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12:16  Servicing creative careers

$4 million over two years to help an estimated 1000 Kiwis in the creative sector to upskill and find work instead of having to live off a benefit...

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Seuloni announced its new Creative Careers Service a couple of weeks back.  But now it's up to the institutions selected for the pilot scheme to prove they can achieve its goals.

The idea is not to teach how to be creative, but to share the skills that many in the sector struggle with - like contract cegotiation, writing CVs, budgeting and tax.

Two of the pilot courses are being held in Hamilton and Nelson.  So what's being offered, who are expected to sign up, and how much interest has been generated so far?

Lynn Freeman talks to Dr Jeremy Mayall from Creative Waikato and to Ali Boswijk from the Nelson Chamber of Commerce. 

12:32  Nina Mingya Powles and Magnolia

Nina Mingya Powles

Nina Mingya Powles Photo: supplied

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Nina Mingya Powles' new book of poetry Magnolia 木蘭, has been shortlisted for the 2021 Ockham Book Awards.  It reflects on Nina's experiences as a Malaysian-Chinese-Pākeha woman who doesn't easily fit in, either in New Zealand or China.

She wrote the poems while living in Shanghai, where she went to study Mandarin for 18 months.  But it was also an opportunity to reconnect with the city where she'd lived for several years as a teenager.

As well as poetry, Nina is a zinemaker, essayist and the founding editor of Bitter Melon 苦瓜, a very small press that publishes limited-edition pamphlets by Asian poets.

She's currently back in Aotearoa to launch Magnolia 木蘭 .  She reads from the collection, and talks with Lynn Freeman about some of its themes..

Magnolia is published by Seraph Press,  and it's shortlisted for the 2021 Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry as part of the Ockham Book Awards. 

12:47  The great debate:  Are the arts essential?

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Are the Arts Essential?  For listeners to this programme, that seems a no-brainer, you'd think.

But six people who make their living in creative fields are about to go head to head to debate the question - and half of them will be arguing against it.

The debate is part of the Auckland Arts Festival and we wanted to get an idea of each side's arguments.  We invited writer Madeleine Chapman from the affirmative, and arguing the negative, comedian James Nokise.

So how do you prepare for this debate?   Lynn Freeman asks Madeleine if she chose to argue the Arts are indeed essential, or would it be more fun to play Devil's advocate?

 "Are the Arts Essential" is debated on Tueday at the Civic Club as part of the Auckland Arts Festival.


1:10 At The Movies

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Simon Morris reviews the New Zealand drama Coyusins, and two acclaimed American films - Judas and the Black Messiah, and One night in Miami.


1:33  The sound of sculpture

It's long been the Holy Grail for this show - to get sculptures up on the radio!   And finally we think we might have cracked it.  

Sculpture In Sound offers a series of words, sound effects and music, triggered by actual - and very well-known - physical sculptures, like one of the many statues of Queen Victoria.  

Using a smart-phone app and headphones, users can walk around them, and activate layered, location-specific audio that change as you move around the sculpture.

Sculpture in Sound is the brain-child of a Wellington group calling themselves Sonicity.  Lynn Freeman talks with sound-designer Matthew Lambourne, and musician and composer Andrew Laking.

It's at the prototype stage and you can download it at  


1:48  Katie Kerr and publishing in the margins

The country's cottage industry of small press publishers is bigger than you might imagine.  And it's also thriving.

The proof is in a new book on art publishing in Aotearoa called Dwelling in the Margins, edited by Katie Kerr.

Many people print limited edition books in their own homes, fuelled by their passion for often obscure aspects of New Zealand life, and paid for by their day jobs.

Katie has brought together essays by about 30 leading independent publishers, offering an insight into what drives them to publish - for pleasure rather than profit.

Lynn Freeman first asked Katie for a definition of "art publishing":

Dwelling in the Margins, edited by Katie Kerr is published by  GLORIA


2:06 The Laugh Track - Lucy Roche and Lesa Macleod-Whiting

Lesa Macleod-Whiting

Lesa Macleod-Whiting Photo: supplied

Lucy Roche

Lucy Roche Photo: supplied


The Wellington comedy scene tends to be better known for its TV and movie stars - Wellington Paranormal, say, the Conchords, Taika Waititi- than its standup acts.

But it's going to be all go in the Capital next week, when the stars come out to celebrate the 30th birthday of local hero Dave Batten - who proudly describes himself as Wellington's leading "sit-down comedian" - and his brand-new wheelchair ramp.

Among the stars are two very much up-and-comers - ex Fringe and improv star Lesa Macleod-Whiting and the more established Lucy Roche.   Lucy and Lesa are our guests on the Laugh Track.

Their picks include "Sick Jan" by Chris Fleming, Flo and Joan, Simon Amstell and Bridget Christie.

Lucy and Lesa are two of the comics at a star-studded line-up at the Petone Club next Friday.  It's celebrating the birthday - and new mobility - of Wellington comedian Dave Batten.


