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      • Creative writers come to the party for 2014 Fourth Floor Journal
        • 30 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • Lynn Jenner is an award winning writer and inspiring poet who edited the Fourth Floor Literary Journal for the first time. IMAGE: Amanda Carrington EDITING the Fourth Floor Literary Journal for the first time was like having a party but not knowing if anyone was going to come, says Lynn Jenner. The annual online journal of poetry and prose, written by the current and past Whitireia creative writing students will be launched on November 3. Lynn says she looked for quite experienced writers and asked for entries from graduates and students. She sat back and waited for people to respond. “Whitireia has a very wide cultural constituency as a whole organisation. If you look at the percentage of Maori, Asian and Pacific students it’s quite high, so I wanted the journal to, in some way reflect that,” she says. “I wanted the work to be exciting, show potential, and have a wide cultural reach and a wide geographical reach.” A section in the journal this year is titled, “I am starting today”. Lynn says she chose the title because starting is what you have to do first in writing. “Lots of writers talk about having difficulty of writing, that difficulty is solved if you actually start,” she says. Thirty-one people entered their work into the journal with 61 writing pieces being published. Lynn invited people who are tutors and mentors. She referred to them as the term of Tuakana – older sisters (more experienced writers) and Teina – younger sisters (less experienced writers). Although she has no work in this journal, she has had work published in past Fourth Floor journals since 2008. A team of students from the Whitireia publishing course collaborated with the writing students to publish the journal. The journal is only available online to make the book accessible for people to read overseas. Lynn, who won a New Zealand Post Book Award for her first collection of poems, Dear Sweet Harry, is currently working on a collection of work about the construction of the Kapiti Expressway. “I’m making a record from a number of different points of view of the arrival of the expressway in the community,” she says. Lynn Google searched road poems to see if anyone had written a poem about a road. She discovered there were a few poems but no one has made a collection of work about a road. “Heavy construction isn’t what you would normally think of as the most poetic topic but it’s got some amazing vocabulary in it,” she says. Lynn teaches poetry writing online at Whitireia, where she describes her work as helping students to develop an eye and ear for what works.

      • Hundreds converge on dead whale washed up on Waikanae Beach
        • 30 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • A 10m long humpback whale has been found dead on Waikanae Beach, drawing locals to the site in stormy weather. A biopsy was performed yesterday and a tissue sample has been sent to Auckland University for further testing to determine the cause of death. The juvenile female thought to be between 10-15 years old and weighing 20-30 tonnes, was found at about 6am. The whale remained on the beach for the rest of the day, and hundreds of people came along to take a look at the magnificent creature. Department of Conservation representative, David Moss says it’s not unusual for whales to wash up along the Kapiti Coast. ‘There has been strandings on this coast for thousands of years however humpbacks aren’t as common as other species,” he says. Waikanae School kids were among the onlookers and teacher Lisa Geraghty says although there were mixed emotions it was an amazing experience. “We are really lucky because the principal said the whole school could come along and experience it. “Some of the kids were a bit upset and are feeling for the whale but we had a chat about nature and what happened. “Overall it has been amazing for them,” she says. Local iwi member, Ani Parata says she feels hurt inside. “I thought I would fine coming along but I really feel for the whale, you can feel it in your puku. “They are very special to Maori and I’m glad this one is getting a proper burial,” says Ms Parata. Due to the high tide and large swell the whale could not be moved until today. It was buried this morning at a site on the Kapiti coast, near to the sperm whale that washed up on Paraparumu beach last year. The local Iwi, Te Atiawa Ki Whakarongotai performed a karakia at the burial.    

      • Master class learns dumpling secrets
        • 29 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THE VISA Wellington on a Plate Festival is a chance for serious Capital foodies to show off their skills and talents while offering decent grub at the same time. The two-week long festival served up a range of events and competitions celebrating some of Wellington’s greatest food and foodie legends. One of those legends is successful businesswoman Vicky Ha who has been involved in the festival for two years running. This year she hosted dumplings master classes, teaching foodies and locals about real dumplings made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients. Ms Ha shared her secrets and vivacious personality as pupils learnt to make dumplings, from kneading dough right down to the perfect condiments and sauces. About 15 people took part in this particular class, which was held twice on both weekend days during the festival. Created with flickr slideshow.

