Page 1

arts, culture, and lifestyle of dunedin and otago, in the south island, new zealand issue nine may, 2017


n w o



dunedin a unesco city of literature joe higham

molly devine

writers & readers festival otago peninsula trust 50 years


manifesto aotearoa

brian miller’s capturing light jan moore

a slice of kiwi life

KororÄ ~ little blue penguins

fr an c isc a gr iffin on h awt h or n ber r ies

m edit at in g on m edit at ion

Allans Beach Otago Peninsula, Dunedin

Photography by Caroline Davies Š

arts, culture, and lifestyle of dunedin and otago, in the south island, new zealand issue nine april, 2017


In T h i s Is s u e Nicky Page

Tom McKinlay

Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature Page 12

On the Road: A Slice of Kiwi Life Page 76

Manifesto Aoteroa

Akatore Creek: Photography

Poetry? What Difference Does it Make? Page 22

Wetlands Are Important too Page 84

Joe Higham

Otago Peninsula Trust

No One But Us Can Ensure Our Voices Are Heard Page 32

Celebrating 50 Years Page 98

Molly Devine


Traversing Planet Earth Page 36

The Little Blue Penguins & Pukekura Trust Page 116

Brian Miller

Francisca Griffin

Capturing Light: Roy Miller Stained Glass Artist Page 46

Gifts in the Garden: Hawthorn Page 144

Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival

Conor Feehly

9th to 14th May, 2017 Page 62

Meditating on Meditation Page 150

Jan Moore

Chakra Charge

We Must Reclaim Our Humanity to Save Our Water Page 70

Breathe In Breathe Out Page 158

Carolyn McCurdie ‘Ends’ Page 172 All works, stories, articles, photographs cannot be reproduced without permission of authors, artists, photographers. Please contact the Editor at Down In Edin Magazine for any queries. Copyright Down In Edin Magazine © 2017 All rights reserved. 3

Photography by Caroline Davies Š

The Path along Okia Reserve to the Pyramids and Victory Beach Otago Peninsula, Dunedin


Contributors Penelope Todd Carolyn McCurdie Joe Higham Tom McKinlay Pam McKinlay Jan Moore Francisca Griffin Danny Buchanan Intern Writer: Conor Feehly

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

FaceBook page


FaceBook ~ Down In Edin Magazine All works, stories, articles, photographs cannot be reproduced without permission of authors and photographers. Please contact the Editor at Down In Edin Magazine for any queries. Copyright Down In Edin Magazine Š 2017 All rights reserved. 5

Photography by Caroline Davies Š

Low Tide looking towards Hoopers Inlet from Allans Beach, Dunedin The MÄ ori name for the inlet is Puke-tu-roto


A note from the editor! Kia ora! Welcome to Issue Nine of Down in Edin Magazine!

water issues. Jan Moore is a guest contributor from the United States and has been writing about environmental degradation for decades. I admire her directness and her courage to call a spade a spade. With water quality and availability being a local and global issue, we felt it important to speak up clearly in this election year. Other than infestations of some bacterial life forms and parasites, life (including us) can’t exist without clean water - to say it’s a massively important issue is an understatement!

Carolyn McCurdie and I were sitting around the conference table discussing different story ideas for her to write about in this issue. It wasn’t until Carolyn mentioned the new poetry anthology, “Manifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems”, that we were simultaneously hit with a jolt of excitement. That’s it! We both proclaimed at once. It’s an election year, Carolyn stated. And this year, more than any other, the stakes are high. There is no time to lose and no time to waste to address massively important issues to do with the environment and climate change, how we treat each other (related to how we treat the environment), economics, and globalization. “Manifesto Aotearoa” says it all, poetically. I hope more people turn out to vote this year, but it’s not just about voting, it’s also voting with wisdom which takes time through study, consideration and observation.

It is synchronistic that we are introducing a new regular feature, “On The Road: A Slice of Kiwi Life”. The stories are about road trips enjoying the wonders of Otago, as many do and have for a century in their cars, but now it is with electric vehicles instead. Pam McKinlay is our guiding light with this one, and we are really excited to be inspiring others to shift over to EVs. Perhaps some readers will reconsider their purchase patterns and look to the future instead of buying last century’s combustible engine cars. We are not perfect as humans, we are here to live life and bound to make a bit of a mess, but we can do so much better than we have been. We have the knowledge, experience and technology to make wiser decisions, re-balance and thereby create a better outcome for all than we are presently seeing.

Later that day, my husband came home with a copy of the current (back then) “Critic” and said I should read the editorial “No One But Us Can Ensure Our Voices Are Heard” written by Joe Higham. My husband knew I would appreciate a writer addressing political and social responsibility to young adults. The subject matter and content went hand in hand with “Manifesto Aotearoa”.

Quite sobering! And yet, we live in a beautiful place here in the South, and as always, our stories include the works of creative, brilliant and generous people - inspiring us everyday, just as a matter of fact.

We didn’t take a political road intentionally. Rather, it was one thing led to another and a matter of who showed up. The environment is intrinsically tied to politics at the moment. New Zealand, along with the rest of the world faces critical

Be well, live well, and enjoy this issue! Caroline Davies, Editor 7

Photography by Caroline Davies Š

Okia Reserve by Victory Beach Otago Peninsula Dunedin


Photography by Caroline Davies Š

The Pyramids Okia Reserve by Victory Beach Otago Peninsula, Dunedin


Photography by Caroline Davies Š

Victory Beach and Okia Reserve Otago Peninsula, Dunedin


Stephen Stedman

Danny Buchanan

High Quality Audio Recording Services

Otago Recording Company


Dunedin A UNESCO City of Literature an interview with nicky page

Dunedin from Signal Hill (Te Pahuri o te Rangipohika)

Photography by Caroline Davies Š


Story by Penelope Todd Freshly arrived in the harbourside cafe, City of Literature Director Nicky Page is abuzz with her latest work project: Dunedin’s Fringe Festival Director is offering the City of Literature a chance to come up with an award for the forthcoming festivities. Nicky would love to see one given for the performance that makes the best use of language, whether spoken, sung or otherwise delivered. And the award will need a name. We sip our coffees and bandy around the alliterative ‘wonderful words award’. [Update: the inaugural City of Literature ‘Beyond Words Award’ was presented at the Fringe Festival 2017 Awards Night to Fran Kewene and Stopping Violence Dunedin for Stories to Heal Violence.] Nicky was pretty much made for this initiatory role in Dunedin, designated UNESCO City of Literature in late 2014. The following May, funded by the Dunedin City Council and working from the City Library’s fourth floor, she entered the vibrant, humming network of 20 cities, including Prague, Baghdad, Montevideo, Reykjavik, Iowa City and Edinburgh.

Dunedin City of Literature Director Nicky Page


For Nicky with her background in NZ publishing (management and editorial), and more recently in academic administration, the job is her ideal: she’s fostering a love of literature, encouraging writers, sharing ideas and projects ‘with not a moment’s worry that I’ll run out of things to do!’ While other Cities of Literature have teams of up to ten, Nicky in her solo position is the nexus for huge voltages of inspiration, and local, national and international synergy. Broadly speaking, her work is twofold: to liaise with the other 19 Cities of Literature across their various networks (something Dunedin, with a history of creative cross-pollination, does more naturally than some, Nicky notes); and to engage not only with the local book-loving, writing communities and NZ literary organisations, but also with people and groups outside of the traditional bookish circles. She thrives on the combination of office time, furthering projects, and talking face to face, ‘sharing and connecting the dots’.

days-only turn-around for applications, Nicky and Trish Brooking of the University of Otago’s College of Education put their heads down to make the case for Dunedin. A few weeks later, Dunedin was awarded the $10,000 display stand from 3—6 April, ‘in a plum position — practically a little house, with 24 book shelves [holding 80 books by Dunedin authors], a lounge and daily cleaner.’ Literary agent Frances Plumpton and two independent NZ publishers teamed up with Dunedin to present books and staff the stand. ‘This is a great example of how the network operates: a completely unexpected and fabulous possibility within an unrealistic timeframe, which however pays dividends many times over. It is my favourite type of project and well worth being flexible for, as it develops our wonderful writers’ profile around NZ and overseas, creates multiple partnerships, and means we are proactively working for writers in a truly practical way.’

The 20 Cities of Literature are in turn linked to the 116-strong UNESCO Creative Cities Network, which allows for international interchange across various creative media.

When Nicky started the job in May last year there were already many seeds sown, ideas awaiting materialisation, and projects awaiting her attention; she simply had to throw herself in and help to get, or keep, them going. What she loves about the whole City of Literature concept is its inclusiveness. ‘It’s for everyone! It covers all genres and creativity streams. Besides the written word, it takes in music, plays, oral history …’

Another project exercising Nicky’s thoughts this morning is the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. In January the 116 Creative Cities were invited by Bologna UNESCO City of Music to compete for one funded book stand at the trade fair. With a tight, 14

Dunedin City of Literature at Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Photo Courtesy Dunedin City of Literature

...”Nicky and Trish Brooking of the University of Otago’s College of Education put their heads down to make the case for Dunedin. A few weeks later, Dunedin was awarded the $10,000 display stand from 3—6 April, ‘in a plum position.” The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 116 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level. The Creative Cities Network is currently formed by 116 Members from 54 countries covering seven creative fields: Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts. 15

Ruth Arnison’s ‘poetry on steps’ These steps are opposite Dunedin’s Town Hall

Photograph by Caroline Davies ©


Particular connections have developed in the wider Creative Cities network with film, design, music and gastronomy. Tapping into the latter pool of interest, Nicky is collating a Dunedin-initiated City of Literature cookbook, with each city invited to contribute a recipe and images with a literary focus. ‘Some cities have come up with a cultural delicacy, and others have treated the invitation more humorously. Some recipes have come straight from fiction.’ This banquet of interesting dishes will be compiled into a digital edition, to be circulated around each city’s networks, with translations from English likely to be made. And on that point, Nicky expresses her delight at the privilege of being an English-speaker and able to fully enjoy the international synergy, since ‘everyone involved is accomplished in speaking English’.

Writer visits and exchanges are welcomed between Cities of Literature.’ Recently Nicky had the chance to show Dunedin to the daughter of the mayor of Heidelberg (another City of Literature), and she welcomed a writer from Norwich who is exploring our city and its literary heritage. In exchange, the work of Dunedin’s writers has been showcased in other Cities of Literature: in 2016 Philip Temple and Diane Brown read at the Writers’ Festival in Heidelberg; poet Peter Olds was celebrated in an exhibition at the Reykjavík Reads Festival in Iceland; Neville Peat and Iona Winter performed in ‘Unbound’, at the Edinburgh Book Festival, and Diane Brown’s poem ‘Smaill’s Beach’ travelled around on buses in Estonia. Last year Dunedin poet David Howard took up a writing residency in sistercity of literature Prague, and this year Nicky will administer the 2018 application process in Dunedin for the residency, which is offered to six writers each year from the 20 UNESCO creative cities.

Working with a modest budget, Nicky’s greatest resource is her connection with other people and ideas (her mind is popping with them), connecting them with funding opportunities, writing letters of support, offering funding advice and/or referrals, facilitating and showcasing — for which she’s seen many great outcomes with little or no money spent. She loves the ongoing serendipity that occurs when an international network is twanging and responding. ‘Opportunities can come up unexpectedly from any quarter,’ Nicky says. ‘Connections are readily made; funding opportunities become apparent; creative alliances are formed.

Projects tend to be geared towards other European cities rather than New Zealand, Nicky adds, ‘and they can forget how far away we are and how much it costs to get anywhere. Although I do provide this feedback, it is what it is and best just to come up with a solution and join in! There’s often a way around it, such as Iona Winter’s fantastically successful Boosted campaign in order quickly to get to the Edinburgh Festival where she performed with great success.’ 17

Closer to home, creating a literary hotspots database is a project dear to Nicky’s heart, and she ‘was thrilled when the visionary Humanities Division internship programme enabled us to swing into action.’ Interns from the Otago University’s Department of English and Linguistics, working on arts-based projects in the community for a paper towards their degree, are compiling a database highlighting Dunedin sites where writers have lived or holidayed, entertained or written about. The idea is to eventually build a literary map and app, indicating significant buildings and nooks around the city. A City of Literature working group continues to research potential ideas for recognising writers past and present, such as in typographical murals, plaques on special buildings, plaques with QR codes on park benches in significant locations, and public art.

Nicky says she’s ‘lucky to work with many fantastic partners including Dunedin Public Libraries, the University, UBS (University Book Store), the Fringe Festival, Dunedin Writers’ and Readers’ Festival, museums, galleries, schools, Otago Access Radio, theatres, and many others, and we proactively plan partnership projects together. ‘There is a dizzying amount of talent and energy here, and if I can connect people who are working on a similar theme or help others find funding or promote an event more widely or facilitate a collaboration across the Creative Cities network then I feel I’ve done a good day’s work!’ Penelope Todd publishes at Rosa Mira Books, is a notable author of fiction for young adults and beyond, editor for many fiction and non-fiction books, as well as a regular contributor to Down in Edin Magazine.

Late in 2017 Dunedin will host a Creative Cities Symposium, to be funded by NZ’s National Commission for UNESCO, in partnership with Otago University’s Centre for the Book. There will be international and local keynote speakers from each creative stream, with all events free to the public, as will be the facilitated workshops fostering cross-pollination of creative projects, one of UNESCO’s visions. ‘Every participant should leave with contacts and a project to go on with. Delegates from all the creative cities will be invited, with the event widely promoted in NZ amongst literary and creative organisations.’

