Issue #16 Volume 81 Shining Light on the Matter Rising to the Challenge – 15, Full Blooded Islanders – 16 Lords of the Ring – 22, Matters of Illumination – 26
EDITOR'S LETTER 3 NEWS News 4 Politics 8 Sport 9 Opinion 10 *News* 12 Informative Distractions 13 LETTERS & NOTICES 14 FEATURES Rising to the Challenge 15 Full Blooded Islanders 16 Lords of the Ring 22 Matters of Illumination 26 CENTREFOLD 24 POEM 29 COLUMNS Presidential Address 30 VUWSA 30 Philosoraptor 31 Access Denied 32 NT: Te Ara Tauira 32 Talking With My Dad About Sex 33 Mauri Ora 34 Postgrad Informer 34 From the Archives 35 REVIEWS Podcast 37 Books 38 Film 39 Television 40 Music 41 Art 42 Food 43 ENTERTAINMENT Triggerfin 44 Horoscope 45
Editor's Letter Halls Need to Up Their Game
noisy environments, cold rooms, are just some of the stories we’ve been hearing. That isn’t cool. Students deserve to live in a place where they are warm, well fed, comfortable, and able to study.
Last week we published some disquieting suicide and self harm stats for our halls of residence. While it’s true that RAs don’t get enough training on how to deal with mental health crises, we’re starting to see that lack of training isn’t the full issue. The question really is: why are these crises happening in the first place?
Not only is a hall of residence the place where we get our physical and social needs met, it’s also a home. It’s hard to understate the importance of having a good home for our mental health. When the world outside gets rough, it’s the safe space to go back to. We spend more time in our homes than anywhere else.
18-19 and just moved out of home is a vulnerable time. You’re undergoing big changes. Uni is demanding, you have to make new friends, you’ve got all the stress of moving to a new town, as well as all the stress of being independent and having to make Real Adult Decisions for the first time. It’s all pretty huge. And we’re paying halls a dece amount of money (it’s $385 a week for Boulcott) to make sure we’re looked after, and to ease the transition between family home and independence.
If the vast majority of people we’ve talked to have not enjoyed their hall experience, the uni is doing something seriously wrong. It’s time for the uni to start caring for the students and listening to their needs.
There’s a huge amount of trust there, for the halls to look out for residents. Raw chicken, arbitrary fines,
LOUISE LIN Editor
The News MONDAY 6 AUGUST 2018
Victoria: Call Me by Your Name TAYLOR GALMICHE
February 2017 University begins considering whether a name change would better align with the University’s strategic positioning
May 2018 Forums held for staff, students, stakeholders and the public, including a student forum in the Hub organised with VUWSA on 4 May and a public forum on 23 May
February 2018 Engagement started with audiences outside the University in confidence and a forum held with senior University leaders
June 8 2018 Official feedback period ended but feedback continued to be welcomed and received until 19 July
May 10 2018 Publicity on University website, social media channels and external mediaon proposal to simplify name to University of Wellington and call for feedback
July 27 2018 University Council reached a draft decision and announced a further period for feedback
July 19 2018 Initial feedback period ended
August 27 2018 University Council expected to make a final decision
August 13 2018 Feedback on draft decision closes
choose a university. The expenses jumped to $236,151 as the university bought trademark protection for the name, as well as other potential future names, overseas. If the proposal passes, the university estimates the cost will rise to nearly $1 million. “Compared to other universities, this cost is miniscule,” the Vice Chancellor, Grant Guilford said, citing that the University of Technology in Sydney spent $22 million to change its name. Students have criticised that this money could resolve the long wait times for student health, specifically student counselling. But Guilford justifies the cost by point to a cost-benefit analysis. “When you start to realise that the investment will bring you money, and you get more money, then you can start investing back into student health and those sort of things.” Ross McComish, a founding member of Market Research Society and the Association of Market Research Organisations, says, “the reliability and accuracy of the [Colmar Brunton] research has been grossly misrepresented”. “The margin of error is the error [Colmar Brunton] calculated on their own survey. Their methodologies are standard and approved,” said Guilford. McComish said the margin of error in the Colmar Brunton Research is up to ten times higher than the 2.6 percent the Vice Chancellor has cited. Guilford continued to say the research has “formed a very minor part of the decision. [McComish] is down in the weeds, worrying about the methodology”. Having a lot of time on his hands and becoming sufficiently indignant, McComish created the Facebook page “Stick with Vic” to unite community members opposed to the name change. The “Stick with Vic” opposition insists that the importance of the university’s legacy outweighs the benefits of name simplicaition. Furthermore, the group says that dropping “Victoria” dishonors the Queen and the Treaty of Waitangi. Te Rangi Waka, a religious studies student, is for the
Victoria University’s proposal to change its name has drawn a firestorm rebuke from students, alumni, and the communityat-large, who have reacted with outrage, indignation, ambivalence – and support Last Friday night, the university released 140 pages of documents explaining its decision to drop Victoria from the institution’s name, drawing immediate rebuke from students and notable alumni. The university said the council had agreed “in principle” to rebrand as University of Wellington in order to gain a stronger international reputation and name recognition around the world. If approved, the Māori name would also change. Instead of Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoku o Te Ika a Māui, it would become Te Herenga Waka, the name of the marae on Kelburn Campus. The final decision would come down to the Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, who has in the past said he would need to see evidence of community support to approve any change. There will be another round of consultation, which closes on 13 August, before a final decision will be made on whether to approach Hipkins. The University Council will make its final decision on 27 August. The Council comprises of two students, two staff members, four ministerial appointments, two Māori appointments, the Chief Executive, and the Vice Chancellor. In the wake of the announcement, reaction was swift and divided, provoking debate over costs, research methodology, colonialism, and the authenticity of the consultation process. Students are planning a protest against the name change outside of Guilford’s office on 7 August. As of August 2, the event had over 300 people “going” or “interested”. Documents released under the Official Information Act have revealed that the university paid $157,151 to the research agency, Colmar Brunton, to study how international students
name change. He argues that that this shared history isn’t someone to venerate, saying that to some, Victoria represents “the beginning of broken promises, extreme heartache, land dispossession, rape, genocide (as the case of Parihaka), intergenerational trauma, cultural and spiritual disconnection, and poverty.” Waka said that New Zealand would still not lose its colonial history from changes such as this. “It is in the very streets we walk, the language we speak, the sounds we hear, and the clothes we wear.” In a statement, Mr Paviour-Smith said that the change of the Māori name is a future-focused move, “draw[ing] our communities together and put[ting] them at the heart of the University”. The University consulted a range of groups both internally and externally about the name change, including the first Professor of Māori Studies and Sir Prof Hirini Moko Mead who was responsible for the establishment of Te Herenga Waka Marae. According to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) Professor Rawinia Higgins, the university’s iwi partnership groups were also “very” supportive of the proposed Māori name. Jade, a Māori student at Vic, wasn’t on board with the new Māori name. “I just think calling the University ‘Te Herenga Waka’ takes away from the uniqueness of the marae for Māori students,” she said. Higgins said, “if anything the proposed name change will enhance the uniqueness of the marae because rather than being a straight translation of the English, the proposed name
MONDAY 6 AUGUST 2018
is more meaningful and connected to where our iho (essence) of things Māori are at this university.” “If anything, it's easier for Pākehā to say, and it gives visibility to the marae of which it is named after,” said Waka. Though the university claims the name change has been a 17-month long intensive process, the majority of students and alumni feel they have been blindsided, without proper inclusion on the matter. “What's really at stake is the university pretending to give a shit and then doing the complete opposite of what its students and community want,” said Liam Powell, a politics, international relations, and law student. Reacting to the announcement on Twitter, Vic alumni and RNZ journalist Jamie Tahana tweeted, “This name change is stupid and I hate it”. VUWSA has voiced support for the change, but said they “ultimately would support whatever students saw as the right decision”. On 1 August VUWSA send out submission for student feedback about the name change. Within a day had they had roughly 380 responses. “It’s great to see students participating in the conversation, albeit a little bit later than hoped,” said VUWSA president Marlon Drake. “I think if it was highly contested and people were unhappy, most likely, it would be voted into more discussion,” said Guilford.
Uncooked Chicken Served in Boulcott Hall Not “Safe, Nourishing, & Inviting” ANGUS SHAW First year residents of Boulcott hall were expected to eat uncooked chicken as part of the meals they pay for in their hall fees. On the night the food was served, students complained to Boulcott staff immediately. The kitchen staff replied by saying the chicken was perfectly fine. The chicken was served as part of a student choice night on 24 May. Residents were able to vote for their choice of meal, of which they chose a KFC style night. “It was hyped up for weeks and then we got there and people started digging into the chicken and realised it was all bloody and red. Yeah it was pretty horrible,” said Boulcott resident Todd WesternNormanton. Residents are now saying that the standard of living is not worth the $385 they pay per week to live in the hall. “Personally I feel that [with] the amount that I’m paying, I shouldn’t be served something that's inedible,” said WesternNormanton. Bianca Byrne, another resident of Boulcott expressed she was “really frustrated" about the incident. "I was just completely over it. I was just really angry”. She characterized it as being generally representative of the quality of the food being served, which she said was “not good”. Head of Hall Cass Feaunati was then prompted to post an apology to the Boulcott Kitchen 2018 page the following Monday. “We take these matters very seriously as it could
be detrimental for all.” An investigation found that catering staff were found to have not followed procedure and were retrained. Currently catering services at Boulcott hall, as well as at all university operated halls of residence, are operated by Compass Group New Zealand Limited, through their business and workplace catering sub-brand Eurest. Compass Group did not respond to a request for comment. Rainsforth Dix, Director of Student and Campus Living, said, “we want the food served in halls to be safe, nourishing, and inviting. As soon as we are made aware of any issues, we take it up immediately with the contractor”. Students at Boulcott have complained about an overall low standard of living. As the Boulcott dining hall is undergoing renovations, residents are commuting to nearby Katharine Jermyn hall for mealtimes. Although residents found it frustrating having to trek down the road for their meals, Western-Normanton mentioned the quality of food at KJ was much higher. He also noted that Boulcott’s room sizes are half the size of KJ which he thought unfair as the halls cost the same. Byrne is also dissatisfied with the quality of living provided at Boulcott. She said that her room only had a tiny panel heater, and overall noisiness and the threat of fines were concerns.
Eye on Exec
MONDAY 6 AUGUST 2018
Rather than bore you with the details of VUWSA’s new cleaning roster (very necessary, Paddy has spoken of “chicken juice cemented in the fridge” at a previous meeting), here’s a few highlights about new campaigns your student reps are planning. Campaign for Return of the 18 Bus It is of no surprise to any of you that the new buses are fucked, and VUWSA have received “quite substantial” complaints. There are a shit ton of problems with the buses, including but not limited to: full buses passing students waiting at stops, inconvenient new routes, and the tertiary discount on Snapper not working. VUWSA have decided to start campaigning for the return of the trusty 18 “Campus Connection” bus. Marlon Drake, our President, said that the campaign to return the 18 would be a platform to start discussing wider issues with the buses. It’s not the first time VUWSA has campaigned about the 18. In 2015, when the bus changes were being planned, the Greater Wellington Regional Council had planned to scrap the 18 altogether, and have students transfer at Courtney Place. VUWSA campaigned to save the 18 and negotiated the 18e, a direct service between Newtown via Mt. Cook. However,
they were under the impression that it would be retained as an all day service. Rick Zwaan, the 2015 VUWSA president who orchestrated that campaign, said that it’s “cool to hear they’re starting it back up”. The Greater Wellington Regional Council said that they removed the 18 route in an effort to minimize congestion and increase efficiency. In a survey they commissioned, 53% passengers were neutral or pro cutting the 18, and 47% were against. Campaign on Mental Health There’s a group of students who have started working on a student mental health campaign. They want to have better resourced student counselling, and to change the culture of how we perceive mental health. The campaign is as yet unnamed. VUWSA Wants to Say What Students Want About Name Change VUWSA said that they do support a name change of some sort, to reflect our Māori heritage or to show that we’re a forward thinking university. However their stance on this particular name change is dependent on what students think. They’ve made a submission form about the name change and within a day they’ve already had roughly 380 responses. Sustainability Committee The Sustainability Committee is focusing on how to reduce waste on campus. The environmental groups on campus are worried about not existing next year, because their execs are third years and graduating.
Snapper ShortChanges Students
Physio to Move Off Campus
Fairer fares may have arrived at last, but students are experiencing frustration with inconsistent fare charges. Affected students said that despite having activated their Snapper tertiary concession, they were sometimes still charged the full adult fare on Wellington buses. “It’s happened three times,” Victoria student Ananya Shamihoke said. “It has happened on a 21, a 2, and a 34, across both peak and off peak times.” Sophie Flentge, also a student, experienced the same problem. “The other day when tagging on I noticed that the tertiary symbol didn't show up and the amount I got charged was the same as an adult fare.” Snapper said that the issue was being investigated, and encouraged affected students to “note down the 4-digit vehicle ID, as this helps us sort refunds for all other impacted customers.” So far, Snapper has indicated that individual card readers may be the source of the problem. “We identified an individual bus this morning that hadn’t received the latest concession update, so may not have been recognising all tertiary concessions. We’ve escalated this to our ops team, to make sure this is resolved as soon as possible.” Marlon Drake, VUWSA president, said that while obviously there would always be some issues with such drastic changes to the bus system, “we do think the process would have been made simpler if the regional council just gave tertiary discounts to all students, not just full-time and limited full-time students”. Victoria has received 155 emails to the email@example.com address to 31 July, with the bulk of the emails coming in on 15 July. Snapper has said that any students being charged full fares can request a refund.
More space for mental health services means that physiotherapy services will no longer be available at Kelburn campus. Citing demands for more student health and counselling services, Student Health Mauri Ora will requisition space currently used by Willis Street Physio at the end of the academic year. Approximately a hundred students use the service per week during any given trimester. However, services are still available for the same rates at Willis Street Physio’s main clinic. For an ACC appointment, student rates are $32 for an initial consultation and $22 for subsequent appointments. Both Willis Street Physio and the University have confirmed that they are investigating alternative premises on campus. VUWSA president Marlon Drake has said “the changes should have a positive impact”, as it will allow for more space for wellbeing initiatives, and for health staff to look after students. The director of Willis Street Physio acknowledged the mental health crisis, but was confident to maintain relationships with the University and absorb its client base from Kelburn into its main facilities. Willis Street Physio has rented space from Student Health since 2013, when the University of Otago stopped providing a physiotherapy student-run clinic on campus. A survey of all physiotherapy practices with pricing online showed that the University-backed business was cheaper than most of its competitors, but not substantially so.
