October 6, 2008

“New Zealand” Fringe Festival

Robbie Ellis         posted 27 Sep 2008, 07:27 PM

For many years, there has been a Fringe Festival in Wellington. It’s gone by the name of the “Fringe Festival”, usually with the city name “Wellington” somewhere associated with it. To my knowledge, it was the first and only Fringe in New Zealand for a while, though in recent years there has been a Dunedin Fringe Festival too.

Not long ago, the Auckland Festival announced the formation of the “Auckland Fringe Festival” to be held next year, an open-access festival quite similar to the Wellington model. Excellent news, and it means that there should be a lot of Auckland and Wellington shows that will be seen in both centres.

However, lo and behold, I notice that the Wellington-based event is now calling itself the “2009 New Zealand Fringe Festival”, according to http://2008.fringe.co.nz/fringe-09-forms/

If the 2008 festival is anything to go by, to my knowledge there were only two shows which weren’t entirely based within Wellington City itself: Die Henkel Spur (along the coast from Owhiro Bay to Eastbourne) and Micetro (with shows in Ngauranga, Linden, Newtown and Lower Hutt). Correct me if I’m wrong, but the 2009 Fringe will largely stay within the confines of Wellington too.

I think it’s at best misleading, at worst dishonest for festival organisers to rename the event to purportedly represent the whole country. From where I’m standing, it looks like a reaction to Auckland’s establishment of its own Fringe.

Is there some unspoken agreement that Auckland can have the “national” sports teams (NZ Warriors, NZ Breakers, NZ Knights FC), and Wellington has the “national” cultural institutions (NZ International Arts Festival, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, etc)? Is there a school of thought which dictates that the windy city is to be the one true apostolic cultural centre in this country, and that all other New Zealand cities are merely delusional if they consider themselves to contain a cultural scene of any significance?


Ms Katurian        posted 28 Sep 2008, 04:32 AM / edited 28 Sep 2008, 04:40 AM

Robbie –

It has been called FringeNZ in many previous years.

Nic Farra              posted 29 Sep 2008, 12:34 PM


Robbie Ellis         posted 29 Sep 2008, 10:43 PM

Adapting a lingering stock phrase from a lapsed Catholic upbringing… :-S

Nic Farra              posted 6 Oct 2008, 11:56 AM

I was just wondering who we are meant to be following. Wellington may be catholic, but it is hardly Catholic, unless you count the Capital Doctrine of Fallibility, paraphrasing Beckett: “Fail again. Fail better”

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