Can it be true? Nahhh #peepshow

Initially, did Ngai Tahu (Kai Tahu) get turned down for Dunedin City Council project funding towards the Haka Peep Show (‘black penis’), now resplendent in the Octagon?

Did Ngai Tahu then come back to DCC saying, more or less, that if DCC didn’t front up with the $50,000 then Council wouldn’t get any co-operation from the tribe with resource consents, etc?

No! This didn’t happen. In any case, the minutes of the Art in Public Places subcommittee (if released), or those of the Community Development Committee (which turned down the APP’s $100,000 funding request) wouldn’t be so specific as to the politics, surely?

No. No. No. A vile rumour, completely fictitious.
Not the way we do things in Dunedin!


### ODT Online Tue, 20 Sep 2011
Councillors join Ngai Tahu working party
By David Loughrey
Dunedin city councillors Fliss Butcher and Jinty MacTavish have joined a working party that will find “opportunities and mechanisms” for Ngai Tahu to contribute to the city’s decision making.
Read more

ODT columnist Dave Cannan has been asking questions about the artwork. In today’s ‘The Wash’ (ODT, 21.9.11) he says, “The cost of Rachael Rakena’s much-discussed installation is “in the vicinity of $115,000″, although some accounts are still being finalised.”

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under DCC, Events, Hot air, People, Politics, Project management, Site, Sport, Town planning, Urban design

39 responses to “Can it be true? Nahhh #peepshow

  1. Peter

    A contact claims the council has also spent $40,000 as a contribution for the recent Auto Show at the Edgar Centre. Why, for God’s sake? Not sure whether the show was for vintage cars or new models. Didn’t go as I’m not into cars. Anyone know anything more about this show and who else was sponsoring it?
    Hopefully the media will pick up on this and ask questions.

  2. Peter

    Another contact attended a Credit Union meeting at the stadium the other day. Initially they were going to be given a tour of the stadium, but because of RWC security precautions a talk by David Davies was offered and accepted. According to this person, the atmosphere was a kind of seething quiet as he spoke. Questions were then invited. This contact claims that one person asked whether the talk was a sales talk or justification for the stadium. Another elicited from DD that there had already been 14 ‘conferences’ (read meetings). When asked how many had attended these ‘conferences’ the answer was 120 – in total! Privately, a fair number made it clear to this contact that they were against the stadium. The atmosphere in the room would indicate this. Plus there was some booing, apparently.
    Further questions were cut off. An interesting anecdote from a reliable source which shows the depth of continued anger out there against the stadium and the related financial mismanagement of the council.

  3. Anonymous

    This is why it is necessary to INSIST that ALL Council business be done in the open, video-recorded and archived.

    The cloak of “commercial sensitivity” enables the kind of alleged corrupt activity as with the public excluded, the minutes generally only briefly summarize the discussion, the resolutions and the outcomes thereof.

    • Elizabeth

      This week, two councillors who aren’t Cr Vandervis have stated each in their own way that they don’t believe in full transparency of the kind that would expose councillors and their fostering of ‘groups’ behind scenes (where a lot can be accomplished, it is claimed).

      I have NO time for this view.
      Yes. Bring in the videocams. NOTHING else will do.

      The council is not TRUSTWORTHY. Is not a private club. Is not a bank. Surprise.

      This damnable ‘closed’ (non public) behaviour is EXACTLY what has brought the city to a place hideously stalled by DEBT.

      Councillors and council staff are both hanging onto the ‘non public‘ for ongoing manipulations, for the benefit of closet friends (young and old, mostly male) – one of the most (paradoxically) overt, in-your-face examples is the Central City Plan. Lead consultant not given ‘Campus Master Plan area’ (“don’t touch the university”), the stadium zone, or the harbourside area as part of the brief.

      Blame who? Have their names.

      Voice the demand. Anonymous is right:
      “INSIST that ALL Council business be done in the open, video-recorded and archived.”

