What’s Hot? Our Winter Picks

July & August highlights across visual arts, books and fashion, from the Pantograph Punch whānau of writers and editors.


The Panthers

For a while now, I have heard murmurs about a historical-fiction TV show about the Polynesian Panthers, being made and thankfully it is finally coming! The show is the first production made by Tavake, a new player in the screen world which we should definitely be keeping an eye out for. The show features talent such as Beula Koale and Frankie Adams, is styled by Sammy Salsa, and has a soundtrack by Troy Kingi and Diggy Dupe. And it all coming live to us on August 15th on TVNZ OnDemand. – LL


Coming Home in the Dark

I’m not a fan of thrillers (too scary) but there’s something about the preview to Coming Home in the Dark that entices me. The opening trailer scene with an ominously beeping car lurched onto the side of the road, left hand door wide open and a windswept item of pink clothing hanging out is decidedly unsettling. Although not a film expert by any means, I recognise several of the actors, Erik Thomson the dad in Packed to the Rafters, Daniel Gillies from Vampire Diaries (not that I ever watched it…), and of course Waru actress Miriama McDowell. The wholesome picture-perfect family scene at the end makes it all the more anxiety-inducing, I don’t want anything to happen to this sweet whānau – I’m invested. Please survive! – AS

Photo: Gold Fish Creative


Pork & Poll Taxes (Showing 10-14 August)

An often forgotten part of Aotearoa’s history, Pork & Poll Taxes seeks to unveil the painful decisions and hardship experienced by a Chinese family during the Poll tax era. A tale spanning from China to Aotearoa to China again, it’s a narrative that speaks to family, racism, relationships and migration. I was lucky enough to read a few excerpts of the play before rehearsals started, and the writing really pulls on the heartstrings. I personally love movement and silence as much as strong dialogue, and the stillness and weight of everything unsaid hits hard. I’m particularly excited to see the pairing of wushu-contemporary dancer choreography Yin-Chi Lee with director Talia Pua’s eye for striking imagery and physical theatre. – SZ



Things I Learned in Art School, Megan Dunn

Megan Dunn is an art writer whose work I have always enjoyed. Long time Pantograph Punch contributor, she has a very particular way of writing about art which is with genuine intrigue and on the nose humour. Dunn’s latest book, Things I Learned in Art School is being released to the public in August, and you should all buy a copy. As a Dunn stan, and as someone who sneakily has already read it – I can confirm it’s great. – LL

Butcherbird, Cassie Hart

A fellow Te Papa Tupu alumni, Cassie Hart (Ngāi Tahu) is a writer of science fiction and fantasy, and Butcherbirdis her first traditionally published book, though she’s self-published plenty before. I first came across Cassie’s writing as one of the Editors of the Atua Wāhine Collection. I haven’t managed to get an advance copy of Butcherbird (if anyone sees this, I’d love one), but the blurb reads as a puzzle-mystery thriller. Due for release in August, Cassie’s already been picked to speak at literary events WORD Christchurch, Verb Festival, and for inclusion in Book Coven, our new collaboration with Verb. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy (swoon over that delicious lime green), settle into my couch with a cup of tea, a block of choccies, and be engrossed. – AS


National Poetry Day, August 27th 2021

This is a day I look forward to every year. National Poetry day is packed full of events for poetry lovers (or just the curious!) everywhere. I know of a couple events happening in Wellington, including Poetry Idols and Open Heart Surgery. Keep an eye out for other upcoming events nationwide. It’s going to be a fun day exploring our cities and appreciating the power and beauty of poetry! – SO


Falling Into Rarohenga, Steph Matuku

I started binge-reading Falling Into Rarohenga by Steph Matuku (Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Mutunga, Te Āti Awa) on a bright Saturday morning – the rest of my day was decidedly gone as soon as teenage siblings Tui and Kae fell into a swirling hole in their floor. I just had to know what was going to happen to them! This pukapuka has a popping storyline, with loads of imaginative characters inspired by pūrākau Māori that kids and young adults will adore. But what I loved most was Steph Matuku’s clever sense of humour. There were loads of lol moments, you know the kind where you raucously laugh at something only you are invested in, and then look around to see if anyone saw you. – AS



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The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

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