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16 16OCTOBER OCTOBER2017 2017


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dream explore connect


New Zealand’s

Ultimate Youth Travel Card #DreamExploreConnect

Includes youth airfares and dining discounts across NZ and Oz.

Editors — Tuioleloto Laura Toailoa and Tim Manktelow

Contact — 04 463 6766 Level 2, Student Union Building Victoria University of Wellington PO Box 600, Wellington

Designers — Eun Sun Jeong and Ellyse Randrup

Printing — Service Printers 258 Taranaki Street, Wellington

News Editor — Brigid Quirke News Reporters — Doug Mullins, E A Tombs, Harry Clatworthy, Jack Cammock, Matt Currill, Samantha Gordon, Siobhan O’Connor Feature Writers — Jessica La, Ali Burns, Katie Meadows, Laura Toailoa, Robert Barrett Chief Sub-Editor — Georgia Lockie Distributor — Darren Chin Arts Editor — Cameron Gray Section Editors — Annelise Bos (Podcast), Cameron Gray (Games), Emilie Hope (Theatre), Finn Holland and Mathew Watkins (Film), Hanahiva Rose (Visual Art), Katie Meadows (Television), Kimberley McIvor (Books), Olly Clifton and Lauren Spring (Music) Contributors — Aidan Kelly, Kate Aschoff, Rory Lenihan-Ikin, Beth Paterson, Awhina Henry, Zach Fonoti, Henrietta Bollinger, Hannah Wee, Gus Mitchell, Tom Danby, T.P.O, Puck Advertising — Grace Gollan 04 463 6982

Paper — Sun 80gsm Salient is printed on environmentally sustainable paper, with vegetable ink, and is completely FSC approved. Typefaces — Wedge by Bruce Rotherham, Adobe Caslon Pro by Carol Twombly About Us — Salient staff are employed by, but editorially independent from, the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA). Salient is a member of, syndicated, and supported by the Aotearoa Student Press Association (ASPA). Salient is partially funded by Victoria University students, through the student levy. Opinions expressed are not necessarily representative of those of VUWSA, ASPA, Service Printers, or the editorial staff. Complaints — Please email editor@ and if not satisfied with response contact VUWSA. Salient — 16 October, 2017 Volume 80, Issue 24


CONTENTS Editors’ Letter......................................8 Letters..................................................9 Notices................................................59 News General News.....................................10

An (im)possible dream: Living Wage for Vic Books......................................14 Salient and VUW tussle over Official Information Act requests....................16

Politics Political Round-Up.............................17 Opinion On Queer Activism in 2017...............31 Columns Presidential Address............................18 VUWSA.............................................18 Te Ara Tauira......................................19 One Ocean..........................................19 Voice of V-ISA....................................20 Token Cripple.....................................20 Sport...................................................21 Super Science Trends..........................22 Features Grandma............................................26 — Jessica La Little Ghosts.......................................28 — Ali Burns

I Hate Myself and I Want to Die: Borderline Personality Disorder & Misrepresentation in Film..................34 — Katie Meadows Writing (our) stories...........................42 — Laura Toailoa In Which a Boy Leaves......................46 — Robert Barratt Arts Television...........................................50 Games................................................51 Books..................................................52 Theatre................................................53 Music..................................................54 Film....................................................56 Visual Art...........................................57 Podcast...............................................58 Puzzles................................................60 Comic.................................................61

What Remains, The Karori Commission Anna Sanderson, Gavin Hipkins, Philip Kelly

14.10.17– 21.12.17

From the College Collection

Future Islands: The New Zealand Exhibition at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale

14.10.17– 17.12.17

Four exhibitions

Apparitions: the photograph and its image Curated by Geoffrey Batchen and his Honours students

FREE ENTRY Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm The gallery is located beside the Student Union building on Kelburn campus

BE INSPIRED TAKE A CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP AS PART OF YOUR DEGREE OR TO DEVELOP YOUR WRITING CREW 256 MAORI & PASIFIKA CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP Renowned playwright Victor Rodger will convene this summer course. We welcome students who wish to produce fiction, creative non-fiction, plays, screenplays or poetry. Applications close 1 November 2017 CREW 258 AND CREW 259 (TRIMESTER THREE) IOWA WORKSHOPS From 8 January until 16 February 2018 we are offering intensive workshops in poetry and fiction, taught by leading graduates of the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Applications close 1 November 2017 CREW 350 (2018) WORLD-BUILDING WORKSHOP This course, convened by the internationally acclaimed author Elizabeth Knox, would be ideal for writers interested in fantasy and speculative fiction. Applications close 1 December 2017

CREW 351 (2018) WRITING FOR TELEVISION Sitcom, series drama, soap and sketch comedy. Want to learn how to write a television script? Join Dave Armstrong for this course. Applications close 1 December 2017 MASTER OF ARTS IN CREATIVING WRITING (2018) Novelists, essayists, scriptwriters, poets, playwrights, memoirists— get serious about your writing. Study at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. Applications close 1 November 2017

APPLY NOW FOR TRIMESTER THREE, 2017 AND FOR 2018 To find out more about the creative writing courses offered by the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, go to the website.

Editors’ letter

This is the end and there are few words coming to mind other than cheesy late ’90s early ’00s pop lyrics that mourn the end of high school and romantic relationships. The end of Salient is and isn’t that monumental. I hate goodbyes, they’re so sad, and final. But every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. * We’ve covered a lot this year and for that we cannot thank enough the hundreds of volunteers who have given their time and words to this publication — there are so many of you! 313 people contributed their writing, art, and time to the magazine this year (there are likely more than this, we’re not sure how much to trust our counting!), and we want to say thank you to them all. 12 people have also helped make videos for Salient TV, and 168 have been involved in Salient FM hosting shows. If there’s one regret we have it’s that there have inevitably been people we’ve been unable to bring on board, or emails we’ve missed, and we apologise for that. While we tried our best, there are limits to the 20 hours we are paid for each week — next year if you want to be involved get in touch early! Many more of you have engaged with the magazine, listened to the radio, and watched our videos — we want to say thank you! Your involvement is crucial and we hope you’ve found something enjoyable or of interest this year (even if it was just Puck’s legendary puzzles). We’re not going to pretend that it has been all smooth sailing; when re-reading Issue 01 recently, we could feel the shock of having to produce a weekly magazine emanating through the pages. We recognise this must have been jarring to those of you returning to VUW; a completely different design and format, coupled with us being somewhat rushed and overwhelmed. So thank you to those of you who stuck with us: we appreciate you and your feedback. Part of our decision to make the changes this year was to shake up the possibilities of Salient on its 80th birthday. We were hoping to create something with a lifespan beyond the publication week, with a fresh design layout and writing that tackled questions with no easy answers. We want people to be able to return to the issues and find value — to have something to take with them when they leave university that doesn’t just sit dusty under the bed. It’s not for us to say whether we succeeded (and we’re sure some of you loathe what we’ve done, wishing for more fun and colour!), but it’s also the beauty of student media that the publication can morph so much year to year. Salient 2018 will have a completely new team, a new feel, and we encourage you to stay engaged with it. May the independent publication of student voice be something that the university and VUWSA respect enough to give it the “adequate funding” Salient and its hundreds of contributors/ readers are entitled to. With our final space we want to say thank you to our close team of staff for their dedication and the huge amount of overtime they’ve all worked this year (adequate funding!). Thanks to Brigid, Sun, Ellyse, Georgia, Morgan, Elise, Cameron, Rob, Dan, Ali, Mikee, Darren, and Josephine — you’re all stars. * P.S. If anyone wants to pick up some copies of the previous issues, there are a few kicking round the office and we’re happy to mail them out too — get in touch, — Tuioleloto Laura Toailoa and Tim Manktelow

If you don’t want to write for us — write to us! Salient welcomes, encourages, and thrives on public debate. Send us your honest feedback, be it praise or polemics.


WE DID IT JUST FOR U DC Hi Salient, I’m making a last ditch, untimely request. Please put a magazine stand at Vic Books Pipitea. Hi VUWSA, I’m making a last ditch, timely request. Please work towards ensuring all of your affiliated workers (incl. Vic Books) are paid the living wage. That moustache won’t pay their rent. Power to the people. D C Mullins.



Don’t forget our year-round 10% staff & student* discount on general books only in-store at Vic Books *Discount also extended to recent alumni






LIFTS NOT FULLY OPERATIONAL UNTIL OCTOBER 2019 (SALIENT WONDERS WHAT THE WORLD WILL BE LIKE?) Permanent reinstatement of all lifts in the Rankine Brown Building on Kelburn Campus will not take place until October 2019, following damage sustained during the November 2016 earthquake. The Director of Property Services Stephen Costley told Salient on July 17 that VUW had “hoped” to have a lift service for trimester one of 2018. However information released by VUW on October 4 states that only two lifts, running from Levels 3 to 7 on the south side of the building, will be operational by May 2018. The delay in the reinstatement of the lifts comes from a “commitment” by VUW to “improve earthquake resilience.” Discussions surrounding the building’s seismic strength have occurred following the release of the Detailed Seismic Assessment (DSA) in September. At the time of writing, VUW declined to release the DSA to Salient without an Official Information Act request. Salient asked about the implementation of specific health and safety measures for students, staff, and visitors, given this concern with seismic strength. Costley said, on October 11, that VUW relies on “the advice from its structural engineers,” but provided no further detail on the content of that advice. The October 4 update was posted on the VUW Library website and Facebook page, the latter of which has a reach of 1200 users. However, no similar announcement was made on the VUW Facebook page, which has a reach of over 75,000 users.

News NEWS University librarian Janet Fletcher told Salient that she had confidence in the VUW Library communications strategy: “The library [...] uses the university channels where it is appropriate.” However, when Salient spoke to students, many were unaware of the elongated delay in lift access. Thirdyear student Henry Badenhorst Juer told Salient that he had “no idea” about the update and that VUW had “handled it poorly.” Delayed lack of lift access raises further concerns about accessible study spaces for students. Postgraduate student, Loren Cassidy, who suffers from arthritis, told Salient that the prolonged lack of lift access can be “limiting for people with disabilities.” Having to go elsewhere is “a pain, because there’s already a lack of space for studying in quiet spaces.” “For myself, it would mean I wouldn’t choose to study at Kelburn campus.” The stairway at the northern end of Rankine Brown will be closed from October 2017 through to April 2018. Level 0 is also now inaccessible, with a retrieval service operating for resources until November 17. It is unclear how Level 0 resources will be managed after this point. — E A Tombs

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT In September 2016 a three day waste audit was conducted by VUW staff and students. The audit took place at Kelburn, Te Aro, and Pipitea campuses, with the aim of identifying where the university could make improvements in its waste management system. Following the release of the results of the audit in September 2017, VUWSA Wellbeing and Sustain-

ability Officer Beth Paterson told Salient that 80% of the waste on campus could be diverted from landfill. Of this, 20% was food waste, 15% paper towels, and 10% plastics. In response to the audit, VUW established an Environmental Action Plan to divert waste from landfills. Actions towards this include the streamlining the waste management process, consistent colour-coding and clear signage of bins, the introduction of compost bins in kitchenettes, and better communications with staff and students on how to use the bins. These changes will be implemented first in Rutherford House, and if successful will “hopefully” be put in place on the other campuses. At the time of print, new bins had been instituted at Rutherford House, although the other measures had not yet been adopted. VUW has previously released Environmental Action Plans setting out VUW’s sustainability strategies to the public in 2006 and 2013 — though it is unclear whether there has been any improvement in VUW practices. The 2013 plan discussed how 60% of VUW’s waste could be diverted from landfill, in comparison to the results of the 2016 audit which found that 80% of waste could be diverted from landfill. Despite this, the Assistant ViceChancellor Sustainability Marjan van den Belt told Salient “my goal is for the Sustainability Office to produce an environmental report as part of the sustainability report every year.” The 2016 Sustainability Report was released in October 2017, stating that, “reporting is an important mechanism for providing transparency, essential in taking on a leading role.” “This report reflects a transition from environmental reporting reflecting past performance to sustainability reporting oriented toward forward-looking aspirations. This

12 also signals that the responsibility for sustainability sits with everybody and not just the Sustainability Office.” — Samantha Gordon



Both New World and Countdown, two of New Zealand’s “big three” supermarket chains, have NEW EXECUTIVE announced that they will phase out FOR UNIQ single-use plastic bags by the end of 2018. UniQ, a representative group for Countdown announced its polVUW’s LGBTQIA+ community, icy on October 4, with New World has appointed a new Executive for following suit six days later. 2018. The managing director of CountErin Page, a fourth-year student down said that customer surveys majoring in German and Italian, and showed 83 per cent support for the Grace Visser, a second-year major- policy. ing in linguistics, have been appointChris Quinn, the Chief Execed as next year’s co-presidents. They utive of Foodstuffs, parent compa“hope to continue making VUW a ny of New World and Pak’nSave, queer-inclusive place [by working] claims they did not follow Countwith the university at an institutional down’s lead, but instead responded level, and by connecting with more to the results of their own “BagVote” queer students, staff, and allies.” campaign. UniQ, which has been running This campaign asked customers since 1996, meets each Friday to whether they would support a $0.05 offer a safe space for LGBTQIA+ or $0.10 levy on plastic bags, or prestudents and their friends. Meetings fer that they remain free. alternate each week between being 75 per cent of voters chose a a forum for support/discussion for $0.10 levy, with numerous customers queer and questioning students, and contacting New World saying they hosting board game sessions. would prefer to not use plastic bags. UniQ also run movie nights on a Since its launch in July this year, monthly basis, organise events such 50,000 people have signed a Greenas Pride Week throughout the year, peace petition to ban plastic bags and run a queer mentoring service in New Zealand. which pairs queer students together Elena Di Palmer, Greenpeace’s in a buddy system. plastics campaigner, has praised Page and Visser were both in- the supermarket companies for volved in UniQ in 2017. Page was a their bold move. However, she beTransgender Representative on the lieves that solving the problem of Executive, and Visser acted as a rep- plastic pollution will require a lot resentative for the group, liaising on more work. UniQ’s behalf on committees such An estimated 12.7 million tonnes as the Student Equity and Diversi- of plastic enters the ocean every year. ty Committee. As well as continu- This causes significant disruption to ing the lunch spaces, both Page and marine life, seabirds, and marine flora. Visser view the continuance of GenIn January 2016, the Ellen der Club, a sub-group of UniQ, as a Macarthur Foundation announced main priority for 2018. at the World Economic Forum that Gender Club meets fortnight- if current waste levels continue, the ly “to discuss and educate on issues plastic in the ocean will outweigh relating to non-cisgender identities.” fish life by 2050. — Jack Cammock Ellie Hooper, a representative from Greenpeace, told Salient

that what is now needed is a legislative ban on single-use plastic, as this would be universal and fair for all retailers. A representative from Foodstuffs told Salient that there were no immediate plans to phase out plastic bags in the Pak’nSave chain, but that they are “committed” to encouraging the use of reusable bags. — Harry Clatworthy

