Taika moves North

Today in The Dominion Post: Taika Waititi to leave Wellington,

Just weeks after being honoured as a Wellingtonian of the Year, film-maker Taika Waititi is leaving town and shifting north.

After making his third feature, What We Do in the Shadows, in Wellington, with friend and colleague Jemaine Clement, he has confirmed that he’s shifting with wife Chelsea Winstanley and their 2-year-old to Waihau Bay, in Eastern Bay of Plenty, where his father lives and where he shot Boy. The family will also live in Auckland.

The writer, director and actor said that, apart from What We Do in the Shadows, he had not had any work in Wellington for some time. “Not the kind of work I want to do.”[…]

He has spent the past two years living in Aro Valley, after five years overseas, mainly in the United States.

He said Wellington would always have a special place in his heart. “I do think Wellington is going through an exciting change.

“This whole craft everything scene is a bit cringey, but it’s drawing more interesting people to the city.”

At the same time, the same newspaper publishes a Q&A with Taika about his favourite places in Wellington.

My secret Wellington: Taika Waititi

Compiled by Sarah Catherall
December 10 2014

At work: Taika Waititi at Arthur's, where he goes with his laptop. ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

At work: Taika Waititi at Arthur’s, where he goes with his laptop.

Wellington film-maker Taika Waititi is about to embrace a new chapter in his life and shift up north for his career, but his heart will always stay in Wellington.

He’s leaving Aro Valley, from a house next door to his mother’s, and moving to Waihau Bay, in the Bay of Plenty […]. “I haven’t had a firm plan since 2005. But we will get out of here and start a new chapter. It’s healthy to up and move, and when you plant yourself again, new things happen. It’s nice to turn the page.”

With What We Do in the Shadows, his third feature, soon to release in the United States, the director, actor and writer says: “I grew up in Waihau Bay a bit and . . . it’s where we shot Boy. I also do most of my New Zealand work in Auckland now, most of my acting and writing stuff, so it makes sense to be up there. All the people I grew up with, and most of my actor friends, are all up in Auckland too.”

Wellington has been home on and off since he was 2. It’s also where he shot his vampire mockumentary with friend and fellow film-maker Jemaine Clement. “I’ve always loved this city more than anywhere because it’s where I grew up. It’s not as expensive as Auckland but the difficult thing is sustaining the arts presence here.”

Next year, he hopes to make two of the four films he’s writing. “I’m working on lots of scripts.” The 38-year-old is also on the world jury for the Sundance festival in January. He’s signed a confidentiality agreement with Disney about the Hollywood blockbuster film, Moana Princess, which “everyone thinks I’m making”. “I did some writing on it. It’s not a Maori film and I’m not directing it. Who knows how much of my original writing will be in it. It’s an animation – Frozen, with brown people.”

Where do you go to feel inspired?

Usually, I stay at home but, if I want to look at jugglers and hacky-sackers, I head to Cuba St. Not for inspiration, just to stare at jugglers. For writing, I watch movies or DVDs or just sit and have a think. My only real inspiration comes from food and wine. Usually I’m at Arthur’s. They do a great breakfast. I like Arthur’s because it feels like the older Wellington. No-one acts cool here and the staff are normal. I can’t work at home anyway. There are too many distractions and usually I just fall asleep.

What music has best captured your sense of Wellington?

The Bilge Festival. I guess it’s The Phoenix Foundation now. Don’t make me say dub music.

What’s your favourite public space?

The New World car park. I’m not joking. Before that, when I was at Onslow College, it was the Johnsonville Mobil forecourt. I grew up drinking in car parks, sitting on car bonnets, hanging out with my mates. Now I sit on my Citroen bonnet – the car is the only thing I own – but the bonnet is a bit dented.

Where do you go for a night out with your partner?

Havana or the Italian place that used to be a dildo shop, Ombra. I also like La Boca Loca, El Matador, and one of the very few number of places that sell craft beer. It’s like, really hard to find craft beer in Wellington now. Especially in Aro St where I live.

Best pick for a cheap and cheerful meal?

Cheap? Hahaha. In that case I think the best place is the 1990s. In my 20s, I ate a lot at the Satay Village on Ghuznee St. Stu (actor in What We Do in the Shadows) was my flatmate for a bit and he must have eaten 400 fish curries. I ate heaps of Indian food and dahl too. I can’t eat that any more – I just associate it with being cold and hungry and living in a scody flat.

Where do you go for good coffee?

Anywhere where the barista doesn’t call themselves a barista. It used to be Maranui, but Aro St Cafe is closer.

Where do you take out-of-towners when they’re visiting?

If they’re from out of town, I take them to Courtenay Place on a Friday night. And then I say “You might recognise this from The Hobbit”. Otherwise, I take them to Jemaine’s house and leave them on his doorstep.

What’s your favourite neighbourhood haunt?

“Your parents are still together, loser!” Oh wait, I thought you said “favourite neighbourhood taunt”. We used to hassle kids who came from a two-parent house. Growing up in Aro St, that wasn’t normal. It was considered sad when a mum and dad were stuck together. My favourite neighbourhood haunts have closed down. Mighty Mighty was great, so was Hole in the Wall. My favourite of all time was The Pit at Bats Theatre when it was run by Jason Whyte and Andrew Foster. I still haven’t paid my bar tab.

What’s your favourite place for a walk or to get into nature?

Aro St park. It’s full of amazing animals, like “drunk assholes” and “super drunk assholes”. OK OK, it’s Red Rocks. The south coast is one of the things I really love about Wellington – there’s nowhere else like it in New Zealand.

What’s your favourite Wellington shop or store?

Garage Project, followed closely by Commonsense Organics. And those are the two reasons I keep having to work.

source: The Dominion Post


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