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Monday, September 25, 2017

The Groove Book Report - The Pool House by Tasmina Perry (Hachette)

Someone lied. Someone died…

When you’re invited to spend summer in the Hamptons with a group of new friends, you agree – who wouldn’t? But then you realise you’re taking the place of another woman, a woman who died in mysterious circumstances, just the summer before. Your housemates tell you her death was an accident. But which of them has something to hide?

Frivilous, glamourous, fast paced and slightly off setting.  This is the grown up version of "I know What You Did Last Summer" - Set in the Hamptons.

Jem and her husband Dan have moved to NYC from London to live the dream and Dan to pursue his career in publishing. When they are invited to house-share a beach house in the Hamptons with three other couples every weekend in the summer, they jump at the chance. Not quite able to believe their luck, they settle into their new lifestyle quickly and all is well until Jem discovers that the couple who had the room last year didn’t have quite so much luck when Alice was found dead in the swimming pool. With the group reluctant to discuss what happened last summer, Jem – with the help of neighbour and famous thriller writer, Michael Kearney – sets out to uncover what really happened that night, but it seems she may be meddling where she’s not wanted…

This is a dark, often twisting novel from the bestselling writer Tasmina Perry and it will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's perfect fodder for anyone who's just finished SKY's boxsets: The Affair (Showtime TV).  It's gripping pace and brilliantly written. Snap one up for your BFF's upcoming Xmas stocking.  It'll go well with some Champs and a beach chair.

Tasmina Perry
Tasmina Perry left a career in law for the more glamorous world of women’s magazine journalism.

She has written on celebrity and style for many national magazines including Marie−Claire‚ Glamour and Heat and was most recently Deputy Editor of InStyle magazine. She has also found time to launch her own travel and fashion magazine Jaunt. All of her four novels have been Sunday Times best-sellers and her books have been published in seventeen countries.

She lives in Surrey with her husband and son.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017



New Zealand loves Postmodern Jukebox!! 

The Coffeebar Kid interviews Scott Bradlee 

Following two successful tours over the last two years, Nice Events is proud to announce Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox will return to New Zealand in September 2017 for another mammoth national tour. Friday 29th September Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland Sunday 1st October Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch Tuesday 3rd October Opera House, Wellington "We're once again excited to bring our vintage universe of pop music performed by some of the greatest talent in the world back Down Under! Dress to impress and plan on having a night to remember!" – Scott Bradlee. 2016 was another big year for PMJ! They completed a 75-city sold-out European run in June 2016 and a 45-date North American tour from September to November 2016, which included their first-ever performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. In 2015, PMJ sold out their first Australasian tour, prompting high praise from media. The West Australian said the show had the audience “clapping, cheering, singing, dancing or simply gathering our collective jaws off the Astor’s carpet,” while Time Out wrote, “It’s fun. It’s funny, and it’s bringing a fresh take to pop tunes of this century with musical forms made popular in the last one!”

Created by Bradlee, the rotating collective of Postmodern Jukebox has spent the past few years amassing more than 600 million YouTube views and 2+ million subscribers, performed on “Good Morning America,” topped iTunes and Billboard charts and played hundreds of shows to packed-house crowds around the world. As NPR put it, they’ve done this by “taking current Top 40 hits and re-imagining them as coming from older eras of popular music.” In one such remake, Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox turned Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” into a doo-wop ditty that’s garnered over 16.4 million views. Last year, they envisioned Radiohead’s alt-rock hit “Creep” as a torch-like ballad that’s racked up over 25 million views and was named one of the “9 Best Viral Cover Videos of 2015” by People magazine. Multi-Grammy winning artist Lorde praised Postmodern Jukebox’s vintage take on her hit single, “Royals,” which has been viewed over 17 million times, as her “favourite.” They recently performed a ‘30s jazz remake of Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s” for MT.V UK – click HERE to watch. The group's accomplishments has earned them praise from a plethora of media outlets, including Mashable, who wrote, “Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox are all about reimagining music and framing it in beautiful new ways.” Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Scott Bradlee’s group is known for retro-fying modern hit songs into viral success.”