2:27 Dunedin fashion exhibition

An exhibition about disruptive fashion designers was delayed by that big disruptor of the moment - Covid-19.

Now, a year or so later than planned, Fashion FWD > > Disruption through Design will soon open at Otago Museum.  It will show some of the most original work by Emerging Designer finalists in the city's annual iD Fashion event, that's been running for more than 20 years.

It took some detective work to track down the designers, who are all over the country - and indeed the world.   But by the end of 2019, the curators had the selected garments safely at the museum.  At last they're going on show alongside work by some of the city's top fashion labels, as well as historic pieces from the Museum's textile collection. 

Lynn Freeman speaks with Craig Scott, Otago Museum's Head of Exhibitions and Creative Services, and with Dr Margo Barton, Professor of Fashion at Otago Polytechnic's School of Design.

Fashion FWD > > Disruption through Design opens at the Otago Museum on the 27th of March. 

With the drop in overseas visitors, the Museum turned to the Boosted fundraising platform to raise money for a catalogue to accompany the exhibition.  The good news is that this week it made the target of just under $22,000.

2:40 Novelist Stephanie Johnson offers two views on change

Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson Photo: supplied

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In Stephanie Johnson's new novel Everything Changes we meet Colette, who's addicted to change, and her husband Davie who simply goes along with her plans.   These include leaving Auckland after an unfortunate incident with Colette's nippy dog Muzza.

And there's pregnant daughter Liv, who adores her father and thinks her mother doesn't appreciate how lucky she is to have Davie by her side.

We meet the family in their new house in Northland - in fact it's a rundown old motel Colette plans to turn into a retreat.

Lynn Freeman asks Stephanie Johnson why some people embrace change, while others avoid it.

Everything Changes by Stephanie Johnson is published by Vintage Random House New Zealand.


2:51  Four famous legends in a future afterlife

A fictional story of four real-life rainbow activists set in an afterlife - in 2079 to be exact - is the idea behind what's believed to be Aotearoa's first all Queer People Of Colour play.

The international icons, including New Zealand's own Carmen, are attending a lavish event  when they are suddenly thrown out and trapped in a room with no explanation. 

With Carmen are Samoan fa'afafine activist To'oto'oali'i Roger Stanley, Chinese gay activist Gary Wu and  American gay civil rights icon and entertainer Stormé DeLarverie.

The Eternal Queers is about to  debut at Wellington Pride 2021.  It's the second play by Black Afro-Caribbean lesbian playwright Estelle Chout.  Lynn Freeman spoke with Estelle, and with Selena Pirika who's playing Carmen.

The Eternal Queers premieres on Tuesday March 23rd at Wellington Museum.


3:06 Drama at 3 - Two classic dramas

Talking Back by Matthew O'Sullivan can best be described as "A writer is run off the road and left in the ditch by his own characters and a rogue brass band!"

And Guitar Lessons by Richard Finn is a winner of the 'Students in Shorts' playwriting competition a few years ago.  It explores the shifting motivations of a young guitarist as a crush on his teacher leads to the discovery of the fringe benefits of learning the guitar. 


Music played in this show

Artist: Dan Fogelberg
Song: Sweet Magnolia and the Traveling salesman
Composer: Fogelberg
Album: Love songs
Label: Epic
Played at: 12.10

Artist: Aimee Mann
Song: Wise up
Composer:  Mann
Album: Magnolia
Label: Reprise
Played at: 12.,27

Artist: Chris Barber's Jazz Band
Song: Magnolia's wedding star
Composer: N/A
Album: 1955
Label: Lake
Played at: 12.58

Artist: Susanna Hoffs
Song: Sugar magnolia
Composer: Hunter-Weir
Album: Under the Covers Vol. 2
Label: Shout
Played at: 1.07

Artist: Johnny Marvin
Song: Magnolia
Composer: DeSylva, Brown and Henderson
Album: With my little ukulele in my hand
Label: Proper
Played at: 1.45

Artist: Antoine Bathiaume
Song:  Magnolia
Composer: Bathiaume-Donato
Album: Ellens bar
Label: AM
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Guy Clark
Song: Magnolia Wind
Composer: Camp-Clark
Album: The Dark
Label: Sugar Hill
Played at: 2.05

Artist: The Wild Magnolias
Song:  All on a Mardi Gras day
Composer: Dr John
Album: Life is a carnival
Label: EMI
Played at: 2.35

Artist: Ryan Adams
Song: Magnolia Mountain
Composer: Adams-Bowerstock
Album: Cold Roses
Label:  Losthighway
Played at: 2.58

Artist: Grawlixes
Song:  Magnolia
Composer: Grawlixes
Album: Set free
Label: Homealone
Played at: 3.37

Artist: Tony Joe White and Jamie Oldaker
Song: Magnolia
Composer: Cale
Album: Mad Dogs and Okies
Label: Concord
Played at: 3.58