The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Review: Richard III

by librarykris on January 26, 2015 in Theatre

Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is in the line for the throne if only the people before him would get out of his way. If they won’t – well, he can help with that…

David Lawrence (Richard) is gleefully nasty. The audience is made his conspirators as he wreaks havoc through the lives of those around him. He behaves appallingly, then talks situations around to his own advantage, finishing off by looking at us as if to say “Can you believe they fell for that?!”
Heart strings are tugged by three women Ania Upstill (Lady Anne Neville), Kirsty Bruce (Elizabeth Wydville), and Brianne Kerr (Richard’s Mum). Kerr in particular is very affecting and believable as someone who knows what is likely to happen yet is powerless to stop it. The rest of the characters are played by various members of the company. There are also several young additions to the regular cast who do really well in articulating Shakespeare’s words. I particularly like the sarcastic spin that Mia Van Oven (Prince Richard) and Maddie Gillespie (Prince Edward) give to their lines.

We’re up in the dome space at BATS Theatre with a scaffolding tower at one end and the throne in among the audience seats at the other. There is a family tree setting out the links between all the characters on the floor. The actors helpfully point to the various names when talking about the family connections. There are a lot of them, so this design device is very welcome. A small raised area is off to the side with the wall covered by curtains. This is one of the spaces for the Bacchanals customary political commentary. (You’ll laugh because otherwise you’d cry.)

THE TRAGEDY OF KING RICHARD III is a fast scramble through the life of a man who does the most appalling things, yet gets away with it. Recommended.

  • RICHARD III, on at BATS Theatre until Saturday 31 January 31 2015.


We’ve been silent a while haven’t we.  Here’s a few tasty (and generally healthier) morsels and a tipple I’ve tripped over through New Years:

  • Plum bircher muesliPlum café’s bircher muesli – oats, almond milk, greek yoghurt, fresh mango and toasted coconut. Pleasing density and flavour.
  • Ombra’s mushroom parmesan and rocket ciabatta breakfast (8am-12noon).  Such a better time of day to enjoy Ombra and if you really want to push the boat out, their croissants come with alternative dulce de leche fillings, mmmmmm.
  • HBIB’s orange infused ginger beer on tap at the Hop Garden.  Hugely refreshing, as well as tasty.
  • The jalapeno shoestring fries at Grill Meats Beer (yeah, yeah, not healthy, but if you gotta eat shoestring fries, this is the way to do it).
  • Hop Garden ginger beerThe carrot cake dessert at Shed 5.  Ordered by a guest in my group and I totally forgot to take a photograph.  But imagine a small terracotta pot on its side, three thin slices of carrot cake emerging with a baby carrot riding atop and accompanied by mint gelato. Quite stunning really.  And it counts as healthy because, well, its carrot.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So here’s to another splendid year of tasty experiences…



Naughty but nice

by Heather C on December 7, 2014 in Food & Drink

Bettys teapotIn the run-up to Xmas here’s some delicious eats and drinks around town I might have had to sample recently:

  • CGR Merchant’s salted caramel infused rum and the best value $15 cheeseboard ever had.
  • Betty’s dry iced sharing teapot cocktails. Friday and Saturday evenings only.
  • Anything AroBake – baby xmas mince tarts, almond crescent cookies or stollen.
  • Thunderbird’s Monte Christo battered deep fried ham and cheese sandwich.  Only a oncer but OMG.

Tbirds Monte Christo

  • Bourbon peanut butter or sake apricots or brandied cherries with other delicious things on crumpet.  From Crumpet.  Accompanied by rum and ginger spiced posset naturally.
  • Any of French Cancan’s pastries and tarts (and nice to support them in celebration of having gained residency).
  • Canteen’s brioche French toast with toffee sauce and bananas. Probably also a oncer.
  • The Mexico carrot cake dessert.  Unlike any you’ll get elsewhere.  Heading for a twicer.

Ho ho ho.



A couple of months ago, we went along to a dinner put on by the Sustainable Business Network, which was a very interesting night but I found myself unable to write about it without seething with rage remembering the man I’d been seated next to. He owns a franchise chain, believes that the only reason there are hungry kids in New Zealand is because their parents choose to buy booze, and he doesn’t believe that sexual assault and domestic figures are accurate (they’re over-reported apparently- “well what is sexual assault anyway? Is it when a woman just says no?”). He also said that we can’t pay people more, because then all the jobs would go to Australia. I can’t imagine driving to Australia to pick up a burger, so that was a bit of a curious thing to say. However, what made me very very happy was that Marianne and Lucas from our beloved Mexican restaurant La Boca Loca were there, and made a passionate argument for paying a living wage. They’re not just talking the talk however – La Boca Loca has been certified as a living wage employer since July. And guess what? They’re still here.  So I thought it would be good to have a chat with them about what they’re doing.

image of bowls filled with delicious mexican food

Delicious food (image stolen from La Boca Loca’s site. The Wellingtonista doesn’t pay photographers a living wage. We’re lousy people.

