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John O’Shea and the emergence of a New Zealand film industry

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John O’Shea (left) and Roger Mirams in 1954. Pacific Films Photo Collection, Nga Taonga Sound and Vision.

Wellington.Scoop
John Reid’s long-awaited book “Whatever It Takes,” about the ground-breaking Wellington film company Pacific Films and its visionary producer John O’Shea, is published today. In these two extracts from Chapter 2, Reid writes about the beginnings of the company’s first feature film ‘Broken Barrier’ (Pacific’s three features were the only feature films made in New Zealand in 30 years) and its remarkable release. Read more »

Bill Murray in Wellington: on being Irish Catholic, feeling alone

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Wellington.Scoop
Bill Murray combines with Berlin cellist Jan Vogler in Wellington tonight to present New Worlds, a lively night of music and words. Murray performs American poetry and prose including works by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, melded with music by the likes of Bach, Bernstein, and Gershwin. Listening to the duo’s album New Worlds, we can expect Huck Finn. In honour of Murray’s performance at Michael Fowler Centre, we e-debut Alexander Bisley’s rare interview with him. Read more »

David Byrne: a mesmerizing and entrancing evening


Photo: Paul Wellman

Review by Howard Davis
Scotch-born singer-songwriter David Byrne starts each show on his latest world tour stroking a pink brain as he sits alone at a table in a gray three-button suit singing a song called Here from his latest album American Utopia. It is the only splash of colour on an otherwise barren stage, encircled by shimmering beaded curtains. Read more »

Three choices for bike lanes through Newtown and Berhampore

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Wellington.Scoop
The Wellington City Council’s transport planners have today released three options for bike lanes and related street changes through Newtown and Berhampore. Read more »

“Highly unconventional:” she’s music teacher of the year

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Report from RNZ’s Upbeat
“Highly unconventional” is how Elizabeth Sneyd describes her own teaching methods. “If you saw me on one single occasion you’d probably think ‘goodness me, the kids are just larking around, like that’s going to produce any results,” she tells Mark Amery. Read more »

Tea party for Wairarapa tree crop 40th anniversary

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Eric Cairns inspecting a carob tree.

by Eric Cairns and Neil Douglas
The Wairarapa Tree Crop Association will be 40 years old on Saturday November 24. To celebrate we are having an afternoon tea party with fruit and nut cakes and some competitions. We will be remembering our past members, our achievements and our experiences. We will be letting the ‘sap flow’ and encouraging budding new members to join and secure our association’s next 40 years. Read more »

Why prisoners should have the right to vote

by Christine McCarthy
During the recent royal visit to Wellington, Meghan Markle applauded New Zealand for giving women the right to vote 125 years ago. It was a moment we were all rightly proud of, her words fitting recognition of a country that was also an original signatory to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its commitment to “universal and equal suffrage.” Despite this, not all New Zealanders have the right to vote. We deny this universal human right to people in prison, and we have been doing this, in different ways, for more than 125 years. Read more »

A less than great journey

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by Lindsay Shelton
We took one of KiwiRail’s Great Journeys at the weekend – the much-promoted Northern Explorer which runs three times a week from Auckland to Wellington. The experience was okay, but it fell a bit short of the promised greatness. Read more »

Maximising the gains from the Avatar sequels

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by Gordon Campbell
By now, I’m sure we’ve all noted in our diaries the release dates (and alleged working titles) for all the Avatar sequels. But just in case…… Avatar 2: The Way of Water is due in theatres on December 18, 2020 followed by Avatar 3: The Seed Bearer on 17 December, 2021. After a three year gap, if things go according to plan, Avatar 4: The Tulkun Rider will emerge on 20 December, 2024, with Avatar 5: The Quest For Eywa due on 19 December 2025. Be still our beating hearts. Read more »

Questions from behind the razor wire

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by Michael Barnett
In my work as a budget advisor to low-income workers and beneficiaries in Wellington, I’ve been helping a middle aged, single man who I’ll call Happy (name changed to protect his privacy). Happy came to me in February for help to get his benefit sorted. He felt Work & Income were giving him the run around. Read more »