progressive band members. For example, Genesis formed at Charterhouse School, Curved Air had members who attended the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music and Rick Wakeman and the folk-rock band Gryphon also attended the Royal College of music. There is no doubt that the progressive rock audience had pretensions of musical elitism, because much of the progressive rock audience attended tertiary institutions.” Rob Burns EPR, Page 2, Chapter 1

Steve Howe and Jon Anderson of Yes Los Angeles Forum, 1978 Photography by Danny Buchanan © 2019 59

Photography by Danny Buchanan © 2019

Yes in the Round Long Beach Arena, 1979


Early Mellotron Mark II Each of the two manuals could be loaded with different racks of tapes.

Photo Courtesy Markus Resch ~ Mellotron dot com


Jon Anderson of Yes Long Beach Arena, 1979

Photography by Danny Buchanan © 2019


going on there?

In the studio, take a band like the Small Faces and Itchycoo Park where they experimented using some phasing on the drums. Using two tracks, you would put your thumb nail on the flange of one tape making it slightly different time wise to the other one and you would get this whooshing sound. You couldn’t do that live back in those days because there weren’t things like rack flangers as there are today.

“I think it is somewhat similar to skiffle in the fifties. To play rock ‘n’ roll or rockabilly you had to be a very good guitar player - you had to be an ex country player who could do a lot of picking. With punk, like skiffle, it was DIY rock and you didn’t have to be very good. It was more attitude, and I would say that a lot of bands that are regarded as punk to this day - weren’t really. They were skilled musicians with some well crafted songs that happened to be loud and discordant.

Queen is another example. There was no way they could have done Bohemian Rhapsody justice live in the mid seventies because, short of having a choir on stage, there were too many vocals on it. I have a recording of Queen playing live and they used a recording for that particular section of Bohemian Rhapsody, and then kept on playing. That’s why I say technology was a part of it all. Audiences came to expect the bands to sound like they did on their records at live concerts.”

Punk was actually a rebellious statement from youth. By the time you got to the mid seventies in Britain, racism, unemployment, worker ’s strikes and everything else was painting a bleak picture so the country was well and truly ready for something that wasn’t grandiose or cost an awful lot of money to buy a ticket for, or where you had to understand the literature and understand the classical era it was coming from - you just had a three chord band.”

It interests me that a completely different style of musical expression exploded onto the scene, and according to many commentators, caused the bottom of Prog Rock to fall out and bite the dust. I wasn’t interested in Punk at all, although I understand what it is about. Prog rock had led me and a whole lot of other people to an appreciation for ambient, new age and world music - the antithesis of punk. Record companies suddenly, it seemed, went from supporting experimentation and virtuosity to punk. What was

So where would you say we are at with Progressive Rock (using that term loosely) today? Technology has enabled recording and performing to be more affordable and the style has become less elitist. Also, to an extent, the bankruptcy that faced the UK doesn’t exist in this moment. Brexit may change that! 63

Photography by Danny Buchanan © 2019

Steve Howe of Yes Long Beach Arena, 1979


“I think that falls into two categories. Steven Wilson is producing new stuff all the time - he is a compulsive workaholic - even when he goes back to his hotel after a concert, if he is not doing 5.1 remixes for Queen, Genesis, or Yes, he’s writing his own material and putting out new music all the time.

“Progressive music has always been full of surprises. The explosion of experimentation in the 1960s enabled talented and imaginative musicians to fly and shake off the shackles of musical limitations.” Steve Hackett, Guitarist for Genesis and others on Experiencing Progressive Rock.

There are bands like King Crimson celebrating their 50th year who are still making new records and touring who don’t do much of their back catalogue at all. They are always doing new stuff and as Jakko Jakszyk of the band told me - they know where they are going to start and finish but what happens in the middle can be different every night. And you’ve got others from the older brigade like Yes who will still tour, but if they were to play anything other than the records they made in the 70 and 80s the audience would go, ‘what about Roundabout, what about Yours is No Disgrace, what about I’ve Seen All Good People?’. Bands like the heavier metallic flavoured TesseracT, Meshuggah and Rammstein, or Animals as Leaders, are making music all the time. There is Big Big Train from Canada, and a lot of new and interesting music is coming out of Scandinavia.

Photo by Caroline Davies ©

“Robert G.H. Burns recently retired as associate professor at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Prior to moving to New Zealand, he was a professional studio bassist in the United Kingdom, performing and recording with David Gilmour, Pete Townsend, Jerry Donahue, James Burton, Ian Paice and Jon Lord, Eric Burdon, and members of Abba, amongst others.” Contact

What made progressive rock was an amalgamation of so many different styles and that is still happening today.” 65

“In Experiencing Progressive Rock: A Listener’s Companion, Robert G.H. Burns brings together the many strands that define the “prog rock” movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s to chart the evolution of this remarkable rock tradition over the decades. Originating in the 1960s with acts like Yes, Pink floyd, King Crimson, the Who, Jethro Tull, Genesis, and the Moody Blues, progressive rock emerged as a response to the counterculture on both sides of the Atlantic. Prog rock drew heavily on European classical music as well as the sophisticated improvisations of American jazz to create unique fusions that defied record label and radio station categorizations.

Re-emerging after the 1980s, a new

generation of musicians took the original influences of prog rock and reinvented new formats within the existing style. The trend of commingling influences continues to the present day, earning new audiences among the musically curious. Burns draws on his own experiences and original interviews with members of prog rock acts such as Colosseum, Renaissance, Steve Hackett’s Genesis Revisited, past and current members of King Crimson, Steven Wilson, Brand X, and several others to provide an exciting behind-the-scenes look at this unique and ever-changing musical expression.” Experiencing Progressive Rock: A Listener’s Companion



Fringe Festival

The Castle on the hill, Edinburgh Scotland Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019


a brief history Cultural leaders from London and the City

Sparked by indignation, eight additional

of Edinburgh announced the inaugural

theatre companies invited themselves and

Edinburgh International Festival (arts and culture) in 1947. Only two years after

took advantage of the International Festival’s atmosphere. They produced their

Winston Churchill announced the end of World

own shows, and performed in alternative

War Two on the 8th May 1945, the festival

venues around the edges of the city. The

was presented as a way to bring artists and

Fringe, as it was soon to be named, was

audiences from all over the world together. The intention was to enrich the cultural life of


Scotland, England and Europe and, "provide a

By 1958, the Fringe Festival had

platform for the flowering of the human spirit".

established its own Society, and today there are at least 245 cities around the world that

With an extravagant budget of £60,000.00, a feast of high culture in the midst of post-

host this wonderful event.

war food rations and shortages was seen as

The prevailing ethos of the Fringe Festival is

somewhat preposterous by some, and

one of open source - where anyone can apply

certainly summoned controversy within the

and perform, any creative medium is acceptable, venues are often not traditional

community. But it wasn’t only the issue of precious resources spent on arts and

performance spaces, and prices for tickets

entertainment when the UK and Europe were

range from free to affordable for most

still recovering from the wreck and ruin of war, they also announced there would be no

people. Where some cities have more

Scottish performers included in the festival

applications than space and time can allow, a lottery system is utilized, and only a few

because they weren’t considered good enough.

cities’ Fringe Festivals are juried.


Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

The Octagon, Dunedin 70

Dunedin has the prestige of being the most southerly Fringe Festival on the planet, so far.


First launched in

2000, Dunedin’s Fringe has been expanding in the number of performances and popularity from year to year. Production Managers Angus McBryde and Alex Wilson, a team of two who have been collaborating on theatrical


projects since their student days at the University of Otago, handle the marketing aspects of the festival along with some organisational support for performers. With the anticipation of around 80 different productions, not only from New Zealand, but also Australia, U.K. and the U.S., both were really excited about the upcoming


festival when we met at Fringe HQ. in Dunedin.


such a wonderful period of time”, Alex enthused. “We’re working really long hours constantly solving problems, fixing things, or making new systems because the ones we thought would work, don’t. It’s such a short period of time to create a meaningful artistic event, and we are


here to support everyone coming in and those that live here. The city comes alive and you are working on the scent of an oily rag - it just pulls out that wonderful creative energy - that’s why I like the festival!” 71

It’s usually very risky business to go beyond the conventions of traditional theatre and venues, but the Fringe Festival, with low production costs and affordable tickets, is a perfect place to take those risks. And, it’s not that unusual to hear about a show or an artist who has made a tremendous name for themselves at the Fringe - Steven Berkhoff, Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard are a few examples.

