Big crowd welcome back NZ Commonwealth Games heroes at Auckland Airport

The Kiwi athletes arrived back home on Monday night. Source: 1 NEWS

Facial hair enthusiasts gather for NZ beard and moustache competition

Facial hair enthusiasts from all over the country gathered in Auckland last night to be judged in the fifth year of the New Zealand beard and moustache competition.

Landscaper Mark Van Kaathoven was one of the winners last year.

His beard earns him plenty of attention and even the odd job.

“The guy got me standing against the wall, did a mugshot, and he said, 'I'll be in contact,' so within a month he was in contact and I ended up doing Newmarket Santa, Ponsonby Santa, Sky City Santa, it was hilarious,” he said.

Facial hair aficionados from all over the country gathered in Auckland to be judged in the fifth year of the New Zealand beard and moustache competition. Source: 1 NEWS


Award-winning thriller hitting Auckland stage - 'It will make you squeal'

There's an award-winning thriller showing in Auckland this week, and not in the movies, but on stage.

Māori playwright Albert Belz and director Tainui Tukiwaho are presenting Cradle Song, and they say the genre is fairly new to Kiwi theatres, as 1 NEWS' Laura Twyman discovers. 

A Māori playwright and director are behind Cradle Song, with a genre they say is fairly new to Kiwi theatres. Source: Breakfast


New play based on The Simpsons opens in Auckland

A new show has opened in Auckland, and it’s based on The Simpsons.

Called Mr Burns, the Silo Theatre play features some well-known Kiwi performers, such as Ana Scotney from The Breaker Upperers and Joel Tobeck whose list of work includes Sons of Anarchy and Shortland Street.

Written by Anne Washburn, the story begins with an untold apocalyptic event, and how the recollection of the famous Simpsons episode Cape Feare - where Sideshow Bob tries to kill Bart - helps bind those left alive.

The message is centred around the importance of storytelling and holding onto cultural traditions.

"Something can grow into something bigger, as stories get told and things get changed," said director and life-long The Simpsons fan Oliver Driver.

"What binds us together are stories, legend, myths and the beginning of them and how they can shift and change over time, and the necessity of stories for our survival," Scotney said.

The play has previously been done in the US, UK and Australia, but this is the first time it’s been performed for a New Zealand audience.

Tobeck, who hasn’t done any theatre work for 15 years, says the show is the full package.

"It has the drama, the music, the dance and the grandness of The Simpsons,” he said.

The show is on at Q Theatre in Rangatira until the end of the month.

Mr Burns is on at the Q Theatre in Rangatira and features some well-known Kiwi performers including Ana Scotney from The Breaker Upperers and Joel Tobeck from Sons of Anarchy. Source: 1 NEWS

Dance show through Pasifika lense aims to crack open New Zealand's masculine culture - 'Men should have a cry'

A dance show that premiered in Auckland last night has a strong message for men - it's okay to feel.

Through the lens of Pasifika culture, the bold piece from Dance Company Black Grace explores the idea of masculinity.

"We've been taught to really appreciate that strong silent type," said company's founder Neil Ieremia. "I think it's a load of trash, really.

"Men should express themselves, and have a cry from time to time."

Ieremia came up with the concept and the choreography, all inspired by his own experiences.

"I grew up in a Samoan family and we were always taught to be a certain way, and of course growing up in New Zealand, which I guess is a very masculine society," he said.

"What started the ball rolling for me was a few years ago speaking to my cousin, who does a lot of work with Māori and Pacific Island men in prisons," he explained. "He was telling me, with every single person there'd be a moment where the hardened, tough guy would break down and cry."

Ieremia worked alongside well-known playwright Victor Rodgers to put the show together.

"I've been a huge fan of Black Grace pretty much from the beginning," Rodgers said. "Neil said, 'Come, have a play', and I said, 'Yes!' - jumped at the chance.

"This monologue just tumbled out of me and that's sort of the spine that's been used."

It's the first time the writer has worked on a narrative for a dance show.

The show explores issues like domestic violence and treatment of women, through the story of three generations of Pacific men.

"It's about patterns and how things happen with a father passing down his pattern of abuse and violence," Ieremia said.

Rodgers said the piece makes him "teary".

"It's dealing with truth - confronting truth, but in a beautiful but challenging way," he said. "There's a cathartic element to it, I think, seeing stuff like that reflected on the stage."

The last Auckland show is on Saturday, at the ASB Waterfront Theatre.

Next week the crew moves onto Ieremia's hometown - Porirua.

"A lot of those communities like Porirua miss out on art, particularly things like contemporary dance," Ieremia said.

Plans are also in the works for the show to be performed in New York next year.

"We do spend a bit of time touring internationally," Ieremia said. "We'll go over there and make more money in a few months than we will here in an entire year which enables us to bring the work and tour in New Zealand"

Crying men follows issues like domestic violence and follows three generations of Pacific men. Source: 1 NEWS