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12:15  New Lease of Life for the Sarjeant

Sarjeant Gallery - facade of temporary building, Taupo Quay

Sarjeant Gallery - facade of temporary building, Taupo Quay Photo: Supplied

Whanganui's Sarjeant Art Gallery has been emptied out ahead of a multi-million dollar earthquake strengthening and extension project. Costing a total of $34.9 million, it’s a dream that's taken two decades to realise, with many moments of despair along the way. But just before Christmas the government pledged $10 million from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund, topping up support from the Whanganui District Council and a huge financial contribution from the private sector.

That means that a home has had to be found for the 8,000 strong art collection, spanning 400 years of New Zealand and international art history. The council found a building in the city centre that's both a storage space and a temporary gallery - The Sarjeant on the Quay. They have been moved there for safe keeping, keeping the Sarjeant in the public eye over the next few years of redevelopment.

Lynn continues her tour with Whanganui's mayor Hamish McDouall, Conor Clarke (Tyler Cottage resident artist), Director Greg Anderson, Curator Jennifer Taylor Moore, and chief fundraiser Nicola Williams.

Part 2 of a two-part series.

Click here for Part 1.



The Question Put - Boat Date with Melissa Laing

"There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats” (The Wind in the Willows)

Over the past two years, Auckland artist, writer and curator Melissa Laing has been taking people out on her boat  on the waterways of West Auckland and inviting them to share stories. Melissa hand built her boat The Question Put - it's a small, shallow-draft row-boat that's technically called a Gloucester Light Dory.

For the Auckland Festival, she's hauling it back into the water to gather more stories as she and her guest navigate their way through waterways and go on a voyage of discovery together. 

Boat Date is an adventure, a river cruise, a performative experience and a space for conversation up the Whau River with the tide into the heart of Te Wao nui o Tiriwa (West Auckland)

The artist and her guest navigate their way between mangroves, under bridges and around the fallen trees, peering into the backyards and river banks of the factories and residences that edge the river.

"As you take the boat upstream you feel like you're adventuring. The river narrows, the city disappears and you discover hidden, magical parts of Auckland."

The intimacy of travelling together in a small row-boat creates a space for intellectual discovery and emotional connection. Ideas can be exchanged and stories can be told, and pressing issues in the world hashed out. Over the course of the conversation each trip takes on its own life, and crafts its own story.

"Over the last two years I've had conversations about ecology, love, boating. I've plotted how to change the world in big and small ways. I've been told funny and heart-breaking stories, and I've shared my own. I've come to realise that being able to share time on the water with someone is a special thing."
Melissa Laing// Boat Date takes place with the tide starting on the 21st of February as part of the Auckland Fringe festival. But the bad news is she's already sold out!

And she talks to Lynn about her upcoming exhibition the Controlled Environment Laboratory documenting the history of a laboratory facility in Palmerston North at Corban Estate Art Centre, Auckland and Te Manawa, Palmerston North.  Here's a short film she made of the laboratory complex. 

Controlled Environment Laboratory - an original model of the laboratory in Palmerston North, still on the wall at the main entry.

Controlled Environment Laboratory - an original model of the laboratory in Palmerston North, still on the wall at the main entry. Photo: supplied

The Controlled Environment Laboratory - the ceiling of one of the rooms with the lights on, showing the top ventilation, glass ceiling and automated misting system.

The Controlled Environment Laboratory - the ceiling of one of the rooms with the lights on, showing the top ventilation, glass ceiling and automated misting system. Photo: supplied

Melissa Laing is an artist, a writer and a curator who explores the creative spaces between art and politics. She has run a conversation group for Share Cheat Unite at Te Tuhi, written stories on riding the Western train line and building a boat for Pantograph Punch, and curated pop up events for Arts Whau including Sounding La Rosa and Tasting Words.


1:10 At The Movies  Dan Slevin reviews the latest movies for us on At The Movies, while Simon Morris has several cups of tea and a lie-down following a big summer of Matinee Idle. This week: he looks at Daniel Day-Lewis’s final screen performance in Phantom Thread; the faith-based gang drama Broken; and the real-life story of a female poker entrepreneur, Molly’s Game

Jessica Chastain in Molly's Game

Jessica Chastain in Molly's Game Photo: StyxFilms


1:50 Flowing Water - Witi Ihimaera and composer Janet Jennings. 