MONDAY 6 AUGUST 2018
Safety Concerns After Series of Attacks Around Campuses SHANTI MATHIAS Students are feeling unsafe after reports of a series of linked attacks around Massey’s campus in Wellington. There have been up to 14 linked attacks over the last six years, but media reports have come out more recently as several victims have come forward to the media. The case is reminiscent of the attacks on the path past the Boyd-Wilson field to the Terrace, where two women were assaulted over Easter weekend in 2014. Then, like now, discussions of security became prominent: better lighting, more Campus Safety presence, more CCTV cameras, students told that it might be better to walk with a friend or take a taxi. Such measures may limit the possibility of violence and help to apprehend perpetrators, but they aren’t a blanket solution. Earlier this year, students pointed out that streetlights around Kaki Tonu Way, which were put in place as a safety measure, weren’t operating. “I think it’s important that the university and Wellington City Council stay on top of that kind of maintenance to make sure we’re taking all the steps possible to create a safe environment for students.” “My sister goes to [Massey Wellington],” said Kate Broadle, a linguistics student at VUW. “So [these reports] leave me a bit freaked out, a bit uncomfortable.” “Hopefully they’ll catch who did it soon to stop people being
in danger,” she added. She is cautious around campus at night. “I don’t usually walk home by myself if it’s dark, I take the bus or I’ll take an Uber.” Mina Clancy, a fashion student at Massey, expressed similar concerns. After hearing about the attacks through a Facebook group chat, she felt somewhat worried. “I have walked down that pathway,” she said. She isn’t sure if she could protect herself against an attack. “Maybe I need to know some selfdefence, but it’s sad to think that it’d come down to that.” Victoria’s Campus Safety team have a number of measures in place to make campus safe. As well as security guards, and a hotline number (0800 VIC 8888), there are and 342 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras across the three main campuses. Sophia Haynes, a senior instructor at the Victoria Taekwondo club, had some suggestions for students who feel unsafe. “[You could] arrange a walking bus to and from campus for the dark winter evenings, follow your instincts, don’t be distracted by smartphones/ headphones, be aware of your surroundings.” Victoria Taekwondo is offering free self-defence classes on Saturdays throughout August. VUWSA have said they understand why there might be some anxiety in light of recent media stories, and welcome feedback if students feel like more should be done in this area.
Women of Vic Recognised in Awards Attempting to Make up for Centuries of Gender Inequality EMMA SIDNAM literary lovers. Dr Lucy Baragwanath, Victoria’s Deputy Vice Chancellor as of 2018, has a legacy in leadership. Her resume includes Senior Advisor to the Vice Chancellor at AUT, Chair of the Auckland City Center Advisory Board, and Manager Research and Evaluation at Auckland Council. Baragwanath’s experience is certainly an asset to Victoria University and she is determined to increase Victoria’s engagement in both New Zealand and the world. “I am delighted to be able to contribute to helping the University to achieve its mission.” Rawinia Higgins, Deputy Vice Chancellor, is a strong leader in the advancement of te reo Māori, mātauranga Māori, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the University and community. A member of a number of boards, and Chair of the Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori, Higgins is an example to others in using her voice to better society. She led the Māori Language Advisory Group, who reviewed the Māori Language Bill, and 90% of their findings are currently in legislation. Humbled to be nominated, Higgins encourages girls and women everywhere to “stand up for what you believe in”.
The women of Victoria University are making ripples in the wider community, with four female staff members named as finalists in the Women of Influence Awards. Wendy Larner, Rawinia Higgins, Lydia Wevers, and Lucy Baragwanath were listed among 83 of this year’s most inspiring women. Wendy Larner, Victoria’s Provost, is listed as a finalist under the Innovation and Science category, yet another accolade for the Royal Geological Society Victoria Medal winner. Larner’s research into gender, governance, and globalization has gained her an international name and acknowledgement from several highly-esteemed fellowships. Her next steps include becoming president of Royal Society Te Apārangi, and being on the UK’s Research Excellence Framework panel. Lydia Wevers, Director of the Stout Research Center, is an editor, reviewer, literary critic, and historian. The list of books and anthologies edited by Wevers is impressive, and her works on New Zealand travel writing have closely examined an oft ignored section of literature. Furthermore, Wevers has long been dedicated to the New Zealand letters, sitting on library panels, book councils, and arts boards. An avid reader and proud supporter of the arts, Wevers is an inspiring figure for 7
Politics MONDAY 6 AUGUST 2018
Political Round Up Simon Bridge’s First Speech as Leader National Leader Simon Bridges has made his first public speech as National Leader at National’s AGM. On 29 July, Bridges delivered a fiery speech that criticized the current Labour/ NZ First Government’s economic decisions since they have been in power, including their tertiary education policy, the cutting of benefit sanctions, and increased funding to the diplomatic sector. He announced the continued commitment by National to law and order. Throughout the speech he put heavy focus on their economic policy. For minutes, he continued the attacks on Labour, stating that National had built one of the strongest economies in the world before they were ejected from the executive. “But we need to keep it going to ensure all New Zealanders can share in the gains — not everyone has yet. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Government doesn’t have a clear plan for the economy.” The major announcement of the night came when Bridges promised smaller class sizes for primary schools. Former PM John Key stated he was not worried about how Bridges was polling. At time of publication, Simon Bridges was only polling at 12% as preferred PM, compared with Jacinda Ardern’s 45%. DHB and Nurses’ Union Signs Accord David Clark and top health officials have found middle ground on health workforce staffing by signing an accord. The accord says that hospitals will staff nurses according to the “Care Capacity Demand Management” software, which works out how many nurses are needed. The CCDM software is already in use in some DHBs but the accord commits DHBs to using this software by 2021. Nurses have been concerned about the lack of capacity hospitals have to treat patients, and overworking staff. The accord was signed by Clark, along with Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield, District Health Board (DHB) and nurse’s union representatives, on 30 July at Parliament. David Clark accepted that nurses have not been satisfied by pay negotiations and other talks with the DHBs. He has stated that he wants to maintain an even closer relationship between DHBs regarding staff wellbeing.
“Issues of safe staffing and workloads have developed over many years of underfunding, and everyone acknowledges they will take time to fix.” - Thomas Campbell
The Party Line
The Waka-jumping bill will mean that list MPs will be expelled from Parliament if they quit or were expelled from their party. What effect will the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill have on our democracy? Do you believe the bill should be passed into law? VICNATS The ”Waka-jumping” bill is one of the greatest insults to our democracy. It was thought of by Winston Peters with the sole intention of protecting himself against his party. It strips MPs of their right to vote in their electorates interest, or in the case of list MPs, the entire country. By passing this, New Zealand is joining the likes of Zimbabwe and Pakistan, creating totalitarian parties and governments. The greatest irony however is the Green Party swallowing a “dead rat” and giving up all of their integrity in the process, resulting in their founding members and MPs being ashamed of their old party. Not only that but New Zealand First would not exist today if Winston wasn’t able to leave National in the first place. It cannot be doubted that the passing of this bill will turn the House of Representatives to a “House of Party Poodles”. - Grahame Woods GREENS AT VIC We believe that the bill is a threat to democracy and terrible legislation. MPs deserve the right to express views against their caucus’ without the risk of their party kicking them out of Parliament. It’s been over a decade since there were last party jumping restrictions, and in that time there’s been nothing to justify their return. There have been just three defections in the last 18 years. The purpose of the bill is to ensure the “proportionality” of parliament’s parties are retained, but as Jeanette Fitzsimons argued, that is elevating the party above the ideas it stood for. The German constitution rightly says MPs are “representatives of the whole people, not bound by orders and instructions, and subject only to their conscience”. 8
We saw Jim Anderton leave Labour in the 1980s when they abandoned their election platform and instead introduced sweeping reforms in the opposite direction, impossible had a law like this existed. Leaving these decisions up to voters at the next election, not the political party machines, is a much fairer way of holding defectors to account. It’s a shame that the Greens have been roped into supporting this bill to stop Winnie from prematurely bringing down the Government. Greens at Vic hope and expect that this terrible bill will be repealed first thing next term, once Winnie’s out of the way. - Lachlan Patterson and Zachary Rose VICLABOUR No, the VicLabour Branch itself does not agree with the premise of the Wakajumping Bill. However, the process of this bill holds together a coalition that will make wide-ranging reforms to our crippled criminal justice system, action on poverty, and the rights and well-being of workers, as well as the crucial and historic step to ingrain a path towards a sustainable planet. This Waka-jumping bill was part of the platform of a party in Government, in return for gains for their own party and the Greens, they must see gains as well. It may mean each MP will have to toe the line of the expectations of their respective parties, but the policies that become law will still be the ultimate result of a voting public. ACT ON CAMPUS The electoral (integrity) bill is a nasty piece of legislation that Winston drafted because he was scared that his MPs would jump ship. It is detrimental to our democracy and it restricts MPs freedom as they can no longer leave a party if the leaders/parties values change and it restricts their voice due to the threat of being expelled from Parliament. At the heart of our democracy is the freedom for members of parliament to represent us honestly and this threatens that. Act staunchly opposes this bill. It’s a shame that it will pass through due to the Green party going against their own principles of freedom and fairness. Grow a backbone Greens! - James Allan
Sport MONDAY 6 AUGUST 2018
Raising Sevens to the Heavens KELLEN FARMER Several weeks ago, the All Black Sevens and Black Fern Sevens created history among the ever growing and popular sport of Sevens rugby. In the blistering heat of a sunny AT&T Park in San Francisco, the two New Zealand sides became the first two teams to win the Sevens Rugby World Cup in back-to-back appearances. The All Black Sevens were helped by the unstoppable Joe Ravouvou, who lead all-try scorers in the men’s competition with six. His unique size and speed made it near impossible for defenders to slow him down in one-on-one situations — something that happens frequently in the open style play of the modern Sevens game. Captain Tim Mikkelson was instrumental to the side’s success, displaying a couple of huge covering tackles that swung momentum back in his side’s favour when it felt like they were on the back foot against some of the in-form sides of the competition. Following a disappointing Olympics, new coach Clark Laidlaw has turned a bright corner for the team. Since taking over in June 2017, the Scotsman has brought new light to a team who seemed lost for three seasons. Laidlaw established a new training scheme, brought focus on the brotherhood within the squad, and proved the potential was there all along. The Black Fern Sevens also took the tournament by storm. Their fantastic run to the finals saw the team concede only
three tries, of all which came in a semi-final match against the host, USA. The side romped through Mexico and Ireland, as well as putting in a comfortable performance in the final against France, winning 29-0. Michaela Blyde was a crowd favourite, leading all points and try-scorer’s, not only in the women’s competition, but for the entire tournament. Both winning sides put an exclamation point on New Zealand’s world rugby dominance. It was a double-victory for the women and men in black. The tournament was a great success as it showcased the world's fastest form of the game in front of a packed-out American crowd. Undoubtedly, world rugby has long-been trying to tap into the American market. This tournament has certainly helped its cause. Fans were treated to a spectacular rugby spectacle under the glorious days of the seemingly never-ending West Coast summer. Celebrations went long into the night throughout the streets of San Francisco. Judging from a photo circulating the internet, All Black Sevens player Kurt Baker couldn’t wait to get the party started. The photo shows Baker in his birthday suit celebrating with the sides’ new silverware. The venue for the 2022 Rugby Sevens World Cup is yet to be decided. Hopefully, the event will be held in another nation that has been deprived of the sensational, fast-paced sport.
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Opinion MONDAY 6 AUGUST 2018
Why is the Uni Paying so Much to Change its Name Again? ANGUS SHAW
Number of respondents
Grant Guilford has justified the name change, saying that the council unanimously supports it, as well as marae, local iwi, trustees, librarians, and other stakeholders. I think it is disingenuous and arrogant to pretend there is a swell of support for this change, when the University’s own data shows that it just isn’t there. Vic students and graduates, who I would argue the name actually belongs to, have shown their opposition.
n an FAQ released as part of material concerning the name change, Victoria states that, “this University, like all others in New Zealand, is now dependent on international staff and students”. If this is in fact the case, Victoria needs to provide better support services for their international students, as they do for all of their students. Research conducted by the University themselves asked international students to rank factors they took into consideration when deciding on a University. “Prestige” (which includes international reputation and name recognition around the world) was ranked by international students as only the 5th most important factor.
The University’s top reason for the name change is a confusion between other “Victoria Universities” internationally. In the regions VUW draws international students from, University of Victoria in British Columbia is searched for at far higher levels than Victoria of Wellington, while Victoria University in Australia is searched for at relatively the same rate. Both other Unis have similar enrolment numbers to VUW. This data comes from quick comparison of Google trends that anyone could perform.
On the other hand the highest ranked factors were, first of all, “having high calibre teaching staff,” followed by “having support systems for overseas students to help them succeed”. These are, of course, services the university continues to neglect.
I can’t help but feel this “lack of brand recognition” argument is remarkably condescending. No international student is accidently enrolling in the wrong Victoria. Cases of any publications from VUW or any VUW events being attributed to another Victoria have occurred very infrequently.
Currently if you want to see a counsellor at Victoria, you have to wait on average four weeks. If the University is concerned with building a strong international reputation as globally ranked University, they should start with creating a reputation among their students as a University concerned with their welfare.
So after all this, the University employed the market research firm Colmar Brunton to look into the impact a potential name change would have. Their analysis was that a name alone explains 11% of students preferences, and a potential name change would only bump student’s preference by 2.2%.
To date the University has already spent $236,151 on considerations for the proposed name change, and their own estimates put future costs of a rollout at $962,151. By contrast, the University currently spends a bit over two million a year on counselling.
So we have a change that students and alumni don’t want, that the Uni claims will scantily boost international student income (maybe with a margin of error of at least 2.6 percent)) and will divert almost $1 million away from better teaching and support for students. Grant Guilford, why are we doing this again?
