Why being childfree by choice infuriates the internet
Also: The final Side Eye and a popular Facebook page's demise
Kia ora and welcome to The Weekend, brought to you by Coffee Supreme. I’ve been on holiday in the sparkly winter sunshine of Te Waipounamu this week which has given me a little bit of time to read and a lot of time to fall over in the snow. I have been learning to ski, which is one of the few activities in my life where failing means being involuntarily horizontal. While mustering the emotional fortitude to get back up again, I’ve had a lot of time to think: it’s an excellent opportunity to contemplate how best to structure articles, ponder whether spending time outside is preventing my vision from degrading, oh yeah, and have the chorus of Katy Perry’s Roar stuck on repeat in my brain (… you [gravity] held me down, but I got up…). You can escape 2013, but as my colleague Madeleine Holden has found, it’s much harder to escape internet catchphrases.
-Shanti Mathias, staff writer
What it means to choose a life without children
Danni Duncan, based in Christchurch, is happily childfree, and she makes videos about it. Rachel Judkins talks to the content creator about how her choice not to have children has shifted her idea of what it means to be a woman. “I started thinking about how much would change if we did have kids, and that got me down the path of thinking what would my life look like if I didn’t have them. And I liked that idea,” she says. The birth rate in New Zealand is lower than it’s ever been, but Duncan says that there isn’t much of a community around choosing not to have kids, even though she loves being an aunty and spending time with children. She’s excited that the internet has given her a space to create that community.
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Toby Manhire reports from the last day of parliament, where silliness abounded. Politicians kept saying “Up the Wahs”, Rawiri Waititi compared himself to a grizzly bear, Nicola Willis invited Grant Robertson to participate in a theatre production of Holes. “Adjournment debates have hosted across the years some of the most extended and distended metaphors you’ll ever hear,” Manhire writes. If you’ve been vaguely reading about politics on good local website thespinoff.co.nz for the last three years, or are a Gone by Lunchtime diehard, you’ll enjoy Toby’s hilarious summary.
Wellington — Live started as a community Facebook page for Wellington-based news and updates, creating a large audience and valuable territory for sponsors. But since original creator Lilia Alexander sold it to entrepreneur Graham Bloxham, the community has changed. Janhavi Gosavi reports on what’s been viewed by many members as a decline of the Facebook page, with prizes not given out, incorrect information shared, allegations of contractors not paid and the platform used as an arena for the owner’s personal vendettas. It’s not clear what the future of the page will be, but it raises questions: can a Facebook page whose value is in its followers be owned? And what happens when a resource used by the wider community becomes subject to someone’s individual agenda?
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Five percent of the sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church in Aotearoa were perpetrated by just one man. Bernard McGrath was a brother of the Order of St John of God, and for many years he abused children at Marylands, a school in Christchurch. He wasn’t the only staff member there who abused children sexually, physically and psychologically, and the scars linger. I wrote a feature about Marylands for The Quarter Million series, drawing a picture of the abuses of power that happened there. Survivors now are asking: what is the best way to remember this dark chapter, and what comes next?
For the last five years Toby Morris has written (and drawn) The Side Eye, a monthly comic that explores some of the ways Aotearoa is changing. For his last issue, Toby strolls through the streets of Paeroa with signwriter Errol Johnstone, whose careful hand has decorated many of the businesses in town. Signs that are painted are unique and beautiful, not as easy to print out as something designed in Photoshop but with a certain panache that computers can’t quite replicate. Toby’s own love of design and details like letter flourishes and character weighting shines through in the story too – a reminder of why lines created with human hands are so appealing to look at.
Meet our future leaders as they hit the campaign trail around Aotearoa and prepare to square off in the most important political debate of their young careers. Youth Wings season two begins September 5, made with the support of NZ On Air.
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