Conducting 90 musicians on stage is a great feeling. It has an energy you can't get anywhere else, according to Hamish McKeich.
Women - and men - have been bothered by adiposity, or to put it simply, fat, for millennia.
Black can be the colour of the rebel or outsider, of power and authority, of the fashionista and of mourning. But New Zealanders have also embraced it as their colour, from the shearer's singlet, gang members' patches, the All Blacks and other sports uniforms, to classic and cutting-edge fashion and art.
Fire and dance, poetry, music and magic combine among the trees at Chingford Park next week - weather gods permitting. Charmian Smith talks to the Firebugs, Jonathan Cweorth and Hilary Norris, about a journey to the underworld and back, and sex, death and magic in the Renaissance.
Euija Kim, from Korea, shows how to make kimchi.
Last year was a tough one for the new management team and staff at the Fortune Theatre, but this year they can start enjoying it, says Lara Macgregor, the theatre's artistic director. She tells Charmian Smith about the new programme and many other initiatives they are looking forward to.
Most New Zealanders have experienced the joys - and horrors - of a motor camp, so the Fortune Theatre's upcoming production of Dave Armstrong's The Motor Camp should bring back a lot of memories. Charmian Smith talks to director Conrad Newport about the funny side of camping.
It's those nebulous attributes, harmony and balance, where flavours and textures are seamless, giving the wine charm. Wines that are edgy or spiky, over-oaked or too big or too dilute usually lack charm and balance.
Documentary plays are an unusual form of theatre in New Zealand, but Stuart Young and Hilary Halba, of the theatre studies department at the University of Otago, create plays from interviews. Charmian Smith finds out about verbatim theatre.
It was a pleasure to taste this batch of rieslings, some delightfully sweet, others austere and dry, or lively and racy, and a couple of weightier ones with presence and texture that retained the vibrancy and harmony of good riesling.
Kushana Bush, 2011 Frances Hodgkins Fellow at Otago University spent last year digesting the experiences of a pilgrimage to Europe the previous year. Charmian Smith talks to her about her work and her upcoming exhibition.
Sometimes wines try to be too serious and lack charm, but some of the charming ones can be lightweight. However, a few gems manage to be both at once, like the Quartz Reef wines in this tasting.
Anyone looking for the next fashion in wine should not bypass grüner veltliner (aka gru-vee, an exciting white grape variety from Austria) which is now being grown here. It's complex, full-flavoured with lovely spicy fruit, hints of fresh brioche and nuts and sometimes pepper.
Lysiane Dufour, from Belgium, shows how to make carbonade Flamande (beer beef stew) with stoemp (leek and potato mash).
With the warm weather we usually get in February, a well chilled rosé is an ideal drink with a long lunch or on a relaxing evening. It's easy and unchallenging - just the thing for unwinding with.
From exquisite porcelain and ancient bronzes to kitsch damper babies, from exotic Chinese opera to the glamorous film industry, Charmian Smith experiences a whirlwind of Taiwanese culture and discovers an unusual artistic goal.
Visiting Taiwan in search of a great-grandfather, Charmian Smith finds contemporary Taipei a fascinating contrast of traditional and modern.
John Dodd (1838-1907) introduced the world, and particularly the United States, to Formosa Oolong tea, a fine tea grown mostly in the hills north of Taipei. Oolong falls somewhere between green (unfermented) and black (fully fermented) tea.
Dunedin has a special relationship with Scottish poet Robert Burns, so it's not surprising the city celebrates his birthday with an annual poetry competition. Charmian Smith talks to one of the judges, 2011 Otago University Burns Fellow Fiona Farrell.
A new work celebrating the centenary of Captain Scott's ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic will be a highlight of the Southern Sinfonia's 2012 subscription series, which is released today.