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Deborah McCormick and SCAPE Public Art

18 Dec 2022

Since Standing Room Only started some of the biggest changes we've seen in attitudes towards art and artists has happened in Otautahi Christchurch. How much artists contributed to the city's emotional recovery from the earthquakes through projects like Gap Filler, but also how many individual people created and shared… Audio, Gallery

Sunday 18 December 2022

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This is the final Standing Room Only, as Lynn Freeman moves on to lend her considerable skills to  to work with Forest & Bird.

RNZ National will continue to feature arts and culture content through our dedicated four-hour show every Sunday afternoon - including during the summer period, apart from Christmas Day) 

This includes cinema (At The Movies), comedy, radio drama and New Zealand readings along with arts stories from Aotearoa and overseas.
RNZ is already planning a new show for after the holiday break.  


12:16  Deborah McCormick and SCAPE Public Art

Since Standing Room Only started some of the biggest changes we've seen in attitudes towards art and artists has happened in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

How much artists contributed to the city's emotional recovery from the earthquakes through projects like Gap Filler, but also how many individual people created and shared their work.

Before the quakes, Neil Dawson's monumental sculpture The Challice in the Square was initially criticised, but within days of its unveiling it became an impromptu shrine for the New York victims of 9/11.

Back in 1998, the SCAPE Public Art started commissioning  large outdoor works by international and Kiwi sculptors and artists.   Some stayed but most of them were temporary.   Some attracted criticism but they certainly got people talking.

As SCAPE reaches its quarter century, its founder and Executive Director Deborah McCormick is standing down in March next year.

Deborah's last SCAPE will see her tick off one of her long held ambitions - to secure a permanent sculpture for Christchurch by Auckland-based artist Dr Brett Graham.

Lynn Freeman talks with Deborah and Brett, first asking Deborah to take us back to the lightbulb moment that led to SCAPE public art event.


12:32  Esther Lofley - environmentally responsible fashion

The fashion industry is notoriously wasteful - for instance, cheap clothing that lasts months rather than years before ending up in landfills.

But an expat now based in the US is leading by example, buying up unwanted garments made from quality fabrics and materials.  She then unpicks and reworks them into high fashion clothes for the catwalk. 

Esther Lofely and her husband Robert Catalusci  work together on her label, ELC.

For well over a decade she worked for the Royal New Zealand Ballet company, and was Head Draper when she left in 2019 to work overseas before settling in Virginia. 

Lynn Freeman asks Esther why she become interested in creating garments from clothing destined for the tip.

12:41  South Korean popular culture - why has it conquered the world?


Michael Stephens Photo: supplied

Nick Ward

Nick Ward Photo: supplied


This year marked a first at Cannes - both the winning films came from the same country, South Korea, Decision to leave and Broker.  

But South Korea has been making its presence felt across the board recently - the Oscar winning Parasite, TV sensations like Snowpiercer and The Squid Game, hugely popular romcoms and action flicks on Netflix, not to mention the K Pop phenomenon.  

Right now the biggest bands in the world are Korean boy bands like BTS and girl groups like Blackpink.

The first time Korean films crossed Simon Morris's path, they seemed to belong firmly in the "genre" area - monster movies, brutal crime stories, martial arts.   

But suddenly they're bigger than that - far bigger.  It's like the Golden Age of Hollywood in the Thirties and Forties.   So what's Korea's secret?

Simon talks with Michael Stephens, longtime chair of the Korean Cinerama Trust, and also crack screenwriter Nick Ward, a regular on the Seoul Screenplay Development Support Programme.


1:10 At The Movies

This week Simon Morris looks back on 2022 in movies - the blockbusters, the independents, the boom in New Zealand films.  At times it was everything everywhere all at once!


1:32  Susy Pointon captures stories from Hokianga

Susy Pointon

Susy Pointon Photo: supplied

Susy Pointon

Photo: supplied


Writer Susy Pointon is determined to capture the many stories of Northland's rugged and mysterious Hokianga, her adopted home.

Since moving there 18 years ago, she's talked to locals to record their memories on tape and in writing.

The first two books in her Hokianga series were fictionalised short stories based on actual people and events.

Number three however, Ferry Stories of the Hokianga: Nga korero o Hokianga mai I te waka, is more of a hybrid, with locals contributing their own stories which sit alongside Susy's fiction. 

Lynn Freeman asks Susy for some highlights.


1:46   Vivienne Ullrich's poetry is close to home 

Vivienne Ullrich

Vivienne Ullrich Photo: supplied

Vivienne Ullrich

Vivienne Ullrich Photo: supplied


The often heartbreaking story of the extended family of three Jewish Second World War refugees who found a new home in Aotearoa is told in a new poetry collection, We came from Hamburg.

Retired judge Vivienne Ullrich became fascinated by her husband's family tree, which suddenly expanded when they received an email from relatives living in America.

There was the ongoing mystery of Erna who abandoned her three daughters and disappeared in 1920. 

Meanwhile Wally, her son Eric and eventually her daughter Liesl came to New Zealand from England, to join Wally's second husband Walter.

Vivienne's husband Philip, is the late Liesel's son.   Lynn Freeman talks to Vivienne about her exotic in-laws. 

We came from Hamburg by Vivienne Ullrich is published by the Cuba Press.

2:06 The Laugh Track - Dianne Swann

Dianne Swann

Dianne Swann Photo: BAYLY&MOORE

Music Hall of Famer Dianne Swann has been one of the most respected singer-songwriters in the country ever since she first sprang to our attention in a little indie band in the Eighties called Everything That Flies.  Which, indirectly, is how she joined superstar quintet When The Cat's Away.   