NIUE’S WATERS A SANCTUARY FOR PACIFIC FISH Niue announced a new marine sanctuary that will protect 126,909 square kilometres of its oceans on October 6, seeking to safeguard the future of the nation’s unique natural environment. The sanctuary will cover 40% of Niue’s Exclusive Economic Zone, encompassing the main island, submerged atolls, and surrounding reefs — including the Beveridge Reef, habitat to a large population of the threatened grey reef shark. Once established, it will be the 28th largest marine protected area in the world. The reserve comes as part of a Niue Ocean Wide (NOW) project to safeguard the nation’s natural resources. NOW director, Brendon Pasisi, told National Geographic it was “no small feat for a small, developing island-state to make such a tremendous and tangible contribution to ocean conservation.” Niue’s Premier Toke Talagi said the move “is an investment in the stability and certainty of our children’s future. We simply cannot be the generation of leaders who have taken more than they have given to this planet and left behind a debt our children cannot pay.” Niue’s announcement arrives amid global concern about ocean ecosystems. Overfishing has devastated open-ocean fish populations,

13 and a changing climate is resulting in warmer, more acidic waters, which are harmful to coral reefs. It also concurs with a global movement towards ocean preservation. Chile recently announced two new marine reserves, which together would equate to an area the size of France, while Mexico has announced the protection of an area incorporating the UNESCO world heritage listed Revillagigedo Islands — the largest marine reserve of its kind in North America. — Matt Currill

The world’s largest school-based volunteer travel company, World Challenge (WC), has cut its ties to orphanages in the developing world, and the Australian government is now considering making the volunteer visits illegal. “While [the programmes] might have been good for our [volunteering] kids in the past, it’s plain and simple that it’s not good for the kids over there, and it’s not something we can continue doing,” said WC’s Asia Pacific Manager Mark Walter to Radio New Zealand on September 12. The founding director of New Zealand based company International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ), Dan ORPHANAGE Radcliffe, responded to the decision VOLUNTOURISM A by WC, concluding that IVHQ would continue to support proHARMFUL EXERCISE grammes in overseas orphanages, as “not all orphanages are run by boWorth an estimated $173 billion geymen out to exploit children or dollars globally, the “voluntourism” volunteers.” industry attracts well-intentioned When asked whether volunvolunteers to residential care insti- teering in “good” orphanages was tutions such as orphanages in Cam- still harmful, UNICEF Cambodia’s bodia, but may be doing more harm Chief of Communications Iman than good. Morooka told Salient, “volunteering Recent research conducted by for, or donating to any orphanage, Cambodia’s Ministry for Social especially without the proper trainAffairs, Veterans, and Youth Re- ing and time commitment” is conhabilitation found that children in tributing to the prolonged instituresidential care were “more at risk of tionalisation of children. health problems and abuse.” Morooka told Salient UNICEF The Ministry recommended are now calling for volunteers and against all orphanage volunteer tour- donations to be directed at NGOs ism, saying, “residential care centres that focus their attention on “comhave begun to solicit more funds munity support, keeping families through ‘orphanage’ tourism” and together” and “returning children to some are “being used to raise money their families.” in a way that resemble a business.” STA travel, who have a branch at Over the last decade, the num- VUW, discussed their volunteer prober of orphanages in Cambodia has grammes with Salient, saying they increased by 75 per cent, and the pride themselves on regular audits number of children living in them and their social welfare policy. The has doubled. The Ministry has cited policy states that STA will “employ a correlation between these increases ethical work practices, and hand pick and the orphanage volunteer tourism suppliers who share [their] values.” industry. STA is currently still offering The Ministry also voiced con- volunteer programmes to orphancerns about a lack of regulation, stat- ages in developing countries such as ing that under current Cambodian law “anyone can open a residential Cambodia. They were unable to answer when asked if it would consider care center.”

News cutting these. Currently the New Zealand government has not indicated a desire to legislate against visits to overseas orphanages. —Siobhan O’Connor

HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin is “feeling fresh!” with his latest haircut. The haircut took place at Godfather Barbers on Ghuznee Street, “a classic, new age beer and barber joint,” Lenihan-Ikin told Salient. When asked about the change, Lenihan-Ikin responded, “you want to write a story about my haircut?” His feelings towards the new look were mixed. “I feel a bit sad to have lost my curls, I feel a bit like a porcupine. But, I’m also glad to feel cleaner.” “I feel like I’ve shed a layer.” When asked if this shedding was akin to the wrapping up of his presidency, Lenihan-Ikin responded, “Yeah, I guess so. I mean, unfortunately, that’s not over yet. Well, not unfortunately. I mean, that’s a good analogy. I’m shedding all over the show.” Salient asked VUWSA Clubs and Activities Officer Marlon Drake how he felt about Lenihan-Ikin’s new haircut, to which he responded, “he’s got a new haircut?” However, Drake promptly recalled the new look, saying “I think it’s dashing, I think it suits him. He looks great.” Drake was “not able to comment” on whether he thought Lenihan-Ikin looked like a porcupine. — Doug Mullins




A collective agreement ratified on August 1 has resulted in increased wages for Vic Books employees, although staff are concerned that the agreement does not go far enough to provide livable wages. Prior to the agreement, many Vic Books staff were being paid close to minimum wage, while some in senior positions were being paid “less than $17 per hour,” according to one ex-employee. “We [were] given so much responsibility in terms of sales, cash handling, locking up. But the pay [did] not reflect that.” Earlier in 2017, Vic Books staff decided to unionise and put forward a collective demand focused on wages. “There were two messages coming out of those discussions,” First Union Representative Joe Kelly told Salient. “People were either saying, I’m going to have to find somewhere else to work, or I want to stay here but I can’t be an adult living in Wellington on the wages I’m on.” The unionised staff initiated collective bargaining on May 22, meeting with the Vic Books General Manager Juliet Blyth and an advocate appointed by the Vic Books Board. The resulting Collective Agreement removes the 90-day trial period, includes a minimum rate to ensure employees will be paid more than the minimum wage, and ensures that all employee benefits are now written into their contracts, Kelly told Salient. It is the first collective agreement of its kind for café and bookstore workers. However, the Agreement, which only applies for a one-year period, “does not go as far as we’d hoped,” Kelly said. “Pay increases were about 1.4% on average. For the last year, inflation has been about 1.7%. But rent inflation has been 11%. So, despite the pay increase [...] staff members will be way poorer in 2018 if rents continue to increase.” Vic Books did not adopt the standardised pay increase system proposed by staff in the bargaining. The process of seeking pay increases remains unclear, according to Thom, a Vic Books staff member and Union Delegate. “Every six months you can talk to them, there’s a vague list of what you need to achieve — skills based progression — to seek a pay increase.

But the onus is on the staff to organise that.” Kelly said the approach taken by the business was to keep pay increases to an absolute minimum. “I don’t think there was genuine investigation into what the business could afford in terms of raising wages.” Thom agreed: “There’s been no kind of investigation into the management side of it, in terms of whether they are fulfilling their roles.” Kelly told Salient that the main reason Vic Books were reluctant to provide pay increases was that they had been running at a financial loss for a number of years. “We didn’t think we would achieve a living wage this year, but we were determined to increase wages, and to explain to the business that what they were paying wasn’t tenable.” No commitment was made by Vic Books to move towards a living wage when the business returns to profit. “Any increases will be made in line with what the company can sustain, to make any other commitment would be premature,” Blyth told Salient. * VUWSA has been an advocate for the Living Wage movement in 2017, hosting a forum about the living wage on campus on April 1 and consistently campaigning for VUW to become a living wage employer. The Living Wage movement advocates for a liveable hourly pay rate, focused on areas where incomes are funded through public money or large employers. In addition to this, “many small and ethical employers choose to pay a living wage and have become accredited.” Kelly said that they had been encouraged to think VUWSA would be supportive of the collective proposal, “given that the VUWSA Executive have been strong supporters of the living wage.” The exact relationship between Vic Books and VUWSA is unclear. In VUWSA executive candidate interviews, VUWSA Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer Beth Paterson told Salient that “Vic Books is run by VUWSA,” while Clubs and Activities Officer Marlon Drake said VUWSA “don’t have a direct line



to the management of Vic Books.” When asked directly, VUWSA said they would “not be discussing internal matters of Vic Books. They’re independent from VUWSA.” VUWSA is an incorporated society with a charitable status. The VUWSA Trust sits alongside VUWSA, gathering revenue and managing assets on its behalf; Vic Books is the Trust’s main asset. The Trust appoints a board to make management decisions about Vic Books. While the response from VUWSA to the unionisation of Vic Books staff was initially “really positive,” with VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin being “very supportive,” Kelly said that he had qualified this response by calling the bargaining “Trust business.” “Essentially, they distanced themselves from it.” While both Paterson and Drake fully supported the Living Wage, in the same candidate interview Paterson said that although VUWSA “care so much about this movement,” “to be quite frank, we’re on the edge of our seats in terms of financial flexibility and, for all organisations like VUWSA, it’s about taking the steps that you can to go towards having a living wage.” Drake expressed a similar sentiment, telling Salient, “The Living Wage movement’s [...] main goal is targeting the big institutions and the big businesses that can afford to. Looking at VUWSA, it’s something we’re keen for, but only if we have the cash to do it.” Kelly said he had been “disappointed” by the overall process. “We accepted that the business wasn’t doing that well financially. We were prepared to accept really low increases on that basis. But what we were looking for, particularly from VUWSA, was a commitment that that would change when the business returned to profit — but that was not forthcoming.” “Really, it’s just weak.” — Brigid Quirke

16 16



VUW has failed to respond within the legally required timeframe to multiple Official Information Act (OIA) requests lodged by Salient this year. The OIA provides that the information held by universities shall be made available upon request, unless there is good reason for withholding it. These reasons include commercial sensitivity, privacy of individuals, and if the information would require substantial resources to collate. There is an obligation to provide requested information within 20 working days. Salient made nine seperate requests for information to VUW under the OIA in 2017. Of the eight requests that had been processed at the time of print, four were responded to within 20 working days. One request, sent on March 24, was responded to within 21 days. Another request, about complaints to Student Health and Counselling, was sent on April 18 but was not responded to after 20 days. Salient sent an email on May 17, the day the response was due, requesting the information by 11.30am on May 18 because of the magazine’s print deadline. An apology email was received, but the information was not provided until 1.43pm on May 18, after the magazine had gone to print. Other requests have been met with further complications and delays. On August 9 an OIA request for information regarding allergies at VUW was sent. Salient followed up with VUW on September 7 after receiving no response. However, VUW denied receiving the request on August 9, and treated the second email as a “new” request. A response was received on September 20, 30 days after the original request had been sent, though nine days after VUW received the “new” request. On August 8 Salient made a request to VUW via the communications team, seeking clarification and further information about an earlier OIA request. The earlier request, regarding the VUW Student Services Levy, was responded to within the required timeframe on July 19. No response was received to the August 8 request within the 20 day period. Salient followed up on this

overdue OIA request on three occasions, and was met with VUW’s assurance that they were “working on” the response. After the fourth email was sent by Salient asking for the information, Salient was told that the staff member able to provide the information was away, but would be returning on October 2. When Salient had not received the information on October 3, VUW’s legal team was contacted to communicate that a complaint under section 28 of the OIA would be pursued. This provides that, if an agency has failed to make and communicate its decision on a request “as soon as reasonably practicable,” a complaint may be lodged with the Ombudsman to investigate the enquiry. VUW declared that it “was not aware” of this “expectation” that the request of August 8 be treated as an OIA request — despite the request being lodged to the OIA email address, and in relation to a previous OIA request. In all correspondence Salient referred to the question as “an OIA request.” Following this exchange, a response was received on October 9 — 24 days overdue, and 44 days after the request was received by VUW. When asked about the multiple delays, VUW General Counsel Simon Johnson said, “it is totally incorrect to say there have been multiple instances of OIA requests from Salient not being provided within the standard 20 working day timeframe this year.” “There was only one instance where a response was not provided within 20 working days. On that one occasion, the reason for the delay was explained to Salient and the response was provided the following day.” “Our OIA processes are robust and effective and I am proud of the team for diligently receiving and responding to a large number of OIA requests.” — Brigid Quirke



Final Election Results The final results of the general election were released on Saturday, October 7, two weeks after voting closed on September 23. The preliminary results of the votes counted on September 23 saw National with 58 seats, while Labour and the Greens had 52 seats between them. However, the “special votes” — votes cast by voters living overseas, those who enrolled to vote after Writ Day (August 23), and those who voted outside their electorate on election day — have since been counted. The final results saw a slight swing to the left, with Labour and the Greens each gaining one seat, and National correspondingly losing two. NZ First still has nine seats, and ACT has one. A potential government must have 61 seats in Parliament to govern, which will require either National or the Labour/Greens bloc to make a deal with NZ First. The final results puts a potential Labour/Greens/NZ First coalition at 63 seats, on a stronger footing than on election night at only 61 seats. However, a National/NZ First government would still have a greater majority, at 65 seats. In a televised debate on September 20, Bill English claimed that the party with the most seats gets “the first crack” at forming a government. This is not, however, an official New Zealand constitutional rule or convention, nor a requirement under the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system. In other countries with MMP minority governments are often commonplace. According to NZ Parliamentary Library research, 37% of European governments formed under MMP between 1945–87 were minority governments. Jacinda Ardern had said in her first post-election press conference

that the majority of New Zealanders had voted “against the status quo,” a tenuous claim at the time when, according to the preliminary results, a potential Labour/Greens/NZ First coalition would have only a slim majority of 61 seats — exactly the amount required to govern. Both English and Ardern repeated their positions after hearing the final results on October 7. Ardern claimed that “the majority of people voted for a change to the status quo,” while English asserted that voters “signalled very clearly that they wanted National” to form a government “and we will now get on with the job of trying to give effect to their wishes.” At the time of print, the results of negotiations with NZ First are still unknown.

the British share of the TRQ within the remaining member states, farmers on the continent would have to compete with an influx of cheap meat products from New Zealand, undermining the key function of TRQs to promote a balance between protectionism and market accessibility. Brussels’ solution, proposed in August, is to spread the allocation between Britain and the EU even after Britain finally leaves. This may be potentially damaging for New Zealand’s export industry, offering no protection if British consumption of New Zealand meat falls and the British share of the TRQ is left unfilled. If this occurs, and the EU’s portion of the quota has already been filled, New Zealand’s exporters cannot sell more Brexit and New Zealand meat to the EU at a reduced tariff. New Zealand’s trading relationship The New Zealand government with Great Britain is being affected has challenged the EU’s proposby Britain’s exit from the European al, signing an open letter on OctoUnion (EU) and negotiations sur- ber 4 to the WTO in opposition to rounding EU Tariff Rate Quotas the deal on the basis that it would (TRQs). interrupt “the delicate balance of TRQs allow for part of a coun- concessions and entitlements that is try’s agricultural products to be im- fundamental to the global trade arported into the EU at a discounted chitecture today.” tariff rate; all remaining imports outAccording to journalist Richard side that fixed quota are taxed at full Harman, New Zealand officials have rates. TRQs balance the dual goals considered vetoing the proposal at of protecting EU farmers and keep- the WTO if it goes ahead. New Zeaing European markets accessible for land could even block Britain’s proglobal trade. posed entry into the WTO itself in Under the World Trade Or- protest, since WTO members must ganisation’s (WTO) 1986 General all agree to allow countries to enter Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the the organisation. EU has agreed to import 230,000 The consequences of Brexit have tonnes of New Zealand lamb per once again shown how vulnerable year under a TRQ. During Britain’s New Zealand is to political decisions EU membership, 40% of these lamb overseas. New Zealand has the abiliproducts imported into Europe were ty to stall the quota proposal, but dobought by British consumers. ing so would risk creating tensions Despite Britain leaving the EU, with Britain. Brussels is obliged to honour its TRQ — Aidan Kelly agreement with New Zealand. However, if the EU were to simply spread



PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS Well this is it. The last issue of Salient, and the last week of the academic year. Seriously, great job for making it to this point. Whether you’re just about to complete your first year, final, or anywhere in between — tino pai. It’s been a wild ride serving as your President. I could not have dreamt the highs and lows I’ve experienced this year. What stands out is an overwhelming sense of privilege. To spend a whole year representing an incredible community of students who are, in so many different ways, a powerful force for good in the world. Every single one of you that I have laughed with, debated with, listened to, and learnt from this year has been like a non-stop source of adrenalin that has carried me since January. There a way too many people to thank than I could possibly fit into this short article, but here are a few of the key ones: My executive — Anya, Isabella, Nathaniel, Beth, Lauren, Marlon, Tom, Raven, and Tam, you have honestly been the best VUWSA whānau I could have asked for. Hard working, unwavering in your support, and a joy to work with. The VUWSA staff — you have been incredible. These guys are the behind the scenes champions who are so patient and dedicated to student voice. Much of the stuff you see us do is down to them. Our partners at Ngāi Tauira, Kealyn, Maia and co., the other student group executives including PSC, CanDo, VicUFO, V-ISA, UniQ, and many more — the work you all do for your communities is incredible and you should be so proud. The university — Grant, Pam, Rainsforth, and everyone in your teams who have a true dedication to making this a compassionate and world class university — I really appreciate your commitment to the university’s partnership with VUWSA. My friends, family, bad memes, and flatmates Madeleine and Jess, thanks for keeping me sane and being there when I’ve needed it the most. And to every single student at this place, thanks for the opportunity, I’ll miss you all dearly. Good luck with everything. Ka kite ano!