Yahoo! Music added, “if you’ve been on YouTube in the last couple of years, then you’re familiar with the everything- new-is-old-again brilliance of the viral phenomenon known as Postmodern Jukebox.” Since beginning their touring career in 2014, Postmodern Jukebox has consistently played in bigger venues each time they’ve returned to a market. In 2015 they played two sold-out shows at the 2,100-capacity PlayStation Theatre in New York City. This year, they returned to the Big Apple on October 7th to play a sold out show the historic Radio City Music Hall. In 2017 they add the iconic Sydney Opera House to their list of venues – a major international milestone in the touring schedule for Scott Bradlee’s troupe of performers.

Bradlee, the mastermind behind the group, has turned Postmodern Jukebox into a juggernaut by building an incredible grassroots movement around the act. He continues to pick the songs, create the arrangements and shows, and puts together the performers - which includes some notable names alongside phenomenal "undiscovered" talent. The group releases a new video every week, each one shot in the casual environment where he can often be seen playing piano in the background. A very busy man these days, Bradlee splits his time between producing new videos in Los Angeles and traveling the globe to manage his tours. "I posted the first video in 2009,” recalls Bradlee. “I was broke and living in Queens, NY. Seven years later, we have over 2 million subscribers, we’ve sold out shows across four continents and we’ve become a showcase for an incredible group of performers. Every single one of our cast has unique superpowers. I take pride in putting together the right powers and personalities to create a unique and amazing experience for our fans. We want them to escape reality and join us for the most sensational 1920s party this side of The Great Gatsby. We want them to experience what it was like to be at the New Years' Eve show that Sinatra would have hosted in the 1940s. We want them to feel the excitement of hearing the greats of Motown live and up close. Our goal is to give our audiences their favourite show again and again and still have it feel like the very first time."

Postmodern Jukebox is certainly a rebuke to the contention that ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to’ - and there’s something truly special about witnessing their musical magic live. To echo Bradlee’s own invitation: “Dust off the turntable, fix yourself a stiff drink, and get comfy. Welcome to the world of Postmodern Jukebox.”

Friday 29th September - Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland
Sunday 1st October - Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch
Tuesday 3rd October - Opera House, Wellington

Tickets available via or

Sprinting to the polls: Suffrage Day's 124th anniversary

Reproduced from

Kate Sheppard
Photo: Archives New Zealand
Opinion - So keen were they to exercise their right to vote for the first time in 1893, the women of Greymouth literally raced each other to the polling booths.

A Mrs McPherson won the sprint, becoming the first woman to cast a vote in the town's voting booth on 28 November, 1893. It had been just 71 days since women's right to vote in general elections in New Zealand became law, on 19 September, 1893.

Today, that remarkable historical event marks its 124th anniversary.

Celebrations will take place this year as New Zealanders go to the polls in what is unfolding as one of the most dramatic and closely fought contests in New Zealand's history, and one in which gender has provided critical drama.

Who stands for political office and what political womanhood means remain matters of novelty and controversy.

Was this what political activists in the 1890s imagined of the future?

Kate Sheppard, leader of the campaign for women's right to vote in New Zealand, argued that women going to the polls was simply "just". The "foundation of all political liberty", she explained, was "that those who obey the law should be able to have a voice in choosing those who make the law".

Parliament "should be the reflection of the wishes of the people". A "government of the people, by the people, and for the people", she argued, "should mean all the people, and not one half".

Such arguments were radical in the 1880s and 1890s. Dangerous even. That they succeeded points to 1893 as a very significant moment in New Zealand's history, and in our ongoing national life.

New Zealand's 1890s experiments with democracy can be seen in various arenas.

At Pāpāwai (Wairarapa), Waipatu (Hastings) and other marae, women and men of the Kotahitanga movement met in gatherings of the Paremata Māori (Māori Parliament). A movement of unity and independent political debate, the Kotahitanga movement was also a place where Māori women sought specific representation.

In 1893 Meri Mangakahia presented a petition to that parliament on behalf of all women seeking the right to vote and be represented in the assembly.