Since then, she settled in the UK, formed The Julie Dolphin and sang with Radiohead.   She came back, forming the Bads with long-time partner Brett Adams, and put out four acclaimed albums.

But it's not the fact she's kept going all those years.  It's the fact that she keeps on producing new, brilliant material. Culminating in her first solo album last year,The War on Peace of Mind. 

But that's not why we asked Dianne on the show.   Sam Scott, her co-star on the famous White Album concerts a month ago, put us onto her.   You should have Dianne Swann on the Laugh Track, he said.  She's hilarious.  

Dianne Swann's picks on the Laugh Track included Dr Brian Cox and his old band D:Ream, Philomena Cunk, Sean Lock and the TV series Flowers and Smack the Pony.


2:27   Dylan Coburn - from movie storyboards to children's picture book

Dylan Coburn

Dylan Coburn Photo: supplied

Dylan Coburn

Photo: supplied

Visual effects art director, Dylan Coburn has drawn storyboards for some of the biggest recent New Zealand projects - Rings of Power, Cowboy Bebop - even Dame Valerie Adams More Than Gold...   

It's an important job - not just artistically, but also budget-wise.  A good storyboard can save literally millions of dollars on a shoot.

But Dylan's latest project uses his drawing skills for something entirely different - to help young readers to learn how to count.

Boingo and the Golden Balloon sees a young rabbit chasing his favourite object in the world through a forest, with all kinds of critters giving him directions along the way.   Lynn Freeman talks with Dylan about his career switch.

Boingo and the Golden Balloon by Dylan Coburn is published by Action Junior Limited


2:38   Lynn and Catriona MacLeod reminisce

Lynn Freeman writes:   "This is the last Standing Room Only as I'm leaving to work with Forest & Bird.  While I've hosted this programme for more than 21 years, I started at RNZ way, way back, in the era of typewriters and teletexting our copy to Wellington from the Dunedin 4ZB studios - now sadly bulldozed and long gone.  

"But I was a very excited 19 year old intern when I rocked up, so early that I had to sit on the steps of the building for ages waiting for reception to open.

"The first person I met when I was escorted to the newsroom was delighted that she was no longer the cub reporter...a familiar name and my dear friend Catriona MacLeod..."

2:44  Frances Edmond and her mother, poet Lauris

Even a three-volume autobiography doesn't come close to telling the full story of poet Lauris Edmond OBE.

So her daughter and literary executor, Frances Edmond, is filling in the gaps in a biography called Always Going Home.

This includes assessing in depth the death of another of Lauris's daughters, Rachel, left emotionally damaged by a childhood assault, and its impact on the whanau.

Lauris didn't publish her first poetry collection until she was 51.  Ten more followed, plus the autobiography, a novel, dramas written for radio and theatre and her work as an editor.

She was 75 when she died in 2000. 

Frances published Night Burns with a White Fire: The Essential Lauris Edmond with co-editor Sue Fitchett in 2017 - but, as she tells Lynn Freeman, Always Going Home is very much the personal story of a mother and daughter, both writers with strong personalities.

Frances Edmond's Always Going Home is published by Otago University Press.


3:06 Drama at 3 - On the Road, Off the Record by Stuart Hoar

Today's Sunday Drama is On the Road, Off the Record by Stuart Hoar.   It's a mockumentary that follows the demise of the Diabelli String Quartet on a tour of the West Coast, starring Matthew Chamberlain, Carol Smith, Dena Marie Kennedy  and Nigel Collins. 

 It was engineered by Phil Benge and produced by Hone Kouka for RNZ National. 


Artist: Mary Hopkin
Song: Goodbye
Composer: McCartney
Album: Come and get it
Label: Apple
Played at: 12.30

Artist: Jackson 5
Song: Never can say goodbye
Composer:  Davis
Album:  Jackson 5 Gold
Label:  Motown
Played at:  12.31

Artist: The Searchers
Song: Goodbye my love
Composer: Mosely-Swearingen
Album: The Pye Anthology
Label:  Castle
Played at: 12.58

Artist: Bananarama
Song: Na na hey hey kiss him goodbye
Composer: DeCarlo-Frashuer-Leka
Album: Greatest Hits Collection
Label: London
Played at: 1.07

Artist: Emmylou Harris & the Hot Band
Song: I'm movin' on
Composer: Snow
Album: Last Date
Label: Warner
Played at: 1.43

Artist:  The Bads
Song:  Say your goodbyes
Composer: Adams-Swann
Album: So alive
Label: Mana
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Rhianna
Song: Farewell
Composer: Dean-Grant
Album: Talk that atlk
Label: Defjam
Played at: 2.05

Artist: D: Ream
Song: Things can only get better
Composer: Cunnah-Petrie
Album: Ultimate cheese party
Label: Warner
Played at: 2.27

Artist:  Beatles
Song:  Hello goodbye
Composer: Lennon-McCartney
Album: Magical Mystery Tour
Label:  Parlophone
Played at: 2.58

Artist: Maroon 5
Song: Beautiful goodbye
Composer: Maroon 5
Album: Overexposed
Label: A&M
Played at: 3.05

Artist: Sarah McLachlan
Song: I will remember you
Composer: Egan-McLachlan
Album: Closer: The Best Of
Label: Arista
Played at: 3.58