— Rory Lenihan-Ikin

VUWSA As you prepare for your exams, VUWSA is preparing for Stress Free Study Week! Hopefully this means you only need to worry about rote learning, and not about buying breakfast and lunch! We’ll also be coming at you with puppies, Krishna, and heaps of coffee. Heads up, the first Monday of Stress Free Study Week (October 23) is a public holiday. But we’ll be running events as usual, because we know you all will likely be studying anyway. No rest for us students, eh? So what have we got for you?

Food! Free breakfast cereals, toasts, tea, and coffee every morning at every campus. Free Krishna curry every lunchtime at every campus. Gonna be good. Lego! Our friends over at CanDo will be having some Lego sessions in the hub. Keep your eyes peeled for some chill block building. Pups ‘n’ kittens ‘n’ bunnies! SPCA will be bringing over some fluffy friends to Kelburn, Pipitea, and Te Aro. Donations are being made to SPCA to support them to look after more animals. Rest assured that they run these sessions for the animals’ benefit too. The more the animals can socialise, the sooner they’ll be ready to move to a new home. Yoga and meditation! Koha meditation and yoga sessions with Yoga Lounge. Work up your zen, then there’s free Krishna curry afterwards. The usual VUWSA support! As always, you can pop to the VUWSA offices at Kelburn and Pipitea, or the library at Te Aro, to access our Community Pantry. With this you can pick up a free parcel of food, no questions asked! Check out the VUWSA Food Network for more free/cheap/healthy food available on campus. Free menstrual products are available at each campus too; just get some from the big signs by VUWSA offices and Te Aro library. Be sure to fill out a feedback form so we can hopefully make the service permanent! Just think: soon, exams will be over and then we can all have really long naps. Love from VUWSA.

— Beth Paterson ( Wellbeing and Sustainability Officer)





Tēnā tātou. Kua tae mai te wiki whakamutunga o tēnei wahanga o te tau. Heoi anō, hei kai māu, kua tuku mai a Awhi i ētahi mea mō te oranga o te tinana, me te oranga wairua. Te Ao Māori is closely connected to the environment of Aotearoa, as our culture is embedded into the very earth, waters, and all aspects of life within it. Therefore, the environment plays a special part in enhancing our tinana, wairua, and mauri as tangata whenua of Aotearoa. Here are a few things you can find to help enhance your hauora.

The Pasifika Students’ Council (PSC) is a representative group for Pasifika students here at VUW. My journey through this academic year as the Public Relations/Events Officer has been one heck of a ride. I used to be that anti-social scholarship student from Samoa who for the first two years of university stuck with the same simple routine of going to classes and then straight home — not socialising or making an effort to participate in anything. In this role I’ve stepped way out of my comfort zone and become an executive member for PSC. Being on the executive has definitely changed my life. Establishing connections with staff and being able to provide holistic support for our Pasifika students and making sure they’re voices are heard has been such a pleasure. Being able to work alongside an amazing executive, who I must say have outstanding leadership qualities, has been awesome. Creating lifelong friendships and forming a new love and appreciation for our Pasifika community is something I will cherish forever. I highly recommend that if you have a passion for Pasifika academic success and want to make a difference here at VUW, going for a role on the PSC Executive is an awesome platform for you to do so. On behalf of the PSC Executive for 2017 we’d like to thank you for all the support and love you have shown us throughout this year. May God forever bless and guide you all throughout the rest of your journey here. While we sail our vaka throughout this university journey to achieve academic success, let us not forget to value and appreciate each other’s cultures — we are a family of diverse people connected by One Ocean. Let your voices be heard, change the game. ♥ To the new PSC Executive for 2018, it is only onwards and upwards from here. Lessgo.

Kawakawa Where to find it: Behind the wharenui of Te Herenga Waka. Shaped like a love heart. A great drink for the flu: Boil kawakawa leaves in some water, let the plant essence soak in for about 30 minutes, then remove the leaves. Then pour the kawakawa water into a drink bottle (can add a bit of sweetener if you want, i.e. honey/sugar) and store it in the fridge overnight or for however long you need. Kōwhai Where to find it: Lots around campus! The bark is good for soaking up open wounds/ bleeding injuries as well. Karakia, then peel some bark off the bottom of the tree and add to some boiling water. Let the healing essence of the rakau activate (five minutes), then lay the bark on the sore back/wound. Mānuka Mānuka honey is the best rongoā/healing honey in the world. The smell of mānuka honey can also be a good incense to de-stress the mind.

Our hinengaro can start running away from our bodies, leaving them stuck, left behind while our minds are travelling from place to place, doing a million things at once. A good way to bring them back to earth is to find grounding, and that grounding is literally by placing our feet on the earth. Plant some trees, buy some small plants, or make a small garden! It’s a nice and easy way to clear the tinana, the hinengaro, and wairua as well. — Nā Awhina Henry

— Zach Fonoti (Public Relations/ Events Officer, PSC)





HI AND BYE You’ve made it! You’ve survived the ups and downs of 2017! It’s been one of the worst and best ever. You will never want to relive those 3.00am moments during all-nighters, and if you never experience another 8.00am lecture you will die a happy chappy. But despite all that, it hasn’t been all bad. You’ve met some irreplaceable, extraordinary people. They’ve come from all around the globe. Everyone chasing their own dreams, or chasing their parents’ dreams. Whatever their story, somehow they’ve all ended up here and so have you. Was it completely random? Was it fate? Somehow, life threw all of us together. Everyone you’ve met is so different — so like you but so not. You’ve marvelled at these differences. There are things they have never even heard of that have been part of your life since forever, but then you’re as ignorant as a baby about things they’ve known all their lives. And the more you learn about them the more your view of the world changes. You may not have left Wellington but seeing it through their eyes makes every old experience new again. And now they’ve become so much a part of your life that it will be unrecognisable when you have to let them go, back to wherever they called home before Wellington. You’d love to be a hoarder and keep them all here with you, but that’s not how this works and you knew from the start that saying “hi” would mean saying “bye” eventually. So here’s to all international friends, buddies, and amigos! No words can describe how much richer you made our lives and you’ll always be a part of our memories of VUW. We don’t want to, but now we’re releasing you to go make your mark on the world!

While I was interested in the return of the Special Votes I was disappointed by the result. And while openly left wing and a Green Party member, my disappointment was not so much partisan as it was to do with being disabled. The final vote count saw Mojo Mathers lose her seat in Parliament. Mojo has done work across multiple portfolios and her motivation to enter parliament came from being an environmental advocate rather than through disability politics. Indeed, given the sometimes uneasy relationship between the deaf and disabled communities, she has likely found herself as an advocate for more than one minority community with conflicting views despite some common ground. However, I cannot overstate the significance of seeing someone with impairments working at a national level for the rights of disabled people. Someone who was always open to engaging with the community and highly conscious of the link back to the people she represented. It felt validating and has been a key part of bringing to the table accessibility within parliament. The Disabled Persons Assembly ranked the Green Party as the party who focused on disability rights the most. While I don’t doubt there are individual disability advocates across the political spectrum, I am wary of what will happen without a truly visible advocate. I am wary of disability rights once again becoming something worked on behind the scenes and at worst a “nice to have.” The challenge now for the Green Party will be to continue in this vein. To be loud, proud, and visible doing this work. The challenge to Parliament as a whole will be to not let accessibility fall by the wayside.

— Hannah Wee

— Henrietta Bollinger



The other week the greatest basketball player of his generation, LeBron James, called the President of the United States a “bum” on social media. Then, arguably the next greatest NBA player of his generation, Kevin Durant, accidentally exposed himself as running multiple social media accounts in which he bad mouthed his former team and defended himself against what is popularly known as “the haters.” These two “incidents” sit at the crossroads of contemporary sports discourse and consumption and are examples of how athletes are (re)gaining both a political voice and, perhaps just as importantly, reconstituting their very identity against the institutions and general conversation that reduces them to quantifiable data on a spreadsheet. With the advent of social media, athletes have been given a platform to connect with “fans” that is largely outside the meddling of league or team PR people, and not at the mercy of the whims of journalists. As the LeBron example shows, this access has often lead to athletes taking on an overt political voice. Meanwhile the example of Kevin Durant, though not his intention, has exposed a deeply human and therefore relatable flaw in an athlete who in physicality and performance appears to defy “human-ness.” These cases become more significant when juxtaposed to the increasingly data-driven institutions of sport that seek to eliminate as much human error as possible when constructing a team or analysing a performance. Athletes are measured for their height, weight, wingspan, as well as their sprint time, jumping ability, and how fast they can run around cones, among a myriad of other tests, and this happens even before they reach the field of competition. Simple counting stats (goals scored, points created, etc.) is being usurped in favour of densely complicated statistics that combine various sources of data to produce a single stat that apparently offers a more accurate analysis of an athlete’s impact.


The drive to quantify will not cease; in the very near future wearable technology will provide the most “accurate” measure of an athlete’s effect on the game, as every movement will be tracked and mapped on some Ivy League graduate’s laptop. This data-driven analysis has seeped into our very consumption of sport, rather than existing solely for the analytics departments of individual teams; more and more casual fans are becoming versed, through avenues like fantasy sports, in the virtues of these apparently “objective” numbers. So, while athletes are finding their voice through the less mediated platforms of social media, the conversation surrounding and about them is increasingly reducing their value and humanity to their mere quantifiables. We can begin to see the importance, for athletes, of having platforms that allow them to break out of restrictive data analysis and assert their unique humanity. In the current political climate, this ability takes on even more significance, as more and more athletes are finding a political voice, based as all politics is, around their identity. Though they might be only inadvertently linked, the drive to quantify athletic performance is still inextricable from a desire to reduce an athlete to only their athletic performance, erasing any potential identity outside of that performance. The issues outlined here are not unique to athletes; individuals everywhere are in a struggle to realise their identity against systems seeking daily to reduce them to merely their output. The field of sports simply allows this to play out for public consumption. The role of the “good fan” in all of this is to recognise their own complicity, and combat dehumanising forces through recognising and appreciating athletes’ autonomy and identity, even when it is asserted at odds with their own. — Tom Danby


Super Science Trends SCIENCE ON TRIAL To put a big full stop on Super Science Trends, I wanted to talk about science and narrative. If this decade has taught us anything, it’s that facts cannot defend themselves. The more hopeful science enthusiasts will assume that, because humans are reasonable creatures that adhere to truth, science should come naturally to them. But more often than not, we adhere to comforting, often inaccurate narratives over “cold, hard facts.” I maintain that science and narrative aren’t incompatible, and you can use narrative to your advantage if you want people to be scientifically literate. And I think the best example is a cartoon I watched as a kid called Science Court. Science Court, “where science is the law and scientific thinking rules,” aired on ABC from 1997 to 2000. The show’s premise centred around a law court where simple scientific concepts were explained in the form of a court room drama. Usually, the defendant would be in some kind of predicament that required the explanation of a scientific concept to make their case, while the prosecution would attempt to willfully misunderstand it to persuade the jury to their side. Expert witnesses, such as a recurring scientist character, voiced by a young H. Jon Benjamin (Archer from Archer), were called in to clarify definitions and terminology for the jury and, by extension, the audience. It’s a bit of a high concept, but it works incredibly well structurally, since the legal process and scientific explanations both rely on precision of language and working from a body of established precedent and prior knowledge. The episode on gravity, for instance, is about a con artist selling an “anti-gravity weight loss” potion, which boasts the incredible claim of helping you lose weight by removing your “extra” gravity. When a skeptical health centre owner investigates the potion, he is caught by the con artist, who cries sabotage and sues him. The matter gets brought to Science Court, where the defence has to explain the distinction between mass and gravity to win the case, therefore proving that the potion is a fake, because you cannot “lose” gravity. The episode on work and simple machines involves a workplace dispute in which a disabled female factory worker named Mary is unfairly demoted for appearing to do less work than her able-bodied male co-worker Joe, because she uses a lever to do her job and he has to do heavy lifting. The prosecution argues that because Joe sweats a lot, he is actually doing more work, while the defense has to prove scientifically that, despite using a lever, Mary does the exact same amount of work (or force appliedw over distance) as her co-worker. The defense wins because their scientific reasoning wins out over a simplistic farcical argument, and Mary gets to keep her job (#feminism).



