This year's Burns Fellow at Otago University came to writing by a circuitous route. Charmian Smith talks to Irish-born writer Majella Cullinane.
This tasting includes several unusual but exciting white varieties that show great promise and are worth exploring. Look out for them in good restaurants and wine shops or browse online.
When Tranja Fry of Fossil Ridge Wines in Nelson produced some of her own freshly roasted macadamia nuts and a flowering stalk from one of the trees behind the vineyard restaurant, it struck me that Tasman Bay has a remarkably mild climate for the South Island.
Dunedin Public Art Gallery's visiting artist, Erica van Zon, spent eight weeks here in July and August but her exhibition ''Dogwood Days'' opens this weekend. She tells Charmian Smith about her love for the futile and fake on fake.
Pinot gris is better than it used to be, thank goodness. In the past year or so I've noticed many have interesting textures and are better balanced than they once were.
The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's last concert for the year, ''In the Hall of the Mountain King'', will be conducted by Ben Northey. Charmian Smith talks to the Australian conductor.
Pinot noir usually needs a year or two to show its best, so it's no wonder many of the 2013s in this tasting tasted better a day or two after they were opened when they'd mellowed and integrated a little.
Many small to medium-sized family-owned vineyards make fine wine and two I visited recently - Rippon in Central Otago and Dog Point in Marlborough - were celebrating milestones.
Ladies Night hasn't been seen at the Fortune Theatre for 20 years so it's time for a revisit, says Lara Macgregor, artistic director of the Fortune Theatre. Charmian Smith reports.
Most of the better 2014 sauvignon blancs will benefit from another few months or a year's bottle age, but some deliciously potent ones turned up in this group.
Every Labour weekend for the past six years the Alexandra basin winegrowers have held a new-release tasting in Clyde.
Putting on a full ballet production is always a big job but A Christmas Carol is bigger than most, ballet master Daniel de Andrade tells Charmian Smith.
A friend recently told me he was enjoying Hawkes Bay syrah as a change from pinot noir. It can be exciting to explore other varieties. Here are some syrah/shiraz, merlot and cabernet blends.
Sometimes you feel you could step into a large landscape painting, such as Sam Foley's. Charmian Smith talks to the Dunedin artist about his 20th solo exhibition.
This group of wines turned up with a couple of PGR blends - pinot gris, riesling and gewurztraminer. These three aromatic grapes can work well together, with the fullness of pinot gris balanced by the liveliness of riesling.
Cold pressed nut and seed oils from Uncle Joe's in Marlborough can add a different flavour to summer salads and other dishes.
There's a definite move towards more plant-based eating these days as we become more aware of health and environmental issues, as well as ethical considerations of farming animals.
A man who fills his time with many things, from composing, recording and playing music and collaborating with other artists to completing a PhD, raising money for the Himalayan Trust and growing beards - the 2014-15 Mozart Fellow keeps himself busy. Charmian Smith reports.