You’d have to have been living under a rock (by which I mean "not been in Civic Square for the last couple of weeks") not to have noticed the outbreak of spots all over the City Gallery. It’s an installation by Yayoi Kusama to publicise her Mirrored Years exhibition, which is a showpiece for the newly revamped and extended gallery.

Yayoi Kusama installation on City Gallery

After nearly a year of closure, the gallery is celebrating its relaunch with the Gallery-a-Go-Go event in Civic Square this Sunday. While many will be most excited by the return of Nikau café (which reopened a week or so ago) and its famous kedgeree, there are a whole lot of new gallery spaces to explore after the expansion. There’s the brand new Roderick and Gillian Deane Gallery of M?ori and Pacific Art, which will host Ngaahina Hohaia’s Parihaka-themed work; a new Adam Auditorium; and a much larger Michael Hirschfeld Gallery. The opening exhibition there will be the huge installation Make Way by Regan Gentry, a Wellington artist best known for his large-scale public sculptures exploring public space and urban change.

[more after the jump]

Shock horror! Ranfurly Shield generates excitement!

There was proof today that provincial rugby can still actually get pulses racing: it just requires a giant inflatable Log o’ Wood and a typical Wellington day. Some sort of promotion was going on in Civic Square, when a cheeky gust did what [insert name of provincial team that you actually give a monkey’s about] has always longed to do: grabbed the Ranfurly Shield and whisked it away.

Ranfurly Shield disaster - run!

For some reason, there were only modest crowds to be endangered by the marauding trophy. Other than a macabrely gallows-like structure for a "test your passing skills" game, the only victims appear to have been a mother and child who were bowled over, and with any luck just momentarily dazed.

Ranfurly Shield disaster - victims

Luckily, there was a smattering of other passers-by ready to rush in and help subdue the quivering giant beast. If only the actual rugby were this exciting!

Ranfurly Shield disaster - close up

Remembering Dr Seddon Bennington

Quite apart from the work he did at Te Papa, Dr Seddon Bennington was someone who will be remembered by many Wellingtonians, both personally and professionally. I met him a couple of times through the Civic Trust, and was always impressed with his charm and intelligence.

His funeral will be at Rongomaraeroa (Te Papa’s marae) on Wednesday afternoon and his casket will be brought onto the marae on Tuesday 21st July at 4pm. Those wishing to pay their respects will be able to do so until 10pm that night. Dr Bennington will remain on the marae overnight until the conclusion of the funeral service on Wednesday, and there is also a memorial book to sign on Level 2 of Te Papa.

Whare ’nuff

This Thursday the 18th of June, Deidre Brown’s "Maori Architecture: from Fale to Wharenui and Beyond" will be launched at the School of Architecture in Vivian St.

The celebrations will start with a mihi at 5:45pm, followed by a lecture at 6 and drinks at 7. If you’re interested, please contact Christine McCarthy (04 463 6164 or to RSVP before the end of tomorrow (the 16th).

Censor this!

I’m sure most Wellingtonistas would agree that Aro Video is the best video hire place in town, so when our subscriber newsletter included the heading "We interrupt our regular program for this important announcement…" we couldn’t ignore it, and in fact we felt it was our duty to pass on this important message:


We are spearheading a campaign for censorship reform and are calling upon the support of our valued customers and the wider film-loving public.

We believe that the current legislation is seriously outdated and unfairly disadvantages the medium of DVD. As such, it has severely impacted on what titles can be made available for rent, sale or trade within New Zealand.

The main reason for this are the ‘prohibitive’ costs of classification fees, and particularly the criteria for which titles are subjected to the costly examination process. For example, it would cost over $2200 to classify the highly acclaimed original BBC mini-series of "State of Play" (the Hollywood remake of which is currently playing in cinemas).

This campaign is not "anti-censorship" but we insist that the current levels of regulation are no longer appropriate for today’s media and cultural environment. We simply would like to be able to provide you with a greater range of quality entertainment, and help eliminate the ridiculous double-standards that currently prevail.

For more information, please visit our online forum at, where you can also register your support, comments and suggestions.

Also, if you know of others that would be interested in this cause, please pass on this e-mail or the forum address, or spread the word by Facebook/Twitter, etc.

A serious "show of hands" will make a difference, so don’t be shy! Thank you for your support.

Kind regards,

Andrew Armitage
AroVideo Online

A week of it

What a week to look forward to!