A note of thanks and appreciation to DUNEDIN UNESCO CITY OF LITERATURE LINK TO WEBSITE


Photography by Caroline Davies Š

University Book Shop, a hub of literary activity in Dunedin Autumn, Otago Museum grounds


Some other activities related to

* The Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival 9 to 14 May 2017. The NZ Book Council will hold its May meeting in Dunedin in order to attend and support the Festival, during which a plaque for Robert Lord will be unveiled in the Octagon Writers’ Walk, funded by the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust and coordinated by the City of Literature. ! * NZ Young Writers Festival in September 2017, which is held in Dunedin each year ! * Otago Access Radio’s Youth Zone, in collaboration with Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature and Dunedin Public Libraries, is currently recording 15minute episodes with poets aged 14 to 18.      ! * An Ambassador from each Dunedin secondary school is invited to participate in the City of Literature Collaboration Group meetings and to meet with Nicky to help formulate projects within their own schools. ! * City of Literature t-shirts are being designed by a talented new graduate from Otago Polytechnic. ! * The City of Literature is working with local theatres to support grant applications for various projects involving travel and original local scripts. ! * From 2017 all parking meters across Dunedin (once the existing rolls inside the machines run out!) will produce tickets with wonderful local poetry on the back.

or celebrated by the Dunedin City of Literature * Short stories by local writers serialized in the Otago Daily Times towards the end of 2016, in partnership with the City of Literature, the University Book Shop, and Enterprise Dunedin ! * Ruth Arnison’s ‘poetry on steps’, Lilliput libraries and Poems in Waiting Rooms ! * Beverly Martens’ Literary Walking Tours, launched at the start of 2017 ! * Dunedin Public Libraries’ City of Literature online catalogue with over 1500 titles listed and adorned with a City of Literature sticker * Otago’s Department of English and Linguistics’ inaugural ! annual University of Otago City of Literature Doctoral Scholarship. ! * The annual Robert Burns Poetry Competition, promoted in conjunction with Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature in 2016 ! * A City of Literature 2017 Fringe Festival panel event, Getting the Play Right: Festival Playwrights Share Their Secrets 20



Story by Carolyn McCurdie Artwork by Nigel Brown

On January 21, 2017, I stood in a crowd of mainly women in the Octagon, Dunedin. We gathered to join with others, all over Aotearoa, all over the world, who marched and rallied for the rights, the dignity of women, in the face of the election in the US of Donald Trump. Among the speakers were two local Members of Parliament, Metiria Turei and Clare Curran. In this election year, both made a plea that we not despair of political engagement, and as part of that, that we value and use our votes. Although one vote makes little difference, combined they can change history.

Poetry? What difference does it make?

The Otago University Press publicity flier for Manifesto Aotearoa makes a similar point. ‘A poem is a vote’, it says. I read that, and thought: yes! As someone who often tries to write political poetry, this view heartened me. A successful political poem is hard to write. When I’m despondent because my attempts fail, I often think, ‘what difference does it make anyway?’ But then here is Manifesto Aotearoa, and we all come together. These distinctive voices combine, with a common concern for equality, justice, a better world. The poems are astonishingly varied, but in numbers, we speak with all the authority of community. 23

This is not to imply that a single voice can’t change minds and hearts. History is alive with the eloquent, the sonorous, who have done just that, for good or for otherwise. The poem though, is a particular use of voice. In his introduction, Poetry Changes Everything, co-editor, Philip Temple quotes American poet Adrienne Rich: ‘(poetry) lays its hand on our shoulder (and) we are, to an almost physical degree, touched and moved. The imagination’s roads open before us, giving the lie to that brute dictum, “There is no alternative.” Co-editor, Emma Neale, in her introduction, Song Coming, also quotes Rich: ‘Art is our human birthright, our most powerful means of access to our own and another’s experience and imaginative life. In continually rediscovering and recovering the humanity of human beings, art is crucial to the democratic vision.’

franchise, a plea for non-violence, a reminder of the extremes of suffering experienced by the victims of war and enforced exodus. It is also a reminder of the need for the humanities in general as a corrective to the abuse of power and the starvation of the imagination. If we cannot imagine, there is no hope.’ Hope. This reminded me of a talk Dunedin poet, Sue Wootton gave, on her return from international poetry festivals in Vietnam and Nicaragua. She was impressed by the way that the people of those countries responded to poetry, contrasting their response with the disinterest the art form often meets in Aotearoa. For them, she said, a poem is ‘charged’. She found these audiences alive to the way that in a poem, language can be allusive, multi-layered and suggestive. Such language can go beyond not only the literal meaning, but also beyond the permitted. Sue found her listeners hungry for this.

What use is poetry? Emma asks. Both she and Philip explore the question. Philip says, ‘Political poems are the most open and cogent expression of democracy, the most vivid and eloquent calls for empathy, for action and revolution, even for a simple calling to account. To paraphrase Franz Kafka, the best political poems should be ‘the axe for the frozen sea within us,’ opening our hearts and minds to what may yet be possible in a chaotic and brutal world.’

Her poem, An international poetry festival in Vietnam (p56 of the anthology) begins: The authorities are nervous. It’s risky to bring in the poets. When they say flower are they speaking of flowers? It seems likely to me, that as political, social, environmental, climate realities become increasingly bleak, our own hunger for words that are charged

Emma: ‘In our current political context this anthology is not only a call to protect our environment, a call for equal rights for all, a reminder of the power of the 24

with meaning can only become more intense.

Intense? Us? It’s not part of the stereotype. Casual, relaxed, nothing a bother – yes, all of that can be true – but kindness and a concern for fairness are usually included in the list of national characteristics. The world we will fight for is kind and fair. Some years ago, I enjoyed reading Kaupapa, an anthology of political poems published in Wellington in 2007 by the Development Resource Centre. The introduction is in the form of a conversation between the editors Hinemoana Baker and Maria McMillan. Maria says to Hinemoana: ‘When we started reading the poems submitted for the collection, you said – and it was a revelation to us both – ‘We’re a passionate people.’’ Yes. And this is the first thing that strikes the reader of Manifesto Aotearoa as well.

So, what are we passionate about? A great deal, it turns out. So much, and sometimes so much just within a single poem, that the editorial task of finding a structure, cannot have been easy. The poems are arranged under four headings, Politics, Rights, Environment, and Conflict. It is noted that these categories are broad.

Politics, Page 18 Artwork by Nigel Brown 25


Poets have much to say about the greed that is such a feature of neo-liberal economics, and which then affects the general moral climate.

Then what do people here die of? Here’s how to pilfer and filch and be happy too … The subtitle is taken from Vincent O’Sullivan’s poem, To miss the point entirely (p24).

says Michael Harlow in Bite the bright coin its brilliance (p31).

The topics range across parliament, politicians, capitalist society, surveillance and the international political experience. The tone is frequently scathing.

and it’s not only politicians who are targeted for this, but also financial sector leaders and professional sporting luminaries.

This from Keith Westwater (p30):

Some poets have personal experience of the political situations of other countries. There are poems about Russia, Ukraine, Albania, the Czech Republic and China.

The head of department’s prayer on a change of government Our Minister, who art in Cabinet, hallowed be thy name. Thy party won, thy will be done, in fact as it is in fiction. Give us this day your empty signifiers, And cover our stuff-ups, as we cover yours when you pot us. And lead us not into the glare of scrutiny, but deliver us from scarce resources. For thine is the government, the power and the spin, at least until the next election.

In The Greater Wall (p57), Liang Yujing describes: Wall in books in journals in letters in newspapers Wall in sinews in bones in blood in brain cells And this morning in my own room— The wall even stretches over two thousand years From about 200 BC to my laptop …

Amen/Awomen Photo: Caroline Davies©



In Speaking rights by Anahera Gildea (p98), the theft is not so much the vocabulary and grammar of the language, but the profundity of its significance. Te reo is diminished in the mouth of the ignorant, egostrutting pākehā neighbour. The phrase, ‘man he’s proud’, repeats as a refrain throughout the poem.

A stone in the mouth of the people – from kani te manukura’s poem, tricks of a treaty (p89). In this part, in particular, the passion is white-hot. Here is pure rage, beautifully controlled and aimed, with the target often the culturally insensitive, the arrogant, those who continue to appropriate land and culture that is not theirs. According to many poets, theft in multiple guises is on-going, and so is the bitterness, pain and grief of loss.

My neighbour is learning te reo. Man he’s proud … conquering language … How dare you? You butcher me. Still, two hundred years on you insult my house, pissing your kōrero everywhere. You represent no one, and nothing when you speak.

The Treaty of Waitangi is described as an instrument of that theft in kani te manukura’s tricks of a treaty (p89):

When I speak, my pepeha is standing is anchored to speak with the consent of every single one of my ancestors …

the signs of our past present future made so faint we can barely see our own shadows

Then, on p109, Aroha Yates-Smith offers Poems promoting peace.

let alone that of the land as both pass to the pākehā

These poets speak out for rights in the work-place, safety, equal pay, for the rights of women in poems about rape and domestic violence. The struggle to maintain dignity as well as physical well-being in the face of poverty and the slave-like conditions of a

upon whom the sun never seems to set …

Photo: Caroline Davies©


factory are movingly described. Thoughtfulness and humour are here, as in Rhian Gallagher’s The Speed of God (79), and empathy, in Janis Freegard’s Arohata. (p87). There is celebration in A late take on the Marriage Amendment Act, by Heather Avis McPherson (p81).

Environment Taking selfies by the ruins – from Richard Reeve’s poem, Frankton Supermarket, Queenstown (p137). I find it a bit disconcerting that this section is markedly smaller than the other three, at a time when daily newspaper headlines make it clear that concern for profit is putting the health of our rivers and lakes under serious threat, when the present government looks favourably on applications to open new coal mines, to search for oil-drilling sites along our stormy coastlines, and when their plan to contribute to climate change mitigation barely exists. Do we care less about this? No. In fact, our passion for our planet can be found throughout the anthology, in poems arranged under other headings. Everything is interconnected. Of course.

Environment, Page 118 Artwork by Nigel Brown


In her Poems promoting peace (p109, under Rights), Aroha Yates-Smith says:

Dear ET

Listen! Listen!

The white dusting on our poles is melting.

Hear us, you scoundrels

Only bears and penguins live there.

who trample the mana,

Ice upon ice like a migraine in a stark neon-lit

the spiritual essence of humankind,


of the land and Nature,

Ice like a sharp slap or a wake-up punch to the head.

the environment at large …

Streams of melting snow fall down shafts in the ice sheets, which have their own name—

The interconnectedness of everything we do, and our heedlessness of this, is a concern of the poets in this section. Greed, with its blinkered vision, colonial and post-colonial assumptions of ownership of land, water, and all of wild Aotearoa, are named here as the destructive mind-sets that they are. Such naming echoes throughout the anthology. Water is a dominant theme. Several voices seek to protect water, whether underground, in rivers, lakes or the ocean, and there’s a focus on problems of waste, especially plastic. Gail Ingram (p123) and Jonathan Cweorth (p126) explore the impact of introduced species on indigenous flora and fauna, and John Howell (p135) looks at the island nation of Tuvalu, at the mercy of climate change as the ocean rises and the coral turns white.


If you came when the plants grew the sky or when the fish bloomed the sea or when the lizards pounded forests, come now to see the short-haired apes go apeshit.

I enjoyed the humour and the passion that Harvey Molloy brings to this poem, on p138:

Photo: Caroline Davies©



(p163), search for alternatives, a different mind-set where peace and joy are valued. But it was less any individual poem, and more the impact of all combined that I found most moving. These poems pulse with compassion. Sometimes the empathy is so searing it can only be called love.

behind every human shield is another human shield. – from I cannot write a poem about Gaza, by Tusiata Avia (p145). Mostly, the poets here write as global citizens. Nicola Thorstensen writes about violence in the home in Protection order (p166), and there are poems about gangs and their culture of conflict, Gangsta as, by Michael Botur (p165), and Reportage, by Michael Steven (p167), but overall, the poets look further from home. And they look with complete openheartedness. Poems by Sarah Paterson, Victor Billot and Majella Cullinane, describe the plight of refugees and give us the simple ordinariness of specific people, people more like us than different. In He couldn’t stand the sea (p151), Marty Smith addresses permanent damage done by a long-ago war, the emotional and physical scars that last a lifetime. James Norcliffe speaks directly to arms makers in Dear Messrs Smith and Wesson (p184).

Here is Tusiata Avia, in her poem, I cannot write a poem about Gaza (p145): …. I cannot write a poem about Gaza because I cannot go to bed with the stiff little babies and the bodies of children, there is no room for the little lost limbs, the disembodied arms yanked off like parts in a doll hospital … … I cannot write a poem about Gaza because behind every human shield is another human shield and another human shield and another human shield and another human shield and another human shield. And behind that human shield—is a human … … I cannot write a poem about Gaza because of my

I can understand why the editors chose to make this the final section. Oddly, given the topic, and the fact that international tension seems to be on the rise, I found these poems overwhelmingly hopeful. Some poems, such as A people’s guide to disarmament, by Catherine Amey (p161), and Global, by Emma Neale

friend Izzeldin and his three exploded daughters and one exploded niece filleted across his living room … Tusiata dedicates this poem: for Izzeldin Abuelaish and everyone. 30

The whole is more than the sum of the parts Impact. Collaboration. So many have come together to make this the powerful anthology that it is. Artist Nigel Brown donated the original image for the cover, and the artwork that accompanies each section. He is also one of the poets. Contributors are from all over Aotearoa, young, old, Māori, Pasifika and Asian poets, from the unpublished to five of NZ’s poets laureate. I feel honoured that two poems of mine have been included in this publication. The editors, Philip Temple and Emma Neale, together with Otago University Press, have created something impressive. It’s been timed to come out in election year. This year, more than at other times, attention is likely to be on political matters, although I don’t expect that anyone thinks the book will have an impact on the result. But it does something deeper and less easily measured. Manifesto Aotearoa gives us a version of ourselves, who we are, who we are not, who we might grow to be. It’s as far as it’s possible to get from the bland superficiality of Brand New Zealand. This portrayal of a nation through its poets is complex, turbulent, and vitally alive. In Manifesto Aotearoa, we stand up to declare our humanity.

Conflict, Page 142 Artwork by Nigel Brown

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

Manifesto Aotearoa 101 political poems Edited by Philip Temple and Emma Neale Otago University Press 2017 31

Photography by Caroline Davies ©


“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”

This is yet another example of how 18-30 year olds have become, on the whole, largely apathetic to a political system that revels in such apathy. With a few key exceptions, we are now ignored by the political establishment. For example, in the last general election the seven electorates with the lowest enrollment rates were also those with the highest student populations (North Dunedin was the 6th lowest nationally). The 18-24 age range also had the second highest total enrollments (behind only the ever increasing 70+ bracket), but have the equal lowest voter turnout (as a percentage of total enrolled), with the second lowest being the 25-29 age range. We’re actively erasing ourselves from the political sphere.

attributed to many

No One But Us Can Ensure Our Voices Are Heard By Joe Higham (Critic 2017 Co-Editor)

It seems as though we’ve gone from being politically disillusioned to politically disinterested, and our voices aren’t being heard simply because we’re not making them be heard, either at the polling booth or in protest at parliamentary decisions that affect us. Local and National Government are ignoring our needs in preference of other demographics because of this disinterest, and will continue to exploit this reality until we provide them with the need to listen to us.

