AUT art sale celebrates 8th year

BY Anuja Nadkarni


Art enthusiasts gathered to view and shop for original pieces by Kiwi artists at the eighth annual AUT Original Art Sale last weekend.

Featuring work from more than 300 New Zealand artists, the three-day event attracted hundreds of people, starting with a gala night on May 14 at the Vodafone Events Centre.

The exhibition, touted as one of Auckland’s largest art markets, was laid out in a supermarket format, which enabled people to shop for artwork “off the rack”, Art Sale manager Sherrin White said.

“Since it’s [the artwork] constantly changing it confuses some people because they have a walk about and when they come back the piece is gone. You’ve got to be quick!”

Mrs White has been part of the event since it began in 2007 and says it has grown with every passing year.

The event seems to have become a platform for artists to experiment with their creativity, she said.

“It’s always exciting. Some artists do things one year and the next year you think they haven’t entered anything, but you find out that actually they’ve done something totally different.”

According to the event’s website there were more than 1200 entries from various artists, including students from AUT and several secondary schools.

At the gala night, 17-year-old Katherine Yang from Academic Colleges Group (ACG) won first prize for her piece Hysteria.

The self-taught artist said her artwork was a critique of “female hysteria” that she said was once used by doctors to diagnose any physical and mental deviances in behaviour by women.

Miss Yang said this was the first time she participated in the event and was “fascinated” by the supermarket concept.

“Art has no tangible value apart from the wood, the paint, the time – they’re pure purchases of pleasure.”

Another self-taught artist who showcased her work was Valerie Subritzky, who paints under the pseudonym Valenzky.

Ms Subritzky said the concept of the art sale is a great way for buyers to see multiple pieces by artists.

“It’s fantastic! You also get criticised but I don’t mind – at least people are talking about it.”

All artwork, created with a range of media including mixed media, was by emerging Kiwi artists and ranged in price from $100 to $5,000.


The world’s largest poppy

BY Anuja Nadkarni


Thousands of Kiwis are commemorating Anzac’s centenary by placing personalised messages in the Auckland Domain to build the world’s biggest poppy.

Tony McNeight is the artist behind the creation and got the idea at last year’s Anzac dawn service when he saw everyone laying down flowers and poppies.

“I thought why not do something that everyone can be involved in. That’s what remembering Anzac is all about,” he says.

There are close to 50,000 discs on display but once completed, the giant poppy will consist of 59,000 discs, each in honour of every New Zealander killed in World War I, Mr Mcneight says.

“Kiwis don’t just grow the poppy themselves, but they are the poppy.”

Parnell District School teacher Valerie Marra says the event has also been working closely with schools to teach young Kiwis about the history of New Zealand.

“The thing about Anzac day is that it needs to be carried on for future generations.

“Eighteen past Gallipoli service men went to Parnell District School. It’s very important for us,” she says.

The Giant Poppy Project co-coordinator Angela Griffen says thousands of students have placed discs with messages on them and schools outside of Auckland have contributed to the event through donations.

“It’s important for them to know it’s not so much about war, it’s about freedom,” Ms Griffen says.

Like many of those that have contributed to the display, Christine Bickerton and her family are descendants of the soldiers that fought for New Zealand.

“Well, it’s special to me because my dad fought in World War II. He had seven brothers that went away and seven brothers that came home,” Mrs Bickerton says.

There are cameras placed at the top of the Auckland War Memorial Museum that have been capturing the journey of the giant poppy.

According to the Giant Poppy Project’s website no more poppies will be laid after midday April 24 to prepare for the live screening of the event at Gallipoli on Anzac day.

Pasifika youth group to establish advisory panel

BY Anuja Nadkarni


The success of an innovative Pasifika youth programme called Tula’i has brought in a proposal for a youth advisory panel for West Auckland local boards.

Tula’i provides an opportunity for Pacific youth in West Auckland to discuss and understand the importance of leadership using their cultural context, programme coordinator Dominique Leauga says.

At a recent Whau Local Board meeting in New Lynn, the programme’s co-ordinators gave an update on the progress of Tula’i that began with its first event in 2011, where students from several West Auckland high schools participated in team-building activities.

Since then, the programme has had several follow up events and currently works closely alongside 12 West Auckland high schools to deliver the leadership courses.

“We’re after the ones who don’t get the help – the guy that has to sit on the bench every Saturday because all the other boys get the chance to run around the field or the girl who perhaps wants to dance at Polyfest but isn’t so confident,” Mr Leauga says.

The courses include goal setting, team work and confidence-building activities that are reflected upon at the end of each weekly class to see how they could be applicable to real life scenarios, Mr Leauga says.

The Whau, Massey and Henderson local boards have contributed $10,000 each toward the initiative.

Whau local board member Ami Chand says such a programme is important to have for the Pasifika community.

“It provides a platform for the youth to have a voice in the community.”

According to a report by Statistics New Zealand, Pacific students have some of the lowest levels of participation in school leadership.

Kuiniseti Seuseu is a sports captain in her final year at St Dominic College and has attended every Tula’i session since last August.

According to Miss Seuseu, Tula’i has helped break stereotypes associated with Pasifika youth.

“I think we’re often posed as not being good enough and we get put down a lot for who we are. I think Tula’i has brought us out of our shells more and helped us achieve what we want not just what people say we can achieve,” she says.

Miss Seuseu says if the youth advisory panel does get finalised, the panel will be a helpful tool for West Auckland youth to share their input on community discussions.

