Tag Archives: University of Otago

Grace About Town: August

It’s great to see how well New Zealand’s doing in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – currently in sixth position with 14 gold medals (what an exciting netball match between NZ and England!). So, we thought we should celebrate Dunedin’s Scottish heritage with a fresh take on tartan.

Dunners has many Edinburgh connections. But, one of our most stunning gothic buildings, the University of Otago clocktower complex, bears a strong resemblance to the University of Glasgow. Our obliging model, Grace Coddington (supermodel and creative director of American Vogue), posed on campus wearing as many Scottish-inspired pieces as we could find.

University of Otago

University of Otago

University of Glasgow (photo by Canonfan, May 2010)

University of Glasgow (photo by Canonfan, May 2010)

Grace wears tartan 'Wanda' dress by Charmaine Reveley with aran-style cardigan and matching scarf by NOM*d. Worn with vintage scottie dog belt from Two Squirrels Vintage (Milton).

Grace wears tartan ‘Wanda’ dress by Charmaine Reveley with aran-style cardigan and matching scarf by NOM*d. Worn with vintage scottie dog belt from Two Squirrels Vintage (Milton).

Vintage metal/enamel pendant by Miracle and vintage thistle brooch

Vintage metal/enamel pendant by Miracle and vintage thistle brooch

'Pitch tartan' backpack by NOM*d

‘Pitch tartan’ backpack by NOM*d

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Just The Boys

It’s time to reflect on the year that’s just ending. Let’s start with some of the multi-talented guys we’ve enjoyed featuring this year. In alphabetical order …

Finn Andrews

The captivating frontman of The Veils dazzled us with his musicianship when the band played at Sammy’s in July. The Veils are currently back in New Zealand and will be performing locally at Rhythm and Alps at Cardrona near Wanaka (New Year’s Eve).

Finn Andrews at Sammy's (19 July 2013)

Finn Andrews at Sammy’s (19 July 2013)

Nathan Berg

This American musical prodigy changed direction to become an economics/mathematical hotshot and now works at the University of Otago. But he still finds time to wow audiences with his bass playing at Circadian Rhythm Cafe Friday night jazz sessions as part of the trio Philtre.

Nathan Berg, a beautiful mind

Nathan Berg, a beautiful mind

Wesley Fourie

South African-born Wesley, model and blogger, has raised the bar of Dunedin man-style, favouring local labels such as NOM*d and Company of Strangers. Check out some of his looks here.

Wesley Fourie on Edinburgh Way

Wesley Fourie on Edinburgh Way

Alan Haig

This locally born music legend has brought Dunedin’s beautiful scenery to our attention through his photography. Greetings cards featuring Alan’s photos can be purchased from Digiart and Design (Port Chalmers) and Portobello Gallery which also sells his prints. This week, the Sunday Star Times rated the re-released 1988 Snapper EP (Flying Nun label), in which Alan plays drums, as a musical “standout” of 2013.

Alan Haig

Alan Haig

Frits Homburg

Where would the Dunedin cultural scene be without Frits and his exuberant partner in crime, Debbie? Their stylish cafe, Purple Rain, is the perfect venue for musical extravanganzas and retro parties. Frits’ extensive knowledge of vintage clothing and collectibles comes in handy at Dunedin’s Vintage Roundups.

Frits at The Vintage Roundup, Princes Street (7 September 2013)

Frits at The Vintage Roundup, Princes Street (7 September 2013)

Richard Ley-Hamilton

Local musician Richard shows that Dunedin musical talent is alive and kicking. He is the lead singer of Males who have recently released the album ‘Run Run Run/Males Males Males’. They opened for The Veils in July and will be supporting Die! Die! Die! at Chicks Hotel on New Year’s Eve.

Richard Ley-Hamilton at Sammy's (19 July 2013)

Richard Ley-Hamilton at Sammy’s (19 July 2013)

Sam Ralph

Flamboyant Otago Polytechnic Fashion graduate, Sam, is alas no longer in Dunedin, having chosen to pursue his dream of becoming a designer across the Tasman. His acclaimed capsule collection of menswear was much admired at iD Dunedin Fashion Week 2013.

Sam Ralph with his own sock designs in Barkers, Dunedin (March 2013)

Sam Ralph with his own sock designs in Barkers, Dunedin (March 2013)

Jon Thom

Central Otago-raised artist Jon (of Dunedin’s Moodie Tuesday) designs some of the best t-shirts in New Zealand. You can find them on celebrities including Colin Mathura-Jeffree and X Factor’s Tom Batchelor. His original artworks are highly sought after. Jon was one of the artists featured in the ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor’ exhibition held in Wanaka in November.

Jon Thom in his studio (July 2013)

Jon Thom in his studio (July 2013)

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Claim To Fame On Campus: Nathan Berg

Nathan Berg has it all. Not only does he have film star good looks to match his intellect but his musical talent comes in bucket loads! Luckily for us Dunedinites, in June 2012, he made the life-changing move across the Pacific to take up a position as Associate Professor at the University of Otago.

