Radio Show Celebrates Sister City Relationship

Scottish connection: Marion O’Kane and Simon Vare host Kilts and Kiwis on OAR FM Dunedin.

The Dunedin-Edinburgh Sister City Society is back on air with a radio show and podcast in the lead-up to this year’s St Andrew’s Day celebrations.

OAR FM Dunedin show Kilts and Kiwis has returned for a third series. The fortnightly magazine-style programme features music, interviews and updates on plans for the annual Celebrate St Andrew’s Day event, to be held in the Octagon on Saturday, 30 November.

Marion O’Kane, who co-hosts the show with Simon Vare, said the Society’s role was to promote and grow the creative links between Dunedin and Edinburgh.

“The radio show is an opportunity to talk about what communities here and in Edinburgh are up to, and to further the Society’s aims of building on our historical connections.

“We’ll be talking with guests from Edinburgh as well as Dunedin people who are preparing to make this year’s St Andrew’s Day very special.”

This year was the first time the Society’s event in the Octagon would be held on Scotland’s official national day. As well as all the usual stalls, games, music and family-friendly “have-a-go” activities, there would be plenty of Scottish-themed food items.

Listeners with a yen for a hearty bowl of porridge in the meantime could expect competitions and giveaways of Harraways products on the Kilts and Kiwis show.

Mr Vare said a “friendship agreement” with Corstorphine Community Council, signed earlier this year, was an example of the Society’s ongoing efforts to strengthen relationships with Edinburgh.

“We’re looking to find mutually beneficial solutions to common challenges and to build on longstanding connections.

“The agreement includes supporting and developing new social and economic, cultural and community programmes to encourage citizens of both cities to share their experiences and learn from one another.”

Kilts and Kiwis airs every second Friday at 10am on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, with podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Writers Out of the Basement

A group of Dunedin writers have come out of the basement and into the studio to present readings of their original works on air.

OAR FM programme and podcast Basement Writers features prose and poetry from scribes who first met last year at a Literacy Aotearoa course on writing family stories.

The course was held at Literacy Aotearoa’s offices in the lower-level “basement” of the Carnegie Centre in Moray Place.

A collegial environment was quickly established, giving the group the confidence to expand their horizons, working with different styles and subjects.

Course participant Eleanor McGregor said that when the twelve-week programme concluded, the writers were keen to maintain the supportive relationships they had formed.

“The group was so wonderful. Even though the people in it were quite disparate, we got on really well together.

“We were all quite sad about the course finishing so were scratching around, looking for some other reason to keep it going.”

An article in The Star about making programmes with OAR FM sowed the seed for the next phase, and it was soon agreed that the group would take up the opportunity to broadcast and podcast each writer’s work.

Mac MacDonald, who started the Literacy Aotearoa course with the intention of fine-tuning his fiction writing skills but gravitated toward poetry at the encouragement of his colleagues, said there were a few nerves at the prospect of going public.

“That just adds a bit of spice to the experience. We all took to it like ducks to water, in our own individual ways.

“Being part of the show has been a terrific experience, one that has enhanced my life over the time I’ve been doing it.”

Basement Writers airs every second Saturday at 12.30pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, with podcasts available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Photo: Above ground: The Basement Writers group presents a programme on OAR FM Dunedin.

Contemporary Twist to Scottish Show

Scottish music is not all bagpipes and ballads, says Dunedin man Ron Mackintosh.

Not that the host of Scots Wha Hae on OAR FM Dunedin has anything against the traditional musical forms of his homeland, which will always have a place on the fortnightly programme. It’s just that there is a wealth of contemporary material to choose from, so the likes of Andy Stewart and Kenneth McKellar feature less frequently than the Proclaimers or the Corries.

Mr Mackintosh, on-air as Ron the Noo, says there will always be room for the songs of Robbie Burns. His admiration for the Scottish bard’s work grew out of a seven-year stint as host of Radio Dunedin show Calling All Scots.

“I’d studied Robbie Burns’ poetry when I was at school and, quite frankly, couldn’t understand it,” he says.

“Glasgow was not really a strong kilts and poetry kind of city, at least not then. So it wasn’t until I was working on my former radio show that Burns’ work began to mean more to me.”