Women, like men, she argued, had interests and knowledge of land and its fate; but women might also be more effective in making a case to Queen Victoria for redress of wrongs as she was a woman, like them.

The success of the suffrage campaign in New Zealand is something we can feel rightly proud of. It speaks of a sharp difference in political culture to that of Britain or the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was not until 1919 that women in those places won the right to vote.

Even then, it was initially only British women over 30 years of age, those who were married or those with a university degree who could vote. Only in 1928 did British women enjoy the right to vote on the same terms as men.

We know that New Zealand women took to the polls with zest in 1893. In that first election 90,920 women cast a vote: a turnout of 82 percent - far exceeding the 70 percent of registered male voters. Fears that polling day would be unruly, and that women would be deterred from voting by rowdy behaviour at polling booths, were not borne out.

History offers us a mixed balance sheet in women's quest for full citizenship, in the aspiration to be persons rather than 'roles'. The right to vote was a beginning rather than an end point. Equal pay and economic self determination, freedom from violence in home and family, and peace in the world were all issues on the National Council of Women's agenda from the date of its formation in 1896.

All portents indicate women are going to the polls as eagerly in 2017 as in 1893. They do so with a historical knowledge that this was a right hard won, and in which they are exercising a national right of longest standing anywhere in the world.

Charlotte Macdonald is a professor of history, philosophy, political science and international relations at Victoria University.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Alma Johnson - The first woman to appear on New Zealand television - Dies

The first woman to appear on New Zealand television, Alma Johnson, has died.

Alma Johnson, who was married to the newsreader Tim Evans Freke, appeared on our screens some 56 years ago.
And at that time no one had any idea how popular TV would become.
When Ms Johnson auditioned to be the first woman in New Zealand television, the then -radio announcer had no idea what she was in for.
"The audition consisted of my standing at one end of an absolutely totally empty studio with a camera at the other end and Ian Watkins standing beside it and just firing I think three questions. And they said, right. You've got the job."
The year was 1961 and Ms Johnson was to become the first woman on our screens, as a continuity announcer.
"Continuity announcer was simply to act as a hostess and it was to say 'good evening' everyone and welcome to tonight's programmes, and I sat behind a desk with my nameplate in front of it - nothing but that," she explained in an interview before her death.
"I had no idea - I don't think any of us had any idea of the impact of television. And it was the blind leading the blind you know. Even in the early days there wasn't an awful lot of response because very few people had sets, the reception was so awful it was all snow -nobody could see you anyway."
But that all changed by the mid-60s, and Alma Johnson had become a household name.
"People would stop you in the street and say 'no, you mustn't wear floral, it doesn't look right'," she said.
"Hair was important - it became a thing - and it was very buffont in those stages and people were very quick to tell you what they thought of that."
On top of a glowing career presenting TV shows in the 1960s and '70s, Alma Johnson was also a highly regarded teacher of speech and drama - a passion she continued into her final years.
"I'm just so lucky to be working at my age. And there's a sense of performance about it. You know. Once a performer always performers don't you think?"

Friday, September 15, 2017

WOMAD NZ - 16 -18 March 2018 - is thrilled to deliver its first artist announcement for WOMAD 2018, with the classic chart-topping Kiwi hitmakers; DRAGON

Dragon who since forming in 1972, have produced a stack of rock anthems including April Sun in Cuba, Are You Old Enough, Young Years, and Rain. Their WOMAD 2018 performance will be a  homecoming of sorts as  Dragon founding member Todd Hunter,  and his late brother Marc, were born and raised in Waitara, Taranaki. The Hunter brothers spent many long summer days on holiday in New Plymouth at their Aunt’s place across the road from the stunning 55-acre Brooklands Park and the TSB Bowl of Brooklands; the home of WOMAD NZ for the past fourteen years.

Todd has advised WOMAD festival goers to be "prepared to sing your hearts out with a bunch of happy human beings".

Emere Wano – Programme Manager, Event Director says "A legacy born out of hard work, these timeless Kiwi rockers will get you up air-guitaring and singing, and as one reviewer put it, 'if they don’t then you need your pulse checked'."