Tuesday 9th: Pecha Kucha at the OPT from 6:30pm. We love these nights, and this time they’ve got writers, artists, cartoonists and landscape architects (among others) in the line-up. Those with a practical interest in street art might have to rush there from the At Large planning meeting at Manky Chops, which starts at 5:30.

Wednesday 10th: Artist Matt Hunt (aka Ace Hurt from Cortina) launches his new exhibition at Peter McLeavey gallery at 5:30pm (link for Facebook types). The title "Dreaming of a New Heaven and Earth and the Eternal Nightmare of Hades" makes one wonder just what to expect from the after-party at Mighty Mighty.

Thursday 11th: Did someone say "Burlesque"? Oh, right, we did.

Friday 12th: If you’re planning to go to Fly My Pretties, you’ll no doubt have had this night booked well in advance. Otherwise: it’s Friday! Enivrez-vous!

Saturday 13th: More flying prettiness, with a Matinee as well as the evening gig. But if you prefer your pretties more earthbound, and think that feathers are best used for fan dancing, bring your pencils along to Dr Sketchy’s life drawing class at Mighty Mighty at 4pm.

Sunday 14th: The much-hyped City Market finally opens at Chaffers Dock. The hours (8:30am-12:30pm) might not appeal to night owls, but their Twitter feed suggests that there’ll be plenty to tempt us out of bed.


We Wellingtonistas have been strong supporters of Earth Hour in the past, and even though Keith Ng gave it a damned good fisking over on Public Address, we’re still behind the concept. And so, it seems, are a lot of local bars and restaurants, with Wellingtonista favourites Fidels, Sweet Mother’s Kitchen, the Southern Cross, Caffe
Italiano and Trade Kitchen among the many places offering candelit dinners on Saturday night. We just hope it doesn’t make those poor, fragile roller girls crash into one another*.

Keith’s right that the actual energy saved in an hour will be minimal, and the powers (no pun intended) that be are unlikely to be swayed by the symbolism, but that needn’t make it an empty gesture. If it helps a few people understand the impact of their decisions, and look for practical options to save energy in the long term, then it will do some good. Keith points out that switching to low-energy light bulbs is, for most applications, a simple and sensible thing to do right now. So it’s just as well that as part of the Earth Hour promotion, Wellington City Library is giving away free CFL bulbs until Saturday.

[*not really]

And the winners are…

The Fringe is over for another year, nicely polished off with an awards ceremony at The Paramount tonight. A full post will be on its way, but for now here’s the list of winners:

Best Comedy: Improv – The Secondary School Musical

Best Dance: Perforum – Footnote Dance

Best Music: Adam Page Solo

Best Outdoor: Frogs under the Waterfront

Best Theatre: The Intricate Art of Actually Caring

Best Visual Art: This is Where I Live – Fleur Wickes

Best Newcomers: Binge Culture Collective – Drowning Bird, Plummeting Fish

Marketing Award: A Most Outrageous Humbug

Best ‘One man band’/solo show: Adam Page Solo

Best production design: Faust Chroma

Most orginal concept: This is Where I Live – Fleur Wickes

Stand-out performer: Julia Milsom – Self Portrait

Open Studios People’s Choice: Alex Rodriguez

…and finally, the big and special awards after the jump…

Heavenly Navigation

Fuse Circus have joined The Fringe with The Navigators, a new outdoor show under the sails at Queens Wharf.

If you haven’t seen their previous shows, Heavenly Burlesque or Gravity and Other Myths, then get down there right now! If you have, then while a few of the moves may be familiar, it’s still wonderful entertainment. The "narrative" may be little more than an flimsy framework from which to suspend yet more biophysical impossibilities, and there’s a touch of pantomime goofiness that detracts slightly from the inherent hotness, but there will still be plenty to make you gasp, laugh and wonder.

As someone who sometimes struggles to stand upright in the morning, let alone balance several people on one’s limbs while doing so, these guys will always be a source of amazement. They perform most evenings until Saturday the 7th of March, so you have no excuse for missing them.

Cuba Street Carnival at a glance

We love the Cuba Street Carnival, but their website: not so much. The programme is only available as a Flashy map or as a printable (but not downloadable!) full programme. And with so much stuff to see so many stages at once, it’s hard to compare everything and work out what to see when.

So, I typed all the acts into a spreadsheet, and turned it into a simple table with all the acts lined up by time, thus hopefully making it easier to plan your itinerary. I should find a way to upload it through some googly docs magic, but in the meantime, here it is in pngy goodness: click on the small image for the large and legible version.

Cuba St Carnival programme 2009