      • Island Bay mood about new seawall and traffic may be changing
        • 28 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • The heritage wall has been temporarily patched up until a permanent solution has been decided. IMAGE: Hayley Gastmeier ISLAND BAY residents have until November 10 to have their say in the fate of the damaged seawall that runs along its shoreline. Locals have been meeting and debating over the 85 metre stretch of the heritage wall collapsed during a 2013 storm and the Wellington City Council put in place a temporary rock barrier. Five options to cope with storm surges and predicted rise in sea levels have been put forward to the Island Bay community in three meetings with the council – and the mood in the community may be changing. The public meetings with experts have been held to explore the proposals, but residents are also being asked to contribute ideas in submissions. The five proposed options are: The status quo of rebuilding the broken section of the wall Rebuilding the wall and importing sand to act as a buffer Relocating the wall and road further inland to match the beaches natural contour Remove a section of the seawall, close part of The Esplanade in front of Shoreland Park so the park joins onto the beach Remove a section of the seawall, close some local roads and part of The Esplanade, linking the beach entirely with Shoreland Park Option three won the most votes at the final community meeting on Saturday, with option four being the next preferred choice. Councillor Paul Eagle says the mood within the community has changed since the first meeting earlier this month, where option one was voted most popular. The main public concerns raised at the meetings were traffic increases and pedestrian safety, with the possible changes to roads and traffic flow with options four and five. Resident Tracy Hall says if the park is joined onto the beach with no seawall, children will have no barrier to the ocean and that may increase incidents of drowning. She also says re-directing traffic through residential streets around the park would be confusing and dangerous for pedestrians. Ian Logan, a business owner on The Esplanade, and a resident in Island Bay of 55 years, says he is concerned if changes are made to the traffic then accidents will increase. He prefers the first three options where traffic will stay the same, and will not disrupt his business. Marion Findlay of the Wellington Southern Bays Historical Society says they are not taking a position, but urge people to think of the future. Nina Cuccurullo says she was born in Island Bay and her grandfather probably saw the wall being built when he immigrated to Island Bay from Italy. “From a heritage point of view we want to keep it,” she says. “But there is the issue of the wall not being strong enough and the sea causing damage in the future.” Zach Rissel, council programme manager for the consultation, says there will be a 10 to 20 year lifetime if the wall is repaired as is. He says if people want both the road and the beach, with the rising sea levels they need to consider other options. “A lot of different communities are facing similar situations,” says Mr Rissel. Lisa McLaren, a policy intern at Wellington City Council, visited Island Bay School to present children with the proposed options. One class voted for option four, and other classes are putting in submissions to the council. Mr Eagle says there are many things to consider, such as parking, traffic, heritage issues, costs, climate change, amenity issues and safe links between Shoreland Park and the beach. Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Councillor Paul Eagle and Vicki Greco say the public consultation process has had positive results. IMAGE: Hayley Gastmeier He says the mood of the community is reflecting option three, but many are also in favour of options four. There is a possibility that combining both these options over a staged period could work.The public consultations have been a great way for the council to communicate with the community says Mr Eagle. “The meetings are only one channel in terms of people having their say.” In mid-December the submissions will go forward to the environmental committee, which will choose the best ideas to be further developed and costed out. Then there will be further consultations with the public. Vicki Greco, chair of the Island Bay Seawall Action Group, says they will ensure the communities voice is followed through and that the final decision reflects that voice. “There’s been a really good public turn out,” she says. Between 100 and 120 people turned up to each of the three meetings. Mayor Celia Wade-Brown attended the final meeting on Saturday and says Shoreland is a lovely park with a beautiful view to the Island. “Whichever solution is chosen, people will still use it, and enjoy Island Bay.” The Esplanade was originally established as part of the longest sea drive in the southern hemisphere, from Eastbourne to Owhiro Bay.

      • Tsunami warnings on Miramar Peninsula
        • 23 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • TSUNAMI RISK: Jason Paul of the Wellington Region Emergency management Office at the Pass of Branda in Seatoun, which is at risk in a major tsunami. IMAGE: Sue Teodoro TSUNAMI escape routes and safety markers will soon be commonplace for Miramar peninsula residents as part of Wellington’s emergency preparations. Blue warnings are being painted on peninsula roads over the next few weeks. Jason Paul, an adviser with the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office, says in a worst case scenario a tsunami up to 35 metres high might come through Wellington Heads and into the harbour, affecting Miramar and the surrounding area. “It’s just going to come up and keep going.” “It will go up through the heads and into the harbour, it’ll go up over the land into Miramar.” “The whole harbour will fill up, to some extent,” he says. The placement of the lines has been decided following consultation with the local community, which has also enabled locals to review and update their own emergency plans. Jason says that tsunamis have affected the area before. The 1855 earthquake centred in Palliser Bay created a tsunami which reportedly sent a 5 metre wave over the Rongotai Isthmus. In an extreme event, seawater could also come through Breaker Bay’s Pass of Branda into Seatoun, although that is not likely. For that reason, there will not be a blue line on the road at the pass itself. Instead, blue arrows will point people towards walking tracks on both sides of the road at the top of the pass. The lines are being painted progressively over the next few weeks in Miramar, Seatoun, Strathmore, Moa Point, Breaker bay, the Karaka bays and around Shelley bay. Local residents have welcomed the initiative. RELIEVED: Heidi Holmes, owner of Lush Puppies, Miramar (left), her son Oliver and their dog, Winnie, welcome the tsunami warnings on Miramar streets. IMAGE: Sue Teodoro   Heidi Holmes, owner of dog grooming salon Lush Puppies in Miramar, says “I think it’s good, it’s a talking point for kids and for families and it’s good that people know where to go in the event of an emergency.” “There’s going to be enough confusion and chaos if there is an emergency, at least that part’s eliminated for us.” She says the lines are only a short way from the shop and she’s pleased to know where she, her son, her staff and the dogs have to go to be safe. Heidi says she’s told her staff to load the dogs in the cars and get up the hill. Gerard Morrison and Dr. Dale Nelson, who live in Seatoun, are relieved to know they are only 300 metres from safety even though they are close to the sea. Gerard says “I am pleased that WCC is painting these signs, it certainly raises awareness.” The next phase of the project, which is expected to be complete by next June, will involve Hataitai, Greta Point and Roseneath. Blue lines will probably be painted in the CBD in the 2016 financial year.

