It’s Sculpture Time Again!

The news that Headland is seeking a new Artistic Director for next year’s Sculpture on the Gulf has Waiheke’s artistic community in a state of excitement. Normally, we’d have sent Tom Payne (Presenter of the slightly popular local arts show ‘A Payne in the Arts’) along to cover this important story, but, as he’s already left for The Bienniale* we had no choice but to send Alan Knight along in his place.

Current Headland Artistic Director Dorothy Pseud has come a long way since co-founding the Condemned Garden Shed Gallery in Ostend in 2003. For the last few years she has headed up the team responsible for bringing the island’s premier sculpture exhibition to life on the hills above Matiatia. But all good things must come to an end and as the search begins for her successor I caught up with her to look back on her work over the last few years as well as contemplate what the future holds. Now it was clear from the start that I’d be lucky to get anything but pretentious nonsense from her regarding the generally ludicrous and shoddy standard of work usually presented at Headland so naturally I took the precaution of adding a generous dose of CIA approved truth serum to her cup of decaff so as to get a more realistic overview of what we can expect next year.

I began by asking her what exactly does the Artistic director do? Ms Pseud sighed heavily, “Look,” she began, “The whole thing is basically BOLLOCKS right? Sculpture? Don’t make me laugh. On Waiheke? Michaelangelo was a sculptor. Bernini was a sculptor. Frederick Hart was a sculptor. You know? Actual TALENTED people who took stone or metal and turned it into bloody ART? We, on the other hand, get fifteen or so total wankers with a scrappy grant and a few sheets of bleedin’ corrugated iron or some other crap they managed to scrounge from the transfer station. Either that or they went off their meds, had some sort of half hearted idea then got an engineering firm to do the actual construction then took all the credit. We stick it on a hillside, tack some slab of pretentious waffle about what it’s supposed to ‘mean’ in front of it and away we go. Pathetic I know but people seem to like it. Why am I being this honest?”

“I drugged your coffee.”

“Oh…..Right….That would do it I suppose…..”

“So how are the sculptures chosen?”

“Well, to begin with, you have to sort out the real stuff from the stuff submitted by people taking the piss. Now that really IS tricky. Let’s say, just as an example, we get an artwork that consists of three sheep’s skulls glued to a plank and sprayed yellow. Now if a Real Artist thought of that then obviously it’s brilliant and may win a major award, but if the same idea came from some group of blokes sitting around, drinking beer and trying to be annoying then it’s just crap. See what I mean?”

“Not really, no. If an idea is rubbish then surely it’s rubbish no matter who perpetrates it?”

“You didn’t go to Art School did you?”


“I can tell. Look, the point is, if someone has been to some sort of Art College, spent three years splattering plaster or resin or oatmeal on the walls, had some sort of distressing mental breakdown after living on pot noodles in a basement for a while then got some sort of write up in a magazine that nobody reads then you have to take their work seriously and exhibit it!”

“Ever get it wrong?”

“OK, there was the thing with the traffic cones…”

“I don’t remember that one…”

“Last Headland but one. The notable sculptor Fenton Bulstrode submitted an installation consisting of seventeen traffic cones arranged in a semi circle, right? Utter wank of course, but Bulstrode is ‘Well Known’. He’s the guy that did the pile of sponge cake thing on the Wellington waterfront back in 2004 that caused that big traffic accident. So how could we refuse? He was supposed to send us the cones by courier and then come up and spend a week or so arranging them. But then the council did those repairs on Nick Johnson Drive and put identical cones out. We thought the freight company had dropped them off so we gathered them up and put them somewhere safely. Then the real ones arrived but we thought it was a mistake and sent them back. So we had a furious sculptor who refused to work with the cones we gave him, said they had the wrong ‘feel’, plus all the fuss when that bloke drove his bicycle into the huge hole in the road that wasn’t marked properly because we’d taken the traffic cones away. Bloody nightmare that was.”

“I can imagine.”