Looking at the University’s own consultation, a very clear majority against the name change presents itself. Of current students and alumni, stakeholders, and the public who gave feedback, only a meager 32% of respondents said they were supportive of the change. Of Alumni and current students, only 26% and 25% respectively were in favour. 10
Opinion MONDAY 6 AUGUST 2018
Māori & Mainstream Media TE PAEA HOORI
around every day. But you gotta wonder, maybe a Colombian drug-lord should be played by a Colombian person.
hen I first found out that the producers of the next James Bond instalment were putting out a casting call for a Māori henchman, my natural reflex was to wince. While like many, I am excited for Māori culture to be making its next foray into the 007 legacy, the 2002 Bond movie does not give much promise of character depth. The Pierce Brosnan lead iteration, Die Another Day, featured a Māori henchman by the name of Mr Kil (a decidedly un-Māori name might I add). It also reinforced the association I have of the word “henchman” with lazy writing. With this set as precedence I could all too clearly see myself 18-months or so from now, watching from behind latticed fingers — a position typically reserved for horror movies and watching David Seymour make any kind of formal address.
Māori actress Keisha Castle-Hughes is in a similar position. Appearing in the HBO series Game of Thrones as Obara Sand, her character’s ethnicity is Dornian — a land in the franchise’s fantastical Westeros that was heavily derived from Medieval Spain. Though I admit, once you start heading into the realm of fantasy you do sort of get a pass when it comes time for casting calls, I think the showrunners need to take much more responsibility when it comes to their representation. Though I love seeing a Kiwi gal make a break into the big time, watching Castle-Hughes wielding what as may as well be a taiaha, as she plays an ethnically-vague enemy that has been given little more dimension than beauty and fierce warrior status (in the show at least)—that wincing feeling starts returning. Creating a story set in a context where people were problematic doesn’t mean you get to be problematic, just saying.
Diversity in mainstream film and television, though something to be celebrated, gives me a great deal of anxiety. The cultural zeitgeist of film likes to forget that whole period of filmmaking where they dressed up white dudes to portray blatantly offensive depictions of other cultures. And I must confess, when it comes to rewatching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I think, “okay let’s just fast-forward past the problematic bits”. Hollywood and I have that in common. But as media inches slowly forward, it’s hard not to notice the growing disparity between these emerging, highly complex roles for people-of-colour, and the regurgitated tokenism reminiscent of films gone-by.
Marvel’s Deadpool 2, while not explicitly featuring a Māori deuteronomist, does very little in the way of disguising Julian Dennison’s New Zealand accent—or its infusion of distinctly Kiwi (and Taika Waititi influenced) humour. Though arguably piggy-backing on Dennison’s role in Waititi’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople, I must admit the archetype is just as refreshing to see the second time around. Dennison plays Russell Collins, an adolescent mutant who possesses the ability to create and control fire. While holding his own in the action-heavy sequences Marvel is known for, Collins does not possess the physical prowess commonly found in Māori leads and often times, must rely on his humour, wit, and sincerity to get himself out of sticky situations.
So as I sat there trying to decide if this henchman advertisement required characteristics of “authoritative, cunning, ruthless, and loyal” comprised the recipe for a very “tropey” stew, I decided to do a roundup of how our tangata whenua are fairing, depiction-wise, in the time that has passed since a Māori actor first graced the Bond franchise.
“Māori as warrior”, while an important component of the Māori cultural identity, when overly represented, runs the risk of producing a singular narrative. This encourages its viewers to produce unintentionally (and at times harmfully) narrow perceptions of the cultures being represented; in most cases, leveraging the “cool factor” from the culture in question, and doing away with any investment in that character itself. It is important for a whole myriad of reasons that these roles serve to bring more value than an excuse for flashy stunts and simply trying to fill a quota.
I shall begin — in perhaps a feeble attempt to prove that I can produce opinion pieces that aren’t entirely constructed from atop my soap box — with one of my favourites. Fear the Walking Dead, a spinoff to ABC’s television series The Walking Dead, is centred around the blended family of characters Madison Clark and Travis Manawa. Travis Manawa, played by one Mr Cliff Curtis, is an English teacher whose struggle between pacifism and the impulse to protect his family is given significant development and nuance. The showrunners do well to capitalise on the physicality and rich history of Māori hand-combat that appeals to foreign audiences, without likening strength to savagery, or relying on single-dimensional character tropes. Curtis revealed, in an endearingly colloquial interview with Marae TV, that the part had initially been planned to portray a man of Mexican descent, but the concept of an American/Māori lead emerged after conversing with Curtis. Though this is not to say that Curtis is above buying into Hollywood’s affinity for pan-ethnicity, whereby “nonwhite” is interpreted as passing for any number of apparently interchangeable cultures — where’s the damn eye roll emoji. I empathise with Curtis’ position. Māori roles are not going to roll
While Travis Manawa, Russell Collins, and Obera Sand may not be an entirely fair comparison (as Game of Thrones needs a buttload of characters to act as plot fodder), it feels optimistic to hope that the latest Bond film will give the same level of substance to their Māori character as Fear the Walking Dead or Deadpool 2. And if Pierce Brosnan’s latest interview on the direction of the franchise is anything to go by — it sounds like the filmmakers have enough on their hands trying to refurbish the womanising James Bond for the post-#metoo era. But that my friends, is a whole other story.
IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE
Vic Merch Value Skyrockets KII SMALL Hoodies, sweatshirts, and coffee mugs labelled “Victoria University of Wellington” are flying off the shelves following the name change debate from the board. Students have been crowding Vic Deals, (soon to be Welly Deals) for “Victoria University” merch before the name is changed forever. Callum Turnbull told us he was actually frightened to wear his Victoria University hoodie that he purchased in first year. “I can’t walk home late at night now, someone might try to steal this 2013 vintage Victoria Uni hoodie. They don’t make these bad boys anymore.” Turnbull went on to try and sell us his secondhand hoodie for a slab of VBs, a Vic Books 10% discount voucher, and an undisclosed amount of narcotics. The black market of Vic Uni merchandise has been flourishing since the name change debacle, and reportedly put students at risk of theft. For the last few months, the university board has alerted the public about their intent to change the name of the university to “eliminate confusion for potential overseas students”. Overseas students have been reportedly flabbergasted to find that the great Victorian University that they requested isn’t located in Kelburn, New Zealand. Marcus Longmeat reportedly complained to the university that he was mislead in his enrolment process. “You mean to tell me Queen Victoria didn’t actually go here and all I get is Grant Guilford who used to be a vet? Not even a Vietnam vet, an animal-fixer vet.”
Mittens in Hot Water Over Racist Tweets ANGUS SHAW Mittens the cat, of “The Wondrous Adventures of Mittens” and “Mittens the Cat of Wellington” fame, has come under fire for racist tweets about other cat breeds. The local Wellington celebrity posted a triade of tweets earlier in the week in which he claimed “non purebred cats” were a drain on SPCA resources. Several other tweets were uncovered
Dark Magicians Will Deliver Your Readings to You – For a Price SHANTI MATHIAS A group of self-titled “dark magicians”, able to find the readings on Blackboard in under three minutes, has formed in order to capitalise more effectively on other student’s confusion. “We all know that every Blackboard is laid out differently,” said Wanda Rowan, the group’s self-styled “Grand Dame”. “You usually have to click seventeen links, log into five different systems and sacrifice a medium sized rodent. But we formed our conclave during the new moon in the trimester break, and we’re really good at it now.” The group charges a $10 retainer fee to all students who wish to use the service. For that fee, they will get two readings delivered to them, and will be charged $3.50 for each extra week of readings. Rowan was unwilling to give details of how the “Dark Reading Warlocks” join Blackboard pages for classes they’re not enrolled in. “There’s more of us than you think,” she said, ominously. “We have...connections.” “That’s all very well for people who have readings posted on Blackboard,” said Genevieve Russell. “I had to sell my kidney to afford my law textbook.” on his account dating back to 2010, which he called cats without their purebred certificates, like Mittens’ Turkish Angora certificate, “basically mutts”. A number of prominent media commentators are now calling for his resignation from the Wellington City Council, where Mittens is employed as a brand ambassador. Mittens tweeted in response to the criticism, “once again I am being attacked for presenting new ideas”. In an interview with the NZ Herald, he said that he was frustrated with being a figurehead for Wellington without being able to use his voice. “Print it as loud, as fucking loud, as you want to. Print it. And I don't care what parties I don't get invited to afterwards. 90% of celebrities only use their voice for the purpose of making money for themselves.” Mitten’s owner is yet to publicly address any of the inflammatory comments made by his cat.
Updates on Kylie Jenner's Baby Googling Kylie Jenner’s baby each week makes us profoundly uncomfortable. Salient is wondering if the irony value of having a regular column is worth the agony of forcing ourselves to consume celebrity media. Salient still gives no shits about Kylie Jenner’s baby. 12
Week in Tweets THE QUEEN IS DEAD, LONG LIVE MEDIOCRITY
On the continuing bus disaster -
On the Victoria Uni name change -
“Wellington: our bus system is a complete shambolic nightmare! Auckland: a bus system eh” - @brendankellol
“I'm not *really* that attached to "Victoria University" but for god's sake if we're going to change it at least make it interesting, "University of Wellington" is like the John Key's Favoured Flag Design of names” - @bootstheory “Beginning to question the quality of my degree if the people in charge find the name "Victoria University of Wellington" too complicated.” - @theHeindog “Can't Beat Us On A Good Day University. It's Not Normally This Windy University. Drop, Cover and Hold University. We Lied, It's Normally This Windy University.” - @Dovil On the announcement of Gemma Flynn’s pregnancy “The big question is will Richie be able to remain as NZs only and best helicopter pilot once he has a baby?” - @ DrJessBerentson “wow can’t believe Ritchie rly gonna call his baby fonterra turmeric mccaw” - @rockbottombeer
On the start of the NZIFF “I’d forgotten one of the hidden joys of the Film Festival. Judgement old people who think the cinema is their living room.” - @meganjwhelan “Tonight before a film at #nziff I saw an usher zip up, unzip, and zip up their fly three times before opening the door to let us in. Nice ritual.” - @LauraGiddey On the ‘tragic’ loss of one of Betsy deVos’s yachts “Controversial opinion time: if you own ten boats, you are a bad person” - @melgillman On most of Europe literally being on fire “the reason why there are heatwaves everywhere right now is actually because I’ve hacked into the sun and I’m shutting it down by forcing it to overheat bc I’m running a vast cryptocurrency mining operation through it” - @queerantifa
1. A van driver in Canada was sacked after being filmed doing what?
1. The honeycomb in Crunchie bars is cut by using a focused jet of oil instead of a knife.
3. Which couple, comprising a currentBlack Stick and ex-All Black, have recently announced that they are expecting a child? 4. Some of the crown jewels – including two crowns and an orb – of which royal family were recently stolen, with the thieves making a daring escape by motorboat? a) Swedish b) British c) Norwegian 5. At what time did Jacinda Ardern take back the Prime Ministership, from Winston Peters, on Thursday 2nd August?
2. Martin Van Buren, the 8th president of the United States, was the first president to be an American citizen. 3. Flamingos can live in lakes that are so hypersaline that it can strip away human skin. 4. To revitalise sales in 1967, Canadian Club hid 25 cases of whiskey around the world, and three remain undiscovered. 5. The world’s most expensive cheese is made from donkey milk and takes 25 litres to only make 1kg.
World Facts by Courtney Powell, Week in Tweets by Emma Maguire & Quiz by Alister Hughes
7. Johnny Cash’s family turned down using the song “Ring of Fire” for a haemorrhoid-relief ad. 8. Coca-Cola hasn’t patented its secret recipe because otherwise it would have to disclose it to the public. 9. Chicago means “skunk-land”. 10. William Chester Minor contributed most of the quotes for the Oxford English Dictionary while he was held in an asylum for committing murder. Quiz Answers 1. Driving through puddles to splash pedestrians 2. Legalising medicinal cannabis 3. The McCaws (Richie and Gemma) 4. a) Swedish 5. 12.01am
2. The National Party unveiled a bill doing what, having voted against a very similar bill from the Green Party earlier this year?
6. In 2016 it became illegal for supermarkets to waste food in France.
Letters Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org Tēnā koe, Salient I have a question that has plagued me day and night, and to which I must find the answer. Do you know Thom, the beautiful, gloriously-maned barista at the cafe soon to be known, presumably, as TheUniversityOfWellingtonBooks? Is he single? Do you think he will go on a date with me? Or if not a date, maybe just let me smell his luscious locks? I imagine it smells like sunshine and rainbows, just like his smile which never fails to brighten my day. I am, &c. &c., L. W. Salient Response: After an extended investigation we have discovered that as part of his contract with Vic Books, Thom has sworn a vow of celibacy. RIP. Dear Salient, I would like to release the following statement in response to Grahame Woods’s ‘The Gay Young Nat’ published last week. It will always be a privilege to choose a Conservative party when casting your vote. It speaks to keeping things the same, and power in the hands of those who have it. I acknowledge that Grahame is gay and a National voter. There will always be queer people who are trying to fit into the hegemony of society when it comes to their identity and politics. But for me, and those I call my queer whahau, change will always be on the horizon if we want to live better lives. It is necessary for us to be supporting parties like the Greens, because they are as close as we can get to breaking down the hetro and cisnormative structures that oppresses us daily, as well a other oppressive social structures. Nga mihi, Kate Aschoff
Plastic Diet Are you passionate about reusable cups? Do you think the university's consumption of single use containers is excessive and unnecessary? Plastic Diet, the university’s zero-waste club, is looking for enthusiastic new volunteers to help run our club. We want to make Waste Watchers, our free mug and plate borrowing service, bigger and better and we want to run more and more exciting events to help the student populace learn about wastefree lifestyles and environmental issues and we need you to help us do this! If you’re interested in helping out, please email: email@example.com Or find us on Facebook: Plastic Diet at Vic Amp Scholarships In the 20th year of AMP Scholarships, AMP are calling for talented New Zealanders of all ages who have the courage to
Dear Salient, I was reading with utter shock about the CATT team and their lack of response and unreliability when a student is potentially suicidal. (Mental Health Crisis in Halls on the Rise - Salient Issue 15). RAs do a brilliant job but should not have to deal with the responsibility of a suicidal student and this is where the CATT team and other mental health professionals should be doing their job and dealing with this life threatening situation. Can't understand why the CATT Team did not want to deal with the suicide attempt as the person had been drinking? Are they not trained to deal with this type of situation? They are paid to help people suffering from mental health crisis situations and can't expect other people who are not trained to help people facing a crisis. It seems that mental health 'professionals' want other people to do their job and expect other people to handle people and support them when having a mental health crisis. Not good enough. Signed Digger the dog. Dear Salient, I have gained new understanding. Well, not really, but I've been thinking about the word 'understanding'. Let me show you. "Understanding sheep is important..." "Understanding sheep are important..." I'm not sure why I chose sheep as an example. Probably because there is no change when you pluralise 'sheep'. Anyway! Only the form of the verb has changed. Let me finish these sentences for you. "Understanding sheep is important if you wish to farm them properly." "Understanding sheep are important if one of the sheep is having a bad day and needs a friend for some moral support." See! It's a verb, then it's an adjective! How fun! I'm sure that if you're farming, it is very beneficial to have understanding sheep as well as an understanding of sheep (there, now it's a noun too!). Please enjoy.
