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This week on Standing Room Only is heavy on visual arts - whether it's campaigning photographer Robin Hammond's images of people who live on the margins, or award-winning contemporary Pacific artist Angela Tiatia's deliberate pushing of Samoan boundaries.  A new initiative wants to encourage art collection for fun and profit, while documentary-maker Anna Cottrell looks behind the familiar images of the Wahine disaster, 50 years on.  We meet a slam poet, Daisy Speaks, and an expat Irish comedian, Alan McElroy.  We ask the Mata Aho Women's Collective about their connection with the Duchess of Sussex, and pay tribute to two great artists, both called Leonard Mitchell.  And actor/writer/singer Andrew Gunn goes back to his highland roots for his new stage show.

All this plus At The Movies, Beyond Kate and an assortment of songs by and about seagulls.


12:15  Photographer - and witness - Robin Hammond

Ex-pat Photographer Robin Hammond focuses his camera on people who live on the margins - the mentally ill,  the  LGBTI community, refugees and other victims of war.

His multi-award winning images are often unnervingly candid, capturing suffering and hardship in a single unforgettable shot.

But they're also images of courage, resilience and survival against the odds. His not-for-profit organization is called Witness Change.

Robin Hammond spent time documenting daily life in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe's iron fist, in Congo and Bosnia where rape's used as a weapon of war, while in Croatia residents of a once antiquated mental asylum are now living better lives in the community.

Robin's just been home as a guest of New Zealand Geographic, and to catch up with his family.

He talks to Lynn Freeman about the series of photographs that started him down the track of human rights related work:

12:34  The art of art collection

Sonja Hawkins

Sonja Hawkins Photo: supplied

Sue Gardiner

Sue Gardiner Photo: supplied

Without art collectors where would artists be? Fostering new generations of collectors is a vital part of the economy of the visual arts in New Zealand.

But if collectors drive the art world, what drives art collectors? 

The Auckland Art Gallery's "My Art Collectors" series creates a platform to hear from collectors, curators and artists with the aim of inspiring the art lovers and collectors of today and tomorrow.  

Lynn Freeman talks to two of the contributors to the conversation.   Sue Gardiner is a co-Director of the Chartwell Collection and Trustee of the Chartwell Trust, an independent body whose collection of more than 1600 works of New Zealand, Australian and international contemporary art has been acquired over 40 years.   

And Sonja Hawkins is a founding partner of interest-free art loans business, MyArt.  Sonja is an avid collector herself and offers some tips on how to build a strong collection.

12:45 Award winning Pacific artist Angela Tiatia

Pushing the boundaries is expat multimedia artist Angela Tiatia's stock in trade - she's often condemned by Samoan people offended by her work.

Born in New Zealand, Angela also has Samoan and Australian heritage. Two decades spent as a model also feeds into her work that often looks at issues involving  women's rights and the female body.

Earlier this year Angela won Australia's Ravenswood Women's Art Prize for her video work After the Fall inspired by  survivor accounts of the fall of Singapore in World War Two.

Now Creative New Zealand has presented the Sydney-based artist with the Contemporary Pacific Artist Award - though, as she tells Lynn Freeman, 'Pasifika artist' is not how she describes herself.

1:10 At The Movies

Simon Morris reviews King of thieves, The seagull and New Zealand documentary She shears.

1:33 Anna Cottrell - documentary queen

Director Anna Cottrell has been a fixture in the documentary scene here - particularly the TV doco one - for as long as any of us can remember.  Her TV films are sharp, observant, intelligent and grown-up - not necessarily words that fit many prime-time reality shows.

But Anna has - not one but three documentaries that are about to reach our screens in the next month, including one that remembers the Wahine disaster, 50 years later.

Also on the horizon, an Armistice Day project looking at Maori and Pacific Great War Stories, and an intriguing documentary that links a New Zealand rug repairer, a tribe of Iranian nomads and naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

Lynn Freeman talks to Anna Cottrell about her work, and the TV documentary scene under threat from the dreaded reality TV.   

Wahine 50 years on screens on October 29 on Choice TV, Maori and Pacific Great War Stories is on Maori TV on Armistice Day, November the 11th, and The Kiwi the Kinght and the Qashqai plays on Choice TV on November the 26th.


1:47 Poetry slam champion Daisy Speaks

Daisy Speaks

Daisy Speaks Photo: supplied

The current National Poetry Slam champion, Christchurch poet ​Daisy Lavea-Timo - who performs as Daisy Speaks -  is about to relinquish her hard won crown.

Daisy is the first Christchurch champion and one of only 2 female champions so far.  While she couldn't compete for the title this year she will be there cheering on this year's hopefuls from around the country.

Daisy tells Lynn Freeman that she comes from generations of Samoan orators:

The National Poetry Slam is on November the 3rd in Christchurch.

2:06 The Laugh Track - Alan McElroy

No caption

Photo: supplied

It's an idea so obvious you'd think they'd have done it decades ago - a tribute to the connection between New Zealand and Ireland.  But the 15th of November sees the inaugural NZ Irish Fest:  4 days, 3 centres, 60 events, including film, music, sport and, naturally, comedy.