For some performers, the Fringe Festival is a full on international circuit and timed so tours continue on one after the other. Angus: “We are straight after Wellington’s festival, and then Adelaide’s Fringe and the Comedy Festival in Australia are after us. It makes participating in the festival financially viable for people travelling from the UK and US for example. They will do five or six festivals while they are over here, and include a holiday.

Angus: “It’s like a testing ground for new work and new shows. It’s a really cool contrast to the way the arts festival Dunedin is curated, the Fringe Festival is the exact opposite. You get such a wide range of work, including weird. It’s a great opportunity to find an audience.”

We are really a bridging point for all these events. We tell the artists when the festival is going to be held, and they come along and fit in. We are here to assist everyone, but we are also independent of a production’s plans. We can make suggestions for a venue for example, but ultimately it is through their own efforts that performers arrange their setup.”

Shows run for about an hour, so multiple experiences can be had in one day or night, and with reasonable ticket prices that are an average of $10.00, koha, or free, the Fringe Festival provides an awesome opportunity to not only be entertained, but often provides thought provoking insights into humanity theatre just doing its job, and what it does best.

The only curated event during the festival is the preopening night showcase and it’s the Festival’s Director, Gareth McMillan, who has that honour. It gives Dunedin audiences a taste of what’s to come, and helps performers market their shows as they introduce themselves through their work. This year’s Poulson Higgs Opening Night Showcase launches the festival at the Regent Theatre with the magnificent Tahu McKenzie and Jesse Griffin (Wilson Dixon) presenting performances by James Mustapic, She Wolf,

Angus: “Our mission is to inspire people to just jump right into the festival and see what happens. It’s not going to hurt your pocket, and although a show might take an hour of your life, it just might change you for the better, whether you love it or hate it. You may just discover a little treasure that you normally wouldn’t have gone to see.” 72

That’s What Friends Are For


She Wolf Greta (Ellen Kelly in car) - above Below - Sajeela Kershi


Jacks the Ripper, (I)sland (T)rap, Bald Man Sings Rihanna and Sajeela Kershi amongst others. Alex: “Compared to traditional arts festivals, if you have a performer with an established name like Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, an audience knows who they are going to see, but with the Fringe, it is usually less known artists. So how do you market that? That’s another reason why the showcase is so good.” Angus: “And you might be seeing something before it gets really big!”

Dunedin Fringe Festival 20th March to 31st March, 2019

Image left - MEAT 74

Bear North


Still Life With Chicken


A Thousand Natural Shocks


That’s What Friends Are For


Trickster Game



Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


“Between 1882 and 1924 four groups of Māori Chiefs travelled to meet with Queen Victoria as representatives of their values and way of life; asking that their culture be valued and protected as per the rights given

Gabby McKenzie

in the Treaty Of Waitangi. In my painting the Tūī (‘Parson bird’) is going to the city to urge officials to protect his habitat and to ensure the survival of all of the native bird species of Aotearoa.

giving voice to the creatures who cannot speak for themselves

We have so many native birds on the endangered species list and I fear that we

an interview with

will lose them before we realise how urgent

Caroline Davies

their situation is, and how important they are to us. Perhaps like the art of the Te Māori exhibition our native birds need to be brought to the fore and exalted in order for us to treat them as important.” Gabby McKenzie


Emissary In The City

Painting by Gabby Mckenzie © 2019


Gabby McKenzie feels her best art happens when she adores her subject and has something to say on their behalf. Typically, her paintings have been fairly small canvasses, reflecting her fondness for miniature things. However, Gabby is currently working on a much larger project: “Although it will take well over a year to complete I’m planning an exhibition of larger works specifically featuring endangered birds, with a nod to art history, perhaps some social commentary...we'll see who lands on the canvas, let’s hope they’re charming! I want my work to create an awareness of New Zealand birds and how many are actually endangered. The thought of losing these creatures for future generations just breaks my heart. Now is an instance where the “she’ll be right” attitude just won’t cut it, and extra resources seriously need to be put towards conservation.”

I remember my first trip down to Dunedin to meet the in-laws and was stunned at how beautiful it was with the harbour, beaches, and land forms similar to the Taranaki coastline. The people in Dunedin were also like Taranaki folk – very open and conversational. I called Dunedin my “mini-Wellington” as it has great things happening in arts and culture, and a funky upbeat creative vibe. Dunedin is also really supportive of artists, its like coming home.”

Although you studied art formally earning a Diploma of Visual Art at Taranaki Polytechnic, your formative years had a significant influence on your work today, what was the environment like where you grew up and who were those angels in your life back then? “The main encouragement for my art came from a couple of primary school teachers and my Uncle, Patrick Rogers, who made a point of teaching me technical painting skills and a love for the arts in general. He taught me all sorts of things like how to care for paint brushes, paint perfect circles, how to write poetry – the bugle lessons were a failure, and opera singing was far too scary for a selfconscious youth! Making art was always something I felt compelled to do, despite not having a particularly arty family or an abundance of art supplies. I think I would have felt like a bit of a weirdo had it not been for my Uncle demonstrating that creating things was a natural process of the human mind.

You are from Wellington originally, then moved to the Taranaki countryside when you were five, then Auckland as an adult - what brought you to Dunedin? “My husband is originally from Dunedin. When we decided we’d had enough of the Auckland housing market and stressful lifestyle, Dunedin was the obvious choice. Being able to own a quaint bungalow or a gorgeous villa was also an exciting prospect for me as I’m an addicted renovator. 84

Painting by Gabby Mckenzie © 2019

Painting by Gabby Mckenzie © 2019

Kākāpō Stepping Into The Light

An Evening Of Ruminating


I can’t really say that I created anything particularly wonderful during my time at Taranaki Polytechnic. What it did teach me was how to be self-motivating and resourceful, with a few technical skills thrown in. One of my absolute favourite things I did do there was to learn MIG, TIG, arc and oxy-acetylene welding. Although it was scary (especially the bit where they said I could accidentally blow up the entire engineering department if I didn’t follow strict safety instructions when using oxygen and acetylene – a few welds were wobbly after that wee talk) it was also exciting. If I get the chance I would love to build large metal sculptures one day.

I suppose then that it was a natural progression that my artwork would become centred on the threatened bird species of Aotearoa and the need to give voice to the creatures who cannot speak for themselves.”

Anthropomorphism has prehistoric roots going back at least as far as ancient gatherings around camp fires and story telling where myths and legends frequently included animals with human attributes and vice versa. It has, over the ages, been used as a classic tool used to reflect characteristics of our own, or find resonant archetypes where we can learn or see something objectively about ourselves. Where does your own inspiration come from? Your whimsical paintings and their settings - such as the tūī in the Octagon, A Cup of Tea and A Lie Down, Master Tomtit - An Evening of Ruminating, the birds in the woodshed series? I particularly love the “Not From Round Here” with the fantails. The environment and costumes all contribute to each bird’s unique character, from a human point of view at least - they are quite wonderful.

We didn’t have much growing up but the countryside was a great place for a kid to grow up with lots of adventures to be had, and it’s where my love of animals began. I was the type of kid who would be outside on a stormy night talking to the pigs and calves to make sure they were feeling safe. I’m now the lady on all fours in the street in winter blowing warm air onto a bumblebee to get him going again.

“I definitely think that if you spend a lot of time with animals you do get to know that they’re not “brainless animals”. They definitely have their own personalities. I might have pushed the ‘animals with potential’ thing a bit far when I tried to teach my Hereford calf to play soccer! Yes, that didn’t pan out well at all, making for a very

In my mid-twenties, after 10 years of full time admin work, I decided to do a Diploma of Art, and later completed a University degree majoring in psychology and sociology. Studying the psychology and diverse life experiences of people has made me a staunch advocate for the underdog. 86

Painting by Gabby Mckenzie © 2019

Painting by Gabby Mckenzie © 2019

Blue Wellie Snoozer

Pōhutukawa Percher


Painting by Gabby Mckenzie © 2019

Not From Around Here


Painting by Gabby Mckenzie © 2019

The Prospectors


disappointed 10yr old! I have had four pet sheep who answer to their names and ‘sort-of’ grasped the concept of running races. Far out, I’ve got such a silly imagination and ridiculous sense of humour when it comes to animals. I absolutely love it when someone buys one of my paintings and they really “get it”, they can sense something or see the underlying message buried in the brushwork. Those people are my tribe!

and harsh. I’m sure if they did a brain scan they would find the empathy part of my brain massively over developed.”