  4. Peter

    It will be interesting at the next council election if the word ‘transparency’ is resurrected again and by whom. Not a card Cull/ Greater Dunedin can play again – surely. If it was really occurring, now, people wouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail with official information requests, going backwards and forwards to the Ombudsman to argue their case for the release of information that is the right of all the public to know. ‘Commercial sensitivity’ reasons for not releasing information has become a serious abuse by those who want to cover up what they are doing.

    • Elizabeth

      Fascinating! Page 5 of the printed and digital editions of the ODT : “Decision took convoluted path”. Reporter Chris Morris explores the black penis debacle after DCC released “the minutes of the non public council meetings at which the project was considered, stretching back to March this year”.

      As we all know, council minutes are without sufficient detail to prove or disprove anything much.

      Worse that ODT has chosen not to publish the news item online, as yet. A cursory glance at the DCC website shows no minutes logged of the sort. Where’s Rodders when you need him.

      As far as the Dunedin public goes the situation / scurrilousness continues unabated. With the chair of the Art in Public Places subcommittee looking a worse fool. That ‘art people’ outnumber councillors is a crime where delegated spending and ratepayer funds are concerned.

      Disestablish the Art and Public Places subcommittee. It’s out of its depth. There are other council spending priorities that outweigh anything this skulking committee might think of as ‘essential culture’. Let the private sector place ‘art’ in its semi-public spaces, or generously donate nationally significant art (including all resource consent and installation costs) to our collectively owned public spaces.

      I wouldn’t necessarily have said this in previous years when the committee was first set up; however, in view of all that has happened since some moral decency from the (star-studed?) cast of ‘art luminaries’ was to be expected.

      Noted too, the recent self-righteous letters to the ODT editor from the ‘art establishment’ that now parades as the once very fine Dunedin Art School.

      What a shambles.

      • Elizabeth

        It appears:

        ### ODT Online Sun, 25 Sep 2011
        Lifting the veil on Haka Peep Show
        By Chris Morris
        Provocative public art or ratepayers’ money down the drain? Love it or hate it, Dunedin’s Rugby Haka Peepshow has certainly stimulated debate. Reporter Chris Morris finds out how it happened. A phallic piece of public art in Dunedin’s Octagon – described as a rented “black penis” by some – has aroused the ire of critics and generated international headlines in the midst of the Rugby World Cup.

        Now, the chairman of the Dunedin City Council’s art in public places subcommittee, Cr Bill Acklin, has admitted he did not fully understand what the Rugby Haka Peepshow would look like.

        Read more

        The Process (via ODT)
        • 30 March 2011: DCC Art in Public Places subcommittee receives proposal at non public meeting: further information requested.
        • 23 June: AIPP subcommittee, futher discussion, initial budget tops $100,000.
        • 28 June (continued 5 July): AIPP subcommittee votes to proceed despite all three city councillors voting against it. DCC to spend $100,000, Ngai Tahu $30,000.
        • Decision referred to DCC’s Community Development Committee amid concerns subcommittee overstepped authority due to price.
        • 27 July: CDC meeting, declined as AIPP project. Ngai Tahu proposal to spend more sees it referred instead to Finance, Strategy and Development Committee as possible Rugby World Cup project.
        • 28 July: FSD Committee meeting. Ngai Tahu confirms can provide up to $100,000, DCC asked to contribute $50,000. Councillors vote 10-3 in favour: funding from marketing budget.
        • “Towering black pou” (post or pillar) with phallic reference, displaying 3D video haka inside, accepting gold coin donations – [Rugby Haka Peepshow] installed in Octagon on 9 September for duration of Rugby World Cup.
        • Request for Dunedin City Council to be its “ongoing guardians” after Rugby World Cup.

        • Elizabeth

          The mis-use of a marketing budget to fund the black penis (Rexona deodorant can) is perhaps one of the most potent and obvious examples of how the Council manipulates funds to its own ends (least we upset Ngai Tahu? vote yes, in case the public thinks we don’t understand finance?), except for the shiny white stadium project which trumps all.