“But, as I said, the whole thing is style over substance. You think the average visitor knows what he’s looking at? Come on! We put out a broken horse float covered in scribble and they practically salivated over the stupid thing. Most of them are half pissed and developing sunstroke by the time they get to the exhibits so who really cares? If we say it’s ART they have to believe it right? This year it will probably be a shop window dummy squatting on a child’s potty with some sea shells glued on it for all I know. As long as it’s called something ‘deep’ like ‘Intimations Of Uncertainty, Chapter Nine‘ or some such drivel then who’s going to argue?”

“Surely someone must see it’s all nonsense?”

“Well, we did get one review that called it ‘A fatuous parade of self important ugliness seemingly cobbled together at a toddler’s playgroup.’ “

“Ow. That’s harsh. Who said that?”

“You did.”


“So, coming next year?”


“Fair enough.”

* We know it’s not until next year but Venice is a bloody long way when you have to walk and/or swim.

Sour grapes and misinformation

During the Waiheke Local Board sour grapeselection I had the pleasure of working with the Essentially Waiheke team to win the Waiheke Local Board election.  The Essentially Waiheke team (Paul, John, Beatle and Becs) plus Shirin.  Made a clean sweep in the local elections and removed 4 out of 5 of the previous board members.

My role in the whole thing was making the Essentially Waiheke website and managing the social media.  I found it a really good experience working with a team to win the campaign.  Most of the former board members have taken defeat gracefully to their credit.  However one former board member in particular appears to have some sour grapes and not just sour but bitter, twisted and sour grapes.

Ungraceful Former Local Board Member

One ungraceful former board member has setup a blog and Facebook page which continually opposes whatever the current local board does, even if it is good for the community and continually spread misinformation and what can only be called lies and rumours in an vain attempt to turn people against the current local board.  These were the same techniques that they used during the local board elections – it did not work then and it is not working now.

After the election I believed that this behaviour would stop, well at least ease back till 12 to 18 months out from the next election.  I was wrong, it really is a continuous barrage.  I have to say that all that they are achieving with this type of behaviour is a confirmation to the general public of Waiheke that voting them out of the local board was the best thing that they could of possible done.

I would like to say that my efforts went a long way to get the Essentially Waiheke campaign team to win but after analysing the whole situation I came to the conclusion that this former board was very unpopular and would not get voted back in because of the following.

  • Firstly they got voted in with a minority of votes because the votes were then split between some really good people.
  • They then disgraced themselves with the way that the Chair of the board was chosen and the side-lining of Denise Roche when she got a majority of votes.
  • I heard all sorts of stories which may or may not be true of funding cuts, issues with resource consents and general opposition from the council for anyone that opposed what the previous local board did in anyway shape or form.
  • They then appeared to make a lot of controversial decisions which went against what the public Waiheke wanted and appeared to have hidden agendas with very little transparency.
  • They disgraced themselves again with the way they side-lined Paul Walden after he won the Waiheke Local Board by election.
  • They then did not participate in public campaigning meetings.
  • They sent spam out as part of their local board campaign.

If I did not know better, I would of thought that they did not want to get elected back onto the local board.  So all I can conclude is that they got themselves voted out, all the Essentially Waiheke team had to do is put a half decent team together to oppose the previous board members  and it worked a charm – a clean sweep.  As a side note the current local board is not half decent but really a great bunch who want to work together for a better Waiheke.

This continuous barrage of misinformation and sour grapes does nothing but discredits the one sending it

This continuous barrage of misinformation and sour grapes does nothing but discredits the one sending it so I have not even bothered to comment or engage in it till now.  The only conclusion that I can come to is that the reason for this constant misinformation and opposition to whatever the local board does is because members of the ousted local board want to get voted back in, in the next local board election.

As a recap – they got voted in with a minority of the votes because of vote splitting, they then lost approximately 30% of their voting support base in the most recent election, they do nothing positive for Waiheke to date except oppose whatever the new local board does.  So they really are deluded when they believe that they will ever get voted back in.

What can you do to stop the spread of misinformation?

  • Block anyone spreading misinformation on Facebook
  • Never comment on misinformation, even if it is to correct as this helps spread it
  • Don’t visit any blogs spreading misinformation
  • Remove yourself from any Facebook groups / pages that spread misinformation
  • Then tell your friends to do the same

By allowing yourself to read this stuff and even commenting on it actually helps the spread of it.  All they want is an audience so if you remove yourself and encourage others to do the same you can help minimise the spread of this garbage.

