Benjamin Britten's string quartets are highly regarded and have fabulous textures and soundscapes, according to Gillian Ansell of the New Zealand String Quartet.
We have a hunger for being told our own stories, according to theatre director Conrad Newport. He tells Charmian Smith about Gifted, a play about two of New Zealand's leading literary figures that reimagines a famous literary friendship.
Sarah Bowman, a Christchurch dietitian and food writer, shares her family favourites in her first book, Cook Simple: Fresh meal ideas for busy lives (Penguin).
There's more to theatre than acting and putting on plays. To make a living as a theatre practitioner in Dunedin you have to turn your hand to many things, Cindy Diver tells Charmian Smith.
At a party I went to recently guests had brought almost three times as many sauvignon blancs as othervarieties. It's certainly popular and no wonder, with a fragrance that leaps out of theglass and, in the best, mouth-filling fruit and a crisp, lively finish.
''People prick up their ears when you say you are living on $2.25 a day. It's a shockingly small amount,'' says Hannah-Rose Hart.
Anyone can dance, disabled or not, old or young, even if they haven't had a dance background, says Hahna Briggs. She tells Charmian Smith about her project as 2013 Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance at the University of Otago.
Baroque music (from about 1600 to 1750) played on period instruments sounds quite different from the same music played on modern ones, according to Tomas Hurnik.
It's worth giving pinot noir time. A young wine may initially appear gawky, but the following day may have developed charm and silkiness, indicating it will develop with bottle age.
Mozart's music has been described as divine, but conductor Andrew Grams tells Charmian Smith that, for him, Mozart is about knowing what it means to be alive as a human being.
Pinot gris is generally rich and mouth-filling but sometimes the sweetness of the fruit and high alcohol dominate unless there is enough acidity and fruit weight to balance. Lees contact or ageing in old barrels adds interest and texture to what is sometimes a simple but unfocused fruity wine.
''Free range'' is a marketing term and has no legal definition, according to Juliette Banks, who manages the SPCA's Blue Tick programme.
Russian music, spiced with a couple of British works, features in the Southern Sinfonia's concert this Saturday. Charmian Smith talks to conductor Nicholas Braithwaite.
New Zealand's most prestigious reds are characterised by price, packaging - often heavy bottles, large punts and long, good quality corks, concentration, structure and potential longevity. Such wines can be tough to approach for the first year or two but three or four years allows them to mellow and integrate.
One of the marks of great wine is its ability to develop and change for the better with bottle age.
Having the world one screaming fan at a time, the Altar Boyz spread irreverent humour in a satire on boy bands. Charmian Smith reports.
Well-made sauvignon blanc can be delicious, overflowing with fruit, zesty, fresh, mouth-filling and crisp but not assertive. Those with more assertive acidity are usually best with food which balances the sharpness.
Caribbean food is not well known in this part of the world so it's intriguing to browse through The Pepperpot Club: A Celebration of Caribbean Cuisine by Jonathan Phang (Hardie Grant Books).
Olveston, Dunedin's grand house museum on the hill, is filled with treasures collected from around the world by the Theomins, who built it in 1907.
Baked beans or hummus, Indian dal or Mexican frijoles, mushy peas or chilli con carne - all these make good use of legumes, a group of plant foods that have been important ingredients for thousands of years in almost every cuisine around the world. Charmian Smith explores peas, beans and lentils.