Selections from Mr Macintosh’s collection were likely to include tracks seldom heard by a Dunedin audience, as well as music from Dunedin-based artists.

“There is a much greater awareness of Scottish music than there has ever been. Traditionally, it was people who came from Scotland who were homesick, so they listened to Scottish music programmes. It’s no longer like that.”

Through joining the organising committee for Dunedin’s St Andrews Day celebrations, and through hosting Scots Wha Hae, Mr Mackintosh had strengthened his own connection to Scotland.

“For a long time, I did not celebrate my Scottish heritage in the way I do now. These past few months presenting the programme have really pulled that together for me.”

Scots Wha Hae airs every second Sunday at 2pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM, supported by Harrington Vaughan Academy of Hairdressing. Podcasts are available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.

Photo: Ron the Noo: Ron Mackintosh hosts Scottish music programme Scots Wha Hae on OAR FM Dunedin.

Burns Fellowship 60th Anniversary

Lunch Time Reading Session

As part of the Burns Fellowship 60th Anniversary celebrations, former and current Burns Fellows gathered in the University of Otago Link to read extracts of their novels, short stories, poetry, scripts, non-fiction and theatrical texts.

Listen to Session


From Book to Film

As part of the Burns Fellowship 60th Anniversary celebrations, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society organised a panel discussion.

In the programme you are about to hear, former Burns Fellows join Chris Prentice, Associate Professor from the University of Otago Department of English and Alistair Fox, Emeritus Professor of English, for a discussion on the topic From Book to Film – Adapting New Zealand Literature to the Screen.

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Tribute to Absent Fellows

The programme you are about to hear, Tribute to Absent Fellows, is brought to you by the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival, in association with the University of Otago English Programme’s Burns Fellowship 60th anniversary celebrations.

What follows is a salute to the 17 Burns Fellows no longer with us –  with friends, whanau and colleagues of Absent Fellows taking the podium to read in their honour.

Listen to Session

New Zealand Young Writers Festival

The Blaming of the Shrew: From the Frontlines of Contemporary Feminism

125 years after women won the vote in Aotearoa New Zealand, we’ve still got a long way to go.

The programme you are about to hear, “The Blaming of the Shrew: From the Frontlines of Contemporary Feminism” was held as part of the 2018 New Zealand Young Writers Festival.

On this panel, journalists Sasha Borissenko and Eleanor Ainge Roy, and Shirley Le from Sweatshop Sydney discuss pay equity, intersectional feminism, and the difficulties of balancing privacy and the public interest in the #MeToo era.

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The Most Terrifying (Children’s) Book Ever

On this the 200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, maybe it’s time to reflect on what are our greatest horror masterpieces.

The programme you are about to hear, “The Most Terrifying Children’s Book Ever”, was held as part of the 2018 New Zealand Young Writers Festival.

Craig Cliff and a group of overactive imaginations argue that it’s not Mary Shelley, Anne Rice or Stephen King we should be most afraid of, but rather Maurice Sendak, Lynley Dodd or Margaret Wise Brown.

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Tales from the Sweatshop: A Western Sydney Showcase

Sweatshop is a literacy movement based in Western Sydney, devoted to empowering groups and individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds through training and employment in creative and critical writing.

In the programme you are about to hear, we hear from Sweatshop’s Winnie Dunn, Phoebe Grainer and Shirley Le.

“Tales from the Sweatshop: A Western Sydney Showcase” was held as part of the 2018 New Zealand Young Writers Festival.

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Colour Between The Lines: Decolonising Literature

The programme you are about to hear, “Colour Between The Lines: Decolonising Literature”, was held as part of the 2018 New Zealand Young Writers Festival.

This Trans-Tasman Talanoa includes Winnie Dunn and Phoebe Grainer from the Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement, and the Auckland-based pair of Pasifika playwright Leki Jackson-Bourke, and columnist Miriama Aoake.

They korero about how their writing practices contribute to continuous acts of decolonisation.

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Town Belt Plays Part in Thriller Podcast

Thriller: Local writer Emily Duncan has placed the Town Belt at the heart of three-part podcast Dark Dunedin: Heaven Looks On.

Dunedin’s Town Belt plays a special role in a three-part thriller podcast penned by local writer Emily Duncan.