  5. Mike

    Maybe it’s time that members of the public just started filming council meetings and throwing them up on youtube

    • Elizabeth

      Doesn’t Channel 9 have to seek Council’s permission to record the public part of meetings, with the sound off. Where is DCC’s Media Strategy now… has Comms been integrated with it….

  6. Anonymous

    As observed previously, it would be trivial to secrete a digital audio and possibly video recording device in a public meeting venue prior to the closure of the meeting to the public.

  7. Amanda kennedy

    The artist hides behind the whole idea that the penis challenges the commercialisaton of Te Ao Maori does she not? I accept that she really thinks this. However, do you think Rexona will be crying over the ‘challenge’ she has given them for their ‘commercialisation’ of rugby? Or Maoridom? To prove her ‘point’ she has helped this very large corporation make a lot of extra coin. And the most pathetic thing of all? Dunedin people have paid for Rexona to make that money and given them free publicity too. In challenging the ‘corporate world’ she has helped them out. But the joke is not on Rexona, it’s on us.

  8. Amanda kennedy

    Peter Entwisle was on the money in his article. I expected, as an Art commentator, he would ramble on the old, lame argument that it is ‘challenging’ the way we think so it is good (and let’s all conveniently forget the fact that the city has been fleeced by rugby already and Acklin was one of those fine with this).

    • Elizabeth

      Amanda, you have the answer. DCC should hock it off to Rexona’s head office – $50,000, a steal. Pretty for the foyer, add a few coathooks.

  9. Mike

    Amanda: how much do you think the RWC sponsors paid the DCC to put up those advertising banners down the main street – I’m betting it was less than $0

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    Wasn’t it adding insult to injury when we found out that not only were we paying a shipload of folding money to “rent” this messagy novelty [Sam Goldwyn: “If you want to send a message, use Western Union.”] but because Ngai Tahu reckon they have nowhere to store it, we are up for storing it in, no doubt, premises suitable for works of art rather than in the back of a council garage somewhere. Or as a piece of public art temporarily adorning that much maligned area beside the motorway that causes endless shock-horror* to sensitive souls – Everitts.

    *Hey, doesn’t that make it challenging, forcing people to confront their prejudices about consumption of Earth’s resources and the vital importance of recycling? EVERITTS IS A WORK OF ART! Excuse shouting, I’m just so excited, quite often I just don’t “get” installations.

  11. Amanda kennedy

    Haha BUT the Rexona CEO would not be so foolish as the councillors who approved of this spend ! Far too fiscally savvy, s/he would see that it has had its ‘shock’ value already and why pay for what they can have for free? For a whole six weeks. How the executives at Rexona must be ticked pink! Let’s hope no other corporations hear how fiscally incompetent (some of ) our elected councillors are! Next thing we could have a giant coke bottle in the Octagon that purports to be taking a poke at the corporate world by symbolising how prominent fizzy drinks are in our lives.

    • Elizabeth

      I think you’ll find corporates have fickle (contemporary) egos, where art is concerned they go for ‘iconic’*, especially if tied to RWC. $50,000 is a song. And the chance for Rexona to tour it. Yep, or Durex which is on an advertising spree during RWC.

      *They don’t all collect ‘pink and white terraces’ for the boardroom.

  12. Hype O'Thermia

    So offer it to Durex.

  13. Amanda kennedy

    Mike. All for free probably, the usual story. All must be made nice and pleasant for the tourists coming here because they are the important ones who will spend so much money that it will trickle on down to the little folk waiting with outstretched hands at the bottom. Never mind that the fat cats in town have already made their millions.

  14. Amanda kennedy

    Well, ol’ Acklins can try and onsell it to Rexona and maybe make some cash for the council. That would be a sharp turn around for him.

  15. Mike

    Amanda: oh no I bet we had to pay for them

  16. Anonymous

    Something smells here…

  17. Amanda kennedy

    I meant all for free for the rugby professional fat cats! Yes. We most certainly had to pay for this.

