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arts, culture, and lifestyle of dunedin and otago, in the south island, new zealand issue 20: April 2020


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Literature music poetry art photography film theatre nature

“The world we construct as humans is one that is based on the ideas that exist in our society. Some ideas dominate. These are usually more shallow than is ideal for building systems & structures that prioritise people and the planet over money and power. During a time of crisis there is an opportunity to reset those structures and systems we have built. Peoples gaze is lifted to that which they may not have seen before. In this case it how much we are all connected to each other, how important it is to care for each other. Whether we re-set or "snap back" depends on how much people who build the public narrative - media, scientists, politicians, knowledge holders - can pull to the surface these better ideas.“ Dr. Jessica Berenston-Shaw The Workshop, Wellington


In T h i s Is s u e Emma Neale Interviewed by Penelope Todd Page 14

Kā Huru Manu Ngāi Tahu Cultural Mapping Project Page 100

Henry Feltham - Electric Narratives An interview by Raymond Huber Page 34

2020 Aaron Hawkins Dunedin’s New Mayor Takes the Helm Page 126 (Foreword 116)

John Ritchie’s ‘The Snow Goose’ The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra Page 48

The Climate Safe House A Sustainable Living Project by BRCT Page 156

Propsect Park Productions H-J Kilkelly and Emily Duncan Page 56

Otago - Regional Centre of Expertise In Sustainability - Otago Polytechnic Page 184

Dunedin School of Art - 150 Years Bridie Lonie (p74) and Federico Freschi (p86) Page 70

Gifts in the Garden with Francisca Griffin Elder, Sambucus nigra Page 194

Featured Poetry by Victor Billot: Bat flu Page 46

Front Cover and images through to Page 7: Light, shadow, colour Ōtepoti / Dunedin Photography by Caroline Davies All works, stories, articles, photographs cannot be reproduced without the permission of authors, artists, photographers. Please contact the Editor at Down In Edin Magazine for any queries. Copyright Down In Edin Magazine © 2020 All rights reserved.



Contributors Penelope Todd Raymond Huber Francisca Griffin Scott Willis Danny Buchanan

Editor Caroline Davies Thank you to Dunedin City Council for their support!

Additional thanks to: Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature, Paddy Richardson, Enterprise Dunedin, Alistair Paterson, Ian Telfer and the Otago Community Trust

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For those in Aotearoa New Zealand, if you need help you will find resources at this link https://covid19.govt.nz


Kia ora!

Yet here we are on pause, a new level of crisis, a massive awakening.

Welcome to issue 20 of Down in Edin Magazine.

Crisis always brings opportunity. That is one of the useful mechanisms of a critical event - a call to take notice and change something in our lives, or to be awakened to a major issue - the silver lining. Major collapses call for reconstruction and that is always a grand opportunity to do things better. When we are through this crisis, may humanity collectively choose, or re-forge a better pathway for all people, and one that does far less harm than the past trajectory held.

When we began preparing this issue we were still in shock spurred on by the ferocious bush and forest fires in Australia, as well as other parts of the world. Meanwhile, severe floods had devastated parts of southern New Zealand and other regions around the world. The conversation around climate change and what to do about it was finally increasing, but those immense events were still not enough for governments to call a halt to our daily lives and heal our collective addiction to fossil fuels and other adverse life and living systems.

Stopping so suddenly reminded me of the childhood game, musical chairs. Madly running around in circles, once the music stopped find your chair, or you’re out of the game. Those of us who have a decent warm home and fresh food must consider ourselves fortunate, for enforced quarantine can be a nightmare for some in less than stellar circumstances.

A thought, a reflection on humanity came up as I pondered on the massive life changing events we are all facing. We can’t see Covid-19 with the naked eye, yet we can feel it and fear it as we witness its terrible wrath. Ironically, it is a microscopic entity that launched the sudden pause in everyday operations and systems around the world. I think of the comment attributed to The Dalai Lama about the impact of a determined mosquito’s disturbing buzzing whilst trying to sleep. Floods nor fire, nor polluted air and water systems that regularly cause ill health or early death for many, or the Anthropocene - well under way - could push humanity to press the pause button and rethink the course set eaons ago.

We will get through this, and in the meantime, please be well, stay well, and stay at home. May we create a kinder, cleaner, more beautiful world at the other end of the tunnel. Well wishes and take good care of you, Caroline Davies Editor, Down in Edin Magazine 7



Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Morning Mist ĹŒtepoti Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2020

Ross Creek Reservoir The Dam


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Ross Creek Reservoir The Valve Tower


Ross Creek Reservoir Dunedin 12

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020



Emma Neale Interviewed by Penelope Todd

Emma Neale has published six novels and six poetry collections, and edited several anthologies (more about her at the end of this article) and is a leading writer of her generation in New Zealand. Landfall: New Zealand’s oldest extant literary magazine, established in 1947 with poet and patron-of-the-arts Charles Brasch as editor-in-chief. Published biannually by Otago University Press, the magazine features new poetry and fiction, essays, cultural commentary and reviews, and visual art. . To the Occupant: Emma’s sixth volume of poetry — ‘an innovative and astounding collection’. Penelope Todd: author and editor, first met Emma on a writers’ tour of Otago, during which a cold swim in the sea at Katiki Beach secured the friendship.


Emma, it’s about two years since you started editing Landfall, with your first issue coming out in May 2018. I recall chatting with you when you were thinking of applying — you were stretched taut, balancing excitement and apprehension at the prospect. Often the appearance of those twins heralds an enriching new venture.

sense in which, as with being a writer, an editor of this kind of journal is never not working. If you care enough about it, ideas and anxieties will come to you at the most inconvenient of times. I do have enormous support from the staff at Otago University Press [publishers of Landfall], and I’m often really grateful that there is a sounding board there for some of the difficult issues that come up — about reviewing, or in outrageous correspondence with authors, and so on.

I applied, yes, at the very last minute, daunted by the idea of taking on such a responsibility. The weight and heft of its history seemed too onerous to carry.

Are you the first female editor, by the way?

How constrained have you felt by the lineage and structure of the magazine and what readers might expect to find in its covers?

I am the second. The first was Chris Price, who was also the person to institute the Landfall essay prize, to mark the journal’s 50th anniversary. I’d long admired Landfall, and saw getting my own work published in it as a kind of peak achievement, when I was submitting to other editors, and also when there were fewer outlets for new writing on the literary scene. The sense of the cultural importance of the journal never leaves me, and it may never leave me: I may well carry grey hairs and other afflictions as a result of what goes on behind the scenes!

In the end, I decided that the role of the editor was to respond to creative writing and the arts now, rather than to be a reincarnation of the esteemed founder Charles Brasch; and I knew that I would naturally bring a different slant to the role from any previous editor, and also — that the tenure isn’t forever. I thought I could cope with that, or at least could take a run at it!

A huge job, though, selecting work to fill the journal’s 208 pages.

I had excellent advice from David Eggleton [Landfall editor 2010—2017] before I took up the role, and I will always be grateful for some of his gems… such as how we need to try to review books from smaller independent presses as well as the

It is the kind of job that expands to fill as much time and headspace as you allow it to; there is a 16

larger more prominent presses; that representation over time matters, rather than for each individual month of reviews; and just about some of the general practicalities in the production process, which can have a big influence on how much material we can take.

yes, a no and a maybe pile; the maybe pile I read at least twice, to see if there is something that just needed longer to percolate for me.

So what does a journal editor actually do? At this point I commission up to six book reviews a month for the online review website, Landfall Review Online, and six more for each hard copy issue of the journal. I give these an initial copy edit; sometimes have quite a bit of to and fro by email with the author if they are a relatively new writer, who needs a bit of mentoring. The final copy edit is done in-house, by Imogen Coxhead, who has one of the sharpest eyes in the industry, I’d say!  

I’ve found with each issue so far that I’ve been asked to cut as much as 7000 words from my initial selection. It’s so hard each time. I have to turn down wonderful work; I have to turn down mediocre work from wonderful writers; I have to turn down great (and less great) work by friends; there are all sorts of ‘death by a thousand paper cuts’ for the editor, too, in the selection process. I sometimes feel like the bad fairy at the banquet, but I just have to hope that the really professional writers take any rejection in their stride and understand that there are any number of variables behind both an acceptance and a rejection — not least of which is the limited space.

I judge two essay competitions a year, one for young adult writers, one for adult writers, and the winning essay is published in an issue of Landfall. I have to write a report on each competition as part of my role. For the journal itself, for each issue so far I’ve read work from between 260 and 360 authors who submit poetry, fiction or essays; and I also sometimes seek out work from particular writers, if, by the end of reading period, I feel there is a je ne sais quoi missing from the issue as it starts to take shape. I have about six weeks to filter down the submissions to fill the set 208 pages. I have a

The other component to the role is that I have to approach three visual artists for each issue. This has been one of the most challenging and exhilarating parts of the role. Although I studied art history at high school, I didn’t pursue it to tertiary level, so my ‘training’ has mainly been through self-education when I lived in London for eight years and began to visit galleries there on my own; and then once back in New Zealand, in my work at Longacre Press, publisher Barbara Larson often asked us to discuss book cover imagery with the designer, Christine Buess. That helped to train 17

Front cover art: Star Gossage, I have sung my way through this world, 2018, oil on canvas, 1015 x 1015mm. Collection Auckland Art Gallery Toi o TÄ maki 18

my eye more, I think. I’ve found the artists for Landfall through seeing exhibitions and student shows in Dunedin, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson, through reading other fine arts publications in Aotearoa/NZ, and in one or two cases through suggestions or recommendations from curators or art writers.

Has your own writing — of fiction, of poetry — been tinged, displaced or shaped by the flow of Landfall material through your awareness? I’ve been quite bloody-minded about still writing my own work alongside the editorial role; but I have always had to work at other jobs alongside writing, and that has always been a frustration and an obstacle to the writer in me. The happiest I’ve been has been when I’ve had full-time grants or residencies, and for those brief periods of time when I’ve been able to completely immerse myself in a project. I have started writing more short fiction as a result of the Landfall role. There is an element of responding in kind to the sort of reading I’m doing, and I’ve learnt a lot, I think, about how to write short fiction from thinking critically about other people’s work.

I sometimes write text to accompany the art portfolios, but one change I have tried to bring in to the journal is to ask those artists who are comfortable with it to offer their own statement. This is partly curiosity and fascination on my part: I love to know the thinking behind the creative process. It was also partly a quiet acknowledgment that the artist is the expert on their work; I am a ‘lay looker ’, in one sense. Though I have really enjoyed the stretch when the artist hasn’t wanted to write their own commentary — either because they are non-verbal, as in Susan te Kahurangi King’s case, or because they feel writing is not their natural element, as with any number of other artists we’ve showcased. On the other hand, it’s really exciting when an artist like Ngahuia Harrison offers up her own commentary — it seems vital that a young Māori woman artist and teacher/academic/ intellectual should have the podium, if she wants it, in this context, given the voices of tangata whenua have been spoken over for so long by all kinds of institutions in the past.

I chaired a panel on the short story at the Word festival a couple of years ago, and Bill Manhire, who was one of the guests, made a quip about how I was the odd one out, as I wrote poetry and novels but not short fiction — and I admitted I found it really hard — to get the right balance between reveal and conceal, emotional impact and understatement. It was as if he helped me to articulate the problem: and at some point, I thought, maybe I’m just being cowardly. Maybe this is a risk I need to take as an artist. 19

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Ross Creek Reservoir


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Ross Creek Reservoir


I am also rewriting a novel at the moment, which has to be done in fits and starts around the Landfall deadlines. In one sense it is good to be forced away from the writing every now and then —I think it makes me come back to it with a cooler, more removed eye, so it is easier to find where passages sound forced or hollow or where the narrative goes slack. Or I hope it does. As with doctors diagnosing themselves, it’s still important to get (at least) a second opinion.

give the piece extra punch. But neither is telling a straight, journalistic account of events. I love trying to find the sweet spot that condenses both. It’s also quite freeing to write stories this compact after years of slogging at novels. I had beginner ’s luck with flash fiction — was placed in two international competitions and had some international journals take some work — and that helped to give me the courage to try fuller short stories.

Flash fiction — does it have a place in your repertoire? Yes, I think I have Michelle Elvy and the National Flash Fiction Day team to thank for that. Michelle and her colleagues approached me to judge the competition one year, which might have been based on some prose poems I’d had published, as it was still a very new form to me; I definitely hadn’t had any significant success in short fiction at that point. After reading the entries for that year, I was hooked. I was judging with Michael Harlow, and it was fascinating to realise when we shared our separate long lists how much they crossed over, and that we were both looking for a fusion of poetic style and yet dramatic pacing, a honed sense of narrative.

And coming to To the Occupant, before I get specific, is there anything you’d like to say about its coming into being — germinations, process, creating space for the poems I’ve always written poems both as a way of savouring language as a flexible and sensuous tool in its own right, and as a way of processing things that sit outside the fictional world I’m working on at any given time. Poems tend to come when I am reading a lot of poetry, and also as a way of tackling contemporary issues and/or private concerns that trouble me, that need some kind of mental digestion. For this particular book, I also wrote a series of poems that were toying with the idea of the poem as a letter to a sometimes unknown, sometimes personal, recipient. Very untrendy, apparently, if you believe in the Do Not lists published by some contemporary critics and poets… but I think the minute somebody declares a

Although the prose poem and flash fiction are close cousins, it seems to me that in a competition field like that, poetic expression alone isn’t enough to 22

-come of what you might call ‘mental digestion’ is not dung but gold!

type of poem unfashionable or passé, it’s probably important to poke a stick at it to see if it still moves. Or maybe there is just a stubborn part of me that wants to kick against any excessively punitive censure like that. Write what you want, what you need, and you are very likely to find that there are others out there who need and want it too. The poems that delved into the letter as a form were actually prompted by a journal called The Letters Page — I came across an issue somehow, and loved their celebration of the letter as a kind of dying art form in its own right; and I just started to dabble in poems-as-letters for fun, after I had handed over the material for my very first issue of Landfall.

I think responding to this would probably mean psychoanalysing myself, which is dangerous ground, as I don’t have the training! But, I think the simplest thing to say is that the musicality of language and poetry does bring me such pleasure; I respond to the feel of certain words the way a musician does a chord change, I guess. I sometimes feel a sort of physical, synaesthetic response just at the shape of a word — and I write it down, as if it’s a photo of some particular sensation. In my notebook for example recently I’ve written down shack, pince-nez, kinetic, quiddity — I don’t really know why — none of them was new to me; but for whatever reason, coming across those words — in a poem, a podcast, a novel — just stopped me for a moment. Weird.

I’ve heard you read several of these poems aloud, and more than once the delicious ‘So Buttoned Up’, which includes the lines: ‘… those shirt buttons sat/ obedient and still/ as small bald monks/ meditating/ patiently/ upon detachment.’ Which makes me laugh with surprise and joy every time. It seems to me that although you’re wrestling often with unanswerable and tragic questions relating to our human and planetary plight, joy is a hallmark of your poetry — thanks to the exquisite word-plays and ‘complex melodies’ (Paula Green) that summon your acute observations of domestic, relational or natural detail. The skill and musicality of your language bring light into otherwise intense or dark scenarios. (Not always: ‘The Belt’ for example is pure devastation.) The out-

As for evoking joy — perhaps it’s become more important for me to try to reach that in the work as we are on the brink of losing so much. Maybe also the older you get, the more we realise the small joys are all we really have: as in, any emotional state is fleeting even, or perhaps especially, the intense highs of any ‘firsts’ we might experience — first love, first childbirth, first book … I don’t know. Phone the psychoanalyst!

How does a poet know when a poem is finished? Do 23

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Distance It was the first spring the child realised he had seen other springs and had grown his own memories. ‘So—not very long till you are old!’ he cried with a quarter smile, flummoxed by his own smug-sad wisdom and the pain that flew in through the mind’s skylight was so swift and silvering, I plunged my nose into the magnolia’s bowl, I plunged it again to the pale spray of wild plum, its flowers the size of the metal snap-domes on a baby’s stretch ’n’ grow; then asked, ‘Do they have a scent? Can you tell?’ He copied. ‘Mmmm, they do. It’s beautiful, but it’s very, very faint—as if we’re looking out of the backs of our minds. Or feel it from a hill very far beside the sky.’ As if we can only know some things at a distance. From years away, say. Or the granular, woven light of a page. Emma Neale


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


you have more complete or incomplete poems in your life?

Did you write the scene at once, or was it recollected and enlarged?

I do abandon a lot of poems. And I have a few new, unpublished poems hanging around. But I find I’m also writing less poetry than fiction right now — it is all to do with learning a new craft, I think; taking on the challenge of trying to write short fiction. Usually I know when a poem is finished if it gets accepted! I have sometimes still altered them after they’ve appeared in a journal, and if they are going into a book, but not always. But completion is all to do with sonic and thematic balance; a kind of musical tightness; a resolution of the pressure of a tone or question. Actually, it’s very hard to articulate how I know. But it does often take dozens and dozens of drafts.

I think I wrote it after day or two of mulling over the slightly quirky expression in the dialogue — children often express things in an offbeat, idiosyncratic way, before they’ve sort of been ‘dulled’ into correct grammar or ordinary syntax, and I love the way the quirky, unconventional phrasing seems to get to a core or truth in experience that we often skim over in the everyday talk and activities. The so-called mistakes are often genuine insights, if you see what I mean. The child’s lines of dialogue are direct quotation — these were the seed for the poem.

