She­lagh Ma­gadza gets cre­ative


She­lagh Ma­gadza was go­ing to spend a year driv­ing around Aus­tralia and be­ing a no­mad when a job she couldn’t refuse came up at the New Zealand Fes­ti­val.

She started work­ing as an ad­min­is­tra­tor at the fes­ti­val in 1992, when she was 19. At the time she had been in New Zealand for only two weeks since mi­grat­ing from Zim­babwe.

In 2014, she re­turned as artis­tic di­rec­tor.

‘‘In the 1992 fes­ti­val there was one com­puter with email in the of­fice and we used to all take turns, and there were a lot of faxes,’’ she said.

A 10-year stint at the Perth Fes­ti­val put her in good stead to take the reins of the fes­ti­val – she was Perth’s artis­tic di­rec­tor for four years and in­creased au­di­ences by 80 per cent.

This year’s New Zealand Fes­ti­val is the eighth she has had a hand in.

She said that though the New Zealand Fes­ti­val was slightly smaller than Perth’s, it had the same qual­ity of acts as its Aus­tralian coun­ter­part.

‘‘Ev­ery fes­ti­val is in­flu­enced by its city and it takes on its char­ac­ters and en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘We’ve got unique things here – the Pa­cific, the Maori cul­ture and the am­phithe­atre of Welling­ton Har­bour.’’

The fes­ti­val is funded by the Welling­ton City Coun­cil but pri- mar­ily sus­tains it­self through ticket sales.

‘‘What that speaks to is that Welling­to­ni­ans re­ally back us and peo­ple come out and are re­ally en­gaged.’’

A lot has changed since she started at the fes­ti­val.

The dig­i­tal

rev­o­lu­tion trans­formed the world and how peo­ple are ex­posed to en­ter­tain­ment.

‘‘In 1992, per­form­ers com­ing from all over the world and putting on their shows here was much rarer.

‘‘Get­ting au­di­ences is a con­tin­ual chal­lenge. We have to con- tinue to be rel­e­vant when there are op­tions like watch­ing Netflix.’’

The fes­ti­val comes around ev­ery two years.


Welling­ton’s big­gest fish­ing con­test takes place on March 5 and 6. It is be­ing or­gan­ised by the Royal Port Ni­chol­son Yacht Club and is of­fer­ing more than $50,000 in prizes. The main prize is a new Holden Coron­ado ute 4 x 4. En­tries cost $40 for adults and $10 for ju­niors, and are lim­ited to 400. To en­ter and for de­tails, go to


Some Massey Univer­sity de­sign stu­dents and Boys and Girls In­sti­tute staff are try­ing to help young women par­tic­i­pate in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties. Their en­ter­prise – Give back, Shift for­ward – crowd­sources funds by of­fer­ing prizes for those who sup­port the pro­ject via PledgeMe. If the tar­get of $5000 is reached, young women will be able to ap­ply to the fund on­line for fi­nan­cial sup­port to re­move bar­ri­ers to par­tic­i­pa­tion, such as reg­is­tra­tion fees, uni­form­costs, equip­ment and trans­port. To watch the PledgeMe cam­paign video, or to do­nate, visit­back-shift-for­ward.


Mary Pot­ter Hospice will have stalls at the New­town Fes­ti­val (March 6), Creek­fest in Porirua (March 12) and at Cuba Dupa (March 20).


For­mer Pulse coach Yvette McCaus­land-Durie has been named head coach of the Cen­tral Zone team in the Na­tional Net­ball League. McCaus­land-Durie steps into the new coach­ing po­si­tion fol­low­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of the league, which has been in­tro­duced to pro­vide a level of com­pe­ti­tion im­me­di­ately below the pro­fes­sional ANZ Cham­pi­onship, but higher than the now dis­carded week-long na­tional cham­pi­onships.


Zonta hon­oured two young women at a cer­e­mony on Fe­bru­ary 4. Melissa Bai­ley, of Whitby, and Han­nahWard, from Chur­ton Park, won Zonta In­ter­na­tional’sWelling­ton re­gional Young Women in Pub­lic Affairs award for 2015-16. The award is aimed at young women who were in year 13 last year, and who in­tend com­menc­ing ter­tiary education this year. They re­ceived a cer­tifi­cate and a $1000 cheque.

New Zealand Fes­ti­val artis­tic di­rec­tor She­lagh Ma­gadza.

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