  18. Amanda kennedy

    Anyone else roll their eyes when they see the RWC jaguar cars around town? They must cost hundreds of thousands. They may think they are are Great Somebodies, entitled even. Me? Not buying it. I have a slightly different angle on it; the stadium con has shown me the ‘Wizard’ is just a silly, scared, little old man behind the fake facade.

    • Elizabeth

      Dunedin City Council’s annual marketing budget is $500,000.

      This via Dave Cannan’s ‘The Wash’ (ODT 26.9.11, page 2). He says:

      Of this “about half” has been (or will be) used for Rugby World Cup related activities, according to Dr Sue Bidrose, general manager, strategy and development… the overall budget covers marketing of the DCC’s events and activities as well as marketing Dunedin as a destination for people to live and do business in. The $250,000 (about) used for RWC marketing will ensure the four matches and match days in the city “run absolutely smoothly and leave a positive impression… on visitors from New Zealand and abroad”. Sue provided a detailed list of what the spending entails. It includes the “Spin It Wide” campaign, public transport provision including the Waitati and Mosgiel trains; advertising in print and on radio, match-day entertainment, volunteer co-ordination, the reusable fence for the floral rugby ball, signage.

  19. Elizabeth

    DCC Art In Public Places subcommittee
    1. Cr Bill Acklin (chair)
    2. Cr Jinty MacTavish
    3. Debbie Hogan (DCC policy planner)
    4. Aaron Kreisler (DCC Dunedin Public Art Gallery curator)
    5. Natalie Poland (University of Otago Hocken Library pictorial collections curator)
    6. Sue Larkins (University of Otago strategy and planning manager)
    7. Suzanne Ellison (Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki)

    • Cr Lee Vandervis – recently resigned
    • David McLeod (Quadrant Gallery) – recently resigned

    Councillors are outnumbered by non-council members of the subcommittee.

    • Elizabeth

      Art in Public Places Policy – July 1998 (PDF, 21.1 KB)
      The Art in Public Places Policy sets guidelines for the role of art in public places of Dunedin.

      The following document was circulated to inaugural members of the Art in Public Places Committee in February 2007.

      Draft Terms of Reference – Art in Public Places 2006/2007 (DOC, 37.9 KB)
      The primary purpose of the Art in Public Places Committee is to provide strategic advice to Council regarding the implementation of the Art in Public Places Policy. The Committee will take into account the following documents: DCC Art in Public Places Policy, DCC Arts and Cultural Policy (due for review), and DCC Heritage Strategy (in the process of review).

      DCC Arts and Culture Policy – December 1997 (PDF, 18.6 KB)
      Objectives: To develop and promote Dunedin as an environment that encourages, faciltates and embraces expressions of its communities’ culture. To preserve and enhance Dunedin’s many and varied cultural and heritage resources, and to ensure that opportunities to participate are available to all and predominantly free.

      Heritage Strategy for Dunedin City – August 2007 (PDF, 1.9 MB)
      This strategy sets out the vision and goals for the sustainable management of Dunedin’s heritage. It also provides the framework to guide the Council’s future work programmes and initiatives for heritage across the entire District, which will involve working with property owners and other organisations concerned with heritage management.

      [Link] Policies, Plans and Strategies – Dunedin City Council

      Another guiding document for art in public places is the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol – March 2005, to which Dunedin City Council is a signatory.

      Disclaimer. Elizabeth Kerr joined the inaugural Art in Public Places Committee in February 2007. She resigned in July 2008, “to avoid any potential conflict of interest, real or perceived”.

  20. Anonymous

    What was the conflict of interest that caused Cr MacTavish to withdraw from the discussions regarding the Octocock?