WOMAD NZ 2018 will see the festival celebrate its 14th anniversary in the stunning 55-acre Brooklands Park and the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth 16-18 March 2018.

Over the years, WOMAD NZ, has rightfully gained a reputation as one of the most beautiful outdoor festivals in the world and after going on sale with early-bird tickets on July 10th, 2017 WOMAD made a new record, with early-bird tickets selling out in record time!

Festival tickets are on sale now - for all ticketing info please go to

The main stage is set at the base of a natural amphitheatre and not only provides a stunning setting, but an acoustic experience second to none. The other three stages are located throughout Brooklands Park, with every square inch oozing the vibrancy of WOMAD.

The maximum capacity for WOMAD is 15,000 ticket holders per day so you’ll never feel like you are in a mosh pit – in fact bring a blanket and enjoy refreshments in stylish chill out areas, watch a cooking demonstration or explore the stalls and workshops. The kids will be entertained at Kidzone with workshops especially for them spread over the weekend. WOMAD is not just music! There’s plenty of other things on site to discover, come along and soak up the warmth of the WOMAD vibe.

The WOMAD campsite is situated next to the festival within the New Plymouth Racecourse and TSB Stadium. The festival site is also located a short distance from New Plymouth’s centre, if you book early you could even get a motel or hotel or house close enough to walk.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Groove Book Report: The Great New Zealand Robbery: How gangsters pulled off our most audacious robbery - Scott Bainbridge (Allen & Unwin $32.99)

It should be remembered as New Zealand's answer to Britain's Great Train Robbery: in the dead of the night, robbers broke into the Waterfront Industry Commission's offices and made off with an audacious loot equivalent to almost $1 million today. This 1956 heist, which eventually came to be known as the Waterfront Payroll Robbery, was executed with military precision and the robbers left nothing but a smoking office and an empty safe behind them.

The crime was eventually pinned on small-time crook Trevor Nash. When four years later, Nash made a brazen prison-escape attempt, he rose to notoriety as a kind of anti-establishment hero.  But to this day uncertainty remains about whether Nash alone was responsible for the waterfront heist. Could he really-cunning as he was-have pulled it off all by himself?   And what happened to the money?

Bainbridge's writing on this is almost forensic at times.  He dives deeply into the case notes, mixes it with newspaper articles and even a few interviews.  But better yet his delivery is far from dry.  He uses a lot of the language of the day in his descriptions.  He resurects long forgotten terminologies (used by insiders of the day).  Terms like 'Soup Job' - the practice of cutting a hole in a safe with a  acetylene torch to get at the contents.

The Northern Steamship Building which
held the Waterfront Industry Commission Offices
The robbery of  the Waterfront Industry Commission's offices was undertaken like no other crime of the time.  It was meticulously planned.  At a time of no internet or even a reliable phone service, Auckland Police did well to learn quickly that the job had been planned using inside information to search and locate electrical cables for specific alarms, to hone in on the location of the payroll safe, to understand the potential contents and even how to launder the money after wards.  Along the way we learn of the intricate details of a string of big and small characters that made up the 'gang' who helped Trevor Nash, if indeed it was him, and what their roles were.

This setting was 1950's Auckland, conservative, yet divided along wealth and class lines, not quite colour, as Auckland didn't seem to have the demographic and ethnic mix that it has today. It also talks of a time, when the criminal fraternity in Auckland, if not New Zealand was "run", by colourful characters, mobsters, enforcers, powerful families, yet so far removed from the aggressive "drug", and gang culture crime of today.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Groove Book Report: A Killer Harvest: A Thriller - Paul Cleave (Upstart Press $34.90)

Apparently, this book was conceived as a YA novel but it really creeps you out.  It's not quite as good as his previous one, Trust No One about a novel writer with Alzheimer's who starts to reveal secrets about it's still very good.  Christchurch is still very prominent here.  The plot on this one is a bit weird but go with  it.
This one concerns a blind teenager who receives a corneal donation and begins to see and feel memories from their previous owner—a homicide detective who was also his father.