In early March this year, a small group of protesters gathered outside of the University of Otago’s Hunter Centre to oppose the presence of global finance company Goldman Sachs on campus in large part due to their investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline. The group was no

Students of old would not have sat apathetically in the face of constantly increasing tuition fees, cuts to university departments, the growing influence that multinational corporations wield in our political

larger than fifteen at any given time, and at several points throughout the protest shrunk to fewer than five. 33

sphere, our own government’s spying programme against us, TPPA, the list goes on and on. There are an enormous amount of issues that deeply affect our interests, both as students and as citizens or residents. When was the last time a large student group stood up as a collective and forced change?

where they stand on the the political spectrum; their reply will inevitably be “we’re not actually affiliated to a political ideology.” Press them and then press them again. Of the two arguably most famous protests at Otago University, the first came in the late ‘60s when students took to the streets to protest the university’s prohibition on mixed flatting. The second came a little more recently, in the early ‘90s, when students of the day rioted before famously occupying the clocktower in opposition to the university imposing fee increases. This only put at bay those increases until 1994 when the freeze on tuition fees was nationally lifted, and ever since then universities across New Zealand have leapt at the opportunity to cash in, adding four percent to student tuition fees year on year. It’s not as though we have to sit back and think up novel ways of opposing these increases; our parents have already provided those for us.

That’s not to say there aren’t examples of students protesting, and the Goldman Sachs protest is one example of this (despite there being far too few participants for the importance of the issue). Another came last year when the Students for Environmental Action (SEA) protested outside the University Clocktower and ultimately helped to force Otago University to commit to divesting from fossil fuels. Unfortunately, this course of action is an increasing rarity. Even student politics is barely political anymore. It’s now so far removed from any political ideology that it’s simply become a contest of ‘popularity’ and ‘competency’ as opposed to a disagreement between the ideological left or right. The OUSA (Otago Univsity Student’s Association) Executive constantly makes decisions on behalf of students, many of which reflect the underlying ideological leanings of its members as a whole, but they certainly don’t flaunt their political affiliations. They know that because they can become elected without any ideological affiliation, they can also work on the student’s behalf on the same basis. When you next see the student executive, ask them

Joe Higham Critic is the student magazine of the Otago University Students' Association Original editorial in Critic, Issue 02 06 March, 2017 34

Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

“No One But Us Can Ensure Our Voices Are Heard” Otago University by the Clock Tower


Molly Devine Traversing Planet Earth Story and Photography by Caroline Davies

Background Image Photo Credit Link Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)


Molly Devine’s voice filled the Dunedin Town Hall as she sang “Randolph’s Going Home” by Shayne Carter and Peter Jefferies. It was the first time I’d heard her sing in such a setting, and as a cast member of the sensational, sold-out Tally Ho! concert of 2015, her solo performance stood out. It was the perfect venue for her and she nailed the Dunedin Sound classic. Molly was still a student at Otago University then, studying Contemporary Composition with Dr Graeme Downes (of The Verlaines) whose inspiration and support enabled Molly to graduate that year with flying colours. Molly was invited to do her Masters of Performing Arts at the university the following year. She had been performing for years on her own by then, developing a strong style to match her unique personality. I photographed a fabulous concert she produced, as part of her Masters degree, at Albany Street Recording Studios. Her year had been a difficult and confusing one, in a music department that was stressed and constrained by budgetary and impending staff cuts across all the Humanities’ division. However, Molly pulled off an impressive, solid rock concert with Mallika, her band at the time. She reminded me of a young Janis Joplin at times, in the way Joplin could pull a song from deep inside and beyond. A gifted and strong singer, Molly deserves a good acoustic space to express the size and range of her voice. From the delicate rendition of her original song “Birds” to a cover version (student’s choice, as mandated by the

Molly Devine at Albany St Recording Studio


Photograph: Courtesy Dunedin Symphony Orchestra

Molly Devine Tally Ho! Dunedin Town Hall, 2015 Conductor, Peter Adams


University) of Led Zepplin’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, this young woman was impressive on stage, and in my opinion, outperformed Robert Plant (he’d either be proud or envious).

year at Otago University and I put that down to having him as my supervisor for Contemporary Composition. We’d meet once a week, but we’d constantly have about 5 email chains going, writing mini essays to each other about some amazing article he’d sent, or a book he’d got me reading.

Her mini-album, “Planet Glitter”, a result of her final year’s work at university, is impressive too. For all the ‘lightness of being’ in Molly’s offstage bearing, the album is sophisticated for a writer and performer of her age. Promised one thing (a full album with studio time to do it well), but given another (fewer songs and covers, and drastically reduced recording time), she didn’t falter in her commitment to making the best collection of songs she could in the circumstances.

My favourite suggestion of his was Jorge Borges’ Labyrinths. I think it inspired a lot of the songs I wrote for Planet Glitter. My least favourite was Sun Tzu, The Art of War, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, though I tried, very, very hard. Graeme once sent me a YouTube series on how banks work which turned out to be one of the most devastating and riveting things I’d ever seen … he made it clear that an artist needs to understand the world if they are going to make a living reflecting on it and I’ve been working on this ever since.

Several weeks ago I saw Molly perform with Graeme Downes at Dunedin’s Fringe Festival, 2017. Yet again, Molly pulled off a set that revealed her versatility. Downe’s compositions are complex and Molly rose to the challenge, agilely moving through musical phrases of depth, subtlety and power. They were a treat to watch and hear. Graeme Downes’ music pulls the best out of Ms. Devine – a young talent willing to meet the challenge, to stretch and grow.

Every week I’d go to his office with a new song or idea. I often wouldn’t sleep much the night before, reading and scribbling things down on little bits of paper by my bed. When I brought in a song or idea in he would understand exactly where I was going with it, no matter how horrifically explained the idea may have been.

I asked Molly about her work over the past few years with Graeme Downes, an icon of contemporary music in New Zealand, and a pretty amazing mentor to have. Molly: “Graeme’s been an incredible support for me through University and now beyond! The most creative year of my life would have to be my honours

Graeme gave me great confidence in trusting my writing abilities, because the more I laboured over lyrics, the more he seemed to labour over them when they got to his desk. His best responses were always 39

to the songs that come most naturally to me. I think I wrote the lyrics to my first single, Puppets, one night at about one in the morning, and most of the labour that went in to it was getting out of bed to find a pen and a piece of paper to write it down on. I remember bringing the lyrics in feeling incredibly nervous. I’d had a busy week and hadn’t had time to write much. Puppets had been sitting around in my house for about 6 months in a pile of crazy ideas, but I had nothing else to show so I thought it was worth a crack. My mind was going crazy thinking, “nooo he’s going to pull it apart I haven’t done 40 drafts and read enough Borges this week.” Instead he said, ‘”Great. Where’s the music?” This seemed to be a reoccurring theme when I brought in my midnight/ mid-shower compositions that I’d chuck in the crazy ideas pile. That pile has now evolved into an ‘ideas’ pile, which I think is a lot more productive.

has been exclusively to date, Dunedin Sound music. I didn’t grow up in Dunedin, spending most of my youth in Bermuda, and had very little to do with Dunedin at all until I moved here in 2011, but there’s something about Dunedin Sound music that feels deeply personal to me. I remember running in to Dr. Ian Chapman’s office all excited in my Masters year proclaiming, ‘I’m going to hand out Glitter vials at my next concert!’ He sat me down and explained to me that actually it wasn’t as novel of an idea as I thought as the Chills had done it 20 years previously. In my first year I wrote a song called ‘Kaleidoscope,’ and Dr. Chapman again had to point out that Martin Phillips had beaten me to the chase. As much as I love all Dunedin Sound music, anything Shayne Carter has written would have to be my favourite to sing. I love the words, the vocal range he uses, the melodies, the harmony, everything. It’s challenging music, all the Dunedin Sound artists joke about how they can’t sing but they’re kidding themselves. They are really creative and their vocal lines always pose some sort of exciting challenge.

Graeme asked me to perform in his show Tally Ho!, in 2015. Tally Ho! was a concert of Dunedin Sound music arranged for Orchestra played by the Southern Sinfonia (now the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra), and songs performed by some of New Zealand’s top artists. Since then we’ve performed at a few smaller shows, one of which was when he agreed to support me at ReFuel, which was wonderful and humble of him.

Graeme has asked me to be part of Tally Ho 2!, which is happening on November 4th this year. I don’t know very much about it except that Graeme has been working tirelessly on the arrangements. I’ve heard a few of them and I think we have a lot of reason to be very, very excited for this one.

Playing music with Graeme is always mind-blowing. I put it down to the style of music we perform, which 40

You are making a new record with Maddy Parkins Craig… How is that coming along, and how different stylistically is it from "Planet Glitter"? You also mentioned you were exploring your darker side. Where did that decision come from? Molly: “My new music is very, very different to Planet Glitter. My Masters year at Otago, and for a time after that, was a complete train smash for me as I was promised the stars and ended up feeling like I had been sleeping in a ditch. I left feeling pretty low about my prospective life as a musician and started googling ‘other options.’ I’d never considered pursuing anything except music until that point, and for the first time ever the thought of being an artist seemed like an egotistical stupid thing to do. Fortunately I can’t remember why I thought that now, but it took me a long time to come around. In the process I think my voice has changed quite a lot. Out of necessity I’ve been doing quite a bit of ‘self’ work (to stop me from googling ‘other options’), and the music that’s come from it is a lot more direct. It’s also a lot more personal, I get a bit squirmy when people ask what my songs are about, but I’m very excited for people to hear the songs and gather from them what they gather. I link this back to Graeme saying the artist needs to understand the world if they are going to make a living reflecting on it. I feel the more I delve in to my own quagmire of issues the more I see how universal they actually are. 41


When trying to describe my new music to people a word that keeps coming up is ‘darker’ but I think that may be a bit of a cop out because I’m too embarrassed to say more ‘mature.’ To me Planet Glitter is a lot of fun, and that was the whole point of it, I was saying, ‘look I can be a sparkly space chick but still have something to say!’ My new record definitely isn’t sad, I see it as a lot stronger. No sparkles, no filters. I had a friend come up to me the other day after a gig, he hadn’t heard any of my new music, but he’d heard me sing a lot as we’d been in bands together before. He said to me ‘it took me 4 songs to realize it was you singing.’

Your songs are multi layered, and shows your ability to move from soft to gutsy. From poetry to cosmic power. It's an awesome record, and more perhaps about ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. Do you feel complete with that record as it wasn’t as long or full on as you had intended or expected?  “Planet Glitter was really an artists dream, within the recording studio I had full reign to do whatever I wanted and my co-producer Danny Buchanan was so encouraging and accepting of all my ideas. Due to the unfortunate circumstances around the university, Danny and I were put on a short leash for a lot of the process, but during the short time we had I never felt restricted artistically. We really got to paint the story, and I think that we created a perfectly united product that I’ll be able to treasure forever.

Because of this musical shift I’m going to re-brand my music as Devine. It feels right to look at this next record as a new chapter.”

We didn’t get to do all the songs we had laid out and planned for… One day I’d love to go back and explore Planet Glitter - Phase Two, but for now I’m taking a pause to address some more earthly matters.”

So what’s coming up first in your new chapter? “Oooohh squirmy! A love song called Novel. It’s the first love song I’ve ever written. All being well Novel will be released in June, I can’t wait. Then, later in June I have a show in Wellington at Meow with Ills Winter, Nation and Miss on the 23rd, and in Auckland at the Wine Cellar with Abigail Knudson on the 24th.” Taking a pause to reflect on your previous chapter and going back to Planet Glitter, what were the highlights of making that record in the midst of the humanities chaos? 43

How is it feeling in the world outside of university and are you enjoying the explorations of music that you are? Are you feeling challenged by anything in particular in the world of music, and what are the things you are loving right now? “Life as a musician is so incredibly intense but I’m really enjoying how it’s all unfolding. Personal development wise I can think of no better career for me, it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. Music is a very uncertain career path, so it helps to have a good backup store of self worth. It’s a constant chug, and pats on the back are a rarity because most of the work you do is invisible, but I feel just putting one foot in front of the other has been going really well.

Listen In Bandcamp - Studio Planet Glitter Phase One

YouTube - Live Puppets Birds Cinderella Since I’ve Been Loving You

Being a woman is a challenge for sure, there’s a lot of ‘lads’ around. It’s pretty lonely being a female in the music industry, but I’m so grateful for Maddy Parkins-Craig, Abigail Knudson, Ills Winter, Miss, and lots of other great female artists I’m working with who experience the same things. They are all incredible musicians too. As woman we have to be. I think the hardest part about being a musician is you have to be able to back yourself with the utmost confidence, while also giving off the vibes that you’re totally chill and ‘sweet as’ with everything. I’m still working on this, I think there should be university courses in it!”

“Pull your eyes down from the stars" he said ‘Take off your shoes of glass Take the ribbon off of your heart And listen’ is all he asked” Molly Devine, Cinderella

d 44


“In the early 12th century a French abbot, named Suger, was intrigued by the mysticism of light. He wanted ‘the most radiant of windows’ which would ‘illuminate men’s minds, so that they might travel through it to an apprehension of God’s light’. Cathedrals, after all, were the meeting place between Heaven and Earth and the more mysterious the experience the better.” “Capturing Light ”, Brian Miller P17

Opposite Page: Nativity Page 92 Designed by Fred Ellis, executed by Roy Miller c1970’s St. Hildas Collegiate School, Dunedin 46


Brian Miller Photograph by Caroline Davies Š


An interview with

A Tribute to Stained Glass Artists

Brian Miller

Remembered as a a hardworking, quietly-spoken gentleman, Roy Miller, born and raised in Dunedin, was renowned for his expertise in stained glass work in New Zealand. He was passionate about his art, and Miller Studios, based in the small southern city Roy grew up in, became the leading producer of stained glass windows in the country for many years. Roy’s production spanned three decades, and created more than 330 windows for 130 churches and Cathedrals throughout the country. During that time, Roy collaborated with 3 primary designers, each with their own distinct style; artists Frederick Ellis, Kenneth Bunton and Beverley Shore Bennett. In 1978 Roy and Beverley were honoured as the first New Zealanders to be made Fellows of the British Society of Master Glass Painters.

author of

Capturing Light Roy Miller New Zealand Stained Glass Artist

Created over a six year period, Capturing Light was a mission and labour of love for author and photographer Brian Miller, Roy Miller’s nephew. Brian: “Stained glass designers are generally the ‘unknown’ factor in windows – many churches don’t even know the names of the artists behind them, let alone anything about their lives. It took years to reconstruct the lives of several artists who worked with Roy, and most had long since died. It also took years to locate some of the artists’ family members, and involved a real detective trail. But I never gave up and finally managed to put on paper, for the first time, the lives of the artists who worked with Roy Miller.”

