The Pantograph Punch x Auckland Arts Festival 2019

Announcing our talks programme for Auckland Arts Festival 2019

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Earlier this year, the Auckland Arts Festival team invited us to respond to their programe with a series of talks – and here are the results. 

The Auckland Arts Festival 2019 programme asks a bunch of messy, knotty questions – about the stories we tell, the impact they have, and whether there are voices too dangerous to be heard – and this series is about creating space for a few of these conversations.

It’s incredibly exciting to be working with the Festival on this series, and to be presenting so many voices we admire: smart voices, angry voices, playful voices, and all of them captivating. We hope to see you there. 


Can we solve some of the world’s problems over breakfast? (Probably not) (but we can make a start)

This International Women’s Day, we’re gathering some of the most exciting, inspiring, and provocative voices in our city to set the agenda – and we’d like you to be part of the conversation.

Hosted by Johanna Cosgrove, you’re invited to an intimate breakfast where you’ll be seated with one of 20 guests to discuss a question they’re grappling with: in their fields, their lives, and their city.

Our powerhouse speakers include Miriama Kamo, Tracey McIntosh, Amber Curreen, Jackie Clark, Aych McArdle, Chelsie Preston Crayford, Cypris Afakasi, Sarah Longbottom, Grace Stratton, Ilana James, Leah Pao, Alison Mau, Alice Canton, Karamia Muller, Juliet Gerrard, Kolokesa U. Māhina-Tuai, JessB, Sacha Judd, and Ranjna Patel.

Friday 8 March • 8-9am
Spiegeltent, Aotea Square

Please note: each table has a maximum capacity of nine guests and your speaker will be a surprise in the style of Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast


Refugees are expected to fit a certain archetype – so what happens when they don’t?

In Christchurch earlier this year, a school asked their students to “dress as refugees in old ragged clothes” as part of a fundraiser for World Vision. Good intentions? Maybe. Helpful? Not so much. The narratives we hear about refugees tend to follow a certain formula – one that pulls at heartstrings (and on purse strings), but what are the unintended (and dangerous) consequences of this? What happens when we equate the word ‘refugee’ with ‘trauma’ or ‘poverty’?

Join our panel – featuring Golriz Ghahraman, Leonard Bell and Guled Mire, chaired by John Campbell – in a candid conversation about the myths that have shaped their experience and the stories we aren’t hearing.

Wednesday 13 March • 6-7pm
Spiegeltent, Aotea Square


Is there a case for censorship in the arts?

Great art tests boundaries: it asks difficult and uncomfortable questions about who we are and what we find acceptable – in our private lives, in the community around us, and in the world at large. But is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed? Our chair Alice Snedden joins Jessica ‘Coco’ Hansell, Chris Parker, Lana Lopesi and Victor Rodger in an unflinching debate about whether there is anything that should be off-limits to artists – and, by implication, their audiences.