Joshua is convinced there is a family curse. It’s taken loved ones from him, it’s robbed him of his eyesight, and it’s the reason why his father is killed while investigating the homicide of a young woman.

Joshua is handed an opportunity he can’t refuse: an operation that will allow him to see the world through his father’s eyes. As Joshua navigates a world of sight, he gets glimpses of what these eyes might have witnessed in their previous life.

What exactly was his dad up to in his role as a police officer?

There are consequences to the secret life his father was living, including the wrath of a man hell bent on killing, a man who is drawing closer and closer to Joshua.

Joshua soon discovers a world darker than the one he has emerged from…

Every chapter finishes with a cliff hanger.  Every Chapter keeps you guessing.  Fast paced and relentless.  A bit of violence but moreover, slightly disturbing.  The plot premise is part fiction-part Sci-fi and part comedy.  It's like being trapped in a Trent Reznor song.  Well recommended if you want a bit of a freak out.  And best of all, it's set in Sunny Christchurch!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Groove Book Report: Wick Nixon's Healthy Lunchbox Love - $29.95

We heard about Wick's new book through the grapevine and were keen to try out new ways of brightening up that 'ol boring lunchbox.  She has a 'whole-listic' approach to food.  And by that we mean using as many vegetables, nuts, grains and beans as possible.  This box is a sort of snapshot of what she offers in her workshops for individuals and corporates.  Better still she's a real person.  A parent of three, so she's doe the hard yards and can talk authoritatively about what works with kids - and adults.   This is her second book - her first was 21 Marvelous Lunchbox Makeover, which won the coveted Gourmand Award for Best Food and Family Cookbook in New Zealand (2015).

Wick is not a nutritionist or a vegetarian or a paleo.  She claims her style of cooking comes from piratical learnings and general life.  So that's refreshing.  What she offers here is not original.  I've pretty much come across every recipe in someone else's cookbook at one time or other.  But what is cool is that it's all in one place.  That's especially true for the gluten, nut and dairy free options.  Also, most of the morsels here within can be made into small 'lunchbox' portions, for little hands.  And, for you older peeps, who can't bare to face another egg salad sandwich, there's hope for you, too.

Wick Nixon
Opening up at a random page my two girls (6 and 8yrs) fell upon the Brown Rice Sushi Balls (pg 12 if you are reading along).  Sushi is popular in our household - especially anything with chicken or prawns in the filling.  I'd have to say our efforts were not entirely successful on first go. Mainly, because this particular recipe calls for a few different ingredients - items that we don't usually stock.  And this, I guess, was the first hurdle.   This recipe calls for brown rice.  we were out of that, so we substituted white basmati.  A trick for young players - you need to slightly overcook it, otherwise it wont stick together.

Number two problem was that we needed runny honey.  We had the firm clover variety which works if you melt it in the microwave a little.  But the main issue was that this version of sushi needs tahini.  Not exactly something I have kicking around in the fridge.  Also a decent pot will set you back about $7.00 so you need to be committed or have other uses in mind.  Hummus is probably the main one.  Kids love that, so you're likely good there.

Anyway, the tahini was strangely vacant.  We decided to go with peanut butter as a substitute.  Crunchy!  So now the whole thing is turning into the something resembling the 'blue soup' incident in Bridget Jones's Diary.  Nonetheless we soldiered on.  They came out pretty good considering.  Considering the stain on my trousers when my 'sushi ball' disintegrated whilst giving it the taste test.

But joking aside, this incident does show if you buy this book, you need to be prepared to try and purchase a few new larder items.  That's not a bad thing.  Today, you can get anything at your local supermarket and health store.  And there's one in every mall.

A case in point is psyllium husks...

Friday, September 08, 2017

THE BLACK SEEDS Release sixth studio album FABRIC Out today everywhere!

Today, The Black Seeds release their long anticipated sixth studio album Fabric as they come close to 20 years together as a band! Available today on all streaming services and in all good record stores near you, the new album comes ahead of their extensive NZ & AU Fabric tour.