Columns You might argue that the narratives are exceedingly simplistic, but they don’t have to be any more complex than a court drama necessitates. Plot twists come not as a result of an external pressure or character conflict, but from the presentation of new evidence changing the proceedings (y’know, like actual science) or the prosecution attempting to base an argument on an misinterpretation of the science being discussed (which, fortunately, never works). Admittedly, it doesn’t completely hold up. The characters look like rejected background characters from The Simpsons circa season one and the animation is minimal to non-existent at times. Each episode ends on a song which, while never outright terrible, is about on par with those dreadful science raps on Youtube where a “hip” biology teacher has put their students up to rhyming an explanation of potassium-sodium exchange or what-have-you. Finding the right balance between information and entertainment is difficult to achieve in a TV show, or any story, where real-life facts are important to the plot. Story gets sacrificed for the sake of getting the facts straight, and science gets sacrificed for the sake of a good story, for fear of making the proceedings too complicated or dragging the plot down with explanation. The Magic School Bus found a way around this by having a scientist character at the end of each episode explain the liberties taken with each story to make the plot work. So, in “The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space”, the scientist had to explain that the planets had all been conveniently aligned to make the shortest field trip through the solar system possible. I’d maintain that Science Court is one of the better educational shows, involving both a) a thing working the way it actually works, and b) a narrative context in which that information proves to be useful and valid. Educational shows are making a comeback of late, with Bill Nye getting a new show and The Magic School Bus getting rebooted for a new season on Netflix, albeit on the condition that the bus trades in Ms Frizzle for her younger, hotter sister. The best way to make educational shows work comes from adapting to the medium, not changing the message. Part of how Sesame Street was such a success is because it adapted to its television environment, utilising the language of branding and jingles that had become ubiquitous in television to teach children basic math and literacy, “brought to you by the letter H!” Hell, we all remember rooting for the baby iguana getting chased by the snakes on Planet Earth II, right? The natural world is full of action, romance, and comedy, we just need the dulcet tones of David Attenborough to narrate them for our viewing pleasure. Which brings me to my closing statement: we need to bring Science Court back. Of course, if I ran it, I’d have new stories about sensationalist science columnists (“Sir, do you realise you were sensationalising a discovery in an incremental progress zone?”), and I’d probably plead guilty of that on a few occasions. But hey, write what you know, and I know that if you’re going to make science matter to people, you have to keep up with the trends. — Gus Mitchell


Sian Moff itt Photography




GRANDMA Written by Jessica La

Four years ago Grandma was diagnosed with melanoma. For a long time, the cancer was contained to the diagnosis itself; we couldn’t see the cancer on her at all. She would go for her daily morning walks, she would tend to the garden, and almost desperately, because she never learnt to drive, she would jump at the chance to leave the house in the car with anyone and go anywhere. But as time passed, the cancer grew and spread. Over the past year the melanoma cells multiplied frighteningly quickly, and tumours occupied her lungs, lymph nodes, and other parts of her body. She became bedridden, bone-thin, and relied on a cocktail of painkillers administered regularly throughout the day. When the hospice staff asked her to rate the pain she was feeling on a scale of 1 to 10, she would say 15. In the two weeks before she passed, new growths had sprung up and warm, cancerous lumps protruded from multiple sites under her skin. She died at home in her own room early in the morning at around the same time as she used to go for her walks. Grandma spent the time leading up to her death in a sleep-like state, unable to eat or drink. When we spoke to her, a small change in the rhythm of her rattling breathing was a hopeful sign that she was, to some extent, conscious. We felt reassured that she could hear us, although we had no idea if she knew what we were saying. Now, with her funeral fast-approaching, the fracture in communication that occurred at the end of her life has widened to gulf-like proportions. Me, my older brother, and younger cousins are expected to deliver a eulogy. According to a range of helpful how-to websites, a eulogy is a short speech that will help those mourning to “focus their memories on the person who has passed.” A eulogy “commemorates,” “celebrates life,” “puts loss in perspective,” “teaches us to cope with grief through remembering,” and it is perhaps a good idea to “incorporate humour.” For anyone, writing a eulogy seems like a daunting task, but for us it feels insurmountable. Death heightens the significance of language. At funerals, we lay words upon words, weaving stories together of our dearly departed. We build a collective memory of them, a shared sense of their personhood that we can remember, commemorate, and grieve over together. I need language to shed my own tears into the pool of shared memories about Grandma. For a fleeting moment I want everyone to know Grandma as I knew her. I want them to know how lovingly Grandma cared for my brother and I all of the nights my parents were away at work. I want them to see Grandma as the gravitational force that would bring our family together for celebrations and stints of collective cooking. I want them to feel awed by Grandma, who remained resilient in the face of trauma, hardship, and poverty in China. Grandma, who bravely left her home for a chance of a better life in the foreign country that was/is New Zealand. Grandma, whose positivity, strength, and ability to adapt saw her through four years of extraordinary suffering.



Jessica La Words can be so glaringly insufficient. These sparse words sit in stark contrast with the vividity of Grandma that I remember. Words often fail us, and it seems unlikely that we will find the right language to speak at this funeral. The difficulty is heightened by the fact that me, my brother, and cousins, like many other children of immigrants, struggle to speak fluently, let alone articulately, in our mother tongue. We were raised in Cantonese, but once we began attending school English quickly became the dominant language, at the cost of our Cantonese. For me, this wasn’t only because of the sheer prevalence of English-speaking people in New Zealand, but also a direct effect of racism and discrimination that fostered a sense of shame about being Chinese. Cantonese was relegated to disjointed conversations with the older immigrant generation — parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunties. With our Cantonese frozen at a primary-school level, what we say and understand in our mother tongue can be frustratingly basic. My words often come out as over-simplified gloss. At my Grandad’s funeral three years ago, I commemorated his memory in English to an uncomprehending Cantonese-speaking audience. For my Grandma’s funeral, I want her loved ones to be able to connect with what I say. The inadequacy of language and its effects spread beyond the context of the funeral. Language barriers paralysed many of the interactions between Grandma and I when she was still alive. I regret the conversations that never happened because it was easier to not talk than painstakingly piece together a semi-coherent sentence. Without the ability to have satisfying and in-depth conversations with Grandma, I feel like I’m left with only a partial impression of who she was, and regret that I didn’t know her better. The same language barrier extends to the intergenerational relationships that I, my brother, and cousins have with our parents. There is regret for the alienation between the younger and older generation of our family, but also alienation from own history, people, and culture. Our struggle with language affects the transmission of a shared sense of identity, joint knowledge, and connection to family history. At the same time, what counts as knowing someone? Each person is confined to their own body and mind, and language is only a tool for us to lessen the empty space that surrounds the lonely pools of our consciousness. We rely on language to connect; when it fails us, we are reminded of our perpetual isolation. Yet there are other ways of knowing people, beyond the intricacies of talk. Grandma was a constant presence throughout my life, we even lived in the same house. I witnessed and shared in her joys, sadnesses, and pain. The little things like her mannerisms, her likes and dislikes, her routines — I knew those. When she was sick, I helped care for her, helped her eat, dress, go to the bathroom, and lessened her pain. When she passed, I helped prepare her body for the funeral home. Language can fail us in life and death, but language does not preclude knowing or remembering someone. When she was alive, I felt close to her through sharing moments, living in proximity, and caring for each other. With the absence of her physicality in death, words can be a way to articulate and recapture a sense of Grandma’s personhood, but words are not necessary to remember and cherish. There is a lot about Grandma that we will never know, and things about her we can never fully express — but we have a pool of memories to draw from and feel close to her.



˚˚ little ghosts


Written by Ali Burns

My body is filled with little ghosts and memories. It is strange to think about these little ghosts decomposing into the earth. ˚˚ ˚˚ ˚˚ ˚˚ Amy Cunningham, a “green” funeral ˚˚ director, says in an article for The Atlantic that people “really don’t like the idea of the body disappearing into the soil and they’re fighting it in every single way.” Allan Kellehear also talks to this idea in The Social History of Dying. He writes about how, in thinking about modern death, there is an obsession with trying to buy more time, as well as eternal youth and beauty. The obsession with youth and beauty extends beyond death, and we are often embalmed and filled with chemicals to keep us looking alive at our most beautiful so our friends and family can spend more time with us. ˚˚ I do not want to do any harm when I die, but I still am selfobsessed and want to be preserved as my most beautiful self for as long as possible. Embalming is important for the emotional needs of friends and family, but this process of stopping ourselves from decomposing when we die is harmful; as Cunningham explains, the chemicals put in our bodies make the potential energy of our bodies inert. When we embalm our bodies we make it harder for the earth to reuse our energy in a positive way. Not only do we ruin our body’s energy potential, but the chemicals used for embalming, like formaldehyde, are harmful when leaked into the earth during decomposition, or when released into the air during cremation. Embalmers also have a higher chance of getting cancer, as formaldehyde is a carcinogen. I think about bugs eating the scars on each of my knees. How these scars are ˚˚ memories and how it would be nice to ˚˚ have these memories preserved. There are alternatives to embalming. One of these is a “green funeral” (also “eco funeral”, “green burial”). In a green funeral you are not embalmed, and are instead buried in an eco-friendly coffin that will decompose with you. In New Zealand these coffins must be made out of native “sustainably grown softwood with no preserving treatment” — they’re not allowed any artificial or synthetic materials. This means the body will decompose more easily into the earth with less harm to the environment. This means the bugs will eat my body more quickly. • •

• •


Ali Burns

little ghosts

In the past few years green funerals have become a viable option for ˚˚ New Zealanders. There are currently five certified natural burial sites in New Zealand, in Wellington, Kapiti, Carterton, Marlborough, and New Plymouth. Green burials are becoming popular, but there are only a small number of sites available due to limited council approval in different areas, so it can be tricky to arrange. It is also illegal to bury people on private property if there is a cemetery within 31 kilometers. This means that a green funeral has its limitations. If the body is not close to a site, it becomes hard to transport, especially since embalming is not allowed and decomposition will happen faster. It seems like an extra amount of effort for loved ones to arrange who would already be going through a hard time. Finding a burial site in New Zealand is becoming hard. Newshub reported this year that many cemeteries in high density areas are filling up, with over half the cemeteries in Auckland being full and the operational ˚˚ ones burying up to three coffins and eight urns on one plot. There are also no ˚˚ certified green funeral sites close to Auckland, despite a demand for them. Even with a green funeral your body can still do harm to the earth. Artist Jae Rhim Lee delivered a TEDx talk about the human body being a storehouse for environmental toxins, and that when we die these pollutants are “returned to the environment one way or another, continuing the cycle of toxicity.” She started the Infinity Burial Project which lets people be buried in suits filled with mushroom spores that will grow and eat your body to help clear these toxins. Your dead body’s energy will turn into mushrooms and you can live forever renewing energy as a mushroom ghost. Jae Rhim Lee hopes that this will be the start of “true environmental responsibility.” This seems like a good option to do no harm to the earth as a dead body, and being eaten by mushrooms is slightly more appealing than being eaten by bugs. In The Social History of Dying, Kellehear describes a good death as dying with your responsibility to your community in mind. Jae Rhim Lee’s Mushroom Suit is a good way take ˚˚ to responsibility, but buying a suit would add extra costs to a funeral so it may not be affordable for all. Embalming is still an important part of many traditional cultural practices, and to implement these types of burial responsibly would require adjusting these cultural practices. The Parsi community in India is a good example, having adapted their practices to a changing environment. Khojeste Mistree, head of Zoroastrian Studies at the Institute of Mumbai, talked to Elliot Hannon for NPR about this; he explained that the usual practice is to have the corpse “exposed to


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little ghosts

the rays of the and the corpse is consumed or ˚˚ sun, devoured by birds of prey — vultures, kites, and crows.” This practice was affected when the vulture populations started to disappear. The Parsi community ˚˚ adapted by introducing solar concentrators to dehydrate the body faster to be more easily consumed by smaller birds. Environments changing due to climate change is something that has affected many burial sites. In New Zealand burial sites are being washed away by higher tides. Steve Bagley talked to Radio New Zealand about this, saying that “coastal erosion over the years has frequently turned up kōiwi and ˚˚ concern that this could have bones,” and he expressed a big impact on historic and archaeological records. Tree pods are another new idea that is being developed by Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel. The concept is that your body is ˚˚ placed in a seed-like pod with a tree planted on top of you, and that your body will act as a fertiliser for the tree to grow. The creators hope that we ˚˚ will start to have forests instead of graveyards. Earlier this year they led a workshop at Te Papa Tongarewa where traditional Māori weaving techniques were used to create these pods. These pods are not currently available in New Zealand but there is potential for this idea to take off. The Eternity Reef Project in the United States cremates your body and mixes your remains into a concrete ball. It is then placed in a construction called a reef ball, a structure that is being used to help rebuild dying reefs. There are also places that compress your body into a diamond, make it into a firework, a bead, a pencil, or you can be loaded into bullets. You can also avoid the decision of how to dispose of your body altogether by donating your body to science. In New Zealand you can donate your body to Auckland or Otago University when you die. However, this bequeathment can be vetoed by your family. It seems that there is no good universal way to dispose of a body, but there are many new thoughtful ways to do it. Most of these are also ways in which your ghostly energy is used to create or grow something new. Jae Rhim Lee says that “accepting death means accepting that we are a physical being intimately connected to the environment.” It would be nice to become a diamond or a coral reef, but I ˚˚ will probably become a mushroom. In any of these circumstances the little ghosts in my body will become something new and I think I can get over not looking ˚˚ pretty when I die if I think about how my energy can be reused. • •

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Features Opinion


I’ve recently become aware of the anger activism within the LGBTQIA+ community. The “man hating” / “cis hating” / “straight hating” / “oppressor hating” anger that informs a lot of our activism. I hold a lot of this anger myself, but I’ve recently realised that there’s a time and a place for anger, and a time and a place for love and compassion. My friend, an older gay man, has pointed out that one of the biggest reasons the community faces such hate and confusion is because people truly don’t know what we’re fighting for. As queer people, we think about things like gender, identity politics, and sexuality all the time; a lot more than anyone who is straight, cisgender, monogamous, etc. I’ve often considered ignorance to be a bad thing, but it has been rephrased for me, as something that is normal. Because we feel so othered we are constantly aware that someone might — out of the blue — say something that goes against us and our existence. To protect ourselves from that, we get scared, and that instantly turns into getting defensive. I get it, I live it, I still do it, but I think it’s something we need to start breaking down if we’re going to move forward at this point in time. We need our allies — our parents, workmates, neighbours, friends. I don’t want to exist with anger. I want to exist in peace. And I’m beginning to think that a part of that is putting down the anger — for the time being — taking a breath, and offering out my hand. Starting a conversation with those we have deemed as other to ourselves. We can’t get society to unlearn queerphobia without first understanding that one should want to unlearn it. Putting faces to identities, people to problems, so that we can be seen fully for what we are. And no, this won’t change all the minds or win all the fights. But I think it’s as good a

time as any to stand back and think about how we’re conducting our social activism. It needs to be holistic and inclusive if we’re going to keep taking steps forward, rather than backwards. This isn’t about turning the other cheek to violence or intentional harm — it’s about not alienating others, via aggression, who have no ill intent but only ignorance. It’s about destroying the systems, not the people. We need to step up and stop talking about it as “us vs them” or “them vs us” — we can’t solve our problems by seeing everyone who isn’t LGBTQIA+ as an enemy. Because they’re enemies with blindfolds on, a lot of a time they don’t know what they’re doing that is queerphobic, and no one can fault them for that. Like every other queer person, I’m tired of educating others, but by not doing so we’re just pushing ourselves further out from the centre of the conversation. Trans rights need to be at the front of this new conversation. The suicide rate for trans youth is five times higher than it is for cisgender youth in New Zealand. We need to work to show people why this is an issue — not just point out that youth are dying, but talk about why they are dying. All the various factors, how it looks on a larger scale. And what we can all do to challenge that. This community is full of people from such diverse backgrounds, no one of us are the same. We yell and scream about what needs to be done, we hate on each other, but at the end of the day all I care about is queer and trans people being safe, loved, and cared for. That’s all that matters. So take a breath, and open your hurting heart. — Kate Aschoff

Xander Dixon ‘Red Chair’