 1. So, first and foremost – what is a living wage?

A living wage is a wage high enough for a worker to meed their needs, enjoy their life and participate in society. At the moment, research indicates that $18.80 an hour is the level needed for a living wage in New Zealand.

2. Why has La Boca Loca decided to pay a living wage, and when did you implement it?

We learned about the Living Wage earlier this year and started looking into what it was, and why it was set at that level. It seemed pretty clear to us that if we were to live up to our own standards as an ethical business we needed to adopt a living wage. Paying our team enough to live on is core to what ethical, sustainable and successful business means to us.

We started moving to a Living Wage soon after, and were certified as a Living Wage employer in July this year.

3. So it’s been (a couple of months?) now – how’s it going?

It’s going great. Our staff are happy, our customers are happy, we know we are doing the right thing and the cost of our wage bill hasn’t gone up as much as we had predicted. There’s an entire school of economic theory that could explain why that’s the case… the efficiency wage theory (which I’ll talk a bit more about in just a minute because I have a feeling you are about to ask me about the economic benefits of this approach).

4. Assume that I actually don’t care about people – what are the economic benefits of operating this way?

The Living Wage is good for business. Firstly, great people make great restaurants, so by paying the Living Wage we are taking better care of our most important asset. The better care we take of our staff, the better care they can take of our customers – and of their own families. Secondly, our customers like knowing that the people working hard to serve their meal are being paid enough to live on. Thirdly, the signs are that our costs won’t go up much – our staff are working smarter to help make this move a success – this is related to the idea of the ‘efficiency wage’. Fourthly, it’s good for small businesses like us if more people in our community have a little bit more money in their pocket – in other words, we want our staff to be able to afford to eat at our restaurant. And we’d like a lot of other people to be able to as well.

5. If the other lovely business owners who read the Wellingtonista were thinking about moving to a living wage, do you have any advice for how they can start?

It’s pretty much impossible to say what is right for other businesses. We decided this was right for our business. We would encourage other businesses to give it serious thought, to look past the rhetoric of the right that assumes that anything good for workers is bad for business – which is patently untrue. Do your own research, and decide what’s right for you, your team and your business. And if you do decide this is the right thing to do, just do it. Don’t spend too long worrying about it or slowly phasing into it. As Lucas likes to say – just rip off the plaster and get on with making it work.

6. Are you going to tell us how to make your spicy margaritas?

We are indeed. Very soon. In fact, later this week we’ll start taking pre-orders for our forthcoming cookbook which will include the recipe for the spicy margarita, thanks in part to the fact that Wellingtonista rallied so many votes for it in our cookbook competition!

Hurray for good people doing good things! This should be all the encouragement you need to spend more time (and money) on their delicious food.


More posts…

Just spotted….

by Heather C November 28, 2014

Beer-[and Firetruck, Goose Shack and Tommy Millions]-a-licious… (for those without microscopes – food stalls, live music, beer and other nice stuff at the Brewery on Vivian Street 12noon-8pm on Sat 6 Dec, Sat 31 Jan, Sat 21 Feb)

0 comments Read the full article →

Hour of Code Wellington Announced

by Guest November 26, 2014

This guest post is from ex-’ista Mike, so it may be something you’ve seen elsewhere on the internet. Sorry!  Following on from the successful Hack Miramar ‘transport event’ the team have teamed up with Wellington Makerspace Trust and are chuffed to announce free programming workshops for all ages on December 13th at Scots College (1 Monorgan Rd, Strathmore Park). These sessions will run from 10am […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Nga Manu Nature Reserve (Waikanae)

by Heather C November 23, 2014

Yep, its not food.  But I was seriously impressed with this place in our back yard that I had no clue existed. Nga Manu is the largest remaining remnant of coastal lowland swamp forest on the Kapiti Coast, and was established as a reserve in 1974.  It has developed over the years to the well laid […]

2 comments Read the full article →

Long live the Long Lunch

by Heather C November 14, 2014

The Mediterranean’s have it right. I went to the Logan Brown November Fresh Friday lunch club today. Sean (Clouston) decides on the dishes each week based on what’s fresh and appealing at the markets and his travels and wallah! What a fantastic way to get into the weekend groove. Today’s courses were LB bread and gazpacho […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Without literature, life is hell!

by Herbertimo November 13, 2014

This Saturday a large number of spots in Wellington are taking part in a pub crawl but without the pubs. And with literature instead. A LitCrawl if you will! Actually that’s a slight lie. There are not only three pubs involved (Hashigo Zake, Meow and Little Beer Quarter) but there’s a Writers’ Beer as well. Nine […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Review: Titus Andronicus

by librarykris November 6, 2014

One of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays presented in a hair salon around Halloween? Excellent idea. Fresh Dada presented their take on Titus Andronicus last week. . Titus (Julia Harris in the traditionally male lead role) has returned triumphantly from the war with prisoners. One of them, Tamora, Queen of the Goths, (Karen Anslow) pleads for the […]

0 comments Read the full article →