close button

Metro Arts — Wednesday 14 December

Macro, Micro and Metro arts funding crises.

Metro Arts — Wednesday 14 December

Dec 14, 2022 Metro Arts

Kia ora dear readers –

Like me, you may have awoken to the latest attempt at demagoguery by Auckland’s mayor in his proposed plan to slash arts funding in the 23/24 budget. And like me you may have been angered by how predictable this all seems. Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi has thankfully prepared a letter template and a list of councillors so you can ensure our boorish mayor’s plans don’t go ahead. I’m anticipating a lot of noise from those in the arts should the cuts go forward as proposed. As a friend said the other day, once that money’s gone it’s hard to get it back. So let’s take action immediately!

In more not-so-great news, Metro’s arts editor role didn’t get further funding from Creative New Zealand, which means one less paid role for committed cultural commentary in a country that already has so few. Selfishly, I would’ve loved to stay on longer – I’ve been enjoying working with great colleagues as part of a magazine that has a broad remit, one which presented the possibility of art reaching a greater number of people across the city. Thanks to everyone who’s given words of encouragement and has helped create and promote the work produced under my and Lana Lopesi’s time at Metro. This is sadly my last newsletter but I’ll no doubt be writing and sharing my thoughts on art and film via some other channels next year so stay tuned!


The balm to soothe the pain of the above is that Metro’s summer issue (a books special) lands in stores this Thursday, and it’s *Julia Fox Valley girl voice* a masterpiece, if we do say so ourselves…

For issue 437’s cover story, I profiled the inimitable Half Queen – a DJ, style icon, and co-founder of FILTH, the most talked about party in Tāmaki Makaurau where the outfits are hot and the music is even hotter. (FILTH also gets a nod in Charlotte B’s Club Nights vs Nightclubs.) In our conversation, Half Queen recalls the birth of FILTH, and its transformation after the Aotearoa debut of global dance music and club culture platform, Boiler Room, in 2021. But the party remains true to its roots as a haven for QTIBIPOC audiences and performers – often with a nod to its place here in the Moana. As one tagline reads: “The world didn’t make room so FILTH made another world”. And this other world is one whose unique mix of cultural forms we’ve enjoyed watching.

I get a glimpse into Half Queen’s background and her formative years as a late-teen eager to leave Helensville; her early days DJing bFM’s H2HO with Zeki; the evolution of her personal style including her penchant for playing the clown – her fun but also unnerving twist on femininity and a way of complicating her image. (And yes, we discussed her famous onstage kiss with Madonna back in 2016!)

In the cover story – shot at Gojo Ethiopian restaurant in New Lynn as part of Metro Eats (the food and art crossover we’ve been waiting for) – Half Queen looks effortlessly cool with cropped blonde hair, her rat’s tail in tow, occasionally flashing a glimpse of her tooth gems in between feasting on injera in a beautiful set of casual shots taken by photographer Scott Hardy.


This issue’s arts section also includes an abbreviated history of ceramics in Aotearoa – a potted history, if you will – by Oscar Mardell. Following his visit to Becky Richards’ exhibition Wonderlump at Objectspace, Oscar was prompted to consider ceramics’ move from the earthly humility advocated by Bernard Leach’s A Potter’s Book (“the bible” for many) through to the imperfections of a more contemporary aesthetic: lumpen, deformed, and often-multicoloured.

Photographer Sam Hartnett returns with a look into Tyrone Te Waa’s workspace, replete with sundry items as one would expect. Tyrone repurposes commonly discarded material which he uses in his processes of assembling, binding, hiding, attaching, knotting, connecting, tangling, wrapping – a litany whose profusion conveys just how abundant his work feels.

Jean Teng, Metro’s Food editor, reviews The First Prime-Time Asian Sitcom and the attendant issues of being ‘the first’ of a minority. Film critic Tom Augustine returns with a review of Glass Onion, a sequel to Knives Out. “Every generation,” the piece begins, “gets the detective it deserves”. I wonder what virtuous (or is it sinful?) act we’ve performed to deserve Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc?

In the latest edition of ‘My Life in Clothes’, I talk to Doris de Pont, perhaps the only person to cycle to her own investiture ceremony in furs and jewellery. The designer, writer, historian and founder of the New Zealand Fashion Museum took me and photographer Lula Cucchiara into her archive of collaborations with several artists and poets including Richard Killeen, John Pule, and Gregory O’Brien.

As always the calendar is teeming with recommendations including Auckland Arts Festival picks from NZOpera’s take on the Unruly Tourists to an adaptation of Tusiata Avia’s The Savage Coloniser Book produced by Victor Rodger for FCC.


Metro Summer Books Special!

For our books special we reached out to Metro’s friends and family and got them to pick out the best books of 2022. We also have a line up of the most anticipated books of 2023 – the latest from Eleanor Catton; a memoir by filmmaker Gaylene Preston; Fierce Hope, a book on youth activism in Aotearoa by Bridget Williams Books; The Queen’s Wife by Joanne Drayton – as well as a late contender for best book of 2022 (Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall’s Tauhou). And from Emma Hislop’s forthcoming collection, Ruin and Other Stories, we’ve published a short story as a teaser of what promises to be one of 2023’s most anticipated books.