Flowing Waters

Flowing Waters Photo: Supplied

Singing, acting, kapa haka, taonga pūoro, film, and dance come together in a ground-breaking and dazzling musical drama, from acclaimed New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera, historian Tom Roa (Waikato-Tainui), and composer Janet Jennings. 

Flowing Water tells the epic story of the Waikato River and all the peoples nurtured by the river - Māori, Pakeha and later migrants in a landmark production written and produced specially for the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2018.

'Waikato' means 'flowing water’ in te reo Māori, and the action starts with mythical river spirits awaiting the arrival of the Tainui canoe. When the canoe voyagers first felt the river while out at sea, they remarked on the 'kato', the pull of the River's strong current.

Not all of New Zealand's history has been peaceful and the drama includes enactments of two key conflicts - the Waikato Wars (in particular, the Battle of Rangiriri) and World War I (Gallipoli).

Directed by John Drummond, the thrilling première features a large cast of leading performers with strong Waikato links, including soprano Anna Mahon and kapa haka group Te Haona Kaha.


Fast Blues Shuffle - Dean Whaitiri

Dean Whaitiri busking

Dean Whaitiri busking Photo: supplied

Saxophonist and businessman Dean Whaitiri spent time on the streets when homeless as a teenager - now in his mid-70s you'll still find him out on the streets - busking.

Dean taught himself to play saxophone and went on to tour with bands, even playing for the late Sir Howard Morrison during the Maori showband era.

He's part of the buskers line up appearing in From the Streets to the Stage at Galatos on the 22nd of February, as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival


2:06 The Laugh Track - The Male Gayz


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Photo: Supplied

Featuring Chris Parker and Eli Matthewson of the new hit podcast, The Male Gayz, weekly on the Little Empire Network. Actors, comedians, writers, you’ll know them from Funny Girls and Jono and Ben. Here they discuss their favourite comedy picks.



In praise of the design of Kristian Frederikson


"The world will be a little less beautiful now that we don't have Kristian to redesign it for us." David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet wrote that tribute to New Zealand born designer KRISTIAN FREDRIKSON, who died in 2005. Kristian was born in Petone and his designs for theatre, ballet and opera are still remembered for their opulance, sumptuousness and occasional eccentricity.  Australian dance scholar and historian Dr MICHELLE POTTER is writing a book about Kristian and is giving a lecture on him in Wellington today, part of a series honouring New Zealand choreograher and dancer Russell Kerr. Michelle is also keen to hear from anyone who knew him with information that can add to her research.

2:25 Kapiti Writer’s Retreat

Kapiti Writers Retreat

Kapiti Writers Retreat Photo: Supplied

The old saying don't let the facts get in the way of a good story usually applies to journalism, but a speaker at a writers retreat in Kapiti is going to argue that that also holds true when writing fiction based on true stories.

Victor Rodger calls his session at the Kahini  retreat How to speak your truth without being a slave to it and the Power of What if. Victor's recently started taking a Maori and Pacific writers workshop at the Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University.

One of his fellow speakers at the retreat, Pip Adam, will be talking about approach to writing about the weather, very topical after the summer of extremes New Zealand's experiencing.

2:40  Apirana Taylor - Ka Tito Au



Kupe is revered as the first Polynesian to discover the islands of Aotearoa - and the stories handed down from generation to generation offer many insights but are often conflicting. Photo: Supplied


And that's proved a huge challenge for playwright Apirana Taylor, who's spent months reading material about Kupe to hone down into a one person play Ka Tito Au for the New Zealand Festival.

Kupe came to Aotearoa from Hawaiki in pursuit of an octopus and finally killed in in Cook Strait - then known as Raukawakawa

It's also said that his wife, Kuramārōtini, came up with the name of Ao-tea-roa  - long white cloud - on seeing the North Island for the first time.

Murray Lynch is directing the play and has collaborated on it with Apirana - who says Kupe has a place in his own whakapapa:

Apirana Taylor...Ka Tito Au premieres on the 24th of February as part of the opening weekend of the New Zealand Festival in Wellington.

Apirana Taylor / Dominic Hoey

Apirana Taylor / Dominic Hoey Photo: supplied

He's also going to be talking about his Ockham Book Award longlisted novel Five Strings in conversation with Icelandic novelist Dominic Hoey in the BLOODY DIFFICULT MEN session at Writers & Readers on Friday the 9th of March .


3:06 Drama at 3 - New Zealand Refugee

Moira Wairama

Moira Wairama Photo: Moira Wairama

Here's the futuristic thriller 'New Zealand Refugee' written by Moira Wairama. 

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