Well, the way the words are arranged on the page (yours and the child’s) allows them to sail in a very particular way into the reader’s mind. ‘smug-sad wisdom’, ‘the granular, woven light of a page’ … do such gorgeous handfuls arrive fully formed?

I hoped we might pick over a poem, for those of us who don’t make them regularly or ever. I opened my copy of To the Occupant at ‘Distance’, this achingly poignant exchange with a poet child. Did the poem arise from a conversation, or were you looking already for a way to say such things?

The first phrase – ‘smug-sad’ – did arrive fully formed; I was just trying to get my little son’s mixture of knowledge & realisation-in-the-moment; he was kind of catching himself in the act. The final phase I did have to work at; I knew I wanted to say something about how we have to step back from some experiences before we understand them and that perhaps writing is on some level always about that act of processing. I think, though,

It did arise out of a real conversation with my youngest son — I’ve always listened closely to both boys because their own insights, observations, and use of language has been so interesting and entertaining, right from when they were both very small. 27

that having my youngest son quite late in life made me more acutely aware of time passing than I was with my eldest, when I was just lost in the onslaught of change and my own inexperience as a parent. I couldn’t have written this poem when a new mother with my first son; with the first child, everything is new, so time has a different cast to it.

Emma Neale: Besides her six novels and six poetry

Four stanzas, of six, eight, four and three lines … as it happened or because you decided?

collections, and edited anthologies, Emma is a former Robert Burns fellow (2012) and has received numerous awards and grants for her writing including the Janet Frame/NZSA

With this kind of poem, which is open form or free verse, the stanza breaks are to do with pauses in the unfolding narrative or understanding, rather than to do with the pleasure of regular patterning or shaping. The experience is pushing the form into a particular shape, rather than the shape moulding the experience. I think partly because it’s about not having control (over time and ageing) regular form felt wrong — not true to the way realisation or experience can flood you in an unstoppable stream (that longer eight-line stanza) — and the mind only afterwards has time to react, to package (as in the shortest three-line final stanza).

Memorial Prize for Literature (2008), the University of Otago/Sir James Wallace Pah Residency (2014), and she was Philip and Diane Beatson/NZSA Writing Fellow in 2015. Neale was awarded the Kathleen Grattan Award for 2011 for her poetry collection The Truth Garden, and was a finalist for the Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2017 for her novel Billy Bird. Since 2018 she has been editor of Landfall journal, and she holds a PhD in New Zealand Literature from University College London (UK).

Penelope Todd, a regular contributor to DIEM writes fiction and memoir, has published at Rosa Mira Books, and edits manuscripts and children’s books in translation.


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020



Bilingual At our seven-year-old’s school, there’s a new pupil.

are smoke, are sails, are flags;

His name is Huiseong Song: Korean for bright star.

are pale-gold flashes marked on black bark,

‘That’s cool!’ our son exclaims.

sticks laid like arrows on fresh mud,

‘He sounds like the song of songs,

light brush strokes on day’s blue scroll.

‘the most singing-est of songs!’

Just one week later, when I ask, ‘How’s Huiseong?’

Our tousled pipistrelle in ripped black jeans,

Our son grins, finds him, cups his elbow;

he shins up a tree and cries, ‘Hey, Huiseong! Hi!’

with an ‘On your marks, get set, go!’

Joy’s echolocation, afternoon serenade

side by side they run and rise;

in the playground the children have christened,

they clamber, they tree-hide,

like some old-time ship, The Adventure.

they You’re In, they Not-It,

Below the climbing frame’s mock-rigging, moored

agile under leaf-steeples,

in caution’s vertigo, his mother confides

limber in sun-time,

fear’s limbo: for Huiseong knows no English.

fluent, already, in the fleet code-switch

Yet—see how he close-reads hands and feet

between a wilding self and first other-kin.

for grip and swing, scoot and climb, drop and land and run; the children’s step and leap

Emma Neale


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Otago Harbour ĹŒtepoti Dunedin The verse is an excerpt from the poem Sea Call by Hone Tuwhare. Part of a city-wide project of sharing poetry by the Stepsisters.


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Electric Narratives @ Otago Harbour ĹŒtepoti Dunedin


Henry Feltham E l e c t r ic N a r rat iv es Inter viewed by

Raymond Huber Photography by Caroline Davies



Henry Feltham writes for screens: movies, computer games, video, and the internet. For the last three years he’s worked for Dunedin company RocketWerkz as a game writer on two major projects. He describes himself as ‘a new-fashioned writer….turning ideas into electric narratives’, which I think captures the energy and range of Henry’s writing (and provides a fitting title for this interview). Henry co-wrote the screenplay of the New Zealand feature film This Town which will premiere this April. It’s a comedy with a dark edge: acquitted of a crime, a young man tries to rebuild his life while an ex-cop, convinced of his murderous tendencies, tries to prove his guilt. The cast includes legendary actresses Robyn Malcolm and Rima Te Wiata, and David White, the film’s director and co-writer. In 2016, Henry, David, and producer James Ashcroft were selected as finalists in a screenplay competition run by the Venice Film Festival, and they travelled to Venice to workshop their script. Henry began by telling me about the genesis of This Town and what happened at the Venice workshop. 36

Henry: “The film had a really long gestation, as these things do. My friend David White was living in Hawkes Bay and had made a short film (titled ‘Killer?’) about a man who’d been accused of killing his whole family, was found innocent, but was having trouble slotting back into rural New Zealand. The main character (Sean) was so funny and so obliquely ironic that I encouraged David to develop it.

draft script, I got a full time job writing computer games in Dunedin. David reworked the dialogue for about a further year after that.”

This Town is described as ‘a touchingly twisted comedy’. We’ve just had Taika Waititi’s successful Hitler satire, Jojo Rabbit, but are Kiwis ready for a comedy with David Bain parallels? “It is ultra deadpan and I have a suspicion that it’s going to mystify New Zealand audiences – I think some of them aren’t going to know when to laugh. But I’ve shown it to Italian and Russian audiences and they thought it was hilarious. (Perhaps it’s easier to relate to in subtitles– they distance the viewer, and there’s an element of processing that lends itself to satire). To some extent it falls into the Rom-Com category, but what appeals to me most is the absurdity of the situations. And yes, we’re slightly on tenterhooks with the likely David Bain comparisons and we don’t know how people will respond – many New Zealanders have pretty much made up their minds about that case. It might be all a bit too close to the bone here, so it could do better overseas. It’s also coming out close to the anniversary of the Christchurch shootings and we’re very conscious that that timing – and although the movie has a very different scenario, people might be sensitive about that, and rightly so. We don’t know how it will be received, and I g u e s s it’s the same with any piece of art you put

Venice was a 10-day workshop to expand David’s film to a feature-length movie. They bring in eight projects from around the world but at the end only two projects get funding. It was incredible working with world class producers. Much of it was about interrogating the film: asking why the characters are doing what they do. At one point we built the whole film out of Lego to help us decide who the main characters were and how they related to each other. That revealed to us that an incidental character (Casey, who Sean meets on Tinder) was actually at the centre of the film, so we swung her in. We came third in the workshop so didn’t get any money; but we came back with the imprint of approval from the Venice Film Festival, and that it made it a lot easier to get funding through Creative NZ and Madman (a large distributor). David and I wrote the script together: I’d write scenes, he’d write scenes, then we’d re-write each other ’s – it helped that neither of us were very precious about our stuff. About the same time that we finished the 37

out there. The film is weird enough to make me unsure.”

by Frank Herbert; later I discovered William Gibson who just goes to town and is quite complex. One of the most fabulous novels I’ve ever read is Under The Skin by Michel Faber, about an alien harvesting hitchhikers in rural Scotland; a perfect book for me!

You have written several other screenplays, as well as video scripts for companies such as Showboat Productions. I know you love science fiction – have you ever written a sci-fi screenplay?

Yes, it’s quite an intense story – I also loved Faber’s sci-fi novel The Book of Strange New Things. What (or who) were the other early influences on your writing?

“The first screenplay I wrote played on a Dunedin urban legend about organ-harvesters operating in the music-drug subculture in the mid-1980s. After that I wrote an adaptation of Samuel Butler ’s novel Erewhon which I think I did better on, although I was still developing my screenwriting skills. Trouble is, Erewhon itself has no real plot, it’s more a scaffold for philosophical arguments, and I have a tendency of sliding into sci-fi (which I did). Actually, the premise of Erewhon is sci-fi, about the machines rising up – Butler invented the Terminator-trope back in 1859. Nowadays I’d make it more the satirical comedy that it wants to be; I might have another shot at it. And I’ve just finished writing a film script that is brazenly B-grade sci-fi that connects to my love of Akira (a movie I saw when I was 14 and which changed my understanding of what was possible).

“I come from quite a literary family: my grandmother was a librarian and my mother wrote, so I was always drawn to it. I also had a couple of friends who wrote, so maybe it was through sheer competition. I remember when I was at university, everyone would put notes on their doors (this was the days before cell phones) – I’d type notes for my door and they’d get longer and longer, and gradually become like short-stories (‘Henry’s off sailing hot-air balloons over the Antarctic…’). Then when I was about 20 I had this sudden thought: ‘Oh my god, I’m going to be 70 one day and I’m really going to need something to do. Maybe writing will see me through; not just as a profession but something that will last me a lifetime’. For a year after that I wrote only with a typewriter because I knew that writing on computers you were continually tempted to delete what you’d just written and edit as you go.

Sci-fi is the widest genre and has so much potential (although it can be shallow; all plot and not much character). When I was a teenager I thought Ian M. Banks Consider Phlebas was amazing, and Dune 38

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


behind computer games; they’re clearly more than just a visual thing. I’m also interested in the way people experience the narrative in computer games compared to novels.

I wanted to train myself to structure in advance; to construct a short story largely in my head. I was reading a lot of Borges short stories at the time and was interested in how much you could actually get into a small space.

“Well, characters in games say words, right? For example, I had a job on a crime drama game in 2010 that ended up having a script that was 900 pages long; because every character you ran into could say something different, and what that character had said to you would change what the next character said to you. There are divergent story paths and this is what is fascinating about games – no two players necessarily will experience the same story. So players are constructing a story in their head and the writer has to figure out how to get essential information across to them but also how to deploy contingent stuff. For example, if it’s a murder mystery you’ll solve the main murder but maybe you’ll track down other criminal subplots.

When my wife got a job as a locum in rural hospitals around the country, I just wrote for about five years, trying to write a novel. A breakthrough came when one of my short stories got published in a NZ Book Month competition book. I set it in Shanghai with the help of an old Rothman’s Shanghai guide book I’d found (a trick Thomas Pynchon used in his story Under The Rose). Someone read it and offered me a job in Dunedin on the basis of my short story. It was my first gaming job (2007), writing the narrative and dialogue for a computer game. Story writing for games completely derailed my ambitions to write a novel. I’ve also written for radio, video and the web. One day I’d be writing about solar panels, the next day I’d be a restaurant critic, the day after writing about resource management; briefly becoming an expert in each thing. As anybody who’s been a contract-writer-for-hire knows, you grab everything and it becomes quite tiring. So I leapt at the chance to do games.”

Of course you could miss all of them if you just blasted through the middle of the game; or you could spend your time dallying through some of them. You can imagine it becomes a bit like a river-delta, so in order to prevent it becoming impossibly large to manage there are certain points written into the game which are moments the player has to experience.

I confess I’ve never really considered the writing process 40

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Waterfront Otago Harbour, ĹŒtepoti Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Game narratives can involve quite difficult decisions too – like who to trust and which relationship to pursue. Different characters will tell you competing versions of the truth and you can find more information by unearthing every aspect of the narrative that’s been strewn around this world for you. (A bit like life.)”

constraints. I’m often teaming up with designers, creative directors, animators, editors and others to engage audiences and unearth new ones.”

'Henry’s latest job at RocketWerkz is writing a four person ‘co-op’ game, where they play the same game together on different screens. What does the future of gaming hold for you?

How do you even begin to plan and plot such massive branching narratives?

“Computer games have been a powerful art-form for well over three decades; and gaming has become the largest entertainment industry in the world. It’s still developing and that’s what’s exciting about making games and makes me want to write them rather than novels or films just now. I do enjoy the technical process of writing movies, but then everyone knows how to write a film and I don’t feel I have anything new to add (which is why I’ve written a B-grade sci-fi film). But with games the very ground on which the art form operates is continually changing because computers themselves are evolving and what you can do is alway expanding. Perhaps soon the computer will generate encounters with characters; or game-players will help create the story which becomes almost like a dream. Once you understand the potential here for a writer, it’s almost limitless.”

“You plot a game like you would a play. I use a three-act structure for almost everything: crisis, conflict and resolution – with each crisis having it’s own sub-crisis – and you nest them like any dramatic structure. Games can keep evolving too. For example, a huge narrative has accrued around the popular game Fortnight where new plot elements are added to each updated release. Some games (like Witcher 3) can take 100 hours to finish – so they have you as an audience for 100 hours; there’s not a lot to compare to that (maybe 10 seasons of streaming drama). The writing also shades into design elements. For example, for the sci-fi game I’m working on now the designers might come to me and ask ‘what would this room in a space station have in it?’. And I’d reply ‘they’d have big electrolysis machines to melt ice and make hydrogen for fuel’. I like the challenge of writing around these technical

Raymond Huber is an author and editor; he's written children's novels, picture books, science textbooks and radio plays. www.raymondhuber.co.nz 43

Toroa Sculpture by Peter Nichols Otago Harbourside, Dunedin 44

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Toroa and Electric Narratives


Bat flu

At first it’s novelty. A chance to catch up on housework. Garden trimmers burst into life. Unwanted noise becomes reassurance, a signal of normality over the hedge. But the world’s grown strange beyond the letterbox. The Government prints money, gives it away. It's early days: Cupboards still half full, accounts still in the black, a vicarious global crisis over the horizon where great cities thresh like wounded whales and pimp politicians root around in the muck for a quick fix, an easy blame. But it's just a matter of time, before the horizon catches up with us. An invisible miasma folds itself over the land. Bat spawned superbug, cellular neutron bomb, pirate RNA throwing grappling hooks over the side of our civilian organisms.

The day the earth stood still, the week, then month, when things in general just stopped, went slo mo, ran out of juice. Streets bereft of clamour. Some have to get on with it. Gowned medics, checkout chicks, remote database admins in midday PJs. The patient and the tense queue and avoid looking at each other in case infection can shimmy down a casual glance. Phoney war, evolution’s arm race, everything’s a means to an end for these microscopic time travelers and their nasty ways. The world is suspended in its own bubble. Keeping our distance, we somehow become closer.

Victor Billot


Otago Harbour, Otepoti Dunedin

Photograph by Victor Billot Š 2020


The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra at the Town Hall

Photograph courtesy Dunedin Symphony Orchestra © 2020

The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra Performs The Snow Goose Composed by John Ritchie Conducted by Kenneth Young 48

Press ! Play button above on the video and have HD and full screen options Or Direct link to video https://vimeo.com/345604532 Performed by Bridget Douglas (flute) with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra (Kenneth Young, conductor) at the Kings and Queens Performing Arts Centre, Dunedin - 12 May 2019 Filmed and edited by Chris Watson for the Resound Project (funded by NZ On Air) Audio recorded by Danny Buchanan


John Ritchie (1921-2014)

The Snow Goose (1982) Programme Notes John Ritchie was an Otago University graduate, having completed his BMus in two years (1942-43) so he could take part in World War II. Appropriately The Snow Goose, written for flute and orchestra, is based on a story by Paul Gallico which is set in WW II. It relates the story of a Canadian goose which was rescued from the Essex marches, and eventually followed its rescuer to the beaches of Dunkirk for the evacuation. “This feathered wanderer from Canada, rescued from the marshes of Essex … now tamed and befriended, follows his rescuer ’s boat to the beaches of Dunkirk. The music initially creates a mood of uneasy peace, such as prevailed during the early months of the war. An extended solo for flute depicts the bird's flight and its serenity, to be interrupted by sounds of war and imminent tragedy as his friend takes his yacht with the snow goose circling above to help in the evacuation of British troops. Rescued soldiers would swear that if you saw the bird, you would eventually be saved. After many return trips ferrying soldiers from shore to evacuation ship, both yacht and yachtsman perish. The bird wheels in salute and flies back to the empty landscape of the marshes and a crumbling lighthouse, subsequently to return to its native land.” (SOUNZ). The endearing musical language of the piece is reminiscent of VaughanWilliams in that composer ’s use of Elizabethan style modes. The beautiful melody created for the flute is guaranteed to imbed itself immediately in your memory. The juxtaposition of its simplicity over the perfect almost jazzy (but actually Renaissance) harmonies is a delight. 50

A Snow Goose prepares to land

Photograph by Manjithkaini


CC Wikimedia

Lucy is the Artistic Director of award-winning dance theatre company Borderline Arts Ensemble, has been the Dance Educator for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, danced for Footnote New Zealand Dance and The New Zealand Dance Company, worked as a freelance choreographer and rehearsal director on a wide variety of projects, as well as completing residencies in Singapore, Malaysia, Spain and Croatia in recent years.

CASELBERG TRUST Caselberg Trust Creative Connections resident 2020

Whilst on her Creative NZ sponsored 3 month Caselberg Trust Creative Connections residency in 2020 Lucy will be working on a project titled “Tomorrow Was Another Day”, which will be a solo dance show in which the audience is invited to join a lone albatross as it adventures across an incomprehensibly vast oceanic realm. Through a narrative that explores the subterranean crevices of human thought, feeling, and the subliminal mind, a beguiling albatross will take you on a phantasmagorical journey of movement, imagery and soundscape. 