Story by Caroline Davies

Brian Miller’s Capturing Light is an important and significant contribution to the documentation, history, and illumination of how stained glass is made. Although this beautifully produced book is inspired by the work of one artist in New Zealand, Roy Miller, the valuable research and masterful photography contained within Capturing Light’s pages relate to the art and creation of stained glass everywhere. It is a testimony to an art form that is sadly disappearing around the world. For all these reasons, ‘Capturing Light’ is a real treasure! 49

Photography, Books, and Publishing

On returning to New Zealand in 1984, I became heavily involved in running my own children’s bookshop for over 20 years and did very little photography during that time. It’s hard to be creative when your head is in financial survival mode everyday. I began to shoot photos again around 2000, and in 2005 swapped from film to a digital Nikon D70 camera. I bought several books about digital photography and devoured them. I was so excited, I could not fill my head up fast enough with this new technology. When I discovered that many people were confused with their new complex digital cameras, I wrote ‘Digital Cameras the Easy Way’, a pocket book that has since sold over 12,000 copies. In 2009, I began to run digital photography classes for beginners and to date about 650 people in Dunedin have completed the 6-week courses.   After selling our bookshop, Tapui Children’s Books, my wife Diane and I started a publishing company called Lifelogs Ltd. in 2007, and have written and published a dozen books in the last 10 years. Most of the photography I do these days is to illustrate our books on a wide variety of topics; history, children’s picture books, memoirs, biking guides and art books.

The Ins and Outs of it All Brian was introduced to photography around the age of 12 by a leader at the local YMCA in Dunedin. His darkroom had an enlarger made from a honey-tin with a light bulb inside and a lens strapped to the front. This is where Brian learnt all the basic procedures of black and white developing. “I started a darkroom with a few friends at Kaikorai Valley High School and we even made our own developing chemicals by following formulae and mixing them up in the chemistry lab. I continued with darkroom work during my university years – and used a 35mm Contaflex camera for photography. With a degree in geology, I accepted a prospecting job in 1971 in the back-blocks of Papua New Guinea and knowing I would be in very unique terrain, bought a Nikkormat Camera with a 1.4, 50mm Nikon lens.   Later I added 105 and 35 mm Nikon lenses and a tiny Rollei 35S camera. With that gear, I consistently photographed all over the highlands of Papua New Guinea for 9 years. I also had a large darkroom for many years at a semi-professional level. All my thousands of black & white negatives and colour slides were carefully catalogued, allowing me, in 1983, to produce ‘The Highlands of Papua New Guinea’, a hardback pictorial book that sold 8,000 copies.

In 2013 I published Moments in Time – Ralph Miller – Artist, a record of my father’s life and artwork. 50

Last Supper Page 173 Designed by Beverley Shore Bennett Executed by Roy Miller, 1973 Ormond Chapel, Napier


A book that took about a year to write and produce. Capturing Light is my latest book and I worked on that over a six year period.”

The more I researched the topic and the lives of the designers and artists, the more fascinated I became with the subject. Three out of the six years of research and preparation were full-time work to complete Capturing Light.”


‘They’ never said it would be easy, but it is satisfying when all is said and done. That’s the joy of inspiration, it gives you challenges, and takes you on a great adventure. “Fortunately, after my uncle Roy died, the plans (cartoons) of each window were deposited in the Hocken library so I was able to make a database of their locations. It then took weeks on the phone to find out ‘who had the key’ to 130, often closed, churches. Over a three-year period I went on many trips around New Zealand locating and photographing several windows a day. I love adventurous travel, you never know what to expect, and every window I discovered was a surprise.

Sometimes the most worthwhile projects we find ourselves drawn to are not anticipated, but rather, reveal themselves when we’re completely immersed in another project. “I have never worked at Miller Studios, but I’ve followed the progress of the company for years. When I realized the family business, Miller Studios, was about to turn 100 in 2013, I decided to write a book about it. However, that soon turned into three quite different books; the history of the company, a book about the artwork of my father Ralph and a book about my uncle Roy and his 330 stained glass windows. I completed the first two books in 2013, but the stained glass book required a lot more research. Only two books have been written before on stained glass in New Zealand, one on Canterbury windows and one mainly on leadlights.

Running Tapui Children’s Bookshop for over 20 years, also included traveling around to schools in the South Island and sleeping in the van, so I’m no stranger to a gypsy life-style. I had many family members and friends who provided accommodation, but I also spent many a night in a frosty tent. Some windows were very hard to track down due to mistakes in the records, but I left no stone unturned and managed to locate most of them, all, except for a few that had ‘disappeared’ after a church had closed.”

There are very few records of the work of artists earlier than Roy and very few windows are made today, so I decided to add a fair amount of background information to the book to give a historical perspective to the industry. 52

‘True’ stained glass windows are quite different (to lead-light windows). They start with a complex design, usually contain hand-made (antique) glass, and each piece of glass may be painted or shaded to add features and depth. The process to make these windows is far more


lights’. often




Stained glass windows are the





between two artists. A designer creates the overall design, outlines, lead lines and






indicating the colours. The glass artist then interprets the design by selecting suitable hand-blown coloured glass, paints the facial/clothing lines and, using a kiln, fires the paint into the glass.”

Page 13

St. Monica Page 139 Designed by Ken Burton Executed by Roy Miller, 1968 St. Lukes Anglican Church, Havelock North 53

“The makers of stained glass windows combine artistic creation with an understanding of science. Chemicals are added during the glass-making process to produce various colours and






advantage of the way light scatters and bends (refracts) when passing through





Wavelengths of light affect adjacent colours and glass artist need to appreciate how various pieces of coloured glass can complement (or clash) with others. They also need to be expert painters.” Page 14

O All Ye Works of the Lord Praise andMagnify Him Forever Page 157 Designed by Beverley Shore Bennett Executed by Roy Miller, 1976 St. John’s Anglican Church Upper Hutt 54

“The basic technique of making a stained glass window has changed little from when the monk, Theophilus, wrote his treatise on the craft in the 12th century. It is a time-consuming process, and according to Roy Miller, ‘From the time of first designing




months may elapse before it is completed’.” Page 245

Right: In Thanksgiving for our Baptism, Page 199 Designed by Beverley Shore Bennett Executed by Roy Miller, 1976 St. John’s Anglican Church Upper Hutt

Next page 56 Boy Jesus working in carpenter shop with father Joseph Page 86 Designed by Fred Ellis Executed by Roy Miller, 1958 St Stephens Anglican Church Auckland 55

Stained glass and lead light windows are found in many historic homes as well as churches in this area. Why and how is Dunedin considered a centre for stained glass? “Quite simply, Dunedin was built on gold. The Scottish settlers happened to choose a location on the edge of an enormous block of metamorphic schist, that had filled Central Otago rivers with gold for thousands of years. A gold rush began in 1861 just 13 years after the first European settlers arrived and that resulted in Dunedin becoming, for a while, the richest centre in the country. It became a significant cultural centre, a centre of business, mansions were built, and the wealthy wanted to decorate their houses and churches with stained glass windows. Robert Fraser was a pioneer of stained glass in New Zealand and Roy’s teacher. Christina Fraser, Robert’s mother, and a remarkable woman in her own right, took him to London to study stained glass in 1889. When Robert returned to Dunedin he set up the first stained glass studio in New Zealand. The wealth in the city attracted other artists and stained glass flourished for several decades. Most windows in New Zealand churches were imported from Europe, but Dunedin became the largest production centre in New Zealand and made church windows for many years. Later Roy re-established Dunedin as a centre and by the late 1960’s, he was producing 60% of New Zealand’s church windows.” 56

Family History

In 1956, Roy’s brother Ralph and father Oswald, suddenly died within six weeks of each other and Roy was left carrying the family firm single-handed. His son Winston joined the firm in 1958. Roy’s stress increased as the company grew rapidly in size when it moved into the world of shop fit-outs. With this beautiful and multi-layered tribute to Roy Miller and the art of stained glass, one might anticipate a close family relationship, but Brian’s family, although very amicable, was not close to Roy. “Roy was a very private, quiet and conservative person; an artist who most of all just liked making stained glass windows. Roy was considered to be a real gentleman by all who knew him, but he didn’t have a wide circle of friends outside of his busy life involving work, church, Rotary and his immediate family.

Brian’s family line in Dunedin stretches back to the earliest European settlers. There is a multigenerational character of creativity combined with hard work. “The Miller family has been involved in arts and crafts for several generations. Roy’s great grandfather, George Miller, travelled from London to Dunedin with his wife Mary, and their four children as assisted passengers. They arrived at Port Chalmers, Dunedin on 5th May, 1858 just three years before New Zealand’s first major gold rush. Rather than seek his fortune on the Otago gold fields, George used his carpentry skills to build houses in the rapidly expanding town. Hardworking, entrepreneurial and generally working for themselves or a family business, there is an underlying assumption in our family that you always work to your highest ability and secondrate was never acceptable. Roy Miller was no exception.

So Roy was not a person you could get close to and he had very little involvement with my family as we grew up, however he always made me feel very welcome whenever I called to visit him at work. He always wanted to show me what he was doing in his latest stained glass project. Once I sat down and asked him about my forebears who came from England and took a page of notes. I only wish now that I had asked him more questions!”

Miller Studios was like an economic roller-coaster for many years, as it expanded rapidly. I have no doubt that the stress of balancing the business, with an expectation of high standards and maintaining a family life took its toll on the health and life of Roy, as well as his son Win and my father Ralph; they all died at a relatively young age.”

Capturing Light: Roy Miller New Zealand Stained Glass Artist 57

Roy Miller 15 March, 1915 to 31 August, 1981


Capturing Light was awarded a bronze medal in the Australasian section of the American Independent Publishing book awards.

Capturing Light



Brian Miller Author and photographer Capturing Light

Opposite Page Mary and Christ, Page 177 Designed by Beverley Shore Bennett Executed by Roy Miller, 1974 St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church Andersons Bay, Dunedin

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š



Dunedin WRITERS & READERS Festival 2017 9th to 14th May Catherine Chidgey Photography by Fiona Pardington


“As New Zealand’s only UNESCO city of literature, Dunedin is a booklover’s paradise and home to many of the country’s much-loved authors,” says Programme Director, Claire Finlayson. “The Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival reflects our city’s range of interests and talents – from sessions on how to drink beer to a Flying Nun music event at the iconic Captain Cook bar, acoustic music with singer-songwriters Nadia Reid and Karl Bray, to a Mother’s Day brunch that brings together popular writer Emily Writes with Sunday magazine columnist Leah McFall. We have attracted writers from around the world alongside our top Kiwi and local Otago talent.” The Festival programme includes more than 80 writers and performers across 36 public events – from writer workshops and panel sessions to poetry readings, theatrical events, author talks and family events. The diversity of writers and events on offer – many free – is designed to appeal to readers from all walks of life.”

Ian Rankin


Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival

Festival goers can also experience a taste of the writers on offer at the Metamorphosis Gala Showcase night on Friday 12 May at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum which features Ian Rankin, Stella Duffy, John Lanchester, Hannah Kent, Bill Manhire and Victor Rodger together with MC Kate De Goldi.

An impressive line-up of international and Kiwi authors, including one of the world’s top crime writers Ian Rankin, writer and theatremaker Stella Duffy, multi-award-winning English novelist and journalist John Lanchester, Australian author Hannah Kent, English biographer and writer of Victorian thrillers MJ Carter and writer-performer Rebecca Vaughan, join the third Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival to be held May 9–14 2017.

Not to be missed, “We’re thrilled to be bringing some of the world’s best writers to Dunedin for a literary feast for young and old. It’ll be a week of excellently effervescent chat,” says Ms Finlayson. “I encourage festival-goers to get in early and secure their seats. Book your kid-sitters, file your annual leave forms, and shuffle swiftly to the ticket counter.”

Festival highlights include sessions with international authors and guests of the Auckland Writers Festival, Rankin, Duffy, Lanchester, Carter and Vaughan, who will go to Auckland after the Dunedin Festival. Vaughan’s ‘Jane Eyre: An Autobiography’ – in which she plays 24 characters – has been met with rave reviews across the globe.

Amie Richardson Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival

Link: For Tickets

Award-winning Australian author Hannah Kent also joins the Festival alongside New Zealand writers Catherine Chidgey, Glenn Colquhoun, Victor Rodger, Bill Manhire, Kate De Goldi, Paul Beavis and an array of local writers including Emma Neale, Majella Cullinane, Paddy Richardson and more. One of the standout events will see nine out of the 10 New Zealand Poet Laureates come together for ‘A Circle of Laureates’, with Rob Tuwhare reading for his father, much-loved poet Hone Tuwhare. 64

Photo Couresty Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival

The team behind the scenes Top left to right – (Trustees) Vanessa Manhire, Bridget Schaumann, Annie Villiers First row left to right - (Chair) Alexandra Bligh, (Programme Director) Claire Finlayson, (Event coordinator) Katherine Quill, (Trustee) Nicky Page

Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival Programme 65

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Akatore Beach Otago

66 67

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

St. Leonards Yacht Club Jetty Otago Harbour, Dunedin


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

A Shag lookout Otago Harbour, Dunedin


We Must Reclaim Our Humanity to

Save Our Water an essay by

Jan Moore

Photography by Caroline Davies ©


The state of water in our world currently is endangered. Pollution, privatization, waste, climate change effects and lack of attention to this most crucial life crisis is bringing us to the brink as a species and we have no one to blame but ourselves. In trying to assess in my own mind why something so basic and necessary to our lives is given such little attention, it is frustrating to say the least. Especially in this age of technology, where we can see with our smart phones and computer screens, much more information that is easily accessible about this and so many other global crises. When you look at the world as a whole and realize that 3/4 of it live in poverty and that the majority of those areas do not have access to potable water and sanitation, the correlation is obvious. Yet, we as a species even in the 21st century are failing at providing the basic necessities of life to ourselves and others. Why? Why is water so unimportant to so many even though they know they cannot live without it? Is it ignorance? Arrogance? Or is it because there are those who have been made to believe that we will always have what we need because money can buy you anything even at the expense of taking it from others. Just look at the levels of pollution in our global waterways. Industry, and nitrogen rich fertilizer used in agriculture alone have managed to kill some of the major river systems of the world and made dead

Otago Harbour, Dunedin


zones devoid of the oxygen marine life needs to survive. The burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other destructive land uses (fracking, tarsands extraction, strip mining, mountain top removal) are culminating to push our atmosphere and water to the tipping point. We are now seeing more extreme events (storms, floods, droughts) around the world which are the results of human forces on the natural cycles of the planet to the point where we have actually affected the hydrologic cycle which is now being touted as the "new normal."

killing us and in the process destroying this Earth for future generations. It is the hope of changing those perceptions and bringing a paradigm shift in thinking that is now bringing people out into the streets worldwide calling for justice and equality. Calling for accountability for those who have stripped this Earth of all that was once good in exchange for a world of their making that can sustain no one, not even themselves. The false illusion of money's worth in comparison to the limitless value of this Earth, coupled with delusions of grandeur built on sand, in failing to understand the true meaning of humanity and its true purpose must now be challenged. That right now is the hope we have as a species... awareness, awakening, gnosis.