I Hate Myself and I Want to Die i n e Pe



CW: Self-harm, suicide, abuse




n Fi i n o i t



Written by Katie Meadows

Susanna: I didn’t try to kill myself. Dr Potts: What were you trying to do? Susanna: I was trying to make the shit stop. — Girl, Interrupted (1999) Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is an illness marked by extreme emotional irregularity, impulsivity, an unstable sense of identity, self-harm, a pattern of volatile interpersonal relationships, intense fear of abandonment, and chronic emptiness. The lack of emotional stability and the intensity of emotions felt can lead to black and white thinking called “splitting”, with rapid idealisation and devaluation of the people around you. There is no mental object permanence applied to relationships, resulting in a need for frequent reassurance and validation, which can come across as unnecessary or emotionally demanding. People with BPD also experience high levels of empathy and are fiercely loyal and devoted to loved ones, despite being unable to apply this kindness and understanding to themselves. It is most common in women, with high levels of comorbidity with eating disorders, addiction issues, anxiety, and bipolar. The disorder is frequently genetic, but its development is exacerbated by complex and pervasive trauma and emotional abuse during childhood and adolescence, and often results in the stunting of the development of parts of the brain that process stress response, like the amygdala and hippocampus. I was first diagnosed with BPD five years ago, after I was found sitting on the edge of a bridge in Kingsland, Auckland. After calling a crisis hotline and finding the operator despondent and patronising I hung up the call, but not before they traced my location and I was found and arrested by police several minutes later. I was held in the central city police cells for seven hours, during which I missed both doses of my medications, until I was released into psychiatric services at 5.00am under the condition I enter myself into their care for a minimum of 72 hours. This was not my first brush with suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, or hospitalisation; since childhood I have fixated on my impending death, the failure and disappointment I elicit from family and friends, and how everyone I love will leave me. At four I justified having a soft toy on my person at all times so I wouldn’t die alone. At eleven I would run into the suburban streets at night and lie in the middle of the road waiting for cars to come. After my mother found me catatonic on the window sill of my bedroom at age 16, I was made an inpatient in the youth psychiatric facility at Princess Margaret Hospital in Christchurch. Over the next four years I would make multiple attempts on my life, waking up in different hospitals to different sets of sad


Katie Meadows

I Hate Myself and I Want to Die

eyes staring at me. Professionals explained to my parents that I didn’t actually have any intention of killing myself and that these were cries for help; no one seemed to understand that I truly wanted to die, or that I felt things so much that it was like acid burning me from the inside. When I got my diagnosis it was as though I finally had all of the answers I had been looking for in life, but also like I had received a formal and inevitable death sentence. Reading that my life would be a series of inescapable self-destructive patterns would’ve made me want to sink through the floor into Hell if I didn’t feel like I was already there.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve narrowed down the two easiest ways to explain BPD to the people in my life:

1. T



When a neurotypical person (someone without mental illness) experiences an emotion, i.e. happiness, sadness, anger, they experience it on a spectrum. For example: getting an average grade back on an exam could create a feeling of disappointment that for a “normal” person can be rated on a scale of 1 to 10, maybe falling at a 4. In subjects with BPD, there is no spectrum of emotion; everything is felt at its most intense level. Having to cancel dinner with a friend, and the break up of a long-term relationship, both register at a 10, if not an 11. In the words of the rapper Drake, “I go zero to a hundred real quick, real fucking quick.” This is applicable for any emotional reaction, usually negative, and is often to the point of mental and physical distress. This is why borderlines are prone to self-destructive and impulsive behavior, including physical self-harm, in desperate attempts to relieve their agony. It is also why they are met with accusations of manipulative behavior from those unable to understand what they see as an extreme and melodramatic response to often minor incidents.






Because it is a personality disorder, BPD’s influence on your life becomes an intrinsic part of your development, behaviour, and thought processes through adolescence into adulthood. Partly due to the anticipation of incoming and frequently erratic emotions, and also the effect this has on my relationships and day-to-day functioning, I find myself overly aware of my actions and their potential consequences — I often fear that my behaviour will be perceived as manipulative due to the severity of my emotional response and my need to address or validate any and all of my anxieties. When I obsess over my perceived failures or stress over future events, I go over every possible reason for the situation and every possible outcome for the way in which I can choose to address it, but ultimately I am often so overwhelmed that I am unable to negotiate which is the reality, and act out emotionally rather than logically to relieve or validate the way I am feeling. The way I tend to express myself in a crisis is like a backwards Ockham’s Razor mixed with a bunch of shit that explodes.

I N.



Representation is important — from strong confident women for young girls, to developed leading characters for people of colour, to sensitive portrayals of life with an illness — but it is particularly important for someone who suffers from an inability to accurately perceive themselves. *** Beyond the BPD Wikipedia page, I didn’t have anything or anyone to relate to about my diagnosis. I didn’t know anyone else with BPD, and this in turn made me feel more isolated and misunderstood, making me lash out and enact the self-fulfilling prophecy of being abandoned for being too difficult. I had always had a love of film, and when I temporarily dropped out of high school due to my worsening mental health, the only break from the onset of agoraphobia I had developed was the 40-minute return trip to the local video store; delegating characters on a screen as my new friends. As I sought out films that supposedly depicted BPD post-diagnosis, all it did was convince me I was a Bad Person™, and the feelings of hopelessness spread to the last parts of my brain they had yet to infect. Movies mattered to me, and here I was, the villain of the piece. Based on my real life experiences I had no reason to doubt that this was my fate, because it was all I had to go by. Until recently, Wikipedia listed around 80 films on its “Mental disorders in film” page as featuring characters with BPD. Of the entire list, only three films explicitly mention it: the adaptation of Susanna Kaysen’s autobiographical novel Girl, Interrupted (1999), French-Canadian erotic drama Borderline (2008), and the offbeat Kristen Wiig indie comedy Welcome to Me (2014). Out of those films that do not directly mention the disorder in dialogue, but are based on real-life subjects with BPD, only one of them is not about a serial killer: the 2001 adaptation of Elizabeth Wurtzel’s 1994 memoir Prozac Nation, about her adolescent struggle with BPD and bipolar (Wurtzel had wanted the original title to be I Hate Myself and I Want to Die but her editor convinced her to change it). Aileen Wuornos, who murdered seven men and was executed by the state in 2002, was officially diagnosed with BPD triggered by a lifetime of physical abuse and sexual trauma, and is portrayed by Charlize Theron in Monster (2003), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Three films currently exist about serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, who was diagnosed with BPD. The most recent of which, My Friend Dahmer (2017), focuses on Dahmer’s traumatic home life and gradual detachment from society — it is worth noting BPD was not Dahmer’s primary diagnosis, nor is it a focal point of any of the films about his life. Between Wuornos and Dahmer, it is difficult to expect anyone to develop empathy for characters who are, for all intents and purposes, psychopaths.


Katie Meadows

The majority of the Wikipedia list consists of psychological thrillers and horror films featuring women who are obsessive and manipulative, driven to the point of violence and sociopathic cruelty after rejection, including: Fatal Attraction (1987), where Glenn Close’s character infamously boils a rabbit alive to get revenge on an ex; Misery (1999), where a deranged Kathy Bates kidnaps and brutally disables an author who kills off her favourite fictional character; and Single White Female (1992), where a woman’s obsession with her new flatmate leads her to assume her identity, sexually assault her flatmate’s partner while wearing her clothes, and attempt to murder the object of her fixation and “become her.” Upon watching David Fincher’s Gone Girl (2014), my enjoyment of the film was instantly tainted when I went online to find dozens of blogs and tweets referring to Rosamund Pike’s Amy Dunne as a “classic borderline,” apparently evidenced by her thorough and premeditated attempts to frame her husband for abuse, even going so far as to schedule her own suicide so he is arrested for murder. The notion that Those with BPD self-harm or attempt suicide because of anything other than a hatred of themselves borders on morbidly entertaining to me when I think back to my own experiences, and my pure misguided desire to rid the world of myself to better others. The psychological thrillers with male characters, suspected of having BPD, all place even more emphasis on obsession and abuse, including Fear (1996), The Cable Guy (1996), One Hour Photo (2002), and, most frustratingly, American Psycho (2000) — the conflation of BPD with sociopathy being a common theme in film characterisations. Making up the last numbers on the list is a handful of romantic dramas and comedies, including My Super-Ex Girlfriend (2006), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), and, rather bizarrely, the Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman casual sex themed comedy No Strings Attached (2011). One of the most frustrating representations I’ve seen is Silver Linings Playbook (2012), which pains me to discuss beyond calling it Manic

Features I Hate Myself and I Want to Die Pixie Dream Girl for Film Snobs — a trope in itself that could be traced back to perceptions of women with BPD. Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany is flighty, impulsive, and emotionally manipulative; all she needs is the right person to “fix her.” Interestingly, at the time of writing this article, the entire BPD subsection on the Wikipedia page has been deleted, bar a note on Tiffany’s hypersexuality as “a symptom of Borderline personality disorder.” However, the majority of the films I have listed can be found as supposed representations of BPD in multiple thinkpieces, texts, and resources, some even approved of by so-called “medical professionals.” There are a plethora of articles about Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars allegedly fitting all criteria for a diagnosis of BPD — yes, the supervillain known as Darth Vader who commits large scale acts of genocide and seeks intergalactic domination — to the point where he is used as a textbook example in psychology classes. I would literally rather die than cause harm to someone else, and anytime I have it has been from a knee-jerk subconscious reaction of selfdefense after being triggered into memories of past trauma. Because validation is so important to those with BPD, when I only see myself represented on screen as a literal murderer I want to shut myself off from the world for fear of hurting those I love more than I feel I already have by just existing. Imagine being gaslit by a fucking Hollywood movie. All of these movies that supposedly feature fair representations of BPD and individuals with it revolve around assumptions by viewers that are themselves based on assumptions of the disorder, causing this misinformation to continuously be recycled and repeated. *** As far as accurate representation goes, I did enjoy Welcome to Me. The film stars Kristen Wiig as a woman with BPD who wins the lottery, goes off her meds, and spends her money creating a talk show about herself because she is obsessed with Oprah. Welcome to Me depicts the woman as more than just an emotional hurricane, but rather


Features someone desperately trying to shelter from that hurricane and protect themselves and those around them. At times I found myself loathing Wiig’s Alice, but on further reflection this was because of self-loathing towards my own behaviour. There could be arguments for the characters of Clementine and Mavis from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Young Adult respectively, both having problems with emotional expression and regularity, identity, and relationships, but I’m hesitant to project upon characters that are not explicitly referenced as borderline lest I become another Wikipedia list. I have a lot of mixed feelings on the film adaptation of Girl, Interrupted; because it’s based on source material by an actual Borderline it is more realistic than other films, but the presence of Hollywood and the need to dramatise leads to missteps and misrepresentation, including the concept that BPD is largely recoverable as opposed to something the sufferer must manage and adjust to. Much like Welcome to Me, Winona Ryder’s Susanna inspires a certain amount of resentment in me, though I do not think it is as compassionate a portrayal as the former. I do enjoy a scene where Susanna is reading about her diagnosis from a book to fellow patient Lisa, a sociopath, which touches on the “laugh to keep from crying” attitude I often apply to my disorder:

S u san n a: “ B o rder lin e Per s o n a lit y Dis orde r. A n i n s t a b i l i t y of s elf - ima ge, rela t io n s hips, and m o o d … u n ce r t a in a bo ut g o a ls, impuls ive in act iv i t i e s t ha t a re s e l f -d a ma g in g , s uch a s ca s ua l s ex .” L i sa: I l i k e th a t . S u san n a: “So cia l co n t ra r in e ss a n d a ge ne ral l y p e ss i m i s t i c a tt it ude a re o f ten o bs er ved.” Wel l , th a t ’s m e. L i sa: T h a t ’s ever y bo dy. S u san n a: I me a n , w h a t k in d o f s ex is n’t casual ? Film remains one of the most accessible ways to convey ideas and information to broad audiences, and even the most seemingly banal content can leave an impression on the viewer that sticks and shapes their ideals. When media consistently depicts these mentally vulnerable characters as evil, and communicates the notion that BPD is synonymous with violence, revenge, and a total lack of empathy, it breeds an environment for prejudice against sufferers. This stigma leads to the invalidation of their very real feelings, in turn feeding the cycle of self-destruction and self-loathing in the sufferer. And when the misrepresentation of BPD isn’t just limited to film and television, but extends to medical professionals, there is little hope for a change in public perception; patients with BPD often find it hard to find therapists and psychologists who will take them on, as borderlines are perceived in some medical circles as “lost causes” who will only disagree with or sabotage their treatment plans with dangerous behaviours. I’ve had GPs tiredly ask me why I can’t just try distract myself instead of self-harming, and I’ve given up on searching for BPD resources when so many of them call me toxic, or brand me as someone to avoid at all costs, when all I want to know is how to keep myself safe and express my love for the people in my life without overwhelming them.


Katie Meadows

Since my initial diagnosis, I have been lucky to meet several people who have trusted me with their BPD diagnosis — something many are hesitant to do because of the inherent stigma. The first time I met another borderline I think we talked for five hours straight, and the validation of my feelings and emotional processes and knowing I was finally not alone was almost euphoric. I am someone with a lot of love in my heart, especially for the people that take time to care for me and understand my disorder, but for my fellow borderlines I would take a bullet to keep them safe. We are precious, kind, loyal, empathetic human beings with an unlimited amount of compassion to provide those who take the time to know us, despite what they read online or see in a fucking Jennifer Lawrence movie. While a lot of people claim to have sympathy for those with mental illness, this seems to disappear when they cannot and will not educate themselves beyond a basic understanding of anxiety and depression. It’s easy to go through life being told how to think and what to do, but please take the time to get to know and understand those who don’t find things that simple, the people who go to war everyday with an overwhelming negative perception of who they are from both the public and themselves.

I Hate Myself and I Want to Die

Special thanks to my mom and her unconditional support, and all my amazing friends who listen to me, love me, and make me cups of tea.

*** If you need support Mauri Ora: VUW Health and Counselling — Kelburn 04 463 5308, Pipitea 04 463 7474, or email Youthline — 0800 376 633, free text 234, or email Capital and Coast DHB: Te Haika / Mental Health Crisis Team — 04 494 9169 or 0800 745 477 (24 hours). Suicide Crisis Helpline (for those in distress, or know someone who is) — 0508 828 865 VUWSA advocacy service — Erica Schouten, 04 463 6984, or email

Ziva Louisson

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W r i t t e n b y L a u r a T oailoa




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Praise for Pasifika art and writing is often connected to its authenticity. Nothing plastic, a real island guy. Who exactly we’re supposed to check this authenticity against, no one knows, but people are still adamant on some sense of realness. I used to be too, giving my judgemental side-eye at an afakasi taupou during a taualuga, or scoffing at people’s use of “uce” because they were tainting our precious language. But culture isn’t fixed, groups of people aren’t homogeneous crowds. Samoans, or Pasifika people, are not neat categories bound by restricted boundaries and unchanging borders. The English language came to our islands as a tool of trade, religion, and control. It’s the language that many from my parents’ generation were forced to speak at school, lest they get hit by the teachers. It’s the language that, from my own experiences and observation, seemed to be the marker of intelligence. It’s also the language that, through literature, I came to enjoy and even fall in love with. It’s a language that I have bouts of resentment towards, for taking my attention away from my gagana Samoa. But it’s also the language that I’ve been building my future career on: studying English literature at university, publishing articles whenever I can, reading as often as possible. It’s now my language; it’s a part of me. My middle name, Laura, comes from Laura Ingalls Wilder — the American author known best for her Little House on the Prairie series, which my family enjoyed so much that it gave them the idea to call me Laura. English literature was embedded into my being, before I spoke my first word. Names in Samoan myths and legends are most of the time related to important historical or local events; people’s names become markers of a place’s history. I like to think Laura acts in the same way — signifying the importance of literature in our family and in my upbringing. The authors I grew up with include Roald Dahl, Ann M. Martin, Paul Jennings, and, of course, J. K. Rowling. When we moved to New Zealand, my access to books was burst wide open by our regular visits to the Clendon Library; the unaffordability of books no longer a boundary. However, I hardly read books by Pasifika writers in my youth. I visited my old high school recently and my English teacher told me they study Karlo Mila now. I’m jealous. * * *





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“With over 1200 indigenous languages — one fifth of the contemporary world’s linguistic and cultural diversity — the region commonly known as the Pacific Islands is so huge and so varied, and the pedagogical tasks consequently so complex, that the notion of a single, allknowing teacher delivering knowledge from the front of the classroom is ludicrous.”