Do you have a particularly favourite medium or tools you love to work with and why? “At the moment my favourite medium is acrylic paints, but I have a list as long as my arm of things I want to create with. I’ve got two blocks of Oamaru stone sitting in my studio, aluminium sheets with metal punches, soldering irons and scrap copper, beautiful pieces of rimu timber etc all waiting for “oneday”. I’ve already done screenprinting, oil and watercolour painting, glass casting and welding sculptures just to name a few.

The birds I paint always have personalities or their expressions tell the viewer how they feel about their situation. Some are strategically planned, but sometimes I’m not sure what kind of character they are until they’re there on the canvas staring back at me, and it’s like “Oh hello, who are you?” Sounds funny I know.

Besides the exhibition we mentioned earlier, what else are you up to?

I think somewhere in the mix also is an underlying philosophy that every creature has a soul – although I freely admit my ‘acceptance’ of wasps and borer beetles needs some work.

“I’m currently darting between paintings of matronly Kererū, regal Tomtits in vintage armchairs, cheeky Wekas, portly Takahē; my chaotic noisy flock all jostling for my attention. There are so many paintings I want to do that I wonder if I will ever get them all done. One painting idea that has been on the waiting list for over 5 years came from a dream I had one night about two enormous Huia birds. I’m still excited about painting it even after all that time has passed.

My mum also encouraged me with reading books from authors Roald Dahl and René Goscinny. But my all time favourite author when I was quite young was E.B White who wrote “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Trumpet Of The Swan”. I reread those books many many times. I was totally drawn in by the thought that animals could talk, had feelings like we did, and that nature could be both miraculous 90

Painting by Gabby Mckenzie © 2019

Painting by Gabby Mckenzie © 2019

Master Tomtit Thinking

Whio - New Zealand Blue Duck


I’ve found the more types of birds I paint, the more I want to paint. I keep getting sidetracked by cute little feathered guys like the South Island Tomtit, who to me just looks like a chubby toddler with toothpick legs. I had just come back from a little tangent of painting Pīwakawaka (fantails) and then I saw a photo of a on another flight of fancy (pardon the pun). I keep art journals and there are so many ideas I want to explore around a huge variety of birds.

Can you speak more about your goal of: “seeking to remind people of of our precious wildlife and also heighten awareness of the native birds bordering on extinction”? “I think there are so many things trying to grab our attention in the modern world and despite having a WiFi connection we simply can’t be aware of everything we need to know about in our own backyard. When it comes to the conservation status of our native birds I think a lot of New Zealanders simply don’t know how bad the situation is (or by contrast how wonderfully successful some conservation efforts have been). If there’s not a penguin on your block of cheese at the supermarket to remind you that there’s important work to be done, we simply don’t see the problem exists. When you look into the endangered species list it’s extensive, and for me heart breaking; we could be losing these feathered beauties simply because we weren’t aware there was an issue that needed our support. I basically want New Zealanders to fall in love with their wildlife, to see ourselves in the creatures that surround us...and we should be able to easily see ourselves in them – there are ducks that hoon down white water rapids, male penguins who incubate the eggs of their offspring with total dedication, fantails who huddle together in winter sharing their body heat so they all survive – I tell ya, these feathered people have got great values!”

I still revere the traditional ways of making, mending and preserving. I sew and knit and bottle sauce – I have a friend who calls me Martha Stewart. I try to grow most of our own food in a large garden using permaculture practices. It’s a little wildlife sanctuary for lots of beneficial insects and it’s my other happy place away from the easel. I also like to flip tradition on its head, and I own many power tools and do all sorts of building work. I’ve renovated a string of houses and am 80% of the way through rebuilding our 115 year old villa. Hopefully it will be finished before my arthritic hands get the better of me – a real worry as so much of my life is about creating with my hands. One day I’d like to have my own welding equipment and make large metal sculptures; something I had a go at in my diploma. The sculptures would have to be birds of course! 92

Image provided by Gabby McKenize © Photography by Sinead Jenkins

Gabby McKenzie Swanky Joe Blogspot

Instagram@gabbymckenzieartist 93


Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

Red-bill gulls (tarapunga or akiaki) Aramoana A New Zealand native species of seagull. Their status is in decline in most areas, but doing quite well in Dunedin


Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

Red-billed gull, Aramoana


Wild Dunedin New Zealand Festival of Nature An interview with Wild Dunedin Festival Co-ordinator, Jeannie Hayden by Caroline Davies

“Dunedin is a beautiful and easy place to live and work. People stay, visit or come to work and live here because of that. We aim that Wild Dunedin and the festival will give people insight into the lives of our wildlife neighbours and a desire to protect them. It’s only fair that our wildlife too can enjoy a beautiful and easy life in Dunedin.” Jeannie Hayden


Photography by Jade.Pettinger © 2019 instagram @jade.pettinger Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau/Sinclair Wetlands


Soaking up fresh ideas from the River Leith, The Wild Dunedin Annual Meeting “We are a group that all have different talents to contribute. We all have the same desire to create the best experiences and stories we can and share them with the largest number of people because if people care they will look after it.�

Photo ~ Peter McIntosh, Courtesy Otago Daily Times

Left to right: Neil Harraway, Monarch, Dr Phil Bishop, Otago University, Taylor Davies-Colley, Otago University student & Orokonui Educator, Rachel Cooper, Otago Museum, Hoani Langsbury, Otago Peninsula Trust & Otakou Runanga, Norcombe Barker, Larnach Castle, Suzanne Middleton, publicist, Kerry Buchan, Otago University, Jesikah Triscott, Department of Conservation, Jeannie Hayden, Festival Co-ordinator 98

With a united vision to make the natural world a greater part of residents’ and visitors’ lives, ‘Wild Dunedin’ aims to forge a greater understanding of and appreciation for the extraordinary species - flora and fauna - in and around Dunedin.

Langsbury representing Rūnaka te Ōtākou and Otago Peninsula Trust, laid the groundwork and the first festival - a wild success - was celebrated in 2016. “The first Wild Dunedin festival was a real rush. I remember coming on board early February and it was scheduled for April. That was quite a feat considering we hadn’t all worked together before, and while we had great support for many other resources, we had very little cash. The Otago Regional Council agreed to be a Silver Sponsor and this was enough money to get the programme printed. Our partners also paid a subscription to pay for additional costs and also worked with others in the city to establish the ideal time of year for the festival and what it should look like. The Dunedin City Council saw the potential in Wild Dunedin, and while we had not been able to receive event funding from them, they gave us the services of an ace administrator and meeting space.

“We are lucky to live in a place where iconic marine species such as our majestic Royal Albatross, the Yellow-eyed and Little Blue Penguins, the New Zealand Sea Lion and more recently Leopard Seals are all within our city limits”, says Jeannie Hayden. “Equally, we want to delve into the world of invertebrates, wonderful plants and even our prehistory. We have a massive number of mysterious and often unseen little critters that inhabit Wild Dunedin so we’ll never be short of new events for our festival. We are also fortunate to have scientists from Otago University, dedicated conservationists and other enthusiasts who are constantly offering new discoveries and new angles to include in our festival programme.”

It was the ground work from Neil, Kerry and Norcombe, and a clear vision of what the festival could be from our partners, that helped the festival come together quickly with thirty five events over four days. We all liked working together and people attending were so positive that we decided to keep going and see how far it would go. We are now about to embark on our fourth festival and have over seventy events over a seven day period.”

Neil Harraway, the owner of Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours had been sitting on the idea for a few years, but he was not alone. Great minds think alike and others, also well established in the community, including Kerry Buchan, Marketing Manager at the time for Orokounui Sanctuary, Norcombe Barker of Larnach Castle, and Hoani 99

Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019

“We want the festival to convey enthusiasm for Dunedin’s nature. We went to encourage residents to get out and enjoy and care for our special nature. We want to spread the word about our special nature to attract visitors from around NZ and around the world, and enable visitors to experience the best of wild Dunedin.” Neil Harraway, Festival Convenor 100

Diversity is a crucial aspect of the Festival’s ethos and although the Wild Dunedin team like to have a focus, they avoid structured themes that can limit each year’s celebration to only one aspect of the natural world.