Send your notices to firstname.lastname@example.org pursue their dreams, to apply for an AMP Scholarship before applications close on 13 August 2018. Whether your dream is a new business, community-focused, educational, or even to represent New Zealand at the Olympics – this year up to $200,000 is available to help talented and determined Kiwis pursue their dreams with AMP Scholarships. Applications close on 13 August 2018. For more information, and to apply online, visit amp.co.nz/scholarships BZZZ! A brand new Victoria University student publication is buzzing about. Covering topical issues such as sexual violence and abortion, 'The Hive’ investigates how law and culture interact, and how you can get involved, have your voice heard, and help improve the future of NZ. Check out the latest issue online now, and subscribe so you never miss the latest buzz. www.thehive.capital
Rising to the Challenge L AU R E N S PRIN G
Maxine Schecter cuts a pretty impressive figure on paper. As a child, she was baking constantly at home, and had dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Her mum wasn’t so convinced about the financial viability of that career path, and would continually try to convince Maxine every day on the way to school that she should become a pastry chef. It appears relentless parental pestering does sometimes pay off, as Maxine went to study cooking and pastry at Weltec, then managed to get into highly prestigious pastry school Ferrandi, in Paris’ 6th arrondissement. After that, she worked a few high-end pastry jobs in Paris, then moved to London and spent a while working in highlyInstagrammable and very pink Mayfair tea room/ cocktail lounge Sketch, finally ending up at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck for a year. This wasn’t all roses and peaches however, as she worked around 18-hour days and had no time whatsoever for a life outside of the kitchen. Fear was clearly a significant motivator in her time at The Fat Duck, as she would always be terrified that if she mucked up, and her work ended up on the plate of a Michelin inspector, she could be directly traceable as the person responsible for losing the restaurant one of its three Michelin stars. Eventually, the toll of this lifestyle, and of constantly moving around London to try and find the cheapest flat, became too much for Maxine, and she moved back for a more settled life in Wellington. Pastry wasn’t quite done with her, however, as after an 8-course degustation meal Maxine made for her parents as a Christmas present, her dad was convinced she should open a restaurant. Lo and behold, as they were out driving the next day in Kilbirnie, Maxine spotted the perfect place to build her pastry empire from, and
quickly secured the lease. She tiled the bench herself, got her art teacher to hand paint the logos, and patisserie Sugar Flour sprang into being. This enterprise hasn’t been entirely rosy either, as Maxine has to get up at 3am on mornings they are open to make all the pastries, has to deal with a bunch of paperwork, and hardest of all, has to contend with managing staff at the age of 22. She’s aware that Sugar Flour isn’t a long-term plan for her, but for right now Maxine’s love of pastry outweighs these drawbacks. Sometimes pastries come to Maxine in dreams, but mostly they’re built around a particular seasonal fruit that she wants to use. Her Frida Kahlo pastry, part of a series of five pastries she created in homage to women artists for Mother’s Day, was inspired by Frida’s love of oranges and flowers. So Maxine created an orange jelly and marmalade with an orange blossom mousse, and covered it in a light meringue and little orange blossom flowers. Clearly, not only does Maxine put a huge amount of love into the flavours of the pastries she makes, but her love of visual art means that they are also a feast for the eyes. To wrap your peepers around some of her incredible pastries, and hear more about the incredible Maxine and her life thus far, keep one of those peepers on our Facebook page for Salient TV’s video on her dropping on Thursday. And, try your best to make it in to Sugar Flour, for what are surely some of the best pastries on offer in Wellington. Sugar Flour can be found at 29 Coutts Street in Kilbirnie, 10am - 4pm Friday through Sunday. Keep an eye out for possible pastry classes popping up later on at the patisserie during the week, as well as a cookbook that is on the horizon for Maxine. 15
FULL BLOODED ISLANDERS Gang Patches & Boxing Gloves in Newtown, New Zealand. Words by CAVAAN WILD Photography by BENJI HARTFIELD
The year is 1985. Oscar Partsch is 3. Of Tokelau and German descent, his family has just immigrated to New Zealand from Hawaii. They come to Wellington, and settle in the suburb of Mount Cook, in the Arlington flats.
to actively intimidate people, or to profit from crime, or to become another ripple in a wave of moral hysteria — they do this to belong. Social housing will always try to eat its babies, but daily opposition from your surroundings breeds toughness and resolution. In this way, Full Blooded Islanders is the antithesis of Arlington, born of its hallways, battered doors, and plywood windows. They took misery and made it a catalyst for growth and strength. They created a brotherhood, emblazoned across the bottom rocker of the patch. Brotherhood got them out of the jaws of state housing communities in the 80s, and brotherhood enables them to overcome new adversity.
Oscar described it as the “concrete jungle”. In this concrete jungle, his family had 13 people staying in a 2 bedroom state house. In this concrete jungle they would be racially abused, for their broken English and differing cultural habits. In this concrete jungle he will meet the Johnson family, from Samoa. There are 5 sons; Pele, Gus, Popo, Vice, and C Moa. Between them, they will found Full Blooded Islanders, or FBI, in Newtown. Arlington Apartments, 57 houses built in the 1970s, were recently the subject of a demolition and rebuild. But the Hankey St tower still stands, a landmark reminder of the bad old days that birthed the kaupapa of patched gangs. According to Oscar, growing up in Arlington there was a lot of racism, a lot of violence. He said this factually; not as an excuse, nor to victimise himself. He offered it as an explanation for why things are the way they are. Pele, the chapter President, affirmed this, yet neither saw it as an excuse for sympathy. Neither men are prone to self pity. They see it as incubatory; it made them who they are, prepared them for a multitude of challenges they would face later in life. They sought refuge at a time when few would give them shelter. The Māori, the Palagi, the Indians, their neighbours in Arlington, all labeled them lesser. The older Samoan community, the generation of their parents and grandparents, did not accept them, and still do not. So they turned to each other. What else were they to do? What else is anyone to do? No one picks up a gang flag or goes through the journey of getting patched
Adversity might range from the serious, like court cases and custody of children, to the mundane, like paying bills or a busy week at work. They are no different to you and me, with jobs and families and day to day commitments that need to be fulfilled. Brotherhood means that one of the boys got out of the cells just in time to attend a member’s wedding. Such is life. A patch doesn’t change a person. “Brotherhood” might read as a cliche, but it is truly the most accurate description for FBI. Family means everything. It means calling the incarcerated brothers and updating them on the lives of their brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. It means that those incarcerated brothers look after the neutrals and the victimised in prison and give them protection inside. It means that when they get out, they have someone to turn to. The supporters’ gear is emblazoned with, “family, unity, respect.” These three qualities make up brotherhood. 17
Full Blooded Islanders Wellington The brotherhood gives them significant positive influence in the community. The former mayor of Porirua still turns up to FBI family days. FBI has taken an active role in preventing P dealing in Newtown, and have actively confronted rival gang members in public for selling. This is not a task for the faint-hearted, especially given the criminal backing behind dealers. But it comes with the territory. FBI have never engaged in drug dealing. They are very aware of the moral dilemma that would come with selling crack while looking after their own children. They have been approached by larger gangs to sell on their behalf, but have refused. After all, destroying a community through drug addiction would be antithetical to FBI, to their whole raison d'etre — family. They have an interest in preserving their communities, rather than selling P to the next man for short term gain and desolating their children’s futures. After all, they can’t abandon a community they have battled over.
The gym sits in humble surroundings at the top of Hanson St and Stoke St. On a clear day you can see all the way down to the waterfront, past the Hanson apartments and Countdown, past the basin reserve, all the way to the CBD. It features a small ring with a single rope, heavy bags, and brand new pads, gloves, uniforms, and boxing boots courtesy of a charity grant. Everyone is welcome to learn at Green Gloves, and on any given Tuesday or Thursday at 6pm, a wide range of people will show up to train, from schoolkids to tradies and young professionals. Every second Thursday a local community group comes in and takes a 20 minute Zumba warmup and Lord have Mercy if you can’t dance enthusiastically to Proud Mary and Taylor Swift. An electronic timer sits on the wall, dictating fighters to train in two and three minute intervals. Before amateur competitions, the head coach Pele makes the fighters spar for three, three minute rounds non-stop. It was only at the tournament that they found out that their rounds would only be two minutes. Still, they were prepared well. Before another tournament, Pele informed the fighters that if they got beaten up in the ring, they’d get beaten up once they stepped out of the ring. Naturally, all the fighters won their fights.
FBI were the first to wear red in Newtown, but later changed to green out of mutual respect with Black Power. Mutuality is a common theme in Newtown. They grew up with boys who would become part of Black Power, Nomads, Mongrel Mob, knew them as kids before there were face tattoos, patches, felonies, and the tumultuous lives lived behind those markers. They could co-exist, it just needed some give and take. Reaching that give and take was another matter, and is what lead to the creation of Green Gloves Boxing Gym around 2008.
The smell of sweat, barked instructions from the coaches, the battered ring mats and tattooed hands — these are all markers of the frenetic fighting style and what makes a Green Gloves boxer.
The gym produces unique boxers, unique young men and women. There's a video on YouTube of Mandela winning a fight by TKO after breaking his opponents nose. He was 15, while his opponent was 17 and weighed 40 kgs more than him. Iaka and David are Golden Gloves Champions. David is 14, and spars — and easily beats — grown men. The gym teaches pressure fighting, avoiding opponents punches, and overwhelming them with unorthodox combinations to eliminate them as soon as possible. This is born of growing up around adversary as well — constant societal pressure requires a fighting style fit to deal with that pressure, to respond in kind. Newtown breeds a special kind of warrior. The smell of sweat, barked instructions from the coaches, the battered ring mats and tattooed hands — these are all markers of the frenetic fighting style and what makes a Green Gloves boxer.
The gym began as a response to violence in Newtown. Between 2007 and 2010 several skirmishes occurred between Black Power and FBI. One particular incident resulted in several arrests and a Black Power member in ICU for facial reconstructive surgery. There was a string of similar encounters, after which there was heavy attention on the boys, from Black Power and Police. Speaking to the boys, the experience served as a valuable lesson in the highly damaging effect of prolonged conflict. Violence never occurs in isolation. Every action has a consequence. The boys are keenly aware of this. For three months afterward, wives and children had to be dropped off and picked up from work and school, never left alone and always with an entourage for security. Their houses became targets for rivals. No one wants to live their lives like this, and thus FBI seeks to manage — rather than escalate — conflict. Newtown is too small for warfare. Hence, Green Gloves Boxing Gym was created.
FBI prospects show up, but not to sell drugs or engage in petty crime — they set the gym up, hanging bags and rolling handwraps, wiping down gloves and sweeping floors once training is over. They have a serving role at social functions and generally are regarded as a useful pair of hands. If they are being tested, they are being tested on their loyalty, their work ethic. Getting patched is, as one member explained to me, "a personal journey". Some have not lasted, relapsing to old habits. Some have stuck on. One of their members used to have a leadership position with King Cobra Aiga 11.3. He patched over to 18
Raiders of lost property
Full Blooded Islanders Wellington FBI after King Cobra started selling drugs. This speaks to the respect FBI hold in the community. The newest patched member is a Sri Lankan immigrant. FBI is not discriminatory.
are spent practicing, perfecting combinations. Footwork is 90% of boxing; to get your feet in the right spot, a length of pipe is tied between the learner’s ankles. They spar and spar, and spar some more, the coaches yelling instructions at them scarcely heard behind the embrace of headgear. With every victory, the boxer loses a little piece of themselves. But at Green Gloves, fighters leave as more than they were to begin. They improve their health, and physical fitness. They form relationships and are fiercely loyal to one another. And they learn the freedom of discipline and the joy of fighting, for each other and to better themselves. The gym has given young men and women something more than conflict over colours.
Broad are the shoulders that wear the patch. For so much as it’s a blessing, as much is it a burden. Earlier this year there was a home invasion in Wainui on a known Black Power member's house. The attackers were wearing green; FBI colours. One of the boys in Naenae got a "please-explain" call from the leader of Black Power in Wainui. He assured him it wasn't FBI. Which was good, as Black Power had been planning to show up to, putting it subtly, have a "conversation".
Over the years family members have faced their own struggles. Gus once turned up to boxing with an ankle bracelet, ensnared in EM bail. The next week he was gone; to Rimutaka. C-Moa was given up to 7 years nonparole. Ironically he would have been out sooner if he'd killed someone. He had the choice between Whanganui and Rimutaka prison. Whanganui could offer him the rehabilitation support he needed. But Whanganui is three hours north of Wellington and a world away from the familiarity of his brothers and sisters. It was also predominantly Mongrel Mob, Black Power, HeadHunters, Hells Angels. Not that the odds worried him. But as a result he elected to serve his sentence in Rimutaka. He runs his wing. As he should; he is a king. But 7 years is a heavy price to pay for a crown.
In a way it made sense that the attackers tried to align themselves to FBI. They have a reputation for standing behind their words. Last year there was a hit put out on Pele. Again, putting it subtly, this was “dealt with” swiftly; the hit was taken off within 24 hours. The muted handling of conflict isn’t a coincidence. FBI understands that discretion is the better part of valour. Everyone knows everyone, and has done for quite some time. Pele taught the leader of Nomads, who was barricaded on Constable St, how to fight. Black Power used to come to the gym to train, and its still not uncommon for them to show up, “Mangu Kaha” down the backs of their legs. Wellington plays host to a horde of gang members, most of whom are connected by family ties. Living in close quarters makes conflict inevitable, futile, yet all the more anguishing. It is entirely different to the situation further North in the regions, where Mongrel Mob and Black Power stake claim over vast territories, and motorcycle club numbers have dwindled, with the presence of HeadHunters MC and Rebels MC still being relatively new. The uniqueness of the gang demographic in Wellington has meant that compromises are made. Nomads can wear their patches on their property in Newtown, but cannot wear them on the street. To their credit they have kept their word. You might see a skeletal face tattoo or a flaming t shirt outside Basin Noodle House, but you won't see a patch. The mistaken identity killing in 2009 of a young man in Porirua by Mongrel Mob rogue is a testament to the influence of FBI. Post funeral, the family asked FBI to come out to Porirua as a reassuring presence. Despite rising tensions, no further violence occurred in relation to the death.