This has already resulted in billions of dollars of lost agriculture to the world, where crops have been destroyed from unprecedented floods that are happening globally simultaneously, as well as extreme droughts on both sides of the world. This then has a domino effect regarding food prices and the ability to live with predictions of these events (extreme floods and droughts) becoming more severe with rainfall patterns changing and challenging the entire way the world grows food. As a result more fall into poverty, illness, war and hopelessness as those with mighty bank accounts think it buys them rights to the resources of Earth that belong to all mankind.

The innate instinct that tells us as humans that we are one with this planet and that to destroy her destroys us is the lesson we must learn. This is the perception we must impart to others. We are at the brink but we don't have to go over. There are ways to heal her and ourselves. We can join globally with like-minded individuals who know the stakes and make this shift happen with our thoughts and our actions. We can reclaim our humanity and in the process save ourselves. It won't be easy. However, the alternative is simply not an option!

So for me there can only be one main reason why this has happened. We have strayed from our humanity. We have allowed materialistic man-made forces to infiltrate our consciousness and perceptions of life on this Earth and those skewed perceptions are now

Jan Moore is an environmental writer & humanitarian, wife & mother. Read more of Jan’s writings at Water is Life Blog Spot


Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

Bird Sanctuary Low tide Golden Bay


St Clair Beach, Dunedin 74

L o v e T h e Wa t e r s by Claire Beynon with Penelope Todd 75

Photography by Caroline Davies Š

ON THE ROAD A Sl ice of Kiwi Life


Photograph by Caroline Davies ©


A ka to re C re e k

The secret of the creek is to make your way up its length to the sea. Most of the trip must be done on foot or by boat. Doubtless an SUV would carry you a decent part of the way, but the creek environment wouldn't thank you.

Story by Tom McKinlay Photographs by Pam McKinlay

It would be easy enough to drive past Akatore Creek. Or at least, drive over it.

At low tide, much of the way is an easy if slightly muddy walk along a pebbly bed, pocked by crab holes. Miss the tide and there's more wading to do.

The short span of concrete bridge that carries traffic north to south, is like a thousand others around the country. The creek itself at the crossing, particularly at low tide, unprepossessing.

On one occasion a few years ago, I didn't get the tides quite right and had to ferry my sons across the creek, one side to the other, where the going was easier.

But there is charm there, and even good swimming, in water that is in all likelihood as safe or safer than Dr Nick Smith thinks it should be.

This meant that for a short time, one son was on one side, and the other on the other.

The creek lies a few kilometres south of Taieri Beach. The metal road that carries you to it, drops suddenly down from the coastal hills around a series of hairpin bends. As you descend, the tidal wetlands that run into the creek stretch out to your right, before merging into farmland. Hardly unmodified, they are nevertheless recognisably estuarine: an ecosystem for fish and fowl.

I told the elder: "You wait here, while I get your brother". I thought I detected some measure of agreement. However, by the time I turned to return with the younger, somewhat more biddable, son, the elder was off along the opposite bank, ears pinned back, heading for the sea. By the time I was again on the same side of the creek as him, his lead was significant and I was none too sure he would stop once he met the ocean.

The McKinlay family has been visiting the creek for years. Since sometime early last century, the various generations have set off from the Taieri Mouth crib, that's still in the family, for the 15 minute journey. Often that has been on New Year's Day, a McKinlay tradition that is more often honoured in the breach these days. But still we go.

Son the younger was again told to wait there, which he did, while I set off in desperate pursuit. But it was no good. I had given him too much of a head start. There was no hauling him in before the 77

beach, where the waves hit the sand with barely a pause then suck back out with whatever they've found.

it makes a final snake out to sea, just after the turn of the tide. Jumping in the water before the final bend we were swept around it with the eddies, again and again, buoyant in neoprene.

There was my son, standing on the sand with a huge grin. He'd won the foot race, wrong-footed and hotfooted his dad.

Most recently, we were in the creek in the canoe. A recent innovation for us, thanks to a new roof rack on our Nissan LEAF.

I was practically apoplectic with fear, and expressed myself as such. He kept on grinning. He was at Akatore Creek, and there was fun to be had.

The LEAF carries us neatly out to Taieri Mouth and home again on a single charge. Reaching Akatore, with a degree of comfort, involves an electric top up at the local camping ground. An hour or so on a caravan plug is all that's needed.

Our small drama was a footnote. It couldn’t compete with the backdrop. The beach appears suddenly as the creek finishes its journey, the hills that guide it peel back as light roars in with the sea breeze to fill the space and throw black rock and bleached sand into sharp, blinking relief.

Once in the canoe and on the water you have a couple of options, at least over which to do first. Upstream and you are into the wetlands estuary bird spotting: waders and assorted coastal birds abound. Downstream and you are headed for that brilliant, wild and rocky beach, with its golden sand and salty bluster.

On another, less emotionally taxing visit, we three played in the swift flowing current of the creek as

Photograph by Pam McKinlay


FACTBOX Charging an electric car at home is as easy as charging a cell phone or laptop. The lowest level charging can be done overnight anywhere you can access a normal domestic or household three-pin socket with your charging cable (all electric cars come with a standard charging cable ) or you can speed things up with a dedicated homecharging unit or have a “blue commando” socket installed –more commonly known as a caravan plug and also the kind of outlet found in camping grounds across the country, When travelling away from home you may need to know where public charging is available. You will need map of charging sites which provides information on charging sites across New Zealand - you can download as an app or visit Each icon on the map is loaded with information pertaining to that site including conditions of use such as cost, hours and any other provisos. For more information on electric vehicles see the New Zealand Electric Car Guide, by Sigurd Magnusson, For information or support for new owners contact NZEV Owners group or your local EV owners group such as Dunedin EV Owners on Facebook or email

Photograph by Pam McKinlay


“Electric cars have no clutch or gears, and accelerate more quickly and smoothly, in a “sporty” way, and climb hills easier than petrol cars. A fully electric motor has fewer moving parts, no spark plugs or engine oil, and requires less maintenance than a petrol equivalent. Such cars are extremely quiet and reduce noise pollution. Travelling down hills or braking recharges the batteries, and is known as regenerative braking. The motor uses no energy when the car is still.” Sigurd Magnusson Link: Electric Heaven PDF

Photograph by Pam McKinlay

Akatore Wetlands

Link to PlugShare Plan ahead. You can do a search for charging stations by name, city, or country.


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Taieri Mouth Otago


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Taieri Mouth Otago


Following the McKinlay’s Footsteps

Following the McKinlay’s light footsteps (and tyre tracks in this case) we discovered a wonderful place situated in an extensive area of saltmarsh and swamp, and with further observation came to appreciate what this complex wetland surrounding Akatore Creek holds. Important for its natural ecology, this fragile region highlights the reasons why natural water systems need to be respected, and protected as a priority. The disappearance of wetlands, as alarming as deforestation and other environmental degradations, should cause immense concern.

(Treading Lightly)

Akatore Creek Swamp Story and Photography - Caroline Davies

Taken with Tom McKinlay’s short story on Akatore Creek, I became curious about this place I hadn’t been to before. So off my husband and I went one balmy afternoon to explore an unknown part of Otago (for us), venturing over the district border into Clutha.

Besides being a habitat for a vast number of species, wetlands have significant hydrological functions such as flood control, coastal protection, ground water recharge, sediment traps and atmospheric equilibrium. This wetland area moderates water flows in the lower reaches of Akatore Creek during flood events as well as high tides coming in from the ocean that flow into the wetland. This all helps protect water quality within the Akatore Creek area.

Heading south, views of the wild and wind-blown coastline of Otago, with rarely a person in sight, are beautiful. Just beyond Taieri Mouth, the last settlement before the tar meets gravel, we continued on the winding dusty road and before too long, recognized the visual points in Tom & Pam’s story.

Wetlands include swamps, bogs, saltmarsh and fens. According to the Otago Regional Council (ORC) there are only 15% of natural swamp lands remaining in Otago. Classed as swamp/saltmarsh and bog, the Akatore Creek area is considered a regionally significant wetland which is located on ‘Acutely Threatened Land Environments’ - where only 10% land cover remains as indigenous vegetation.

We too were charmed by an environment, that at first glance, one might not think held more than a sparsely populated landscape. But we stopped at the bridge and walked along the creek’s low tide water line toward the beach described in A Slice of Kiwi Life: Akatore Creek, serenaded by a symphony of birdsong. 84

The Akatore Creek catchment has also been identified as nationally important for its biodiversity.






Management Area (45.83 ha) which is located on the southern side of Akatore Creek Road;

The ORC describes Akatore Creek Swamp as, “being scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character, where there is a high diversity of wetland vegetation and habitat types and predominantly indigenous species that occur within the wetland. Much of the scrub in the area is considered an intrinsic part of the wetland and is the only example of its type in the Otago Coast Ecological Region.”

2. Akatore Creek Marginal strip (0.5 ha) which is located to the south of the Wildlife Management Area; 3.  Akatore Stream Marginal strip (10.94 ha); and 4.   QEII OSP covenant 5/12/131, which contains riparian indigenous forest on the northern margins of Akatore Creek. As an intricate eco system that supports a large variety of fauna and flora, wetlands such as Akatore Creek are essential for a balanced environment. They act as carbon sinks, naturally control flooding and help purify natural water systems. There are multiple reasons for their existence, and they are indispensable!

South Island Fernbird, Spur-winged Plover, Pukeko and the Pied Stilt have been observed in the area and are considered to be at risk - declining nationally, and Variable Oyster Catchers (recovering) are seen as well. In the creek, there are Galaxiids, also considered to be in slow decline nationally. There is a broad range of wetland habitat types within the swamp, which encompass oioi rushland, rautahi sedgeland, spaghnum bog, and remuremu-glasswort saltmarsh and a rich variety of saltmarsh plants that include creeping monkey flower (Thyridia repens) - the herbaceous succulent native to New Zealand and Australia.

Thanks and acknowledgement to Otago Regional Council for the information on Akatore Creek Swamp.For more details go to

Akatore Creek Swamp

The Akatore Creek area is also highly valued by Ngāi Tahu for cultural and spiritual beliefs, values and uses, including mahika kai and wāhi tāoka. Several protected areas are located within or near Akatore Creek Swamp. These protected areas include: 85

Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

Akatore Creek Wetlands at low tide

The Akatore Creek catchment has been identified as ‘nationally important for biodiversity’.


Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

Akatore Creek Wetlands at low tide The ORC describes Akatore Creek Swamp as, “being scarce in Otago in terms of its ecological or physical character, where there is a high diversity of wetland vegetation and habitat types and predominantly indigenous species that occur within the wetland. Much of the scrub in the area is considered an intrinsic part of the wetland and is the only example of its type in the Otago Coast Ecological Region.” 87

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Akatore Creek Wetlands


Photography by Caroline Davies ©

Akatore Creek Low tide


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Where Akatore Creek meets the sea


Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

Akatore Creek Low tide - our wading point “At low tide, much of the way is an easy if slightly muddy walk along a pebbly bed, pocked by crab holes. Miss the tide and there's more wading to do.” Tom McKinlay, page 77 91

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Looking northward, the beach is to the right and the creek runs inland to the left


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

The south rise on the beach


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Small band of indigenous forest flanking the northern edge of Akatore Creek. Birdsong here is beautiful. This strip of land is protected under a QEII Covenant.


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Returning home and heading north, on the south side of Taieri Mouth where the gravel meets the tar..




Mulching Little that you know or do’s sourced in anything

My favourite (poems),’ 2011 judge Bernadette Hall wrote, ‘are fresh and surprising. They’re well built, there’s air and imaginative energy in their making. The world looks replenished through their windows.’

as lofty as an album of dreams, and so for the time being being’s just plain old mulching the potatoes because, even though it’s December, starlit nights and a southerly front can mean more than frost-cloth’s required to stop them being burnt. It’s got a bit to do with hard arsed truths instead of hopes born of ignorance

Six years of the Caselberg International Poetry Prize in the first Caselberg Press imprint, a limited edition anthology, “the unexpected greenness of trees”.

or indifference, both as unwelcome, as slimy as slugs. Which may be why when you look at the garden’s irises, daffodils, roses and peonies; at the japonica and the lavender, and thrill to the trilling of blackbirds after light summer rain, you think

To purchase a copy, contact:

of who planted your garden, and what it all reminds you of. Just as, when the sun edges through,

the bees in clover remind you of what’s indispensable

Caselberg Trust

but not inexhaustible, Like, say, love and friendship, for instance, those things that never pale. Page seventy one

the unexpected greenness of trees 97

Otago Peninsula, Photograph by Stephen Jaquiery Š Courtesy Otago Peninsula Trust

Otago Peninsula Trust 2017 is the Golden Anniversary of the Otago Peninsula Trust New Zealand’s first private charitable conservation trust 98

50 Grand Years

the peninsula attract astronomers and photographers from around the world. This is a place where you can have a clear view of the milky way, especially in winter when it is directly above, and spectacular auroras much of the year viewed from places like Hoopers and Papanui Inlets, Sandfly Bay and numerous other vantage points.

Part One An

The peninsula is a place where a mixture of small farm holdings, villages and wildlife all co-exist. The scenery; a combination of sparsely populated grazing land, an undulating landscape of steep hills and dales - some tall and sharp, some round and soft, rugged coastlines, wild beaches, tidal inlets, and quiet harbours within Otago Harbour, laced together with winding roads and scenic drives, will take your breath away!

Overview Ot ago Pen in su la, Dun e di n

When I visit a place of wonder - natural or man-made - a place that has been set aside for us to appreciate and learn from, I utter a quiet thank you to those that created it. These are places where people can experience the natural order of the world we live in, or go back in time and look at historical and cultural legacies made generations ago, or places where wildlife can be safe and we can be too.

Written by Caroline Davies

The Otago Peninsula is an area of land that runs parallel to the mainland on the east coast of the South Island, about 21 kms in length and approximately 1.5 to 9 kms wide. Created by massive shield volcanic activity over ten million years ago, the Peninsula, the harbour and across to the mainland flanking its west side was formed over ten million years ago. The entire area is of great geological interest, apparent with its land and rock formations.

The visionaries who dedicate a good portion of their lives to the restoration and conservation of areas like this, should be remembered with great esteem. The rock and movie stars of the real world where it’s not about the glamour. The industrialisation and commodification of just about everything on planet Earth underscores the immeasurable value of the work these people do and the importance for the success and continued integrity of these exceptional places.

At night, and away from the city lights, the dark skies observed from the curves of the landscape facing south on 99

The Otago Peninsula Trust

early trust volunteers, with thousands of hours of work, fundraising, and particularly from projects by various Dunedin Service Clubs”.