This year’s focus is freshwater - a highly controversial issue in New Zealand at this time. Once known for her pristine waters, Aotearoa is now, along with the rest of the world, struggling and suffering the consequences of the “limitless growth and profit” mentality over health. One has to wonder (in astonishment) how any vital life-giving system could be in such a vulnerable situation. After all, it only takes a few days without fresh potable water for a human to die, let alone all the other interconnected life forms affected by polluted water systems. This is a massively important issue!

“It’s very important to us that we don’t get locked into one theme as we believe diversity rules – we want to have a programme that will attract people from different walks of life and with different interests. The idea of having a focus instead of a theme has developed over the four years of the festival as we feel this will ensure fresh content. Last year, we called ourselves ‘New Zealand Festival of Nature’. In order to have a national focus we invited the Backyard Kiwi team from Whangarei Heads to our festival. Their success in bringing back kiwi to backyards is due to a diverse team with different skills focused on getting the community behind their vision. The Otago Peninsula Community Board brought them down to Dunedin, not only to be involved in public events at the festival, but also to spend time exchanging ideas with the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group. The group and the local community who attended the public events were inspired by this team from Whangarei. It’s often difficult for community groups to have that crosspollination of ideas and solutions to problems, and we see our festival as being a vehicle for this to happen.”

“Freshwater is certainly a major concern for all New Zealanders but it is also an eco-system many people know very little about. Our festival this year aims to inform the public on how special the freshwater ecosystem is. It affects our health as well as the many plants, invertebrates and fish life that rely on clean and healthy water. But festival ideas often come from closer to home. The freshwater focus came from the youngest member of our team, Taylor Davies-Colley, who is studying freshwater biology at Otago University for his Masters. Taylor was involved as a contributor for an event in 2016 and he’s been a very active member of the Wild Dunedin organising committee since 2017. We don’t know how long Taylor will stay in Dunedin, and he’s been talking freshwater ideas for a couple of years, 101

so we felt it was time to let Taylor come up with some fresh ideas on the subject.

“We like to repeat established events that sell out quickly like Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens’ ‘Wild Food Dinner ’, and the City Library and Larnach Castle penguin kite-making and flying events. Some events have developed over the years as we learn how to improve the event experience and some have dropped away. We want the programme to include fresh ideas each year, but the tried and true is definitely our base. We have lots of ideas. For example we would like to incorporate more wild food events but this does rely on someone with a passion getting in contact with us to make events like this happen. Seventy events is probably our maximum, but it’s really difficult to stay below that when someone comes to us with a really great idea. The good thing is we are getting a good bank of ideas for future festivals. And, we know we have barely scratched the surface of uncovering the many talented and passionate people working to help the environment and our understanding of it.”

Wild Dunedin (apart from our premier event 7x7 Wild Talks at Otago Museum) usually curates events that other organisations create or put together. Our small committee couldn’t possibly micro-manage seventy events, but for our freshwater focus this year we are organising the Expo-dition of the Leith. We will have volunteers guiding walkers up the Leith River Trail to a number of activity stations along the riverbank, finishing at Woodhaugh Gardens where Catchments Otago will have a mobile laboratory. We on the committee are calling 2019, Taylor’s Festival. Freshwater is also an opportunity to focus on Sinclair Wetlands and the wonderful work Glen Riley is doing in predator control, planting and conveying to students from all over the world just how important wetlands are. We are particularly lucky to have this freshwater asset on our doorstep and Sinclair Wetlands have participated in our festival every year. For this reason we chose Jade Pettinger ’s photograph of the Sinclair Wetlands for this year ’s festival image.”

Many of the events are free or koha - this is very generous - it also gives residents and visitors opportunities to experience and learn something they might not otherwise be able to afford, and enriches their lives in many ways that cannot be measured by money and return profits. How does Wild Dunedin manage this?

How does the committee decide what will be on each programme?

“It is thanks to the generosity of community groups 102

Photography by Rod Morris © 2019

Red admiral butterfly (Vanessa gonerilla gonerilla) on Ribbonwood flowers (Hoheria sexstylosa) in an urban backyard. Otago Peninsula. “We still have a strong population on the Peninsula. North of about Taupo, this butterfly is struggling because of introduced parasitoid wasps, in fact it's now locally extinct in many northern areas of the North Island, so we must look after it down here.” Rod Morris 103

Royal Albatross and Chick Royal Albatross Centre, Taiaroa Head, Dunedin

Photograph courtesy Royal Albatross Centre


Sourced from New Zealand Sea Lion Trust

Kotahi (lone one), so named because unlike other sea lions, she doesn’t creche her kids - a real solo woman.


Sir Alan Mark

Photography by Rod Morris © 2019


and organisations that create the events and may only ask for a koha or gold coin that we can do this. We have managed to avoid hiring expensive venues because our funding does not allow for any financial risk if an event should not attract numbers. From the start we have wanted to make the festival as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. This year we are working on offering a free Wild Bus to give those who cannot easily access transport to give them the opportunity of visiting our special wild places: Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Otago Peninsula and Sinclair Wetlands.

every volunteer feels good about helping us. I’m really appreciating Suzanne Middleton right now for example, she is my right hand and invaluable.”

Wildlife Hero Sir Alan Mark is a national treasure and I, along with many others, deeply appreciate his presence, wisdom and action regarding environmental issues. Why you have chosen him for this year’s “Wild Hero” award? “Wild Dunedin is very proud to present our Wild Hero award for 2019 to Sir Alan Mark, Emeritus Professor at Otago University. Born in Dunedin and living most of his life here, he is a true local hero. Alan has described his lifetime of working on conservation issues like this: ‘My greatest satisfaction has been being able to convey to the wider public the value of natural areas and the significance of integrating ecological principles to achieve the sustainable use of natural resources.’

However, there are a lot of costs involved in getting the festival promoted and so we rely heavily on funding from Dunedin City Council Events Funding and The Otago Community Trust. We are steadily growing our festival sponsors and funders, and as the festival becomes more well known, we believe more organisations and people will want to be involved in different ways. The Otago Regional Council has supported us from the start and last year Dunedin Airport joined them as Gold Sponsors of the festival. Many Dunedin businesses and organisations have given their support as well through free goods, services and advice. This means our funding dollars go far. With Wild Dunedin it’s the thousands of hours of voluntary time and the passion of those volunteers that make it the experience it is and we try to make sure that

Here are just three of the defining conservation issues in New Zealand that Alan has been involved with: The thirteen year long ‘Save Manapouri Campaign’ which began way back in 1959, was a fight to control the level of beautiful Lake Manapouri in Fiordland when the Manapouri hydroelectric power station was being planned. The proposal was to raise the lake level by twenty five metres 107

with huge environmental devastation. the outcome was management of Te Anau and Manapouri within their natural ranges, and the appointment of Lake Guardians, a group which Alan chaired for the first twenty six years.

ticularly, his research in the 1960s on sustainable management, and in the 1970s on the wateryielding values of high country snow tussock grassland. These are still controversial issues among some high country farmers.

The ‘Save Aramoana Campaign’ (1974-1984) was a battle to stop an aluminium smelter being built beside the Aramoana salt marsh just inside the entrance to Otago Harbour. The smelter wasn't built and the salt marsh is now a protected Ecological Area under the care of the Dept of Conservation, and Dunedin is now a thriving wildlife tourism destination.

Combining an academic career with high profile advocacy of conservation issues has involved walking a fine line at times. But Alan’s huge mana is evidence of his success in both these roles.”

It’s also exciting Dr. Mike Joy is on this year’s programme. His persistent and clear message regarding the ill health and vulnerability of Aotearoa’s rivers is massively important.

The Maruia Declaration of 1975 was the result of a campaign to stop the logging of native forests on the West Coast of the South Island. This declaration led to the Indigenous Forest Policy of protection and sustainable management of our native forests in law, banning the burning of native forests, protecting their wildlife, and phasing out their unsustainable logging.

