Navigation for Standing Room Only


12:16 Art and Design remembered over 60 years later

After the Second World War, New Zealanders understandably struggled to see a brighter future after all the devastation.

So in 1952, Auckland hosted an exhibition with two purposes.   First, it offered art and objects for people to marvel at.   But also they were things to talk about and even buy, as mass-production made once out-of-reach items like modern furniture more affordable.

The 1952 exhibition was called Art and Design - and now that exhibition is the subject of its own exhibition at Te Papa in Wellington.

It includes artwork and furniture owned by print-maker Mervyn Taylor, art by Francis Hodgkins, architecture by Europeans who migrated to New Zealand and even an old tricycle that's clearly had a lot of use!  It also contains an historic newsreel.

[EXPERIMENT IN HOUSING. 189 ft. Architectural students build a house at Auckland in an effort to find a cheaper yet attractive style of house construction suited to New Zealand conditions.


Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

Source videos

View attributions]

The curators Justine Olsen and Lizzie Bisley show Lynn Freeman around the new show, called Modern Living.

Modern Living: Design in 1950s New Zealand |Te Noho Hou: Te hoahoa i Aotearoa i ngā tau 1950 is now showing at Te Papa in Wellington. 


12:32  Koanga Festival - now a theatre festival goes on-line

It's one thing for a film festival to go online - we looked at this on the show last week - but what about a full-on theatre festival?

The annual Kōanga Festival showcases new Māori plays and playwrights. 

This year the organizers will be pre-recording the in-development plays and then premiering them on YouTube during the festival period.  After that, they'll be made available - free of charge - through the host theatre venue, Te Pou's social media channels.

Lynn Freeman talks with Amber Curreen, who's been heavily involved in the reimagined Kōanga Festival, and with playwright Tainui Tukiwaho, who has two plays in the festival - Willie's Wānanga on Wheels and Found in Translation.

They belong to a part of the Kōanga Festival called Whytangi??


12:45 Stacy Gregg's Pony Club Secrets makes it to the screen

The latest TVNZ/BBC co-production with to hit the screens here and in the UK is a series based on New Zealand author Stacy Gregg's much loved Pony Club Secrets book, that have sold more than a million copies internationally.

The series is called Mystic - about a young woman called Issie who moves with her mother from London to a quiet town called Kauri Point.

Issie feels lost and lonely until her unexpected encounters with a pure white stallion called Mystic and a wild pony called Blaze, which in turn lead her to hook up with some local, horse-mad teenagers.

Author Stacy Gregg moved from journalism to writing for children and young adults. She worked on the screenplays for several episodes of Mystic, which were filmed in New Zealand earlier this year. 

Lynn Freeman took Stacy back 20 years to her first Pony Club Secrets book, and asked her how much it was based on her own childhood?

Mystic premieres here this week on TVNZ 2 and OnDemand.   


1:10 At The Movies

This week, Simon Morris reviews 23 Walks, Romantic Road and Kiwi comedy Lowdown Dirty Criminals.


1:31  Acting coach Peter Feeney

Peter Feeney

Peter Feeney Photo: supplied by publisher

No caption

Photo: supplied by publisher

Actor and acting coach Peter Feeney's put some useful tricks of his trade into a new book, from handling auditions and rejection, to producing emotion on demand - even tips on learning lines!
Acting And How To Survive It brings together what Peter's learnt on the job during his 25 years as a jobbing actor and teacher at the Actors Lab Studio in Auckland.

His credits include his touring one man show A Night with Beau Tyler, his stage adaptation of Milo's Wake, films including Black Sheep and Vermillion, and TV shows like Brokenwood Mysteries and Shortland Street.

As it happened, he's on an unexpected break in filming Brokenwood Mysteries because of the Covid-19 restrictions in Auckland.  Lynn Freeman asked Peter to compare acting on stage to screen work.

Acting and How to Survive It by Peter Feeney is published by Tinderbox Press. 


1:47  Sam Trubridge inspired by a 100-year-old sheep station account

H Guthrie Smith's 1921 book Tutira: The Story of an NZ Sheep Station is credited with being New Zealand's first significant environmentalist publication. 

It was also the inspiration for stage director and designer Sam Trubridge to create a live work exploring New Zealand's mythical clean green image.

Sam's calling his work Ecology in Fifths,  and he's revisiting it ten years after first presenting it as a work in progress.

Lynn Freeman talks with Sam Trubridge, first asking him why he's dusted it off now? 

Ecology in Fifths opens at Te Whaea National Dance & Drama Centre.   And he's hoping to take the work to the Hawkes Bay Arts Festival and to Tūtira for a special site-specific performance.


2:06 The Laugh Track - Writer and illustrator Kathryn Van Beek

We do go in for dynasties in the New Zealand arts world.  Families like musicians Tim, Neil and Liam Finn...  Stage and screen writer/directors Roseanne and Renee Liang...  Or mother and daughter actors Miranda Harcourt and Thomasin McKenzie.

