Who is being marginalised in today’s society and how much more open are New Zealanders now than they were half a decade ago?
Curated by Public Address founder and Media7 host Russell Brown, October’s LATE at the Museum will look at Life in the Margins: Otherness in New Zealand.
Brown says Bill Pearson’s landmark 1952 essay Fretful Sleepers was an indictment of New Zealand’s constant pursuit of conformity. In the essay Pearson wrote: “There is no place in normal New Zealand society for the man who is different.”
Sixty years on Brown has selected a panel of guests familiar with life outside society’s norms to discuss whether New Zealand is still driven by a desire for conformity and, if so, what happens to the people that fall outside the lines.
“The journey from Pearson’s New Zealand to the one we live in today fascinates me,” says Brown. “Pearson died without ever feeling able to be publicly open about his sexuality, yet now Cabinet ministers are out and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited in law. So where are the margins now? And how is life there?”
The LATE line-up for October is ‘gay, disabled, vegetarian, comedian’ Philip Patston, founder of DiversityWorks, a consulting business that creates innovative ways to work with diversity, journalist and author David Cohen who has written of his early life on the wrong side of the tracks and his experience of being father to his profoundly autistic son, Stacey Kerapa Huata who began her teen years living life on Auckland’s K’Rd and now works as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and Labour MP Jacinda Ardern who says this country’s youth unemployment rates are at crisis point.
After the panel, an incredible live performance created for LATE at the Museum will bring to life the history of Auckland’s premier house of drag, featuring Tess Tickle and Buckwheat.
As a gay, disabled, vegetarian, Philip Patston might sound like the punchline to a joke about Grey Lynn. Indeed, it’s a joke he might tell about himself in his sometime role as a stand-up comic and entertainer. But he’s also the founder of DiversityWorks, a consulting business that creates innovative ways to work with diversity, creativity and change. He is an alumnus of both the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship (2007-09) and the Arts Regional Trust ArtVenture programme for creative entrepreneurs (2007).
David is a journalist and the author of two books about growing up different – Little Criminals, his own story of life on the wrong side of the tracks in a boys’ home, and A Perfect World, a moving account of being father to his profoundly autistic son.
Stacey Kerapa Huata:
Stacey came to Auckland as a 13 year-old and found a home and a family on Karangahape Road when no one else wanted to know. She subsequently completed a Bachelor of Social Practice at Unitec and now works as an advocate for victims of domestic violence.
Jacinda Ardern entered Parliament in 2009 as New Zealand’s young MP, aged 28. She is now the Labour Party’s candidate for Auckland Central and the party’s Youth Affairs spokesperson. This year, she described record youth unemployment as having reached “crisis point” for New Zealand. And Business New Zealand agreed with her.
Christoph El Truento, the young DJ-producer behind the remarkable @peace recording project, with guests.
This is Where We Came From: an exclusive living history of Auckland’s premier house of drag, with Buckwheat and Tess Tickle. A fabulous and serious performance.