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*** Black Marks on the White Page is a collection of printed work edited by Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti. Reading it was the first time I didn’t feel the pressure, the obligation, the expectation, to like work by Pasifika writers (a group, the editors note in the introduction, that includes Māori, stating that they “want to remember our kinship in the wider Pacific” — another aspect I hadn’t considered in my Pasifika art and writing). In the book are short stories, excerpts from longer texts (some yet to be completed), photographs, and even poetry created from blacking out Wendt’s Pouliuli, something new created from the darkness. Ihimaera and Makereti write in the introduction, “none of us should be constrained by any sense of what we’re suppose to look or sound like. Creativity doesn’t live there.” I was so excited to devour this collection, but I found I couldn’t just chomp right through. There was no seamless transition between each story. There was a break/ A sharp break after each story/ Oh, you thought our stories can be blurred into one homogenous voice?/ One form?/ Think again. Courtney Sina Meredith



Likewise, expecting one Pasifika author, curator, or editor to deliver an all encompassing product, that reflects the diversity within the great sea of islands and the diaspora, puts pressure on the work to do more than it can (or should).




When I first read Sons for the Return Home by Albert Wendt, I didn’t like it. I didn’t get it. It was weird. The plot moved at a pace unlike what I was used to in a novel. The characters felt unfamiliar, unreal. I didn’t understand their motives, or I didn’t believe them. But I so badly tried to like it. I knew Wendt’s status as a pioneer of Pasifika literature. Who was I, undergraduate and unlearned wannabe writer, to say his work wasn’t good? What kind of literature student would I be, a Samoan one even, if I didn’t appreciate Wendt’s work? To not enjoy his book felt like a failure and a betrayal. He’s the Samoan author. You’re going to dislike the work of the Samoan author?! I’ve come to realise that these anxiety-inducing questions were based on my misguided perception that Samoan literature was a narrow and restricted category. I expected Laughing Samoans humour, Christian morals, and a deep, unshakable obedience to parents. Sons for the Return Home did not give me that. With my miniscule sample population, disliking one book, one author, would mean I’d dislike most of the Pasifika literature I’d read. That didn’t sit right with me, so I looked for more. Some of my favourite things to read, during these relatively early steps (that I’m still taking) towards discovering more Pasifika writers, are anthologies and collections. I like to read things that contain a multitude of voices. Because I’ve read so little Pasifika writing, I want to be exposed to as much as possible, within one text. In reflecting on her experiences of putting together the Pacific Studies program here at VUW in 2000, the late Dr Teresia Teaiwa writes:



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and Sia Figiel wrote in forms that didn’t immediately click with me. I left, tried another story, then returned. I wanted to understand. I no longer felt like I had to like it, or get it, to prove my literary intelligence. But I was just curious about new forms of storytelling. Figiel’s still doesn’t click with me, after three attempts. I don’t like it. But that’s okay; I have many other stories. Black Marks is the kind of writing community I’d like to be a part of, or create — a collection of people who want to tell stories, brought together by circumstances related to the creative world and beyond it. It’s an example of what happens when we put our resources, talent, and voices together. ***

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A monumental experience this year was interviewing the artists Witch Bitch from FAFSWAG. I wasn’t entirely sure how to conduct an interview with artists, and I stressed out trying to come up with questions they haven’t been asked before. (But we really are curious who inspired you!). I messaged a friend the night before (sorry Lote) to do the interview with me, because she was the perfect person, who would appreciate the weight of the experience, but also because I couldn’t go alone. The interview became more conversational as it went on, my questions becoming prompts more than anything. There was so much laughter. Sometimes it was the kind that you do instead of crying, or hitting something. It was also laughter that signalled that I was safe and understood. Laughter that felt like home. Even though the interview was definitely not about me, I benefited so much from it. One comment that kept me glowing was when they thanked us for interviewing them in a way that didn’t make them feel like an Other to be studied — they didn’t have to explain parts of their worldview that, to us, were common sense, a feeling novel for them at the time (they’ve since gone on to be interviewed by many other Pasifika publications — slay). I felt myself relaxing. This year I was also lucky enough to talk to artists Quishile Charan and Salome Tanuvasa, who I wrote about in Issue 13, about their experiences of belonging, indigeneity, and connecting to a sense of home. After a while the dynamics moved away from media and artist to just three brown girls sitting on the floor, talking about life and how ordinary and extraordinary it is. In the same issue I wrote about the Polynesian Panthers who were generous enough to talk to me, answer my questions, and let me tag along to their visit to Manurewa High School. I’ve tried to expose myself to as many Pasifika narratives I could within the confines of this underfunded student publication I’m lucky to be at the helm of (alongside Tim). But I’m certainly not the only one who’s been writing about things Pasifika: Hanahiva, our Visual Arts Editor, has written about many exhibitions and works in a way that didn’t frame them within reductive genres, ethnic or otherwise, instead addressing more engaging questions around what the works were doing. Jasmine, Dexter, and Luka have all written features addressing topics they cared about. They’re


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stories * *** Writing (our)Features

writers who inevitably write from a Pasifika perspective — it’s a part of who they they are — but they only ever claim to write from their own perspective, never speaking on behalf of all (who even is this “all” that people think we speak for?). *** “Do you feel the burden of being a Māori or Pasifika writer?”


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Sometimes I feel like my mind is stuck at the time school children were surprised that I knew how to speak English when I first moved here; or when they asked, in a mystic voice, if Samoa had roads or electricity. They were kids without the internet, so whatever — but I’ve grown accustomed to explaining myself. I’m used to people asking me questions about myself that I find dull. I’m used to speaking to an audience to which I’m Other. Writing for Salient is a strange experience, not really knowing who my audience is (lol no one reads Salient). I assume most of them are Pākehā, based on the student population at this university. But I’m used to speaking to an audience with a different contextual background to me. I was used to speaking to people I feel like an Other to — I’ve been training my whole life to learn how to exist in a world that I have to fit into, not one that fits around me, and the people I belong to. I’m still learning the rules. In an interview with Vogue, Lupita Nyong’o was asked: “What was it like growing up in Kenya?” She replied, “…normal.” That blew my mind — you can just say that?! It’s that easy?? You don’t have to explain your entire background, give a comparative history 101 session, and draw conclusions?? I want to start seeing my own ordinary details as normal too. I want to stop Othering myself. When mother speaks, she doesn’t ask for permission, or apologise for taking up space, or worry how people might attribute her words to a larger (arbitrary) group she’s a part of. She simply speaks her truth. I want to imitate her confidence. My words are my own — I will use them as best I can, but I don’t want the burden of representing others.

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“Whether we are fully conscious of it or not, whether we create in response to where we have come from, or whether we create in reaction to it, or whether we are trying to ignore it altogether — we are always creating as Pacific women. How can we not?”


This question, posed by an audience member to the e-Tangata Storytellers forum on October 2, echoes a question I’ve asked myself a few (thousand) times. I’m often too preoccupied with this question to even get words on paper (or screen). Tusiata Avia writes in an article published in e-Tangata:

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IN WHICH A BOY LEAVES Written by Robert Barratt

I’ve always been a fairly lucky kid. I essentially lucked out at birth, being born white, male, heterosexual, to a well off family. My life was never going to be particularly hard. And so my tale begins, with another stroke of sheer luck. After my girlfriend suggested I take up a radio show, I applied to the Victoria Broadcasting Club (VBC), and managed to gain a regular slot through pure chance — the slot I wanted was literally vacated by the previous occupant minutes before I arrived, and my presence was a welcome relief for the station manager. My show was a relative non-affair. I don’t think I ever had more than ten listeners at any one moment, but the quiet time away from the rest of the university was a weekly, welcome relief, and I got to feel the unique pleasure that is exposing others to something one enjoys. As time went on, it became clear that the station wasn’t doing too well. The station manager complained about VUWSA’s lack of involvement, about the inability to contact the trust that founded the station in the late ’90s, the fact we weren’t played on campus, along with a host of other things. Equipment broke frequently, and because I’m a massive fuckin nerd, I fixed it. So, toward the end of 2013, when the station manager retired, I ended up being one of the few people there who knew how things worked — I replaced keyboards, pressed buttons when things broke, swivelled knobs that needed it. I spoke to VUWSA, suggesting they buy the station from the founding trust and expand their plethora of student media. In the end, the trust agreed to sell the station, all its equipment, and the rights to the radio frequency

Features to VUWSA, all for the grand cost of “writing off its unpaid GST bill,” less than $3000 if memory serves me right. And so, my job as station manager began. Well, not quite a job, no one would be paying me, but I could say I managed a student radio station! Big changes! The first year was an absolute nightmare. Most of our equipment either didn’t work as intended, or didn’t work at all. Getting stuff replaced took months, simply because VUWSA hadn’t quite worked out what they wanted to do with a radio station yet — they hadn’t actually owned one for over a decade, since RadioActive became independent, so all institutional knowledge was gone, and I had very little idea of what the hell I was actually meant to be doing. I knew how to keep it all going, but upgrading, and replacing, equipment was a fucking mystery. I tried googling some things only to find a lot of our equipment had been out of production since the late ’90s. The only guy who actually made the things that connect a phone to an analog mixer was some hermit. But hey, I got to write “station manager” on my CV. S T O K E D. Towards the end of 2014 I had this big idea to integrate the station with Salient. The intention was to help future-proof the station, as well as the magazine for when print media was no longer economically feasible, and an online publication was the next best option. By having more than just written content, we thought we could have a lot more value than other student magazines. This idea expanded to include SalientTV, allowing us to have a full multimedia suite. After jumping through a whole host of hoops, in 2015 we were renamed SalientFM. The editor at the time, Sam McChesney, had a whole host of ideas about what he was going to do with it; there’d be live interviews, recordings, gigs, the whole shebang. But things don’t always work out as planned. While Sam put a hell of a lot of time into revamping the website, it’s always been something of a mess. WordPress, while useful for something like a magazine with weekly uploads and a large number of different pages, isn’t exactly the world’s most flexible platform. SalientTV and SalientFM were passed off onto their own separate subdomains, and we’ve been


Robert Barratt

trying our best to stay afloat since. Numerous proposals to VUWSA about upgrading the website have been submitted, but as anyone who’s been here longer than a year can attest to, it hasn’t happened. So, rather than focus on the visual presentation of the Salient brand online, I focused on the technical side of the stream. In order to simplify things, we cut down the equipment necessary from four computers to two. We changed the compression and encoding from three hardware sources to a single software source. We changed our hosting provider, meaning we no longer have a cap on people who can connect to the stream, as well as higher quality audio. The hope was that once we’d done all of this, we could redirect funding towards serious promotional efforts. 2016 came and went without much fanfare. We started experimenting with podcasts, collaborating with writers for the magazine, speaking to artists about their music, shit like that. (Interestingly, our two most popular pieces of content in 2016 were Max Key and Beach Boy, which has always confused me a little). We sort of just tried to focus on showing VUWSA how we could deliver value to student media in general. I still don’t really know if they actually saw any, but they did a survey in which people seemed happy to keep the station, so that felt pretty good. 2017, so far, has felt relatively similar to 2016. There haven’t been any drastic changes, primarily because we haven’t really needed any. We have a stable listener base (though, interestingly, we also seemed to have gained a dedicated following in both Germany and India; I’m still not entirely sure how), ample volunteers, and, for once, everything just works. Dreamy. I don’t think my tenure here has been perfect. I wish I could have put more time into helping people with their shows, with things like how long to talk for, what to talk about, what tracks to play if you’re attempting to grow your listener base — you know, the kind of shit that real radio stations do. It would probably have made things a bit more boring but, after looking at Radio One’s financials versus ours during a visit to Dunedin in 2015, I’m pretty sure it would have been a solid choice.

In Which a Boy Leaves

... IN MY OPINION, THIS IS ONE OF STUDENT MEDIA'S GREATEST STRENGTHS. WHERE ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO SEE A PIECE ABOUT SEX WORKERS' RIGHTS, A HEARTFELT DISCUSSION ABOUT DEALING WITH ASPERGER'S AS A UNIVERSITY STUDENT, AND A DISCUSSION OF THE WEIRD AS SHIT CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE CAPITAL MARKET? CERTAINLY NOT IN THE HER ALD. AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT? WRITE FOR US. IF YOUR PIECE IS GOOD, IT WILL GET PUBLISHED. I wish I’d had the time and funding to run sponsored gigs. They didn’t even have to be big ones, I just wish we’d had Dugtrio, or CK, or Mermaidens, or one of the other, numerous, incredible local bands playing under a billing we’d put out. And I wish we’d managed to unify the website. My greatest regret will probably be that I couldn’t make it happen. We had quotes, a plan in place, a basic framework and schedule, but with NZ On Air funding applications closing way before the date they initially announced, we missed our window. These are all things I hope whoever ends up in this role ends up doing, and I hope the things I’ve worked towards make it at least a little easier for them to do so. So let me take this moment to be a little bit mushy and defensive. Student media, in the eyes of most of the student body is, let’s be honest, something of a joke (shoutout bad memes). But hot diggity dog, everyone I’ve met here and work with puts in way, way more time


Robert Barratt

than they’re paid for. Editors frequently work 70-hour weeks, designers are up till ungodly hours of the morning, not just to deliver a product for students, but to help writers gain invaluable experience that you honestly can’t really get anywhere else. And I get it: sometimes it’s super fuckin avant-garde, sometimes the pieces written are pretty fuckin’ opinionated; but in my opinion, this is one of student media’s greatest strengths. Where else are you going to see a piece about sex workers’ rights, a heartfelt discussion about dealing with Asperger’s as a university student, and a discussion of the weird as shit circumstances surrounding the Capital Market? Certainly not in the Herald. And if you don’t like it? Write for us. If your piece is good, it will get published. Despite opinions otherwise, we don’t really have an agenda. So thanks to Laura, Tim, Jayne, Emma, Sam, Duncan, and Cam for curating this shit over the years. Thanks to Matt and Indigo for giving us money. Thanks Rory, Jono, Rick, and Sonya for thinking we’re worthwhile enough to keep around. Thanks to the countless number of volunteers we've had; I’ve seen close to a thousand, and I haven’t even met half the people who wrote while I’ve been here. Shoutout to whoever left Metallica’s Death Magnetic on repeat for an entire weekend. Mistake or not, it made me laugh very hard. Thanks Campus Care for the numerous calls you get every night asking people to let volunteers in after hours (though, for real, sort out swipe access for us, yeah?). Cheers to Stanislav Barabash, our dedicated Ukrainian listener who had us playing through a laptop at the hotel where he worked, and the nice emails he sent us. Hope you’re doing alright. To the café in Germany who plays us literally 18 hours a day: you’re a champ. Shoutout Double Brown and sub $8.00 wine, the show hosts’ drinks of choice. Sorry we ended up with so much of your cutlery Hunter Lounge, please keep delivering beer to us. I’m probably going to miss this place.