Lucy Marinkovich Dance and performance residency takes centre stage     

For the first time in its eight-year history the Caselberg Trust’s Creative Connections Resident 2020 will be a dance and performance practitioner.   Lucy Marinkovich is a Wellington based freelance dance artist and choreographer who has recently completed a residency in New York as the 2019 recipient of the Arts Foundation Harriet Friedlander New York Residency award winner. 

Lucy says “Tomorrow Was Another Day is inspired by the pantheon of epic literary works with aquatic narratives and arrogant protagonists. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is the literary epitome whereby an act of hubris consequently throws everyone overboard. While most fictional oceanic tales champion the protagonist’s ambition and thirst for adventure, I am interested in the Mariner’s melancholy themes of 52

regret, guilt and grief. On the deepest level I seek to explore and communicate an artistic allegory for the climate crisis, and I hope to express this through the fragile beauty of birds.” As part of her residency Lucy will also be working with the students of Broad Bay School by holding a series of dance classes and art workshops. Through the dance classes she will seek to explore avian and marine-inspired movements with the children, including flocking patterns, and share how a dance is made through this collaborative process.   Making dance and performance accessible for all is a passion of Lucy’s. This was recognised in 2018 when she was part of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Education Team who received a Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Award, “Highly Commended: Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2018”.    This was for its programme of accessible events making ballet accessible to people who might not otherwise get the chance to experience it. Lucy is scheduled to take up her residency at the Caselberg House from 9th May to 14th June and 1st July to 23rd August 2020, contingent on Covid-19 restrictions. Caselberg Trust Lucy Marinkovich:   https://www.lucymarinkovich.com  http://www.borderlinearts.com 



An on the edge of your seat drama the whole world has a part to play in.

“Closed Until Further Notice!” It’s been a dramatic new decade so far - a rocky road, a bumpy ride, a breath-taking surprise around every blind bend. And sure as, when you thought you couldn’t take another ‘in your face’ challenge, Life’s script-writer has composed a formidable scene where economic and social structures collapse, everywhere, quickly. People can no longer gather in groups of any kind. People are sick and some are dying. Rehearsal rooms are suddenly silent, the show is not about to go on, and in a blink of an eye - lights no longer twinkle as the stage dims to ghostly black. There is a sign that says,

‘gone home ufn & be kind’, that rests against the locked door.


Te Mauri, Mum & Me written by Julie Edwards Image Courtesy PPP - Playground 2020 Te Mauri 2


Producer H-J Kilkelly and Playwright Emily Duncan are

Prospect Park Productions Story - Caroline Davies

Abruptly brought to a stand-still and lock-down in the midst of full throttle preproduction, Prospect Park Productions was up for a buzzy year. I have no doubt, the two creative drivers of the company and champions of theatre - H-J Kilkelly and Emily Duncan - will ride the storm and come out with something amazing at the other end of the tunnel. They are talented and experienced. Improvisation is part of a theatre’s toolkit, and their skills are honed. PPP had several works well prepared, rehearsed and ready to go for the cancelled Dunedin Fringe Festival 2020 in March, and other projects scheduled for later in the year, such as seasons two and three of the Gothic thriller podcast, ‘Dark Dunedin’, are also on hold. Even in the face of cancellations and postponements until further notice - Prospect Park Productions is a strong presence in New Zealand’s theatrical scene. So while the curtains are temporarily down and the stage is dark, we’re delving into what makes Prospect Park Productions tick. 57

Committed to the growth and professional development of performing arts in Dunedin and New Zealand, H-J and Emily are a dynamic team with a fabulous track record. Their belief in the power of theatre is not only enduring, but also inspiring.

Prospect Park Productions was formed, like many theatre companies, as a way to get the work we wanted to see on stage, primarily new or unproduced New Zealand pieces. Over time, the kaupapa has evolved in response to the increasing challenges we face as arts practitioners, and it’s very exciting that the more we build, the more we’re able to offer opportunities for others to learn and have their voices heard.

H-J: “We started Prospect Park Productions back in 2016, but Emily and I have known each other since 2002. Fun fact: we met when Emily was playing Lady Capulet and my dad, Brian, was playing Lord Capulet, in a Globe Theatre Production of Romeo & Juliet. I was a stage/ production manager for that and many other productions in the early 2000s. We all went on to be involved in the production of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which had many seasons here and internationally between 2002 and 2003. I think that experience definitely cemented the relationship! Not long after, I was lucky enough to produce Lips/See (2003) and Sweetmeats/The Takeover (2004 Dunedin Fringe!) by Emily Duncan/Nathan Matthews. I didn’t necessarily have any idea of what I was doing, but that’s where the love of producing really began.

Accordingly, in 2019 we formed Ōtepoti Theatre Lab, an initiative for development of new and emerging playwrights, and Ōtepoti Writers Lab, regular sessions providing support and space for writers of all genres. Essentially, Prospect Park is our producing entity, and ŌTL/ŌWL our development platforms.”

How do your individual skills and dynamics work between you? “Emily is very much a writer and creator. She is known to come up with some pretty lofty ideas; it’s all very well having genius ideas, but in order to make them happen you need someone that can translate cool, creative ideas into practical achievable milestones, i.e. a producer! That being said, I’m known to create some pretty huge challenges for us too, so we bounce a lot of stuff back and forth between us to see where and how we can make it work.

I did have some years out of the industry, travelling, working overseas and the like, but had always said I’d consider getting back into the game for the right project. In 2016, Emily approached me to produce her show, Hold Me … at BATS Theatre in Wellington, and the rest is history! 58

LE SUJET PARLE (first produced March 2019, Otago Museum) Nominations: City of Literature Beyond Words Award in Association with UNESCO City of Literature, Dunedin Fringe 2019, Adam NZ Playwriting Award 2019 Outstanding Script, Outstanding Performance (Kelly Hocking, Orion Carey-Clark) Winner: Outstanding Script, Dunedin Theatre Awards 2019


We work well as a team as we do have quite different skill sets. I focus more on the business side, securing funding and sponsorship, sourcing venues, negotiating contracts…the list is long, but generally just hustling to get whatever we need to put work out there.

secure funding, create networks and partnerships and build a brand and kaupapa that people are proud to be associated with. Highs for me personally in the last year were the creation of our new platforms, Ōtepoti Theatre Lab, and Ōtepoti Writers Lab. We had some real dream teams working on OTL and it was amazing to see the writers learn from their mentors and each other. With OWL, being able to respond to what we were hearing from writers around the need to come together has been incredibly validating. Being responsive and building community is what we’re all about.”

There is definitely a bit of trade here and there though; the nature of PPP being a two-woman team means there’s a lot of us both picking up whatever needs to be done, from picking up coffee for an Ōtepoti Writers Lab session, to hand-drawing collateral for a marketing campaign, to harassing people we want to work with! We’re a very handson production company, but it also means we both understand the nitty gritty of exactly what it takes to make work in this ecology.”

Besides the massive problems caused with Covid-19‘s Level 4 Lockdown, and assuming we will all pick up the pieces when we are through it, what kind of difficulties does PPP have to deal with day to day?

Producing takes unwavering commitment, razor sharp vision, and copious amounts of sweat. There are highs and lows. There are unanticipated challenges that can sometimes seem insurmountable, and yet - overcome. What are some of those for you?

“At a local level, rehearsal and presenting spaces are few; professional development opportunities are limited; being able to run in a fully professional model (for example, nine-to-five rehearsals during weekdays) is almost impossible, due to the fact that most practitioners have to have other jobs to support their arts practice; the pool for highly skilled backstage roles is limited, and in fact, we tend to lose people out of the city as there’s not enough locally to sustain them. Companies here are savvy, resilient and increasingly collaborative

“Every project has its challenges, to be honest. I think a large majority of producing is being preemptive to where challenges might arise, and of course, responding when they do. It’s like plugging holes constantly. Obviously, the biggest challenge in making any kind of art in New Zealand is financial, so we’re constantly doing what we can to 60

Photograph by Lara McGregor Š 2020

ELOISE IN THE MIDDLE (first produced Oct 2018, Dunedin Public Art Gallery) Nominations: Outstanding Lighting Design, Outstanding Sound Design, Outstanding Scenographic Design, Outstanding Performance, Outstanding Script, Production of the Year, Dunedin Theatre Awards 2018 Winner: Outstanding Performance (Sara Georgie), Outstanding Script, Dunedin Theatre Awards 2018 61

in their approach to making work, but we need the support at local and national level to make Dunedin shine as a centre for developing work and building talent.

has reach into all, meaning I could engage with not only the Fringe, but also the Arts Festival and the Book Festival, in line with my focus. A particular interest in Edinburgh as a touchstone for that activity came via the link between Dunedin and Edinburgh, as not only sister-cities, but also as UNESCO Cities of Literature. I was interested to see how these relationships could strengthen offerings for Prospect Park and those we work with via our multiple platforms, and also how what’s happening internationally could feed into or inform the development of sustainable multi-faceted programmes within our city.

On a wider level, it’s a major piece of work around the value of the arts in NZ and what the arts ‘is’; it’s around recognising these professions as legitimate and getting away from the culture of expectation around artists providing their services and expertise for next to nothing. It is also up to us as practitioners to keep pushing from the ground up, to inform our funders, councils and decision makers as to exactly who we are and what we need. Artists are the ultimate entrepreneurs; we can do this!”

I hadn’t been to Edinburgh for over a decade, and the festival scene has changed immensely in that time. It’s important to understand the changing ecology there, as well as its place as an international arts marketplace, which can be hard to do from the bottom of the world!

Last year you travelled to Dunedin’s sister-city Edinburgh, also a UNESCO City of Literature to explore creative possibilities, forge new alliances, see what they are up to that could also benefit both PPP and Dunedin’s theatre scene. What took you there in the first place and what did you come away with?

A number of interesting relationships have come out of this trip, and we’re finding more and more that we’re able to share our networks with others locally, to broaden their reach. The first thing our audiences would have seen as a direct result of this trip were our Breakfast Reading series at the now cancelled Dunedin Fringe Festival. We were working closely with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland on part of our programme.”

“I was a delegate on the Creative New Zealand Festivals Intensive last year, which was an amazing opportunity to engage with a wide range of international networks, and benchmark what we’re doing against what’s happening more globally. There are seven different festivals occurring in Edinburgh at that time of year, and the Intensive 62

Holyrood, Edinburgh

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Curtains for this year’s Dunedin Fringe Festival For the Record

This structure of performance programming is a new approach in the format of the Fringe Festival, but rests easily inside the kaupapa of inclusion and support of emerging practitioners that Dunedin Fringe Festival is known for. Prospect Park Productions is increasing its share of voice in this area of support and development of arts practitioners into sustainable arts careers. This programme provides a whanau approach for the new practitioners as well as making space for them alongside experienced artists and writers.

Although not alone, the closing down of this year’s Dunedin Fringe Festival 2020 was a mighty blow to all involved. All that energy build-up for the preparations; the arrangements, scheduling, creating, costs, planning, rehearsing... And then a sudden stop. What were you preparing for this year’s Fringe Festival? “We were choosing a rather different approach to our Fringe Festival offering this year by undertaking a portfolio of works, rather than putting on a single show. It’s a way for us of showcasing works at different stages of development, and to provide different times of day to engage with work. It always strikes me during Festivals here that, especially if you’ve travelled to work on one, there’s often limited things to do during the day, and then you miss out on seeing others’ shows when they’re on at the same time as your own!

I loved the model I encountered in Edinburgh of breakfast play readings; you would grab a coffee and a bacon roll, sit and watch a rehearsed reading of a play and then go about your day. It’s about increasing accessibility in a variety of ways, it’s about understanding the process of making theatre is not just putting on a play, and it’s about respecting the need for robust process in developing work. As well as the Breakfast Readings, we were putting on full productions of Thief (by Kelly Hocking) and Tableland (by Simon Anderson), both works that came through our Ōtepoti Theatre Lab platform last year, and we’re hosting a development workshop and public showing of Julie Edward’s new work, Te Mauri, Mum & Me.

Responding to that, and integrating some elements from the Edinburgh trip, Play:Ground 2020 was born. We were very much looking forward to welcoming audiences to revel in theatre at all different stages of the creation process, at different times of day.

Opposite: For Dark Dunedin Season One, Dunedin Fringe Festival


Artwork Kehua - Wood Spirit by Jess Newton ©


HOLD ME (first produced Sept 2016, BATS Theatre) Nomination: Best New Playwright, Wellington Theatre Awards 2016

Photograph by Tabitha Arthur © 2020


Also, Prospect Park’s mentoree, Isaac Martyn from the Ōtepoti Theatre Lab alumni, was to produces his first Fringe Festival show, Partially Furnished. Isaac has continued to expand and develop the show, centred around two male Otago University students exploring their conceptions of love, loyalty and presentation together, since the 10week development programme last year when he worked with dramaturg and cult film Scarfies writer Duncan Sarkies.







development of three of the works to be presented in Play:Ground, I’ve been thinking a lot about those in our team who were on the cusp of putting their pieces in front of an audience for the first time. To present








performance requires not just skill, but also courage. Something I’m very proud of with OTL is that







supportive space in which they could test and refine their ideas. It isn’t a straight line from “this

The continuity and lifespan of works is really important to us; so often works are underdeveloped, leaving them to have one season and then be shelved. We are offering an opportunity for them to develop further, with the playwrights remaining at the core of the process, in line with our OTL kaupapa. We don’t expect that these will be the last iterations of these shows; where the works go next is up to the writers, but we’re thrilled to assist them on the journey to figuring out what that pathway is.”

is my idea” to opening night. So many factors come into play to create the conditions by which these artists can develop and present their works. Therefore, part of my focus over these coming weeks is going to be on how we can continue that support in some form. We’ve seen from Otepoti Writers Lab that there is a strong appetite for community





prescriptive but provides writers a touchstone of sorts. It seems now, more than ever, that we find ways to continue this in a time of isolation.”

Post Script: Lockdown at a Level Four Alert. Billions of people around the world stay at home

H-J: “It's been a number of things - not just losing our entire Play:Ground portfolio of work, but also the wider ripples of the Fringe folding, and then CNZ pulling all current funding applications out from consideration, while they redirect emergency funds. It has essentially pulled the rug out from

How are you and Emily doing/feeling at the moment with the closures? Are there any yet established channels to help everyone ride through this? And, is there anything you would like to add about the closure’s effect on arts/culture/live performance? 67

every independent theatre company in New Zealand, meaning not only can we not do work now, it's almost impossible to be planning effectively for 2020/2021, however that looks. CNZ have now released phase one of their recovery package, so this is evolving rapidly, but everything still feels incredibly shaky and unknown.

About Prospect Park Productions Prospect Park Productions was founded in 2016 by Dunedin natives, producer H-J Kilkelly, and playwright Emily Duncan, who bring together decades of combined theatre experience. Prospect Park have produced a number of award-winning works, including Hold Me, Eloise in the Middle and Le Sujet Parle.

I've spent several days contributing towards documents for funders, putting together statements on our losses, surveying local practitioners about the effects; I'm certainly full of everyone's feelings right now.

In 2018, Kilkelly and Duncan launched the multi-award winning three-part thriller podcast, Dark Dunedin: Heaven Looks On during the Dunedin Fringe Festival. Seasons 2 & 3 are due for release in winter 2020.

In terms of Prospect Park, we’re confident we can still roll out most of the work we had planned, even in this new ecology; however, we’re at the mercy of the funding bodies currently to know exactly what we’re looking at in terms of resources. Of course, we’re also yet to see the full impact on the economy, and we suspect this will have real repercussions in terms of partnerships, sponsorship and prioritisation of our sector.

Prospect Park Productions delivers professionally developed and presented performance art (theatre, podcast, visual), and facilitates development platforms Ōtepoti Theatre Lab and Ōtepoti Writers Lab.

https://prospectparknz.com https://www.facebook.com/OtepotiWritersLab/ https://www.facebook.com/OtepotiTheatreLab/

We have no other choice right now but to continue the lobbying and fighting it will no doubt require to save our livelihoods. It's critical everywhere; in Dunedin, so much more so due to an already large gap of infrastructure and venues.“



Robert Lord Outstanding Script Award for Le Sujet Parle, Dunedin Theatre Awards, 2019. Shortlisted for the Adam NZ Playwriting Award for Le Sujet Parle. 2019. Robert Burns Fellowship, University of Otago, 2019. Robert Lord Outstanding Script Award for Eloise in the Middle, Dunedin Theatre Awards, 2018. OAR FM Air Awards, Arts & Culture section award winner for Dark Dunedin: Heaven Looks On, 2018. Beyond Words City of Literature Award in association with Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature for Dark Dunedin: Heaven Looks On. Dunedin Fringe Festival, 2018. Shortlisted for the Adam NZ Playwriting Award for In Our Shoes. 2018. Nominated for Best New NZ Playwright for Hold Me. Wellington Theatre Awards. 2016. Plays for the Young Competition. Highly Commended for Le Sujet Parle: And then he shot me. Playmarket. 2014. Plays for the Young Competition. Winner for Eloise in the Middle. Playmarket. 2013. Write Out Loud Stage South Playwriting Award. Southern Comfort (2010), Water Baby (2008), Palliative Care (2007). Young New Zealand Playwriting Competition. Runner up for Lips. Playmarket. 1999.