Connie Brown, in typically stylish prose, considers how two recent novels – How to Loiter in a Turf War by Coco Solid and Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly – portray life in the city of Tāmaki Makaurau. Geographer Salene Schloffel-Armstrong continues this investigation of our beloved city, battling her defensive impulses, in a review of Owen Hatherley’s Artificial Islands: Adventures in the Dominions. She considers whether or not the observations from a whistlestop tour by a British journalist have anything to teach us about Auckland’s built environment.

Dylan Asafo, a legal scholar and critical race theory specialist, looks at what it means to think both locally and globally when it comes to questions of race, racism and racialisation in his review of Towards a Grammar of Race, an eighteen-contributor strong collection of essays edited by former Metro arts editor Lana Lopesi, Anisha Sankar, and Arcia Tecun.

Self-professed bibliophile and psychoanalyst-in-training Richard B Keys gives us a synoptic view of contemporary discussions on the personal essay in his reflection on ‘the personal’ and whether it’s been living up to its political potential in recent writing.

Anna Rankin returns with an expansively philosophical review of HomeGround: The Story of a Building That Changes Lives and the questions of civic duty, social class, community, and faith that loom large over HomeGround’s history and its future. And Theo Macdonald, Metro’s resident graphic artist-cum-reviewer, returns to give John Irving’s The Last Chairlift the Drawn Conclusions treatment.

I hope we’ve put together an issue that is not only worth poring over at the beach or after Christmas lunch – but hopefully something to return to; something for the archives.

Mā te wā

— Tendai


Rats in the Gutter


Rats in the Gutter, described as offering “darkly hilarious takes on sex, pop-culture, and growing up in New Zealand”, is a new podcast by award-winning, aspiring Jezebels, Samuel Te Kani and Johanna Cosgrove.

Not deterred in the least by back to back lockdowns and a shortage of worthwhile intimacies, Te Kani and Cosgrove barrel head first into themes and experiences any twenty-something modern will recognise, ranging from finding love when every other guy is a flakey bisexual, to the ego disorders of our noted socialites, and minor takeout addictions.

Te Kani and Cosgrove bring a much needed New Zealand freshness to the vital tradition of self-important femmes claiming as much space for themselves in a city where not having a trust fund is a death sentence.

Join “Tãmaki Makaurau’s last two brain cells” as they dive deep into the realms of popular culture with their signature blend of “Stupid Bitch Energy”.

‘Rats in the Gutter’ is available to stream from December 15th on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and ACast.

IG: @ratsinthegutterxo




Tia Ranginui: Gonville Gothic
Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery
10 September 2022 – 26 February 2023

Shannon Te Ao: Tiwakawaka
Coastal Signs
16 November 2022–28 January 2023

Eddie Clemens: Resolution Venture
ST PAUL St Gallery
17 November–16 December 2022

Between the Gift and its Reprisal
Artspace Aotearoa
19 November 2022–28 January 2023

Anna Delany: Double Blessings
Māngere Arts Centre
19 November 2022–28 January 2023

Ko Ngā Wawata a Hina:
Heidi Brickell, Jalaina Hitchen, Te Ara Minhinnick, Neke Moa, Ming Ranginui, and Jade Townsend (a response to Wawata: Moon Dreaming, a new pukapuka by Dr Hinemoa Elder)
25 November–24 December

Joyce Campbell: LA Botanical
Two Rooms
25 November–23 December 

Tira Walsh: Black Out Days
Two Rooms
25 November–23 December

Fiona Jack and Courtney Sina Meredith: Earth Posters
Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery
26 November 2022–5 March 2023 

Hiria Anderson: Collective Aspirations
Tim Melville Gallery
29 November–22 December 

Maranga Mai
Moana Nui (digital platform)
26 November 2022–11 February 2023

Tyrone Te Waa, Towel Tote, Reece King, Sarah Hillary, Warwick Freeman, Vita Cochran,  Johanna Pegler, Kristy Gorman, Allan McDonald, Thomas Finn Stewart, Andrea du Chatenier & Fans from the collection of Mick Pendergrast
2–21 December

The Santa Claus Show ‘22
The PumpHouse Theatre
3–23 December 

Xi Li: The Transcendence Labyrinth of Icons
Te Tuhi
4 December 2022–29 January 2023

Māori Moving Image ki Te Tuhi
Te Tuhi
4 December 2022–29 January 2023

Ayesha Green: Still Life
Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery
10 December 2022–1 May 2023

Rangi Smith: Aa-Ee-Ii-Oo-Uu
Paper Anniversary
Opens 28 December

Renaissance: The Age of Genius
Hunua Rooms, Aotea Centre
4–29 January

Festival Of Live Art (F.O.L.A.)
Basement Theatre
14–19 February

The more things change:
Sione Monū, Lucas Grogan, Oliver Cain & Raymond Sagapolutele
Bergman Gallery
18 February–25 March

Christine Webster: Divinations
Trish Clark Gallery
23 February–1 April 

Metro Art delivers free to emailboxes all over Auckland every week(ish)!
Sign up to get it here


Latest issue shadow

Metro N°442 is Out Now.

In the Autumn 2024 issue of Metro we celebrate the best of Tāmaki Makaurau — 100 great things about life in Auckland, including our favourite florist, furniture store, cocktail, basketball court, tree, make-out spot, influencer, and psychic. The issue also includes the Metro Wine Awards, the battle over music technology company Serato, the end of The Pantograph Punch, the Billy Apple archives, a visit to Armenia, viral indie musician Lontalius, the state of fine dining, and the time we bombed West Auckland to kill a moth. Plus restaurants, movies, politics, astrology, and more.

Buy the latest issue