In Which a Boy Leaves





TELEVISION Married at First Sight New Zealand

after failing to win over Zac because the more he was around her the more boring he realized she was, Bel has decided to forego that whole bonding process and just skip to the wedding before anyone can do backsies. Upon first meeting, Bel and her match are beyond thrilled and can’t keep their hands off each other. Alas, they are both insufferable and are put through the honeymoon from hell where Haydn tries to placate her until he can escape.

Formerly one of Australia’s most successful reality shows, especially given the country won’t even legalise gay marriage because of the “sanctity” of the whole thing, New Zealand now has its very own version of Western arranged marriages! Married at First Sight New Zealand is here, and it is the most excruciatingly painful reality show I have ever On throwing group hens nights and stag dos seen. It takes twelve singles who just want to settle for the contestants, the producers freaked out upon down and get married because that’s what society realising their gay couple could not both attend has instructed them to do to achieve “happiness”, the stag do to maintain the “marrying a complete and makes them get legally married five minutes stranger” shtick — but who will be the bride?! after meeting. Then it is a just a matter of time as we That’s how it works, right? Ben is sent to a hens wait for them to achieve aforementioned happiness night, but that’s okay because he hates all men through divorce. unless they look like him but taller and want to talk Apparently the Married at First Sight New shit in the bathrooms — something he literally Zealand pairings are based on “match-making does five minutes into the wedding reception to science,” but I think those scientists went to the escape poor lovely Aaron. After the ceremony, same online college as whoever organises Are You while Ben’s friend Alex does the dirty work The One? Claire wants a young hottie; she gets and explains to Aaron that Ben was “just a shy Dom, who is seven years older than her and looks person” Aaron watches Ben flit around the party like he is a mascot for biscuits on some local and do the exact opposite. Aaron keeps trying network advertising. Ben wants someone taller to kiss Ben while his new husband just sort of than him; he gets Aaron, who is at least an inch retreats into his neck and bears it. Meanwhile, shorter. Lacey doesn’t want a bearded man; Claire and Dom are banging on every surface her new husband Luke has a beard. Bel is a possible. Death is near. vegetarian and pacifist; her match Haydn is a carnivorous wrestler. I would be lying if I said I hope every single person attending these weddings was completely off their tits on I didn’t just want to rant about my loathing of Bel from The Bachelor, though I suspect Mediaworks-funded free booze, because I don’t know how else you could cope part of my problem lies in my jealousy with all the regretful crying that the of her attempts to hustle the New contestants and their families keep Zealand reality show circuit — a longattempting to pass off as just being time dream of my own. I can only overwhelmed by the special day. assume she has been explicitly According to Married at warned not to talk about her First Sight New Zealand, cats, something that on the marriage is everything I last season of The Bachelor expected and caused Zac’s simple I, for one, eyes to roll back into welcome the his simple head. alcohol. Presumably — Katie Meadows


Guides Games


“It’s all over but the crying…” After three years, 57 published pieces (including two features), and hundreds of dollars spent on games for reviews, this will be the last thing I write for Salient. It’s going to be hard to give this up, but I never anticipated my words being a consistent presence in this magazine, and now that the end of my degree approaches, the time is right. Three years is an eternity in gaming, with constant technological developments meaning the state of the industry is always in flux as key players try to keep pace with one another. But the old cliché of “the more things change, the more they stay the same” is true as well — many of the issues I talked about in 2015, such as the Steam store’s decline in standards and pre-order bonuses, are not only still relevant, but have become even worse than before. The attitude that many major gaming companies exhibit towards these issues, especially where monetisation is concerned, seems to be along the lines of “how far can we push our customers without pissing them off ?” — rather than attempting to create a product that people enjoy on its own merits. But the gaming industry is not just the big companies with deep pockets and insatiable greed. There are thousands of small developers looking to create quality experiences that don’t need downloadable content or microtransactions to be profitable. Hell, they don’t need to even make money at all, as long as there are fans out there who will enjoy their games regardless. One of the regrets I have of my time writing this games column is that I haven’t been able to showcase any of the games coming out of New Zealand’s developing scene, one which is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. They may not exactly be big sellers (except possibly for Grinding Gear’s Path of Exile), but the scene deserves your attention, especially with Dean Hall’s Rocketwerkz studio kicking things into gear. I wish I could be as optimistic about the wider gaming subculture, however. While there are many great people wanting to eliminate

toxic influences on gaming discourse, the truth is that many of those same influences helped put a fascist idiot into the White House, and as such are more galvanised than ever into making the wider gaming community as unwelcoming as possible for anyone who dares to speak for change. I constantly worry that I will be lumped in with these idiots solely because gaming is the hobby I express myself through. The difference is that I proudly put my name to every piece I write, no matter how controversial it may seem, while so many keyboard warriors stay behind their wall of anonymity and fling mud over the top. As far as I’m concerned, there is no place for bigotry and hatred anywhere, especially gaming. Despite all of that, I have immensely enjoyed every moment of my time at Salient. It has been a chapter in my life that I will treasure as I move on to bigger and better things. To the editors I have worked under (Sam, Emma, Jayne, Laura, and Tim), thanks for giving me the opportunity; I hope I haven’t let you down. To those who have contributed to the gaming section, thanks for offering your unique insights. To the publishers who have provided me with review copies, thanks for doing so, even if I didn’t get to review everything you sent me. To Mum and Dad, thanks for believing in me. To everyone who has read my pieces, thanks for taking time out of your day to read some fat nerd’s opinion; it means everything to me. Finally, to any media organisation reading this: please hire me! SEE YOU SPACE COWBOY… — Cameron Gray


A Town Like Alice — Nevil Shute

I was introduced to this novel by a bright, enthusiastic friend who adores it completely, can’t compliment it enough, and, since she is smart enough to be a law student, whose intellectual judgement I trust even though I am iffy about her career choice. The book was written in 1950s Australia, and tells the story of a young Englishwoman, Jean Paget, who spent time working in Malaya during the war and was imprisoned for a while, but then decides, having received an unexpected inheritance after the war, to travel to Australia in search of a man who had been a prisoner with her. Once there, living in a small, budget town in the wop-wops, she pulls up her gumboots and begins to build up the economic strength of her neighbourhood — to make it more “like Alice” Springs, a thriving town not far off. The story jumps back and forward between Jean’s two worlds, Malaya and Willstown, the Australian version of, I don’t know, Greymouth? It flashes back to her work in a small Malayan village where she first dipped her toes into the world of applied development studies, building a well for the village women to cut down on the time they spent walking to and from a local water source. The character of Jean is based on a real woman that the author once met while travelling in Sumatra in the 1940s, Carry Geysel, who had been taken prisoner by the Japanese army in the Dutch East Indies in 1942. This is pretty neat. Stories about astonishing women doing crazy things in wartime are always fascinating and beyond intimidating to me; I get truly paranoid that I would be a bit of a letdown in circumstances like that. But how great that I am a tragic anomaly, and that other women are real-life heroines. The thing about this book is that it’s wonderfully nostalgic in a very specific way. It reminds me of the piles upon piles of old, musty novels that my Grandad had stored in the shed


by his farmhouse, sitting on home-crafted shelves made of wooden planks and lived in by small, thin spiders and sparrows’ nests. They were from all the decades before the computer was invented, with leathery backs, ripped paper jackets, and pages the colour of sand at dusk. But they were books, and the magic of a book, if I can be emotional for a second, is that the story in it, if it is good, forgives everything else; in fact, transforms everything else into part of the happy experience, into part of the magic. A Town Like Alice is one of these books. Every copy you could find will probably be a little torn, and the font will remind you of segregation, and the cover illustration will be hand drawn. But it will be the story that gets to you, and then when you see those things somewhere else, you’ll be haunted by those delicious feelings. So, as I close out this last Salient review for my tenure, I will leave you with this thought. People don’t love books because they are made of paper sheaves, or the typography is beautiful, or the pictures are captivating, or the price is low, or they pile up nicely for Instagram photos on a coffee table under lamp light. They love books because they carry a story, and the story is the magic. A person who loves books will love stories wherever they find them. They will be desperate for them, hungrily seeking out narrative and character and adventure in every corner of life. The story is the soul and the rest, mere flesh and blood. — Kimberley McIvor


Alcestis — Eilish Draper and Alley Lane

On Thursday evening I shuffled into the Memorial Theatre (yes, shuffled, there was a good turnout) and settled into my seat for a classic Greek tragedy. This adaption of Alcestis follows Apollo (Claudia Jardine) as he struggles to save the life of Alcestis (Leah Bell) who must die to repay her husband’s, Admetus (Matthew Martel), debt. Apollo had previously persuaded the Fates to extend Admetus’ life, so that another son is saved from death as his was killed by Zeus, but this debt instead falls on the head of Alcestis. Given the title, Alcestis (ironically?) doesn’t give Alcestis many lines: she is either veiled, dying, or dead. Once dead, a miscommunication with Heracles (David Bowers-Mason) sets Apollo on a quest to reclaim his honour by travelling to the Underworld to bring back Alcestis to the land of the living. In typical Greek fashion it finishes with the Fates claiming Admetus’ life and Apollo ending Alcestis’ zombie-life, thus everything returns to its natural balance, even if it is via tragedy. This was the first show from directors Eilish Draper and Alley Lane. Putting on any piece of theatre is no easy feat and these students definitely deserve a round of applause. However I do have some qualms, or rather, one very large qualm. My biggest disappointment was the tone. In my view it was meant to be a tragedy and yet many of the most gut-wrenching, tear-jerking scenes came across as farcical. Over-the-top wailing as Alcestis’ body was brought on stage, as well as other melodramatic reactions by the supporting cast, instantly rejected me from the emotional depth of the story. Martel’s emotional range was consistent as a high-strung, overly dramatic widower which quickly got boring. His speeches needed dips and heights in order to retain interest, and also a different facial expression than his Robert De Niro scowl. Because these serious scenes were unbelievable,


and the comedic relief via Bowers-Mason was so good, the tone was uncertain and the audience often laughed in places that appeared not to be intended as jokes. However there were specific actors who carried the show. The aforementioned BowersMason was fan-fucking-tastic as Heracles. As soon as he walked on stage with his Flintstonesized club, a child’s lion-hoodie-blanket as his lion’s skin, and his contoured abs, we knew we were in for a laugh. He had fun with his lines, often ad-libbing to the audience’s delight, and wasn’t afraid to play the clown. Yet BowersMason was also the most genuine when Heracles was shocked, pulling at the audience’s heartstrings, and also unnerving when he forced Alcestis to return to the living world. Claudia Jardine was another stand-out. Casting her as Apollo was a smart decision; her singing and musical ability gave the audience chills, and her femininity gave a deeper connection to the character’s hurt and desire to protect. We could see and feel Apollo’s frustration at not being able to be more powerful than the Fates. Max Nunes Cesar, who plays Admetus’ father Pheres, delivered a pleasantly surprising performance. His deep, gravelly, and commanding voice held the audience in place. He delivered a believable older man of exceptional power and influence; it made me sympathise with his character’s point of view, and even believe that he was correct. The costuming of the Fates was deliciously new and chilling, and the lighting for the Underworld was just as delectable. I left this show feeling it had the potential to be exceptional, if only the tone had been more precise. — Emilie Hope




Interview with Grayson Gilmour Grayson Gilmour released his album Otherness in July this year, his third to come out on Flying Nun but the latest in a much larger string of solo releases, soundtrack work, and band projects. Grayson has carved out his own sonic niche, creating an incredibly intricate and original sound that makes genre comparisons quite tricky. We caught up with Grayson to chat about the album, his upcoming shows at Bats, and the significance of this musical chapter in his life.

Going into Otherness, what was different about this record? What kind of stuff did you want to explore?

One of the main differences in this record is that I opened up the arrangements to include a lot of people in them. The string quartet is something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time or the resources. Or maybe I just hadn’t trusted myself to work in that scope in the past. My solo stuff has been more of an isolated creative zone. I had bands and other people to work with in the past; maybe I enjoyed that kind of seclusion, but now that my own music is the forefront of what I do, I like having that collaborative aspect. I was also just trying to whittle down my influences and what I was trying to make sound world wise — if that makes any sense. I’ve heard you say you spend a lot of time on your songs, and the complexity of the arrangements and the layering of sounds seems to reflect this. What’s the process of creating a track like this?

A lot of the songs on Otherness were written since the last album, but they went through many many different forms in the process. I actually just stumbled across an old folder of all my previous mixes for this record. It was crazy listening back to some of the first sketches that I did. A song like “Blowback” used to be double time. It had a completely different beat — it was real afrobeaty. I love afrobeat and I was just playing around with that kind of pace. But I thought “this is really convoluted,” so I just stripped it out completely and made it a half time beat on the back foot the whole way. And it worked, but I really loved the old version.

When you’re writing your lyrics, do you think about them as part of the complex textural arrangement, or as a separate kind of thing altogether?

They evolve along the way but it’s funny, they come together once the track has found its feet. It’s very rare that I’d ever start a song just with lyrics. A lot of my songwriting consists of gradually stitching together ideas and growing them together. Likewise, with my lyrics, I might just write down a few lines at a time and they might join up with other lines that have a similar sentiment, and eventually those rhythms just interlock with certain songs. I hate to use the term “organic” but it all just comes together like that. When it gets to the end of recording a song I’m always quite terrified by how the lyrics will probably be the first and foremost thing that people engage with — that’s just the nature of singing and language — which is why I quite like putting out instrumental versions and other versions to show off the songs. What was the reason behind doing these special shows at Bats?

I’m probably more interested in doing different things when I perform now, which is why I’ve booked these shows at Bats and why I’ve just been playing art galleries lately. I still have the band thing ready to go for gigs that need to be short, have impact, and be loud. But I guess my curiosity lies in things I haven’t done before or in challenging myself. The shows at Bats will be with the string quartet, there’s going to be a vibraphone player, and my mate Aidan from So So Modern doing synth bass. It won’t have the volume in that respect, it won’t be “rock” — rock is a word I’m so cautious off which is probably



What’s the future looking like for you and your music?

