You may have seen the cover of March issue of Metro magazine. Madeleine Sami, hanging off the Sky Tower, looking all glam while holding a miniature Peter Jackson/King Kong. "Auckland rules OK! How Wellington’s losing the cultural wars" the headline reckons.
Oh noez! Is it true? Are Bats theatre and Te Papa and the City Gallery and the Cuba Carnival mere piffle in the face of the mighty Auckland?
Can’t we all just get along? Find out after the jump.
Inside, the story "The Culture Wars" attempts to stir up some controversy by declaring that Auckland – not Wellington! – is the "creative capital" of New Zealand. Whatever that means.
Now, the last time Metro opined on the capital, in the form of Damian Christie’s article listing all that was rubbish about the capital, chaos ensued
, so I thought it was important to check out this new article – at least to comply with the Wellingtonista’s health and safety policy.
However, upon reading the article, it becomes obvious that it’s not really about Wellington. It’s more about how Auckland has all these great and varied cultural institutions and events, but sometimes has trouble attracting audiences and doesn’t have the same reputation that Wellington does.
Complaining that Wellington’s "creative capital" label is nothing more than council-generated spin is all very well, but you can’t blame the 04 for the desolate feeling of Aotea Square.
The article does end on a fairly upbeat note for Auckland, and has some good suggestions about what can be done to champion the arts in Auckland. So it left me feeling really disappointed that it had been styled as an "Auckland versus Wellington" battle. Because – let’s be honest – when has anyone in Auckland ever given a damn about Wellington?
The article’s author, Simon Wilson, is noted as being a "former Wellingtonian", and I wonder if that’s the crunch. There’s nothing like moving to a land of opportunity to make your former home seem terribly inadequate.
Metro is always at its best when the stories focus on Auckland; whether celebrating Auckland, investigating a social issue or championing a cause. But when it starts to play the "We’re better than [other New Zealand city]" game, then it’s no better than, say, a Gore resident with a chip on her shoulder about the North Island.
Though, given the national distribution of Metro, perhaps it was a deliberate move to stir up Wellington readers into buying the mag.