Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


SOUNZ Is Proud To Announce The Release Of The Podcast Series - The Magpie House

The Magpie House is the story of the modernist, black and white house at 22 Ascot Street, Thorndon, Wellington, where composer Douglas Lilburn lived for more than 40 years.

Lilburn was the father of classical music composition in Aotearoa and today the house is a composers' residency.

In this four-part series, Kirsten Johnstone weaves together stories of seven colourful decades in the Magpie House creating a Forrest-Gump-esque saga of war and music, cold-war espionage and persecution, the search for identity and a place to call home.

Episode 1: Landfall in Unknown Seas, focuses on the house's Czech/Austrian architect and other refugees, who fled the Nazis but faced persecution in their adopted homeland during and after the second world war.

"People were writing to the police, thinking that he might be some sort of a spy, communicating things to the Nazis ... through his broadcast at recitals" – Tom McGrath

"New Zealand has a long history of immigration policy that discriminated against what were called aliens and race aliens. The desirable immigrants were always people from Britain, people like "us" and Jewish immigrants or refugees were not wanted" - historian Ann Beaglehole

Episode 2: The Vegetable Club tells the story of a literal vegetable co-op at which the house's first owner, senior diplomat Richard Collins and his friends, were targeted by the Special Branch of the New Zealand Police during the height of cold-war paranoia.

"They were blindsided, and unable to refute what was being said about them. It was all secret. And people were saying, oh, that doesn't happen in New Zealand. I said, well, yes, it does" - Sarah Lake

Episodes three and four explore the later life of Douglas Lilburn, his pioneering work in electronic music, his relationships with friends and the community and his lasting legacy, as well as the present and future of the little house at Ascot Street.

The series is expertly created and hosted by Kirsten Johnstone who recently produced the podcast series The Lake for Stuff. Kirsten is a music journalist and former producer and broadcaster for RNZ.

Additional research by biographer JaneTolerton ONZM, whose books include Ettie Rout, New Zealand’s safer sex pioneer and

But I Changed All That: 'First' New Zealand Women.

Release dates:

Episode 1: Landfall in Unknown Seas

Release date — 22 November

Episode 2: The Vegetable Club

Release date — 29 November

Episode 3:

Release date — 6 December

Episode 4:

Release date — 13 December

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland