Calling all Otago Alumni AND friends of Otago – join us for a special evening honouring a most distinguished Alumnus, Sir Murray F. Brennan, on Thursday October 26, 2017 (6:30 – 8:30pm) at The Century Association, 7 West 43rd St, New York, NY. 

We’re celebrating Sir Murray’s outstanding contributions to medical science, surgical oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the University of Otago, and New Zealand. Event proceeds will be used to establish the ‘Sir Murray Brennan Fund’ which will support medical students and medicine/oncology related projects at the University of Otago School of Medicine. 

To register, go to http://alumniuoa.com


By any measure, Helen Clark is an exceptional woman. Her journey from one of four children on a remote New Zealand farm to becoming New Zealand’s first elected female Prime Minister forms an outstanding and inspirational life story. In 2016, she added an even more ambitious chapter, as she attempted to become the United Nations’ first ever female Secretary-General.

MY YEAR WITH HELEN gives a closely observed view of Helen’s bid for the top job, as the UN turns itself inside out in an effort to deliver unprecedented transparency in an historic year.

Gaylene Preston’s cameras follow Helen Clark campaigning for Secretary-General while also carrying out her work as Administrator of UNDP, filming Clark in Botswana, Britain, Spain and Ukraine as well as the UN’s New York headquarters.

Screening dates, reviews can be found at https://myyearwithhelen.com.

When the talking stops and ideas Come to life. Rebelle Rally 2017


The Rebelle Rally is the first women’s off-road navigation rally raid in the United States.

Katy Kunkel and Frances Spencer are two New Zealanders, who are bringing a fun attitude, enthusiasm, and zest for life all the way to the dirt of the American Southwest.

Katy, from Auckland, New Zealand, currently lives in Langley, Virginia where she is a Creative Director. From kiteboarding to skiing, adventures of any kind (preferably near the sea), and fires on the beach, Katy loves experiencing life and is looking forward to all of the “unknown” during the Rebelle.

As a first-timer to the rally, when asked why she’s competing in the Rebelle this fall, she answered, “Why not. You only get one shot at life.” Our sentiments exactly. She’s also teamed up with Frances as Team #152 aka The Frocks because they “both like to get into trouble, so it just seemed logical.” 😉

“We are training in different hemispheres and will meet our vehicle for the first time together at the race. We found north in May. Navigating out of a supermarket carpark is the extent of my experience. As far as driving goes I fancy myself as a rally driver in that ‘I’m really good at pool when I’ve had a few drinks kind of way,’” – Katy.

Frances lives in Auckland, New Zealand where she’s a Project Manager. She’ll give anything a go outdoors, whether it’s camping, skiing, or photography. Joining Katy this fall, she mentions humorously that she joined the Rebelle because she’s “easily lead astray – thanks Katy.” Working together as a team, Frances believes coming together as a Rebelle duo was all about the right attitude, right time.

Looking forward to just about everything during the Rebelle, Frances is bringing her must-have gear for the Rebelle all the way from New Zealand – a sense of humor. It definitely goes a long way. And, despite being novices, absolutely nothing is getting in the way of these two’s determination and pure will.

“We’re definitely in the ‘amateur’ category, but car willing that won’t stop us. Distance adds an extra complexity to training. Our team motto – ‘what could possibly go wrong.’“

To learn more about The Frocks, here’s a blog post on the beginning of their adventure here.  Check out the video below from Katy’s blog

Documentary on Dunedin music legends, The Chills

The filmmakers of a new documentary about The Chills are looking for help with a Kickstarter campaign. It has just one week to go, they are 75% of the way there, but this is the nail-biting part where they could really use the support of proud Kiwis with a couple of bucks to spare. Rewards include: a digital download of the film itself (US $20), original artwork by Chills frontman Martin Phillipps, and much more.

Hailing from Dunedin, The Chills are bona-fide New Zealand music legends. They were the first Flying Nun band to make it to the United States. At one point, they were considered “the second best band in the world” by R.E.M.

New Zealand film director Julia Parnell is telling the story of The Chills and their enigmatic frontman Martin Phillipps, one of the best songwriters in the land. Many of the band’s songs – ‘I Love My Leather Jacket’, ‘Pink Frost’ and ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’ – are perennial favourites amongst New Zealanders and indie pop music fans the world over.

It’s a story about great highs and very low lows, about ambition, depression, and – of interest to KEA and high-achieving Kiwis everywhere – about the life-saving work of New Zealand’s medical science superstars.

All the info is here: www.thechillsfilm.com

This exclusive excerpt from the film was premiered by major US music website Pitchfork at the beginning of the campaign, an indicator of The Chills’ respect in the global music scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNygVvKKNOg

The filmmakers have official backing and funding, they just need a boost at the moment as a lot of the other funding doesn’t kick in until a certain point in the process (as is usual with feature films).

The Legacy Package Goes Under the Hammer Wednesday Night, October 11th NZT

From an earlier post https://newzealandnewsletter.blog/2017/07/31/attn-folks-in-los-angeles

This is a last opportunity to latch onto this unique opportunity for you to bid on a package where you can meet up with a couple of Kiwi friends or relatives in Los Angeles next June and enjoy a fantastic degustation dinner and a mustang convertible for a week.

Stu Webster and Kat Hellyer at https://www.pinecone.one, in conjunction with some generous friends and sponsors have put together an incredible auction package in conjunction with the Cranford Hospice Hawkes Bay Wine Auction that will go under the hammer at the Pre-Tasting event on October 11th at 5.30 NZT.  The Legacy Package includes return airfares from New Zealand to Los Angeles for two, 5 nights accommodation, 6 days hirage of a Mustang convertible, a degustation dinner in Los Angeles prepared by Jeremy Rameka of Pacifica Restaurant, a vertical tasting of Bridge Pa Louis Syrah Magnums (2005 to 2010) and a sapphire and diamond platinum and 18 carat gold and platinum pinecone pendant. Phone and absentee bidding is actively encouraged. Details of The Legacy Package and auction terms and conditions can be viewed at https://hawkesbaywineauction.co.nz/the-legacy-package/.