“Festival guest Dr. Mike Joy is a freshwater ecologist who has been very vocal about the decline in the quality of New Zealand’s wetlands, rivers and lakes due to industrial farming. A highly respected scientist, environmentalist and author, his recently published book Mountains to Sea: Solving New Zealand’s Freshwater Crisis, considers these issues. Wild Dunedin is very excited to bring Mike to our city and to give people the opportunity to hear him speak. He takes part in A Conversation with Sir Alan Mark and Dr Mike Joy on the subject of freshwater from the mountains to the sea”. Peter Hayden will introduce these two scientists who respect each others work and passion for the environment. Their accumulated

Also, Alan has long been involved with Forest and Bird – ‘New Zealand’s leading conservation organisation – protecting wildlife and wild places, on land and in the sea.’ He received their Distinguished Life Membership in 1991. Alan’s academic work has had a major impact, par108

Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

The Water of Leith Botanic Garden, Dunedin


knowledge and experience in this conversational format will ensure an engaging hour to close our festival programme at Otago Museum on Sunday, 28th April, between 3 and 4.30pm.”

live in the Leith and our festival guests Stella McQueen who wrote the Freshwater Fish Guide and Mike Joy, who has called for reducing the number of cows in NZ in order to save our rivers for wildlife and people.”

There are so many wonderful aspects to this year’s programme, what are some of the other highlights?

As we are experiencing the anthropocene era - many of our wildlife species in this region, along with their habitats are highly vulnerable - what is contributing to that and what can we do as individuals to help reduce the issues and support a healthy environment for all species, habitats, waterways and landscapes?

“It’s the first time that Orokonui Ecosanctuary is opening up for free for a day and it’s appropriate they chose our festival to do this. We have a couple of new transport initiatives – 3 wild bus trips to allow people that may not have transport to get to our special wild places Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Sinclair Wetlands - Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau and Otago Peninsula.

Hoani Langsbury stepped in for this one...“The single most important thing that we as humans can do to benefit all species, local species and global species alike, is to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels for transportation and the development and use of plastics. This requires all members of the community to lobby the legislation makers, but also to commit to personal change. In doing this we must also be aware that we may not see the immediate benefits in doing this, but our children‘s children may. We do this not for ourselves but for those that come after us.”

And we have created our Leith Expo-dition especially to highlight our festival focus of freshwater this year. We want to celebrate the river that runs through the city by having a mix of a guided walk and an expo because along the river there will be events as people are guided by our Wild Dunedin guides. If people want to stay at one station for longer then they just catch the next tour or walk along the trail themselves to the next event.

Wild Dunedin NZ Festival of Nature

At Woodhaugh Gardens we will have Otago Catchments Lab on the River with tanks of fish that

22 - 28th April, 2019 110

Fur Seal and young shark perhaps, Burkes Lagoon, Dunedin


Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

Photograph by Ian Thomson Š 2019

Evening mists, Lake Dunstan


Rivers, Lakes and Streams of

Otago A Collection of Images by

Ian Thomson 113

Photograph by Ian Thomson Š 2019

Frosty dawn, Mahinerangi Road


Dawn at Butcher's Dam Alexandra

Photograph by Ian Thomson © 2019


Photograph by Ian Thomson © 2019

Purakanui Falls


Photograph by Ian Thomson © 2019

Rapids, Waipori River


Photograph by Ian Thomson © 2019

Clutha River, downstream from Alexandra


Photograph by Ian Thomson © 2019

Clutha River cruise near Alexandra


Photograph by Ian Thomson Š 2019

Lake Dunstan and Cromwell from the road to the Nevis


Photograph by Ian Thomson © 2019

Blue Lake, St Bathans


Photograph by Ian Thomson © 2019

Hoar frost, Butcher's Dam near Alexandra


Ian Thomson is a contributor to Down in Edin Magazine on occasion. View more of his work at Ian@NZ Flickr

Hoar frost, Butcher's Dam near Alexandra

Photograph by Ian Thomson Š 2019


“Qigong is the practice of moving and still meditations using the body, mind, breath and Qi, or energy to initiate positive changes within the body.�

Yuan Tze

Teacher and founder of the REN XUE system, Yuan Tze,has been touring Aotearoa for the first time in eight years. With workshops in Whangarei, Auckland, Motueka, Christchurch already held, Yuan Tze will be in Dunedin, teaching the 4th and 5th of May.

The Art of

With a substantial international outreach, and based in New Zealand for the past 17 years, Yuan Tze is the creator of REN XUE, a holistic programme for improving energy and fostering better physical health based on traditional Qigong, Chinese ancient wisdom and Western philosophy, science and medicine.


Although Yuan Tze found many disciplines provided helpful insights into understanding human life, he also noticed that life still seemed rife with all sorts of problems that were not addressed by these i d e o l o g i e s o r a p p ro a c h e s . H e re a l i s e d t h a t fundamentally they were not addressing the real root causes of problems. For this reason, Yuan Tze developed REN XUE, a comprehensive system to help people with all aspects of life, improving energy and fostering better physical health, clarifying and focussing our thought processes, and opening up our hearts and our consciousness.

Interview by Caroline Davies


Yuan Tze: Photograph by Catherine Cattanach 125

Yuan Tze, Can you tell us about your early life, development and influences? “Like most people, I have had many life experiences that played a significant role in determining the direction of my life. For example, I learned from a number of teachers and benefitted enormously from their teachings. I often experienced ‘instant realizations’, especially when receiving teaching and help from teachers who had attained higher realisation. Such realisations greatly affected my life and how I wanted to live my life. My heart always overflows with gratitude when I think of these teachers.

Yuan Tze’s dedicated research into the study of human life led him to learn the wide and varied traditions of the East (Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Martial Arts, etc.) as well as to Western developments in philosophy, science and medicine. REN XUE includes two distinct disciplines. Yu a n Q i g o n g , t h e f i r s t d i s c i p l i n e h e l p s individuals find greater peace and harmony through a contemporary still and moving meditation practice. The second, Yuan Ming Medicine offers healing techniques that can diminish the effects of injury and illness, and help address problems on the non-physical level.

I also believe that, although there can be external factors of various sorts, their real influence is often determined by whether a person is ready internally, especially his heart. Besides, applying what one has learned is essential for making consistent progress. I am afraid these two things are indispensable when it comes to making real change in life.

REN XUE’s promise is the possibility of living in a calm, relaxed and natural state, in harmony with yourself, with those around you, and with the natural world.

In fact, it is not that difficult to achieve the good things we dream of in life as long as two important things are in place. One is, from the bottom of one’s heart, being truly willing to face and change ourselves. The other is using sound guidance and methods and applying them with courage. These will help us be the true master of our own life. 126

Photograph by Verena Jonker

Yuan Qigong Demonstration


When this is how we live, in the most ordinary daily life, every person we encounter and everything we experience can become the catalyst for awakening and realisation. Everything can be a good teacher that provides the opportunity for us to attain higher realisation and wisdom.

This question casts a wide net. Let me answer it in general. First of all, I would like to say that everything we experience in life, be it ‘good’ or ‘bad’, what we like or dislike, what goes with or against our expectations, has its meaning. In other words, to me, nothing in life is completely meaningless.

In my early years of life cultivation, I often dreamed of meeting a very special, high-level teacher one day and some magical experience would happen to me and dramatically turn my life around. However, many years have passed and none of these came true. I have learned through many years of solid work on life cultivation that the good opportunities we want in our lives are all up to ourselves to create. The attractive visible achievements are merely the external manifestations of our own creations. I also realised that the truly ‘high-level’ teacher is not to be found outside, it is right inside ourselves – the True Self. Every one of us has the same potential for realisation and wisdom. What we need to take seriously is how to actualise this potential.”