      • Double accolade in Taiwan
        • 21 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • MAORI WARRIOR: Jason Jose Karena was kaea for the closing ceremony. IMAGE: Matthew Lau THE Whitireia Performing Arts troupe was picked to kick start the closing ceremony of the Nan Ying International Folklore Festival. Having been the closing act at the opening ceremony a week earlier, the selection was double honour at the in the Xin Yin area of Tainan City. It was the fourth time Whitireia performed at the main stage, which was spread over 12 busy days across the Tainan district. When asked what he thought of the achievement, Whitireia tour director Tuaine Robati says “it’s good for New Zealand”. “I think we’ve been recognised as a strong group to have closed the opening show and open the closing show.” The song sung was E hika e Para crossed with Te Toi o te waka. The three-minute Māori piece was well-received by the appreciative spectators, who had a taste of New Zealand before watching the other 21 multi-cultural acts from around the world. The impressive flag-throwing Italy closed the show, with the high-energy Serbia being the penultimate group. Programme manager for Whitireia Performing Arts, Pip Byrne, says it was a nice way to conclude the 2014 wānanga. “I thought the new repertoire we did today was well chosen.  It showed our strength in singing. “As soon as they leave the stage, fans bombard them with requests for photos and autographs.” Ms Byrne was also pleased to have sold all the DVDs of Whitireia performances to Tainan locals, which she believes is a sign of global recognition for the Wellingtonians. Whitireia Performing Arts have now returned home, and the third-year students will be assessed on their body of work from October 23 to 25. REPRESENTING AOTEAROA: Whitireia Performing Arts made a good impression on Taiwan. IMAGE: Matthew Lau

      • Texas inspiration for free yoga day in Wellington
        • 21 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • REACHING OUT: the yoga community is encouraging locals to reach out and try something new. IMAGE: Astrid Visser INSPIRATION from Texas has resulted in Wellingtonians getting a day of free yoga during Labour Weekend. Amber Sturtz went to a free yoga event in Texas and loved it, so has organised Wellington Free Yoga Day on Monday. There will be 35 free yoga classes throughout the day, all over the region, from Miramar to Porirua, Newtown to Days Bay. Classes start as early as 8.30am and continue through till 9pm. At 10am in Frank Kitts Park, there will be an outdoor beginners Yoga class weather permitting. Various teachers, studios and styles of yoga will be offered from beginner classes, kids & family classes, pre-natal classes to classes for advanced yoga students. After the Texas experience, Amber could not believe there was not anything similar in Wellington. After floating the idea around yoga teachers for a while, she decided to initiate the event herself with help from fellow yoga student Claire Baker. “Everyone likes something that’s free, and it’s a much easier way to try something when it’s free because you don’t feel like you’ve lost anything” There are 17 studios and individual teachers hosting classes on the day. ALL AGES: Organisers Claire baker (left) and Amber Sturtz invite all ages to attend classes on Wellington Free Yoga Day. IMAGE: Astrid Visser. Amber says there are both new studios and teachers branching out, and well established studios giving up their time to build a bigger yoga community. Everyone is welcome to attend as many classes as they like throughout the day, so there’s plenty of chances to find one that suits. “People often see yoga as something that’s for a specific kind of person, but because there are so many different types of yoga, anyone can do it,” says Amber. She says what many people will find is that yoga is a different kind of exercise to anything you do at the gym, it requires a different kind of strength that even some gym junkies find hard at first. “You use your own weight in Yoga, so it’s simple to modify classes to your own abilities and strength.” Amber also says yoga has many benefits for the body including injury prevention and increased mobility. “You’re able to walk for longer, you’re less likely to injure yourself when you’re older and that’s a benefit you don’t get from running or lifting weights.” Claire says yoga requires a lot of focus and concentration which is great for exercising your body and your mind. “We work our minds all day long, thinking about all that stuff we have to do and it’s nice to just let it all go for 20-30 minutes.” She says there are no excuses on the day. All classes are free and spread throughout the region so everyone can at least get along to a class. “Give Yoga a go, challenge your body and help calm your mind.” All sessions are first-in, first-served on the day. For more information and a schedule visit the website here.    

      • PHOTO ESSAY: Wild southerly winter slams capital
        • 14 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        •   WELLINGTON AND its southern coastline was battered by wild weather during August 2014 as a series of southerly blasts hit the capital. In one of the most dramatic moments a hail storm struck on 14 August, pelting the streets with stones the size of small marbles. Moments later the zephyrometer ‘wind needle’in Evans Bay took a direct lightning hit and was severely damaged. It has since been tied down for safety. The high seas and wind that accompanied the storm caused huge waves and debris-strewn beaches. At least one fishing boat was badly damaged. The “Star of The Sea” slipped its mooring in Island bay and had to be removed from the beach by a crane. Although most of the south coast was deserted, a few hardy souls ventured out to walk their dogs. As the storm receded, the wind and kite-surfers hit the beach to ride the huge swells. This photo essay attempts to capture the effect of the storms of August 2014 together with the desolate beauty of Wellington’s south coast and its inhabitants.      

