So, we asked some questions. And we hoped that candidates would get in touch with us. In previous years, we’d obtained a spreadsheet of every single candidate and emailed them, and frankly, working as a group, it was a bloody lot of work getting their answers back, trying to hunt them down, trying to make sure we didn’t miss out anyone. Last election we decided that we’d just advertise our questions through our channels and let those who were clued in to the Wellingtonista have an advantage, so we did that again this year. Maybe we could have done better, but we didn’t.
There was also talk within the ‘ista about our 25 word limit on candidates’ answers and whether or not we should still have that rule. Unhelpfully, that came after we’d asked the questions. So, as we did notoriously did to Kerry in 2010, we have upheld the limit that we specified (disclaimer – there may have been slight miscounting due to cats trying to climb on laps etc).
We also do not have any coverage of anything related to District Health Boards, because honestly, we don’t know much about it. If you do, we’d love to hear from you – maybe a guest post?
All that aside, we got three sets of answers, and they are all useful for the upcoming decision-making we need to do. We may editorialise, probably mostly over on Twitter, but for now, these answers are published straight up in alphabetical order.
Please vote. It’s important.
Performer Hayley Sproull tells her story of a “white wahine’s deeply disengaged bicultural heritage”. Recognising that her Nana’s death meant a loss of connection to her Māori heritage this is a “comedic exploration of her embarrassed ignorance.” (Quotes from the programme.)
An elegant set in white pegboard – on one side a whare shape, on the other swiveling panels – with a few props is all Sproull needs to show us the awkwardness of looking white, having Maori whakapapa and having little idea of how to connect with Māori culture. For those of us with a similar background there are many, many moments of recognition. Sproull is in fine voice with the songs a key element of what makes this show work for me. She also judges her physicality and stance very well with tiny gestures conveying so much.
An energetic lighting design by Nick Zwart (also set designer) is ably controlled by technical operator Michael Trigg and supported by nice sound design by Matt Eller. Jo Randerson is the script mentor and director which shows in the tight script structure and nifty use of the stage.
Alec and Mary McPherson run a little cafe in scenic New Zealand called House of Mince. Mary is a little tired of the monotony of their life but she’s happy enough. Then a man known as Donkey Boy visits London-based crime lord Vic Snow, and Alec and Mary’s lives won’t be the same.
Written by Edward Campbell, who plays Alec, and directed by Geraldine Brophy, this is an entertaining show. Campbell is partnered by Julie Edwards as Mary McPherson. Campbell uses his physicality and vocal skills to embody the many facets of his character while Edwards is enjoyably pragmatic. (Hat tip to Costume designer Hanna McKenzie Doornebosch for Mary’s costumes in particular.) Hamish Boyle plays Donkey Boy as a cocky opportunist with an almost gleeful disregard for other people. Phil Grieve is Vic Snow. He spends most of his time sitting still but it’s possible to feel the waves of menace rolling off him when it’s needed. Scott Ransom is Pom. He has a good sense of the character with shifts in mood that feel genuine. Stage manager Brian Hotter has a quick turn on stage for a small but crucial role.
Brophy’s direction ensures that the pace is kept up as the story bounces from scene to scene. The set by Ross Joblin and lighting by Tony Black cleverly support the action while sound by Geoffrey Hern rounds out the picture.
For all your crime story needs.
Back in August, our editor Jo attended the Bolton Hotel‘s Wellington on a Plate event and enjoyed it mightily. In the ensuing interplay on Twitter, the Hotel invited one of us to stay the night so that we could experience their hospitality more fully. I quickly took up the offer on the behalf of the Wellingtonista… and so it was that R. and I found ourselves dropping the kids off for the night and checking in to the Bolton Hotel on an incredibly miserable and wet Saturday evening.
The Bolton is, as you might expect, just off the Terrace in Bolton Street. It’s a funny area of town – very public servantish – that is becoming more interesting at nights and weekends as new bars and restaurants open.
But given the weather, there’d be no romantic evening walks in the Botanic Gardens or in Bolton Street cemetery for us. We had no inclination to wander over to Tinakori Road to the cluster of pubs and restaurants there, or up the Terrace to find those new spots the other Wellingtonistæ talk about, nor even to go for a pub meal somewhere like the Backbencher or the Thistle Inn. And certainly not a flicker of interest in trekking uptown to Courtenay Place. No, it had been a long week and we wanted quiet. So how could the Bolton make a Saturday night indoors even better?
A lot, as it turned out.
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