For example, I was raised by a Daoist monk from when I was a few months old until I was sent home at four. To be honest, I do not have a lot of memories about this period of my life, and for a long time, I didn’t think about the possible impact it had on me. But then I realised not having the memory of it doesn’t mean it didn’t have an influence on me. Although it is hard for me to know exactly what the impact was, it was meant to be part of my life and it was an important part. I can share another example that I found meaningful even though the experience wasn’t what I expected when I had it. For a period of time I was looking for teachers to learn from and I found many. There was one teacher that I followed for the longest time and what I learned from him was most impactful and meaningful, especially for the establishment and development of REN XUE. I was very grateful for what I learned from that teacher. O n t he ot h er hand, t here were asp ect s of t he t e a c h i n g s t h a t I d i d n ’ t f i n d I a g re e d w i t h a n d I saw how those aspects did severe harm to his

You were raised in a the temple until you were four years old. Where did the additional influences come from that enabled you to study Chinese ancient wisdom and Western philosophy, science and medicine? 128

institute. I struggled a lot when I was working there but persevered and stayed there for some time. Later when I was in the position of guiding the development of REN XUE, I realised what I learned in that period time was priceless as it gave me the insights on what to avoid in order to ensure REN XUE would develop in a healthy direction. The lessons I learned back then were an indispensable part of my work for REN XUE. I feel most grateful for all the people, including teachers, who have helped me learn and grow.

for something to help me to get rid of the pain and suffering and clear the confusion I was experiencing. I needed something to answer my questions and help me deal with the problems I had. The traditional wisdom provided me with the clarity I needed. It also helped me understand other people’s problems in general because I tried to understand why so many people also suffered. It was then that I felt the strong desire to help other people. Soon I realised my attempt to help myself and help others yielded very limited results and thus I saw the need to learn more and develop myself further. I needed to have better understanding of life and the problems people had. My choice of focus naturally leant towards the traditional wisdom culture, making it the main source of teachings for philosophy, theories and methods, with other sources playing a supplementary, supportive role.

I feel the same towards other people in my life, including close ones like family members. They are all part of my life and they are in my life for a reason. My relationships with them may not always be easy but they are meaningful all the same. I have learned to navigate those relationships in the way that I deem as beneficial for all and take this as my opportunity to grow. My interest in traditional Chinese culture, especially what I call ‘wisdom culture’ started early and gradually it expanded to other cultures and disciplines, including philosophy and science as established in the western culture.

Even from a very young age it was very clear to me what my calling was. I knew what I needed and what I wished to accomplish so it was very natural for me to follow that calling. As I made progress in my life cultivation, there was more and more clarity on how I wanted to help others and how I could best help them. Everything evolved with my personal development, including the ability to help others. What I went through was probably similar to what most people do when they try to grow – to

I remember feeling passionate about Chinese wisdom culture when I was around 7 years of age, especially in the practical methods such as martial arts. This was mainly driven by a desperate need 129

Photograph by Verena Jonker

Yuan Qigong Demonstration


identifying problems, facing them and dealing with them. It is an ongoing process and there is no end to it.”

serious about health and growth, effort excluding work on Qi is likely to have a limited effect. This is why I always try to help people understand Qi when I teach. The understanding is essential for living in the way that benefits our Qi. When we take good care of our Qi, we have a better chance for health and growth.

Your understanding of the way energy or Qi moves and how we affect it or it affects us, is very clear. What elements combined from your observations, sensitivities, and perception have you studied that enabled you to create such a beneficial system? If it is possible to explain a little - how did you get to this place of clarity and understanding?

Life is a process of learning. I do think we need to contemplate why we are learning. To me, the main purpose of learning is to make life better. In other words, what I learn and do should contribute to the improvement of health, the level of happiness and the growth of life. So it is important to evaluate the outcome of learning to see if the learning has brought about any positive change in these areas.

“To most people, ‘Qi’ is an unfamiliar term. To make it easier to understand, we can use the term ‘energy’ for the sake of discussion, although they are not entirely the same. Qi is the most basic building block of everything in the universe. In other words, Qi participates in all the changes and movements in nature and without Qi nature would not even exist. We humans are part of nature, and therefore Qi is an indispensable element of human life. Human life is a form of totality of the integration of body, Qi and the consciousness (Shen).

My motivation for learning started out as simply helping myself and others and gradually my aspiration grew and became ‘Zi Du Du Ren’ – uplifting my own life and helping others to do so. Learning for this purpose was much more serious and required a lot of effort. How so? First of all, learning using materials derived from the traditional wisdom culture often requires ‘taking trash out of treasure’ as the treasure if often hidden in the trash. “Medicine and poison are mixed up.” Without the ability to do so, often trash can be taken as treasure and the treasure is completely overlooked. Secondly, it takes proper practice and

My understanding and experience of Qi is that Qi is essential for sustaining life and for health. It is also crucial for the quality of life. Even though most people are not aware of Qi, Qi has a huge influence on life all the time. To someone who is 131

the application to know whether something you learn is truly valid. Also, learning is not complete until one practices and is able to successfully apply that practice. Thirdly, it is necessary to learn over and above the usual way we are most familiar with. Humans have three types of ability – ordinary ability, special ability and the ability to attain realisation and wisdom. The usual way is to use the first type of ability to learn. If we are able to use all three types of ability to learn, our learning will be so much more effective. The usual way to learn is like trying to travel around the world by foot and using all three types of ability is like taking an airplane. What I am trying to say is, the ultimate purpose of learning is to grow, which manifests as one attains higher realisation and wisdom. This is also the foundation we need if we want to effectively help other people uplift their lives. I believe clarity in learning is important once we decide what we want to learn.

With special thanks to Melissa Kung! For additional information: Ren Xue International Yuan Tze’s Workshop in Dunedin on the 4th and 5th of May, will focus on these four areas: 1) Consciousness: Yuan Tze will shed light on the nature of the consciousness and how to uplift it for the benefit of your health and growth. 2) Heart: Grow your heart by cultivating the five essential qualities of the heart – trust, openness, love, gratitude and respect. 3) Qigong: You will learn Yuan Qigong, a Qigong system created by Yuan Tze. It is a very effective tool for self healing. 4) Qi Healing: Yuan Tze will conduct a Qi healing on both days. Many people experience immediate improvement as a result of Yuan Tze’s Qi healing.

Throughout my life, I keep evaluating whether my learning and work on life has helped me make progress in my health, level of happiness and growth. I always encourage people to do so as well. This is how we find out whether the things we choose to learn or the path we choose to follow is taking us in the direction we want. If not, adjustments will need to be made. Ongoing evaluation and adjustments are absolutely necessary if we want to make continuous progress in life.”

All of these will take place in a powerful Qifield with infinite potential for healing and growth. Immersing in this Qifield will not only be an amazing experience but also hugely beneficial for life.

Contact for workshop in Dunedin, 4th & 5th May Ans Wilkin on 03 473 6114 or Serena Weatherall on 022 037 8139


Photograph by Catherine Cattanach


Yuan Tze

Behind the wall is an oasis - it’s Rory’s Garden - the George Street Orchard


Photograph by Danny Buchanan Š 2019


Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


Fifteen years ago, the Harding family invested in a run down Edwardian house on a quarter of an acre of land on George Street, the main artery that connects North Dunedin with the bustling city. After some tender loving care in home restoration, a major clean-up of the backyard revealed remnants of a well organised garden with an ornamental border, an elderberry tree, and a veggie patch.

Rory Harding

A few trees had also lined either

side of the hidden garden that had once

and the

thrived in the generously portioned urban lot.

George Street Orchard

The soil profile looked good.

Story and Photography Caroline Davies

It was a nice

deep clay loam with about 30 cm of excellent top soil for the most part, increasing to more than 1 metre near the bottom of the garden.

Augmented with

trailer loads of organic compost that was purchased locally, dried out leaves dropped by the neighbourhood’s trees, and generous donations of veggie scraps from neighbours, Rory began gardening and created the George Street Orchard from this base ten years ago. 137

gardening and politics.

Rory: “I hadn’t done any gardening previously - it started out as a learning project. Over time it became obvious that the garden I wanted to have, which is full of edible plants, is a popular concept. Over the last five or six years I’ve been purposely building a home garden that is relevant within the community. I’ve been running tours, workshops, and created a nursery. All of this supplements other work I do with permaculture and Jason Ross of Habitate, additional consulting/design work, and fruit tree pruning.”

“It’s about trying to take care of the earth and do less harm, and learning skills for the kind of future I envisage where more people will do this kind of thing. Although once upon a time I thought I could feed myself entirely from the garden, I don’t now. But I do think that food is the low hanging fruit of the whole sustainability movement and localising food economy. I think it is the simplest aspect of that to do because you already have soil, you already have rain, and you can have it right there as a local commodity. You can’t really do that with computer parts for example, so it’s not always politically or economically straightforward, but in a technical sense, creating a local and resilient food economy is something we can do relatively easily.”

