Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS - In­ter­view/ Britt Mann Pho­to­graph/ Vivi­enne Hal­dane

Stephanie, cen­tre, and Iso­bel Cairns are sis­ters flat­ting in New­town, Welling­ton. They live with Steph’s boyfriend Josh Har­ris, an il­lus­tra­tor-turned-construction worker and song­writer, and an­other flat­mate, Zara Ley­den (not pic­tured). Steph works as a pi­ano teacher and at var­i­ous com­mu­nity bi­cy­cle work­shops in Welling­ton, as well as a cy­cle safety teacher in pri­mary schools. Iso­bel is an ad­min­is­tra­tor at Victoria Univer­sity. They’re pic­tured with Ur­sula the cat. STEPH/ My sis­ter was liv­ing here for maybe a year or two be­fore us. At the be­gin­ning of last year, Josh and I got back from Mex­ico, where we’d been trav­el­ling for six months on our bikes. We got back home and Iso­bel’s other flat­mates were all mov­ing out, so we moved in with her. We felt quite lucky be­cause we knew that there weren’t many flats go­ing in the city. We were pretty stoked to move in some­where straight away.

For a long time, Iso­bel and I thought we would never live to­gether. We’re very close but we ar­gue a lot – we’re one of those fam­i­lies. It’s ac­tu­ally turned out to be great, be­cause we don’t have any prob­lems com­mu­ni­cat­ing with each other. We can speak re­ally openly.

We grew up on the K piti Coast. We lived in Paek k riki for the first 15 years or so. We both chose to go to high school in the city. She is a year-and-a-half older than me. A lot of peo­ple think I’m the older one.

This is Josh and my studio space. That’s our space for do­ing mu­sic, of­ficey stuff, sewing, wood-carv­ing, car­pen­try – all of our cre­ative stuff is jammed into this one room.

Pi­ano is my main in­stru­ment, but I’ve got a cou­ple of gui­tars and a vi­olin. There’s an­other in­stru­ment there which is an In­done­sian in­stru­ment. I play in the In­done­sian Game­lan Group. Dur­ing univer­sity, I took an open-en­try mu­sic course learn­ing game­lan mu­sic. The word refers to the en­sem­ble of in­stru­ments, as well as the mu­sic be­ing played.

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