Lowdown #54: Dizzy Success

Jess B, Metro Magazine.
Tupe Lualua, Photo: Moana Palelei HoChing.
Chris Tse, Photo: Rebecca McMillion
Guy Ngan, Stuff
We may have been slightly robbed at the cricket, but this week’s Lowdown has us admiring some big wins for Kiwi creatives


Breaking Big  

Auckland rock group Pluto, have released a new song after a ten year hiatus. 'Oh My Lonely’ is the first single from their fourth album, due to be released in September. The original line up got back together to finish the album sessions started way back in 2015. You can check out the video for 'Oh My Lonely' here. The band were a mainstay of the New Zealand live scene in the 00's, and their sophomore album, "Pipeline Under the Sea" went double platinum and had two top 50 singles. 

Another Auckland artist dropped a new video this week, albeit after a much shorter time away. Rapper Jess B’s new song “Mood” features a video shot while she was in LA earlier this year working on new music. The rapper has gone from strength to strength since being discovered on Soundcloud by producer, P Money. She’ll be performing at Galatos on Saturday 27th July with a host of other amazing artists, as part of Auckland's Eastern Women's Refuge Fundraiser. 

Hussein Moses wrote a feature for Audio Culture, looking back on the careers of Auckland R&B group, Adeaze. Brothers Nainz and Viiz Tupa’i, grew up performing at church events, rest homes and private functions before getting their big break at the Smokefree Rock-quest, where they were spotted by Brotha D, co-founder of Hip Hop label, Dawn Raid Entertainment. The group went on to have a successful run of top 10 hits including ‘A Life With You’ which was later sampled by none other than Mariah Carey. 

Dunedin based Singer-songwriter Nadia Reid, stopped into the RNZ studios to perform a cover of Mazzy Stars, Fade Into You, before heading off on tour. You can catch Nadia performing around the country over the next fortnight before she heads off to the UK. 


Leki’s In Residence 

South Auckland-based playwright, Leki Jackson-Bourke, started his appointment at the Emerging Pasifika Writer in Residence for 2019 last week. 

Leki took up residence at the IIML for three months to work on his new play For the Likes

While there he’ll be mentored by one of the country's leading playwrights, Victor Rodger.

Leki says of the residency: “This is an important moment in my journey as a young Pacific story-teller because of the responsibilities and duties that come with it. My next work aims to give space to the Pacific youth voice—a voice that I feel is currently misrepresented in the mainstream media.”


Paying Fair

Creative New Zealand (CNZ) recently announced some big changes to their funding. The main shift will be the merging of the Arts Grants and Quick Response funding programmes. There are more details still to come, but CNZ have stated some of their new aims are; “more sustainable careers for artists, the development of arts practice, innovation in NZ arts and diverse communities to access and participate in high-quality arts experiences.

One particularly exciting development is the recommendation that applications include pay rates of at least $25 per hour for artists and arts practitioners. There’s been a lot of talk in the media recently about how underpaid artists are in this country, so hopefully measures like this will help turn the tide. 

Tupe Lualua, Photo: Moana Palelei HoChing

On the subjects of CNZ and residencies, Wellington based dancer and choreographer, Tupe Lualua is the recipient of the 2019 Creative New Zealand Sāmoa Artist in Residence. The three month residency offers a chance for mid-career or established New Zealand artists of Pacific heritage to develop their skills and practice.

Tupe will spend her time exploring the traditional role of the taule'ale'a and the aumaga (the social class of untitled men) within the village community.

“The aumaga are responsible for the labour intensive duties, including working the ma’umaga (plantation), fishing, building, cooking, attending to the everyday needs of the elders and continuous service to the wider village community,” says Tupe.


Little Andromeda Gets Pulled out of Puddle 

The Christchurch City Council has given a much needed funding boost to the popular, Little Andromeda Theatre

The pop-up theatre is set to receive $50,000, allowing it to host a wider range of theatre and upgrade their sound and lighting. After debuting last October in a tent on the arts precinct, Little Andromeda went on to give 92 performances to around 7000 people. The shows included a motley crew of Ōtautahi artists including comedians, puppeteers and magicians. Project director Michael Bell said the theatre would have had to shut down without the council's contribution. 

"We're hoping for fewer cancelled shows. Sometimes the tent got blown apart and sometimes we were in a puddle.” Michael said. 


Poet Power

Chris Tse, Photo: Rebecca McMillion

Chris Tse heads to the UK

It’s the Cheltenham Literature Festival’s 70th anniversary, and to celebrate they invited seven festivals to be guest curators, including Verb Wellington. Verb, which hosts a number of literary events in the capital including Lit Crawl, nominated writer, Chris Tse, to go over and take part in the festival. Aside from being one of the country's best dressed poets, Chris is an award winning author, whose work deftly explores themes of identity and sexuality. 

The festival is held every year in Cheltenham in the UK, and plays host to 100’s of writers from around the world. This year promises to be a stand out, with 500 events planned in celebration of seven decades of literary festivities.


Apirana Taylor’s Inspiring Interview

Another award winning Poet, Apirana Taylor (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Ruanui ) went on Bookmarks recently to chat about his extraordinary life and read some of his poetry. Despite struggling to learn to read or write at a young age, Apirana went on to develop a love for reading and playing with words. “To me writing was like painting, I felt free to use words and I just loved it.”

“To me writing was like painting, I felt free to use words and I just loved it.”

Apirana also talked to host Jesse Mulligan about his attempts to become a millionaire writing the great New Zealand poem, walking from Palmerston North to Te Rerenga Wairua, and how his poems can take anywhere from 30 seconds and 30 years to write.


Alive Review

Amy Weng reviewed photographer, Kim Hak’s latest exhibition, ‘Alive’ on The Spinoffs new arts section. ‘Alive’ marks 40 years since the fall of the Khmer Rouge, and features photos of keepsakes from Cambodians who escaped the Killing Fields for new lives in Aotearoa. 

This is the third iteration of the exhibition, following shows in Cambodia and Australia. Kim also plans to photograph Cambodian refugees in Japan, France, America and Canada over the coming years.

Guy Ngan at work in his studio circa 1980, Stuff.


Guy Ngan

There’s also a new retrospective exhibition of Wellington artist, Guy Ngan’s work entitled 'Habitation’. Though thousands of Guy’s pieces sit in private collections, he was largely overlooked by the arts establishment. Anna Knox talked to the exhibition’s curator, Sian van Dyk, about Guy’s commitment to his creative vision, racism in the arts world and his lasting legacy. 

Written by

Dominic Hoey

17 Jul 2019

Dominic Hoey is an author, playwright and poet based in Tāmaki Makaurau. His debut novel, Iceland was a New Zealand bestseller and was long-listed for the 2018 Ockham Book Award.

Emily Writes and Chris Tse.
After a much-needed break, Dominic Hoey is back giving us his best picks of what’s coming up in Aotearoa.
Mike Chunn, photo by David White.
The co-founder and former bass player for Split Enz talks about his new memoir, 'A Sharp Left Turn'.
Vanessa Crofskey, Michelle Wang, Hamish Petersen at the Physics Room Gallery, Ōtautahi.
Artist Vanessa Crofskey talks to Dominic Hoey about her co-dependent relationship with the internet, cancel culture and the freelance challenge.
Magic Factory
Dominic Hoey brings us the best parties happening in and around Tāmaki Makaurau this weekend, along with some hopeful news from South Auckland.