The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Over the last week, Wellington has been the focus of an Anzac Day like no other. The long-awaited Pukeahu National War Memorial Park opened with a “spectacular” light show, and on Friday the city stopped to cheer a “spectacular” Anzac parade (paging Guy Debord!). This was followed by a huge turnout for the dawn service on Anzac Day itself. These were all resoundingly successful at fulfilling their purposes, but what were those purposes, and what wider agendas might they be serving?

[Disclaimer: this is my own personal view, and should not be taken to represent the views of other Wellingonistas, or of SBS.]

Pukeahu light show

Many talented and dedicated people have worked hard to ensure that the full and nuanced story of the ANZACs and New Zealand’s wider history of conflict (including the stories of non-combatants and conscientious objectors) is told. But those subtleties aren’t getting through. The huge crowds at Pukeahu deserved the full story, but what they saw could cynically be described as a slick pro-military PowerPoint: kiwiana; brave chaps off to war; kiwiana; war is hell; sad poppies; kiwiana; WWII; Iroquois helicopters off to ‘Nam; more kiwiana; Willie Apiata looking staunch and heroic. While much of it would have been moving for those with forebears in WWI, the message came relentlessly from a military perspective, with no question of who they fought for, who they fought against, or why. Keep reading →


FH_May-Cover_finalHow time flies! Five years since we hit the launch party, FishHead magazine is going from strength to strength, no doubt because they’ve been smart enough to solicit a bunch of Wellingtonista contributors (I wrote in the very first issue, current ‘istas Tom Beard and Tom Goulter and gone fishin’ Hadyn Green are all regular columnists). The biggest coup of course is that our film reviewer Dan Slevin is in the editor’s chair now. His first anniversary at the magazine has been recently, so we thought we’d have a chat with him about how it’s all going. 
Keep reading →


The lights go up on a mostly bare stage. In the back half of the stage there is a sheet of plastic being used as a curtain. It’s snagged on a table. As it rises a figure becomes visible over a miniature cityscape. The light brightens to reveal not a cityscape but a mess of pots and other materials behind which the main character, the Maker, twitches and flutters. Ross McCormack mixes dance and clowning to bring this mad scientist styled character to life. He’s hardworking, obsessed, and slightly pathetic as he patters around his workshop. Usually fidgety, the moments of smooth movement and stillness provide interesting contrasts and further glimpses into this character. Two of his creations join him on the stage. James Vu Ahn Pham and Emily Adams are locked together to start, their feet on each other’s hips. They move around like acrobats, constantly touching and adjusting. It’s mesmerising to watch. They are up on the table, then back down on the ground, then the Maker is flipping them round like toys. When they eventually part, they are like baby animals. Constantly swaying as if they can’t quite support the weight of their bodies. Their faces are, not exactly vacant, but open to the world around them which they experience neutrally because they haven’t learned how to react to it yet. As they explore the Maker tries to manipulate them to perform certain acts. Hilariously for the audience, this does not work as he plans. The final dance section is strong before the show ends with the Maker showing off his creations again. Sound by Jason Wright, and lighting by Natasha James is excellent.

This is marvelous dance theatre.


Review: The showgirl

by librarykris on April 16, 2015 in Theatre

A NZ written disco noir set in Harlem, 1979. Dancer Fontella Pendavis (Deborah Eve Rea) has been murdered at Studio Soul and Detective Gonzales (Jordan Rivers) has been sent to investigate. There are plenty of possible suspects – Luz Cruz (Brittany Goss), who has inherited Fontella’s job; Ari Sugarman (Ed Blunden), the owner of the club; Raul Amoroso (Rodney Bane), Fontella’s benefactor, or De Castro (Margaret Ortega), Raul’s housekeeper. They are not the only people mourning a loss – Detective Gonzales’ mother Maria (Maria Jones) died recently. Will he be able to solve the case?

Keep reading →


More posts…

Review: Tiny Deaths

by librarykris April 2, 2015

A series of 11 monologues about love and sex written by Uther Dean. It’s performed by 6 women – Alice May Connolly, Brianne Kerr, Hannah Banks, Freya Daly Sadgrove, Hilary Penwarden, and Kegan Carr Fransch. From the start we’re invited into a surreal world where the object of love and/or sex might not be human. […]

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Eye opening

by Tom March 13, 2015

While Our Tim got to take a sneak peek at Tuatara’s new Te Aro brewery and bar before it opened, I had the onerous task of drinking free beer representing The Wellingtonista at the official opening function. It was a suitably illustrious crowd, packed with the doyen(ne)s of Wellington’s craft beer community, including the LBQ […]

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Park(ing) Day 2015

by Greg Bodnar March 13, 2015

The attitude around Park(ing) Day has changed dramatically since I first got involved a few years ago. Where I was struggling with by-laws to work around not getting permission to set up my space, WCC has now brought it into Parks Week and the Wellington Sculpture Trust does the logistical management. On March 11, a total […]

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Win a VIP double pass to the Wellington Wine and Food Festival

by Joanna March 11, 2015

Wellington is a city overflowing with good restaurants and fine drops to drink. It seems ridiculous that we haven’t had our own day-of-food-and-wine-and-oh-okay-fine-beer yet. Luckily, that’s about to change with the cunningly named Wellington Food and Wine Festival. The Festival brings together the best of local food, wine, beverages and restaurants, outdoors on the waterfront […]

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Something fishy in Thorndon

by Joanna March 9, 2015

Thorndon has a long history with greasies, including David Lange’s fish & chips brigade in 1980. I remember buying fish’n chips from that same store (where Cellarvate is now, I believe) and eating them on Parliament’s lawn after a big legalise cannabis protest in high school (so I guess 1996?). Sadly that fish & chips […]

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Springing into a spa

by Joanna March 3, 2015

Not that long ago, a new spa opened up in town, as part of the new apartment complex where Il Casino once played host to a million marriage proposals. We got invited to come and try them out, and so off to upper Tory Street I went in search of some total relaxation. Oh the […]

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