Living in close quarters makes conflict inevitable, futile, yet all the more anguishing.
It is easy to condemn gang culture as immoral, as intimidatory. Yet to do so is to become part of the problem, to merge into the sea of misery that created patches in the first place. Like it or not, gangs have been, are and always will be a part of the tapestry of New Zealand. FBI are royalty, and the boxing gym a castle; a vestibule against the tide of gentrification and a reminder of what Newtown used to be. Before it became coffee houses and craft beer bars, before tolerance was fashionable, before privilege was seen as a mark of shame and racism was disguised behind political correctness. An FBI patch at the Newtown Markets is not something to be afraid of. It is a visual representation of those with a vested interested in the community beyond property development and suburb zoning. Full Blooded Islanders were meant to be here, preordained as warriors worth more than their circumstances. Green, the colour of kings; green, the colour of healing.
This stems again from the ethos of boxing, of controlled conflict. Training requires immense self discipline. Time and time again, the fighters hit the floor, spring to their feet, repeating burpees and pushups and situps in endless iterations until they are fit enough to fight. Countless hours 21
Pro Wrestling: “It’s all fake”.
New Zealand Wide Pro Wrestling — a pro wrestling league in Wellington’s own backyard.
I detest this statement and the people that make it. Not only is it reductive, it’s a downright insult to the individuals who intermix literal blood, sweat, and tears in the name of their passion and the entertainment of the public. Is it pretentious to tackle the idea of pro wrestling with such seriousness from the get-go? Not at all. For a wrestler, nothing about their passion is pretentious. Athletes donning colourful tights, talking trash, and beating on each other in the ring might border on batshit crazy, but pro-wrestling is a self-aware art. Basking in its own insanity, a match evokes extreme emotional responses — murderous silence in one instance morphs into obscene laughter in the next.
I use the term backyard in reference to the actual backyard in which the league’s wrestlers train. They meet twice a week to practice grapples, bumps, submission holds, and every other essential tool of the wrestling trade. Martin “Sumo” Stirling, a member of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame and a former New Zealand sumo champion, promotes the league and hosts trainings at his own residence in Wainuiomata. Walking down Martin’s driveway into his backyard for the first time and being greeted by a proper two tonne fucking wrestling ring, I realised that NZWPW was actually the real deal and that I had no idea how it had managed to remain so low-key despite its larger than life appearance.
I admit that as a kid, the notion of wrestling not being “real” had deterred me from openly being an avid viewer. That was until I was exposed to NZWPW —
The league is comprised of a close knit community of wrestling enthusiasts. Martin built the ring himself through his experience in the industry, and today each 22
Lords of the Ring wrestler pitches in to maintain, dismantle, assemble, and transport it to shows. Everyone does their part both inside and outside of the ring. They trust each other with high stake maneuvers and dangerous stunts and cooperate to manage its promotional and administrative aspects. It’s easy to throw around the word “family” when describing the relationship between NZWPW wrestlers, but watching the ease, comfort, and friendliness of interactions and banter between them really solidifies this idea. It’s clear that as the curtains roll on their matches, a sense of camaraderie and shared love for the thrill of wrestling unites these individuals even beyond the ring. Unlike utterances from Hulk Hogan, macho exclamations of “BROTHER!!” seem genuine when used by NZWPW’s own.
Stories like the vicious rivalry between “Ben Mana”, the modern Māori warrior, and the tough-as-nails titan, “Axl”. For over a decade these wrestlers have butted heads in the ring for the glory of securing the NZWPW belt and the status of New Zealand wrestling “legend”. Their careers have dealt with themes of racism, colonialism, and hatred through the surrogate of their wrestling personas. I never thought I would witness a bald-headed Pākehā wrestler throw a musket and blanket at a Māori wrestling icon and yet, they went there.These storylines elicit powerful reactions, and they’re interesting as hell. With such a diverse range of personas like Axl, Mana, Lucy Flawless, Cam Owens the III, and the Spartan Sam Black, it is no wonder NZWPW and the wider New Zealand wrestling scene has such a loyal following.
NZWPW wrestling shows have been held every month since its conception in the early 2000s. They take place at community venues not dissimilar to exclusive underground fight clubs or poetry slams, except they are wholesome fun for the whole family. I am not exaggerating. The viewing demographic of NZWPW is a completely varied clusterfuck, ranging from middle aged dudes sipping kombucha and Woodstock, to nans snapping pics for the gram, and kids at a heavy metal Dora the Explorer concert. It’s pretty clear that the mutual connection between these people is the love they share for the spectacle.
If the thought of pro-wrestling still conjures the word “FAKE” in your mind, then you haven’t seen what I have. I watched Shane “The Shooter” Sinclair take a dive off the top rope. The dive was targeted at three other wrestlers outside the ring less than a metre from the crowd. By sheer miscalculation and positioning Shane’s knee struck Axl in the jaw splitting his bottom lip. All four wrestlers collapsed on top of each other. There was clearly a great degree of real pain inflicted to all four of them. However, as a viewer in the crowd, I was hard-pressed to tell the difference between that botched maneuver and the other stunts that had been performed earlier that night. Despite these injuries, the wrestlers finished the match and incorporated the injuries into the movements and actions. I watched as they rose from the ground and continued to chop, grapple, and clothesline each other. I cheered as Shane successfully pinned Axl with a gripping three count. I realised the pain and discomfort as Axl was in as he caught the blood gushing from his bottom lip. He played it off, raised his arm in triumph, and savoured the admiration of “his” audience.
Wrestling is a sport of extremity. From the opening match to the stunning headliner, the ante is progressively upped. Watching the showmanship and intensity of the athleticism on display is like being strapped to an airborne warhead. You see a barrage of moves and outcomes you never anticipate, that sometimes feel like your jaw has physically been removed from your face. Despite the dangers that obviously arise when stunts go awry and piledrivers cause actual concussions, these wrestlers live for the thrill. They love the adrenaline and excitement of pushing their physical limits and performing insane stunts. It seems ridiculous at times but shit, it’s a beautiful sight to behold.
Some would consider these wrestlers reckless and the entire sport violent. It is a viable interpretation of the whole sport. There’s no denying though, that these wrestlers give their all for their passion of pro wrestling, and this includes putting their bodies on the line. Whether it is for the adrenaline gained from the action, or for the respect and admiration of the audience, there is a whole community of people dedicated to performing and watching the spectacle of pro-wrestling, and fuck if it isn’t a hell of a thing.
The matches themselves bring forward memories of trading card showdowns or the Tekken Tag tournaments we held as kids, gathered around a mate’s PS2. Pro wrestling takes the best parts of traditional Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling and mashes them up with imaginative storylines and backstories. 23
Matters of Illumination It is night. The waterfront, as always, is glittering. This evening, though, there’s an intentionality to the sparkle. It is the first night of Wellington’s Lux Light Festival, a ten day annual event that gathers lightbased art and displays it on the waterfront.
References to light come up everywhere. “You have to look at the fact that the Enlightenment is called the Enlightenment [and] it came after the Dark Ages.” She is hesitant, justifiably, to make any big calls about the meaning of light. “I wouldn’t feel confident saying that [light and dark] are always a symbol. But there’s always symbolism.”
Children dash around me, licking glowing electric sticks (I will later discover that, as a fun gimmick, candyfloss is being sold wrapped around these sticks). The “Massey Mosh Pit” casts pale electronic music across a neon terrace. Few people dance. Scattered around the area between Te Papa and Frank Kitts Park are pieces of art.
New Zealand has its own commemoration of light in the many connotations of the stars rising for Matariki. Bennett comments on the “strange disconnect” of having “Lux as winter is coming in but it not [being] connected with Matariki”.
A work called “Seed” consists of suspended chicken wire, wrinkled like a brain. Colourful projections ripple through its layers. Above Hikitika hangs “Bloom”, an illuminated jellyfish, bizarre yet appropriate. I wander between the artworks and talk to people at the festival, asking them to consider the role of the light and darkness that they consume.
At Lux, the people I talk to know what light means, as if it comes naturally. Steve Haewara tells me, simply, that light means “life”. “It’s usually associated with warmth and sight, […] it illuminates what’s in front of you.” “Light is the positive one,” Alex Arizaba says to me, asked to identify the qualities of light and dark. His daughter clambers over his knee and waves a glowstick in his face. “[Light means] hope, goodness, fun,” says Chitra Srivalsalan, holding food for members of her family. “I can’t feel negative about light.”
By “In the Edges of the Universe”, a work consisting of falling letters coalescing into lines of poetry, I talk to Edle Puodziute. “[Light] makes an impression, in the dark it stands out easily,” she says. She thinks the festival encourages people to get outside at night. She’s right: though there’s a brisk breeze and I’m wearing four layers, there are a decent number of people around.
Light has immense power. Humans are designed to use light; we could not exist in darkness.
One of the reasons that dark has negative connotations is because it is heavily linked to crime, particularly in urban areas. Francesca Gino and other researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill conducted experiments, finding that participants in dark rooms or wearing sunglasses were more likely to lie about money. However, there’s no solid scientific evidence that darker places have more incidents of crime.
Mo Zareei is a VUW music lecturer who has exhibited at the festival several times, though not this year. His office is filled with strange instruments, boxes of clear plastic with pieces of metal inside, capable of being linked into “sound sculptures” which also use light. “I’m interested in the basic physical principles behind sound and light […], the visceral bodily perception of sound and light.” As we talk, he pauses to show me videos of his work, and the art that inspires it: peculiar compelling rhythms, glad flickering, humans made tiny and enormous as they are immersed in their shadows.
There’s a famous experiment from 1965, where two cave explorers in France, Josie Laures and Antoine Senni, chose to spend several months in darkness. Over that time, their circadian rhythms lengthened so that they were sleeping in 30 hour cycles. They lost their sense of time, thinking the date was months before the actual one. In the darkness of their caves, they tried to befriend rodents.
Light has immense power. Humans are designed to use light; and we could not exist in darkness. It literally lets us see, and idioms reflect that: as clear as day, a stab in the dark. There are connotations attached to both light and darkness. As Caroline Bennett, visual anthropologist and lecturer at VUW, said, “We use light to make metaphors [not just] for brilliance and ideas and knowledge, but particular kinds of knowledge”.
Darkness seems unnatural, for all that we give half our lives to it; absolute darkness erodes the human psyche. In the short days of winter, people use bright lights to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Dark was causing depression, light was fixing it.
Matters of Illumination Darkness is about isolation and fear. Srivalsalan says that “there is nothing to celebrate in the dark, there is just hopeless[ness]”. Yet it is also essential, because its rhythms and blankness give us space to breathe. Lux is a festival of light, a celebration of brightness, though it relies equally on darkness.
A week after my initial visit to Lux, I return without a voice recorder and with a friend. As we sit on the steps by the lagoon, dreamy shadows projected across a spray of water, I look at the reflections. In the water, the blurry remains of the lights from the buildings by the waterfront dissolve the original edges of the art. The offices are empty, of course — it’s ten p.m., and everyone has gone home. But the light shines on, perhaps a reminder of continuing existence. I think of how I frequently check my bike lights when I ride at night, letting them affirm my existence.
Some people reject the significance attached to light: Arizaba tells me, perplexed, that “light means light!” Zareei agrees. “I don’t think that light necessarily has symbolic connotations.” In his own art, he “[doesn’t] work with the symbolism, I work with the pure visceral element of it”.
I am familiar with the lustre of moonlight, the glow of incandescent bulbs, and buzzing, clear qualities of fluorescent lights. I know the person I am in them: exhilarated under the moon, thoughtful in incandescence, unfocused in fluorescence. I do not know who I am in darkness: philosophical, perhaps? Before electrification people had to engrave their landscapes on their bones, be absorbed in the darkness in order to navigate. People could disappear.
I ask several people if there are any negatives to light, and, conversely, if there are positives to darkness. Despite general consensus that light is positive, many people appreciate the darkness. Erin Coffin, who grew up in Alaska, says, “your body needs to have that flip [from light to dark]. If it’s summer and it’s eleven o’clock at night or midnight […] your body doesn’t shut off, and in the wintertime when there isn’t much light, you kind of get drowned; the energy isn’t there”. “Light can show the negative things,” Puodziute says. The waterfront is more beautiful in the darkness, the water of the lagoon glossy rather than gross.
Human pupils function best in darkness if their environment grows slowly dimmer over a period of about half an hour, the conditions of twilight. Many people never let their eyes adjust to the dark, a latter-day luxury. With light as with so many other things, we live in a world different to the one that our body grew to fit.
Light pollution is not like air or water pollution; light is not being polluted, it is the pollution.
Only one person I talk to at Lux, Orin Lee, a molecular biology student at VUW and volunteer at the festival, knows what light pollution is. He points it out to me, a greasy smudge obvious over the Hutt Valley. “In big countries, there’s problems with light pollution,” he tells me, though he doesn’t know what those problems might be.
I think of my most precious experience of darkness: about two a.m. on a summer night, looking out from the door of my tent, cradled at the bottom of a Himalayan valley. Arching snow peaks flickered with the echo of distant lightning. Above: a black sky sprinkled generously with swirls of stars. My breath, clouded in frosty air.
Light pollution is not like air or water pollution; light is not being polluted, it is the pollution. Essentially, light pollution is human originated light at night anywhere it is not wanted, and there are various types of it. Light trespass is intrusive light, such as a bright street light shining in your window. Glare is light placed at angles that stop you from being able to see. Skyglow is that dull radiance over a city from the waste of all upwardfacing light.
The lights have been alluring, but it’s time I go home. At the first traffic lights, an inebriated Russian jaywalks, flouting the codes we have lent light, red for stopping. By the fifth traffic lights, I face Parliament. The windows of the Beehive are black, but the flag on the top is bright in spotlights. As I come up to my house, I see eleven streetlights and no people. I unlock the door, enter the dark house, and turn on the lights.
From above, we might look like a galaxy: bright points of light shifting in tides of human movement, edged by the blank expanse of the harbor. But while I may be in a constellation, when I glance up I see no stars. They are blotted by leftover light.