Dark Dunedin: Heaven Looks On was presented as part of this year’s Dunedin Fringe Festival programme by Prospect Park Productions, formed in 2016 by Ms Duncan and Wellington-based producer H-J Kilkelly. The series was recorded and edited at OAR FM Dunedin and received its premier broadcast on 11 March.

It is now available as a podcast to be downloaded and shared.

Ms Duncan said the Town Belt provided the setting for the drama, which has a violent crime and “nostalgic and gothic Dunedin” at its heart.

“The podcast is set around quite a small geographical area where this crime takes place and where the protagonist, Louise Hepburn, resides. She lives alone and regularly walks the area at night.

“We begin not really knowing what her connection is, apart from being in the proximity. As the story unravels we see she is somewhat closer to it.”

Listeners could discover – or re-discover – historic, natural, and supernatural features of Dunedin including “the whoosh of Lamson pipes at Penroses Department Store, twinkling stars in the St James theatre, and Kēhua, sprites, and demons dancing under the moonlight in the Town Belt.”

Creating a podcast was a departure from writing for theatre, where once a production had been staged it was gone. A podcast could “live forever” on the Internet and be listened to at any time, in any location.

“We also have some fantastic talent and resources in Dunedin, so I saw a podcast as a way we could beam Dunedin talent to the world.”

The cast was headed by Julie Edwards, who played the part of Louise Hepburn, and included Dougal Stevenson, Terry MacTavish, Cheryl Amos, Robert Shand and Phil Vaughan.

Original music had been composed and performed by Marama Grant.

Dark Dunedin: Heaven Looks On is available as a podcast from OAR FM Dunedin website www.oar.org.nz and from iTunes.

Arts Show Debunks Myths

If you don’t know much about art but you know what you like,The Arty Farty Hour on Otago Access Radio might be just the show for you.

Programme hosts and local artists Ron Esplin and Andy Cook are keen to debunk commonly held myths around engaging with the art world, including that it is for experts only.

“We need to keep this art business user friendly,” said Mr Cook, owner-operator of Dunedin art supplies shop Art Zone.

“I know a lot of people are intimidated. They think that only professional artists are allowed to paint, and that’s not true. What we talk about on the show helps to ease people into it, especially if they are just starting out.”

The Arty Farty Hour blends profiles of leading artists with discussion on technique and materials, accompanied by music that is either art-themed or performed by recording artists who also dabble in other art forms.

Mr Esplin launched the show in 2013, keen to provide a voice for the Dunedin art community in local media. The on-air partnership with Mr Cook began some time later, when a one-off guest appearance fired an engaging on-air rapport built on shared discovery, laughter and plenty of good-natured ribbing.

“I admire Andy’s work and that’s a great catalyst for our discussion,” he said.

“I tend to focus on watercolour painting and Andy on oils. It’s a lifelong occupation and I originally thought that once I had the hang of it, I’d move on. I now know that you never do.”

Much of the programme was well researched but unscripted, said Mr Cook.

“We have this mutual interest in arts and one thing leads to another. For me, it’s just a really interesting conversation.

“I’d be here, even if the mics weren’t on.”

Fortnightly programme The Arty Farty Hour  airs Saturdays at 1pm on OAR FM Dunedin 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from www.oar.org.nz.

Photo: Perfectly framed: Andy Cook (left) and Ron Esplin are hosts of The Arty Farty Hour on Otago Access Radio.

Youth Activist Backing a Quiet Riot

Ashley King is calling on local youth to riot – or rather, be a riot.

The 18-year-old host of Project Rioteer on Otago Access Radio’s Youth Zone prefers the definition of riot as an impressively large or varied display, as in “a riot of colour”, over a violent public disturbance. The different backgrounds and interests of young people are to be celebrated, she says.

“What’s your colour? Your personality? And how can you contribute to making this world look so cool?

“Youth have so much potential to influence our future. After all, we are going to inherit this world.”

Ms King formed activism collective Ashley and the Riot in 2015, to bring young Dunedin people together to make a positive change in their community. The group’s stated mission is to work towards a better future, encourage diversity and to take a stand against bullying.

Following an appearance as an interview guest on another Youth Zone programme earlier this year, Ms King decided that her own radio show and podcast could provide a platform for discussing the issues Ashley and the Riot was formed to address. Programmes to date had focused on poverty and hardship, with activities including a collection of food and hygiene products for donation to the Salvation Army foodbank.