      • Student fights for a personal cause
        • 14 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • WELLINGTON student Andrew Weston wants to help stroke victims but needs to win a $10,000 university scholarship to do so. He wants to help people like his father who have suffered from a stroke and says he would use the money to study medicine and research at Auckland University. Weston, 19, is in the top 25 of the AMP people’s choice scholarship and on October 13 the five applicants with the most votes will go through to the next round. The Weston family cannot afford to send Andrew to University and he is asking people to vote for him so he can further his education and discover new ways to help brain injury patients recover. Andrew’s father, Colin suffered a severe stroke in January last year on a mountain biking holiday, losing movement in his arms and legs as well as the ability to talk. Despite the struggle he and his family have endured over the last 21 months Andrew is determined to find more efficient ways to help stroke victims during rehabilitation. “After all the hardship and difficulties, I’ve found a new determination to specialise in this area and help people who have suffered from a stroke,” Andrew said. Colin, 54, was given a 50/50 chance of survival after his accident and despite the odds he has made a remarkable recovery. Andrew said it would not have been possible without the rehabilitation work at home. Through the scholarship Andrew and his family want to raise awareness on what families can do to help stroke victims recover rather than relying on the health care system. “It’s tough but people have to understand there is so much they can do themselves,” Andrew’s mother, Fiona said. “We want to provide a resource that informs people on what they can do themselves during the recovery process.” Andrew had just turned 18 when the stroke happened and was due to start university three weeks later. “When it happened I said ‘look, I won’t even bother going to uni, I’ll get a job and be on hand to help’,” Andrew said. “Mum wasn’t having any of it, though, and she said you’re still going to university,” he said. Colin was in hospital six months and Andrew said studying helped him get through it. “It gave me something to focus on other than dad not being able to walk or talk,” he said. Andrew completed his first year in health science, majoring in sport and exercise and achieved straight As. “I decided after the first year that I wanted to take my education a step further. “If I can get into some form of medical research then I’ll be able to make some waves for the cause we are pushing,” he said. With his parents unable to work, they couldn’t afford to send him to university for another year. Andrew currently works full time at Athletes Foot in central Wellington. “I made the decision to work for the year and provide some money for the family as well as saving some for university,” Andrew said. The Weston family has suffered financially since the stroke due to the thousands of dollars needed to fund Colin’s recovery, and has been forced to sell the family home in Khandallah. “It’s hard to leave a community that has helped us so much but we have no choice,” Fiona said. Despite all the support they have received, they have tried to cope without asking for help. “We feel like we have done everything we possibly can to help ourselves without asking for anything,” Fiona said. When Andrew made his submission for the People’s Choice scholarship, including a video documenting their struggle, he said it was the first time they had sought help. “Asking people to vote for me was the first time we had asked for anything,” he said. So far he said the response had been amazing. “Initially friends were voting and sharing it round and then it just took off. “I have been getting really lovely messages from complete strangers,” Andrew said. The Weston family are grateful for the empathy that people have shown and feel they have achieved something already. “For us that’s great because it means a complete stranger has seen our video and that’s one life we might save,” Fiona said. “I feel as though we have created some awareness on what can happen to fit, young and healthy people as well as the things people can do to improve the outcomes should such a disaster occur,” Andrew said. “The scholarship is just one step on our crusade to raise stroke awareness,” he said. Colin Weston’s recovery continues to inspire Andrew to make a difference through medicine and research. To vote for him visit https://www.doyourthing.co.nz/scholarships/amp-people-s- choice-scholarship/ and follow the links.  

      • Fraser puts a face to the ability of artists, not the disability
        • 14 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • ART IN ACTION: Fraser Hoffe puts the final touches on one of his pieces. THE face behind the I’m an Artist posters appearing throughout Wellington is the capital’s own Fraser Hoffe. The I’m an Artist campaign organised by Art Access Aotearoa and funded by Ministry of Social Development aims to change perceptions about art and disabilities. Richard Benge, Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa, says the campaign focuses on the ability of the artist, not the disability. “All over the country there are people being marginalised because of their disability,”. The nationwide campaign takes on a different theme in each location, to promote the individual artist and linking them to a community based creative space. Mr Hoffe attends Vincents and Pablos creative-spaces art gallery five days a week, both located in Wellington Central. The creative spaces are part of the Art Access Aotearoa scheme which provides a place for people who experience barriers to participation in the arts. Art Access Aotearoa has five creative spaces in Wellington- Mix and Dudley Arthouse (Lower Hutt),Vincents Art Workshop, Pablos Art Studios and Alpha Art Studios (Wellington city). The Wellington theme focuses on mental-health issues, and was launched to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. I’M AND ARTIST: Fraser Hoffe features on posters placed around Wellington. Mr Hoffe, who has struggled with homelessness and depression, was selected to represent Wellington due to his “positivity and inspirational behaviour”, says Mr Benge. Mr Hoffe, who says he has always been creatively minded, became involved with the creative spaces five years ago, when he was living rough in the bush. “The council evicted me, and in the pile of pamphlets they gave me was an Art Access pamphlet. It was then I realised I was no longer an emotional athlete and put my life in the hands of others,” he says. Through the use of the Wellington creative spaces, Mr Hoffe says he has found his reason for living, and art keeps him stable. He describes his art as intriguing, playful and emotionally evocative. “I can only hope through my art I give people freedom, a different way of experiencing things,” he says. Mr Hoffe recalls his first work which sold for $15, and says he then realised what was possible. “I want to earn a living through what I love, creating art and inspiring others. Life is wonderful when I create.” Vincent and Pablos creative spaces are open to the general public Monday to Friday. Works by local artists are on display, including pieces by Mr Hoffe. The I’m An Artist campaign is running for five weeks across the country. The five artists and their creative spaces featured on the posters are: •Allyson Hamblett, a visual artist and media assistant at Spark Centre of Creative Development, St Luke’s, Auckland, has cerebral palsy. •Kamini Nair, a visual artist at Sandz Studio and Gallery in Hamilton, has an intellectual disability. •Michael Krammer, a dancer and tutor with Jolt Dance in Christchurch, has autism. •Tanya Faiva, a visual artist at Studio2 in Dunedin, has a physical disability. •Fraser Hoffe, a visual artist at Vincent’s Art Workshop and Pablos Art Studios in Wellington, has lived experience of mental illness.  