Wednesday 20 March • 6-7pm
Spiegeltent, Aotea Square



Cypris Afakasi is a non-binary QPoC (they / she / he) multidisciplinary performance artist from South Auckland who engages their communities to question notions of gender binary and colonialism through ritualistic witchcraft activation and vogue ballroom. Always operating from an alchemist's mindset, there are only constructive and loving exchanges with Cypris/FANG.  Barbara Ala’alatoa is a New Zealand Samoan, born and raised in Auckland. She has over 30 years experience working across the education sector and is currently Chair of the Education Council of Aotearoa NZ. Barbara is Principal at Sylvia Park Primary School – a job she adores!  –  and in 2014, received the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education.
Len Bell is an Associate Professor in Art History at The University of Auckland, with a particular interest in the work of migrant and refugee artists. He is the author of Colonial Constructs: European images of Maori, In Transit: Questions of Home and Belonging in New Zealand Art, and Strangers Arrive: Emigrés and the Arts in New Zealand, 1930–1980. JessB, of Kenyan descent, is making her mark as the newest queen of rap and hip-hop in New Zealand. After a breakout year in 2017, JessB continues to move from strength to strength, taking influence from many of great female hip-hop artists, including Missy Elliot. Her debut EP, Bloom, was released in March this year.  
John Campbell is a journalist who has worked on 20/203 News and Campbell Live. He was the host of RNZ’s Saturday Morning programme (2000-2002) and Checkpoint (2015-2018), and has recently joined TVNZ as a presenter with a roving brief. Alice Canton is an award-winning performer and theatre-artist based in Auckland. Her collective practice, White_mess, is concerned with developing robust performance practice to create distinct, live performance experiences ranging from solos to large-scale community engagement projects.
Jackie Clark set up the Aunties to help women in need, particularly those who she describes as being at the worst end of abuse and assault statistics and living in dire and abject poverty. She the winner of the Community and Not for Profit category at the 2018 Women of Influence Awards, as well as taking out the Supreme Award. The Aunties' motto is meeting needs with love. Johanna Cosgrove is an award-winning actor, comedian and entrepreneur. She is the creator of AUNTY  – which won Best Comedy (Auckland Fringe, 2017) and Outstanding Performer (Dunedin Fringe, 2018) – and is the co-founder of social enterprise Nopesisters Clothing, which won Influencer of the Year (Social Change) in this year's Miss FQ Awards.
Amber Curreen (Ngāpuhi) is a Māori theatre producer and creative who has been delivering professional theatre since 2009, currently with Te Rehia Theatre Company and as co-leader of Te Pou Theatre - Auckland's Māori home of Theatre.  Juliet Gerrard is the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. She trained at Oxford University, completing a DPhil in biological chemistry, and her research spreads across biochemistry, chemistry, health, food science and biomaterial design.
Golriz Ghahraman has lived in Iran, New Zealand, Tanzania, The Hague, and Cambodia. In addition to working as a barrister in Aotearoa, she has worked as a lawyer for the UN and a consultant to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime. She was born in Mashhad, Iran, but moved to Auckland with her family when they sought political asylum in 1990. In 2017, Golriz became the first refugee to be elected to NZ’s Parliament as a Green Party list MP. Musician, writer and visual artist Coco Solid is Jessica Hansell, a Māori/Samoan/German artist from Auckland. Hansell came up through underground music in both punk and rap, building a discography with Parallel Dance Ensemble, Badd Energy and radical 9-member rap collective Fanau Spa. She heads DIY projects Kuini Qontrol and Equalise My Vocals, which amplify women, LGBTI, queer and decolonising voices in the Pacific. Hansell also writes and directs cult family cartoon Aroha Bridge and is currently completing her first book while undertaking a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Hawai’i.
Ilana James is the team leader for the Homeless Outreach and Elder Services at the Auckland City Mission. Her parents worked with people with psychiatric illness and intellectual disabilities, and this - combined with her experience in mental health care, aged care, homeless services and hospitality - has solidified her values of equity, dignity and social justice. She brings a deep understanding of the systemic issues contributing to homelessness and a commitment to creating shared understanding and change. Sacha Judd runs the Hoku Group, a family office combining private investments, early-stage tech ventures and a non-profit foundation. She is the co-host of Refactor (a series of events around diversity in technology), and Flounders’ Club (a network for early-stage company founders). She speaks at conferences and in-house events on startups, capital raising, diversity & inclusion in the tech sector, and how fans will transform the world.
Miriama Kamo is the host and reporter for TVNZ's flagship current affairs programme Sunday and presents Māori current affairs programme Marae. She recently published her first children’s book, The Stolen Stars of Matariki, and is working on a project to translate 100 classic and contemporary works into te reo. The mum of two is an ambassador for Endometriosis NZ and for Pillars which supports children of prison inmates. Sarah Longbottom, MNZM, is Executive Director of Ockham Foundation and Founder of ​Ngā Rangatahi Toa. She has been widely recognised for her leadership in education and the creative sector and was named in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honors List as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to youth and the arts. Sarah is the host of the Auckland chapter of CreativeMornings and holds advisory and board positions in the arts and charitable sectors.
