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Auckland Museum: Calling All Sinners

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Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

 What’s your sin? Gluttony? Pride? Envy? Lust? Wrath? Sloth? Greed?


What makes it a sin? What does Wrath mean in relation to domestic violence in New Zealand? What does Pride mean for us, when Tall Poppy Syndrome rears its head? Do the chances of committing the sin of Sloth increase with the advent of Winter? (Amen.)


The LATE programme at Auckland Museum is exploring these questions and more in its current season, which explores the Seven Deadly Sins. Held on the first Thursday of every month you can head along to the Auckland Museum from 7-11pm, buy a glass of wine or two and sit back, relax, and enjoy the numerous shows that are presented – from the main debate at the start of the evening, to the later performances by poets, musicians, actors, and dancers, which relate back to the sin for the month.


The questions raised during the debates are meaningful and relate back to our lives as modern New Zealanders and has human beings. They challenge any pre-conceived notions and help you to look at the topic from another point of view. It makes for an interesting ride back home as the discussion never stops once the evening is over – and if, like I was,  you’re worried you’ll need to have a Ph.D. to understand and connect with the debate- don’t panic!  The debates are funny and interesting – and don’t make you feel like you’re out of your depth.

After the debate you can then wander off to enjoy the many and varied events for the night. The performances are situated throughout the Museum, which means while walking though you can spot the objects highlighted which evoke the sin of the night (last month’s Wrath objects were illuminated in red.)


You can also take a more active part in the proceedings if you so desire, by tweeting using the hashtag #latesins or by confessing your sins in the LATE confessional booth.


Last month’s LATE, on Wrath, was moderated by Finlay MacDonald and debated by Professor Michael Corballis, Dr Janet Fanslow and Ruia Aperahama. One of my favourite parts of the debate was Aperahama’s discussion/dissection of Once Were Warriors and of making the choice to live outside of anger- that it’s a frightening concept for some because anger is perceived as power. He also explored anger/wrath being viewed as a sin- saying (paraphrasing, apologies) “We have to feel, and it’s okay to feel anger – it’s where we take it after that, that is concerning. It’s ‘what’s the next step’.”

Fanslow provided some interesting insights from her research into the root causes of anger in relation to family violence – particularly around perceived gender roles and around “home” being a safe space, with perceived violation of this space leading to violence. Corballis made the hilarious point regarding righteous anger – why is Wrath a sin if God does it? (More fun was the pronunciation attempts - as MacDonald advised early in the evening, we still don't know if it's "WrAth", or "WrOth".)


The two short performances from acts of King Lear (Grae Burton, Jonny Hair , Lisa Sorenson) and Romeo & Juliet (Jo Brookbanks, Grae Burton, Grace Walker) were another highlight for me – the portrayal of Wrath came through clearly and I definitely advocate further performances from plays at the LATES.


The musical performance from Maisey Rika was my favourite part of the night –I’d never heard her sing so didn’t know what to expect, but my jaw didn’t leave the floor for the duration of her performance. She has a very down-to-earth, humble personality on stage but definitely shuts the room up once she starts to sing. She can be heard on the soundtrack for Songs from the Inside, which recently screened on Maori Television.


What to look forward to for the Pride LATE on July 5th: Expect a discussion which incorporates the the Rugby World Cup, Tall Poppy Syndrome, and being a ‘humble hero.’ Moderated by Wallace Chapman, the panellists in attendance this month are Brandi Hudson, Gordon McLauchlan and Dr Peter Lineham.


There will be a screening of Taika Waititi’s Tama Tu, as well as a vignette of new play The Revival by Chris Molloy. If that’s not enough, there are also poetry performances, a premier musical performance of ‘Pride: The Deadliest Sin’, and a performance from Matariki ambassador Hinewehi Mohi.


The LATES are proving to be a veritable cultural circus for grown ups. There’s wine, food, debate, conversation, atmospheric lighting,– and the performances have an intimate, Coffee-House/Jazz-and-Blues-evening kind of vibe- a difficult task to pull off in the large spaces of Auckland Museum.


After attending Wrath, my friend and I now have a standing date to explore our Sins at Auckland Museum once a month – and we’re not one bit guilty about it.


What: LATE at the Museum 2012 Season

Where: Auckland Museum

When:  First Thursday of every month, 7-11pm

Tickets: A very reasonable $20 from Auckland Museum ($3 booking fee applies)

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