      • Wellington to welcome New Zealand’s first Syrian refugees
        • 14 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        •   Volunteers needed: Molly Kennedy from Red Cross says without volunteers, refugees wouldn’t have the support they need. WELLINGTON’s first Syrian refugees need the help of volunteers to show them the Kiwi way. More than 100 Syrian refugees displaced by conflict will arrive in New Zealand at the end of November, and another group in February. The Red Cross, which is working with the Government, says it will be welcoming the refugees as part of New Zealand’s 750-refugee quota. Refugees will be relocated to Wellington Central, Porirua and Lower Hutt to begin their new lives, with the help of the Red Cross resettlement project. The Red Cross became New Zealand’s leading refugee resettlement agency in 2012, providing practical and social support for the new residents. Molly Kennedy, Red Cross refugee settlement manager, who started out as a volunteer says Wellingtonians who witness the atrocities happening in Syria and feel helpless can now offer practical help. “It’s a great opportunity for Wellingtonians, now there is something you can actually do. You will see immediate change.” Volunteers will have three weeks of training where they will be equipped with cultural knowledge, experiencing the tastes and sounds of Syria, and how to interact with the refugees. Refugees will be based in Mangere for the first six weeks where they will learn the basics of New Zealand life says Mrs Kennedy. “They’ll be taught simple English, and other things, such as when we say ‘bring a plate’, we don’t literally mean ‘bring a plate’,” she says giggling. Refugees will then be relocated to Wellington where volunteers will help them start their new lives and setting up their first Kiwi home. Pots, pans, bedding and furniture will be sourced by volunteers as part of the practical side of their role. Volunteers also show refugees how to use public transport, enrol children into school, how to use an ATM machine and what Kiwis do in their day-to-day routine. “It’s often the things we don’t think about in our daily lives that volunteers will help with,” she says. It is hoped volunteers spend at least six months helping, however Mrs Kennedy says volunteers tend to develop strong friendships and stick around longer. Anyone can be a volunteer. All that matters is that “you’re here and you care”, says Mrs Kennedy.   Red Cross and becoming a volunteer If you would like to become a volunteer for Red Cross, visit its website or directly e-mail the area manager. Click here for their website Wellington City- Susan.Clare@redcross.org.nz Porirua- Kate.Twford@redcross.org.nz Lower Hutt- Monia.Hay@redcross.org.nz    

      • WATCH: Whitireia group earn Taiwan honour
        • 11 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • NEW ZEALAND’S own Whitireia Performing Arts was the closing act of the grand opening ceremony of the Nan Ying International Folklore Festival in Taiwan. More than 1000 spectators watched Wellington’s Whitireia Performing Arts, who were the last of the 22 multi-cultural acts from around the world. The troupe gave the crowd a rendition of Māori piece I te timatanga to conclude the ceremony which took place in the Xin Yin area of Tainan City. Programme manager for Performing Arts, Pip Byrne, is proud of her students’ achievement considering so many of the acts are semi-professional. “We were really thrilled to arrive and find that we were the final performance at the opening ceremony. “This is a prestigious honour for New Zealand because the best always goes last at these festivals.” Whitireia have two more shows scheduled at the main stage on October 9 and 10 alongside a gruelling daily schedule throughout the Tainan district. “Taiwan has been asking us to return for the last nine years and this top billing reflects the impact that the Whitireia group made on the festival in 2005,” Byrne says.

      • Thousands entertained and scared by haka on streets of Tainan city
        • 9 Oct 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • KA ORA, KA ORA!: Paris Evans and Jahnelle Wright perform the Ka Mate to Taiwanese spectators. IMAGE: Matthew Lau THOUSANDS of Taiwanese locals were wowed by Wellington’s Whitireia Performing Arts during the Nan Ying International Folk Festival parade in Taiwan on Saturday. The streets were lined with people excited to see the 22 performing groups who have flown in from all across the globe to Tainan City, in the south of Taiwan. Tour guide, Yu Chia “Johnny” Hu, was also given the opportunity to join the New Zealand line-up in the parade. Hu, 24, was asked if he’d like to don the Māori piu piu of a student who sat out in order to rest his fractured foot. “I was very excited to join the group. I’ve always wanted to do a parade with different countries. “Two years ago my colleague was put on stage with the Serbian group during the closing ceremony.” The participating troupes waved their national flags with pride as they showcased their talents to spectators ahead of the opening ceremony of the festival. The Whitireia group amazed onlookers with pūkana and Māori renditions of waiata and haka during the two hour walk. Tainan locals were impressed, scared, and entertained by the Wellington-based students. Hu says the most challenging part of the experience was performing Ka Mate, which he practised for the first time just minutes before the performance was showcased to the public. “I’m a big fan of rugby, so I’ve seen the All Blacks do the haka lots of times on TV. Actually being in one is harder than it looks, you have to do everything powerful. HONOURARY INCLUSION: Johnny Hu (second left) takes part in the Haka. IMAGE: Matthew Lau