“We are not just celebrating the Dunedin School of Art and Otago Polytechnic, but arts and culture education in the City of Dunedin and by extension New Zealand.” Federico Freschi, Head of College at the College of Art, Design and Architecture


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020 71


Acknowledging its 150th anniversary this year, the Dunedin School of Art is the longest running art school in New Zealand. Through the last century and a half, with its first home in the Princes Street Colonial Bank Building (later known as the Stock Exchange Building), the school has seen the walls and ceilings of several locations in Dunedin. It has also been the fertile ground and solid creative foundation from which students take their talents into the world in all the many ways possible.

The school’s first Drawing Master, David Con Hutton, who was very important in the school’s establishment, was also influenced by the Scottish Presbyterian ethos of equality in education and rights for all, so women had opportunities not only to teach, but to learn drawing, vocational craft and design, even though women’s classes were outnumbered by classes for men who were learning “a trade”. In fact, the education system set up in Dunedin at that time was well known and envied throughout the colonies of New Zealand and Australia, thanks in large part to the determination and insight of John Hislop, known as the “Architect of Otago’s Education system”. It took another twelve years for Canterbury to establish its School of Art in 1882; Wellington’s School of Design opened in 1886, then twenty years after the Dunedin School of Art opened its doors, Elam School of Fine Arts, privately funded, opened in Auckland in 1890.

There is a long list of luminaries throughout the school’s history. Of those that come to mind; Doris Lusk, Toss Woollaston, Colin McCahon and Ralph Hotere were students, as was Marilynn Webb, a student and then teacher. Master goldsmith, Tony Williams, also taught classes in the midst of his amazing career. Simon Kaan, Rachael Rakena, Bridgit Inder, Marie Strauss and Kurt Adams. Many artists highly relevant to New Zealand’s history & culture have been, and are, part of the rich tapestry of this place.

Under the umbrella of Otago Polytechnic since 1966, the Dunedin School of Art’s contemporary campus sits central to both Otago Polytechnic and the creative centres of the University of Otago. The school may be in lockdown as this issue goes to digital press, but the current circumstances shared on a global level, heighten the importance of arts and culture as not only an essential part of human expression, but also enhances personal tools and skills to live a creative life through all circumstances. Art and culture are as essential as food, water, and the air we breathe.

Inspired by the successful design schools in the UK that had been the vision of artist Benjamin Robert Haydon in the early-mid 19th century, the Dunedin School of Art, established in 1870 during Dunedin’s early Scottish settlement, initially began by teaching drawing and vocational crafts specifically for industry and domestic design. Some of the beautiful heritage buildings in Dunedin and Otago can be attributed to skilled visionaries, artisans and craftspeople in the community. 73

M AT T E R S 74

Bridie Lonie Dunedin School of Art Story by Caroline Davies

Dr. Bridie Lonie is all about the arts. An accomplished artist in abstract and representational mediums, a researcher and art-writer, Bridie is now in her third stint as Head of School for the Dunedin School of Art, having served in that role in the first decade of the 2000s. Prior to that she was a Lecturer in Art History and Theory. Beyond the boundaries of formal education, Bridie is also a steadfast advocate for art and culture in all its many forms in Dunedin and New Zealand. She was a founding member of the Women’s Gallery in Wellington, one of the three editors of A Women’s Picture Book, 25 Women Artists of Aotearoa/New Zealand (1988), was part of the development team for Ara Toi Ōtepoti: Our Creative Future - Dunedin’s Art and Culture Strategy, and also a past President of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society. Perpetually involved with, and reflecting on art’s role in our world, Bridie’s PhD thesis, "Closer Relations, Art, Climate Change, Interdisciplinarity and the Anthropocene" (2018), explored the ways artists have approached climate change. With early influences from an arts and science based family, an education bridging three countries twice each, on her return to Dunedin at 13, Bridie Lonie’s legacy in life is a clear and thoughtful commitment to art and culture, with a blend of scientific purpose and reasoning.


The arts and sciences were always a point of conversation in Bridie’s family. Her mother, studied science and her father, who initially studied English then later transitioned to the Classics, were both students at the University of Otago when Bridie arrived as their first daughter. “My parents were hugely influential in who I am. The arts and sciences were always discussed at home. By the time I was born, there was already a science focused person writing poetry, and a classicist. My mother, father and my step-mother all published poetry and my father ’s ‘A place to go on from: Collected Poems’, was edited by the poet David Howard and published by Otago University Press in 2016.”

Renoir but by the time I went to Europe again in 1971 I sought out Cézanne, and I would walk around the ruins of Athens and the old Roman roads in Cambridge. I would also cycle to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge after school. Both my parents in their way were polymaths: a poem by my mother is one of the Poems on Steps at St Clair; her poetry dealt with such new issues as the discovery of mitochondria. At school I took languages and history, with art on the side, until my final year. Outside of school, each Saturday, I took art classes from John Brown who also taught at the Design School. He would give us great big Japanese brushes and butchers’ paper and we would do the Zen exercise of painting triangles, squares and circles. Later I learnt oils from John Middleditch. At the same time, I became involved with the Globe Theatre, with free entry for doing front of house.“

There are broad strokes textured with multiple layers of detail in Bridie’s life canvass as there was with her parent’s lives too. Her father, after graduating from Otago University and then Kings College in Cambridge, lectured in Greek philosophy as well as being a medical historian. He was a brilliant man, whose commentary on Hippocrates was published by Springer Verlag in 1981. “He taught classics in Australia and New Zealand, with gaps for sabbaticals and overseas journeys.

A half education in art. Elam in Auckland and looking for meaning in life “I went to art school because art seemed to be about the meaning of life. I chose to study etching and painting at Elam in Auckland. I ran two pathways at art school, one representational, that gained me low grades, and the other abstract, at which I did better. However, I walked out half way through my Masters because I had run out of

Through all of this my mother always facilitated the arts for us four children and made sure we always had paints and crayons. I had books on Monet, Cézanne and Renoir; at eleven, I preferred 76

and other women. This group of talented, socially conscious artists had formed some strong bonds to last lifetimes. Their most recent collective work was an exhibition held at Mokopopaki in Auckland, researched by Marian Evans, entitled This Joyous, Chaotic Place - He Waiata Tangi-ā-Tahu, celebrating the life of their friend and colleague Heather McPherson who passed away in 2017. The exhibit, inviting all the women Heather had worked and lived with to share their writing, art, photography, filmmaking and other creative expressions, was shown in Auckland.

steam. The teachers just left you alone, I saw my supervisor three times for half an hour each time in that first year - he just decided I was good enough I was doing my own thing, I got high marks, and so I didn’t need any input. Yet that was a time when art was changing radically, and traditional approaches no longer worked. After I left art school I went to Wellington. I didn’t know what kind of artist to be, or what kind of person to be. Amongst many things in between, I worked at the Parliamentary Library and in the Turnbull Library for the Art Librarian Janet Paul. But a significant influence in my early life was the painter Bill McKay, who was passionately political, introduced me to the work of John Berger, and insisted that art should play a role in the transformation of society.”

“I became interested in and involved with art and feminism in New Zealand whilst I was in Wellington. At the time there were women’s art groups in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, and I became involved with the groups in Christchurch and Wellington. We chose difficult subjects to work with, for example one of my bronzes for an exhibition called “Women and Violence” is a man making love to a woman - but is he strangling her? Is she letting him? Is she complicit? Is she not? I did another work later, a painting called, I dreamt I strangled you, that was exhibited recently with a bronze of a woman in labour, as a commentary on the complexity of gendered relationships.

Living Art in Wellington Feminism in New Zealand

During that period in Wellington, Bridie worked as a book representative for Oxford University Press. With Marian Evans and Anna Keir she also became a founding member of Wellington’s The Women’s Gallery, that, through all its different forms, still resounds today.

Then I became pregnant and my partner and I moved back to Dunedin and bought some land on the Otago Peninsula, which I still have. After our

The Women’s Gallery was built on the work of the Spiral Collective, founded by Heather McPherson 77

relationship where I met Otago Girls here in 1994

ended, I went to training college my present partner in 1987. I taught at High School, then got a part time job teaching Art History and Theory.

My PhD was on another kind of edge dispute - how much science/information can sit within an artwork? What does the artist add to information that has been gathered through science? These questions allowed me to move away from the question of the artwork as commodity

Dunedin. Teaching, A Masters and a PhD. “What is it the artist does beside the production of the commodity?”

Hence, art education. Art education is a particularly enabling kind of education because a good art student must make work, defend, it, and recognize its place amongst the works of others, as well as its relevance for today’s society

A good deal happened when Bridie returned to Dunedin. A settling of sorts. A child, a new partner, being a student, and a teacher. Bridie, with her younger sister, Sally Lonie, also an artist, had two exhibitions after their mother had died in 1997. Parallel Play, in Dunedin, was on the death of their mother, while Big Sister, Little Sister, at the The Suter Gallery, te Ara Toi O Whakatu, and the Hocken Gallery, was about the 11 year generational difference between their lives And, in 1998, Bridie completed her Masters Degree, a considerable reach at the time.

So, the art school is an apparatus for delivering an enabled active/proactive citizen who understands themselves, who understands the world as an adaptable, transferable skill. They understand difficulty, and complexity. It is not a once over lightly experience - you can’t get an art degree with that. An education in art is very challenging.”

“What has really interested me is what drives the artist - or what can art do in a wider societal context. My Masters Thesis was called “Image and Word in the Production of Meaning in Art Therapy (1998)”. Art therapy draws on the values of art but the material work done in art therapy sits in an intermediate space, between something that is relational and something that is autonomous.

M AT T E R S 78

Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2020

Dunedin School of Art Gallery Staff Exhibition 2020 Get Staffed (Again) 10th - 21st February 2020 Individual works on flickr 79

Dunedin School of Art

Bridie Lonie has had a long and enduring relationship with the Dunedin School of Art, besides being a lecturer in Art History and Theory (1995-2005), she has been Head of Art History and Theory, acting head of school in 2001, then 2003-5, and Head of School from 2005-9, and now - again. “I always wanted to do a PhD, so I cut back my presence at the school, began my PhD in 2013 and graduated in 2018.

“As Jim Tomlin’s detailed history of the Dunedin School of Art indicates, art education has changed radically over the past centrury and a half. Yet were David Con Hutton to return to Dunedin now, he would find his thinking more in line with government policies on art education than at any time in the previous century. He would have approved of today’s educational focus on vocational

At the beginning of last year (2019) I thought I had retired. I had set up a studio - I was never a saver but I had a modest superannuation plus pension to come in, so that was good, no mortgage - that’s good, and so thought I would write a book based on my PhD. At that point, I was asked to come back as Acting Head of School, to bridge a gap. I care about the school, so I said yes. Then my appointment was set - again - in August of last year.

outcomes as consistent with the art education he set up as a form of gaining a viable way of living for women and men alike. What was, in the mid-twentieth century, a form of education for those willing to take a chance to work in a field that was generally not remunerative but formed an essential part of the cultural life of the country, is now seen again, as it was in the 1870s. As an industry in the creative arts. Would Doris Lusk and Colin McCahon have

I’m 68, so this year I’m trying to do as much as I can at the moment to future proof the school. I do love it, although it can be stressful and tense - but the environment is very dynamic and an art school is a good thing! But, because of the proliferation of art schools, because of the lack of art in primary and secondary schools, because of the vocational pathway’s language which is, “What is the job and

agreed with this?” CODA - Bridie Lonie Scope art & design 12 Dunedin School of Art: A History - Author, Jim Tomlin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Dunedin School of Art The hallway connecting administration, gallery spaces, lecture rooms and workshops. With students studying remotely, the physical space is temporarily closed for now due to Covid-19 Artists will be back soon! 81

income you get when you leave”, numbers are down in every art school you look at. It requires constant vigilance to keep the apparatus together. As I was looking at the history of the art school I was interested that it was initially conceived of as a form of vocational education to enable people to be independent and to contribute to the cultural life of the environment. Other art schools - for example, Ilam at the University of Canterbury, - only twelve years younger than us - has basically remained within the university setting. But the Dunedin School of Art had to be flexible and has changed over the years. The brief is ‘there has to be an art school in the city’ and so that will be driven by whatever it takes to maintain an art school in this city.”

“When, in the 1980s the OECD determined that education should be treated as an economic enterprise rather than a common good, New Zealand was quick to set up art schools in almost every centre. From three schools, the number increased to what is now something in the high twenties, inevitably, competition led to challenges for all the art schools. “

It wasn’t until I delved into the history of the art school myself and began to read Jim Tomlin’s history that I came to understand that the OECD had actually mandated the shift of education from being a “public good” to a being a for profit service industry. Dismantling departments, positions, jobs because the numbers vary from year to year seems short sighted to me...

CODA - Bridie Lonie Scope art & design 12 Dunedin School of Art: A History - Author, Jim Tomlin

“I have to say letters - you proliferation. people here in 82

though, I have protested, written have the neo-liberal thing in We’ve only got nearly 5 million New Zealand, the size of a small

city, but every city, and here we have many, all of which value the presence of an art school. Therefore, it is also about critical mass. If you’ve got something that is nice to have you protect it, but also, you don’t overextend it. This is why I half welcome a unified tertiary sector : it might be good actually to have the conversation as to where the strengths are - how you can support but not weaken, because otherwise everybody is weak that is the dilemma.

...”the Dunedin School of Art has retained its workshops for the use of all students, maintaining a commitment to the skill-based, embodied aspect of the visual arts. Material skills, including the digital - and contextual research and understanding, the ability to convey meaning without pre-determining the viewer’s response - remain the foundational bases of the arts. The forms that the arts take in different eras and cultures vary and art

The Polytechnic sector is designed to deliver vocational pathways, as opposed to the University sector, which is supposed to be research-based. The expectation is that your qualification will enable you to earn a reasonable leaving on completion. However, the arts require a further period of development before the artist reaches maturity. For those studying the arts, this means that they will usually have to work in another field to supplement their income. On the other hand, art graduates are valuable wherever they are: they have transferrable skills. So what the arts sector has to do is say, ‘look where our graduates are they are plainly desirable, because we find them throughout the workforce’.“

schools like our own must adapt and respond. Tomorrow’s artist may be someone whose thinking is embedded within new ways of responding to urban design, or new ways of forming community. Alternately, she may work with a more traditional form, offering moments of contemplation and critique. As Tomlin’s history demonstrates, art schools are institutions that must be flexible in their approach to the content they teach, while they must also give the student a sense of the continuity of artistic practice. The art institution is a particularly contested site and Tomlin’s history shows us how art schools have and must continue to be at the same

“A society’s competitive advantage will come not from how well its schools teach the multiplication and periodic tables, but from how well they stimulate imagination and creativity.” Albert Einstein

time flexible, adaptive, retentive of their histories and resilient in the face of change.” CODA - Bridie Lonie, Scope, art & design 12


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Bridie Lonie


Bridie Lonie’s PhD thesis explored art’s relationship with climate change. (Link)

Bridie Lonie, PhD, is Head of School at the Dunedin School of Art. She is a graduate of the Department of History and

“Climate change is a paradigm shifter, an emergent, complex phenomenon that artists have engaged with since the 1970s. By 2013 the notion of the Anthropocene emerged as an epistemological and critical tool within the art world.

Art History at the University of Otago and her thesis is entitled






Interdisciplinarity and the Anthropocene" (2018). She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Auckland and was a founding member of the Women's Gallery,







Artists have engaged in different ways with the complexities of climate change as subject-matter, leading to new intersections between art and other disciplines, and including consideration of the socio-economic issues raised by climate change. Bridie considers artforms in terms of their capacity to deliver the combination of affect, cognition and criticality required for adequately addressing climate change. Climate change is not simply a scientific subject; it involves an unpicking of the ways that human flourishing has led to a destabilized climate and environmental degradation. The symbolic thinking of the artist, whether reductive or expansive, draws together cause and impact, specificity and wider context. Art’s primary focus on relationality plays a significant role in assisting the cognitive as well as the emotional uptake of the problem. The classic and the newer artforms play different but complementary roles as we use art to negotiate our understanding of a changed world.”

development group for Ara Toi Ōtepoti Our Creative Future,

Bridie concludes: “Top-down action to reduce climate change has failed, and collective bottom-up responses are urgently needed. In that situation, artists and their audiences can play an active role.”

Creative Work, Journal Articles,

Dunedin's Arts and Culture Strategy 2015. She was President of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society 2013-14. She has published art writing in Art New Zealand and the New Zealand Listener and has written many catalogue essays. Bridie’s background includes abstract painting and feminist art,

and then moved to art history after a period of

secondary school teaching. Her interests lie in the extensions of art into wider societal concerns. Bridie’s MA considered art therapy, while her recent PhD is entitled Closer Relations: Art, Climate Change, Interdisciplinarity and The Anthropocene (2018).

Research outputs

Conference Contributions Dunedin School of Art


Federico Freschi From South Africa to the

South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand

Landing in Dunedin after a long flight from Johannesburg, Professor Federico Freschi, and his partner Neil - a MasterChef South Africa finalist and IT Expert - with their three beautiful feline friends in tow, hit the ground running on September 26th of last year. Barely over jet-lag, six days later, Federico began a new chapter in his life, as Head of College at the College of Art, Design and Architecture, including the School of Business at Otago Polytechnic. For the previous seven years, Federico had been the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. “I’d been very successful in that position,” he says “so it was a good time to move out of that comfort zone and explore other horizons. Given the political and social atmosphere in South Africa, it can be a very uncomfortable country, particularly when you occupy a position of privilege in a society that is so unequal.