Nathan Berg

Nathan Berg

Nathan was born into a creative, artistic and well-travelled family in Iowa City where his father was completing a PhD in film studies. Shortly after, the family moved to New York City for five years. While his father wrote for Downbeat Magazine, Nathan started his career as a child actor. This included TV commercials (e.g. Dunkin Donuts) and the voice of Jeffy in ‘A Family Circus’ cartoon series – very cute. However, Nathan considers Lawrence, Kansas, his hometown because he grew up there and became immersed in its “creative energy”. At the young age of 15, he started a jazz studies degree at the University of North Texas. Soon, he was on the road performing as a “fulltime jazz bassist” and was offered a record contract. Unbelievably, while still actively performing, he gained a BA (Hons) in American studies, MA in mathematics and PhD in economics!

Nathan in his office

Nathan in his office

So how did Nathan end up in New Zealand? He was drawn here by both academic (the research being carried out at Otago’s Economics Department) and creative reasons. “I read about Graeme Downes, heard US rock bands expressing appreciation for the Dunedin Sound and bands like The Chills and The Verlaines, and noticed many other aspects of Dunedin that attracted me. Being in Dunedin has opened a rich, new chapter in my life. One aspect that I especially appreciate is the face-to-face contact with people pursuing many different projects. The academic community, artists and students are one part of this – but there’s so much more, which includes agricultural production, manufacturing, tech entrepreneurs, etc.”

Nathan with a student during his 'office hour'

Nathan with a student during his ‘office hour’

We asked Nathan to explain in layman’s terms about his academic research. We loved his answer: “I’m trying to create new scientific evidence that will help us all feel happier, healthier and wiser. Not like Huxley’s Soma. But by understanding the way humans make high-stakes decisions about money, food, exercise, and big medical decisions.”

Music runs in the family. Nathan’s grandfather toured with “jazz big bands in the 1930s” and his father is still playing saxophone and flute professionally. It was inevitable that Nathan would be infected with the music bug. He plays acoustic bass, electric bass, piano and drums. And he also has a great singing voice.

Nathan playing at Circadian Rhythm Cafe

Nathan playing at Circadian Rhythm Cafe

Check out his music video for ‘Right Now’. Can we detect a punk influence?

Nathan has toured with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson (with whom he recorded the ‘Live at Ronnie Scotts’ album in London) and played with an impressive list of jazz royalty: Clark Terry, John Scofield, Bernadette Peters, Chaka Khan, Bill Stewart, Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Joe Morello, Alan Broadbent and many others.

It’s no wonder that he was snapped up by jazz band Philtre who have a residency at Circadian Rhythm Cafe every Friday night (5:30 – 8:30). He has also recently performed as a solo artist at Queens Bar and at a Sunday Porch Session for Operation Underground. This Sunday afternoon, he will be performing at Inch Bar (Opoho) and we intend to be there.

Philtre. From left: Phil Lyons (guitar, tenor sax), Nathan Berg (electric bass), Kevin Finigan (drums).

Philtre. From left: Phil Lyons (guitar, tenor sax), Nathan Berg (electric bass), Kevin Finigan (drums).

So, if you want to be taught economics by a charismatic musical genius, take BSNS104 at Otago in the second semester next year.

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Dunedin Through the Lens of Alan Haig Photography

You won’t find anyone who embodies the spirit of Dunedin more than Alan Haig. Dunedin born and bred, Alan has been a major contributor to the local music scene for decades, having played in iconic Dunedin Sound bands such as The Chills and, more recently, David Kilgour and The Heavy Eights. He has now turned his considerable talents to photography. We asked Alan a few questions about his latest endeavour.

What prompted you to move your focus from music to photography?

I have been a musician for the last 30 years starting in the early eighties which is now known for the ‘Dunedin Sound’. I contribute my original ideas to assist the others to get a musical piece finished. I always have a picture in my mind while performing musically. This combination makes me who I am. These days I have been giving live music a break but am experimenting with sounds at home. It now gives me the time to focus on my photography hobby. I do like the idea of combining my still imagery with my own musical soundtracks, a long term goal.

The vibrant Port Chalmers and Portobello communities

The vibrant Port Chalmers and Portobello communities

Low tide in Portobello

Low tide in Portobello

How long have you been working as a photographer professionally?

It would be nice to become a professional photographer but at this stage it remains as a hobby. With the help of Sam Clarkson of Clarkson Design, I set up my photography website initially to get my images out for public viewing and feedback. I’m keen to establish myself professionally and welcome any enquiries about commissions.

Broad Bay

Broad Bay

Hoopers Inlet, Otago Peninsula

Hoopers Inlet, Otago Peninsula

What is your preferred subject matter?

I love landscapes and as I gain more experience new ideas evolve.

Black & White images are a favourite and enforce the basic rules of actual film photography. Colour does have a lot of distractions but does have its place. Street/Urban is another area which I enjoy. All these descriptions tend to cross over in subject material so I just go with what the image means and categorise it accordingly.