      • Performer helps people find their “presence” in capital workshop
        • 26 Sep 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • BERT van Dijk has explored performing arts around the world and he wants to use his experience to help people transform themselves. He is holding a performance workshop in Wellington next month for people of all ages who want to enhance their presentation, communication and leadership skills. Mr van Dijk, 61 is a specialist in “presence” and says he can help people develop it into an operational skill. “Presence is thought of as an elusive X-factor, either you have it or you don’t but I think its something you can develop,” Mr van Dijk says. He defines it as the ability to be alive in the moment using all you’re senses, which he says can benefit people from all walks of life. His perception on the performing arts has been shaped by over 30 years of experience. Marion Pawson, 59 has trained with Bert van Dijk for the last four years and says he is strong and clear in his approach. “In my experience people warm to his enthusiasm and passion. “He has a very well developed perspective on performance,” says Ms Pawson. Mr van Dijk was born in the Netherlands in 1953 and dreamed of seeing New Zealand from a young age. “When I was a little kid I was told if you drilled a hole through the earth you would end up in New Zealand. “I was always fascinated by that so I got a map of New Zealand and put it above my bed and thought one day I will travel to the other side of the world and see what it’s like,” he says. Mr van Dijk visited NZ for the first time in 1986 and presented a number of workshops including a dance performance at the Fringe Festival in Christchurch. He was only able to stay for three months but came back two more times before moving permanently in 1992, where he taught, directed and performed at the International Festival in Wellington. He says he found the bicultural presence very exciting. “I really connected with the Maori and Pacific Island presence in New Zealand,” he says. Mr van Dijk initially trained as a social and clinical psychologist, specialising in movement therapy and psychodrama. Part of his studies was undergoing self-therapy and it was during this that he discovered his true passion. “I realized that deep down what I really wanted to do was be a performer,” he says. After working for several years as a dancer, he started working with a voice company in France called the Roy Hart Theatre where he enjoyed their physical approach to voice training. “Working with them liberated my voice and since then I have always used it along with movement and space as the elements of my performance,” says Mr van Dijk. In 2011 he gained a PhD in theatre and was offered a job at the National University of Samoa as the dean of the Faculty of Arts. He accepted the offer but on arrival was dismayed to find that there were no arts in his faculty, only social sciences and languages. It was the beginning of a difficult six months during which he experienced the devastation of the worst cyclone to hit Samoa in over 20 years. Mr van Dijk found himself caught up in a lengthy conflict between two factions of the university and says he was used as a pawn in the dispute. He was also outed in a national newspaper for being homosexual in what he describes as a “nasty article”. “They used Christianity to say terrible things about homosexuals,” he says. “The Dean of the Faculty of Arts is infecting the youths of Samoa and is a terrible example for staff,” Mr van Dijk quotes from the article. Despite the criticism he was able to find solace in the arts and worked with the National Youth Orchestra and the University Choir. “That’s what kept me sane,” he says. On reflection he believes he was a role model for many of the junior staff at the university because he raised issues that they were afraid to talk about. He returned to New Zealand and struggled to find work, so he decided to set up his own business, Toiora Ltd. He runs the business with his partner Rawiri Hindle and they focus on facilitating personal and social transformation using the arts. Mr Van Dijk is currently working on a project with the Ngati Wai iwi in Whangarei. He has been commissioned by the Ngati Wai Trust Board to develop a suicide prevention project which works with troubled youth using the performing arts. “Many problems are evident in Maori culture, alcohol and drug abuse, family violence and sexual abuse but I think the core of it is a lack of identity. “They have lost their strong sense of whakapapa,” he says. Mr van Dijk says schools do not cater for Maori ways of learning and consequently they fall by the wayside. He believes he can help people reconnect with their identity. “I think if you want to address issues of identity, confidence and expression then performing arts has a lot to offer,” he says. Earlier this year Mr van Dijk was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to New York and observe one of the most successful anti-violence projects in the world. The All Stars project helps more than 80,000 young people every year to grow in confidence and express themselves. Mr van Dijk says he was amazed by their Cops and Kids program called Operation Conversation. It is a series of performance based workshops working with police officers and troubled youth using improvisation and theatre games. He had the chance to witness some of the sessions and says they are amazing. “You see a sense of mutual trust growing throughout the workshops and they develop understanding and respect for each other,” says Mr van Dijk. He says the project is a massive inspiration for him and he wants to set up an All Star project in Northland. “I want to help people develop the confidence and skills to become leaders in their community,” says Mr van Dijk. “These kinds of projects are important as people are becoming more desperate and the gaps between rich and poor are growing. “We need to do something about that,” he says. Mr van Dijk’s Presence Workshop will run on October 4, 10am-4pm, at the Wellington Quaker House in Mount Victoria. Anyone interested in attending should contact the organiser on 04-385-6321.

      • Video stores feeling the digital pressure
        • 25 Sep 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • PROUD OWNER: Aro Video store owner Andrew Armitage is proud with what his independent video store has achieved despite a declining industry. LOCAL video rental stores are feeling the pressure of the digital world with online streaming, movie rental, and film piracy. “I’m one of the walking wounded but I’m not alone. There are thousands of us that have been hit by this evolution,” Aro Video owner Andrew Armitage says. Aro Video is known for its wide selection of independent films and titles not available on DVD. However, Mr Armitage says the piracy “craze” has destabilized everything. “The hearts and minds of young people are won over by free stuff,” he says. An anonymous video store patron confirms his point. “I only go to video stores to look at titles to download later,” she says. Andrew Armitage says although he enjoys all the benefits digital brings to business, it becomes mentally challenging to keep faith in what he’s doing. “You just try to hold your ground and the ground gets quite shakey at times.” Loyal customer of 15 years, Vivian Rodriquez, sees the relationship she has built with Aro Video as one of its most important features. “I like that it’s not a big shop like the other ones,” she says, “I believe in supporting local.” Mr Armitage says 70% of his business comes from customers walking through the door. “Most of our customers are my age or older, and they will always do things the old fashioned way. Whether we can be here to keep nurturing that habit, I don’t know.” Mr Armitage says the wholesale and distribution infrastructure suffers as video stores close, with the transition from hardcopy dollars to digital pennies. “Sure with digital you can reach masses kind of all at once but they’re all paying 2 cents”. He says it’s a legitimate model, but New Zealand is in a bit of limbo with digital taking off. “We don’t have proper broadband and people are generally not in the habit of watching films on their computers,” he says. Having just celebrated its 25th anniversary this month Aro Video has become a household name in Wellington. “I didn’t start a business for the sake of starting a business. If I’d done that I would have done something much more lucrative,” he jokes. “Really I managed to combine a hobby and my vocation together and that’s luckier than most.” Kelburn Video has been in business for over 10 years but Manager Soty Pheng says the industry is dying and will come to an end. He says this is because New Zealanders lifestyles have changed. “On a rainy day, people would go to the video store. Now Kiwi’s are too lazy to get off the couch,” he says. The decline is not just limited to movies and television shows, but also to video games. Mr Pheng says the constant change in technology means it is too expensive to keep up with the latest video game consoles. The store has tried reducing prices and late fees but it has not made much difference. He says unless the government steps in to ban online streaming and stop film piracy, there’s nothing store owners can do to stop the inevitable. The music industry has also had its share of troubles, but Slow Boat Records is one of the few remaining music stores in Wellington. Assistant Manager Jeremy Taylor says they have seen a slight drop in the sales of DVD’s, but popular Television Series and classic movies still sell. He says this is proof that people still like to own a physical object of quality that can be viewed repeatedly. Mr Taylor is optimistic that physical music stores will continue to exist. “People will always gravitate to the music store as a place where good music is found. “The memorable instores [artists] we have hosted serve as a reminder of the magic and power of people coming together to bond over music,” he says.