Written By Dan Ballard,


Waiheke Working Sail Fundraiser Movie

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Back on the big screen

1805.  One ship, 197 men, 4500 miles from home. Chasing a French ship twice her size. No retreat.

Please join us for drinks and a rip roaring sail adventure movie!

    • Friday 22nd November,  7pm reception at Artworks, 8pm Movie at Waiheke Cinema.
    • Tickets $25 including drinks and nibbles.

Come and meet Bernard and the apprentices and other people involved in the project.

How to buy tickets:

Tickets are limited to 50 so please buy in advance. You can get them from committee members or buy online as follows:

  1. Click this Donate Now link.  You will be taken to the GiveALittle website to make a donation to Waiheke Working Sail.
  2. Fill in the amount: $25 per ticket and your email address.  In the comment box write ‘tickets’ and the number of tickets you want.
  3. We will get an email confirming your donation and will send you confirmation that you are booked.
  4. On the night we will just tick you off at the door.

Master and Commander the Movie

Master and CommanderThe year is 1805. Europe has fallen to Napoleon, and only the Royal Navy stands in his way to total victory. Off the cost of South America, a new conflict is brewing. Captain Jack “Lucky Jack” Aubrey of the Man-of-War HMS Surprise is under orders to sink or capture the French privateer Acheron, which has been deployed to the region. After seven weeks of uneventful sailing, the Acheron strikes first, all but crippling the Surprise in an engagement in which Aubrey realizes his enemy’s ship is nautically superior to his own. Along with his close friend and confidant Stephan Maturin who also happens to be the ship’s surgeon, Aubrey is now faced with the choice of retreating to England and admitting defeat or remaining at the Acheron’s mercy. Aubrey must now do the impossible if he is to survive, repair his ship, catch up to his enemy and defeat the Acheron–somehow.

Based on the best selling novels by Patrick O’Brien with Russell Crowe as Aubrey and Paul Bettany as Maturin this is one of the best movies about the age of fighting sail.

Come and join your friends and help raise funds for the Waiheke Working Sail project.


Ethics and the Environment

Environmental issues can be a source of heated debate, as we know all too well from past and present local controversies. People sometimes take up entrenched positions on opposing sides of an issue, and in a small community this can become personal and divisive. How can philosophy help? 

I believe we can all benefit from enhancing our critical thinking abilities, learning how to recognise the assumptions behind our own positions and those of others we disagree with, and trying to formulate our arguments in such a way as to find as much common ground as possible with others.

Whether we are concerned about global problems of climate change, pollution, and using up finite natural resources, or about balancing the needs of humans with those of other species here on Waiheke and in our coastal waters, philosophical questions arise. Why does the environment matter? What do we owe to our own and other species, to ecosystems, and to future generations? 

These are among the questions we’ll explore together in a new course that I’m offering next term at Waiheke Adult Learning, ‘Ethics and the Environment’, as part of the Community Education programme.  

The course will be held on Thursday evenings from 31st October till 28th November, 7.00pm-8.30pm, and costs $80 per person.

To enrol online, follow this link:

You may also book in person at the Waiheke Adult Learning Centre, Waiheke High School, Monday to Thursday 9am-2pm or contact them by phone 372-9868 or email

Hoping to see you there,

With best wishes,

Jane Cooper

Waiheke still Kauri disease free

Kauri disease, also known as PTA (Phytophthora Agathis) is killing kauri throughout the Auckland and Northland areas.  It has been identified in the Waitakere Ranges, Great Barrier Island and most of northland’s great kauri forests. The pathogen can exist in soil as spores and it can move in water as a zygote.  Symptoms of the disease include foliage yellowing, canopy thinning, dead branches, trunk collar lesions that bleed gum and finally tree death.

Effective treatment is still in the research stage.

The good news is that both Coromandel Ranges and Waiheke Island are free of the disease.