This year, the South Pacific reggae-soul legends have shared the length and breadth of their luscious and diverse new album - including the anthemic summer tune 'Better Days', the dance heavy 'Freakin' and their brand new track 'Back To You' .

Created with the support of NZ On Air and recorded at Lee Prebble’s Wellington studio The Surgery, Fabric is a twelve-track album of bold, groove-heavy tunes that perfectly captures The Black Seeds’ characteristic brand of reggae-funk fusion.

Musically, there is a grand expansiveness that sets over the collective of tracks on Fabric, allowing for each song to breathe and exist on its own, but also comfortably within the context of the wider picture. In other words, it is a prolific and multi-faceted mix of moods, feelings and stylistic influences, all brought together by the core reggae sound of The Black Seeds.
Underneath the genre fusing, there is a physically infectious kinetic energy in the album. There are times when it dips into a nostalgic homage to the late 70s/early 80s r&b and analogue funk era with songs like ‘Freakin’, or the bass-heavy groove of ‘Everybody Knows’.
A socio-political conscience shines through on tracks like the striking ‘Beleza’ (which features the voice of ‘the father of linguistics’, Noam Chomsky) that sings “It’s only a matter of time, Before you spend your money and lose your mind, people of this world let’s listen, don’t play a fool to the system.’’

The mesmerizing ‘Lost In The Bush’ takes The Black Seeds sound down a sci-fi avenue, fusing the usual reggae ingredients with heavy synths to morph into a squelchy grimy strut, while the hypnotic ‘Lightning Strikes’ takes a melancholic turn with its spacey reverberated horns. Another standout on the album is the deep, dub heavy love song found in the title track.
But where there is darkness, one only needs to turn on the light. And in classic Black Seeds fashion, the light reaches in through with the warm affirmations of Weir and Weetman’s words, adding a classic element to this new Black Seeds record. The uplifting album opener ‘Better Days’ ensures us that “better days are coming, lonely nights are leaving”, while tracks like ‘The Weaver’ remind us that love will conquer all pain.
Overall Fabric shows The Black Seeds’ limitless creative energy for what it is - always moving forward and progressing without compromising the soul of who they are, while always remaining conscious of the current world around them.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Take us to the March Sun in Taranaki - first WOMAD artist announced

Well it's a happening thing, and it's happening to yoooou, the March sun in Taranaki just got a whole lot more exciting...

The chart-topping, legendary band DRAGON will be bringing their rock anthems to WOMAD NZ 2018! 

April Sun in Cuba, Are You Old Enough, Young Years, and Rain are just some of the hit songs produced by this amazing band, formed in New Zealand in 1972.
The award-winning group relocated to Australia in 1975 and went on to become a household name in both countries, amassing a loyal and die-hard following of fans.

After reforming in 2006 Dragon have discovered a whole legion of new fans, who are half their age but still know all of their famous lyrics. 

The band was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2008, they have played sold-out shows throughout the globe, and they continue to tour extensively.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

New Zealand Festival 2018 - Sneak Peak

Tonight at Te Wharewaka in Wellington, the New Zealand Festival, in partnership with A Waka Odyssey Creative Team, and Te Āti Awa / Taranaki Whānui Iwi, announced the 2018 Festival will open on 23 February with a stunning Waka spectacular.

Photo: Rawhitiroa Photography
A mass assembly of waka hourua (twin-hulled ocean-going waka) from around the Pacific and Aotearoa will descend on Wellington Harbour at dusk on 23 February, opening New Zealand’s largest international arts Festival with an unprecedented spectacular work by A Waka Odyssey Creative Team Anna Marbrook, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr and Kasia Pol.

Developed through a unique partnership between A Waka Odyssey Creative Team, New Zealand Festival and Te Āti Awa / Taranaki Whānui Iwi, tens of thousands of people are expected on Wellington’s waterfront to experience this exceptional free event, as the Capital’s harbour takes centre stage.