      • Couple’s costume hobby puts WOW factor on show in Plimmerton
        • 23 Sep 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • Vicki and Mark Haydock with costumes Individual Happiness Now (left) and Bed of Flowers (right). IMAGE: Hayley Gastmeier HUSBAND and wife team Vicki and Mark Haydock’s a relationship has the WOW factor. They have had three costumes accepted into the World of Wearable Art show in the past five years. This year’s entry did not make the cut, but the Haydocks are still involved exhibiting three of their five pieces, at The Emerging Light Gallery in Plimmerton. Three other Wellington designers are also exhibiting at the gallery. The couple, who both work full time, have been dedicating weekends and holidays since 2010 designing and creating costumes to enter into WOW. The team’s creative journey was inspired by a 1993 visit to the Nelson Polytechnic where they witnessed final preparations taking place for the WOW show. REEL DEAL: The Haydocks made the costume futuristic because it was clear to them that Len Lye was way ahead of his time. IMAGE: Hayley Gastmeier “I saw the costumes and thought oh that would be really fun,” says Vicki. After 17 years of world travel and raising a family, graphic designer Mark and wife Vicki, an occupational therapist, decided to combine their different skills and give WOW a go. “It’s really cool because you can set yourself a goal and it might take you that long to do it but you can still get there.” The duo’s first piece made in 2010 is a pink bra called Bed of Flowers which Vicki says has a Dr Seuss feel to it. The design was inspired by a retro quilted bed Vicki had as a child, and little crochet flowers that her grandmother had made in the 1980’s initially meant to be a bedspread. They decided their next costume would celebrate the work of eccentric artist Len Lye, and they designed a feminine costume collaborating ideals of his kinetic sculpture, Blade, and his experimental films. The garment was made using a lot of 16 and 35mm film sewn together, with an over skirt of many metal panels and a head piece which is an old film projector. The couple named the costume Individual Happiness Now, after one of Len Lye’s best known philosophies and gained permission from the Len Lye Foundation to use his work as inspiration. Although it did not win a prize in the competition it was selected and kept on display at Nelson’s WOW museum for the following year. The Haydocks final piece on show in the Plimmerton Gallery is named Queen Bobbindelacia after the 600 year old craft of handmade bobbin lace. The costume is inspired by the lace cushions and gold pins which play a key part in making this type of lace. “She is both beautiful and menacing to represent the extremes of her craft.” The couple say the specialist craft of lace is at the risk of dying out because of the advances of technology, so the costume has been created to immortalise the craft. PINNED DOWN: The bobbins come from Spain, Belgium, Britain and New Zealand, and there are four antique bobbins included on the dress. IMAGE: Hayley Gastmeier Vicki who learned the craft in the 80’s, spent countless hours making all the lace. Mark handmade the giant pins, and the bobbins and beads involved in the costume were collected over many years of travel. Queen Bobbindelacia took two years to complete. After being turned down on the first application to WOW, the couple remade the costume to give it more wow factor, and it was accepted the following year. The standards are going up all the time and it’s getting harder and harder to get selected, says Mark. “A lot of the ones that do well on stage are the ones that bring out a character and come alive with the music.” The Haydocks, who have three children, say there’s a lot of work involved making the costumes, but they think they’ll do some more in the future. The Artable Wear exhibition will show at The Emerging Light Gallery untill October 15th.      

      • Dunne and dusted for 11th term in Parliament
        • 20 Sep 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • RE-ELECTED: Ohariu MP Peter Dunne keeps up to date on election night progress with his wife Jennifer Mackrell by his side.   UNITED FUTURE’S leader’s party at Khandallah Bowling Club was an intimate affair as family and fans quietly focused on the television and the incoming results. About 20 of the 50 people filling the room were media, but as Mr Dunne was unwell he did minimal interviews. Mr Dunne studied his Ipad with his wife sitting next to him watching closely as Labour’s Virginia Anderson was a chasing second for the Ohariu electorate seat. Kevin O’Donnell, the secretary treasurer of the bowling club, says although Dirty Politics and sideshows tarnished the election he does not think it influenced the vote, and he is happy with the final results. “We all know we’re being spied on. Googles one of the worst.” At 11.20pm Mr Dunne was confident with the 98% of counted votes and addressed cameras and guests. Mr Dunne thanked members of his office for their loyal support and congratulated John Key for his historic and extraordinary re-election. “I won’t let you down, thanks for your patience as this long evening has unfolded.” Mr Dunne would not give detailed answers to the media questions being asked but said he will be starting work tomorrow.