To keep the island’s kauri free of this deadly disease there is a need to know how the pathogen gets from one place to another.  Already research shows that it can attach to shoes in dirt, or to the feet of animals such as pigs.  It can, also, be accidentally transported in the soil attached to potted seedlings or trees.

Forest and Bird have signs at the entrances of their reserves asking people to clean their shoes before entering the reserves.  However, there is opportunity to increase public awareness of the disease and decrease its accidental introduction to our beautiful island.  Involving the ferry companies more actively in a ‘keep Waiheke free of Kauri disease’ campaign would be wonderful, as the wharves are the main way that people set foot on the island.  Our Local Board could play a big part in supporting public education initiatives and negotiating with the ferry companies in partnership with conservation organisations and Council’s bio-security team to reduce the possibility of the disease ever ‘landing’ here.

Sue Fitchett 

The Population of Waiheke

Early results from the 2013 Census are starting to appear.  Later on we will have a full demographic profile of the island – which will make polling and surveys much more accurate.  But for now we have the headline figure.

The residential population of Waiheke is 8262

Thats an increase from 2006 of 561 or 6.8%.  That may sound quite impressive – but consider that the rest of Auckland increased in population by more than 8.2%.

However take a look at this chart.


Population growth on the island has been slowing since 2001.  The red line shows the estimates used by the council, they are higher as they include people who don’t show up in the census – but what is interesting is that the growth rate has twice now been estimated to be higher than it actually was and has needed to be corrected downwards.

Back in 2000 in the Essentially Waiheke Report the island population was expected to reach 10,000 by 2006.  This was hard to justify given the previous census data and is a lesson in not extrapolating curves (which I will now proceed to do).

Looking at  the per year change in population between each census we get a drop from 167 (2001), 113 (2006) to 80 (2013).  So in the next 5 years we might see some continued slow growth – but the total is unlikely to cross the 9000 mark at any time in the near future.



Voting Returns

Here is the chart of daily voting returns for Waiheke.

Waiheke - Voting document returns

This shows that voting was fairly steady throughout the voting period.  No late surge.

Total votes (as of posting) were 3496 from 6356 (55%).



The challenge for the team

I thought Claude’s comment to Marks posting was worth promoting to an article in its own right. [ed]

Thanks, Mark, for limb climbing and the subsequent good analysis.

My own sense is that the old left and right wing labels don’t apply on Waiheke. After about two years, regardless of ones national politics, Love Waiheke becomes the primary partisan theme. No matter what ones offshore politics, it is the character, beauty, community and essence of the island that captures people, and protection of that is what they look for in candidates.

On all three foreshore issues of the day, the A-Team seemed to be offsides with the mood of the populace. Why? The council officers load the elected local board with issues in massive notebooks that then become the subject matter for the Local Board. The A-Team was undoubtedly good at navigating the officers’ waters, but those are often seen as alien to folks who live on the island. The foreshore issues were not officers’ priorities, thus the last local board did not take the advocacy role the populace was expecting.

During my presentation to the Royal Commission on the Supercity, I got into a fascinating conversation with the Commission’s Chair Peter Salmon about the apparent absence of checks and balances in NZ governance. He agreed, but unfortunately except for some additional powers for the Mayor, local checks and balances did not make it into the enabling legislation.

The problem with the way Local Boards are structured is that they appear to be democratic representatives of the electorate, but in fact their roles are tightly prescribed, in essence to be there to give approval to officer-driven agendas within a very limited sphere of influence. If one plays the game, the officers use their discretion (which is considerable) to help the elected representatives get points on the board. If not, they can cut off the flow of background information and make accomplishing anything very difficult. I know, I’ve seen it in action under the prior City Council. The problem is not the personnel, it’s the structure that shapes how the people behave.

The A-Team, lead by Faye, who has been in the game a long time, played within the rules, played the officers’ game, and this appeared to the electorate as non-responsive.

The challenge for the Essentially Waiheke team will be to press for fundamental structural changes to implement real democratic engagement in governance, or resort to the old Bruce Bisset style of politics, in which he browbeat the officers into tears. I favour the former, and given the strong mandate of the election results, I think they have a chance to actually accomplish it.