Seeing the Value of What’s Right in Front of You As well as creating amenities for residents and visitors the Trust has become a major economic contributor and enabler for Dunedin’s tourism industry. Today, Otago Peninsula’s magnificent wildlife is estimated to be worth well over $100 million each year to the Dunedin economy. The Trust, with operations including the Royal Albatross Centre, Fort Taiaroa, Blue Penguins Pukekura joint venture, Glenfalloch and Tiki Tours is a major contributor and employer for the peninsula.

by Sophie Barker

The Otago Peninsula Trust was formed in 1967 by the Dunedin Jaycee Chapter who wanted to see Dunedin flourish and had identified Otago Peninsula as a major asset for the city. Bill Dawson, an original Board member of the trust, explains... “It was the mid-1960s and Dunedin was in the doldrums. The Chapter surveyed over 200 leading citizens and discussed ideas for how to reinvigorate the city’s economy. Three main strengths were identified, education, heritage and tourism.

The Trust oversees the business operations, marketing, health and conservation of: * The Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head which hosts over 100,000 visitors annually. * Pukekura Blue Penguins. A joint venture with Korako Karetai Trust. * Historic Fort Taiaroa, underground fortifications with the restored 1889 disappearing gun. * Management contract of Fletcher House, Edwardian villa built in 1909 by Sir James Fletcher. * Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens and Green Bike hire. * Colinswood Bush Reserve – Conservation Project. * Education Programmes: Interactive student focussed LEOTC (Learning Environment Outside the Classroom).

The late Professor Ron Lister pointed out that the Otago Peninsula had many unique attributes with its unique wildlife and coastal scenery, its natural features, and historical heritage was unique. So Dunedin Jaycee formed the Otago Peninsula Trust with the purpose of protecting and enhancing Otago Peninsula, allowing visitors to enjoy the peninsula wildlife, with a very strong emphasis on conservation. The Trust was unique at the time - New Zealand’s first private charitable conservation trust”. Trust stalwart, Laurie Stewart, also an original Board member, adds... “Dunedin’s economy has been boosted due to the foresight and dedication of the 100

Royal Albatross, Taiaroa Head 101

Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens


Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

Fletcher House Broad Bay


Photograph ~ Caroline Davies Š

Fort Taiaroa Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross Centre


Juvenile red-billed gull. The Royal Albatross Centre, Taiaroa Head, is the only NZ breeding colony not in decline of these birds – they are as endangered as the yellow-eyed penguins!

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š


Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

New Zealand Fur Seal Taiaroa Head


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Driving toward Papanui Inlet Otago Peninsula


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Papanui Inlet - low tide Otago Peninsula


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Papanui Inlet - low tide Otago Peninsula


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Hoopers Inlet - Low tide and Hereweka (Harbour Cone) Otago Peninsula


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

View from Highcliff Road Papanui Inlet in the distance, Hoopers Inlet, Cape Saunders Otago Peninsula


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Looking over a part of Hoopers Inlet Low tide Otago Peninsula


Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Otago Peninsula and Harbour View from Soldiers Memorial


Royal Albatross, Taiaroa Head 115

Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

K O R O R Ā 116

Photography ~ Caroline Davies Š


KororÄ The Little Blue Penguin and

The Pukekura Trust An interview with Hoani Langsbury by Caroline Davies

Hoani Langsbury Manager of Operations Taiaroa Head 118

Where the mighty Royal Albatross soars high above its mainland breeding ground on the windswept rim of Taiaroa Head - the smallest penguin in the world, Kororā, the Little Blue Penguin, inhabits the protected coastline surrounding Takiharuru - Pilots Beach.

native species. Takiharuru-Pilots Beach is one of the main kororā breeding areas in Otago. Besides the southern regions of New Zealand, the little blue penguins also inhabit and breed on the southern Australian coast and islands, there, they are known as Fairy Penguins.

Each evening at dusk, the little penguins return to their nesting area located along the edges of the calm harbour at Takiharuru-Pilots Beach after a long day swimming and fishing in the local regions of the South Pacific Ocean. On a typical day, they might travel 75 kilometres round trip, reaching the continental shelf that is abundant with octopus and other small sea creatures favoured by the kororā as their food source.

When kororā chicks mature, they generally set up their own nests within a few metres of where they were born, and under normal circumstances, rarely move away. They make their nests in rocky crevices, burrow into hillsides made from soil or sand, nest under houses, or take advantage of a number of man-made cavities including the nesting boxes made especially for them. Unlike their yellow-eyed cousins, the Hoiho, the kororā are not shy and are often found quite close to human habitation.

Upon their return, the little blues suddenly emerge from the dark waters of the harbour. They scurry, call out, and chatter as they make their way along the sandy beach, then, with skill and confidence, hop and jump over the narrow fringe of rocky shoreline. Some stop to rest or to let their feathers dry off, then swiftly ascend to their cliff-face burrows or manmade nesting boxes to feed their hungry chicks. The young kororā offspring are well hidden from daylight predators, but the penguins might just roost for the night if it is not the breeding season. They leave before dawn the following morning for another full day of foraging in the ocean.

Pollution, climate change and over-fishing have all had a major impact on penguins worldwide. Although the numbers of kororā are in decline in New Zealand, the colony in and around Takiharuru-Pilots Beach, cared for through the conservation work of The Pukekura Trust, is steadily increasing in size.

The Kororā is a Tāoka (Treasured) Species for the Kāi Tahu (Ngāi Tahu iwi - The principal Māori Tribe of the southern region of New Zealand) and is a protected

Kororā - Image courtesy Pukekura Trust


Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

Looking toward Taiaroa Head and Takiharuru /Pilots Beach Reserves In This Story Māori - Te Reo and English terminology

Iwi: Extended kinship group, tribe, nation, people, nationality, race - often refers to a large group of people descended from a common ancestor and associated with a distinct territory. Kaitiaki: Guardian, caregiver, steward

Kororā: The Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor) Takiharuru: Pilots Beach Whakapapa: Geneology, lineage, descent Tāoka: Treasured

Source Dictionary and pronunciation: 120

Takiharuru - Pilots Beach in Otago Harbour

Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

“For Manawhenua (people of the land), Takiharuru (Pilots Beach) is a sacred and special place (wāhi tapu, wāhi tāoka). Chief Karetai, local paramount chief and signatory to the Treaty of Waitangi, lived out his final years on the headland overlooking the beach. The descendants of Karetai maintain a strong whakapapa link to this whenua (land).” Link to Education/Conservation page on Little Blue Penguins Pukekura website. 121

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š


Blue Penguins Pukekura Creation of a Sanctuary

female sealion pup on the mainland to be found without a mother. “We got a group together, including the university and the Department of Conservation, to hand rear Pani from birth. We were unsuccessful then, but we learned a lot from that experience.”

Hoani Langsbury, Manager of Operations at Taiaroa Head, oversees the wellbeing of both the Albatross (toroa) and Little Blue Penguin colonies. He comes from a wildlife background and ensures the delicate balance between the health of the indigenous wildlife species on the Otago Peninsula and tourism, which supports the funding for care and research of wildlife in the area, flourishes. Other species that benefit from this sanctuary are red billed gulls, spotted shags, the very rare Otago shag, royal spoonbills, Southern fur seals, sea lions and cryptic skinks.

The community of caregivers were incredibly motivated to try and save her. It was significant to lose a female, there were only seven others breeding on the peninsula coast. “I met marine scientist Chris Lalas as a result of that work. He used to run around and get the scat out of the back of sea lions to see what they were eating. He was able to identify that only two of the sea lions on the coast at the time were eating penguins. Normally, penguins weren’t a regular part of their diet. Chris continued on with that work and what we now know is that sea lions don’t have a taste for penguins at all as there are plenty of other fish that are a lot larger and easier to catch.”

Hoani has had a lifelong interest in marine biology, and was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and Ecology from Victoria University in 1999. During that year, an opportunity to move to a management role at Ōtākou Marea on the Otago Peninsula arose which included assisting the Ngāi Tahu Iwi to meet their kaitiaki (guardian, caregiver, steward) responsibilities. Hoani: “Initially, the job was a lot of report writing and responding to RMA (Resource Management Act), but over time it developed to a more ‘hands on’ job with the Department of Conservation.”

Inspired by this and other ecological experiences, Hoani left his job at the marae and begun working for himself as an ecologist and also did a post graduate course in geography based science at Otago University. “It enabled me to study papers relevant to my interests on the Otago Peninsula, such as erosion. I did Coastal Management papers and a thesis preparation paper based on ‘Modeling Oyster Establishment in Otago Harbour’. My ancestors had

That also included a chance for Hoani’s three young children to participate in hand rearing of the sealion pup who was called Pani, meaning orphan, the first 123

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Takiharuru - Pilots Beach Otago Harbour At the Royal Albatross Centre


Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

Royal Albatross Centre Taiaroa Head


brought oysters, as well as other species, up from the Titi Islands (Muttonbird Islands near Stewart Island).” He added, “That way they didn’t have to go to Bluff to get a decent feed of oysters!” (Oysters from Bluff are a renowned local delicacy in the South Island).

The Otago Peninsula Trust operates the Royal Albatross Centre adjacent to the penguin reserve. Well established, they have the business expertise to operate a tourist and conservation project like this. “At that time (2012), I was Chair of the Otago Peninsula Trust and they put up the capital to set up the viewing operation. The Korako Karetai whenua came in with the land and the requirement to resource their aspirations as stewards of the land. It was a very good joint venture model that came into place.”

It was at that point that Hoani developed his holistic view about nature on the head of Otago Peninsula. “I only live about 3 km from here at Wellers Rock overlooking the harbour. I hear and see everything going on around me. I was approached by the Pukekura Trust in regards to a commercial viewing opportunity for the kororā in order to fund

It took about eight months to construct the viewing platform and was completed in October 2012. “The reason we constructed the platform in the way we did was to enable the penguins to not only have a place to rest as they came up onto the shore, but to also allow them to move unobstructed throughout the reserve while humans were able to observe what they were up to.

the Trust’s kaitiaki responsibilities to the adjacent reserve next to the Royal Albatross Centre. That’s how I came into it. My thinking, right through, from overseeing the construction of the viewing platform, to working out the best way to provide educational opportunities for visitors, was concerned with how this was going to impact the species. If we look after the species then they will always be there and we will have a business to fund the work, so it’s like a circle we had to make and maintain, and ensure there are no breaks in the system.”

Before the opening of the viewing platform, it was quite common for a few hundred people to be down on the reserve with torches (flashlights) whilst penguins were running through their legs, and volunteers trying to manage it all. It was quite difficult for the guides. All they had were a couple of ropes to prevent onlookers from encroaching onto the penguin’s pathway. What we see now is a significant improvement.”

The Pukekura Trust manages the Little Blue Penguin reserve and is made up of the Korako Karetai whenua who received the land back through an ancillary claim from the Ngāi Tahu settlement in 1998. 126

Photograph by Stephen Jaquiery Courtesy Pukekura Trust

Watching out for the little blue penguins as they begin to arrive home.


The Ebb

Where it’s necessary to have hideaways and give a wide berth to observe yellow-eyed penguins - the Hoiho (Megadyptes antipodes) - the little blues aren’t nearly as shy or nervous as their sensitive cousins who most likely won’t come to shore if they sense human activity. “When we were constructing the boardwalk that goes down to the viewing platform, there was a young penguin building a burrow right next to it. The penguins didn’t seem to care. Everyday during construction of the platform, the penguins would find their environment changed around their burrow, but that pair has been there since 2012 and still nesting in that site today. People walk up and down that hill every night. For four months of the year that’s a hundred people a night. Compared to a yellow-eyed penguin that gets stressed if it sees a human 200 metres away and will stay stressed for 20 minutes afterward, the little blue doesn’t appear to have the same issues. I think if you are the world’s smallest penguin, then everything is going to be larger - and if you get stressed about that, then you are going to be stressed the whole time.”


Flow of the

Kororā Colony



Overall, there has been a steady increase in the penguin’s numbers within the sanctuary, although there was no significant growth in the colony last year. Hoani thinks they may understand why. “In June and July two years ago, there was a six week period of powerful easterly storms bringing large swells onto the coast here. This is not a usual pattern for the Otago coastline. What that did was provide an abundant food source. So the penguins, during the middle of winter when it was zero degrees or colder on land, would stay out at sea where it was 11 degrees and there was plenty of food. They had no chicks to feed so they just stayed out there and ate. Eventually, as the current moved up the coast, they migrated along with it to the north of us somewhere between Timaru and Banks Peninsula.“ We could only wish the news was as positive for the rare hoiho whose numbers are alarmingly low. The little blue’s neighbours are challenged with starvation, attacks from barracouta, and debilitating diseases, including avian diptheria. It’s estimated there are between 600,000 to 2 million little blue penguins between New Zealand and southern Australia, a large population compared to the yellow-eyed penguin. “One of the reasons we’ve made that assumption about redistribution is we saw it happen again the following year during a shorter 128

storm event. We noted the population was a little lower than we had expected.

regard). “At about six weeks, the chicks are around 1 1/2 times the weight of their parents. At that point they’ve got enough protein to get through their moulting stage when they lose their downy feathers and grow in their adult plumage.

Every night we count how many penguins come in, and from five years of gathering really good data, we can roughly gauge what should be going on any particular night. When that storm event occurred, we went from seeing 50 to 60 penguins a night, to zero for a few nights, and then into single digits for about a week. We thought there must have been a huge event happening out there. We contacted scientists working up in Oamaru and they had seen the same kind of thing on the same days with their little blue penguin population. Philippa Agnew went through 30 years of NIWA data and made the correlations between the easterly storm events and the drop in penguin numbers.

What we have observed is the older chicks will be low on protein after their moult but as soon as they have enough adult feathers they will go out into the water and feed themselves. This happens at about eight weeks. The fledgling’s parents stop feeding them for a couple of days at this stage too. Eventually, the young penguins will follow their parents out to the edge of the water, probably begging for food. The next thing they know they are in the water for the first time following their parents out to sea.

If it’s hailing or snowing on land with a freeze, why would you bother getting out of the water. The only other time we don’t see penguins coming in is when it’s foggy. They navigate by sight and if they can’t see the horizon, then they can’t see the headland. Even if they have chicks to feed they don’t come in.”

Their parents often leave them at this point so the fledglings will have to work out how to feed by themselves. The parents will then go out to sea for ten to twelve days to feed themselves and recover. Following that, many of the adults return to their nests to lay another egg or two and go through the whole process again. I estimate about 50% of the penguins will double clutch in a good year. This year, we only had 11% double clutch. Our scientist Hiltrun Ratz seems to think it’s because the breeding season in spring began four or five weeks later than normal this year. The only major environmental

Well fed young chicks can only survive a few days without seeing their parents but if they are around six to seven weeks old they will most likely make it. If a very young baby penguin’s parents don’t come home at all, neighbouring adult penguins won’t adopt the orphaned young chicks. The penguins are quite territorial (in this 129

A young kororÄ chick in its nest 130

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Photograph Courtesy Pukekura Trust

Little Blue Penguins in their nest


Ongoing Research Now and For Future Generations

difference in this area around the coast is that we have had more rain than other years.”