Well, now add the Van Beek family - director/comedian Jackie, award-winning short film-maker Claire and today's high-flyer, writer and illustrator Kathryn Van Beek.

This month Kathryn launches not one but two books - short story collection Pet, and children's book Bruce goes outside.  And she's our guest on the Laugh Track.

Kathryn Van Beek's picks include Hannah Gadsby, Robbie Ellis, the movie Bridesmaids and the podcast The Allusionist.  The podcast version of the Pet short stories are available on Oar Radio.

Pet and Bruce goes outside were published by Mary Egan Publishing

2:26  Murdoch Stephens - a new book, under his real name!

Murdoch Stephens

Murdoch Stephens Photo: supplied by publisher

A new novel about a flat, a rat, and a nationwide movement against the landlord-tenant model has come from the pen of Murdoch Stephens.  

Under the pseudonym Richard Meros, he wrote the popular satirical book and stageplay On the conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark taking me as her Young Lover.

Rat King Landlord, the novel that bears his real name, also has a strong political side to it.

Murdoch Stephens reads from Rat King Landlord and talks with Lynn Freeman about landlords and "rat kings".

Rat King Landord is published by Lawrence & Gibson.


2:35  Rhian Gallagher's poetry collection Far flung

Rhian Gallagher

Rhian Gallagher Photo: supplied by publisher

No caption

Photo: supplied by publisher

Poet Rhian Gallagher's latest collection Far Flung takes us from South Island bush to Dunedin's notorious Seacliff Mental Hospital.

She also reflects on the many challenges facing Irish migrants who came to New Zealand in the late 1800s.

In one of them, she imagines the life of Agnes who arrived full of hope, but ended up trapped in the Seacliff asylum.

Rhian Gallagher talks to Lynn Freeman about the stories of those dark days..

Far Flung by Rhian Gallagher is published by Auckland University Press.   Her previous collection, Shift, won the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry.

2:46 Successful conductor - and expat New Zealander - Gemma New

Gemma New   Credit Anthony Chang

Gemma New Credit Anthony Chang Photo: supplied

Her name is Gemma New, and she's been hailed as "one of the brightest rising stars in the conducting firmament".

More important - to us at any rate - is that the in-demand conductor was born and bred in Wellington New Zealand.  Here she is conducting Lilburn's Overture Aotearoa. 

After concerts were cancelled leading to 5 months of enforced semi-isolation in the US where she's based, Gemma's back here to work with several orchestras, including the NZSO.  

Gemma says she had a very busy schedule for this year, and beyond,  before the pandemic threw a big spanner in the works:

Conductor Gemma New will lead the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for the first time with the Passion concerts in Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland in August and September.

A livestream of the Wellington Passion concert can be viewed  for free at 

The Prime Minister's announcement on Monday about any change to the Alert Level status will clearly affect the NZSO concerts. 

If it changes from Level 2 to Level 1, this will allow the Shed Series: Cadence to go ahead in Wellington on 28 August, and the Passion programme to play in Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch over the next week.  Check the NZSO website for details.

Please note that if New Zealand (outside Auckland) remains in Level 2 from 28 August, the Passion concert on 29 August in Wellington will still go ahead – only without an audience. The concert will be live-streamed free for anyone to watch at


3:06 Drama at 3 - Part One of Four Cities by Anthony McCarten

June takes a European tour and befriends the Polish tour guide Wojtek. They are from very different worlds and circumstances but find they have much in common in this funny and touching romantic comedy from the pen of award-winning playwright Anthony McCarten.

Music played in this show

Artist: Walter Catlett
Song: Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor's Life For Me)
Composer: Harline-Washington
Album: Pinocchio
Label: Walt Disney
Played at: 12.12

Artist: St Vincent
Song: Actor out of work
Composer:  Clark
Album: Actor
Label: 4AD
Played at: 12.28

Artist: Kenneth Williams
Song: Don't put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthingtion
Composer: Coward
Album: Best of Rambling Sid Rumpo
Label: EMI
Played at: 12.42

Artist: The Band
Song: Stage fright
Composer: Robertson
Album: The Band: Best of
Label: Capitol
Played at: 12.58

Artist: Great North
Song: Actors
Composer: Donnell
Album: Halves
Label: B&W
Played at: 1.07

Artist: Merle Haggard
Song: The Actor
Composer: Colosio-Haggard
Album: I am what I am
Label: Vanguard
Played at: 1.44

Artist: Moody Blues
Song: The actor
Composer:  Hayward 
Album:  In search of the Lost Chord
Label: Threshold
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Yulia
Song: The Actress
Composer: Doy
Album: Montage
Label: Sony
Played at: 2.04

Artist: D D Smash
Song: The Actor
Composer: Dobbyn-Smash
Album: The Optimist
Label: Mushroom
Played at: 12.58

Artist: The Crests
Song: The Actor
Composer: Wolfe-Soloway
Album: Wild Child
Label: Warwick
Played at: 3.04

Artist: Robbie Williams
Song: The Actor
Composer: Christie-Williams
Album: Riodebiox
Label: EMI
Played at: 3.58