  21. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Thu, 16 Aug 2012
    DCC slashes funding for public art
    By Debbie Porteous
    The budget for public-place art works in Dunedin has been slashed and the installation of new works is on hold while the Dunedin City Council’s art in public places policy is reviewed. The Dunedin City Council programme was one of the casualties of a council cost-saving drive to keep rates down in the face of shortfalls in various dividends this year. There was a public uproar about the last work installed in Dunedin, Harbour Mouth Molars in Portsmouth Dr, and then a local political storm around the controversial Haka Peep Show.
    Read more

  22. Peter

    Needless to say the budget – is there such a word? – for our so-called ‘rugby culture’ remains untouched. We who want public art in public places get nothing. They get the lot. Bastards.

  23. Elizabeth


    The 5m high installation, Haka Peepshow, is a “sexualisation and commodification of Maori sportsmen”.

    ### Last updated 16:33, Nov 18 2016
    Dunedin’s controversial ‘black penis’ may head to Christchurch
    By Hamish McNeilly
    A headline grabbing artwork in the shape of a phallus may be coming to a town near you. Negotiations are underway for ‘Haka Peepshow’ by artist Rachael Rakena to feature in the 2017 Christchurch Arts Festival. “We have talked with the Christchurch Arts Festival about using the works,” Cara Paterson, of the Dunedin City Council, said. The large artwork, which was likened to a ‘black penis’ was last seen in public in Dunedin’s Octagon during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. […] The artwork was owned by the Dunedin City Council in partnership with Ngai Tahu, who contributed $50,000 and $80,000 respectively.
    Read more

    *Image: whatifdunedin 2011 – Haka Peepshow

    • Peter

      Sexualisation and commodification of Maori sportsmen.
      Mmmm. I wonder what Aaron Smith thinks of that?! Just wondering how art theory and real life connect on this occasion.

      • Elizabeth

        Updated 12 noon [in fond memory of the Rexona can]

        The videos you can view in the sides of the ‘plonk object’ – groups performing the haka – have been toured internationally and are themselves brilliant.

        Rachael attended the Dunedin School of Art and also enrolled in University of Otago papers about the same time, when I was teaching at Design Studies in the then Department of Consumer and Applied Sciences. An articulate, forthright student with raised awareness of cultural difference, ethnicity, and gendered readings. Very likely nothing accidental about any aspect of Haka Peepshow. Contemporary Maori Art is an exciting space for art practitioners, energising the local and world art markets.

        Aside, the current hangs at Dunedin Public Art Gallery are very refreshing and beautifully curated. Good news – you don’t have to fork out on travel to New York or any exotic overseas locations to see best works. Rich pickings, from Cam McCracken and the Exhibitions team.

        • Kleinefeldmaus

          Without contradicting or diminishing the validity any of your comments regarding the ability and potential of the artist – it seems to me that the piece of art you feature above would be a suitable motif for Delta/Aurora in advertising their achievements on behalf of we citizens.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          That’s nice. It’s immensely reassuring to learn that the creator of the big black penis is […] “with raised awareness of cultural difference, ethnicity, and gendered readings”. On the other hand novelty is quickly tiresome.
          She could have got even more milage by additionally “referencing” (go the lingo!) Peter Ellis – remember the kid who talked about “Peter’s big black penis”? and other absurd inventions that were inquisition out of small children by disgraceful “experts in childhood sexual abuse” leading to his unrighteous conviction and imprisonment.
          But no matter what it’s about that required a large written tract to justify it to the public viewer, it’s a novelty number, short-term impressive to cognoscenti, long-term destined to be memorable as Emperors’ outfits and at best fondly – eventually – regarded like wedding photos involving men in ruffled paisley shirts and billowing bell-bottom jeans.

  24. Gurglars



    Who decides?

  25. Gurglars

    Just to get the ball rollng, (pun intended), I enjoy going to great art galleries and viewing Matisse, Dali, Ruebens, Picasso and El Greco particularly.

    When the works of these artists appear at art auctions, whilst I am sure there is a soupçon of skulduggery the market determines the price. I have a great deal of a problem trusting the choosers of the teeth and perhaps even the penis, despite your high reccommendation as to the real current value on today’s market.

    It looks more like “pick a figure” that enables a kickback – to me, but “everybody knows”, even Leonard Cohen that I am descended from the philistines.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s