Project Rioteer co-host Esther Tamati (15) said she joined the show after meeting Ms King at a meeting of the Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council. Her aims were to encourage confidence in young people and to help get their voices heard.

“It’s important to me that everyone is treated equally. I’m a bit younger than Ashley and have a different view on things. So I offer a different perspective.”

Ms King had recently been appointed to the executive committee of the Otago Community Broadcasters Society and was looking forward the experience.

“It means a lot to me and I’m really excited to contribute to Otago Access Radio on behalf of young people in Dunedin.”

Project Rioteer airs every second Friday at 4pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from www.oar.org.nz.

Photo: Young potential: Esther Tamati and Ashley King are hosts of Otago Access Radio show Project Rioteer.

Veteran Broadcaster Hosts Sunday Matinee

Sundays at 4pm is the time to take off your gardening gloves, put the kettle on and spend an hour immersed in the best of musical theatre from across the decades.

Veteran broadcaster Donald Saville-Cook has joined the Otago Access Radio team of volunteers as host of Musical Matinees For You, a programme of music from Broadway and West End productions, film, operas and operettas.

Mr Saville-Cook is no stranger to the mic, having spent 13 years at the helm of a nostalgia-themed music programme with Radio Dunedin. He once considered a professional career in singing and performed “most tenor parts” in Gilbert and Sullivan productions in the United Kingdom and New Zealand before interests in science and health took priority.

“I’m very interested in the study of the voice, and how voices are used in situations where words have to come over very clearly,” he said.

This was particularly important where lyrics were used to advance the plot of a stage production or musical film.

“People need to be aware of what’s going on. It’s not just a song, in many cases.”

Musical theatre and opera appealed because they addressed some of the “basic problems we all have in life”, he said. Having attended world-class Sadler’s Wells Theatre Company productions at Covent Garden and seen a New York State Opera performance of La Boheme, he considered himself a harsh critic but was impressed by the quality of the New Zealand productions he had seen.

“What we have lost in straying away from the traditional we have gained in terms of movement, bringing this music into the present day.”

Musical Matinees For You was a narrated programme of music, providing an opportunity for those who hadn’t previously seen or heard a production to discover elements of plot and character.

“It’s also simply an opportunity to enjoy beautiful voices making beautiful sounds.”

Musical Matinees For You airs every Sunday at 4pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from www.oar.org.nz.

Indigenous Encounters

A student of Indigenous Studies at the University of Otago is using her research as the basis of a new programme on Otago Access Radio’s Connecting Cultures Zone.

Pia Kahn hosts Indigenous Encounters every second Tuesday evening at 7pm.

“I feel that indigenous people should have a voice in the mainstream,” Ms Kahn said.

“A lot of people don’t even know what indigenous means, so the radio show is a great way to educate the public about it and to give a voice to marginalised people. Also, it’s a way for me to research as part of my studies.”

Ms Kahn has a particular interest in indigenous groups of the Philippines. In investigating her own Tagalog heritage, she has the documented the impacts of colonisation on Tagalog language and customs.

“There are certain remote areas in the Philippines where Tagalog is still spoken in a way you don’t hear any more. So I’m concerned about certain words being lost in our culture because the national language is based on Tagalog but has loaned words from other languages.”

Moves to restore the lost arts and crafts of other indigenous cultures would also be explored on the radio show. Ms Kahn pointed to an initiative in Guam to revive construction of canoes and sailing vessels once used by ancient Chamorro settlers as an example worthy of coverage.

Two recent episodes featured interviews with Infinite Dakot-ta, an international artist who combines spoken word, hip-hop, indigenous chants, body movement and dance to convey a message of love, liberation, and the revival of indigenous cultures and values.

“I think there are certain cultural features in common with indigenous people,” Ms Kahn said.

“They are usually very connected to the areas they’re in, and the world view is nature-based and quite spiritual. Most have had to resist colonisation and commercial encroachments on their lives.

“Indigenous Encounters will explore some of the contemporary responses to that.”

Indigenous Encounters airs every second Tuesday at 7pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available fromwww.oar.org.nz.

Photo: World view: Pia Kahn hosts Indigenous Encounters on Otago Access Radio.