      • History repeats itself – and Paul Foster-Bell’s happy
        • 20 Sep 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • PAUL FOSTER-BELL has once again lost his Wellington Central electorate seat to Grant Robertson – but at No 46 on the party list, he is back in Parliament. Foster-Bell says he is not surprised that Grant Robertson has received Wellington Central’s backing. He says his campaign was never about just him, the focus was to strengthen the overall National Party vote. “We’ve been here before, back in 2011 it was exactly the same situation. However, it was never just about me, it was about National getting stronger,” he says. Supporters repeated Foster-Bell’s words. Michael Riordan, a Wellington student says: “We’re not too worried about the electorate seat, it’s about the National Party. Grant Robertson has a high profile and he’ll probably be the next leader.” “It’s hard, and it’s sad, but National have risen, and that’s the main point,” says Belinda Kyles, a small business owner. Around 40 National supporters gathered at Wellington’s iconic Backbenchers pub to show their support for the candidate. Mr Foster-Bell showed confidence as the votes for his electorate started rolling in, however his confidence slowly diminished at the 75% vote count, when he acknowledged defeat. He left Backbenchers pub with his campaign manager heading to Labour headquarters at the Wharewaka to do the “gentlemanly thing” of congratulating his competitor, Mr Robertson. He returned to Backbenchers to address the crowd who were gearing up to see New Zealand’s new-old Prime Minister, John Key on TV. “I went down to Wharewaka to concede to Grant Robertson, and it’s the happiest concession speech I’ve ever given because the mood is low at the headquarters, due to a historical loss,” he said, referencing the big National victory. He went on to thank the audience who were predominantly volunteers in his campaign.      

      • Key more years, Peters foiled, and Harawira blind-sided
        • 20 Sep 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • THREE MORE YEARS: John Key has led National to a surprisingly easy victory. IMAGE: Stuff.co.nz It was clear from the start that National was going to win another term but the decisiveness of the win has come as a shock to the left. Far from the multi- headed monster coalition predicted by the polls, National can practically govern alone with its traditional partners, United Future, ACT and the Maori Party. National is no longer dependent on the polarising personality of New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who on election night TV seemed less than pleased to have lost his role as “kingmaker” this election. Far from being the suitor, courted by all, Winston is out in the cold. However the biggest blow of the evening was dealt in Te Tai Tokerau where Hone Harawira lost to Labour’s Kelvin Davis. With Harawira’s seat went any hope for Internet/ Mana entering parliament. With Labour polling at just under 25%, their second worst result in an election ever, there will be some rethinking of strategy. The surprise losers have been the Greens, whose final 10% was well below their expected 13%. At 4.2% the Conservatives failed to make the 5% threshold to enter parliament. Labour leader David Cunliffe has said he will not step down as party leader and emphasised Labour’s commitment to forming a strong opposition. “Tomorrow we begin a three year campaign for the Government benches. That campaign and that rebuild starts now,” said Cunliffe in his speech. After one the most eventful campaigns in New Zealand electoral history, John Key thanked those who stuck with National. “Ladies and Gentleman, this is a victory for those who kept the faith …who refused to be distracted and a vote for National was a vote for a brighter future,” he said. Kim DotCom has apologised to Mana leader Hone Harawira, saying he believes he cost Harawira his electorate seat. “I take full responsibility. The brand of Kim Dotcom was poison for what we wanted to achieve,” he said. Internet Party Laila Harre told disappointed party faithful that “It doesn’t finish!” adding that the people of Te Tai Tokerau have lost the “strongest fighter they have had in a generation in Parliament.” The real question that this result raises is the extent to which ordinary New Zealanders considered issues raised by the likes of journalists Nicky Hager and Glenn Greenwald when casting their vote.

      • Andersen upbeat as Labour licks its wounds
        • 20 Sep 2014
        • Newswire.co.nz
        • PROUD IN DEFEAT: Virginia Andersen talks about her pride in the campaign against Peter Dunne. VIRGINIA Andersen has trimmed Peter Dunne’s support in Ohariu in her first shot at running for Parliament. The Labour candidate finished about 900 votes behind incumbent Dunne, who held the seat by 1400 votes in 2011. In her speech to the crowd at the end of the night at Labour’s party in the Wharewaka on Wellingtons’ waterfront, she spoke of her pride in the campaign, despite the loss. “I’m proud and humbled by the effort of everyone,” she says. Andersen says the lesson learned is for the Green and Labour candidates to work together in Ohariu. “Green got a lot of votes. It takes away from the incumbent that both parties want out,” she says. “The left is not doing themselves any favours.” When Newswire asked her if she’d be running again she simply replied “damn right”. For now she is looking forward to a rest with family in Auckland tomorrow. After Labour leader David Cunliffe’s concession speech, NewsWire asked supporters at the Wharewaka what they thought of what he had to say, but no-one would be drawn on their thoughts. Supporters and candidates were in a disappointed and disgruntled mood, but some remained positive for the future. “I feel like we let down the people who wanted a change,” Nevada Lee-Mariu says. DISAPPOINTED: Three members of the crowd mourn the Labour Party loss to the National Party. “It hasn’t gone the way we wanted but we will be back,” Wellington MP Grant Robertson says. “We look forward to next election when we take this country back,” Mana MP Kris Faafoi says. Rimutaka MP Chris Hipkin says Labour has a huge challenge ahead with New Zealanders who don’t identify with the party anymore. “Labour is not speaking to the hopes and aspirations of New Zealanders,” he says.

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