Current students attending the programme will graduate from Tula’i on June 30 and the next intake of students will take place in August later in the year.

The students who graduate will then be eligible to become part of the youth advisory panel.

Thousands march against deep sea drilling



Thousands of activists marched through downtown Auckland on March 29 to protest against deep sea oil drilling.

Protestors assembled at Victoria Park before starting their march to the SkyCity convention centre beating drums and chanting “frack off”.

The Advantage New Zealand Petroleum Summit was being held at the convention centre and Energy Minister Simon Bridges was one of the speakers at the event.

Greenpeace senior climate campaigner Simon Boxer said the protest is an on-going global movement and that the people would not stop until the Government listens.

“The Government still wants international companies to come to New Zealand and do very risky deep sea oil drilling. We saw five years ago in the Gulf of Mexico – one accident is enough to devastate a whole area for a very long time.”

Hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ is a way of extracting fossil fuels through deep water drilling, which has prompted protests in California, Algeria and Britain in the past month.

According to Greenpeace’s Facebook page, about 6000 people attended the march.

Mr Boxer said New Zealand should follow countries like Germany and Japan who are going for “clean energy”, like wind and solar power.

He said the risks associated with deep sea oil drilling to New Zealand marine life are too big for the Government to not take action.

There are only 55 Maui dolphins remaining, according to the Department of Conservation.

Marcher Jo Bates said her message to the executives at the convention centre was to “reconsider corporate greed for the benefit of the planet and people”.

“It’s profit over environment,” Ms Bates said.

A report released last year by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) said 10 permits were granted to explore New Zealand waters for oil drilling.

The report also said conservation areas are not auctioned off and organisations only receive permits once local iwi and councils have been consulted.

Nation’s fashion capital to get makeover.

By Anuja Nadkarni


Auckland University’s new campus on Khyber Pass Rd will bring a fresh focus on hospitality services to Newmarket, adding to its fashion image.

Following the completion of parts of the campus late last year, the Newmarket Business Association is looking at rebranding the industrial and commercial hub.

The suburb is looking to add hospitality and restaurant culture to its “glamorous” fashion image, says Margaret Mateo, marketing and events coordinator for the association.

“We don’t want to be known just as the fashion capital,” she says.

The association dubbed Newmarket the nation’s “fashion capital” in 2005, when its growing number of retail store members decided the suburb needed to be seen as more than just a convenient traffic junction.

The mix between the Westfield Mall and little boutique stores provides “the best of both worlds” for any shopping enthusiast, says Alina Tahoe, Recycle Boutique sales assistant.

Ms Tahoe says the increased traffic as a result of the new campus will help drive forward the image the suburb wants to create.

“The whole idea is that you can work here, shop here, play here and now study here.”

The campus, which is located at the former Lion Breweries site on Khyber Pass Road, is part of the university’s long-term development plan.

The university’s website says 200 staff and students moved to the new facility last October and more people from the engineering and science faculties are due to relocate in the year.

Get your vote on!

A country that played a pivotal role in equal rights of voting, unfortunately has thousands of its youth who simply could not care less!

Votes by Kiwi youth have been dwindling each year by four per cent, and at this rate of decline, we’re looking at less than 10 per cent of youth voting within the next three elections. Your vote is your voice and in the previous election, a whopping, 60 per cent of young people chose to be silent.

Fortunately, initiatives supported by the Virgin Voter Collective are shining a ray of hope on these dreary statistics.

Virgin Voter Collective is a campaign that branches over several independent initiatives all with the same goal, which is to get youngsters to vote in the upcoming elections. Basically they are a one-stop shop for young voters! 

Some of the initiatives that are part of campaign include On the Fence, Ask Away and Candidate. All three use a youth focused approach to attract first-time voters.

On the Fence is a fun app which gives users an idea of the political policies held by different parties.

Similarly, Candidate delivers the policies to voters who do not want to or do not know how to search the different political promises by the various parties. Candidate uses a simple Tinder-like approach where the user can swipe to the right or left depending on whether or not they agree to a policy, before the app calculates an appropriate political ‘date’ for the user to vote for.

Ask Away is slightly different, as it is a platform, which gives people the confidence to fire off questions to politicians about policies and promises. Ask Away has been quite popular, with several politicians frequently answering questions posted by young voters.

Hannah Duder is the campaign manager for Virgin Voter Collective as well as the creator of the Candidate app. She said the campaign is basically finding new ways to appeal to the youth.

“We don’t think each individual initiative will solve the problem by itself, which is why we’ve created the Collective…Each one offers something different to spark an interest.” 

Ms Duder said political apathy amongst youth is partly due to politicians not using the right approach in their communication with young Kiwis. She said most of the language used is jargon-filled and youngsters find it boring because they simply cannot relate.

Hence through the several initiatives represented by the Virgin Voter Collective, the campaign aims to give youth a taste of politics and help them take an interest in it.

“Hopefully when they vote, the youth feel slightly more educated and like they’re making a vote that is not just based on how cool a political party’s name is or something!” Ms Duder said.

Already the campaign as well as its individual initiatives, has received thousands of positive responses from young people who have pledged to vote in the upcoming elections.

If you are a first-time voter and want to make the serious world of politics fun, get involved by checking out

The website will provide you with more details on the apps and initiatives that you can use to help you take your first step into politics.



By Anuja Nadkarni