The Transitory Man A simmering cigarette cradled in his hand A jacket with a thousand pockets Wearing dirt and salt and sand Posture won in a bet with paradise He’d rather roam hell than stand He’s the spud masher to the couch-potato He’s the transitory man. Hair which hides his well-worn mug Holding ever brewing tea He prefers the magic carpet to the living room rug Rudolph his shoulder strap bag Santa still looks for his chimney His presence remains wrapped Under the next Wellington flat’s tree Something the permanent man could never understand. - Callum Finn Reason
submit poems to email@example.com
Last Tuesday eight students, including myself, sat down around a table and had a chat about our mental health. It wasn’t a group counselling session, but rather a discussion and then decision to finally do something about this issue. You probably hear about “mental health” a lot. One of the things I can’t stand is how it’s been turned into a political issue, a vote-gatherer or a like-getter. Sometimes I get a bit frustrated and just think, “they’re talking about my head!”
I got a letter from a Minister! The “March on Midland” was epic. I’ll give you a brief run down. On Thursday 15 March 2018 over 300 students banded together to demand future workplaces that are free of sexual violence. The march was in protest of the sexual harassment and violence students, interns, and graduates are subject to within the legal fraternity and professional services. After the rally, we wanted to ensure that the momentum continued. We split off into various subgroups (outreach, law firms, Government, and the Law Society).
A lot has been promised in this area. Every party has a policy, and every politician has an opinion. The fact is we, as young people and as tauira, have a pretty good idea of how our own brains work, so it’s time we make that known.
I led the Government sub-group alongside my fellow law students, Amelia Vincent, Olivia Hyland, Jessica Sutton, and Odette Fordbrierley. With the help of our VUWSA president’s high up contacts, we put together a policy submission to CABINET!! (caps intended).
Campaigning and taking action can feel a bit scary, but it’s easy if we do it together. Think about every conversation you’ve had about mental health, whether that be around the stigma, about your own personal mental health, or maybe just about those gosh darn waiting times. Think about all your mates who’ve cried on your shoulder, and all your mates’ shoulders that you’ve cried on. Realize that poor mental health and wellbeing is not a political issue at all, it’s a community issue, and if we’re going to solve it we’re going to have to do it as a community.
We campaigned the Government to change their procurement policy so that in order for companies to bid on contracts, they must have in place a sufficient sexual harassment and anti-discrimination policy. Such a policy will publicly affirm a commitment to fostering a positive workplace culture where employees are respected and valued. In addition, we suggested that a black asterisk could be used by companies to act as a confidence mark signaling presence of an appropriate sexual harassment policy.
Over the next couple weeks we’re going to be meeting with community leaders and students and organizing to make our voices heard to our elected representatives. They’re talking about our wellbeing, our mental health, and our minds. It’s time we reclaim that and make it clear that any decision that’s being made must have a student focus as well. We’ve been waiting for change for years, but now the wait is over.
Minister for Economic Development, Hon David Parker, responded to our proposal positively. Mr. Parker said that our proposal is in line with the Government’s re-introduction of the “four well-beings” to local government. Furthermore, Mr. Parker asked the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to undertake a programme of work to strengthen the Government’s procurement policy. He thanked us for taking the time to write the submission and commended the “Not Above the Law” campaign. But this is certainly not the end of the campaign. Stay tuned! 30
Imagine that we live in a post-apocalyptic society. The apocalypse has had one particularly pernicious effect: it has shattered and fragmented the natural sciences beyond repair. Scattered bits of pre-apocalyptic science turn up – a few pages of a biology textbook here, a chemistry paper there. But these fragments are entirely devoid of scientific context, so we are unable to make sense of them. We see strange mathematical symbols and unfamiliar scientific jargon, and have no idea what they mean or refer to. Yet, since we still possess a vague sense that science is important, we make do with what we have. Children memorise the mathematical equations we find on scraps of paper, and we earnestly debate how to interpret the surviving fragments. Over several generations, we develop a whole new set of “scientific” practices. These practices are complete nonsense, but no one retains enough original scientific knowledge to realise that. So we employ scientific concepts as if we know what we are talking about; we assert scientific claims which are totally false; and so on. This thought experiment is due to the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. He describes it in order to introduce his main claim: that this hypothetical state of scientific knowledge actually perfectly describes the current state of moral knowledge in our society. MacIntyre claims that we employ moral concepts as if we know what they mean, but in reality they are meaningless, having been stripped of the original context in which they were developed. Of course, there has been no apocalypse that destroyed moral knowledge; instead, it gradually faded away over centuries of social, political, and philosophical change. What, though, is the vital original context that moral concepts have been taken out of? MacIntyre claims that we have abandoned two beliefs which used to underlie ethical concepts.
The first is a view of humans as having some essential functional purpose. Just as a watch or a pen has a functional purpose, philosophers like Aristotle argued that humans have an intrinsic purpose in life, and moral goodness just means the fulfilment of that purpose. Most people nowadays reject such a view of human nature. Humans are just a contingent result of biological evolution: we have no special status or purpose in the universe. The second is a view of morality as being divinely mandated. Ethics used to be closely tied up with theology: moral rules were viewed as God-given commands. Of course, there have always been philosophers who doubted this: Socrates’s Euthyphro Dilemma is still seen as a powerful objection to the divine conception of morality. But many philosophers, and much of the population, held this view for much of history. Yet today, society is increasingly secularised, and even many religious people have moved past narrow theological views of morality. We no longer see a necessary connection between morality and God. And thus, MacIntyre claims, we have lost the essential context for understanding the moral concepts we have inherited. MacIntyre’s work falls within a wider body of moral philosophy from the past 50 years that has pursued the revival of “virtue ethics,” a brand of ethical theory that identifies moral rightness with the fulfillment of various virtues like kindness, honesty, bravery, and so on. Other famous philosophers in this tradition include Martha Nussbaum and New Zealander Rosalind Hursthouse.
NT: TE ARA TAUIRA
MAIA TE KOHA
Words of Wisdom from a Trimester Two Veteran
“Kia Ora, is there a ‘Jaaa-yne’ in this class? Is that how you say it?” “It’s pronounced ‘Jane’.” “Jeeeeyn. Is that right?” “Sort of. It’s J-A-N-E, Jane” “Can we just call you ‘J’?”
It’s Trimester Two. I know, ew. The weather sucks, everyone is coughing all over each other, and it gets dark so early you come home after sunset. After (way too many) years at university, one thing I’ve learned about T2 is that it is a slog. It’s trudging through the mental muck as you navigate finding a summer job, flatting, finances, and last of all — somehow feeling the least important — your coursework. T2 is a balancing act that I still haven’t mastered.
For every other Tom, Dick, and Harry this is not a usual encounter when meeting a new person. However, for every Tame, Eruera, and Henare this experience is an expected one, when interacting with new classmates, co-workers, and teachers. But sometimes saying a Māori name is hard, right? Why should we bother with such a tedious task?
The hardest part of T2 is that it’s in the middle of winter, and the Wellington weather doesn’t get much better until after the trimester ends and everyone is scrambling to study for exams. Despite the weather constantly changing, there are ways to fortify yourself for this trimester.
This statement from the campaign My Name, My Identity explains: “We receive our names from beloved family members or special people who are close to our family. When our name is changed or unintentionally mispronounced, it is a misrepresentation of who we are — because our name represents our identity.”
Taking care of yourself and your health is the most important part of staying on top of your studies during winter. Wrap up warm and drink lots of water, try to get some sunlight when you can. Mental health often dips in winter due to the lack of sunlight, and the pressure of the upcoming end of the year doesn’t make it any easier. If you find yourself struggling, contact your lecturers and tutors. Don’t leave getting extensions to the day an assignment is due. You are responsible for your learning. Take care of yourself, don’t sell yourself short by procrastinating things that help you.
When a teacher (or lecturer) does not make the effort to correctly pronounce their students’ names, it can affect the relationship between that student and teacher. Why respect someone who doesn’t even respect your name? The negative relationship between student and teacher can further hinder the student’s ability to learn. Mispronouncing someone’s name, and being unwilling to learn how to say a name correctly, is a form of subtle racism or microaggression, and when it comes from teachers, the subtle racism instilled within the classroom.
I know, I know, I’ve said all of this before. But it’s true. Sometimes we just need a reminder to give ourselves both leeway and discipline to ensure that we are successful. As always, contact Disability Services if you need to. They’re here for you, just as your lecturers and tutors are.
When you allow yourself to become ignorant to these kinds of “small issues”, you become a bystander of racism. So, if all it takes to help Māori tauira perform better in school is pronouncing Tame, Eruera, and Henare correctly, is it really such a tedious task?
All the best, Lilli Street
Talking With My Dad About Sex Hi I’m Lena. My dad is a sex therapist and I’m studying to be a sex educator – we’re here to talk relationships and sex, so send your queries and worries our way (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Question: "I’m a girl who’s really struggling with my body image and sex. My partner is lovely and he hasn’t done anything to make me feel bad, but I’m still extremely self conscious when completely naked. I also feel very exposed in certain sex positions. How do I feel more comfortable with my body and sex?"
Lena says: I would say that taking the time to look at why you are struggling to feel embodied is a great way to weaken its hold on you. There are infinite cultural messages telling you that the way you are isn’t desirable, but most of those exist to simply sell you crap, or are born out of extremely outdated views of what gives a person value. Reading critiques of these harmful messages can be a really fulfilling path to overcoming their effect on your confidence, and being fired up about the bullshit reasons society has told you you’re not sexy is great fuel for feeling sexy as a form of rebellion. You could also engage in this way on a more personal level, by talking to friends who you see as sexy about whether they have insecurities when having sex — it is very likely they will, and this way you are able to have an immediate demonstration of how a person’s own insecurities can be quite unfounded. It’s completely justified to want your partner to look at you and find you attractive, but I encourage you to take the freedoms that sex affords people and focus on those instead. By this I mean once you are already naked and engaging in sexual activity it is far more about how you are making each other feel than how any person looks. Focusing on sensations of giving and receiving pleasure leaves little room to worry about stretch marks or acne. In saying all this it is also totally okay to simply to talk to your partner about these insecurities and figure out ways they can help you feel more comfortable. They may be thinking how beautiful you are during sex, but weren’t aware that it would mean a lot to you for them to articulate that. People have different needs that allow them to feel comfortable during sex, and only through talking about these will you and your partner be able to ensure these needs are being met, to have the best sex possible.
Dad says: “Sexy” is a headspace, not a body shape. In our culture most women, and an increasing number of men, have negative feelings about their bodies. It sounds like you are already clear that the issue is your insecurities rather than any objective reality. Are there reasons why you struggle to accept yourself generally or sexually? A lot of us were given negative messages about ourselves by critical people in our upbringing. Recognising these as “old recordings” and not facts can help. Try to replace them with the story you want to have about your body, your attractiveness, and your sexuality. Sex is a language, a communication, between two people — not a performance or a display. What you “say” with your body is way more important that how it looks. If you are “saying” things like “I’m really turned on/into you/ having fun...” your partner is likely to respond in kind. If you hold back for fear of rejection, you are likely to trigger THEIR insecurities, and sex may stop being fun for either of you. “I feel unattractive/ugly” can be challenged by focusing on the reality of what your partner is “saying” to you about how attractive he is finding you. If they’re turned on and into you, then focus on that. Taking slow deep breaths from your belly when you are having self conscious thoughts, with the fierce determined intent of inhabiting and loving your own physicality and banning societal crap from your headspace, can help. Perhaps focus on reclaiming a deep connection with your own physicality. Yoga, movement meditation, breathing and walking in nature can all help you deliberately not let anything get between you and a great connection to your own physicality.
GERARD HOFFMAN Mental Health – Two words with a complicated meaning Mental health is a real buzz phrase these days. There’s a government enquiry looking at trying to fix a supposedly broken system; NZUSA have released the Kei te pai? Students’ Mental Health report, which paints a concerning picture of high rates of mental illness among students and limited support for them; and there is the Government promise of free counselling for all under 25 year olds. Our own research here at Victoria over a number of years reveals that up to 45% of our students have poor emotional wellbeing – the definition and duration of which is somewhat unclear. What is mental health? It’s a phrase that’s become associated with illness, stigma, negativity, hopelessness, and social distance. Someone with mental health issues is assumed to be mentally disordered with a specific and permanent label and highly likely to be taking medication. Is that all true? There are increasing numbers of mental health advocates, consumers, and professionals calling for a paradigm shift in how we view and talk about mental illness. This includes moving away from medical and illness metaphors and embracing the idea that we all have mental health – and that that’s a good thing! We need to start using phrases like feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and distressed – rather than mentally unwell or having a nervous breakdown. We need to move towards a sense of inclusion, using real life language and looking at creating more supportive environments including here on campus. We should be normalising the reality of stress and distress, and therefore implying that it happens to all of us. Most of what we call mental illnesses are in fact challenging emotional states that come and go, and respond really well to support, caring, and non judgemental attitudes. Yes we need more accessible health and counselling services, but they will not shift the paradigm on their own. This needs deliberate intention, and a change in thinking from us all. Gerard Hoffman Manager, Student Counselling
LET THIS SPACE SIT AS A REMINDER TO HAND IN YOUR ASSIGNMENTS AND COLUMNS ON TIME!
FROM THE ARCHIVES MAX NICHOL Bill Pearson’s essay Fretful Sleepers: A Sketch of New Zealand Behaviour and its Implications for the Artist, first published in 1952, depicts in detail the stifling conservatism of post-war New Zealand society. When I first read it as a sensitive first-year student, it seemed to illuminate some deep, murky truth about the New Zealand condition. Here’s a taster: “[In New Zealand] you get up at a regular hour, go to work, you marry and have a family, a house and garden, you live on an even keel till you draw a pension and they bury you decently … There is no place in normal New Zealand society for the man who is different.”
Hollenberg was not charmed by his time in New Zealand. He found Wellington’s students unenterprising, its weather unbearable, and its coffee unpalatable:
Much like Bill Pearson, Hollenberg saved his most cutting remarks for the bland mannerisms of the average Kiwi bloke:
Kiwis don’t like it when Kiwis talk shit about Kiwis. Imagine the earful Mark Richardson would have given Bill Pearson for this treason. But what New Zealanders really can’t stand, or even comprehend, is when someone comes to New Zealand and isn’t immediately charmed by the place. In Pearson’s words: “We sneer at English customs, yet from every visiting Englishman we exact words of praise and are offended if he criticizes us.” Our first question to tourists new to New Zealand is really a statement: “Beautiful isn’t it.”
“And just who does this Yank bloody joker think he is,” I thought to myself after reading these broadly accurate assessments of New Zealand in 1961, “coming in here and talking smack about 100% Clean Green, Pure, Lord of the Rings, God’s Own, Land of the Flat White Cloud New Zealand? When Bill Pearson said it, it was incisive commentary on the national character. Harvard Hollenberg can fuck right off, and take his drip coffee with him”. (I’m exaggerating, but only a bit).
