Meet Our New Kaitohu: Vanessa Mei Crofskey

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Vanessa Mei Crofskey as our new Kaitohu.

Posted on
19.01.22

After a year with the incomparable Lana Lopesi serving as Interim Kaitohu, we’re delighted to announce our new Kaitohu: Vanessa Mei Crofskey. Vanessa started with us first as a freelance writer, then as one of the recipients of our Summer Fling mentorship programme, then joined us as a Staff Writer, and as our Communications Manager. She’s had a long relationship with The Pantograph Punch, and we can’t think of anyone more exciting to hold and reimagine this space for the next generation. We’re thrilled. We’re giddy.

Here’s Vanessa, reflecting on this next step:

After just over a year of running Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, the longest running independent art space in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, I’m excited to return to The Pantograph Punch to take on the position of Kaitohu, with a little more age and wisdom in my back pocket. 

Online platforms are influential strongholds in the sharing of space, politics and the reality we contribute toward. That’s ever more apparent during these dark and buzzy times. The opportunity to work for an Aotearoa-based arts and culture journal that’s values driven, adaptive, thoughtful and filled with care for the world feels like exactly where I want to be on a petri dish. 

A space where the writing could be punchy and flavourful, could dwell in your heart for a little. I had a lil crush, then a big one

I’ve known the team behind the Punch since my last year at art school, back in 2017, when a whole new generation of students prowled Karangahape Rd after dark, and sat smoking on the kerbside outside ST PAUL St after openings. That was five years ago. Cool, critical and well executed, Pantograph articles littered my search tabs. There were section editors, a sprinkling of paid hours spread thin between them. The sharpest minds on the block were there: Matariki and Rosabel and Lana and Lucinda, whose writing I bookmarked over and over again. There was a firm resolve to create a space where cultural commentary could be fun, could be specifically for someone, where the writing could be punchy and flavourful, could dwell in your heart for a little. I had a lil crush, then a big one.

The world has evolved since then. My crush became my workplace, my launching point for arts publishing. Pantograph grew in scale, maintaining and evolving its platform, continuing to showcase current writers, scholars and artists across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa and the regions. There have been podcasts, staff writers, panel talks, several art-publishing partnerships, themed issues, and new workplace models that entrenched the necessity of pay parity and arts advocacy further into the way the platform operates. Pandemics happened. We and others built more space in Aotearoa for arts and culture commentary to exist than there had been, although the sector is still depressingly endangered. What’s exciting about this space is that it’s seen it all: the gritty wins, the dashed hopes, the stretched budgets, the growing pains. Yet it has never been afraid to adapt to circumstances, to what the world needs of it, to what it may want to become.

My crush became my workplace, my launching point for art publishing

It’s my hope to continue the work of Interim Kaitohu Lana Lopesi and Editor Ataria Sharman in paving the way forward: developing and platforming emerging QTPOC writers, holding space for in-community convos and kōrero on arts and culture (such as this one), and expanding and uplifting the types of art we want to see supported. I hope that Pantograph continues to provide space for lucid critical analysis about the function that art and culture have in society, for argument and counter-argument, and for working through the often tangled space of politics, identity and representation in the world that we all coexist inside of.

My vision has always been to have fun, and I hope to bring that to the Punch. In keeping with the legacy of its last ten years, I hope to keep making cool stuff happen, to keep Pantograph remaining sustainable and socially focused, and to do good unto others. Let’s ride! 


Vanessa Mei Crofskey (she/they) is an arts polymath, writer and Libra with fire placements. Since graduating from AUT with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2017, she has worked across the sector as a poet, performer, artist, sports commentator and freelancer for anyone that paid her (and a few that didn't), including for Basement Theatre, Window Gallery, The Pantograph Punch, and most recently as the Director of Enjoy Contemporary Art Space. She is interested in relational approaches to wellbeing, Queer and migrant theory, anime and arts publishing. Her debut collection of poetry can be found in AUP New Poets 6, published by Auckland University Press.

 Photo: Cheska Brown

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