Designed to honour and celebrate our shared voyaging history, A Waka Odyssey is a series of events over five days, beginning with an opening night theatrical spectacle to honour the legacy of famous Pacific explorer, Kupe. The choreographed movements of seven waka hourua, eight waka taua, and a fleet of waka ama will bring the harbour to life; while on land actors, choirs and kapa haka groups welcome the voyagers to the Capital.  A 1000-strong new haka for Wellington will be performed, and a full musical score is being composed by New Zealand music icon Warren Maxwell.

Free, community-based opening night events have become a hallmark of Shelagh Magadza’s Artistic Directorship during her six-year tenure at the New Zealand Festival. Like the Le Grand Continental dance display in 2016, and The Big Bang drumming extravaganza in 2014, Shelagh says A Waka Odyssey is not a one-off, but involves deep community participation and commitment, and will have resonance throughout New Zealand, and beyond.

“This stunning opening night event is an amazing way to open our three-week Festival, and we feel privileged that waka hourua vessels will travel to the Capital from all around Aotearoa, with others sailing to us from as far away as Samoa and Cook Islands.  A Waka Odyssey promises to be a poignant and historic cultural event for New Zealand, and is the perfect fit with the 2018 Festival’s themes of journey, home and belonging.”

“The opening night will mark the beginning of a week of activity inspired by waka hourua and Pacific voyaging.  As well as fun activities like a free Whanau Day at Petone Foreshore on 24 February, there’s an extensive education programme associated with A Waka Odyssey, traversing the themes of navigation, voyaging, science, environment, sustainability, and history,” Shelagh says.

The Festival is showcasing A Waka Odyssey with the three talented Creative Directors behind the work: the master navigator, scholar, and Haunui captain HoturoaBarclay-Kerr, the award-winning director Anna Marbrook, and international artist and designer Kasia Pol.

The Creative Team of Marbrook, Barclay-Kerr, and Pol, say their shared vision for A Waka Odyssey is to create a work that will have long term meaning for Aotearoa:  In the Pacific, our threshold is the mighty ocean. The pre-colonised Pacific viewpoint of the ocean is that of something that connects us all as humans. The waka hourua and their crew give voice to this. As they sail they weave together cultures and histories. And in a contemporary world the waka inspire us not to search for new land but to search for new ways forward as human beings.

A Waka Odyssey is supported by Wellington Regional Amenities Fund.

The Weta Digital Season of Barber Shop Chronicles
For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops.
Sometimes they have haircuts, sometimes they listen, more often than not, they talk. Barber shops are confession boxes, political platforms, preacher pulpits and football pitches... places to go for unofficial advice, and to keep in touch with the world.  Barber Shop Chronicles is a heart-warming play set in barber shops traversing Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, Accra and London.

Jordi Savall, with Hespèrion XXI & Tembembe Ensamble ContinuoIn Folias Antiguas y Criollas at the Michael Fowler Centre on 24 February, Jordi Savall and his renowned early music ensemble Hespèrion XXI will be joined by South American/Mexican chamber music group Tembembe Ensamble Continuo for an evening of world music taken from a number of Savall's recordings, juxtaposing European Baroque music with songs and dances from indigenous South America.

About the New Zealand Festival (23 Feb – 18 March, 2018)
Held every two years across February and March, the New Zealand Festival is New Zealand’s largest celebration of cutting edge culture. With more than 30 years’ experience producing successful Festivals, our longevity and reputation mean we continue to attract the world’s greatest cultural performers to the capital. We also support the growth of New Zealand artists to showcase new work both here and internationally. As well as bringing the best in music, arts, literature, dance and theatre to Wellington, we are known for presenting successful large-scale ticketed events such as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo(2016). Under the Artistic Direction of Shelagh Magadza the Festival has committed to presenting and producing large scale, free, participatory community events, such as The Big Bang (2014) and Le Grand Continental (2016). The next New Zealand Festival is 23 February – 18 March 2018.  The full programme will be released on 17 October.