The Pukekura Trust is in the process of RFID tagging all the members of the Little Blue colony making it easier to track, study and collect data about their lives that will give researchers much information they don’t have at present. It’s a big commitment and process. “We began this season by tagging the adults and all the chicks that have fledged from the current breeding season. Over this winter we will try to get the balance of adults tagged, then all we have to do is tag the new juveniles that are returning to the colony to become breeders. We still have 400 to 500 birds that need to be tagged in the upcoming season, and most of those are chicks. I’ve employed a part-time scientist for the year, and we also have about 40 volunteers helping with the tagging. Whilst that is being done, we are also taking a feather and a small blood sample off the needle that inserts the RFID tag in. We’ve been freezing the collected materials for any possible future needs. For example, perhaps a member of the whanua that has studied zoology or biology will do a full DNA whakapapa (lineage, genealogy, descent) of the birds in this colony. A postgraduate student who did her doctorate at Otago University, Dr. Stephanie Grosser, studied the the DNA of the colony here and up the coast. She discovered that most of the penguins in this colony are of fairy penguin descent from Australia. They are not the New Zealand genotype.

“Although we still call the penguins the ‘Little Blue Penguins’, if we were writing a scientific paper we know they are ‘little penguins’, which includes fairy penguins from Australia and the little blue penguins from New Zealand, as well as the white tip that are an offshoot of them. They are all little penguins. Everyone knows them as Kororā, or Little Blue Penguins, and we’re not going to change that!”


We are pretty sure that the Australian penguins here would have come from Phillip Island or South Australia. Like the penguins here that went out feeding during the storm events and were relocated, the fairy penguins would have gone out into the southern current, started feeding, and all of a sudden couldn’t see land. That particular current comes by South Australia, across the Tasman Sea through Foveaux Straight, then streams up the east coast of the South Island, passes Pukekura, continues up to Banks Peninsula, turns and goes out to the Channel Islands.

scientists, or anyone taking care of penguins to the north of us, will know that every bird from Pukekura has been tagged. They will understand from a scan where the penguin fledged and when it left the headland. The tagged penguins will give future researchers a greater understanding of what happens to the penguins. If there is another year where thirty to forty pairs of penguins are lost, we’ll know whether they were eaten, died from a biological event, or that they migrated to Katiki Point or somewhere else because they just went out to sea, fed well, and didn’t bother coming home. Although we are guessing and making some assumptions at the moment, someone in the future might think it worth doing a Post Graduate paper on the penguin’s population. We would then be able to assist and co-author with them as we have years of collecting and putting data together, information someone by themselves just wouldn’t be able to gather.”

We are assuming they saw land as they were passing Pukekura, and as would be appropriate, just swam to the coastline. If you were a penguin at sea for a month or two thinking that land can’t be far away, that when you finally do see it you would swim towards it. They have also colonized 40 to 50 kilometres north of here as well as to the south, and Pukekura is the centre of their distribution.

Photograph of little blue by Hoani Langsbury ©

We think the little blue’s original population distinction most likely happened when Gondwana separated millions of years ago, but there are obviously some genes travelling over here from Australia in modern times. The little blue penguins are not likely to be going in the other direction because they won’t be swimming against that current. When a migration event occurs in the future, vets, 133

Penguin Dangers Ocean Currents


we didn’t observe any predator events on the penguins during the last year, we do see it on occasion.”


On the whole, there has been a marked improvement from 2013 onward. “That was the first year of penguin viewing with the platform in place. We think the fact that we have a large number of humans going down there just after dusk has disturbed the predator’s movements. Visitors will also scan the headland with their torches (flashlights) when they are walking back up the hill after the penguins have returned and settled in. We are looking for eyes that glow in the dark as that identifies an animal of prey. The penguin’s eyes don’t really glow and that’s how we know the difference.”

Hoani: “The highest danger here comes with the Southland current that runs between 13 to 25 km offshore depending on the time of year, as well as other environmental events. The penguins leave their nests before sunrise and swim out to the current where it is bountiful with phyto plankton and zoo plankton. This area is alive with small shoal fish, octopus and squid appetizing to penguins and is their main foraging area. Every other species is out there feeding as well, so if an orca or shark sees a one kilo penguin, it is likely to be targeted and become a food source for the much larger marine species. On land, the penguins are in the most danger from introduced predators.” The little blue penguin’s status is locally threatened. If the Pukekura Trust wasn’t doing katiaki, then the predators that enter into the penguin’s domain on the headland would potentially be feeding on them. The greatest number of predators are hedgehogs, rats, stoats and about 3 or 4 ferral cats are taken out of the reserve every month. Unleashed dogs are an issue outside of the sanctuary, and environmental issues such as pollution and overfishing threaten their lives as well. “Even though we put a rabbit proof fence up around Taiaroa Head in 2007, we still see a large number of rabbits (attractive to ferrets and stoats), and although

Dr Hiltrun Ratz, Penguin Scientist, tagging and checking on a little blue penguin with Charlotte Barker assisting 134

Human Disturbance

every penguin in the colony had figured out that someone had put a nice battered path covered in clay going up at an easy angle in the direction of their nests, and rather than struggle through the dunes, they all started using the cutting. They then rest underneath the platform where we have added and managed some foliage, and then they continue on to their nests. They have adapted really quickly to the changes.”

Hoani: “The only thing we can define as a disturbance to the penguins is when an occasional visitor isn’t listening to their guide and uses a flash on their camera. To mitigate that we use low intensity LED spotlights that are around 35 to 50 watts. The penguins will come in and stand right in front of them. Once we made our decision on the best lighting possible, the head ranger crawled around the beach one night to see if he felt the penguins were being disturbed. In the end he was quite satisfied and comfortable with our choice. We will see nervous birds occasionally. They are the young ones who haven’t been breeding here for long and will sometimes turn around and go back out to sea. There is a five to six hour window after that when they can potentially return and feed their chicks. Resource consent also required us to provide an access platform for small boat and kayak users because Takiharuru - Pilots Beach is the first safe harbour inside Otago Harbour. If anyone has gotten into difficulty outside of the harbour they have a place to haul their boats up to safety. In our wisdom we decided to put that access ramp right in front of the viewing platform creating a cutting up through the dunes. Within three days

Photograph by Caroline Davies ©


Photograph by Stephen Jaquiery Courtesy Pukekura Trust

KororÄ Little Blue Penguins


Fortifying the

We are about to embark on a project of growing native ice plant to replace the African and keep a habitat for the cryptic skink. We have a lot of native ice plant on top of the headland. It is a preferred nesting habitat for the albatross as it keeps the ground 8 - 10 degrees cooler than exotic grasses and that’s the reason the cryptic skink like the African ice plant. It’s looking for a cooler environment to live in.


The Trust has planted over 15,000 native plants in the reserve over the last four years. “We have put in sand binding species such as Pïkao, sanka and coprosma near the beach. These are going to hold the dunes in place and keep them pretty stable. We are also trying to replace some of the marram grass that is a major invasive species here. We have planted 200 Ngaio trees that we have dispersed through some African ice plant to see if the natural chemicals it releases will stop other plants from growing. Eventually, the Ngaio will create a forest canopy and shade out the African ice plant and any other non-native plants.

Our goal is to attune the area to the way it used to be naturally a few hundred years ago. We humans have modified the environment so much we are coming up with issues that shouldn’t be there in the first place. So we have our challenges. The purpose of the revegetation project was to provide habitat for other species as well as the penguins. The penguin’s natural predators here at the end of the peninsula are hawks and occasionally skuas but won’t hunt in lowland coast bush. Re-establishing that kind of vegetation here will allow the penguins to move around during the daytime, hidden from these daytime avian predators.

African ice plant is such a high threat that it is identified in the 2012 National Pest Plant Species Accord. The Dunedin City Council doesn’t allow you to take it to the dump, and it’s almost impossible to get rid of. Even my goats would only eat a small amount of it, so we had to find something creative to do with it, and are trying to deal with it in situ.

Once the forest is re-established, we’ll really be able to test it out. There is still some good coastal forest remaining in South Otago and the Catlins and there are penguins that nest just under the edge of a tree or under a bit of flax bush. Here at Pukekura they are all in natural burrows or nesting boxes. It is rare for us to find them nesting on the surface here.

And, Carey Knox, a biodiversity expert, has identified that we have the cryptic skink, an endangered species, taking refuge in the introduced ice plant. That’s the only habitat they have on the beach right now. We’ve had to think very carefully about how we will deal with this. 137

Photograph by Caroline Davies Š

Overlooking the viewing platform and Otago Harbour late afternoon


Other Issues

We are seeing excellent results from these plantings. We think the high success rate is because The Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group has been working to eradicate the possums from the peninsula for quite a few years. We might see a possum out here once every six months and we are able to take care of that. The possums are also opportunists and are quite happy to take eggs from different species, so having them removed from our natural system at Pukekura also helps with our breeding success.

The Eternal Pesky Plastic Bits



Hoani Continues, “Penguins have the same issues as other seabirds do with plastic. Here, we use biodegradable wrist bands with our visitors. If they don’t take them home, they may end up in the marine environment, so we have gone out of our way to make sure the wrist bands degrade quickly. We’re not doing that just for the penguins, but for all species as our kaitiaki. We take a holistic view of whats going on.

If we look at the data we have gathered, about four years ago we had around 167 pairs of penguins, the following year - 186, then the year after 201. Then we had the two storm trends and we’ve dropped to just under 200 pairs at the moment. Our population is about right considering the storm events.”

We have regular clean ups on Pilots Beach. Staff will go down there during their breaks, or volunteers will come along to clean up any refuse that has washed up from Otago Harbour. Albatross have massive issues at sea as they are surface feeders (they only go down a meter and often mistake plastic for food, whereas penguins will dive anywhere between twenty and sixty meters avoiding floating plastics). The albatross are foraging 1,000 kilometers out, and although it’s not as bad here in the south as in the Northern Hemisphere, the garbage in places around the Hawaiian Islands and Midway Atoll is a big problem.”

Nesting boxes created especially for the little blue penguins Photos below and right courtesy Pukekura Trust


Expanding Colonies and

Community Support Tagging is also helping the Trust identify when and where the penguins move to in other areas around the harbour. “Rather than think we have a lower survival rate it could be that they have found a nicer house elsewhere along the harbour shore, and not had a crisis in the ocean. Residents in Harwood for example are noticing more penguins moving in underneath their houses but the penguins do smell and can be noisy. We are really happy to work with anyone who wants to put a nest box where the penguins are entering underneath their house, keeping the penguins in a good habitat and not beneath someone’s bedroom where they can keep you up all night. Our RFID tagging project is intergenerational. It is the way indigenous people think. We have made equipment for our great great grandchildren. Although we don’t know exactly where that will be beneficial, should someone in seven years need to understand an event, then we’ve been collecting significant data up to that point. When we know what the question is, we can answer it!” Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

Blue Penguins Pukekura 140

Little Blue Penguins Photo courtesy Pukekura Trust 141

Quick Facts: From Blue Penguins Pukekura •

Kororā are the world’s smallest penguin at 25-45cm in height

They weigh around one kilo on average.

The average age of kororā in the Pukekura colony is seven years, but the oldest recorded was 25 years.

There are around 600,000 kororā in the world today, and the numbers living in New Zealand are in decline.


• • • • • •

• •

At Sea:

Breeding usually begins at 2-3 years of age. Kororā normally form long-term pair bonds. Breeding in Pukekura is from May to February. Most pairs 'double 'clutch producing four offspring per year. The parents share the incubation of the usual two eggs for 35 days. The guard stage lasts 3 weeks, with one parent remaining with the chicks. At three weeks, the food demand of the chicks requires both parents to go to sea to keep up with the demand for fish. When the chicks moult their downy baby feathers for waterproof ones, they stop eating and hide away. They are at their most vulnerable at this time as they cannot float or swim. Chicks grow very fast. They gain adult weight by 4-5 weeks. Chicks usually leave the nest at 8 weeks and from then on they are independent.

The kororā’s wings have turned to flippers and their short feathers have become a waterproof coat. On the surface they use their webbed feet to swim and to drive themselves along, but at speed underwater they ‘fly’ along with their flippers. • On the ocean surface only their backs and heads are out of the water. • They can dive to 60 metres to catch squid, octopus and small fish. • They usually feed within 25km of the coast, traveling up to 75km daily! • Each dive lasts about 20 seconds, often rounding up a shoal of fish before snapping one up. • The Southland Current which flows north-east along the Continental Shelf off the coast of Pukekura brings an abundance of octopus and other small sea creatures on which the Little Blues love to feast! • Kororā are known to spend weeks at a time at sea and sleeping on the water!



G ifts In The



F ra n c i s c a G r iff i n

Hawthorn Flowers by “Sannse” Link: Creative Commons File


Close up of Hawthorn Flowers Photograph by: Sander van der Wel on Flickr

The hermaphrodite flowers are produced in late spring




You could also try making Hawthorn Jelly. Pick 1 kilo of haws - this will make 1 jar of hawthorn jelly, so obviously if you need/want more jars, pick more fruit.

Crataegus monogyna

This small shrubby tree originates in the Northern Hemisphere, in Asia, Europe & North America. It is thorny, so is often used as a hedge, and it can be found wild all over the West Harbour.

Remove the stalks by rolling a clump of berries (stalks and all) in between your hands, the haws will just roll off.

It's primary medicinal use is for the heart. It has, like many herbs, a normalising effect on heart function, thus it can be used for both hypo- and hyper- tension. It is used to promote the health of the circulatory system, and is used to strengthen the heart, the anthocyanins (which gives the berries their red pigment) are probably partly responsible here, through their antioxidant action. It has been clinically trialled for the reduction of cholesterol, chest pains, irregular heartbeats, and congestive heart failure.

Put the cleaned haws into a heavy saucepan, and cover with 1.5 cups of water, bring to the boil & simmer for 1 hour, mashing them every 20 minutes or so. When it is cool, strain through a jelly bag overnight, being very careful to not squeeze the bag, or your jelly will be cloudy. Make sure you run boiling water through your bag before you put the haws in. The next day measure the juice you have, and for each cup , use 1 cup of sugar. Put this into your heavy saucepan, with the juice from a lemon. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Now, boil for 10 minutes, until set. Take off the heat, skim off foam, and pop into a jar that you've sterilised in the oven. (important that the jar is hot, otherwise the jelly will crack it!)