The Sound Shell, Dunedin Botanic Garden

The Sound Shell, Dunedin Botanic Garden

The Quad, University of Otago

The Quad, University of Otago

Are there any New Zealand or overseas photographers who influence your work?

I look at what other photographers are doing from the likes of Facebook and various photo websites. There are some great ones out there. Locals such as Ian Bilson, Alistair Reid and Chris Reid are long-term friends and mentors and I admire their work. I subscribe to the British magazine Black & White Photography which is full of inspirational articles and examples of fine images. Lee Frost and Tim Clinch, both professional, produce some great work which I aspire to and they write excellent articles in this magazine.

A historical building in Dunedin's First Church grounds

A historical building in Dunedin’s First Church grounds

The 'Nigel Bruce' Steam Train at the Dunedin Railway Station

The ‘Nigel Bruce’ Steam Train at the Dunedin Railway Station

You use a wide variety of techniques in your photographs. Are these techniques easy to achieve?

I experiment with different darkroom techniques digitally these days. It’s amazing how one single image can be manipulated in many different ways. Thankfully I have had some experience in the ‘real darkroom’ and shooting with film to have a reasonable amount of knowledge to apply to post production.

I print my images using Ilford ink jet papers. It’s personally satisfying having the final control in producing the idea. Printing digitally requires some dedication but is worth it at the end.

I can imagine the huge number of great photos taken by others that are locked up in a hard drive to be viewed only a few times and forgotten.

Ilford has just produced a dedicated Black & White ink jet paper called Mono Silk, which is stunning. I have started using this and it is producing some excellent results.

Steam train activity at the Dunedin Railway Station

Steam train activity at the Dunedin Railway Station

The vacant Gresham Hotel

The vacant Gresham Hotel

Alan Haig

Alan Haig

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We ♥ Jewellery

Our ancestors made jewellery and gentlemen’s trinkets in 19th century Birmingham, England, a place synonymous with fine jewellery design. It’s great to see the same creative spirit alive and kicking in Dunedin. We love Underground Sundae jewellery for its quirkiness, originality and use of recycled materials. Celebrities agree – Rita Ora and Rachel Hunter have worn pieces and it has been featured in magazines such as Black and Remix. Even though designer Anne-Mieke Ytsma recently located to Melbourne, her jewellery is still firmly linked to Dunedin, being sold in both Plume and Company of Strangers as well as online. We’re saving up to buy more of it!

Pink Flat The Door rocks with Underground Sundae silver pendant in Clyde Street, Dunedin.

Pink Flat The Door rocks with Underground Sundae silver pendant in Clyde Street, Dunedin.

Underground Sundae necklace pushes up the daisies at the Dunedin Railway Station.

Underground Sundae necklace pushes up the daisies at the Dunedin Railway Station.

Robbie Burns wears Underground Sundae gun pendant.

Robbie Burns wears Underground Sundae gun pendant.

Underground Sundae 'Fall In Love Not In Line' Ring at Knox Church, Dunedin.

Underground Sundae ‘Fall In Love Not In Line’ Ring at Knox Church, Dunedin.

Underground Sundae skulls necklace entertains at the Regent Theatre, The Octagon, Dunedin.

Underground Sundae skulls necklace entertains at the Regent Theatre, The Octagon, Dunedin.

Old becoming new is also a part of the Company of Strangers jewellery aesthetic. We featured their protection necklace in our first blog post but it really needed to make another appearance.

Company of Strangers Protection necklace hangs around the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

Company of Strangers Protection necklace hangs around the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

Creeps and Violets is an innovative range of jewellery made by Dunedin trained and based designer Steph Miller. We love her signature popcorn necklaces and sailor moon jewellery. Her pieces can be bought from Slick Willys.

Creeps and Violets Sailor Moon pendant lights up the Rialto Cinema on Moray Place, Dunedin.

Creeps and Violets Sailor Moon pendant lights up the Rialto Cinema on Moray Place, Dunedin.

Barking Fish in Port Chalmers is crammed full of unique pieces of jewellery to suit all budgets. They sell a good range of locally made bone pendants.

Bone pendant from Barking Fish floats in the Otago Harbour.

Bone pendant from Barking Fish floats in the Otago Harbour.

Design Withdrawals in Moray Place is a shop dedicated to promoting New Zealand design and is well worth a visit. We picked up this intricately laser-etched pendant by our old friend Wendy James.

Wendy James wooden pendant scales the heights of the University of Otago clocktower.

Wendy James wooden pendant scales the heights of the University of Otago clocktower.

Kate Sylvester has recently brought back her fob chain necklace, a very versatile piece.

Queen Victoria admires the Kate Sylvester fob chain necklace (from Void) in Queens Gardens, Dunedin.

Queen Victoria admires the Kate Sylvester fob chain necklace (from Void) in Queens Gardens, Dunedin.

To conclude, this 1950s Kiwiana bracelet is an absolute stunner.

Vintage Kiwiana bracelet snakes down Baldwin Street, Dunedin.

Vintage Kiwiana bracelet snakes down Baldwin Street, Dunedin.

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