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MediaFebruary 10, 2019

The best of The Spinoff this week


Bringing you the best weekly reading from your friendly local website.

Madeleine Chapman: There’s something off about the London Waitangi Day Pub Crawl

“Drinking on Waitangi Day is fine – it’s a public holiday after all. And performing a haka overseas is cool. But combining all of those things has created a Frankenstein’s Monster of cultural cringe and borderline – sometimes blatant – disrespect.

Why not do it at the start of the day, when people are (more) sober? I know why not. Because a sober haka requires a level of knowledge and competence that many New Zealanders aren’t willing to work for.”

Toby Morris: Te Tiriti o Waitangi: the comic book

Last year The Spinoff’s Toby Morris illustrated a new publication in the School Journal Story Library in collaboration with Ross Calman, Mark Derby and Lift Education/The Ministry of Education.

The comic tells the story of the Treaty of Waitangi for primary school and intermediate-aged kids, but considering how sparse education in New Zealand has been around this subject, we think the adults might need it too.

The Spinoff is proud to present it in its entirety.

Duncan Greive: Peter Jackson is out of control and must be stopped

“This new Beatles thing? Absolutely not. No way. If you missed it, his latest announcement is a fossick through some unseen footage of the band recording Let it Be, to create a new documentary, 50 years later.

This is not acceptable. There is no entity in popular culture which needs reexamination less than The Beatles, whose every fart and fringe has been subjected to PhD theses and ten disc rarities sets. In particular their breakup and final days and how they somehow made a nice album while being a little peevish with one another is extremely well understood.”

Leonie Hayden: One family, three generations of Māori doctors

Jack Tapsell is the product of a family dedicated to the health and wellbeing of Māori. The recent University of Otago medical graduate talks to Leonie Hayden about carrying on the legacy of his father and grandfather.


Nicole Skews-Poole: My father, lost in smoke

“When the debate about legalising weed comes up, I always sit back and watch the same arguments bubble up. Like clockwork, they always include someone smugly stating that weed isn’t even technically addictive.

But it is. Of course it is. Anything that numbs the things you want to numb can be devastatingly addictive for some people. And for my father, his need to get stoned five or six times a day removed any motivation or ability to parent me in a meaningful way.

Maybe surprisingly, that hasn’t turned me into the narrator from a Reefer Madness video.”

Vincent O’Malley: Waitangi Week: the war in Tauranga, which pretends history never happened there

Head up Cameron Road, one of Tauranga’s main arterial routes, a few kilometres out of the city centre and you drive over one of New Zealand’s most important historical sites. The road, named after Lieutenant-General Duncan Cameron, commander of British forces in New Zealand between 1861-65, was one of many built over former pā used during the New Zealand Wars. Ōrākau, Rangiriri and other important sites suffered similar indignities.

Why remember, the attitude seemed to be, when Pākehā could instead obliterate any physical remnant of such places and just pretend history never happened here? It’s the Kiwi way apparently.

Duncan Greive: Vice NZ looks set to close as part of a massive wave of global redundancies

“Vice New Zealand opened under the management of Dave Benge in 2015, gradually expanding to encompass both text and video content. It kicked off in earnest in 2017 with the launch of its Zealandia local content hub and video series, soon after launching the Viceland channel through the Sky platform.

It was a small team, with numbers in flux, but editor Frances Morton recruited talented feature writers like Tess McClure and James Borrowdale, who crafted superb stories examining parts of New Zealand often ignored by mainstream media outlets.”

Sources suggest the New Zealand editorial arm of the global youth media giant is shutting down, reports Duncan Greive.

Jean Sergent: From crime reality to crime fiction: The strange case of the Anne Perry film

“Anne Perry is a mystery writer based in Scotland. She’s written a lot of books, of which I have read exactly one (A Funeral in Blue, 2001). My abiding memory of that book was that one of the characters was a nurse in the Crimean war who hated Florence Nightingale. I think that probably says a lot more about the author than it does about Florence Nightingale.

Juliet Hulme was 15 years old when her and her best mate, Pauline Parker, murdered Pauline’s mother Honorah Rieper in a park in Christchurch. Their story is legendary in New Zealand thanks mostly to Peter Jackson’s frankly stunning Heavenly Creatures, a film which awakened the bisexuality of an entire generation of New Zealand women, or at least as far as me and all my bi goth mates are concerned.

Juliet Hulme and Anne Perry are, of course, the same person.”

Liam Hehir: If Jacinda doesn’t know the Treaty, what hope is there for the rest of us?

“Sometimes something happens in the news that shakes you out of a bubble. I thought that making New Zealand history a compulsory part of the curriculum was more heavy-handed than the situation called for. The struggles of the prime minister to answer a basic question about the content of the Treaty of Waitangi illustrates that I was wrong in this.

It was a clarifying moment.”


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