Lana Lopesi is a critic of art and culture based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Her writing has featured in a number of publications in print and online as well as in numerous artist and exhibition catalogues. Lana is the Editor-in-Chief for The Pantograph Punch and was Founding Editor of #500words. Her first book, False Divides, was published with Bridget Williams Books earlier this year. Kolokesa Uafā Māhina-Tuai is an independent curator, arts advocate, writer and Co-Founder of Lagi-Maama Ltd consultancy. At the heart of her practice is a strong foundation of Tongan Indigenous knowledge and practice. This informs her holistic understanding and appreciation of Moana Oceania arts, and her relationships and collaborations with artists which are key agents in maintaining, preserving and evolving arts of their homeland in Aotearoa.
Alison Mau is a journalist and broadcaster. She has hosted shows including Newsnight, Breakfast, One News At Six, Fair Go, Seven Sharp and RadioLive Drive and is currently at The Sunday Star Times and Stuff, where she is leading a team of journalists in the national #metoonz investigation into sexual harassment in Aotearoa. Aych McArdle is a community advocate and LGBTI+ human rights defender based in Tāmaki Makaurau. In 2016 they received a scholarship to participate in ISHR's Human Rights Defenders Advocacy Programme in Geneva, an intensive training programme on how to use UN mechanisms in grass roots activism. While in Geneva, Aych participated in the 32nd UN Human Rights Council which saw the adoption of the historic SOGI resolution establishing a mandate for an independent expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at the UN.
Tracey McIntosh (Tūhoe) is a Professor of Indigenous Studies and Co-Head of Wānanga o Waipapa at The University of Auckland. Her recent research focuses on incarceration (particularly of Indigenous peoples), inequality and justice. She is currently a member of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group and Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora - The Safe and Effective Justice Advisory Group. Guled Mire is a policy consultant, writer and speaker who is passionate about advancing the inclusion and social well-being of refugees. He is recognised as one of Aotearoa’s most prominent young voices advocating for a more humane, inclusive and welcoming society. Guled was six years old when his mother, a solo parent, fled the strife of Somalia’s civil war with her nine children for a better life in Aotearoa. 
Karamia Muller is a Pacific scholar and feminist specialising in Pacific space concepts. She is a lecturer at the School of Architecture and Planning at The University of Auckland and her creative practice involves multi-disciplinary approaches to spatial thinking, including working with London-based Fijian artist Luke Willis Thompson and New Zealand-based Australian artist Rebecca Ann Hobbs.  Leah Pao aka the Queen of Tonga (@_queenoftonga on social media) is a strong-minded free spirit of of Tongan/Niuean descent. She lives life unapologetically and navigates through spaces most woman like me can’t and that is my truth. I acknowledge this privilege and want to use it to fight for my (LGBTQI+) community’s rights
Chris Parker is an actor, comedian and writer. His debut solo show, No More Dancing in the Good Room was awarded the Best Newcomer Award (2015) and his 2018 Comedy Festival Show, Camp Binch, won him the Fred Award for Best Show. Chris is a core cast member of award-winning improv group Snort, co-hosts The Male Gayz, and can be regularly seen on Jono and Ben, Funny Girls, and 7 Days. On stage, he has starred as David Halls in Hudson & Halls Live! and Nick Harrison in Shortland Street The Musical. Ranjna Patel runs Nirvana Healthcare with her husband Kanti, a network of 45 clinics serving 220,000 patients. She was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year (2016), Deloittes Visionary Leader (2016) and NEXT Woman of the Year - Business and Innovation (2017) and has extensive involvement in charitable and community groups, for which she received a QSM in 2009 and an ONZM in 2017. Ranjna sits on a number of advisory boards, including the Middlemore Foundation, the NZ Police Ethnic Forum, and Global Women.
Chelsie Preston Crayford is an acclaimed actor, writer, director and an outspoken social justice advocate. Since her on-screen debut at the age of 4, she has won high praise and numerous awards, including a prestigious Australian AACTA award and a TV Week Logie. Her film Falling Up won the Jury Prize for Best NZ Short Film at this years NZIFF. Victor Rodger is an award-winning writer of Samoan and Scottish descent whose work often deals with race and sexuality. His most successful play, Black Faggot, has been performed throughout New Zealand and Australia as well as in Edinburgh and Honolulu. His short story, Like Shinderella, was included in the Maori/Pacifica anthology Black Marks on the White Page and he is currently completing his debut short story collection, Warmish Pacific Greetings.
Alice Snedden is one of the leading stand-ups in Aotearoa, a member of the hit weekly improv show Snort and a 2017 Billy T Nominee. Alice is the head writer on TV3 shows Jono and Ben and Funny Girls, as well as regularly appearing on 7Days and hosting TVNZ OnDemand series, Alice Snedden’s Bad News. Grace Stratton is a student at AUT, a lover of fashion and a believer in design, being a way that we can maximise everyone’s value. As a wheelchair user, Grace has learned the importance of empathy, having a vision and a loud voice; especially in the times when people want you to be quiet.

See the rest of the programme here