I thought it would be

interesting to find other professional challenges that are not encumbered by the particular anxieties borne by that kind of social consciousness.” 86

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

South Africa - a beautiful country and:

For example, some students come into university from deep rural areas and have never had access to plumbing. You see massive inequality between students who come from that environment and students from privileged circumstances, who have travelled the world on regular holidays overseas, and who own their own cars and apartments. That is what is going on today in a country as wealthy as South Africa. It’s crazy! And somehow, we’ve got to find common ground, and acknowledge the space for everyone to exist.

Although New Zealand has its own set of social inequalities, tensions, and inherited influences of colonialism, I could relate to Federico and Neil’s desire to experience a country with a completely different atmosphere, as well as climate. We discovered common threads during our conversation; I too had felt that living in America, as wonderful as it can be, was at times like living in a land at war with itself, with its shocking mass shootings, the current political shenanigans, and the very expensive health care - or lack of it - set to bankrupt vulnerable people. Although different cultures, circumstances and conditions exist in South Africa and the US, social inequality and mad politics are relatable anywhere. We both understood that it’s not until you’ve moved away completely to another place and space like Aotearoa New Zealand that you realise the weight of the social anxieties that were packed on your back and impossible to put down — until the move.

When I was still teaching students in a first-year group, those who came from well-resourced private schools would have a distinct advantage. They were able to read and write easily in English and were skilled in debate. Students coming from poorly resourced public or rural schools would really struggle for the first year or so, but once they figured it out, and if they were smart, their natural intelligence would just take over and outsmart the others who came in with all the advantages. That was heartening.

Federico: “South Africa is multicultural with eleven official languages and each language represents a different cultural group. There’s a massive amount of diversity, but also a massive amount of disparity between rich and poor, which is very evident in our classroom situations. It’s 2020 and people still come from socially and economically deprived backgrounds.

In a sense, privilege can only take you so far, but given the chance, intelligence can be brought out, and that was the lesson I took away from that teaching experience: to give people a chance. Give them the resources, show them how, give them a hand, and extraordinary things can be achieved. 88

Photograph by Dylan Harbour Wikimedia Creative Commons

Daybreak, Johannesburg


It is society’s responsibility to create the opportunities and platforms for all, and I think that is a measure or a test for a truly successful society. That is one of the areas the US fails in too: with all that wealth, with all their resources, it is absolutely unacceptable to see so much disparity between rich and poor.

And with all its razzle dazzle, a degree from an ivy league school in the US doesn’t necessarily create a socially responsible human being. Although some of those graduates understand how to secure personal wealth, ironically, it is at ‘whatever the cost’. Feeling secure in some meaningful form is what most of us seek, but what kind of life is it to have so much wealth that you can’t walk about without a police escort and a walkie-talkie to make sure the way is clear of potential danger? “Given that opportunistic and violent crime is omnipresent in Johannesburg, one is constantly anticipating it. As a normal suburban couple, living in a modest house in a modest suburb, we had an electric fence, we had an alarm system linked to our phones, we had closed-circuit cameras all around the house that we could monitor with our phones, and every door and window had a security barrier. At one time that would have been embassy-level security. The only thing we lacked was a full-time armed guard! This is a fairly standard level of security for many

Photograph by Olga Ernst Wikimedia Commons


middle-class South Africans. Of course, crime knows no discrimination in terms of race or class everyone is subject to crime, perhaps poor people more than rich people. The low level of anxiety that you carry with you constantly is like living in a state of chronic pre-traumatic stress.”

moved on to postgraduate studies in Art History, with an interest in the decorative programmes of 1930s public buildings. I had always been drawn to the art deco style; I wanted to understand more about it. That led me, in my clumsy undergraduate way, to becoming interested in things I was seeing within those decorative programmes, and that eventually turned into my PhD in Art History:

A vivid and diverse background to bring to the table:

looking at the political iconography of public buildings, what I call ‘the politics of ornament’.

One thing leads to another

In between all that I spent three years studying at the University of Cape Town Opera School. In fact, my ‘real’ job for most of my 20s was being a maitre d’ in a restaurant, but I was also singing and teaching part-time at the University of Cape Town and the University of Stellenbosch. I got my first full-time job when I turned thirty - a bit of a late bloomer - but that was when I began teaching History of Art and Design at the Cape Technikon and my academic career progressed from there, for a while.

As we journey through life, opportunities present themselves that may appear to have no interconnection, but we choose to act on them anyway. Often, later, the significance of seemingly unconnected experiences, or fragments, finally coalesce and make sense. One of the many advantages of studying arts and humanities is that those subjects teach one how to think critically, and in good circumstances, how to live a life creatively and thoughtfully. Arts and humanities can certainly provide an individual with advantageous tools to work with in life.

I took a break from academic work and went to work for a management consulting agency specializing in human resources. I had no obvious qualification for this other than transferable research and people skills. I must say as weird as that sounds it was there that I learned some of the most valuable skills I have, and certainly combined with my job as a Dean, those skills are applied all

“I started out doing a Fine Arts degree a long time ago, when a hashtag was still the sharp sign on the musical stave,” Federico says with a twinkle in his eye. “I majored in photography and printmaking as well as Art History, but I never really practiced as an artist. On completing my Fine Arts degree, I 91

Academic leadership is where I’m now at for the foreseeable future. It’s been interesting to have experiences in both business and academia. They have weirdly coalesced. In the background of all of this I maintain myself as a ‘star of stage and screen’ (that twinkle once again in his eye, Federico revealed a lovely sense of humour and a flair for elegance). The last full role I sang in an opera was in 2008. It’s been impossible to keep performing regularly, but if I stop singing, it’s like I stop breathing! At some point, soon, I’m going to start exploring my singing options here. I need to keep that part of me alive.

the time in terms of strategic planning, management and human resources management. After that, I moved back to Johannesburg and took a new job as a Lecturer in History of Art at the University of the Witwatersrand, rising through the ranks to Senior Lecturer and then to Associate Professor. Ten years passed before I was once again lured away from academia to go and head up the Goodman Gallery in Cape Town (as Executive Manager and Senior Curator). This is South Africa’s premiere contemporary commercial gallery and represents artists such as William Kentridge and David Goldblatt, all internationally recognized for their work. It was a short but very interesting experience, from having worked behind the scenes, as it were, in the academic and theoretical space of art, to the actual commercial side of that. Although a lot of my work was in logistics - like shipping things around the world - it was also fascinating to attend major international art fairs and engage with artists, gallerists and curators. Following that short-term commitment, invited to apply for the position of Dean Faculty of art, Design and Architecture University of Johannesburg , and so in moved back into the academic space.

“In 2016, a career highlight for me was being the South African curator for the first Matisse exhibition on the African continent, entitled ‘Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning’, at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg. Working with Patrice Deparpe of the Musée Matisse in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France, for the exhibition, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And that’s my career in a nutshell!”

I was of the at the 2013 I


Photograph by Andrew Massyn, Wikimedia Commons

Greater Cape Town


Dunedin School of Art Celebrating 150 years!

There are two lines that underscore the significance and the success of Dunedin School of Art: one representing the endurance, evolution and adaptability of the school as the world changes around it, and its importance to the development of culture in Dunedin and New Zealand more widely, the other acknowledging the questions that Polytechnics in New Zealand are asking themselves as they sit on the edge of yet more change today. Federico: “Contributing to the longevity of the Dunedin School of Art is its history of agile response to the changing nature of arts education. As we are sitting here in 2020 with the spotlight on vocational education and its future around the country, with questions of how it should be managed, how it should be extended, what comes into the field of training … these are hugely significant elements in light of the reviews and reforms we are in the midst of. In many ways, the 150 th anniversary this year is a gift that couldn’t have come at a better time! I think this is an important time to celebrate the longevity of the school. And like any celebration, it’s about taking the time to step back, acknowledge the school in its entirety, remember all the people who have enabled and made this possible, as it didn’t happen by itself, and also to give the school the respect it deserves. The sesquicentennial of the Dunedin School of Art is a celebration for the City of Dunedin, for the region of Otago, and a wonderful celebration for New Zealand!”


Federico began his academic career as a lecturer in History of Design at what was then the Cape Technikon (now the Cape Peninsula University of Technology), and taught subsequently at the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Witwatersrand. In his PhD thesis Federico considered the political iconography of South African public buildings in the 1930s in relation to the political tensions between nationalism and imperialism at the time. As an ongoing research project, the scope of this work has subsequently expanded to encompass postSecond World War as well as post-apartheid public architecture and the extent to which the decorative programmes of public buildings are implicated in the construction of imaginaries of national belonging. A secondary line of research has been into the construction of the canon of modern South African art, and more recently how the art market is implicated in this. He has published widely on these and other subjects and is frequently invited to speak in national and international forums. He holds a C1 rating from the South African National Research Foundation. He has active relationships with several professional bodies and has served on various boards. Amongst others, he is a former Vice-President on the board of Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA); formerly held the position of President of SAVAH (South African Visual Arts Historians; was a member of the editorial boards of De Arte (University of South Africa Press) and is on the advisory committee of Forum Kunst und Markt (Technische Universität Berlin), and a member of the Committee on Design of the College Art Association (CAA) in the United States. Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2020

Additional Research Outputs


Post script: The 150th anniversary of the Dunedin School of Art is a major milestone and a wonderful cause for celebration! Although the school is currently under Covid-19 restrictions and closed for personal interaction, with studies continuing online, public events planned for the celebrations have been placed on hold for the time being. However, circumstances can shift from day to day. You can check this link for events and calls for papers, symposiums and presentations https://www.op.ac.nz/study/creative/art/news-and-events/ Email info@op.ac.nz For studies: Teaching is across eight specific studio areas: Ceramics; Electronic arts; Jewellery and Metalsmithing; Print; Photography; Painting; Sculpture and Textiles https://www.op.ac.nz/study/creative/art/ Email info@op.ac.nz Opposite p. 97: Artwork by Angela Dwyer:“Reclaim”(2019), detail. Artist in residence project. 96


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Waterfall 98

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


The Ngāi Tahu Cultural Mapping Project

Kā Huru Manu The Bird’s Feathers


“Kā Huru Manu - The Ngāi Tahu Cultural Mapping Project, is dedicated to recording and mapping the traditional Māori place names and associated histories in the Ngāi Tahu rohe (tribal area). Place names are tangible reminders of our history and values. They represent a significant symbol of the Ngāi Tahu historical association and relationship with our landscape. They are primarily associated with people, historical events, geographical features, and natural flora and fauna. Ngāi Tahu has  collected thousands of place names to make  this traditional knowledge accessible to our whānau and the wider public.” Kā Huru Manu Cultural Mapping Story


Making Wrongs Right The Correction Process From the time of signing Te Tiriti o Waitangi between individual Māori tribes across Aotearoa and the “Crown” in 1840, iwi have had to relentlessly petition the Government to uphold and honour the Treaty accords. It wasn’t until 1975 that the Waitangi Tribunal was formed by the New Zealand Government in order to enquire into the violations of the Treaty by the Crown and NZ Government. Here in this story we are focused on Ngāi Tahu as each iwi will have their own account of difficulties and challenges to share. After three years and over thirty hearings, the Tribunal concluded that the “Crown had acted unconscionably and in repeated breach of the Treaty of Waitangi, and that consequently Ngāi Tahu suffered grave injustice over more than 140 years. The Tribunal recommended that Ngāi Tahu was entitled to substantial compensation from the Crown”.


Even with the audacious violations of the treaty by the NZ government finally and officially proven and undisputed, moving forward was not an easy process. Frought with obstacles and a collapse in negotiations during the process, it took 21 years, and only with the intervention of Prime Minister Jim Bolger in 1996, that an agreement was met with the 1998 Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act. Politically, Kā Huru Manu in its entirety serves as a safeguard for Ngāi Tahu’s rights, but it is also a rich, beautiful, complex, historic document. With the intention of creating an accurate record for Ngāi Tahu and future generations, Kā Huru Manu explores and gifts the reader with a deeper understanding and regard for this culture that had arrived and settled in Aotearoa long before the Europeans, and long before the “Crown” made its own claim without the fair and right consideration due to an already longestablished home to Pacific peoples.


The Ngāi Tahu Atlas

Kā Huru Manu is a work in progress set in motion by a dedicated multi-generational group of Ngāi Tahu whānau. All based in Te Waipounamu David Higgins in Moeraki, James Mason Russell in Arahura, Jane Davis in Ōraka-Aparima, Kelly Davis in Waihao, Matapura Ellison in Puketeraki, Tā Tipene O’Regan in Awarua, the late Trevor Howse in Kaikōura, and Edward Ellison in Ōtākou, who I sat with to talk about the development of the atlas. Together, along with whānau (family, extended family), Ngāi Tahu established a beautiful resource correcting the traditional place names, stories and history of their iwi.

Honouring the past A gift to present and future generations Kā Huru Manu is an extraordinary, multi layered trove of traditional Māori history that encompasses Ngāi Tahu tribal areas across the South Island of New Zealand - Te Waipounamu, Aotearoa. The extensive website, accessible to all with computers, includes ancestral place names and their associated history through an easy to navigate interactive map - the Ngāi Tahu Atlas, traditional travel routes - Kā Ara Tawhito, key people behind this complex and deep project, and a beautiful acknowledgement to all involved in this ongoing work.

In 2015 Edward Ellison was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and conservation. A Ngāi Tahu tribal leader, Edward has continually worked on behalf of his iwi for over 40 years. He also had a significant role to play in the treaty negotiations against the Crown for their breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. “Behind the scenes, few people would have a broader understanding of Ngāi Tahu’s connection to the land, environment and resources of Te Waipounamu from a local, regional and national perspective”.

I was made aware of the Atlas after posting a rather dramatic image taken by one of DIEM’s contributors on our Facebook page. Photographed during mid-winter, dark moody clouds hovered low above the snow capped mountains synonymous to Central Otago, fingers of light struggled to break through the stormy skies which added depth, mood and mystery to this captivating image. A reader asked for the name of the place in Te Reo Māori and I didn’t know, and neither did the photographer. I wrote back to the reader and asked if she knew could she tell me. She pointed me to the Ngāi Tahu Atlas as an extraordinary resource.

With a strongly woven heritage and deeply rooted connection to Muapoko, Edward’s whakapapa links far back to his ancestors in this historic region. 104

T h e re a re o v e r 1 , 2 0 0 original maori place names, kÄ ara tawhito traditional travel routes, and the original Maori land allocations in the Ngai Tahu takiwa in the very easy to use interactive m a p c o v e r i n g Te Waipounamu, the correct spelling, and a history of that place. Link to Atlas www.kahurumanu.co.nz/atlas

South Island, New Zealand Image from: Visible Earth, NASA


Muapoko is the Māori name for the Otago Peninsula in the South Island of New Zealand, and that is where I met with Edward. Warmly welcomed into his home that rests neatly within the folds of the divine peninsula landscape, we sat, for I, a pākēhā and a far more recent immigrant to Aotearoa, was keen to learn about Edward’s involvement and vision with Kā Huru Manu and the creation of the Atlas.

being built. I suggested we should have a carving in the centre. So we made it, installed it, and called it ‘Pukekura’ because that is the traditional name of Taiaroa Head.”

Taiaroa Head, also a world renowned sanctuary to the Royal Albatross - Toroa, and the Little Blue Penguins - Kororā had wrongly been named after a man who neither owned land or lived there. It was actually Karetai, Taiaroa’s first cousin’s right to name it. Kāi Tahu chiefs, Karetai and Korako, had signed the Treaty of Waitangi on 13 June 1840 on board the HMS Herald, anchored off Pukekura. “It had always been an issue that someone else had placed their own name on that headland instead of the Chief.

Thoughtfully spoken, and a gracious host, Edward recalled the beginning of the journey to return the traditional names of places significant to Ngāi Tahu: “Around thirty years ago an elder proposed to rename Murdering Beach back to its original name Whareakeake (a long established garden and food gathering place for Ngāi Tahu just north of Pukekura). There had been one incident (known as the Sealers’ War Incident in 1817) with a one sided story told. But, the proposal to change the name met the most outrageous opposition from local people, so it didn’t go anywhere. That outrage impressed upon me that it was going to be quite difficult to reinstate our traditional names.

Despite the stubborn sentiments about our traditional names, I stuck to my guns and just carried on anyway. The Peninsula Trust finally agreed to the correct name - Pukekura. We also share with visitors to the Marae that Ōtākou originally referred to the eastern channel in the harbour. It would have been the early whalers, not our elders, who chose to use that name to mark this place, which then became the name of the province - Otago - as well. So you can see the journey there and how place names have been important for us in just those three examples.”

However, in 1990, around the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Waitangi Treaty, the Otago Peninsula Trust - and I sat on the Board at the time - asked us what we would like to have in the reception area for the new Royal Albatross Centre 106

Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2020

“To correct and authenticate names and stories is the seed of Kā Huru Manu.” Edward Ellison 107

Whareakeake and the surrounding landscape


Photograph by Alistair Paterson Š 2020 flickr


Addressing place names was also one of Edward’s tasks during the negotiations for the Ngāi Tahu settlement with the Crown. “Originally, the Department of Justice said we could rename about 15 places, along with the existing and traditional names. In the end, we ended up with 80 or 90 in our negotiations. It was a big moment for us to reset a pattern. There were many places we chose not to rename because we didn’t want dual naming if we felt a name of a place to be especially important. We wanted the traditional name to stand on its own.