What persuaded you to go in this direction? “I had just been overseas and seen some really cool gardens in Morocco. Large home gardens where people were growing a lot of what they were eating - corn, peppers, tomatoes - and there were some wonderful community gardens in Europe I had visited. I also think my political point of view comes into play: I wanted to do something that was practical and be partly responsible for my own existence. In a way, at least in the beginning, gardening was a means to an end of bypassing capitalism. It was about doing something to take care of myself and learning the skills to do so. Gardening was also something I enjoyed and so it steamrolled right along.”

How do you see the world at this time? I’m particularly interested in the connection between

Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


Rory Harding George Street Orchard


Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019


lives within it because those are the organisms that make nutrients available to plants.

I especially wanted to talk to you about the importance of soil. To me, it’s common sense to steer clear of toxic chemicals that interfere with and damage the intricate network integral to soil’s health and vitality. I understand it can get complicated because of the range of natural environmental systems on our planet, but in general, how can we best work with soil and why is that important?

There are also mechanical actions forced on soil like digging that is detrimental to both the soil biology and environment. Although there is a place for some digging, the less we do the better so we don’t disturb the important functions the microbial and fungal life perform. I definitely advocate for no till or minimal till even if you are vegetable gardening because of those things. Take a field of wheat for example, when we dig and plough and then plough it up again, we hyper-oxidise the soil in the process. The act of digging it, inverting it, and fluffing it up is a huge contributor to climate change and loss of soil carbon as it becomes carbon dioxide. It is completely unsustainable.

“In this city especially, or on a farm where heaps of chemicals have been used, if you are going to create a long term project and eat food grown from that soil then it’s important to get soil tests to make sure it is safe. Although we didn’t get a full spectrum analysis because I doubt this has been a market garden, we did have an onsite heavy metals and mercury test done. We discovered quite high levels of lead and that is partly why we created an orchard because lead doesn’t get into the fruit as much as it can into vegetables.

We have to find ways of working with the soil that gets carbon out of the atmosphere rather than the other way around. Unfortunately, most of the ways we produce food contribute to climate change, even if we are running electric tractors and being conscientious in other areas. We need to be looking at things like no-till, or minimal till market gardens and other alternatives to some of the crops like wheat and corn where current conventions require tillage. There are some developments towards no till grain agriculture but at the moment they

Understanding that soil is a complex living organism is not new. Soil science in the western world however, is a relatively recent and evolving development. We know quite a lot about it, but there are also many things we don’t know. What we do know is that it’s an elaborate system that all works together and you need to not put things in the soil that’s going to kill the microbial life that 140

Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

The compost


The Garden

are heavily reliant on herbicides, and it’s not clear that it is going to work. There are many perennial crops that can substitute traditional grains - like nut crops. A bit of a segue, but it is part of taking care of the soil and learning how to grow without digging it.

Today, in Rory’s garden, you will find a find an abundance of apples, pears, apricots, peaches, plums, fejoias, kiwi fruit, berries, herbs, and vegetables. “Initially, the garden was mostly vegetables. It was a couple of years before we started growing fruit and now we have a new vege garden at the back. I weed things out to encourage what I want a lot of. Parsley is a good one as we eat a lot of it. All the plants are ones I like, or like the look of for some reason. We don’t necessarily harvest much from the medicinal herbs as our main goal is fruit, but those things support that growth so we have red and white clover, echinacea, valerian, and fever few. Those flowering plants also attract beneficial insects such as predatory wasps that will eat aphids. Although I like straight out vegetable gardening, I really do like this managed wildness that goes along nicely with orchards.

Some people I talk to want to start a garden and they might say they have a short cut lawn and want to know how to begin. The first thing you could do is let your lawn grow long. You could scarf up the turf and try and grow a green crop, or you could let the grass grow up where, correspondingly, the roots are going to go down. This action is drawing carbon from the atmosphere and building soil. You could do that for a year or two, trim the tips of the grass before it goes to seed, then chop it down and then sheet mulch it. All plants are building their bodies with carbon and pumping that into the soil. We need to intervene smartly so we can utilise and take advantage of that.” Thornless Blackberries

Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


William's bon Chretien pear


Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

Ground cover and helpful herbs and flowers: Comfrey, clover and a young loquat tree in the middle


Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

Echinacea and local bumble bee


Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

Liberty apple with bergamot bee balm flowers



Sometimes people come in and think you can throw a few seeds around, plant a couple of trees and you will have a food forest. I think however, that there is much to learn by going through a more traditional organic system. New growers will find the food they really want to eat requires a more managed layout. If you want a food forest, I think a good way to get there is to have a highly structured market garden. It might sound contradictory but there is much to learn by going through that process. You can then use that organised foundation to grow anything from trees to a nursery. I worry that people are little overly optimistic about concepts like no-work gardens and food forests, and the tools aren’t there to get people to that point. There is often an underestimation of the work required.

We are already witnessing extreme weather conditions that are going to increase in intensity over time. Stronger winds, weather bombs gushing unprecedented levels of rain in some regions, or an increase in drought conditions in other areas. We certainly have some severe conditions coming up that can and will wreak havoc on larger food systems. “That’s the thing with having healthy, organic soil. Whether it’s one extreme or the other - from drought to heavy rain - soil that is high in organic matter is able to better cope with both. Diversity in organic farms, planting wind breaks and crops that flower across a wider range of times for example, all help. Apples, pears, plums and peaches usually blossom from late August through late October. However, if you have a couple of weeks of really cold, windy weather during that time, that’s all your potential fruit gone but if you have kiwi fruit which flower a bit later and other kinds of berries then you’ll have harvests spread over time and through different seasons - so diversity of crops is important. Also, there are benefits to having modular garden beds. The uniformity of beds and covers are really useful to interchange when needed. If a severe hail storm comes along for example, the materials and portable structures used to cover young plants for protection can be used wherever or whenever you need them.”

I’m always directing people to the work of Charles Dowding who has been a market gardener for several decades and perhaps the most famous proponent of no-dig gardening. He has immaculate, low weed, small commercial scale market gardens. I also appreciate the work of Martin Crawford who is the director of the Agroforestry Research Trust and a practitioner of temperate climate forest gardening. Also, Eric Toensmeier, the author of 'The Carbon Farming Solution’, offers a toolkit for transitioning to a carbon positive food system, with a decent consideration of social and global justice.” 147

The Wall

there is a lot more food that will grow here than I imagined. I’ve heard some people say you’ve got a great site and so you can do it, but the city is full of places and spaces with similar attributes. If we were really serious about it we could be identifying those spaces specifically for additional edible gardens and even if there is no soil there you can always put that in along with compost.

Walled gardens have been utilised for multiple purposes throughout history. Some were built to protect precious kitchen gardens from theft or damage from large animals, as well as help shield vulnerable plants from frost and strong winds but the warmth absorbed by a brick wall facing south, or north, east or west, depending on one’s location, could be taken advantage of to enhance the growth of appropriate crops, particularly espaliers, fruit vines, and green houses.

Dunedin is a great place to grow a variety of crops. It is comparatively mild here and with the help of a wall, we can even grow tamarillos!”

“I painted the garden’s walls white for that reason. It’s such a great spot for all the marginal things I grow such as fejoias and kiwi fruit. Apart from the nursery, I don’t use any poly tunnels. Even though this is quite a special micro climate - there are lots of gardens about the city like this and it’s good to show that we can grow more than blackcurrants. If we have a wall then we might as well be growing things that need that wall and demonstrate with the micro-climates that we already have, along with a lick of paint or trellising, that that is what we can do.