As a history student, my official stance on this kind of deeply insecure nationalism is that it is “Not Good”. The Bill Pearsons and the Taika Waititis of this world are right to force us to confront the complacent arcadian image we have of little old New Zealand, harmoniously tucked at the bottom of the world. But I’d be lying to you if I didn’t have a self-conscious, knee-jerk reaction to criticisms of New Zealand made by overseas visitors. That’s how I came to feel personally aggrieved by an American Fulbright scholar who visited VUW in 1961. Harvard Hollenberg submitted an account of his time at Victoria to Spike in 1961. (Spike was the student revue of Vic, published annually from 1902. A.H. “Bonk” Scotney founded Salient in 1938, and the two publications co-existed fairly comfortably until 1961, when Spike ceased publication).
Why do I care what an exchange student from decades ago thinks of Wellington? Why does our national psyche jump so quickly to insecurity? Why are we like this? It’s a little old and maybe a little cynical, but you could do worse than poke your nose into Fretful Sleepers for some answers. At the very least you’ll be able to do what I do: pass yourself off as a tortured intellectual by dropping literary references in your fortnightly column.
THEATRE ALMOST SOBER INTERVIEW WITH KEEGAN BRAGG AND BEN WILSON INTERVIEW: EMMA MAGUIRE
I sat down with Keegan Bragg and Ben Wilson, the director and the writer of Almost Sober, a new thirteenperson theatre show currently being performed at Club 121 in the CBD. We talked about their show, why theatre shouldn’t just be for theatre people and how Almost Sober is a love letter to Wellington’s nightlife.
When you have thirteen characters, 95 pages is a good amount. E: With thirteen characters I presume you have quite a diverse cast. Do you think that any theatre-goer can come in and see at least part of themselves in one of your characters?
Emma: In your own words, give me a description of your show.
B: I hope so. That was a huge thing when I started and when I was talking with Keegan about it — everyone needs to feel like there’s something there. There’s a character that’s eighteen, and it’s her first time in town, and then there’s people who are like 26-27, who’ve been in the city for a very long time. I think it’s very Wellington-specific.
Ben: It’s a big scale show with about thirteen people, and it’s about a night in town — in Wellington’s club scene. Keegan: What I really like about Wellington is that you get some really weird nights here. There’s so many different stories, so many different characters — the idea was to cram in as much as we could in a really short amount of time, in about ninety minutes or so.
K: I remember when I moved here, when I moved into halls of residences for the first time here — I remember thinking that my whole life was now in this little room — but then you get older and you get more friends — I think this city begins to feel smaller, there are less mysteries in this city. It’s quite a small city, at the end of the day. It’s not as big as Auckland, and Auckland’s not as big as cities overseas.
E: Why do you think students — in particular those who don’t go to theatre very often — should come and see your show? B: The aspect of it is that it’s at a club, not an actual theatre and so I think there’s already a part of that “going to the theatre” stigma that’s been cut down by the fact that we’re putting it in a club — especially a club like 121, which is so student-orientated. My friend Cam [one of the club owners] saw my first play and he was so surprised by it — “there was swearing in that! I didn’t know you could swear in theatre! And you took drugs on stage — I didn’t know you could do that in theatre.” It was just so interesting to me that he had this Shakespearean idea of what theatre had to be.
B: There’s a whole thing in the play about being connected — everyone knows everybody. That’s such a big part about living in Wellington, everyday you’ll see someone that you know, or someone that you know through somebody else — K: For better or for worse, yeah. B: And for starters, when you move to Wellington, that’s exciting — but then it just gets old, more and more everyday. You’re sick of seeing people that you know — especially when you’re at your worst, you’re having a really sad day, you don’t want to see anyone you know. There’s a scene with an ex in the play — and that’s such a Wellington thing — to bump into your ex in town after two years. Wellington’s one of the only places where that’s definitely going to happen, you know?
E: So, you were commissioned to write this play? B: Sort of. I talked to Cam when I was, y’know, under the influence at his club and I pitched it to him — the idea of putting a show on. It was about a month, just me writing everyday, and it ended up at 95 pages. 36
PODCAST REVISIONIST HISTORY REVIEW: HAYDEN WASHINGTON-SMITH
I distinctly remember the first time I heard Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. It’s the kind of event that is hard to forget.
incredibly easy to watch time fly by as you wait for the bus. Beyond an engaging narrative, Gladwell also takes the time to reflect on what each story might tell us about wider society. After all, it is easy to forget that all of these stories are non-fiction. We often turn to literary greats for an interesting reflection of our reality, but sometimes (in the words of Mark Twain), truth is stranger than fiction.
I was bored on the train, endlessly scrolling through Spotify searching for something new. Remembering that a friend had recommended to me the Malcolm Gladwell podcast, I tried my luck and pressed play on Episode One. I was already familiar with Malcolm Gladwell and, to be honest, I had been sceptical. He has been writing for The New Yorker since 1996, but more famously published books like The Tipping Point, Outliers, and David and Goliath, among many. My hesitation came from Outliers and his famous 10,000 hours theory (10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in any field). I don’t think I’m the only one who finds it a bit of an oversimplification, surely there are more factors to greatness than just time, right?
I should note that while Gladwell is assertive, by no means does he expect to be blindly followed. He works best as an aid to constructing your own worldview. If I had to sum up this series (which only gets better in its third season), I’d say “it’s an audio documentary that’s actually exciting”. This is no ordinary history lesson, and it certainly doesn’t feel like you’re in a classroom. I definitely recommend taking the dive and finding out for yourself why a history podcast from Malcolm Gladwell is consistently at the top of the charts, and maintains a five-star rating on iTunes.
Regardless, after getting through the first episode, my opinion on Gladwell had changed. After I pressed play, there was nothing else I could listen to for the next week as I “binge-listened” through his first two seasons. There are many other podcasts that I do really enjoy, but this was the first time I had listened to something that surprised me. I’ve always loved getting caught up in the stories of great books and movies. It’s this aspect — narrative — where Gladwell truly succeeds with his podcast. He could give us a historical retelling of major events (as the title implies), but instead, he finds more interesting stories from overlooked and forgotten moments of history. Every episode contains all the ingredients of a Hollywood movie: a conflict, a resolution, an exciting premise, and sometimes a hero's journey, making it 37
BOOKS THE MARS ROOM BY RACHEL KUSHNER REVIEW: LAURA SOMERSET
Romy Hall is 27 years old when she kills her stalker, a client at the strip club where she works, with a crowbar. Her public defender in court is overworked and underpaid, and lands her with two life sentences in Stanville Prison. Her son falls into the foster care system and is soon lost to her.
The Mars Room is an important addition to contemporary literature for what it has to say on inequality and crime in the United States. For the average reader however, it’s deeply unsettling and difficult to enjoy. At times the terrible fates of the characters come across as torture porn. The writing is bleak, and no character is hugely endearing. Kushner creates a world devoid of any hope, and it’s emotionally draining to take in.
With admitted parallels to Orange is the New Black, The Mars Room knits together the perspectives of central and peripheral characters in Romy’s life. We hear from her fellow inmates, who are crooked cops and killers of children; from prison workers, laden with guilt yet also transfixed by their own power; and even from Romy’s stalker himself, in the moments preceding his death. The narrative dips in and out of time, which lends it a detached and disorienting tone.
It’s not a particularly appealing picture, but hold on now. Although it wouldn’t be recommended as lighthearted beach reading, this novel serves as a textbook for any student with a concern for social justice. Reading The Mars Room is like working in hospitality: it’s unpleasant, but by the end of it you’re better equipped to move through the world with empathy and care.
Kushner constructs a rich portrayal of San Francisco as Romy recalls her life before incarceration. Intricate imagery of the city juxtaposes her pared back descriptions of Stanville Prison, so that Romy’s present day feels like a semi-reality compared to the more fully developed San Francisco of her past. This creates a real sensation of claustrophobia when we return to the prison. The strong sense of place that Kushner builds in The Mars Room showcases the visceral and evocative command of language that made her previous books so successful. Although Kushner’s delivery shines, the success of this novel lies in the political statement it makes. The Mars Room is a scathing critique of the criminal justice system, and of contemporary America which calls itself a place of equal opportunity. As we learn of each character’s pitiful lot in life, with abusive and poverty-stricken childhoods, the prisoners are reminded by guards that they deserve no pity for landing themselves here. In a nod to the fallacies of neoliberalism, Kushner points out the obscenity of using mass incarceration as a punishment for victims of social issues.
FILMS NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (THE BEST OF THE FEST? MAYBE.) REVIEW: EMMA MAGUIRE & MONTY SANSOM
Searching — David Kim (John Cho) finds himself as an amateur investigator when his 16-year-old daughter goes missing. Told entirely through a computer screen, this work is a heart-wrenching thriller that far transcends the bounds of its medium. - Emma
Burning — The tale of awkward man meets attractive girl then attractive girl meets attractive guy, elevated to a high art in this Korean thriller. The film is a slow burn from the start, filled with long takes that emphasise the thought process of the protagonist, Jong-Soo. While some dialogue is painfully obvious foreshadowing of the film’s climax, it’s a vast improvement and expansion of the love triangle storyline. - Monty
Skate Kitchen — A charming, subtle, and revitalised coming-of-age story set against the gorgeous backdrop of New York City, centring on fictitious versions of the titular female skate crew. Crystal Moselle incorporates fluid camera movement to capture the urban skater jungle, intimate shot types and unfiltered dialogue to reflect the youth and humanity of these teenagers, interwoven with a driving score to match. - Monty
You Were Never Really Here — Joaquin Phoenix delivers yet another stellar performance as Joe, a hired gun who finds young trafficked women using violent methods. However, the film inverts the hitman tropes and focuses on delving into Joe’s psychological torment through slickly edited sequences to his repressed, abusive past. This character study is deepened through some scenes having minimal dialogue or action, drawing the audience’s attention to the screen; be it the aftermath of his violent rampage, or Joe’s reaction to narrative events. Lynne Ramsay has crafted yet another high calibre art piece that focuses very much on the show-don’t-tell element of filmmaking. - Monty
Thelma — A young woman begins to suffer from unexplained seizures and hallucinations after she falls in love with another woman. While it is good to see queer films that aren’t just about being queer, this Norwegian film is let down by unexplained plot threads, discomforting subtext, and the way it plays heavily into the male gaze. - Emma
Our New President — Maxim Pozdorovkin’s satirical take on the election of Donald Trump is a horrifying and badly-edited 78 minutes of film. Stringing Russian propaganda footage together in the search of some goal — presumably to show the world how anti-Hillary Clinton and pro-Donald Trump Russia is — Pozdorovkin’s documentary misses the mark in more than a few ways. It is, however, fascinating — if you want to see how bizarre the Russian propaganda machine is. - Emma
Petra — A Spanish drama on the surface but layered beneath is a story akin to Greek tragedy. The film also utilises a non-linear narrative structure which carefully reveals or omits information to the audience through a melancholic sting. While the acting in Petra might seem expressionless, contrary to the events onscreen, this stillness reflects the character’s fragility as they uncover the truth. - Monty
TELEVISION GLOW SEASON 2 REVIEW: NAVEETH NAIR
GLOW is a netflix original based on the 1980s women’s professional wrestling show The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch draw from the personas of the wrestling ladies of the 80s to weave an ensemble narrative that shines for its compelling characters and strong handling of complex emotions. Firmly centred on struggling actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), Season 1 dealt with the creation of GLOW and Ruth’s conflicts with GLOW’s director Sam Sylvia and her former best friend Debbie Eagan, a has-been TV actress who joins the cast of GLOW. Season 2 follows the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and the syndication of their show on cable television. Again, Ruth’s romantic life and her difficulties working with Sam are the focus of the show. Although the show focuses on Ruth’s storyline, which is endearing and hopeful in itself, Season 2 makes a welcome exploration of “Liberty Belle” Debbie Egan’s life as she assumes more power in the show’s production while coping with her divorce. As an ensemble show, GLOW faces the potential difficulty of having an abundance of characters it struggles to utilise and develop. While some of the cast don’t receive full character arcs, GLOW excels in making the viewer feel like they’ve still spent a valuable amount of time growing and sharing experiences with the supporting cast. This is a treat, as the ensemble itself is such a lovable, interesting, and varied range of individuals, not just shoehorned caricatures. Despite learning most of their story threads from comedic moments, they still make for entertaining and meaningful explorations of minor characters. My investment in the characters and my surprising knowledge of the personal details of their lives is a testament to the show’s clever writing.
work through their difficult situations. Whether it’s the harshness of divorce, longing for a functional relationship between father and daughter, or a fear of disappointing the most important people in your life, GLOW’s ensemble is suitably saddled with complex, multi-faceted, and genuinely moving stories. While there is a great deal of melancholy throughout the show, GLOW succeeds by making warm and pleasant moments meaningful and genuinely uplifting. Such powerful character arcs can only be delivered through equally strong performances. GLOW has this in spades. The fragility portrayed by Alison Brie, Marc Maron, Betty Gilpin, Kia Stevens, and the other stars defines GLOW as less of a drama about women’s pro wrestling than one about real, multi-faceted individuals. The cast disappears into each of their respective roles, balancing humour, melancholy, and the desire to succeed as a wrestling production so well that the “ladies of GLOW” feel like an actual family with real life shared experiences, whether they’re hanging out backstage or going to the mall. Having binged through this season in one sitting, I found myself enthralled, overjoyed, and moved by a second season that improves upon an already stellar first season. Not having touched upon the beautiful production design, settings, costumes, nor the extremely fun “episode within an episode”, the show is a powerhouse of entertainment. The women who create and direct GLOW have struck something special in the follow up to their first season. Worth a watch? Fuck yes.
The beauty of GLOW lies in the brutality with which it handles emotion. GLOW shines by truly meditating on its characters as they wallow, cope with, and 40
MUSIC LIL XAN GIG AT MEOW REVIEW: SAUTÉ SYMON
Lil Xan is a much-hyped cloud trap artist from Los Angeles. Boasting more than 220 million plays on Spotify for his single “Betrayed”, he is arguably a hot topic. His trap influenced sound continues to play on lavish renditions of drugs, money, and poor representation of women. “Xan” comes from the addictive prescription pill Xanax, which is he known to be an abuser of, while simultaneously out against its misuse.