Cultural mapping hui at Karitāne Images here courtesy Kā Huru Manu

So, it was there, through the Tribunal negotiations, that we established the principle of getting some place names changed. Once we laid the names down, the Minister of Justice asked if there were any others, and we said yes - there is one. We don’t want to have a dual naming for Whareakeake. He agreed, and said ‘so it should be’.


How does Ōtepoti/Dunedin sit with Ngai Tahu I asked? “It’s alright. Ōtepoti is the traditional name for where the city sits and is used nationally as the Māori name for Dunedin.” There are other salient factors being addressed in this veracious project that amplify its depth and complexity. “Another issue is that many of our names had been corrupted or misspelt by whoever recorded or wrote them in translation.

David Higgins, Patrick Tipa and Edward Ellison at the opening of the Department of Conservation Visitor Information Centre, Tāhuna (Queenstown). 110

Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2020

Looking across the harbour channel from Aramoana to the settlement now referred to as Ōtākou Muapoko - Otago Peninsula “It took over 5 years of gathering information, sourcing and cross referencing from the archives of libraries, whanau manuscripts, 19th centruy maps, newspaper articles, unpublished stories, hui after hui (meetings), discussions, recordings, videos and field trips, including 18 different Ngai Tahu marae’s across Te Waipounamu bring the website alive.” 111

There have also been issues of authenticity to look at with some of our names. To correct and authenticate names and stories is the seed of Kā Huru Manu. Everything is validated by as many different means as we can find. The more validation the better to give this amended history its rock solid basis.

I think about 30% of the names in Te Waipounamu, the South Island, and 70% in the North Island (Te Ikaroa-a-Māui) are traditional Māori names. I think we could see more use of our traditional names because that tells the story. If you know the story that goes with the name, then that adds colour - a richness to the tapestry of the landscape.

Although it hasn’t happened often - the stories might sound plausible, but completely invented. It can be a sensitive issue at times, but we are wanting to make sure our next generation have a good base to stand on in terms of names, tradition, history and stories because these names are our identity.

It’s been a long and fascinating project involving our people, and I’ve really enjoyed it. If I was only allowed to do only one thing from here on I would choose to do this kind of work because it has been so enriching and rewarding to go back into history, authenticate stories and move aside those things that were clearly wrong.”

Our whakapapa is linked in all of these things and so much part of who we are.

www.kahurumanu.co.nz www.kahurumanu.co.nz/atlas

With each generation that passes, it could potentially become harder and harder to do this work because of the mistakes upon mistakes that we have found. Some inaccuracies we’ve found have been very tricky to sort out. Takerei Norton, as a key player, has put prodigious effort into this project. Many kaumātua (elders) have been involved. Not only do we have the resources currently available to go back and make the right corrections, but we think we’ve established a good base now as it ‘Us’ telling the story.

Treaty Accords - Kā Huru Manu

Some General Translations: Iwi - group, tribe, nation Whānau (family, extended family) Whakapapa (genealogy, genealogical table, lineage, descent)


Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2020

Pukekura from Aramoana

Kotaku taunahanahataka, ko taku tōpuni ki te whenua - My names are the treasured cloak which adorns the land Kā Huru Manu


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Otago Harbour and ĹŒtepoti Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Otago Harbour and ĹŒtepoti Dunedin


All hands on deck...

20 20 A shift in course! 116

Dunedin’s New Mayor Aaron Hawkins Takes the Helm Part One: The New Year, The New Decade Ōtepoti Dunedin awoke to a strangely quiet and foreboding atmosphere on the first day of this decade. High noon was as dark as dusk under an eerie mustard-tinted, smoke filled sky. A subtle scent of “something burning” had wafted through the air under the clear azure skies the day before, but there were no local warnings sounding the alarm on that bright and sunny summer ’s day. Having lived in NSW and California, one’s senses heighten at the first whiff of a bush or forest fire. With no reports in the news on the 31st January, 2019, we called the local fire department to check where the all-too-familiar aroma of burning bush was originating from. They affirmed there were no local fires to be concerned about, but, rather, smoke from the cataclysmic bushfires on the east coast of Australia was travelling en-masse across the Tasman. Carried by favourable winds over the southern Alps, the pall spread across the South Island, blanketing our own backyard on the east coast, reaching toward Chile, Argentina and beyond. Extraordinary! Over the 2019/20 fire season, the relentless infernos across Australia devastated over 18.6 million hectares (measured up to the 9th March 2020). That is a staggering 186,000 sq km or 72,000 sq miles. 117

20 20 Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Midday 1st January, 2020 Otago Harbour, Dunedin


It was a different story here across the pond and in the south. Although large grass fires had caused havoc in a very dry Central Otago and, later on in Middlemarch, with potential contamination to Dunedin’s municipal water sources in November, massive flooding was the South Island’s main cross to bear after an unusually warm winter and spring. A major breach of the Rangitata River in South Canterbury on the weekend of December 8th, closed major transportation arteries and cut supply lines between the north and south, leaving some supermarket shelves bare in Otago and Southland with no deliveries possible for three days. Then on the 4th February, the West Coast, Fiordland, Southland and Southern Otago experienced further torrential rainfalls that destroyed more roads, left tourists stranded, evacuations were mandated, and farms in the region suffered disastrous loss. If that weren’t enough, amongst the long list of distressing events experienced around the world in the first few months of 2020, Covid-19 - reared its alarming head. Scientists had not only been predicting intensification of unstable weather patterns, but also rather than an “if” about global pandemics, it was when. At the time of writing this story, China was the only country in lockdown, now, there are billions of people around the world in the same situation. A massive crisis, humanity is facing economic, social, climate, environmental and health breakdowns around the world. On a local level, our fair city has its own set of issues to contend with. The Dunedin City Council is not alone in facing expensive 119

Image Courtesy Dunedin NZ

Octagon Morning Dunedin


restoration of basic services that are run down and needing repair. This includes preparing and updating infrastructure to deal with any number of climate related scenarios, with a special emphasis on New Zealand’s most densely populated urban area - South Dunedin, low lying coastal regions such as Waitati, and inland issues on the Taieri Plains, are all vulnerable to coastal and inland flooding. A more recent dilemma that has been building over the past several years, is affordable and good housing. Real estate prices have soared, rentals for students and low income residents need improving, and, with a new hospital planned along with an expanding population, a crisis has been born. Within the central city itself, there is a push and pull for changes regarding the use of roads in order to create alternative transportation systems to help reduce our collective carbon output. Resistance abounds for opening up more people-friendly than car-friendly spaces. Less traffic allows breathing space that caters to human well being and encourages foot traffic. And coping with the ever increasing number of tourists arriving in their thousands on mega-sized cruise ships makes some people very happy, but isn’t helping to lower Dunedin’s, let alone the world’s, carbon footprint. Dunedin, once a quiet paradise for wildlife and modest citizens, is now on the map. This is how 2020 began, and this is when Aaron Hawkins, Ōtepoti Dunedin’s newly elected Mayor steps in and steps up for the job. 121

Part Two: A Backstory

justice means less suffering and a more balanced, kind community, and diversity - both human and bio - are necessary to keep the world-wide web of life in tact.

Aaron Hawkins and Politics

When our conversation drifted over to American politics, I was impressed when Aaron said, “Dennis Kucinich is one of my heroes”. For me that reflected a key understanding of the courageous, visionary side of politics - for the people, not the corporation - in the out of balance way it has become today. Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic Congressman who represented Ohio, was holding the light in an ever darkening and stormy sky. Not many people outside of the US knew his name or work. But he was and still is an enlightened politician, now retired from Congress, who was willing to stand up against the mainstream grain of both the Democratic and Republican Parties.

In 2013 my husband and I sat across a cafe table from a slightly younger Aaron Hawkins who agreed to meet us for a coffee and chat. He was running for Mayor, or at the very least, a seat on the Dunedin City Council for the second time. New to town, we were interested in meeting Aaron (along with several willing other candidates for the local election) because of his world view around environmental and social justice issues. He didn’t beat around the bush he took a stand as a member of the Green Party and all that represents. A statement of a candidate’s political affiliation on a local level was, to say the least, unconventional, and bold at the time.

A few weeks later, Aaron Hawkins had won the votes needed to sit on the Dunedin City Council. Over the following years, Aaron was present at every cultural and environmental event I attended without exception (and worth noting here he has a passion for sports as well). As a presenter, host or guest speaker, he continued to be consistently articulate, knowledgeable, and

Although we are not members of any political party, we do appreciate that a healthy environment nurtures healthy people, social 122

passionate about the arts, environment, social justice, bio and human diversity, as he was when we first met him. He has a sense of humour and a quick wit. This young man had the makings of a politician - unwavering in the things that mattered to him and those who voted for him, with his clear vision and focused mission, he’s also been willing to take the slings and arrows from those who disagree with him. That is a necessary and often unpleasant aspect of the job description.

candidate in the same election race was $54,641.55, and for an even broader perspective, think about the American politicians who are heavily influenced by corporate donations and wealthy individuals in the mega-millions. And note again, it will cost a citizen a pretty penny to buy any time to chat with a politician - from local to national, for a chat over a cup of coffee in the U.S. - usually in the thousands. It’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time, and without doubt, in this diverse city, Aaron is and will be a thorn in some citizen’s sides and a light in the tunnel for others. But one thing about Aaron - he turns up. Not only at local events, but over the last three years, he also showed a 100% attendance rate at council meetings - the only City Councilor to have done so.

In 2019, with the insight of six years of often gruelling debate and council experience, Aaron Hawkins was elected the new Mayor of Dunedin taking the helm from Dave Cull who had stepped down from nine years as the city’s official representative. Aaron was genuinely surprised by this. Good to note in a heavily contested run, Mayor Hawkins’ campaign spend, shared with two other Green Party Candidates (Marie Laufiso for City Council and Scott Willis for the Otago Regional Council) was a modest $13,743.13. That amount also included donations and inkind design services of $2,000.00. That would average around $4,581.06 for each of them. For per sp ect i ve , the top spend for an individual

It was because this year began with such intense situations facing us all, either smack in the terrifying middle of them or bearing witness to them, that I wanted to talk to this man who is willing to sit in the boiling-hot seat. Now a little older, with two successful election cycles to his credit, he has seen much change in this city. And now as Dunedin’s Mayor, surely a daunting challenge in the times we are facing. 123

Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand Image Courtesy DunedinNZ



Part Three: An Interview

Aaron Hawkins on Politics and the Mayoralty

Aaron Hawkins fully realized the dilemmas and difficulties facing all of us long before Covid-19 brought its clear message that change is on its way.

-ration drilling and exploring for gas off the coast of Otago arrived on the scene in the midst of it all with its giant rig. Unsuccessful in its very expensive exercise - the rig and OMV soon left the region. One less thing to worry about and good news for the precious natural habitat for wildlife off the coastline.

Change creates friction in communities, and the massive adjustments needed to quell the fury of mother nature is creating plenty of fear. Every city, region and country around the world are having to find ways to work with the intense and divisive task of balancing business with environmental pressures, healthcare and pandemics, the widening gap between rich and poor, the effects of the industrialization of education, agriculture and tourism, and particularly in Dunedin as well as greater Otago - rapid growth.

Aaron, who has always had a keen interest in Parliamentary politics was born into an environment where politics and social justice was predominant. As well as his parents being teachers, his mother also held office within the unions and his father - a Primary School Principal - was a union advocate.

Along with that growth comes housing shortages. Purchasing a home to live in for a middle or less income family is getting almost impossible. Rent and debt levels for young people is far too high for comfort.

He recalls his first memory of politics was building placards in his family’s lounge protesting against the Employment Contracts Act. The fact that was not a successful campaign did not dampen his interest in politics or commitment to social justice.

Added to the collective repertoire of stress pre Covid-19, OMV - a contentious multi-national corpo-

“I would bring Tom Scott cartoons to school for show and tell. I wasn’t popular.”


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Mayor of Dunedin, Aaron Hawkins A poignant time in our history. 127

Dunedin City Civic Centre Bell Tower

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Aaron: “I’m not surprised that I ended up doing this kind of work but running for council is not something I anticipated doing as early as I did. Waiting for it to be convenient for me seemed like a really selfish idea when I realized the urgency coupled with the lack of ambition in dealing with what’s going on.

politically active, and who would drive us to Model United Nations meetings in Dunedin and those sorts of things. I’ve always talked too much, in retrospect it’s not particularly surprising I’m doing this kind of work. I just don’t think I anticipated this as a career. People frown upon career politicians, but governance is a job and if we want elected bodies to be more representative of the communities that elect them then we need more diversity - younger people, and women, to stand, be supported and to keep getting elected. I had to do this when I was young or I wouldn’t have something new to offer I would just be another old white man” (Aaron does have a sense of humour and wit) - “the point of difference is waning...”

I think of it as public service, as I think of my parents as public servants, as school teachers and principals. They taught in some pretty rough neighbourhoods when I was growing up and that shattered my middle class, white suburban worldview to know that, at a community and a societal level, decisions that politicians make on a day to day basis decide who gets help and who doesn’t, and who is important and who is not.

You’ve responded to the call for thoughtful, committed action at an incredibly poignant, difficult time in the world right now. There is still so much resistance to responding appropriately to both environmental and social issues.

I went to a small rural school with about sixty or seventy kids. Then, when I went to Intermediate school in Invercargill in the mid 90s, there were about six hundred students, from communities disproportionately affected by the National Government’s welfare reforms. That was the human face of decisions that politicians had made.

“I’m not a scientist and I don’t come from an environmental or science background. The relationship to Social Justice came when I got actively involved with the Green Party originally, and then as a candidate for Council. I made the connection that climate change in particular and environmental issues in general, are also social

That is my political background. My family in an organizational way, through the union, but then seeing that in an empirical sense in our community was quite important. Also, I had a particular history teacher at high school who was very 129

Image Courtesy Dunedin NZ

Aerial view of ĹŒtepoti Dunedin


justice issues.

“There are certainly days when you wonder how you end up in the places you end up. This wasn’t part of my plan ten years ago. I ran in 2010 as a protest really. There just wan’t enough long term focus in the decision making that was happening with our local council, but through the process of running that campaign I learnt two things.

Whether it’s locally, nationally or internationally the people who are at the sharpest end of the problem - and not creating the problem in the first place - are the least equipped to absorb the impacts of it. Our economic and environmental systems are the same - the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment.

Firstly, that local government is incredibly important in achieving what we need to achieve for the well-being of our community and environment. Second, there’s no magic amount of life experience that makes you a qualified person to represent the interests of your community. That was a really liberating thing to come to terms with.

Although we have won the argument that this is all happening, we still end up with positioning these issues on two different weights on a see-saw. They are trying to balance the needs of the economy in such a way that are independent or distinct from the needs of the environment.

In 2010 a friend of mine, younger than me, got elected to Council and that was really quite a remarkable thing because you are conditioned to feel like - and there are no shortage of people who will share this opinion with you - that as a younger person you are intrinsically less capable and qualified of being a community representative.

I’m not an expert on climate science or environmental issues, I’m not an expert on anything really, I don’t think my job is to know everything. My job is to ask questions, get advice and use that to make the decisions we make for the long term interests of your community. I’m always suspicious of people who don’t ask questions.”

I’ve been involved with Local Government New Zealand as a network, and we set up a young elected members group around the country that has grown over time. In fact, six years on we have seen a lot of good young candidates getting elected around the country in the last election and that is for a range of reasons.

With all the complications and difficulties we are in and facing, economies vs environment, health and well being vs maximum profit, social justice vs the stock exchange and so on, do you wish you had taken another pathway? 131

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Otago Harbour and ĹŒtepoti Dunedin


I think the Climate Emergency movement in particular made the connection that local government is critical if we are to achieve what we need to achieve, and so therefore you need to be lobbying local councils, and if they’re not going to do what you want them to do then you should just take it over and become part of it. Which is what I did!

media business in Dunedin than there are in other parts of the country. And I met my wife here. When you’re a younger person, there’s a thing in Dunedin where everybody around you is about to leave and move to Wellington or Melbourne, or talking about how they are about to leave and I was that person for a long time. But going through the campaign process in 2010 made me realize I was more committed to this city on an ongoing basis than at that point I probably admitted. So I carried on working until I got elected in 2013 - that was the plan then - working toward the next campaign and getting elected .

It’s incredibly challenging work intellectually and it’s quite odd in that it operates at a very macro and micro level at the same time. Your job is setting strategic direction and policy and those sorts of things but local government operates at a pothole scale as well, and wrestling with those two things is quite interesting. No two days are the same. This wasn’t where I intended my career to end up - but no regrets so far.”

We serve three year terms. Historically that’s not particularly a long time from a job security point of view but I don’t know many people my age that know what they are doing more than three years in advance. In the world of the gig economy knowing what you are doing for three years at a time is almost a luxury.”

What were your aspirations after graduating from university? “A number of things. I trained at university as an actor and wanted to do that for a while. Then I worked in radio for a long time and wanted to be involved in broadcasting. Turns out I was quite good at dying mediums: print journalism, radio, freelance writing and other bits and pieces. But for a number of reasons - professional and personal reasons - I ended up wanting to live and stay here and there are fewer opportunities to work in the

I agree with those who say we need a systems change which is also tied into social justice. It’s been a real hard issue to collectively confront. The devastating catastrophes that many people have already suffered through have not been enough. Covid-19 has definitely brought the message home and shown us what can be done but being in a democracy means that we have to get a consensus to make these massive changes. 133

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

St Kilda, St Clair, and South Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Forsyth Barr Stadium, Otago Polytech, Otago University and North Dunedin


“Politicians are very risk averse people. When you talk about structural or systems change you need the support of politicians to do that, and politicians make decisions for one of two reasons:

20/21st Century - whether it’s about civil rights, apartheid or the nuclear free movement. We saw in the previous government with the intention to mine on conservation land - that around 40,000 people marching down the streets in Auckland was convincing for people to change their mind and do something differently.