Niagara grape

When I started this garden I was interested in the idea of self sufficiency and what a total local food diet would look like. Some people said to me you couldn’t do it in Dunedin, but I was doggedly determined to prove them wrong and it turns out

Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


Blackboy peach


Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019

Therese Lloyd

Tapu te Ranga Motu The only thing I remember

The measure between

of the house

moseying over the map

my thumb and forefinger

made of ocean equals three dark rainy islands

is a window greasy with salt

* * A woollen coat hides a floral dress

A herd of birds break in order

and iron shavings that press through

to no longer suffer the patterns

where warm blood used to be. No rose in the filings

of the quiet padded outside.

just the science of the seasons and thousands

Sounds like foghorns or one foghorn from many throats

and thousands of dolphins.


the unexpected greenness of trees, Page 24


“One of the gifts of poetry is to extend and bewilder, and is to deepen and give wonder,' as Seamus Heaney has it… I was looking and listening for language that breathes life into the search for some kind of r e a c h f o r m e a n i n g. T h e primacy of words scored in their sound and sense to arrive at some kind of discovery of how mysterious we are to ourselves and to the world.” Michael Harlow - Judge of the Caselber g Inter national Poetr y Competition, 2015 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: Caselberg Trust


Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


Gifts in the Garden by

F ra n c i sc a G r i ff i n

Nasturtium - Tropaeolum magis 153

Nasturtium - Tropaeolum magis is a wonderful plant native to Peru. It is super easy to grow, just throw seeds anywhere, you'll have it happily selfseeding forever. It makes a spicy & colourful addition to salads, you can use all parts: flowers, leaves and seeds. If you are using seeds pick very young ones. All parts are high in Vitamin C.

A caution: not to be used by pregnant or lactating mothers, or people with kidney disease.

Here is a recipe I adapted for Nasturtium Pesto 3-4 cups leaves with no stalks 1 cup flowers wash & spin these in your salad spinner (or wrap in a tea towel & swing around - outside! til dry-ish )

It has a traditional use as a hair growth stimulant. Make a strong tea: 2-3 cups of leaves to 1 litre of just boiled water, steep for 15-20 minutes, when it is cool enough to apply pour through damp hair, over a sink with the plug in, repeat this until the infusion is cold.

In a blender/grinder/mortar put torn up leaves, flowers, pulse these with:

Medicinally Nasturtium is antimicrobial - making it effective for bacterial infections. It is also antiseptic, which makes it doubly good for urinary tract infections. Its expectorant activity makes it good for infections of the chest, such as Bronchitis. It has also been used for hypertension.

1 cup walnuts 1/4 c grated Parmesan 2 big cloves garlic Slowly add up to 1/2 cup Olive Oil, just enough to blend/grind to a smooth paste, add a little salt & pepper to taste.

Take it as a tea, 1-3 cups daily, made from the fresh plant. Use a non-metal pot, and just off-the-boil water. You can also use the tea or flowers and leaves crushed as a compress on cuts, scrapes, bacterial & fungal infections.

This is delicious stirred through pasta, or rice basically anywhere you would you use Basil pesto. Do be aware though, it is quite spicy! It is important that each and every plant is identified correctly. Plants can look different at various stages of their growth and season, so if you are not sure, please consult a botanical expert in your area.

For winter use, dry leaves without stalks, use a teaspoon in a small pot. The dried plant, however, is not as effective as the fresh. 154

Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019


After the rain. Water collects in the centre of the nasturtium’s leaf.


Francisca Griffin has been practicing Naturopathy from her home based clinic in Port Chalmers for 17 years. Being Healthy Naturally Wordpress 157

“Michael Harlow is the maestro of the prose poem. Here he presents a collection of small human journeys, with a strong emphasis on narrative. The work is consciously rooted in Greek mythology and in the idea of storytelling as a continuous river, flowing from the ancients to the present, telling one story on the surface, but carrying in its depths the glints of ancient archetypes, symbols and myths. Each poem is studded with associations that hark back millennia.”

Michael Harlow’s Nothing For It But To Sing, the Kathleen Grattan Award for Poetry has recently been published by Otago University Press. He has been awarded the Beatson Prize for poetry, and in 2014 the Lauris Edmond MemorialAward for Distinguished Contribution to Poetry in NZ. He has published eleven books of poetry, two of which have been shortlisted for the National Book Awards. He has represented NZ as a poet at a number of International and World Poetry Festivals, including Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Italy, and Romania, and coming up this year a World Poetry Festival in Montenegro. In 2019 he was awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry. His most recent publication is a book of ProsePoems, The Moon in a Bowl of Water (OUP, 2019). He lives in Central Otago (NZ) and works as a writer, editor, and Jungian therapist.


Ex Libris Thirty-three years of meticulously judged work, he finally gave up publishing his Books Without Words. An epic achievement his friends marvelled. I have made room, he said, for the immaculate presence of an absence. Such fine sailing, they said, into that great hole behind words. Not a flirt of a word or even a wanton syllable managed to smuggle its way onto the pristine snow white pages of his books. Each page a field so alluring in its emptiness, he imagined a salutation of readers wanting to gather there. To be sure he is no ecstatic romantic, one of those so swanked with fabulation to imprint themselves everywhere. Didn’t he begin life as nobody? A foundling in a tin basin left on the church steps. A child without words and no name to call his own. So he became a someone called Anon. And so it was he gave each of his books a Title. The sameTitle. As he said, how can you survive as an original writer and publisher without publishing something? ‘Even if my books are so exquisitely composed of nothing but absence, selah.’ Settling down to himself, he began to compose books without words in the full dark of his attention. Working long nights was best. Page after page, book after book, each book a year’s duration, of unsullied fields of emptiness. And each, bearing the simple unadorned title: Dark Book I, followed by Dark Book II, and Dark Book III... And then that last week after a fully dark night’s consideration, Dark Book XXXIII. A fine finale. With a Postscriptum, handwritten in a sealed envelope inscribed: Epitaphios. ‘Dear friends and others who pass by - from the beginning I have desired to leave my readers speechless. And now myself. It may be that in my small hearted but true way, I have at last succeeded.’ Michael Harlow, the moon in a bowl of water, Page 21


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

Exisle Publishing

Godley The man behind the myth Terry Kinloch

Cluck A book of happiness for chicken lovers Freya Haanen

A comprehensive biography of General Sir Alexander Godley, presenting for the first time a fair and balanced look at his time as commander of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) and II ANZAC Corps during World War I.

Cluck is a celebration of hens, roosters and chicks, combining high-quality photography with inspirational and amusing quotes to create the perfect gift for chicken fans.

Keepers of History New Zealand Cenenarians Tell Their Stories Renée Hollis

Social Courage Coping and thriving with the reality of social anxiety Dr. Eric Goodman, Ph.D.

In 2017, Renée Hollis interviewed 120 people over the age of 100, living in every region of New Zealand.

Stop Talking, Start Influencing 12 insights from brain science to make your message stick Jared Cooney Horvath, PhD, MEd

Whether you are struggling with social anxiety of phobic proportions or are just held back when it comes to public speaking or meeting a specific social goal, Social Courage offers help with its effective, structured, step-by-step program that draws from a range of therapeutic approaches.

Stop Talking, Start Influencing draws on the author’s 15 years of experience in neuroscience and education to outline 12 principles of how people learn.


Truthteller An Investigative Reporter’s Journey Through the World of Truth Prevention, Fake News and Conspiracy Theories Stephen Davis

Otago University Press Past Caring? Women, work and emotion Edited by Barbara Brookes, Jane McCabe and Angela Wanhalla

There is a war on truth. And the liars are winning. There is an increasingly large number of weapons in the arsenal of the rich, the powerful and the elected to prevent the truth from coming out — to bury it, warp it, twist it to suit their purposes.

This important volume opens up a set of perspectives and experiences of caring to begin a conversation about urgent questions facing New Zealand society.

Waddle A Book of Fun for Penguin Lovers Professor Lloyd Spencer Davis

the moon in a bowl of water Michael Harlow Harlow is the maestro of the prose poem. Here he presents a collection of small human journeys, with a strong emphasis on narrative.

Waddle is a compendium of delightful quotes and gorgeous photographs that capture the essence of this amusement. Its intention is to put a grin on your face and a warm feeling in your heart — all thanks to these endearing creatures that don’t just walk, but waddle.

Wanaka Lake, Mountain, Adventure Neville Peat

Imagination Press

Neville Peat describes the scenic splendour of Wanaka and the myriad activities and attractions for visitors in this updated edition of a book that serves as both a guide to one of New Zealand’s tourism hotspots, and as a souvenir.

Scarfie Flats of Dunedin Sarah Gallagher and Ian Chapman In the pages of Scarfie Flats of Dunedin, Sarah Gallagher and Ian Chapman share some of the stories of these iconic flats, how they got their names, who lived in them and what life was like there.

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Photography by Caroline Davies Š 2019

Sunset over West Harbour, Dunedin


Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019

Sunrise by Hereweka, Dunedin


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Photography by Caroline Davies © 2019