A good opportunity, in other words, for Irish-born, now proudly Auckland-based comedian Alan McElroy, today's Laugh Track guest.

Alan's picks include Bill Burr, Billy Connolly and Tommy Tiernan

And the NZ Irish Fest opens on November the 15th in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and runs for three action packed days. 

2:25 The Mata Aho collective's tarpaulin art-work that dazzled Meghan Markle

The Maori women's art collective who created the massive tarpaulin artwork that's dominating the Oceania exhibition at London's Royal Academy, are about to work on a very different piece for next year's Honolulu Biennale.

The Mata Aho Collective's Oceania piece "Kiko Moana"  was made from layers of sewn and slashed tarpaulins, and was originally created to show at last year's Documenta 14 exhibition in Germany.

The Collective gained a lot of publicity in the UK - in particular, they found themselves pictured in newspapers and magazines around the world when they met the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

The collective is made up of Erena Baker (Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangātira), Sarah Hudson (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe), Bridget Reweti  (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi) and Terri Te Tau (Rangitāne, ki Wairarapa).

Now the four artists are back, excited about the response to Oceania, and what might come from it.

Lynn Freeman talked with two of them - Bridget Reweti and Terri Te Tau - ahead of their next get-together this weekend to start work on the Honolulu piece:

2:36  Andrew Gunn traces his highland roots

Andrew Gunn

Andrew Gunn Photo: supplied

Andrew Gunn's Scottish forebears lived though the notorious "Highland clearances" before his grandfather was one of thousands of children illegally deported to Australia from Scotland.

Rich pickings for the Kiwi actor and singer, who's not only found out a lot more about his family tree, he's starting to learn to speak Scots Gaelic for his solo play and song cycle called Violent Bloom.

Andrew tells Lynn Freeman that while genealogy is a huge business these days, many pakeha - including him -  are uncomfortable about their links to Aotearoa New Zealand's colonial history.  That's why, he says, he's focussing on his Scottish roots:

Violent Bloom premieres at Auckland's Basement Theatre on Tuesday.

2:49  Talented painters Mitchell and Mitchell

The work of two of New Zealand's forgotten artistic heroes - father and son Leonard C. and Leonard V. Mitchell - are remembered in a new book and art exhibition.

Leonard Senior created some of our most memorable stamp designs and poster images, earning him the title of "the father of New Zealand graphic design".

His son was a talented portrait artist and also painted one of New Zealand's most ambitious murals, which still graces Lower Hutt's War Memorial Library.

Their story of different styles and fates is told in Mitchell and Mitchell, written by historian Richard Wolfe and vintage advertising expert - and Mitchell fan - Peter Alsop.

The book's designed by a descendent.  Art gallery owner Anna Reed's father Frank Mitchell - son of Leonard C Mitchell and brother of Leonard V - is the keeper of hundreds of his father's artworks.

Lynn Freeman talks to Anna Reed and Peter Alsop, first asking Anna what she heard about her famous forebears growing up.

Mitchell & Mitchell is published by Potton and Burton and the exhibition Leonard's Fifties opens at Mitchell Studios in

3:06 Podcast at 3:  After Kate, Episode 6: Women should be seen and heard

What does it mean to be a woman involved in the arts today, and is it a space where women have equal opportunity? Sonia Sly finds out about two female photographers who have been left off the pages of our history books. And the actors and writers involved in a play about Kate Sheppard reveal why having a voice in the arts doesn’t necessarily help to create an equal playing field for women.

Music played in this show


Artist:  Shangri Las
Song:  Remember walking in the sand
Composer:  Morton
Album:  The Myrmidons of Melodrama
Label: RPM
Played at: 12.12

Artist: A Flock of Seagulls
Song:  Space age love song
Composer: Maudsley-Reynolds-Score
Album: A Flock of Seagulls
Label: Arista
Played at:  12.31

Artist:  Joni Mitchell

Song:  Song to a Seagull
Composer: Mitchell
Album: Song to a seagull
Label: Reprise
Played at: 12.58

Artist: Neil Diamond
Song:  Be
Composer:  Diamond
Album: Jonathan Livingstone Seagull
Label: CBS
Played at:  1.08

Artist: Betchdupa
Song: My army of birds and gulls
Composer:  Finn
Album: Aiming for your head
Label: Liberation
Played at:  1.46

Artist:  Bebop Deluxe
Song:  Sister seagull
Composer: Nelson
Album:  Futurama
Label: EMI
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Engelbert Humperdinck
Song: Lesbian Seagull
Composer: Weinberg
Album: Beavis and Butthead do America
Label: Geffen
Played at:  2.04

Artist: Steve and the Seagulls
Song: Thunderstruck
Composer:  Young-Young
Album: Farm Machine
Label: Spinefarm
Played at:  2.58

Artist:  Joe Bonamassa
Song: Seagull
Composer:  Ralphs-Rodgers
Album: Sloegin
Label: J&R
Played at:  3.04

Artist:  Fleetwood Mac
Song: Albatross
Composer:  Green
Album: Best Of
Label: Columbia
Played at:  3.58

Artist: David Bowie
Song: Andy Warhol  
Composer:  Bowie
Album: Hunky Dory
Label: EMI
Played at:  (Trailer)