Either they think it is the right thing to do or they think they will lose their job if they don’t. If you can’t get them on the first one then the idea is the second one will suffice.

Everything that we’ve achieved can be attributed to the efforts of organisers, activists and concerned citizens in our community that have given us the mandate to do what needed to be done.”

I wouldn’t have put money on any of the environmental decisions that the previous council and I made in the last twelve to eighteen months. The reason it became easier for us to make decisions around climate action, declare a Climate Emergency, set our Zero Carbon target at 2030, and put a million dollars in that budget to accelerate that work, was because we had thousands of young people marching down the street yelling at us to do better.

Democracy is a job as well if you want to put it that way - it takes a lot of attendance ... “...it’s not a three year activity - no...”

In the past, there were some people sitting on the council who were also well known in the community. Our experience here is there is far more openness than in the United States, and politicians are far more willing to meet with you to talk about issues. I thought Jinty MacTavish was courageous and outstanding for example. Aware and clear-sighted, she also lived and still does as far as I can tell, a life mindful of our environmental, bio-diversity and social issues and acts in accordance with those things. How do you feel the council as a whole sits today?

That is what drove that - because that focuses the mind of those making the decisions. Either being convinced or being scared of being on the wrong side of history. The movement Greta Thunberg inspired around the world has been incredibly helpful as a decision maker to be able to point to the demands from your community to do better and to do more. That’s the same with any social movement in the 136

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Broad views of Dunedin stretching from the Otago Peninsula - Muapoko - to the West Harbour


I can relate to that as a community member who also wants to see radical changes in addressing climate and environmental issues, understanding that there are the costs for everyday maintenance to take into consideration - the plumbing of the city for example. All of that needs to be attended to as well.

“I don’t know - I guess its too early to tell. I think it’s one thing to support symbolic votes and quite another to commit money to do anything about it, I don’t think that has changed that dramatically. I think as so many of our existing councillors were re-elected and that I was elected, is a signal from the community that they are broadly supportive of the direction we are going.

Social media is a wake up call for me in understanding how many people don’t actually know what government body serves what or controls. Some people will point their angry finger at you, saying the “bad of the day” is all your fault and you had nothing to do with that decision or weather event.

People within that will have different priorities, or interpretations of urgency, or appetites for raising revenue. As we work through our budget meetings, we’ll get a real sense of where people sit on the fundamental things, particularly through the Ten Year Plan that begins in July through meetings in December and January.

You are now the Mayor of this beautiful city but here we are in this extraordinary time of history. How are you feeling about the diverse and complex issues, opinions and agendas pulling in every which way? Business as usual vs environment, preparations for climate issues that include provisions for alternative transportation which seems to irk some drivers, and yet, it is necessary to make shifts in our previous patterns of convenience. Or Chamber of Commerce vs environmental lobbying. Growth means more traffic and congestion - one part of the community can’t have it all. People were stressed out about OMV’s arrival when we need to have already moved on from fossil fuel exploration.

That will be a challenging process because across a range of areas the work that needs doing is expensive, and there’s only so much you can raise debt or rates. Local government in NZ has very limited revenue streams compared to other western democratic systems. For example, we don’t have local sales or income taxes. You’ve effectively got rates, fees, charges and grants from the government to support things, but that’s an issue around the country, particularly around transport and housing problems. Local government doesn’t have the capacity.”

You have so many different personalities and pressures to deal with - people that you are at opposite ends of 138

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Forsyth Barr Stadium, Sports Fields, Otago Polytech, University of Otago, Otago Harbour


the pole with and yet in your position you are obligated to be gracious and courteous to everyone.

And then you mentioned, oh good grief, OMV. I’m in the fortunate position that Council has a collective view about deep sea oil and gas drilling, and this council is not in support of that. So I can say that as a representative of this community - and again - not because council decided that it was a bad idea, but because our community came to us and said ‘please can you .... ‘.

With a chuckle: “It’s a work in progress! And, yes, it’s a lot. I think in order to deal with the significant challenges we have, which is to do with transport, housing, or adaptation to an unstable climate - and Dunedin isn’t alone in this - I can’t see those things resolving themselves without significantly more and active involvement by Central Government, and this government has set its macro economic settings in a particularly conservative way - which I can’t see being sustainable.

One of the questions you asked me before this interview was what are the things I’m most proud of achieving on Council: We’ve had campaigns where we’ve saved our historic courthouse building, and got the new Dunedin hospital built in the city centre. The DCC is now an accredited Living Wage employer.

You are right - we are mandated to look after four main things which were put into, then taken out of, and now put back into the Local Government Act. Local government’s job is to look after environmental, social, cultural and economic wellbeing of its community and you can do that with Central Government if they have the same ambitions as you, or you can, in spite of them, which is what we did for the first four or five years that I was here. But ideally you want to be aligned.

The others are mostly climate related - decisions we made to divest from the fossil fuel industry, taking a stand against deep sea oil and gas and setting zero carbon targets. All of those things! But they were all at the end point of sustained community pressure and it has gotten easier as the political climate has shifted. I mean it’s a lot easier now than when I started six years ago.

This government has made some great speeches and I think things like the Zero Carbon Act are legitimately significant pieces of legislation, but we also need to acknowledge that it is insufficient.

Some of those debates were ugly, and in the three years prior where I wasn’t on council but pushing from the outside - it was not pretty to watch.” 140

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Dunedin Courthouse Building Pre Restoration 141

I have to say thank you to everyone involved in that because those are the things that give me any faith in life and a future at all . Talk about all the places one can move to on planet earth and this is where we ended up - that there is a conscientious community that is robust enough at the time when we arrived. And, as mentioned, that there were enough of you on council to give us hope and heart.

they take more equivocal positions that reflect their membership and don’t have a universal view. They also make submissions to council telling us we need to make more of an effort on energy issues! I think democracy is a beautiful thing and it is the best system we have. Our community has elected people to represent them and my views aren’t universally held. My job, in a formal sense, is chairing meetings and to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to present their views and to debate issues in a constructive and collegial manner. Individually, that is what we have been put here to do on behalf of the people who have voted for us.”

“The city wasn’t in as good a position when you arrived. When people are looking for something to help support their community in terms of creating jobs for example, it is understandable that they will want to grab onto anything that comes by because it looks like a good option in the short term. People don’t all have the luxury of thinking in the long term if you are worried about whether you can eat or pay rent.

So we have to be patient (Aaron laughs). When The Hon. James Shaw (Minister for Climate Change) visits to give a presentation on Climate Change, one of the things he has said, every time I think, is “we are in a democracy and we want to bring everyone on board”... I hope we can indeed bring everyone on board before it’s too late. I know the infrastructure here isn’t set up yet to be able to handle the inconvenience and god knows what else - it could be buckets of rain in one hour or it could be massive fires on the West Harbour, or dealing with a pandemic (as we are now) and all the financial burdens that come along with those things.

I think what is different now is not just the fact that the political climate around environmental campaigns has changed but this city is in a far more positive position. There is less of that ‘looking for a life raft to cling onto - long term consequences be damned’. You mentioned the Chamber of Commerce, and they have come a long way. I remember them taking up full page ads in the newspaper in support of the oil and gas industry - that is where that organization was five or six years ago. Now

We are not yet set up to handle the “unlikely that is 142

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

School Strike 4 Climate, Octagon, Dunedin Friday, September 27th 2019


possible” - but the possibilities and likelihood of one disaster after another will increase as the years go by and probably a lot more quickly, I reckon, than the conservative view given by the most conservative of scientists. There are some pretty intensive carbonmaking industries expanding quickly in our neck of the woods, for example mass tourism and container shipping. How does that sit with you?

appetite from Central Government to directly involve itself in that. We are seeing the growth in numbers and the pressure that is putting on our local infrastructure and our natural environment - in a ‘kill the golden goose’ kind of way. It’s becoming more sharply felt in this country now I think, particularly in places like the Lakes District. Tourism relies on social license and the support of the receiving communities to operate. And so if the current trajectory continues then it’s going to struggle in that sense.

“It’s hard to see that all those numbers will continue into perpetuity. There will always be a tourism industry but I think the composition of that will change because fewer people are traveling internationally, but then those same people may travel more domestically. I can’t predict how it will all go. Some of it will potentially resolve itself around more sustainable methods of travel and that’s not impossible for shipping either.

I don’t know what the answer is. People talk about value over volume which always makes me feel like you are trying to pitch to the ‘playground for the rich’. People who’ve got the money can come and hang out here, but not the rest of you.

The whole discussion that got kick started by the Rio container ships pointed me to the problem that coastal shipping in particular is a very lightly regulated industry. Most of the ports have been privatised, or partially privatised, and so they are all competing with each other.

I don’t know what is going to happen to the tourism industry but if we’re going to get to where we need to get to from a climate action point of view, the status quo seems untenable. Tourism isn’t alone in that - every industry is.”

The dance of balance. Although we are already off balance really. You have stated that we have a lot of work to do this year - all hands are needed on deck.

Why would anyone put themselves at a competitive disadvantage by investing in the infrastructure that makes it a more sustainable industry? So those things need to be dealt with at a national level. There hasn’t been much of an

How can we help you? 144

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Two cruise ships docked at Port Chalmers, Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

School Strike 4 Climate March, Dunedin Friday, September 27th 2019


“Well, the first thing is to know that it is not my vision for anything. Our community has asked us to do certain things, so the Council’s strategic framework is something that we have developed with the people who live in this city. Those are our priorities, and there is a tension between them. We’re looking at growing the local economy, whilst reducing our carbon footprint, along with a growing population. These are challenging things.

Mayor calls for kindness, patience during lockdown Mayor of Dunedin Aaron Hawkins is urging patience and kindness as residents across the city enter four weeks of isolation from 11.59pm tonight.

We need to demand more from our elected representatives at local, national, and international levels, ideally. The best thing that people can do is engage in the work that council is doing. Write submissions in support of the things that are important to them and ask their representatives to invest in the things we need to do to do. I appreciate the time and energy for that is a luxury that people don’t necessarily have. I don’t blame anyone for not doing that, but if people do have the time and energy to do that - as the collective energy around the School Strike 4 Climate that helped us get to where we got to with our previous council shows - anything that people can do to push on with that will make our jobs easier.”

“This is going to be tough, but together we can get through it,” Mr Hawkins says. The imminent lockdown is unprecedented for the city – like the rest of the country – but residents were encouraged to stay safe, support each other from a distance and follow official advice to stop Covid-19 in its tracks. “The advice is clear. We can all help save thousands of lives if we do the right things now for our community and our country,” Mr Hawkins says. DCC Website News

Is there anything you would like to add on the subject of being a Mayor during these extraordinary times daunting circumstances? “It is daunting ...” 147

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Now we have the legal mandate to provide support for our cultural and social well-being - as well as our economic and environmental well-being - and I think our creative sector delivers on all those things. I’m not suggesting every practice has to accomplish all of those things but it is an industry and people are making a living out of it.

Arts and Culture Ara Toi - The Arts Pathway “Ara Toi is intended to set the direction for further strengthening arts and culture in Dunedin over the coming years. The strategy formally recognises both the intrinsic value of arts and culture, and the value of the creative sector as an industry of critical importance in the knowledge economy. It aims to position Dunedin as one of the world’s great small cities for arts and culture, where creativity is fully integrated into the city’s identity and recognised as essential to our future success.”

It’s a great vehicle for cultural expression and it’s also a platform for social well being. Fostering inclusion in our community by bringing people together is increasingly vital from a communication point of view in addressing our environmental issues.

Dunedin City Council, Ara toi, The Arts and Culture Strategy

The formal recognition of arts and culture by the Dunedin City Council is really encouraging, and partly why we moved here. How is this progressing from your perspective?

Not many people read IPCC reports - that’s not how you are going to get people on board and do what needs to be done - but it is how we communicate the scale of the challenge as well as the opportunities for addressing that. Art has a significant role to play in that.

Aaron: “I think its good. I think it’s important for the council to have acknowledged the value of a creative community and what that brings to a city.

The city has a pretty strong creative history - pre and post colonial settlement - and that is worth celebrating, but there are challenges. Part of the appeal of living in the city was that affordable studio space was available as there were enough empty buildings that no one wanted to do anything with and you could easily set up a studio space. But as the population grows and and there is pressure on housing in particular, then it is more

The arts and culture strategy wasn’t initially part of the council’s strategic framework. I was originally on the periphery and involved in the beginning as a community person, then got elected to council to help shepherd it through to the other end for its adoption. 149

Nadia Reid

Image Courtesy Dunedin NZ


difficult to make that pitch to people.

I’m proud of the work we’ve done with council and Creative NZ to continue to support the production and presentation of professional theatre work. We now have a range of companies doing different things - we’ve had the Dunedin Summer Shakespeare-in-the-Park this year, Arcade doing new and interesting work and Prospect Park Productions creating shows and projects. It is difficult to sustain all of those things, but primarily the challenges are around venue and stage space.”

The adaptive re-use, strengthening and refurbishment of a lot of our heritage buildings I think is great. But the cost of that work that we have been supporting and succeeding in, is that a lot of those places were artists’ spaces or painting studios. Allbell Chambers is being turned into a boutique hotel, and Vogel Street had long been squats in some cases for studios and otherwise. I think we need to acknowledge that the success of one of our goals can have a detrimental effect for some of the others, particularly around fostering and supporting a creative community. I think that’s something we need to be incredibly mindful of.

Yes, that’s what the people in production are saying to me as well, the space... I saw a couple of touring plays at the Regent Theatre last year - wonderful productions but that beautiful theatre space was far too large and not perfectly suited to the kind of productions presented.

The Dunedin Dream Brokerage project has broadened its scope now, and is looking at working with building owners in particular to try and utilize unused space for art studios as they’re conscious that those are the sorts of things that we need as a city.

“... and the other framework is too small. We’ve been hearing this debate for fifteen years now. The needs of the theatre community got shelved in the late 2000s when we took on the Stadium project and the city lost its appetite for other significant capital works.

Those are the issues the visual arts community in particular are facing, I mean obviously its been a pretty disruptive few years from the performing arts point of view also...”

So it is a significant challenge. We are looking at the needs of the community and how they are best addressed in the medium and long term with the Ten Year Plan, but there are a lot of competing demands...”

With the sudden closure of the Fortune Theatre? “Yes, both as an employer and a venue. 151

I am sure ... The Fortune was such an iconic institution in Dunedin - but I’ve also seen in the conversations I’ve had over the past year or so that there is a resilience and determination in each and every one - Prospect Park Productions, Arcade Theatre, Summer Shakespeare, Ake Ake, all of those people are working passionately maintaining their own independent energies, perspective and talent. Thank goodness they are! That perfect space for music and theatre, though, would be a really great asset for the city under the circumstances, however we squeeze that from the government...

Aaron: “It’s really interesting to see the arts and creative infrastructure policy start to roll out. All of our new and significant infrastructure projects have a creative element. We now bring in creative people from the beginning of a project, although some of them have had to be shoe horned in. Artists are creating a Matariki installation on the side of the hill leading up to the Ross Creek Reservoir ’s refurbishment for example. Those sorts of projects are also opportunities to bring in different discussions about what our values are. We are doing a lot of work with local runaka around how to do this.

“Yes. Music venues are challenging too everywhere. Live music has been tied to the liquor industry for a long time. Bands play in bars and bars depend on making money for all around alcohol, and that’s becoming an increasingly marginal proposition.

There is work going on along George Street, through the Central City Plan, and additional urban design approaches. How do we make this city look less like a colonial museum and begin to look like a bicultural city, and include local Māori culture, traditions and stories? I find that all really exciting!

In parts of Germany there is public funding for live music venues because they acknowledge it as a public good. We fund the ballet and the symphony for example, but somehow popular forms of entertainment don’t seem to meet that test. Eventually we’re going to have to have that debate because there is no point in being a creative city if people don’t have a venue to play in.”

Sources https://www.dunedin.govt.nz/council/local-governance-statement https://www.dunedin.govt.nz/services/eco-house-design https://www.dunedin.govt.nz/dunedin-city/climate-change

Do you have any other points about your vision as Mayor, Ara Toi and Dunedin?

Thanks to DunedinNZ and their photographers for the additional images in this story!


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Aaron Hawkins Mayor of Dunedin 2020 153

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Otago Harbour


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Otago Harbour



A Walk Through The Climate Safe House Urban renewal Shelter for the vulnerable Affordable and adaptable quality housing

A sustainable living project by the Blueskin Resilient CommunitiesTrust Text by Scott Willis, Photography by Caroline Davies


Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

The 7 X Phono solar 275w panels were provided and installed by Control Focus and ColorCote MagnaFlow roofing generously supplied by Dimond was installed by Dunedin Roofing Systems.


The climate safe house was first conceived in 2016 by the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) as a flax-roots housing solution for areas vulnerable to flooding. It is a story of collaboration, community and climate action. BRCT is an NGO that creates local climate solutions. BRCT has led climate change adaptation planning, and the ‘Our City, Our Climate’ workshops in partnership with the Deep South Climate Challenge. The Trust walks the talk on climate action and had witnessed the impacts of flooding on vulnerable residents. We’re not willing to stand by. Our community has a desire for solutions. The climate safe house is an affordable, modular, transportable eco-home. It was built for a resident in need, and is the result of some wonderful partnerships and generous sponsorship from caring organisations and businesses.


Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

It is hard to appreciate flood risk on a sunny day. Acute events like flooding happen like shocks. But sea level rise is happening now. It will accelerate, It will continue for centuries. And it is foreseeable, as the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has clearly advised. Therefore we can anticipate and adapt.


We know the climate is changing and the intensity and frequency of adverse events is increasing. Waitati is situated on an alluvial flood plain, and flood events are a fact of life. The Second Generation District Plan requires new houses in low lying areas of Dunedin to be built higher off the ground, and to be relocatable. The climate safe house in Waitati is therefore robust and designed to be easily moved when flooding becomes too extreme. It has its own energy system, so the lights stay on even when the grid goes down. Waste is managed onsite with a biolytix septic system, installed by All Septic and Drainage Ltd. The climate safe house project is not simply about design. It also involves new property relations to transfer private risk to collective responsibility through a special lease and deed of residence arrangement to ensure climate justice.


Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

The Climate Safe House, Waitati The Climate Safe House was partially pre-constructed on site at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Once at Waitati, the roof was installed, using pre-nailed trusses supplied by Placemakers and cladding was completed and painted, thanks to Decorating Services Ltd and Resene. Note the external deck, extending the living space outside.


The climate safe house is a 60m2 one bedroom small home. Its floor, walls and ceiling are constructed of Formance Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for great thermal efficiency and a cosy indoor environment. Windows and doors, provided by UPVC Windows and Doors and Metro Glass complete the thermal envelope, with double glazed, low E argon filled glass. On three walls the external cladding is pine weatherboard provided by Placemakers while the South wall is clad in ColorCote MagnaFlow vertical iron from Dimond, designed for severe environments and merging well with the other buildings on the site. The use of weatherboards reduced the carbon impact of the construction by approximately 4 tonnes. With support from the Otago Polytechnic and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, the climate safe house was partially constructed at the Home & Living Show at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on the 2 nd and 3rd of November 2019. Teams and women builders from Otago Polytechnic, DS Building, Naylor Love, Osborn Brothers and Cook Brothers Construction built the subfloor and full thermal envelope, including some of the cladding, over just a few days. A team from Aotea Electric completed prewiring while Foleys Plumbers completed all the internal plumbing. Becky Thompson of Naylor Love was construction manager for the build . At the completion of the Home & Living Show, the house was uplifted by Fulton Hogan and transported to the Waitati site where it was craned into position by Waikaouaiti Auto Electrical Crane Hire. There, work continued at the site. 163

Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

The Solax Hybrid solar inverter is located under cover under the veranda. This translates the DC power into AC power for home use and stores any excess in the ETC LiFePo4 5kWh battery all supplied by Control Focus.


Photo by Caroline Davies © 2020

The open plan kitchen was sponsored by Peter Hay and Placemakers, with tiles sponsored by Camilla Cox, with energy efficient appliances generously provided by Fisher & Paykel. Note the ‘tilt & turn’ windows from UPVC Windows and Doors windows - they tilt inwards and also fully turn open, and close tightly for excellent thermal performance.


Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

The open plan is differentiated through different flooring. In the kitchen, marmoleum created from natural raw materials provides a beautiful, easy clean surface, while the living area has full loop natural wool carpet. All floor cladding was generously sponsored by Tak Flooring. Heating, if required, will be provided by the Redwood Slim-line wall mounted 1800w radiant heater. Above the heater is a Lunos Heat Recovery Active Ventilation system, ensuring fresh air without thermal loss. We are very grateful to The Heating Company for both heating and ventilation. 166

Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

The living area leads into the bedroom. The Structural Insulated Panels are clad internally with gib to create a smooth surface. Most of the internal wiring runs through the internal walls.


Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Construction Manager Becky Thompson had a challenging task to bring it all together in little over 7 weeks, “the preconstruction planning, the dry stadium environment and the prefabricated SIPs panels all helped make the build possible in the short timeframe. It was a pleasure to work with the contractors, suppliers and members of the Trust to make this community project happen � said Becky.


Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

The laundry, bathroom and back door are all accessed from the living area.


Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

The bedroom has a 900w Redwood Slim-line wall mounted radiant heater, just to be safe. It can be set to maintain a stable healthy temperature. On the east wall in the bedroom is the twin Lunos Heat Recovery Active Ventilation system. The two vents (one in the west wall, one in the east wall) are synchronised to push fresh air back and forwards, ensuring good ventilation without heat loss. 170

Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

The Smart Comfort Controller for the Lunos Ventilation System has several settings. For example, the moon button activates or deactivates the night time fan reduction and the sun button activates the summer mode – i.e. no heat recovery. It is designed to provide a comfortable living environment.


Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020



Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

A shaft of light falls on the deep internal wardrobe, providing storage and also housing the hotwater system, supplemented with a Black Diamond HydroBox Hot Water Heatpump.


Photo by Caroline Davies © 2020

The ‘ActiveIntelligence’ front loading washing machine and dryer are provided by Fisher & Paykel, as is the ‘ActiveSmart’ Fridge Freezer. From the laundry we can see into the east facing bathroom with marmoleum flooring. Marmoleum is made from linseed oil, pine rosin, wood flour, limestone and natural mineral pigments. 174

Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Measuring 2.9 by 1.8 metres, the bathroom feels spacious with a compact shower, and a vanity unit supplied by Placemakers with fittings from Mico and a heated mirror thanks to The Heating Company.


Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Facing north, the climate safe house functions as a mini power station thanks to the solar system provided by Control Focus. Guttering and downpipes are also ColorCote MagnaFlow iron. Installed by Rainaway they ensure the home is weathertight. Opposite Page 177: Recycled piles (thanks to Hall Brothers), combine with simplicity of design and clean tech features like the Lunos Ventilation system and solar power. The piles were left over from the Otago Polytechnic Student Village and instead of going to the landfill they provide a robust footing for the climate safe house. 176


You might not believe it, but this home took 7.5 weeks from the floor up, to be able to be occupied. Our partners and sponsors together made this possible. We would like to thank all our caring sponsors, members of our community who provided labour or made donations and of course our team. Service sponsors

Materials Sponsors

Materials Sponsors Cont...

Eclectic Home Design


Dunedin City Council



Naylor Love

uPVC Windows and Doors

Otago Polytechnic

Fisher & Paykel

DS Building


Dunedin Roofing Systems


Aotea Group

Control Focus

Foleys Plumbing

uPVC Windows and Doors

Decorating Services

Frame Protection Services

Cook Brothers

Radcliffe Electrical



Osborn Brothers Construction

The Heating Company


Castle Trustees

Tak Flooring

For more information

Logic Group


All Septic and Drainage

Dimond Roofing

Plans to allow you to build your

R&R Hiab


own climate safe house will be

WAE Crane Hire


made available (for a fee).

Fulton Hogan


Hall Brothers

Black Diamond Ltd



Brazier Scaffolding


Find out more at

Warm and Cool




Iplex Buteline Peter Hay Kitchens

Email office@brct.org.nz

Photo by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Gerry Thompson of Eclectic Home Design and Scott Willis, BRCT Manager


Photo supplied

In loving memory of BRCT’s patron Jeanette Fitzsimons (17 January 1945 – 5 March 2020). Jeanette has been described as the ‘toanga of the green movement’, but was no less passionate about flax-roots solutions to climate change. Humble and inspiring in the same breath, she was committed to making our country a better place and helping others. We want to acknowledge her commitment to our community and our people. We miss her dearly. 180

Waitati River Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Kererū Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2020


Tūī Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2020


The Leith, Dunedin Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Otago Polytechnic has joined a global network that promote education for sustainable development.

Otago Polytechnic And the

Regional Centre of Expertise in Sustainability

“A Regional Centre of Expertise in Sustainability is a network of existing formal, non-formal and informal organisations that facilitate learning towards sustainable development in local and regional communities.� RCE Concept 185

Regional Centres for Sustainability Mission: The planet faces a number of sustainability challenges, from climate change and the rapid extinction of species to the necessary modification of our consumption patterns. International platforms exist to tackle each of these issues: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) mission is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, keeping in mind action need to happen at the local level; the 10 Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP on SCP) which is examining ways how consumer behaviour and industrial production patterns can shift towards a more sustainable use of the planet’s resources; and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), both platforms bring scientists and policy makers together in a mission to protect the world’s biota. Each of these global platforms needs to be implemented at a local level. With their official links to UN agencies, formal education institutions, and informal educators worldwide, RCEs are in an ideal position to do just that. The RCE network brings together multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary members who might not usually work together. As such, they are uniquely placed to help create solutions to sustainability challenges through dialogue, education and learning. They are highly influential policy advocates, able to test policies individually and work collectively to bring policy to scale and advice on future actions. Through these efforts, RCEs help prepare local leaders of  tomorrow  with the tools and information they need to make smart and sustainable choices for the future. RCE efforts encourage innovation and new approaches to sustainable development. They translate existing knowledge into concrete actions and empower individuals to make sustainable choices for themselves and their communities. The success each RCE achieves on the local level is brought to scale through the global RCE Network worldwide. Local knowledge, expertise, and best practices are shared globally through the network and can be adapted and applied successfully in other regions. RCEs also play a central role in the transfer of global technologies, knowledge, and experiences at the local level through their programmes and activities. Source: Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) Tokyo


Sheep in Aramoana, a cruise ship leaving Otago Harbour, Otago Peninsula in the distance.

Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2020

“RCE-Otago will advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in the region by focusing on the following themes: Building sustainability and social enterprise into the curriculum, Water quality use, efficiency and availability, Sustainable tourism, Low carbon lifestyles contributing to sustainable cities and towns, Partnerships and collaboration.” 187

Within those, RCE-Otago will tackle issues important to the region, such as high-quality learning experiences, water management, sustainable tourism, disaster management, energy efficiency education, waste and the circular economy, youth leadership and citizen engagement.

The Polytechnic lead the team to establish the RCE, after placing the concept of sustainable practice through its curriculum and campus development over the past decade. Joining Otago Polytechnic in the proposal were the Mayors of Otago, Kāi Tahu, University of Otago, Otago Regional Council, Otago Chamber of Commerce, Naylor Love, Contact Energy, Queenstown Resort College, Untouched World Foundation, Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Wanaka Tourism, and many other businesses and groups, including four secondary schools.

There’s also strong interest from the agriculture, horticulture and viticulture industries and the health sector, which will be another focus of RCEOtago’s work in the future. “One of the great things about applying for an RCE is that it’s driven by local people deciding they want to work together for a sustainable future,” says Dr Law. “We were able to demonstrate that we had collaborative partnerships and governance in place, and an ability to take action.”

“Collectively, we are a group of people in a region facing potential climate change, water and tourism issues,” says RCE-Otago Director, Dr Barry Law. “Otago is a hub for education – so it makes sense that Otago Polytechnic drove the RCE application process, providing leadership as we look to a sustainable future in Otago.”

Untouched World Foundation Chair, Peri Drysdale, who has been an active participant in both the UNESCO Decade for Sustainable Development and the UNESCO Global Action Programme, believes RCE-Otago will provide “an excellent vehicle for multi-stakeholder initiatives and collective community action for the Sustainable Development Goals”.

RCE-Otago will advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in the region by focusing on the following themes: 1 Building sustainability and social enterprise into the curriculum 2 Water quality, use, efficiency and availability 3 Sustainable tourism 4 Low carbon lifestyles contributing to sustainable cities and towns 5 Partnerships and collaboration.

Otago Polytechnic Chief Executive, Phil Ker, says “RCE-Otago can provide a regional model for New Zealand, demonstrating ways that other communi188

Harlene Hayne, says the establishment of the RCEOtago is a significant recognition of the great work already underway in the Otago region. “The University of Otago is fully committed to this initiative as part of our promise to be boldly sustainable.”

-ties throughout the country might address sustainability issues,” he says. “Otago Polytechnic’s strong focus on sustainable teaching and research is driven by a vision for a more sustainable future, and the desire to contribute to the development of sustainable and resilient communities. We want all of our graduates and staff to be capable, sustainable practitioners who can help make a better world.”

The Chair of the Otago Regional Council, Marion Hobbs, says this is “terrific news for the Otago Polytechnic and the Otago region. Sustainable practices must be at the forefront for our region moving forward, and the Polytechnic has demonstrated that it is a leader in this regard. We are very pleased to have supported their effort to be recognised as a Regional Centre of Expertise.”

Dr Sue Bidrose, Chair of RCE-Otago and Chief Executive Officer of the Dunedin City Council, says the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have already been adopted by the DCC. “They give the Council a great steer on what matters to keep Dunedin thriving but also sustainable,” she notes. “The partnerships that the RCE-Otago will deliver will really strengthen the way Council works across Dunedin and Otago. The challenges that we face in becoming a more sustainable city can only be addressed by many sectors   collaborating - and the RCE model really helps us drive that.”

Contact Energy’s Head of Hydro Generation, Boyd Brinsdon, says, “While clean water is one of the Sustainable Development Goals, water use, quality and management also interrelates and supports the outcomes of many other SDGs. The value of the SDGs is in the interconnectedness and collaborative partnerships established to achieve long term sustainability.”

Dunedin Mayor, Aaron Hawkins, believes the SDGs should be at the heart of any community. “They provide a lens, and a unique opportunity, to think about how we can work together to make our community’s ambitions a reality,” he says.

As of December 2019, 174 RCEs have officially been acknowledged by the United Nations University worldwide. The Global RCE Service Centre is headquartered at United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) in Tokyo, where it provides assistance to individual RCEs and facilitates their communication and networking. https://www.rcenetwork.org/portal/rce-vision-and-mission

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago, Professor 189

History: In 2002, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution announcing the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD 2005-2014), based on the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. The United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the lead agency for the UNDESD, stressed the need to reorient existing education towards sustainability. In 2003, in response to the UN resolution on the UNDESD, the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) launched the ESD project, with funding support from the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. The ESD project designs and implements research and development activities through two flagship initiatives: a global multi-stakeholder global network of Regional Centres of Expertise on ESD  (RCEs)  and a network of higher education institutions called the Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research Network (ProSPER.Net). Moving forward, UNESCO has now presented the Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD with its five priority areas of action: advancing policy by mainstreaming ESD, transforming learning and training environments using the wholeinstitution approach, building capacities of educators and trainers, empowering and mobilizing youth, and finally accelerating sustainable solutions at the local level. At all levels of society, RCEs play a crucial role in implementing these goals using their local knowledge and global network. Source: https://www.rcenetwork.org/portal/rce-vision-and-mission


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020



Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020



Elder: Sambucus nigra

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020



Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020



Elder Sambucus nigra

in the



Francisca Griffin


Elder, Sambucus nigra. Both the flowers & berries have great value as immune system herbs. It’s Elderberry I’m focussing on this issue. A word of caution first - both the unripe uncooked berries and the leaves of the Elder are poisonous, so do ensure that your berries are well ripe before you pick them. And by well-ripe I mean dark dark indigo.   Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. Elderberries are very high in anthocyanins, which give the berries their rich indigo hue. This and quercetin, are just 2 of several flavonoids present in Elderberries that are very powerful antioxidants these protect your cells from damage. Preparations of Elderberry are used for the treatment of influenza, sinusitis, tonsillitis, to lower cholesterol, and to improve vision. A syrup made from Elderberries can be taken daily in the autumn and winter as a preventative, also as a medicine when you have a cold, cough, flu or tonsillitis. If you aren’t a fan of sugar, try using honey. Or you could simply dry your ripe berries, and use them in your daily winter teas. 198

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Elderberry Cordial Ingredients Fully ripened Elderberries Granulated sugar or honey Cloves (some recipes I found also used ginger, cinnamon quills, and even chili!)

Instructions     Cut the Elderberries just below the stalks. Use a fork to remove the Elderberries from the stalks into a bowl. Place the Elderberries in a saucepan with enough water to cover them. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the Elderberry mixture through a muslin or straining bag, squeezing to make sure you get all the juice out. For each 500 ml of juice you get, add 400g granulated sugar/300g honey and 12 cloves. (if you wish to use cinnamon quills, dried ginger or chili, add them here) Boil the mixture for 10 minutes. Allow the Elderberry mixture to cool, and then bottle in sterilised glass bottles, making sure that the caps have a plastic or rubber seal. Add an equal amount of the cloves to each bottle you make up. The Elderberry cordial syrup will last up to two years. Of course the Vitamin C is all but destroyed by the cooking - but that's OK, because it's the anthocyanins that are supporting your immune system. 201

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020


Francisca Griffin has been practicing Naturopathy from her home based clinic in Port Chalmers for 18 years. francisca@beinghealthy.co.nz http://www.beinghealthy.co.nz/ Being Healthy Naturally Wordpress

Elderberry photo opposite on page 202: This photo was taken with a 100mm macro lens. Note the different colour berries in this cluster. Only the black/ indigo berries are ripe and ready to use.

Always seek help from a professional for medical issues! & Always be sure of correct identification for each and every plant. Many species can look similar to one another with only slight variations in appearance. Also individual plant species and subspecies can look different at various stages of growth as well as be influenced in their appearance by environmental conditions.

Elderberry Photo on previous page 200: This image was also taken with a 100mm macro lens. The berries had just been picked, rinsed, the stems pulled, and ready to use.

If in any doubt at all about plants, check with an expert!


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š 2020

Sun Rising 204

Photograph by Caroline Davies © 2020

At Hereweka 205

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Down in Edin Magazine Issue 20