Find out more at

The Cause of Death - Dr Cynric Temple-Camp (Harper Collins New Zealand) $39.99

Strange and shocking stories of death and murder in provincial New Zealand.  You won't believe these stories happened in New Zealand... Forensic and coronial pathologist Dr Cynric Temple-Camp lifts the lid on some of the most fascinating cases he's worked on during his 30-year career as a pathologist, moving from Zimbabwe to Palmerston North.  Temple-Camp gives us all the gritty details from his 30 year career a handful of obscure and well known, high profile cases including attending Mark Lundy's Privy Council hearing.

Always expect the unexpected from the dead, says Temple-Camp.  Usually, pathologists don’t talk to or meet the families of patients, so getting clearance from them to write about their loved ones’ deaths was a challenge both professionally and emotionally, he says. Work on a sudden death takes a "little debit against their emotional energy" and burnouts in the industry are par for the course, he says “I don’t believe anybody is immune to this sort of sorrow.”

However, meeting the families turned out to be one of the best things about writing the book.  Some of the deaths date back 30 years so many people were shocked to hear from him.  “So many of them said ‘We never knew the story, and thank you for telling us the story and thank you for looking after my loved one… and telling their story, letting them speak.”
This is what makes Temple-Camp's book more than just another cold hard facts account.  The interviews with families give a more rounded view of the cases and also let in some of the emotional values.  It is always hard when you've lost a loved one in tragic circumstances but perhaps we can empathise more when we know the full story.  It can also give some intresting spins on our own assumptions.

Take the case of the mysterious discovery of the naked body of a woman, found prone against a fence near an airport control.  On initial analysis it appeared that she'd been severely beaten.  Dutifully, Temple-Camp told the police that the man responsible was a psychopath who would likely kill again.  The police had interrogated the woman’s husband for three days, before the true cause of her death emerged.  Apparently she was mauled by a bull.  “This lady kept cows. She had a bull that she’d raised herself – I think it was a cross Ayrshire Friesian bull. This bull was known to be quite antagonistic to people. And it had jumped the fence and caught her.”  The woman had a theory that should you be attacked by a bull, you could distract them by throwing a piece of clothing to the ground and making a getaway.  “This is what she’d done, and her clothes were strewn right across the paddock – but the bull caught her at the fence.”

Then there's the baffling case of a recluse found lying on his bed with what initially appeared to be a bullet wound between his eyes.  Again, on further investigation the truth came out differently to what was expected...

Friday, September 01, 2017

Morrissey has announced the release of his new album, LOW IN HIGH SCHOOL, out on 17 November 2017

LOW IN HIGH SCHOOL will be Morrissey’s first studio album since 2014 and his debut for BMG. The album will see BMG partnering with Morrissey on the new release and on the launch of his new label, Etienne Records. LOW IN HIGH SCHOOL was recorded at La Fabrique Studios in France and in Rome at Ennio Morricone’s Forum Studios. The record is produced by Joe Chiccarelli (who has worked with Frank Zappa, The Strokes, Beck and The White Stripes to name a few).

The album will be released digitally and in physical formats: CD, coloured vinyl and limited edition cassette.

Morrissey’s talent for combining political statements and beautiful melodies is more prevalent than ever on LOW IN HIGH SCHOOL, capturing the zeitgeist of an ever-changing world.

Korda Marshall (EVP of BMG) said of the signing: “There are not many artists around today that can compare to Morrissey. He is an extraordinary talent. He is prodigious, literate, witty, elegant and above all, courageous. His lyrics, humour and melodies have influenced many generations. The music on this new landmark record will speak for itself and we are delighted to welcome him to BMG.”

Music and tour dates coming soon…but LA’s most iconic venue, The Hollywood Bowl, has announced one of the first shows to feature some of the soon to be released material in concert, along with many of his classic songs.

Fri-Nov-10 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl

Rising to prominence as frontman of The Smiths, Morrissey went on to forge an even more successful career as a solo artist, with all ten of his solo efforts landing in the Top 10 on the UK album charts, including 3 entries at the #1 position. Releasing his debut solo album VIVA HATE back in 1988, he has since released a number of critically acclaimed follow-ups including KILL UNCLE and YOUR ARSENAL, and hugely successful comeback album YOU ARE THE QUARRY after a five year hiatus in 2004.