It promises to be a very interesting three years, but will require the four new members get up to speed very rapidly. The undercurrents of real council governance and management may be hard to see, but they are strong and can be dangerous to navigate.


A word or two from Els.

There was a particular thread that came up yesterday on WIPP that featured an inspired reply from Els Verbanck. It was so good that I asked her if she could shuffle it all into one article and send it to me so I could post it on here.
This she has kindly done and so here it is.
Over to you Els…….

With the election over, the supporters of the opposition all of a sudden find themselves to be ‘a not insignificant minority of dissenting residents’ and are hoping that ‘their wishes and interests will be taken into account’. Well. Yes, let’s hope that the minority’s wishes and interests are taken into account by the new Local Board. May I point out that during the last 3 years, the LB represented a smaller section of the Waiheke electorate than the new LB does now, and the un-represented majority – because that’s what we were: the majority – did not have their wishes and interests taken into account.

I was told last night that in an interview on Waiheke Radio, Faye was asked where she thought she had gone wrong to lose so many of her voters, and that she responded that she didn’t think she had done anything wrong, that she had done everything right. This shows to me how incredibly out of touch with the community she was – that she did not consider the amount of dissent to her policies, the amount of protest to her decisions to be significant. She dismissed a huge part of the community out of hand because they did not see things as she did. She seems to consider, or did consider, the people disagreeing with her as misguided, deluded, rabble, trouble makers….

Whilst the new board is the choice of over 50% of the electorate, the old one was the choice of a mere 30 odd %. The previous board got in by fluke – through the left vote being spread too thinly over too many candidates.

And they abused, thoroughly abused and misused the power that fell into their laps, was theirs by error. They never were representative of the electorate of Waiheke – they had the support of less than 40% of the community.

I note that this was something their supporters and adherents and sycophants never admitted. They never acknowledged they had a minority backing – indeed, they had the cheek to cast us in the minority role – which, by default, in their eyes, made us not worth listening to. And now they are displaying breath taking hypocrisy by clamouring to be heard? To express a hope that ‘their wishes and interests will be taken into account’? Am I really hearing this correctly? Are they demanding a right which the board they supported denied us – the former ‘dissenting minority’?

I have to admit: I’m angry. How dare you? How dare the lot of you? How dare you take a stance like that, and all of a sudden play the misunderstood, unrepresented underdog/minority card, and try and appeal to what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘fair’? For 3 years, a small, select group of the island were the ones who were represented, and you laughed in our faces, shrugged your shoulders at our ‘views and wishes’, said ‘too bad’, and ‘suck it up’ and ‘sucks to be you, dunnit’?

Didn’t listen to us, gloated from your exalted position, did whatever the hell you wanted, and now you want us to be the reasonable ones? The inclusive ones? Well, guess what, sunshine, we always were. We always were the reasonable ones, the inclusive ones. We were the ones who wanted the best for the whole of the island, for the whole of the community, we were the ones who protested at decisions made which only served or were advantageous to ‘the select few’.

It galls me that in 2010 the victors were not magnanimous, and now request the 2013 winners to be. It galls me that the 2010 victors pursued policies which were so clearly divisive, and now request the 2013 winners to pursue inclusiveness. It galls me that during this last election, there were orchestrated smear campaigns coming from the A-Team supporters, and now that they’ve lost, they’re appealing to our better nature. And the reason why we will include them and talk to them and listen to them, is in spite of them. Because of who and what we are. In spite of them. So yes, the minority WILL be listened to, WILL have their voice heard – we WILL engage in dialogue and work for the WHOLE of the island.

Because that’s the board WE elected – us, the former rabble, the former dissenting ‘minority’. It fell to us to look for candidates whom displayed a willingness to work together – as a team, and with the community . It fell to us to get behind them, it fell to us to help them campaign and elect them, because that is what we wanted – a board which can represent ALL of us.

My FURY could be dissipated by a showing of humility from the other side, by an acknowledgment of their wrongs, by an admission, ever so slightly, that they did not act in the interest of the whole of the community. But I won’t hold my breath. I will, instead, redirect my anger and use it for other fights that have not been won yet.

I will not forget.