Navigation for Standing Room Only

This week the state of NZ television with producers Desray Armstong, Kerry Warkia and Julian Arahanga, and after 1pm, At the Movies, costume designer James Acheson's 30 year friendship with the recently departed Bernardo Bertolucci, and making a national dance company sustainable through international touring with Shona McCullagh. After 2pm art curator Reuben Friend on the Laugh Track, avant garde '70s art with Phil Dadson and Natasha Conland, memoirist Jeffrey Paparoa Holman and art that is all about the weather with Janine Randerson. Finally our drama at 3 is the second part of Roger Hall's Who Wants To Be 100? Anyone who's 99.


12:35 The Future of Television - a panel 

You used to almost have to wait for permission to get your Big Television Project made, reliant as you were on the TV Channels giving you a prime-time slot. But now there are increasing number of options, particularly for imaginative projects. You can go on-line with your web-series. You can get your project On Demand, with a view to being promoted to actual channels. And, speaking of channels, Maori TV is open to lots of interesting shows.  

Joining us to discuss getting television made and getting it an audience are independent TV producers Desray Armstrong (films like Stray and TV series Wellington Paranormal), Kerry Warkia (Auckland Daze, Find me a Maori Bride and Nia's Extraordinary Life) and Julian Arahanga (actor turned producer of the year's most arresting project Colonial Combat).

All their projects are likely to be seen - mostly in on demand platforms next year. The obvious exception: Desray's second series of Wellington Paranormal which is a sitter for a prime-time slot.

The downside of all this is audience numbers. On Demand has so many titles that yours may easily get lost in them.  And Maori Television may be well loved in principle, but its audience numbers are going down not up.

And yet producers and programme makers seem surprisingly up-beat. Sure, the climate isn't perfect, but when was it ever? And right now, they're putting together some exciting and innovative projects with the idea that if you build it audiences will come.


1:10 At The Movies


1:33 Costuming with Bertolucci - James Acheson

This week saw the passing of one of the giants of European film-making - Bernardo Bertolucci.  His films included some of the greatest of the late 20th Century - 1900Last Tango in Paris, The Conformist, and the dazzling Last Emperor in 1987 that picked up nine Oscars. 

One of those Oscars went to costume designer James Acheson at the start of a thirty-year friendship with Bernardo Bertolucci. James remembers Bertolucci and talks about his rich career.


1:50 The Business of Dance - Shona McCullagh

“He’s had an indelible imprint on the cellular structure for generations of New Zealand dancers, so there’s huge grief but also huge gratitude." 

So says Shona McCullagh, artistic director and business manager of the New Zealand Dance Company, of Douglas Wright who was celebrated this week after his recent passing.  

Indeed speaking of the growth of a national company Shona talks of Wright's work not getting the international recognition it deserved as a major drive behind starting the company.

"I loved his work I loved working with him and I was so utterly inspired by what he was doing."

Shona in dual artistic and business roles is now determined to build a more sustainable platform for New Zealand choreographers and dancers. She is proud they continue to tour a programme they first premiered in 2014

“There are many people in creative roles who have entrepreneurial ideas and ability.”

As Douglas Wright could attest, sustaining a national contemporary dance company has in the past been difficult in New Zealand - and getting to tour internationally even harder. Yet In 2018 not only is the New Zealand Dance Company celebrating its sixth birthday but its about to embark on its second European tour of the year, heading to Belgium and Luxembourg. 

But its not been an easy journey to build a company providing full-time employment for New Zealand dancers. Founder Shona McCullagh as both artistic director and chief executive says that to be sustainable the international touring is vital. While touring New Zealand involves making a loss, a small profit can even be made touring elsewhere, particularly Europe. Returning to Europe this month the company will be once again in front of the eyes of international buyers, who Shona spends a lot of time these days meeting at markets. 2019 sees the company tour in North America as well as a seven-centre New Zealand tour in April and they are already booking Europe for 2020. 

Representing the Asia Pacific region they take three works to Europe this month under the theme of 'time':  Korean Kim Jae Duk's Sigan, performed by a quartet of dancers in a work that allows their technical skill to shine, a work by one of our finest dance artists, Ross McCormack 'Matter' and Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake's 'If Never Was Now'.

Time will see eight of NZDC's dancers take to the stage. Full-time dancers Carl Tolentino, Chrissy Kokiri, Katie Rudd, and Xin Ji who all travelled to Europe for the Lumina tour in April will lead the Company, joined by Lucy Lynch, Emily Adams, and recent New Zealand School of Dance graduates Chris Clegg, Sebastian Geilings and Christina Guieb making their debut performances with NZDC. Shona's is a commitment to achieving increased full-time employment for Aotearoa's finest dancers.


2:06 The Laugh Track - Reuben Friend

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Photo: Provided

Art curator Reuben Friend is known for his work with Maori and Pacific Island artists, with exhibitions seen at Auckland Art Gallery, City Gallery in Wellington and  Porirua's celebrated Pataka Gallery and Museum, where he's the director.

Contemporary art and comedy - what's the connection?  Reuben Friend introduces tracks from American comedian John Oliver and New Zealand stooge Stephen Joyce, Vela Manusaute, and Aamer Rahman.

Reuben's latest exhibition is at Tairawhiti Museum Gisborne opening this month: He Tirohanga ki Tai: Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery will address the "historical inaccuracies ... of the European 'discovery'" of New Zealand and the island nations of Te Moananui-a-Kiwa, or the Pacific.


2:25 Groundswell  - the rise of avant garde art in the '70s

New Zealand famously had its Swinging Sixties in the Seventies, and nowhere did the revolution start happening more than in the visual art scene, and a new exhibition is about to pay tribute to those heady 'post-object art' days.

The Auckland Art Gallery is celebrating this dynamic period with a  new exhibition, Groundswell: Avant-garde Auckland 1971-1979 and with us to discuss it are the curator Natasha Conland and a man who was very informed as an artist himself at the time, Phil Dadson. At the centre of the exhibition is the inspiration of then Elam lecturer and artist Jim Allen. Now aged 96, Jim Allen is still performing. Groundswell is on 8 December 2018 to 31 March 2019.

2:40 Writing your memoir: Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

"Memoir is a perilous journey, where the writer is the subject and the subject is the writer... the potential for self indulgence and narcissism is obvious". So run the words on the back cover of the memoir of poet and writer Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Now When it Rains, published this month by Steele Roberts

Much of Jeffrey's time as a published writer has come later in life and what came before pays tribute to the idea of living many lives, many ups and downs and twists of fate, including finding a sense of place a turangawaewae.

Jeffrey starts by reading from his writing on embracing Maoritanga as a way of finding that sense of place as a Pakeha New Zealander.

We include a gallery of images included in his book - as much social as personal history.


2:49 Towards a meteorological art  - Janine Randerson

As climate change becomes increasingly critical, artists are turning to the weather as both subject and material.  

We talk and sing about it endlessly but until recently its not been particularly known as a subject for our art. Auckland artist and academic Janine Randerson is setting out to change all that  -  she has recognised that the weather is increasingly become the subject of - and indeed sometimes a key material ingredient of - a lot of art. 

Janine has just published a book of historical and contemporary examples. It's called Weather as Medium: Towards a Metereological Art published by MIT Press.

Our image gallery here includes some examples from Janine's book. 


3:06 Drama at 3 - Who Wants To Be 100? Anyone who's 99 

The second and final part of Roger Hall's  Who Wants To Be 100? Anyone who's 99 -  adapted for radio by Dean Parker