I use it in my clinic for blood pressure reduction, and all of the above. For centuries, people have taken daily drinks of Heart Wine, which is very easy to make - pick 2-3 cups of ripe haws ( hawthorn berries) crush these a little, and steep in a bottle of red wine in a dark place for a month, shaking every few days. You could also add a cinnamon quill to this for the benefit of your blood sugar. Strain through muslin, pour back into the rinsed out bottle, and drink a half glass daily.

Francisca Griffin has been practicing Naturopathy from her home based clinic in Port Chalmers for 14 years, and has a fortnightly radio show “Being Healthy Naturally” on OAR105.4 FM in Dunedin. 146

The haw is a small, oval dark red fruit about 10mm (half an inch) long, berry-like, but structurally a pome containing a single seed. Haws are an important food source for wildlife in winter. Hawthorn Berries Photo by “Estro� Link: Creative Commons File


Common Hawthorn thorns, leaves, and stipules Image by “Rasbak� Link: File and Creative Commons

The bark is dull brown with vertical orange cracks. The younger stems bear sharp thorns, approximately 12.5mm (half an inch) long. The leaves are 20 to 40mm (1 to 1½ inches) long, obovate and deeply lobed, sometimes almost to the midrib, with the lobes spreading at a wide angle. The upper surface is dark green above and paler underneath. (Wikipedia Commons)


Many plants can look similar. Make sure

each and every plant is correctly identified by an expert. 148

Common Hawthorn in Spring Image by “Sannse” Link: File and Creative Commons

Type to enter text

Tune into Francisca Griffin’s fortnightly radio show on OAR 105.4 FM


M E D I TAT I N G on

M E D I TAT I O N Story by Conor Feehly

There is only darkness. Drawing a deep breath I feel my abdomen and rib cage gradually expand. My lungs are at full capacity; I can feel them pushing against my other internal organs, until I let the giant breath of air run out through my nose. I repeat the process. It takes perhaps twenty seconds for my mind to wander; focus on breathing is quickly eclipsed by my internal monologue.





categorise and organise what I am going to do tomorrow, to think about people and things... 150

Photograph ~ Caroline Davies


I’m not really a religious person. I haven’t been in a church since my days back at St Anne’s Primary. Actually, I haven’t been in a church because of my days at St Anne’s Primary. Putting this reluctance aside, I decided to delve into the world of Buddhism and meditation. A dear friend spent time in Northern Thailand, with prolonged exposure to Buddhist thought. We had long conversations about some of Buddhism’s philosophical assumptions, such as the nature of the self, human desire and how it conceptualises time. Initially I was sceptical; I saw organised religion as one of the largest arbiters of evil in the world. But I was introduced to Buddhism in a different way. ‘Buddhism is more a philosophy of the mind’, I was told. So I dropped my preconceptions and started meditating.

our minds, then the self is not a stagnant entity, despite our perception of a ‘me’ moving through time. This change in our neural framework can be made with practice, and this practice is called meditation. Meditation and Misconceptions You probably have your own idea of what meditation is. That is good, but misconceptions have been built up around it. Meditation is often misconstrued as complete and utter focus on nothing. We mustn’t let our thoughts meander, but must maintain unrelenting concentration. We all want a good grade in our attempt at meditation, but to approach it competitively (in this case against ourselves) is not helpful. The tool of meditation has been used for thousands of years. It can help to alleviate anxiety by enriching our experience of the present. We feel less burdened by past and future anxieties as we become more fully conscious of what is happening around us. Meditation also helps us to recognise what Buddhism calls the ego. When we are performing a relatively mindless task we quickly revert to an internal narrative, thinking about ourselves and our desires. Meditation reveals this in a stark way, but it also provides a method to temporarily leave the ego behind. We realise that the world is larger than ourselves and that the nature of this perceived ego is transient. We don’t always have to be the centre of the universe.

A philosophy of the mind: the words stuck with me. I was particularly taken with the Buddhist tenet of annata, or not-self. People commonly think of themselves as individuals, who move through time but remain relatively unchanged. In the Buddhist concept of self, people change and continuously adapt throughout their lives and experiences. So to define the self as a single entity makes little sense. Meditation is a way of coming to this realisation. This philosophical contemplation, in conjunction with science, vindicates what Buddhism had been telling us for centuries. Neuroplasticity says that our minds change, and if who we are (the self) is determined by 152

Photograph ~ Caroline Davies


This can be a tall order. We cannot simply block out thought and emotion, as I found out in my first attempt at meditation. There is always going to be background chatter, the yidda yadda, but meditation means deciding whether or not to listen to our rambling, reflections, and ego. It is a mistaken opinion that effective meditation means being transfixed on the idea of nothing.

and we have meditated. When we are drinking our coffee in the morning, we can meditate; when waiting for our dinner to cook, we can meditate; or we can take time out of our day, find a relaxing space and meditate for as long as we please. These are all equally valid methods of meditation as they all centre on awareness of the present moment and our body’s place in it. Getting into the Meditative Mind Frame

Buddhists and other meditation practitioners realise that completely boycotting this chatter is impossible. We have to give our minds a job, so one technique is to tell our mind to focus on breathing. When we find ourselves embarked on a tangent, we find it is also possible to shift our awareness back to breathing, back to the body’s present state.

We are ritualistic creatures. If you decide to try meditating on a regular basis for longer periods of time, certain conditions can be helpful: Supple mindset, doing it in the early morning, or after some gentle stretches, sitting in a comfortable seat with a straight spine in a quiet, softly-lit room. Or, you might place yourself amongst the abundance of nature. Blood flows more freely through the body and to the brain when the spine is upright and neck straight. Our physiological state reflects our psychological state, so a composed body will translate to a composed mind.

It is not a coincidence that meditation is often focused around the breath. Breathing is one of the few actions that we can actively control (e.g. holding our breath) or be passively unaware of. It bridges a gap between our conscious and unconscious selves. When we switch our focus to the breath and relax we activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which operates solely when the body is at rest. So focusing on the breath, we can consciously activate an unconscious component of our body that helps us to relax.

I am still in the infancy of my practice in meditation. Perhaps two or three times a week I sit on the floor of my room and meditate for however long feels comfortable. As a person with a low attention span and a tendency towards self-absorption, I find it hard to keep attention on my breath without descending into my thoughts. But it is comforting to know that it is natural to be susceptible to this knee-jerk

Meditation, put simply, is being aware of the breath. There is no upper or lower time limit for it. We can close our eyes, follow our breath for a few seconds, 154

introspection. Succumbing to it isn’t going to ruin my meditation session. I can always bring myself back to the breath.

Transcendental Meditation (TM), and other forms of meditation courses such as ‘Holistic Me’, have been adopted by some public schools in the U.S. and U.K. as a way of reducing stress and improving the psychological well-being

I also play the drums. There are similarities between meditation and performing a repetitive task or action in which you are well versed. If I am struggling to get into the right frame of mind for meditation I might imagine I am playing a beat on my drums. I get into a state where my thoughts flow with what I am doing but I don’t have to think too deeply about my next move because it comes naturally.

of students. Schools that have implemented meditation often have numerous students from turbulent home environments, who have faced abandonment, or serious poverty. These factors compound to create a stress-laden life for young people who worry about school work, additional jobs to help support their families, and violence at home or in their neighbourhoods. While meditation is a flexible term, TM is a specific practice.

Can we benefit from Meditation?

It involves the mental repetition of a mantra (a specific vibrational cycle), over and over. People describe their mantra eventually evaporating as they repeat it; this is

We don’t have to go far to find inspirational people who use meditation as a tool, and where better to look for insight than from the embodiment of compassion himself, the Dalai Lama.

followed by a distinct feeling of mental tranquillity. The school courses in TM are offered by a programme called Quiet Time, which is run by a non-profit organisation that pays the fees for the students to take part.

His reasons for practicing meditation are simple. It’s not to gain access to an abstract religious concept like heaven, or to improve our status in the next life; he talks about meditation as a technique to control volatile emotions. If we are emotionally agitated, meditation can bring us back to a calm and relaxed state. We can then deal with whatever is causing the agitation in a more rational way, rather than being slaves to our compulsive emotional reactions.

As an illustration, Visitacion Valley, a public school in San Francisco, adopted the programme and has seen positive results. Their students scored higher on a happiness survey than any other school in San Francisco, despite the abundance of wealthier schools with larger budgets. The school also saw a 45% reduction in suspensions in the first year of running the programme, and within four years of implementation attendance climbed to 98%, while grade point averages increased markedly. Techniques and others like those used by Quiet Time help students cope with stress, and

The pace of our lives today is fast and relentless. We work long days, look after our families, and maintain

approach their studies with greater clarity. 155

people who meditate regularly. Small electrodes placed on participant’s heads measure voltage resulting from the firing of neurons. EEG is used mainly for the diagnosis of cognitive impairments, but it also can offer insight into the brain’s real-time activity. A graph shows fluctuations in electrical activity, a visual representation of our very own ‘brain waves’. The brain wave patterns of people who regularly meditate are distinguished by largeamplitude alpha waves. Alpha waves are created when oscillating brain cells synchronise, and they are at their most abundant during conscious relaxation with closed eyes. Alpha waves diminish when we are either waking up or falling asleep. It is at this purgatorial stage that meditation operates; we haven’t quite entered the pearly gates of nap time, nor have we quite left the busy mental state of full bodily awareness.

relationships without pausing to take a breath, or at least to think about our breath. The science of meditation’s positive effects is still in its infancy, but neuroscientists are starting to understand some of the mechanistic changes that occur in the brain during and after meditation, offering insight into how its positive effects come about. The Science of Meditation As we go about our daily lives we use a part of our brain known as the default mode network. This is the region of the brain where we conceive of our own identity, where we place ourselves on this linear, temporal trajectory of past, present and future, and it is fundamental to our experience of everyday consciousness. However, when we meditate, activity is heightened in another region, the insular cortex. The insular cortex is responsible for our sensory experience of the present; it doesn’t really know who you are, but it deciphers the electrical signals that are sent to our brain via our senses. It is central to our interpretation of the material world. When we meditate, we practice switching between these two regions of our brain. By becoming skilled at turning on our insular cortex we can enhance our experience of the present. Our senses become more vivid and rich when the insular cortex plays a larger role in our experience of the world.

People often steer clear of meditation because they think that it takes the patience and concentration of a Zen master. In fact, everybody meditates when they close their eyes and take a deep breath after a long day of work or study. Some people choose to do this in a relaxed environment for an extended period of time. Anyone can start meditating, even for a few seconds each day. If it feels good, try doing it for a little bit longer. Soon, meditating might help you reduce anxiety, it might make you more present and aware of your body, and it may even help you see the relationship between yourself and the world in a new way!

Electroencephalography (EEG) has been used by scientists to measure electrical activity in the brains of 156

...As I try to focus on the breath, my mind wanders off the neural pathways I regularly navigate. I succumb to pondering







remember: breathe. A few gentle breaths and I’m back. I let my mind wander again, not far, just enough so that it is easy to stay aware of my breath. The thought of breathing is an anchor; it brings me back to the present. Breath in. Breathe out. Before I know it, my meditation session is at an end!

Down in Edin Magazine’s intern, Conor Feehly, is a young up and coming freelance writer. He recently completed his undergraduate degree in philosophy and social anthropology at Otago University and currently undertaking his Masters in Science Communication. Conor ’s writing is characterised by a personal yet philosophical slant, with his interests ranging from light pollution to evolutionary psychology. Conor is presently working on his thesis which centres around the emotion of awe.


Photograph ~ Caroline Davies

chakra charge a n

e x h i b i t i o n

o f

c o l o u r

s R G B I E C 6 1 9 6 6 - 2 . 1

brea!e in brea!e "t b y

C h r i s t o p h e r


A n g e l

brea!e in brea!e "t


brea!e in brea!e "t


brea!e in brea!e "t


brea!e in brea!e "t


brea!e in brea!e "t


brea!e in brea!e "t



2. Slam the door. Pull the blinds.


Like a child, I dive to hide under the bed,

I remember how he used to be funny,

and find you there, already hiding.

that cartoon man on the street corner, wild-eyed

You move, to make room.

and lonely with his placard: the end is nigh. You do this revolutionary thing – Now here’s the data. Here are the graphs.

you move to make room.

Here are the aerial shots, the cracks in the earth, in the ice.

From your pocket you take out a square

Here are the first refugees.

of squashed chocolate. Trade Aid, you say. You break it,

Storm coming,

give one half to me.

storm beyond our knowledge of storm. Grief coming,

You do this revolutionary thing –

beyond our knowledge of grief.

give one half to me. Warm melt in our mouths as we talk about storm, grief, our own jelly-livered weaknesses, and yours, it turns out, are as bad as mine. We do this revolutionary thing – we tell the truth, we listen. And you pull out your phone. 172



Your phone –

We crawl out from under the bed,

a small crucible

crumpled, sticky. We have cobwebs

that spills the world, its joy,

in our hair and we laugh

its stink, into your palm.

at how inspiring we’re not.

And I sink back to despair.

We stand at the door, watch the wind

Because, there on your screen, the trolls,

lift thistledown, sunlit, buoyant,

the sad addicts of power and wealth,

into the sky. Birds twitter on the roof.

who think they inhabit

Then we know –

some world that’s not our world. Not Earth. song coming. But, look. You scroll over continents,

Song coming, beyond any

islands, and the people, thousands of people

we’ve ever before lifted in song.

on beaches, in parks, in stone streets hard with history. They’re chanting. They’re singing, drumming, in oceans of banners, placards held high: the old story ends.

What d’ya know, you say: we are millions. ‘Ends’ by Carolyn McCurdie Manifesto Aotearoa Otago University Press


Photograph by Caroline Davies ©

“...From up there, earth looks finite and it looks fragile and it really looks like just a tiny little place on which we live in a vast expanse of space. It gave me the feeling of really wanting us all to take care of the Earth. I got more of a sense of Earth as home, a place where we live. And of course you want to take care of your home. You want it clean. You want it safe.” —Winston Scott, shuttle astronaut and author of, “Reflections From Earth Orbit”. 174

Opposite Page Photo Credit: NASA


Thank you for your support, reading and sharing Down in Edin Magazine! When we recognize the love and beauty around us, we are more likely to take care of what we have and each other. Our mission is to inspire appreciation for the good in our world, in the many forms that is expressed! Down in Edin Magazine is a ‘not for profit’ organization (a small Unincorporated Society). If you would like to contribute to the running costs of this beautiful magazine, there is a link below on Give A Little, that accepts donations from everywhere around the world. Every little bit helps, and is greatly appreciated.

Give A Little: Down in Edin Magazine


Down in Edin Issue Nine  

Arts, Culture and Lifestyle of Dunedin and Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. Literature, Poetry, Music, Art, Photography, Natural L...

Down in Edin Issue Nine  

Arts, Culture and Lifestyle of Dunedin and Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. Literature, Poetry, Music, Art, Photography, Natural L...