I get really really excited about closing a musical chapter. Finishing this concert and getting these videos cut, the recordings out, that 7 inch out, the remixes. As soon as I’ve put all my cards on the table and this album has done its thing, I’m looking forward to that so much. Otherness is like a fully realised version of me in the realm of being a songwriter. Where I’m excited about exploring next is territory totally outside of that. What that is yet, I don’t really know. Definitely more electronic-centric or pushing out with my arrangements with string quartets and performance. Maybe not necessarily needing things to be song based or lyrically based. There will definitely be a lot more music in the future. I don’t necessarily know if it will be under my own name or if it might be under a different project altogether. Band stuff will probably always be on indefinite hiatus with So So Modern. There’s heaps of unfinished stuff there and who knows what might happen with those guys in the future. It’s hard to say. I’ve been talking to a few other people about starting some bands, but that’s very much a 2018 kind of thing. It’s such an open canvas for me post this record that I can’t wait. 2018 is going to be so fun. — Olly Clifton

Thursday»»»TV Disko — TV Disko is a groovy lil shit and he is bringing his collection of very ~rare~ and ultra ~special~ vinyl down to Wellington Museum for a nice little boogie. Entry is koha, and it starts at 7.30pm so you can still get to bed and be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for your last day of class on Friday. Friday/ Saturday»»»Symbiotic Death Fest — If you like your music painful and unrelenting then this extreme metal festival might be just the ticket. It’s at Valhalla, and includes Crypt Incursion, Decimated King, and Oblivion Dawn. Get in some punishing heathen black metal to soothe your soul, from 8.00pm with a $10 cover. Saturday»»Big Daddy Wilson and Band — This being listed on the gig guide is more than just my immense respect for anyone with the moxie to call themselves “Big Daddy”; this man is actually an incredible blues musician with the power of healing in his spidery guitar fingers and husky voice. Tickets are $30, but it’s worth breaking the bank for and, what the hell, it’s end of trimester? If you can’t have a minor mental breakdown and splurge on expenses you certainly don’t need at this time (like an elaborate Spice Girls-style fluffy purple cardigan on Etsy that I purchased just last night), then when can you? This particular money-sapping activity will be at Caroline from 9.00pm. Sunday»»»The Beths with Beatcomber and Thirtysomethings — THE BETHS ARE MY FAVOURITE DAMN BAND COME TO THIS PLEASE THEIR MUSIC IS SUCH A BOP AND THEY ARE TRUE ANGELS OF PEOPLE. No but for real The Beths are incredible and this is Sunday but it is before Labour Day so you won’t be staying out late on a school night, and you get to hear their new track “Great No One” which hints at bigger releases in the future which is very exciting!! It’s at Meow at 9.00pm, and I will put a very potent hex on every person who reads this but doesn’t come. I’m sorry, I really shouldn’t joke about that. I won’t hex you. But come.


why I don’t end up strumming my guitar or doing anything inherently masculine with it nowadays. I’m doing more of an ensemble, more of a chamber thing. It’s just another way to try and engage with people differently and engage with my music. Ultimately, the long game might be that I can combine those two: the band and the chamber thing. The original idea was to try and get a ten piece band. The drums, the bass, the quartet, everything. But it wasn’t feasible to do that at Bats.




A FEW OF THE BEST FILMS OF 2017 There were too many good films this year to write a concise list, but it certainly helps that this year I’ve already written GLOWING reviews for Logan, Things To Come, Raw, Get Out, My Life As A Courgette, It, and mother!. All in all you’d be an utter fool not to seek out any the above films, and even more of a fool not to seek out the four below, which are in alphabetical order. An extended version of this article can be found on our website —

A GHOST STORY — DAVID LOWERY Quietly yetand overwhelmingly philosophical, this film combines the sweetest, smallest moments of indie drama with the universal scale of Terrence Mallick’s later films. SAll set in one house, but across multiple decades, we follow C’s ghost (Casey Affleck) as M (Rooney Mara) copes with his passing. At its largest the film ponders the weight of eternity and insignificance, but at its smallest it rests on the pop song that M listens to, trying to remember C. If you want something purely cinematic, but straight from the heart, look no further. BLADE RUNNER 2049 — DENIS VILLENEUVE This will go down in cinema history as one of the biggest pop culture bulls- eyes a filmmaker has ever achieved. First of all there’s the rebooting of an ’80s cult hit, most of which are sketchy at best, and then there’s the monumental themes from the original that this film managed to build on so elegantly and emotionally. I mean for God’s sake, Sony gave an art-house director $150 million with no creative pressure and said “go for your life, go follow up Blade Runner” and it actually paid off. Everyone behind and in front of the camera did their absolute best, so hats off to everyone involved. Go see it in the theatre (specifically the Embassy Grand) while it’s around. GOOD TIME — BEN SAFDIE AND JOSH SAFDIE This film is pure punk — n. Not just in aesthetic, but in sheer will. Shot on film, handheld, close, and in impossibly low light levels, the film has an unforgiving pace and a career high. Everything feels real and, gritty, as the two brothers (Robert Pattinson and Ben Safdie) try and evade capture after robbing a bank, descending a rabbit hole of crime and depravity. The film goes places you don’t want it to go, and offers very little in the way of resolution, but its raw emotion comes from the intense brotherly love which underpins every desperate action. WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES — MATT REEVES A handful of films took me to an emotional place this year, but this serie’s finale brought me to tears. Truly one of the best final chapters in one of the best trilogies that hasve ever been made, Matt Reeve’s directorial effort reminded me how a film with a blockbuster budget can be beautifully told and provide cutting allegory on the nature of war and humanity. Oh, and Andy Serkis as Caesar is a high point for both his acting and motion capture technology. — Finn Holland


Visual Art

visual art: The evening passes in an ordinary way

“Is that The Oldest Man In The Room?” asks The Young Gallery Girl at the very private opening for a very public art showcase. “I don’t know, but whoever he is he’s wearing yesterday’s clothes,” replies The Plus One. “Oh it is!” confirms The Tall Artist. “He is in the middle of a court case for — maybe I shouldn’t say. The Short Artist told me. I’ll tell you this: I’m not surprised.” “…And I would like to thank our sponsors for the delicious wine tonight. The grapes are harvested on fields of fossilised soil, just down the road from my own home. Well, that’s nepotism for you!” The Plus One loses focus. “Would you like a drink?” Someone asks. “Yes, please.” The afterparty is held at a bar, recently reopened, in the centre of town. It rains on the walk over. “Excuse me sir,” says The Bouncer to The Major Sponsor, “Next time no shorts, alright? We’ve got a dress code.” “Can I get two Martinis?” “We don’t do those.” “What do you do?” “Mojitos, Bloody Marys, Espresso Martinis,


The thing about The Old Artists is that they are honest enough to be mildly divisive; unlike The Old Patrons, who Everyone seems to agree are just wrong. The Dealers, always, are dishonest, which is how you stay in the game. The same goes for The Writers. Anyway, The Plus One hears little gossip worth repeating. The afterparty moves somewhere quieter not long after the queue outside begins to snake onto the footpath. The Tall Artist leaves. The rain continues. The Plus One calls The Critic from a toilet stall and asks what the hell they have to do to become A Hot Young Thing. The Art Dealer reaches over the table. “There’s nothing The Plus One is confused. “No,” they say. He smiles. “I like your jacket.” “Thank you.” “Is it fur?” “Polyester.” “I had one like it once.” The Plus One loses focus. — T.P.O

happening here.” “Is there usually?”



At the beginning of the year I pitched this section because I loved podcasts, and because my friends were sick of me talking about my favourite shows incessantly. I’ve had a wonderful experience writing reviews and interviewing some of my favourite hosts. A special thank you goes out to Laura and Tim for accommodating the section, and to contributors Alex Feinson, Dennis Lim, and Hannah Patterson for their superb efforts. If you are interested in writing about podcasts for Salient in 2018, email the editors over the summer ( — you won’t regret it, I promise. Similarly, if you are thinking about making your own podcast, go for it! Podcasting is a great way to hear more from the voices often marginalised in mainstream media. You can make a podcast about anything; the more niche, the better. To help, I’ve assembled this handy guide: What Should You Name Your Podcast?

First Letter of Your First Name

A — Nihilism B — Doggos C — Hummus D — Regret E — Patrick Gower F — Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Emotion” G — Jet Fuel Doesn’t Melt Steel Beams H — Hash Browns I — Fuckbois J — The Irish Potato Famine of 1840 K — Hera Lindsay Bird L — Fear of Emailing Your Landlord M — Lord of the Rings is Terrible N — The Handmaid’s Tale O — The Alt-Right P — Pizza Q — The Office UK vs The Office US R — Chernobyl S — The Cuban Missile Crisis T — Existential Dread U — YOghurt or YOGhurt? V — Mongolia W — Justin Lester X — Memes Y — Adam and Eve Z — Butts

Your Birth Month

— Annelise Bos


Story January — A True Crime Guest Steve Buscemi al eci Sp th Wi — February t? Tha March — What’s Up With tion April — An Investiga h Hilary Barry May — In Conversation wit June — A Pleasant Chat July — Truth Finder ortant Thoughts August — And Other Imp y Pla io Rad The September — ealed Rev y irac nsp Co The — October t Ran November — Time for a l Discussion December — An Intellectua



Young Nats — Lower North Island (response to Issue 23 Question) In 2011, when voluntary student membership legislation was brought to the floor of Parliament, the Young Nats joined the campaign supporting it. As an organisation, we believe that the freedom to associate is yours and yours alone, and by passing the VSM legislation this just became a clearer choice on whether you would like to join your student union, or not. We are proud to stand by this principle again in 2017. In terms of student representation, the Young Nats completely agree that a strong student voice is required on campus; however student unions should not be the only provider of this voice. For example, the independent student representatives on the University Council or Academic Council provide another aspect of representation that should not be forgotten. As such we believe student representation has not been weakened, but rather decentralised to allow for a stronger representation of the wider student body. — Sam Stead

BREATHE. A COMBINED WORSHIP SERVICE Take the time before the stress of exams to breathe, to be with the God we find peace in. Come along as we worship together as Vic Unite — the wider Christian community of Victoria. 5.00pm, 0ctober 20, Kirk 303. All welcome! A REMINDER TO ALL TAUIRA MĀORI Ngāi Tauira is holding its Annual General Meeting on the evening of Thursday, October 19, at the marae. This is where we recap the year and vote in our new executive for the new year. Tēnā nau mai. We need you all in the whare for this kōrero.

PASIFIKA STUDENTS’ COUNCIL AGM Fakaalofa atu, Ni sa bula vinaka, the Pasifika Students’ Council would like to invite you along to our Annual General Meeting. 2017 has been an adventurous journey for us all, and it has come to that time of the year where we will open up the opportunity to elect a new executive team to steer the Pasifika Students’ Council vaka in 2018. 6.00pm | Wednesday, October 18 | Memorial Theatre STILL LOOKING FOR A JOB FOR THE SUMMER? Check out our guide for Finding Summer Work on CareerHub or come in to HU102 and pick up a copy. Make use of the full range of resources — including CV, cover letter, and interview advice — to help you find and confidently approach employers. It’s not too late! PARTICIPANTS NEEDED FOR A READING STUDY

If you are an undergraduate student and your native language is English or Chinese, you are invited to take part in our reading study. Participants will receive $50 in supermarket vouchers. What’s involved? Two sessions — about two hours each (on consecutive days) and a third session of one hour (after two weeks). The sessions are held on Kelburn Campus. Please email



In “The Party Line” section of Issue 23 we incorrectly printed the response from the Young Nats — Lower North Island. We had been using the template from Issue 11 for the design layout and accidentally ran Vic Labour’s response to that issue’s question under the Young Nats — Lower North Island title in Issue 23. We apologise for the misattribution and the correct answer can be found online — http:// — and is printed below:





Sudoku difficulty: Hard


Make as many words of three letters or more as you can. Each word must contain the letter in the central square. Target goals: Good: 25 words Great: 30 words Impressive: 36 words



The answer to last week’s crossword was SOAP OPERA, the letters in squares marked with prime numbers. The winners of the Vic Books vouchers are Z Risner and S Hercock.


1. 1975 album (4,3,4,4) 10. Wellington Anniversary month, for short (3) 11. With 15-Across and 41-Across, 1973 album (3,4,4,2,3,4) 12. Band who recorded this puzzle’s albums (4,5) 14. Common website suffix (3) 15. See 11-Across 18. Atacama or Mojave, e.g. (6) 20. “O RLY?” creature (3) 21. 2014 album (3,7,5) 24. 1971 album (6) 26. Any colour you like (3) 27. 2001 album (6) 31. With 37-Across, 1987 album (1,9,5,2,6) 33. ‘I Want My ___ Back’ ( Jon Klassen children's book) (3) 34. Vital organs (6) 37. See 31-Across 39. Misery (3) 41. See 11-Across 44. Insect that doesn’t actually violate aerodynamic laws (3) 46. Vegas preceder (3) 47. 1994 album (3,8,4) 1. Quick thinking (3) 2. Take a leading role in a new initiative (9) 3. “Uh-huh!” (3) 4. Place for ashes (3) 5. ‘Skins’ character Stonem who appeared in the most episodes (4) 6. Wear away, as stone or support (5) 7. Comedian Izzard (5) 8. Seat in some fighter planes, but not in helicopters (7) 9. 1977 album (7) 13. Amin played by Forest Whitaker in ‘The Last King of Scotland’ (3) 15. Single piece of information (5) 16. It’s about one astronomical unit away from us (3) 17. Babar and Celeste, for two (9) 18. Title figure in an Eagles song who has “been out riding fences for so long now” (9) 19. Thin and scrawly, like handwriting (7) 22. One off in their own little world, maybe (7) 23. Anglo-Saxon letter used as the symbol for Dogecoin (3) 25. Not well lit (3) 28. Like human thumbs (9) 29. ‘The West Wing’ actor Martin (5) 30. 1979 album (3,4) 31. Richard Dawkins, famously (and no, the answer isn't ‘asshole’) (7) 32. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ author Harper (3) 35. Without anyone around (5) 36. African ethnic group author Benjamin Sehene belongs to (5) 38. Olympic host city in 2016, for short (3) 40. Jeans-maker Strauss (4) 42. “Yes” in French (3) 43. “No” in French (3) 45. Fish whose young is an elver (3)



Created outlines for the mountains.

one issue I will tell editors to pick the fonts (lucky dip da font).

have had much too much coffee for this jazz robert

10:33am October 6

have a work nemesis but she doesn’t know

giddy up typeface, for next issue after break.

1:13pm September 4

copy edited a piece about pure shores now i’m addicted to all saints

I caught our games writer downloading the Simpsons font off dafont today!

there was a copy of the red issue at the conference today when we got here!! famous

10:34am October 6


9:45am September 8

12:55pm August 6

going to write a poem about the trash outside my bedroom window but have to go out for lunch first

1:50pm July 14

if u use email formalism to me i assume we’re not friends. e.g. ellyse emailed ‘kia ora bitch’

doing detective work with radio manager, what is the drake song that is the same as this nsync song

flirt via email, google docs

everything reading like an obituary we should save money on print and just broadcast graduation (friends forever) all week for issue 24

1:48pm October 3

next week issue about utopia but keep reading ‘zootopia’

p.s this is set in a

happiest when [a font email in design inbox].

typeface af ter the tweeter

how much budget we have left for fonts.

1:53pm October 3

I have appreciated glyphs in 2017.

5:24pm October 9

1:12pm September 15

thr33 more salients than im fr33.

dan don’t fight with me about commas please

6:54pm August 14

secretly export designs I like that get dumped by others.

oh wow there is moana jackson, star struck 3:58pm May 4 never answer work phone but would really love if someone called me on the work phone for the landline teen nostalgia also to feel important 3:37pm May 19 feel like a fake cos i love bad memes for suffering victoria university teens but i’m nearly 25. still suffering

red issue really upset this guy who thinks we shouldn’t be advocating communism to impressionable young people

11:38am May 29 think our whole office has a crush on one of our writers

9:55am August 22

> i didn't get away with it.

1:27pm August 25

seen so many ankle socks today, makes me sick

12:43pm July 10

atm I'm trying to do salient as weird as possible and see how much I can get away with.

Haiku: pick a type, can't decide, make a type

[HD] GBI (German Bold Italic) - Kylie Minogue & Towa Tei

georgia rule.

sun, spiral and churchward in my inbox.

spot colour suggestions ?

Dafont wouldn't export for print. Forgot to reference dafont. this week used all dafont, fonts even mountains and hilltops. Te Ao Marama issue is all in churchward Ma-ori btw.



Visual Art




Breakfast & lunch every day 8am - 10am & 11:30am - 1:30pm or until it runs out. KELBURNN

VUWSA, Level 4 Student Union





Law School Common Room, Old Govt Building

Breakfast including fresh ямБlter coffee from Coffee Supreme and lunches by Krishna Food


Volume 80 | Issue 24