The Milk & Honey Festival in New Zealand is the brainchild of Lani Purkis and Teresa Patterson who both felt that the best way to celebrate the 2019 International Women’s Day was to host and curate a series of shows across Aotearoa with female artists and musicians. To date, the first Milk & Honey festival will be jointly celebrated on the same night across 6 venues in 4 cities throughout New Zealand. Radio 13 will send an all-women team of writers and photographers to cover the two shows in Auckland, which will be at Whammy and Powerstation, and Club 121 + San Fran in Wellington. Super cool to add that Red Bull Music has teamed up with Milk & Honey and Madcap to bring an epic showcase of female music that includes Ladi6, Yayné & ANDY HEARTTHROB to San Fran in Wellington on 08 March.
Radio 13 founder and photographer, Reuben Raj hosted a call with the team to talk about the present state of gender equality in New Zealand, aspirations for the future and most importantly, who everyone is excited to see and hear at the Milk & Honey Festival! Writer Clare Martin and photographer Ginelle Cocks will be at the Powerstation in Auckland while writer Kate Powell with photographer Maisy McLeod-Riera will team up to cover the Milk & Honey shows at Whammy and Wine Cellar. Melany Barrington will be representing Radio 13 at Club 121 and San Fran in Wellington. Listen to Clare, Ginny and Maisy share their views and opinions in the audio recording below.
Find out a bit more about these talented women from the short write-up below.
I think women should dare more... I'm kind of a warrior fighting for what feminism means.
I trained and sang in opera in the UK for a decade or so before returning to NZ and moving into different genres of performance. I run a music studio teaching singing and performance, was a mentor on the TV programme “The Naked Choir” and I coach music ensembles and choirs. Performance these days, I’m in jazz, blues and I sing for Imperfect Offering performing the music of Leonard Cohen. Music writing is a new field for me and I’m loving the opportunity of writing for Radio 13.
Follow Clare on her Singing Teacher website.
I don't quietly sit on the sidelines... I just swoop in there. It's generally just me being a bit louder.
Hey, I’m Maisy Riera. I’ve been in the creative industries as long as I can remember. I’ve always enjoyed them as a hobby but after failing photography in high school and thus - NCEA level 3, I was a bit deflated! It wasn’t until recently that I rediscovered my love for digital photography and realised it was something I could pursue as a career too. I’ve been involved in the gig photography scene and been starting my own business in social media management & content creation for about 6 months now. It’s been a lot of fun! The gig scene is one of the most supportive industries I’ve come across and I can’t wait to enjoy it for years to come.
Follow Maisy at Castor & Pollux.
It's more than just gender. It's about supporting humanity in general... Take gender out of the equation altogether.
I'm Ginelle Cocks, better known these days as Ginny - techie geek by day, and photographer by night! I got into shooting music nearly a year ago, after realising that I wasn't getting the fulfilment out of portrait shots that I'd wanted when I set out upon my journey in photography. Live music is raw emotion, every performance is unique, and being able to capture that through my lens is something that makes me feel alive. Starting out on this road was intimidating, for sure - but if you want something badly enough, you can't let your fears stop you from doing it. Since starting out in music photography, I've had so many incredible experiences and met so many amazing people. It's long hours, it's some nights with minimal sleep, it's stressful when the lighting is not playing nicely - but the challenge makes me feel alive, and the music photography scene really is like one big family. We all support each other, and I've had nothing but support and encouragement since I took this leap. I wouldn't change it for the world!
Follow Ginelle at Ginny C Photography.
Kia ora, this is Melany Barrington. Photography was never something I saw on the table, not as a career, not even an interest. I always knew I had a passion for art and an idea of being in the industry but, it wasn’t until late 2016 when it all changed. I was studying at the Annesbrook Leadership College and media just happened to be the area I was interning in. Long story short, it wasn’t until someone put a camera in my hands and encouraged me to shoot when I found something new. Starting with photographing events to weddings, I thrived off the images I would capture. In 2018, I joined a rising music company, Droning Silence, photographing local shows and musicians. Music photography felt completely different from the other areas. Being a part of the arts industry in Wellington has brought me never-ending joy. I am excited and proud to represent women artists and to have the support from the sisterhood and Radio 13.
Follow Melany Barrington on her Facebook photography page.
For the last six years, I’ve worked as a freelance arts, music and culture columnist and critic for a variety of mainstream and independent publications as well as arts management. I currently work in communications. Speaking specifically about the creative sector, it is a shame to see that the biggest platforms remain resided over by middle-aged white men. While the tides are shifting within independent media, it would be good to see an intersectional, diverse array of voices hit the mainstream creative sector (and every other sector for that matter).
As a critic, it is inevitable that you will rile people up. This has never bothered me, I believe spirited discussion is the lifeblood of good criticism and a healthy artistic community. However, I regularly find myself bearing the brunt of patronising, degrading or frankly illegal comments due to my opinions about someone's favourite band or for liking music deemed “unfeminine” or alternative. By virtue of being a woman writer, my opinion is immediately discredited amongst a specific audience sector. When I first started out, their comments really upset me and I felt that I needed to prove myself. But time and self-confidence have led me to no longer give a fuck about strangers on the internet....much like I don’t expect them to take what I say to heart; it’s just my opinion.
I go to gigs frequently and can say that casual sexual assault remains rife – an ass grab, disgusting comment, vaguely intimidating behaviour. So more needs to be done to make these spaces safe. Not just for women either, but for people of all ages, races, LGBTQI*, gender minorities and people with disabilities.
How can people be better allies to women and women-identifying creatives?
I think we need to all work together towards challenging and changing systemic biases. That we create platforms where diverse backgrounds are the norm rather than the token. I encourage women, women identifying and non-binary women to be fearless. To push themselves and each other. To love themselves and each other. Because our power as a collective begins with ourselves and our actions.
New Zealand has a lot to be proud of in terms of gender equality. We were the first to give women the vote. We legalised sex work. We achieved marriage equality. Our Prime Minister is a shining example of the modern working mum. However, we have so much work to do. Our transgender sisters remain one of the most statistically at risk for discrimination or worse. Pay parity remains elusive in most sectors. Its hard for working mums who aren’t the Prime Minister to make ends meet or work around job discrimination. Our domestic abuse and sexual assault rates remain deplorable.
Who are you most excited to see/hear at the coming Milk & Honey Festival?
I’m hyped to be covering the gig going on at the best dive bar in Auckland, Whammy! I’m excited to see all of them really, but a special shout out to Wax Chattels, Carb on Carb, October and Randa.
Who are some other female heroes and inspirations that are special to you?
Of people I know, my Gran has got to be my biggest. We used to tell each other these epic serial stories that would last days and read aloud to each other. She definitely instilled the love of the written word in me, and I try to give my writing an iota of her intelligence, wit and compassion. Locally, I really admire Sarah Kidd’s writing and a raft of people at Pantograph Punch. Then there's the classic female rock journalists – Lillian Roxon, Vivian Goldman, Ellen Willis. In high school, I read Lizzy Goodman who was a stalwart of the Garage Rock Revival I loved. I was obsessed with performers who weren’t afraid of being different and blurred gender boundaries – Karen O, Grace Jones, Siouxsie Sue, Kate Bush, David Bowie and read copious amounts of Simone de Beauvoir, Maya Angelou and Margaret Atwood; they’ve all held me in good stead. A friend recently sent me a piece by Emma Goldman which was a good read as well...
Follow Kate on her Facebook writer page.