Jam Radio - Cultural Icons

By: Jam Radio  05-Apr-2012
Keywords: Radio, Theatre, Digital Media


In December 2009, Jam Radio of Depot Artspace received significant ARST (Arts Regional Services Trust) funding from North Shore City Council. The funding is to assist in creating a series of interviews with iconic New Zealanders who have shaped the Auckland arts and culture scene over many years.

Featuring: Ian Wedde, David Eggleton, Barry Brickell, Vincent O’Sullivan, Shonagh Koea, Dean Buchanan, Denys Trussell, Martin Edmond, Hamish Keith, Kevin Ireland, Martin Rumsby, the Daughters of ARD Fairburn, Graeme Lay, Rachel Power, Julian McCarthy, Louis Rawnsley and Archie Bowie.


Graham Beattie

In this Cultural Icons interview, Graham Beattie is interviewed by Graeme Lay.

The interview takes the form of a journey through Graham’s career; from his early love of books to his becoming a reputable children’s book seller, book reviewer, the Managing Director/Publisher at both Penguin and Scholastic, a book awards judge and finally, what inspired him to start publishing his blog (http://beattiesbookblog.blogspot.com/) which is now one of New Zealand’s most read blog-sites, receiving 10 - 14,000 visitors per week.

COMING SOON: Riemke Ensing; poet and writer interviewed by Denys Trussell.


Graham Beattie

We are pleased to announce Graham Beattie has been interviewed for the Cultural Icons project.  His interview will be available here shortly.

We are also pleased to confirm upcoming Cultural Icon programmes with:

  • Riemke Ensing
  • Bill Direen
  • Alan Pearson
  • Pamela Gordon on Janet Frame
  • Jenny Sturm on Anna Kavan

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Bradford Haami

Our latest Cultural Icons programme to be made available online is an interview with Bradford Haami, the first Maori writer to receive a residency at the Michael King Writers Centre. He is interviewed by Graeme Lay.

Brad is an author, journalist, producer, researcher, editor and tv director.  He worked at TVNZ for a number of years producing shows with Maori content.  He is the author of several books including TRUE RED: The Life of an ex-Mongrel Mob Gang Leader.  He is currently working on his book (working title) Aka Moana: Whale Traditions of the Maori which will explore the special place whales have in Maori culture in both pre and post colonial eras.

JULY 2010

Image:  Denys Trussell and Nigel Brown in the studio.

Nigel Brown

Our latest addition to the constantly growing Cultural Icons project is an enlightening and candid interview between artist Nigel Brown and writer/musician Denys Trussell.

“Nigel Brown has established a reputation as one the most important figurative artists working in New Zealand and is acknowledged as New Zealand’s leading narrative artist. His distinctive works are a blend of symbolic and expressionistic approaches with a deep social concern”. (Milford Galleries)

Nigel and Denys are friends and collaborators; in 2004 Nigel exhibited a series of work inspired by ‘The Dance of the Origin’, a poem by Denys. The interview takes a conversational form with the two talking about (among other things) the future of painting, the relationship between poetic words and visuals in Nigel’s work and his use of recurring symbols, such as the axe man, driveways and the little dog.

Image: Denys Trussell, Dean Buchanan, Martin Edmond and Kevin Ireland at Jam Radio

Denys Trussell

This Cultural lcons programme celebrates Denys Trussell, poet, musician, biographer, essayist, ecologist and - as discovered in this interview - ex-truck driver and gangster.

Denys is interviewed by fellow wordsmith Kevin Ireland.  The two discuss Denys’ early ambitions, the galvanising moments of his career and his “penchant for diversions and reprises” which have resulted in an impressive body of work crossing many disciplines.  We are treated to two poetry readings and a discussion on Denys’ use of symphony thematic developments in his poetry, owing to his training as a classical pianist.  Kevin also questions Denys on his extensive contribution to the protection of New Zealand’s ecology, setting up ‘Beach Forest Action Committee’ in the early 70’s which later morphed into ‘Friends of the Earth’.  His involvement continues, almost 40 years on.

This is an inspiring interview with one of New Zealand’s most culturally ambidextrous icons.

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Dean Buchanan

Prolific landscape painter and mountaineer Dean Buchanan is interviewed by his friend Denys Trussell, poet, biographer, musician,and ecologist. 

Denys' prepared interview questions were quickly deemed superfluous as the two slipped easily into conversation.  The resulting programme is an intriguing look at Dean's journey, both as an artist and as a mountaineer.

Dean Buchanan is one of New Zealand's best-known artists. From an early age he showed immense talent, painting large oils that demonstrated both technical brilliance and a close affinity with the natural world. During the past thirty years he has become probably New Zealand's most prolific (and also most affordable) painter, as well as one of the most instantly recognisable.

His paintings are found in homes throughout New Zealand and in public buildings and galleries both here and overseas. He has also exhibited in Australia, Japan, Chile, Switzerland and the USA. Coupled with his creative talent is an ability to live life to the full. No shrinking violet, 'Wild beast' Buchanan has always expressed himself forthrightly, especially in defence of preserving New Zealand's natural environment. He has also become a mountaineer of some note, and in January 2007 succeeded in climbing Mt Cook.

He is the subject of Bob Harvey's book 'Wild Beast, the art of Dean Buchanan'(2007).

MAY 2010

Rachel Power

Jam Radio's Cultural Icons programme presents a two part interview with Rachel Power, partner of the late Philip Clairmont and mother of Orlando Clairmont.  Rachel is interviewed by Martin Edmond, noted NZ novelist, essayist and author of 'The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont’ (1999).  With eloquence and warmth the two converse for a total of two hours, discussing Philip Clairmont’s work, his life, the stigma of suicide, and a great deal more. 