Xan mentioned he wants to retire here in 10 years from now, once he’s done with the music game. Unfortunately, I feel that this is just the latest experiment from music industry giants. His uncensored social media presence suggests label tensions and evokes a lack of self-autonomy. Sources speculated the late change of venue being due to poor ticket sales, only adding to my suspicions that this genre has nearly expired. I hope Xan has someone looking out for him, and that his listenership become more critical of what his celebrated lifestyle truly represents.
Several sources told me that Lil Xan took too much Xanax on his flight from Auckland to Wellington after misjudging the distance between the two cities, leading to him being carried off the plane after the short flight. Post-gig he is said to have had a tantrum for being told to finish his set. Xan was accompanied by a posy of hype men and security. After stretching out the pre-show hype, he appeared on stage with an almost empty bottle of bubbles (I hope it was sparkling rosé) and a microphone that received minor attention for the rest of the gig. It’s now industry standard to have a laptop DJ playing backing tracks from the album, and occasionally choruses may have backing vocals and the like. However, Xan’s backing tracks were literally the tracks from Spotify. The full vocal takes were audible throughout the gig. When Xan had the energy, he would yell inaudibly over these tracks. This progressive approach to live sound was a highlight of the evening. In addition, there were kitsch samples of machine guns and bombs for effect during banter. Possibly the most interesting feature of the gig was the audience. Xan has an incredibly dedicated following of privileged fuckboys. Some were so far gone, they were kicked out before Xan made it to the stage; while others were so young, their parents watched patiently in the back rows of the gig, in a zone that had been socially constructed (mutually) for anyone over the age of 21.
ART DEATH AND DESIRE REVIEW: JANE WALLACE
What initially seemed to be a rather sensational title for an exhibition about hair proved to be entirely apt: the themes of Death and Desire interlace and tie various items from the Turnbull collections together like a neat braid.
embodied. Artist Sonya Clark makes the incisive point that “hair can measure hegemony within our culture”. It is for this reason that Katherine Mansfield rebelliously cut her locks short—you can see them here. Photographic portraits of wāhine Māori with long shining tresses are comparatively hung next to portraits of tightly coiffured Pākehā women. It is noted that the decision to let their hair down would have been the photographer’s: loose hair on indigenous women was regrettably stereotyped by Europeans to signal availability and lust, a trope that the photographer has played on here.
Though hair is not usually included under the “human remains” label, the surprising amount of this bodily material found in the Turnbull collections lends a macabre quality to the historic items on show. This exhibition doesn’t just consist of portraits either—it includes actual locks of hair that belonged to nowdeceased folk. Memento mori objects like the Victorian jewellery made of hair — worn to commemorate the dead — are only considered morbid in modern times. Like vanitas paintings that incorporated skulls into still lifes, these objects were once commonplace due to high mortality rates. Death was once so pervasive that carrying the remains of a loved one, whether in a daguerreotype compact (an object similar to a locket) or woven into earrings, was arguably an act of social obligation more than it was sentimental.
If you’re not turned away by a phobia of detached hair or an allergy to libraries, this exhibition is worth a visit for its contemporary works in particular. One of Justine Varga’s cameraless photographs, made with hair from the shower, complements Alison Maclean’s short film entitled Kitchen Sink (1989). Taking cues from B-grade thrillers and Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s film Un Chien Andalou (1929), the film follows a woman torn between lust and horror when she accidentally grows a hairy spouse in the bath (not unlike an expandable water toy). Through a delightfully absurd narrative, this work encapsulates the opposing forces often at play in our relationships to hair.
When its purpose was not to memorialise the dead, hair functioned as a substitute for subjects of desire. A particularly disturbing case in point is a diary of a settler that includes women’s hair, likely taken as a token of his sexual conquests. The diary dates to 1860-67, and it is suggested that the women were from Ruapuke, an island “where few Pākehā ever went”. While we can only speculate over the motives for taking their hair — or whether the women consented to having their hair collected in this way — the curator makes a case for the correlation between this instance and colonial ethnographic practices. What this would reveal is not only the disturbing sexual motives of the settler, but the inherently fetishistic interests of more “official” ethnography. Hair has always been a politicised site upon which intersections of racial, gendered, and class-based identities and oppressions have been enacted and 42
FOOD PIE IN THE SKY INTERVIEW: SHARIFF BURKE
After stomaching Z’s latest promotional pie, the PeriPeri chicken pie, Mylo turns to me for a belated chat. Mylo: Gee, I love pies. You know I think Z struck something here with their “Pie Capital” marketing campaign. Now, in the darkest recesses of my mind, Z feels more like home to me than BP, or Caltex, or Gull. Me: They had me at Beef Rendang pie, everything else is a non-sequitur. Besides, I know you’ve always been a pie-romaniac. Mylo: I think they call it piety, actually. Me: Yeah, I’m happy for you. Obviously you know that Wellington’s pie scene isn't the best, maybe with some high points in Island Bay and Hataitai, otherwise, I reckon solid pies are found up north. Mylo: Woah, big call. I love pies so much, it's like a drug addiction, only cooler. Can you understand? I was reading the papers the other day and someone said that food is the new rock n roll. Perhaps I should be a pieoneer. Start a shop or stand or something selling pies, my way. Turning a passion into a project, turning love into money… Me: You sound inspired. You could use my recipes if you want. Like the velvety dhal pie for vegans, or even my personal fav mussel pie with miso and mushroom. There are so many directions you could go with it. The assessment is two-fold, a good casing for a good filling. You can’t have one without the other. Then, it’s a matter of what you want to say through your pie; staple pies done well, or fusionnostalgia pies like Z, or you could even go Wellington on a Plate wanky, with expensive sounding gourmet pies. Mylo: Ohh please don’t say Wellington on a Plate to me, with their serving of rich white liberal snobbery. Pies are a common person food, I wanna stay true to that. Which is not to say that it should be eaten with a can of V, but nevertheless I digress. What I was gonna say was, haven't you noticed that lots of Pākehā are a bit edgy around mussels? Me: Yes, its tragic, but also endearing somehow. Guess you can’t sell those mussel-miso pies then. In fact I did once feel like I was the only person buying
the mussel pies from New World Metro, eventually, they pulled it off the shelf. Could you please bring it back? For me? Mylo: Ugh, do I have to cater to mainstream Pākehā preference? Me: Crust me, it’s Wellington, there's no escape. They don’t fuck with no kaimoana. It’s business, and also sociological reality. It’s not personal, sink or swim mate. Mylo: Neither, I wanna be like a mussel, just sitting on rocks, soaking it all in, hard yet soft. Why can’t we be more pie-curious, not adhering to all these boring and rigid customs and tastes? Me: Yeah hard bro, I’m all about us being more pie-curious. Colonial orthodoxy does play it’s part, no doubt, it’s instructing from the recesses of our minds, the same place the infatuation with Z petrol kiosks are found. It’s something we need to unwork on so many levels. But, also it could just be the texture of mussels or something, it's not everyone's cup of tea… Mylo: Texture? What do you mean, it’s a wonderful texture! It’s almost like kissing... kissing a short tongue if you will. What a sensation! Me: Sure thing, Donald… Mylo: Hey, all I’m saying is I wanna have a piece of the pie too. Look at these Fratelli and Bresolin brothers etc, they’ve got a finger in every pie! Literally, selling spaghetti for $20 and the whole city sings their praise. Really, that ain’t good enough for me. Me: Well, first may I recommend you some humble pie. Second… Mylo: Stop pretending to be agreeable, I know you hate Mr Go’s and all the rest of it too. The whole concept is an affront to us. Me: Okay fine, you’re right. I don’t wanna get started on that incase someone might overhear us. Anyway, I’ve got to go now. Nice talking. Mylo: Goodpie, Butter Chicken. Me: Goodpie, Mince and Cheese.
Horoscope Brutally honest & highly accurate readings from the stars above.
Libra (Sep 23 - Oct 22) As the proverb says, "you can lead a camel to water, but not through the eye of a needle". The significance of this will become apparent.
Aries (March 21 - Apr 19) Get a disguise. Leave town. If anyone asks, your name is Fitzgerald.
Taurus (Apr 20 - May 20) The days are getting colder. The sewers are lonely. Remain calm. The stars say you'll get out before hypothermia sets in.
Scorpio (Oct 23 - Nov 21) Turns out you have the same fortune as Cancer this week. What are the chances!
Gemini (May 21 - June 20) Inmate #0093482 knows how to get things. When you are next doing the warden's accounts, take something of value. Trade it for a hammer.
Sagittarius (Nov 22 - Dec 21) You will be unjustly dismissed from your job this week... Unemployment will be a long & difficult time in your life. Why not make the most of your firing and tell your boss what you really think.
Cancer (June 21 - July 22) Don't look now, but there's someone staring at you. Make several detours on your way home. If you're already at home, you might want to consider moving.
Capricorn (Dec 22 - Jan 19) Enjoy the refreshing taste of Colgate toothpaste. This horoscope has been brought to you by the New Zealand Dentists Association.
Leo (July 23 - Aug 22) It is time, Leo. On the next full moon the ritual will commence.
Aquarius (Jan 20 - Feb 18) You will find yourself sitting in front of the dull glow of a screen and thinking, I wish I were a toy maker. You will learn wood carving. Once the tool is in your hand you will know that this is what you were born to do. You will spend many sleepless nights in your workshop. You will enjoy it.
Virgo (Aug 23 - Sep 22) You are doing very well. Keep working through the test chambers.The cake will be delicious.
Pisces (Feb 19 - March 20) Your friendship with fire may be your undoing. A gas mask will help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Triggerfin by Gus Mitchell, Crossword by Scurryfunge, horoscope and Larrikins by Anton Huggard, Sudoku by Nathan Hotter
Words must be at least three letters long, and cannot be proper nouns, abbreviations or contractions. Eh: 25 Wow: 35 Wtf: 45
ACROSS 8 Nepalese abomination (4) 9 Overrated songstress who turned 19, 21 and 25 (5) 10 Clear throat and finish off a pant leg (4) 11/32 Talk by Inferno's author leads to disaster film (cryptic) (6,4) 12 Hmm, umm, a 1995 film? Sorry, can't think of anything (8) 13 Scottish minister sure produces a lot of eggs (8) 15 Guidance of Vlad, vice-president? (cryptic) (6) 17 Ruling line stays in the family (7) 19 1981 German war film starring the U-96 (3,4) 22 Now obsolete, it was originally defined as how far you could walk in an hour (6) 24 A female matter? Best sleep on it (8) 26 Leads university as centre evades former AB back (cryptic) (8) 28 It borders Palestine... (6) 30 Abalone often served poached (4) 31 Coarse, of course (5) 32 See 11
DOWN 1 Greek letter isn't quite ready for release (4) 2/16 Military award named after moody queen (8,5) 3 Courageous collie saves Scots girl (6) 4 Swordplay foiled by Number 8 wire (7) 5 Nearby mountain range that had a name change in 2017 (8) 6 Russian bell-ringer famed for his wellconditioned dogs (6) 7 Information coming from all directions (cryptic) (4) 14 Herb heard an abstract concept (cryptic) (5) 16 See 2 18 Rock band that took inspiration, namely, from an Aldous Huxley novel (3,5) 20 Type of chart, maybe with Oresme and Playfair on the x-axis (3,5) 21 Mozart's middle name, but seemingly only after death (7) 23 Both Ed Sheeran and Steve Earle had a girl from here (6) 25 Martial art after Spooner's drink got spiced (cryptic) (3,3) 27 US state home to Mormons and Jazz (4) 29 Back late and split others (cryptic) (2,2)
Last Week's Answers Across: 1 Tungsten, 5 Operas, 9 Proposal, 10 Smidge, 12 Full house, 13 Epoch, 14 Brie, 16 Moniker, 19/21 Wrights Hill, 24 Laksa, 25 KiwiBuild, 27 Grassy, 28 Meridian, 29 The Fly, 30 Penguins. Down: 1 Tip off, 2 Noodle, 3 Sloth, 4 Erasure, 6 Pimpernel, 7 Red Rocks, 8 Shepherd, 11 Term, 15
Rehearsal, 17 Twilight, 18 Nickname, 20 Sake, 21 Hawkeye, 22 Bikini, 23 Adonis, 26 Bring.
The People to Blame Centrefold Phoebe Morris @febe_m phoebemorriscreative.com
Editor Louise Lin Designer/Illustrator Ruby Ash
Contributors Grahame Woods, Lachlan Patterson, Zachary Rose, James Allan, Emma Maguire, Courtney Powell, Alister Hughes, Callum Finn Reason, Marlon Drake, Paddy Miller, Shakked Noy, Lilli Street, Ariel McleanRobinson, Maia Te Koha, Elena Beets, Gerard Hoffman, Max Nichol, Hayden Washington-Smith, Monty Samson, Sauté Symon, Gus Mitchell, Anton Huggard, Nathan Hotter, Scurryfunge
News Editor Taylor Galmiche Sub Editor Sally Harper Distributor Danica Soich Chief News Reporter Angus Shaw
FM Station Managers Kii Small & Jazz Kane
Feature Writers Cavaan Wild Naveeth Nair Shanti Mathias
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3 questions for the Vice Chancellor • I enrolled to get a VUW degree – will I get that when I graduate? VUW degrees are known worldwide. Overseas students have headed to VUW and been welcomed for over 70 years. VUW has 120 years of research, reputation, recognition. VUW is a Top 500 university with eleven of its schools with Top 100 status. Do you want an unknown, untested, “University of Wellington” degree through joining the Vice Chancellor’s risky experiment? Demand what you enrolled for – your VUW degree. Keep faith with those students from overseas.
• Has VUW’s “research” for its name proposal been peer-reviewed by our own world class academics? VUW has world class experts in research, statistics, law, design, and many more disciplines. The “University of Wellington” proposal is based on claims from outside research which are now challenged by national and international alumni experts in these fields. Let VUW’s academics peer-review the VC’s plan and report before we decide.
• Why the hurry? Why just 2 weeks to consider what you have only now disclosed? On the evening of 27 July, suddenly 50 pages of documents (plus attachments) were released – including items previously withheld from OIA release. Why the rush? Seventeen months for the VC to prepare – 2 weeks for us to consider and respond! VUW has had 120 years to build its world status – that’s worth more than 2 weeks of time to think and reply.
Go to Facebook– “Stickwithvic” Sign the petition
This advertisement was inserted by Hugh Rennie BA LLB (VUW) QC www.harbourchambers.co.nz on behalf of “Stick with Vic” who are VUW people joined to stand up for the future of our university. No university monies were spent on this advertisement.