MediaJune 22, 2024

The Weekend: The darkest day is behind us


Editor Madeleine Chapman reflects on a (literally) dark week.

Mōrena and welcome to The Weekend, we’re officially on our way back towards the light. There’s something that happens in June where it feels like everyone is moving through molasses and it’s somehow dark by the time you leave the office.

The Spinoff was not immune to this, so Gabi Lardies gave some tips for how to celebrate the darkest day of the year (Friday) including a suggestion to look ahead to Matariki as a(nother) chance to reset, be thankful and step out of the winter slump. As if knowing we were at our lowest ebb as a country, RNZ’s push alerts tech malfunctioned and sent out a dozen old news alerts about Brexit, Prince Philip dying and Jami-Lee Ross’s SFO case. It felt like a fittingly surreal way for the national broadcaster to mark the occasion, and if you have the Spinoff app downloaded (you really should) with push notifications turned on, you’ll have received the fruits of our office chats.

Speaking of looking towards the light, The Spinoff is venturing out of our writing caves to put on some in-real-life events. Sometimes you meet a funny/smart/cool writer in real life and they are so different from their on-page persona that it’s jarring. I can’t speak for myself but I can confidently say everyone else involved in the events translate exceptionally well in real life. If you’re keen to come along to one (sorry, only in Wellington and Auckland for now), you can buy tickets here.

This week’s episode of Behind the Story

Spinoff staff writer Tara Ward has loved and examined local TV for longer than any other Spinoff writer. As the longest consistent contributor to The Spinoff outside of its founder, Tara has long been the go-to voice for local matters on screen. A master of the power ranking format, Tara’s ability to both genuinely love and critique New Zealand’s most iconic (and obscure) shows is unique among journalists.

More recently, she’s become the editor of pop culture newsletter Rec Room (subscribe here) and interviewer for The Spinoff’s weekend format My Life in TV. Tara joins Madeleine Chapman on Behind the Story to talk a year of My Life in TV, getting to know her favourite screen talent, and what our local shows tell us about ourselves as a nation.

So what have readers spent the most time reading this week?

    • It’s winter, we’re hunkering down, and we’re still loving Married at First Sight. Alex Casey’s power ranking of the fourth week of MAFS NZ takes out the top spot this week.
    • Joel MacManus’s opinion on prime minister Christopher Luxon’s preferred brand of localism.
    • This week’s Cost of Being: A parent of ‘two under two’ with a hefty mortgage
    • Finn Barry spins a great yarn about his stolen car and Auckland Transport’s attempts to take him to court for the parking tickets they issued after it had been stolen.
    • Nicola Willis said her budget delivered for Māori, because New Zealanders “don’t turn up at the emergency room thinking about their ethnic identity”. As Marama Muru-Lanning outlines, research into kaumātua health suggests otherwise.

Comments of the week

David and David meet in the comments section over Māori wards 🤝 and Joel’s opinion on the government’s preferred form of localism.

“Nailed it big time, Luxon’s stance has the ‘as long as you agree with dear leader’ all over it. As for the comment on here about kiwis opposing Maori Wards, who are these kiwis you speak of? As a retired Pakeha professional I grew up with the myth of equality and we are all one people. I utterly reject that falsehood and 100% support Maori Wards as bringing in the diverse enriching Te Ao Maori viewpoints this country needs if it is to mature beyond a 1950s mindset.”

— Toorakable

I agree completely. Bringing a te ao Māori perspective to our government at every level from local communities to local councils to national government will help to ensure that our nations unique heritage and our local and national taonga will be protected and enjoyed by future generations. It also counters the greed, selfishness and extractive mindset of the capitalist model. We need it now more than ever. Btw am a European pakeha in my 60s.

— Davidy

Nicely put, by the way what’s in a name – I am a David as well. I well remember while overseas in my early 20’s a guy from then Rhodesia I worked with asking me what we did with our blacks. I was horrified and proudly told him there was no difference between me and Maori folk whilst having no idea of the suppression and oppression of Maori culture. Thanks 1960/70s education system.

— Toorakable

Bark laughing at Hera’s advice this week

“I’d rather sit next to a public masturbator.” is the best thing I’ve read this week. I expect that to remain the case for a few weeks to come. I bark laughed so hard at my desk that colleagues had to check that I was OK.”

— Steve_Steveson

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