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Alternative Filmmaker Martin Rumsby

Julian McCarthy interviews the pioneering alternative filmmaker, writer, curator and exhibitor, Martin Rumsby. 

Martin is renowned for extensive and tireless contribution to alternative and experimental film in New Zealand.  In 1980 he began working out of Alternative Cinema, the Auckland Filmmakers’ Co-operative.  He went on to establish an independent film distribution service and annually toured film programmes around the country.

From 1985 to 1995 Rumsby extended his tour of NZ films to North America.  During his time there he was employed at a number of artist-run centres, including Niagara Artist’ Centre, Canadian Filmmakers’ Distribution Centre, Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers and Neutral Ground.  Martin fostered the North American/New Zealand connection by returning to NZ regularly to show North American avant-garde films.

For more information about Martin Rumsby and his continued work visit

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Reflections on Philip Clairmont

Martin Edmond, the current writer-in-residence at Michael King Writers' Centre in Devonport, is interviewed on Jam Radio for two programmes on his work. The first interview, now available online, is about his writing, research and reflections on the vivid and short life of NZ artist Philip Clairmont.In 1999 Martin published the biography, ‘The Resurrection of Philip Clairmont’, which continues to receive critical acclaim. Martin is interviewed by prominent arts commentator Hamish Keith.

The programmes are produced for Cultural Icons, a two year project interviewing significant people who have helped shape Auckland’s arts community.

APRIL 2010

Devonport Writer, Novelist, Editor and Anthologist Graeme Lay

Graeme Lay is a long time interviewer and friend of Jam Radio (see Daughters of ARD Fairburn). He has lived in Devonport for 26 years and is the author or editor of 38 books, including the novel Alice and Luigi, the travel memoir Inside the Cannibal Pot, and the short story anthology The New Zealand Book of the Beach. Kevin Ireland interviews Graeme about his life and love of writing.

MARCH 2010

The Daughters of ARD Fairburn

One of Auckland’s beloved sons, the writer, artist and activist ARD Fairburn (1904–57), is the subject of the latest interview for Jam Radio’s Cultural Icon series. Fairburn was described by his peer Frank Sargeson as one ‘one of the most extraordinary men born in the southern hemisphere’.

From his contribution to many aspects of the arts scene in Auckland, to his stance on gender equality and the organic movement, Fairburn was a larger than life character who charmed both the critics and those who knew him.

Graeme Lay interviews two of ARD Fairburn’s children, Dinah Holman and Janis Fairburn about their father. In a conversation full of warmth, humour and nostalgia they reflect on his family and relationships, his work and publications, and the mark he has left as one of NZ’s influential writers.

Jam Radio Scoops Big Funding for Cultural Icons Project!

In December Jam Radio of Devonport received significant ARST (Arts Regional Services Trust) funding from North Shore City Council to create a series of interviews with iconic New Zealanders who have shaped the Auckland arts and culture scene over many years. The tentatively titled Cultural Icons project will be made over a two year period, with the audio and film from the interviews made accessible online.

Since its establishment Jam Radio has been organising and recording interviews with a number of significant writers, musicians and other local creative characters; Kevin Ireland, Geoff Chapple, Graeme Lay, Shona Koea and in mid 2009 we decided a visual component would add another dimension of interest to the interviews.  Our first filmed interview took place between Hamish Keith and Barry Brickell. As longtime friends, the interview was brimming with warmth, humour, and priceless stories about the arts scene in Auckland, and indeed the development of the two men as artists. This served as the inspiration and impetus for the Cultural Icons project; the provision of accessible archives that capture the ideas, histories and personalities that make up Auckland’s arts scene.

Another aspect of the project will be to make these interviews available for public distribution and to schools, libraries and other learning institutions. Jam Radio has increasingly proved an excellent resource for interviews, easily accessed by on-demand web streaming. And the studio’s location at the Depot Artspace has provides the station with creative people and resources.

Louise Evans, Mark Howden and Linda Blincko of the Depot Artspace are thrilled to receive the funding, which now enables them to further develop the project.

‘We still would have gone ahead with it, but we would have been limited in what we could produce. The funding has given us the freedom to create the series that we’d envisioned.’ says Louise, coordinator of Jam Radio.

Planning is now underway for the lineup for potential interview formats, and ways to increase distribution for the project. It’s anticipated the series will be an invaluable asset to the region’s arts sector, as well as the nation, with accessible, informative and compelling interviews that will resource and inspire generations to come.


Mairi Gunn a talented film-maker who has filmed many hours of interviews for Cultural Icons and has also been an integral part of the project from the planning stages up.
Catherine Ambury a brilliant archivist who has shared her expertise on the best ways to archive and document these interviews so as to be of greatest use to future researchers and users.

Gregory Smith now collaborating with us alongside his Lost Property project and the Cultural Genealogy project. Greg has a vast knowledge of NZ architectural history which also extends into many other disciplines and histories.  We are thrilled to have him involved.

Graeme Lay who has supported us from the beginning of the project, interviewing dozens of our Cultural Icons in his own time, often arranging the interviews himself and always conducting well researched and thoughtful interviews.


We are very grateful for the assistance we have received in securing Cultural Icons interviews. 

If you know someone who should be part of this celebratory programme and/or you would like to be involved in interviewing some of our Cultural Icons, we would love to hear from you.

You can contact Linda Blincko on:

Ph. (09) 963 2331

Keywords: Digital Media, Jam, Literature, Online Radio, Portable Recorder, Radio, Sound Studio, Theatre,

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