Category Archives: lifestyle

humans of mac+mae: Merv Pinny

Bath Time.  I like this photo because it reminds me why I wrote the song “OB can you hear the children cry”. It is a protest song against war and terrorism. All the suffering the children and the people from these countries have been through, it is hard to imagine. Yet, this dad finds a way to bring some normality into his children’s lives by way of giving them a bath against a backdrop of total destruction.

Some people have found the video “OB can you hear the children cry” upsetting I remember the first time I ever played it to anyone was a group including mothers that were visiting my Studio. Some ended up in tears and I thought I had gone too far, however the song had a message and I was trying to raise emotion to get that message across. I wear a gas mask in these videos, it is a symbol of war and the terror that comes with it whether it is tear gas, or worse chemical warfare. It is designed to make people take notice of “the messenger” and evoke emotions that highlight the message about war that I am trying to convey.

“Wipe Out” my new single is part two of that story and the after effects of someone that grows up in that environment with the anger and frustration that they must have to deal and live with. So the vocal and the lyrics are pretty full on as I try to capture the anger and frustration that they might be feeling.  The video is based on a true story told to me by a once refugee and now new immigrant who reached out to me. He told me the song “OB can you hear the children cry” reminded him of his own life and told me about a dream he had after listening to the song. He had lost his whole family and was feeling isolated and struggling to fit in, he was terrified of the rioting which brought back memories of war and his childhood. He dreamed two dark angels rose up out of the water to help find his lost sister and returned her to him surrounded in fire. I haven’t heard from him for some months but I hope he finds peace and his sister.

I heard many stories after releasing that song however some are too graphic to share. Unfortunately this is the reality we live in today and it is my hope that by bringing more awareness to the effects of war we will be reminded to choose our leaders wisely, in hope to bring peace to our world.

Kiwi rocker, MERVY PINNY has been in the game for a very long time.  Picking up a guitar as early as 10, Merv has evolved his sound over the years.  In the 90s, his single ‘Destiny’ was nominated for a NZ Music Award and won a Waikato Rock Award.

Merv’s latest project takes his musical talent and uses it to address timely world issues of the effects of war, terrorism and refugee immigration on children.  His single, OB Can you hear the children cry was recently named Best Rock Song and Best Rock Video at the Academia Music Awards in Los Angeles.

Inspired by the ‘Humans of New York’ series, we’re talking to our network find out what’s special to them, whether it’s a place, a thing, or a memory – Meet the “Humans of mac+mae”.

heard | On the road with the HuaweiP10NZ

I have a phone that is over four years old, it’s not an artifact obviously, but it’s pretty darn close. I don’t have fancy features like finger print scanning, lightning speed charge, mobile pay, hand gesture controls, 4K recording and more. In truth, I don’t fancy these features, but don’t get me wrong, all the extras add to the user experience and I’m sure it will add to mine. But the thing I am looking for, the thing that will sway me into handing over my money is a phone with a great camera and image capturing capabilities. And here is where the new Huawei P10 comes in.

I’ve been captured, given a device and released. Now with a new phone that posses extraordinary hardware and software features, I am left wondering what I should do with it. How do I feel with all this power in my hands? Like this…

A representation of Sin-Mae with advanced technology – via GIPHY


I managed to take a few pictures with the wide aperture features, beauty mode and manual focus. I was impressed to find the manual/pro controls, tracking features and voice command. Below are some pictures I took with the phone.


Wide Aperature Enabled – f 1.4


Wide Aperature Enabled – f 2

Many people may like the Wide Aperture Feature, by enabling it you bring up a scroll bar of f 0.95 ~ f 16. I did notice that the the phone did confuse some of the foreground image as the background and blurred parts of it. It happened on the lowest aperture and the highest, I am unsure whether that is a software issue but I think with some practice I will see less of it happening.


Wide Aperture Enabled – f 0.95

I found any number below a f 2 on the wide aperture feature to be harsh and artificial looking in some pictures. Some objects in focus may have gaps and an outline of clear background then a harsh edging of blur.


I noticed this happening even on the Huawei P10 Plus used at the official launch. This was on selfie mode layered with Bokeh effect, but once again, I need more practice with it.


Portrait Mode – Artistic Effect Disabled


Portrait Mode – Artistic Effect Enabled

There is this funky quick button on portrait mode that makes photos a little more dramatic. Above I tested it on sand to see how the artistic effect plays on the image.


Wide Aperture Enabled – f 0.95

While using the lowest aperture I found that some angles gave me more of a naturalistic picture. Places with a lot going on in the background makes it harder for the software to blur properly. So far I find the feature works really well with closeups and a single leading line away from the subject.


Pro Mode – manual focus (length)  3.95 , 1/200, f 2.2

You can’t go wrong with the pro feature, this is great for anyone who knows a bit of photography and wants a bit more control. There is no artificial blurring or wide aperture effect in this feature, well I couldn’t find one yet. But the lowest aperture on the hardware is f 2.2, good enough for most occasions and in my opinion better than any applied blur effect.


Standard Picture Taking Mode – Auto, f 2.2

If you just want something that is a point a shoot but has great capabilities when it comes to low light situations, then this phone can easily do that. I find pictures taken with the Huawei P10 give me clean crispy images which I can easily edit without loosing a lot of quality on apps like Snap Seed.

This is only a quick review into the images I’ve captured so far. To fully test out the capabilities, I’ll be taking it with me on a roadtrip from Auckland to Wellington in the next few days.  Follow us on Instagram to see what I get up to!



DocEdge 17 | Max Gimblett : Original Mind

Australia / United States | 2017 | 50 min | English | Rhys Mitchell

‘Max Gimblett : Original Mind’ is a glimpse into the life of Max Gimblett – one of  New Zealand’s most outstanding living Artists – and gives us insight to the workings of his Loft Studio in New York, which he acquired in 1974.

Gimblett talks about some of his earlier inspiration; being influenced by Matisse and starting ink drawing while he was in San Francisco in the mid 60’s, and becoming more strongly influenced by Japanese Calligraphy a few years later, when he was in Indiana. This influence helps us understand perhaps why he moved to Buddhism; He is now an avowed Rensai Zen Priest. These concepts and belief systems are evident in much of his work, and his spirituality seems to be a driving force behind his studio practice, as well as his everyday life.

Gimblett’s approach of creating, doing and feeling before over-thinking results in much of his extraordinarily expressive yet minimalist paintings and drawings. Over the years he has built an impressive and immense body of work, and this is continuously growing – his creative genius seemingly no where near exhausted.

‘Max Gimblett : Original Mind’ is 50 minutes of enjoyment and insight into one of New Zealand’s most relevant and intriguing artists, and well worth viewing.

The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 24 May – 5 June –

DocEdge 17 | Tokyo Idols

Canada / United Kingdom | 2017 | 89 min | Japanese / English Sub | Kyoko Miyake

Tokyo Idols focuses on idol culture in Japan and is more of an overview, rather than an in-depth look at what is a facinating subject.

We are introduced to young aspiring idols (some very young), and the journey that they inevitably will take on their road to success – or not. With so many eager would-be idols striving for the top spot, the competition is fierce and truly popularity based. A dominating factor of this popularity contest is based on a superficial image constructed by and for the individual. Innocence, youth, vitality, and cuteness are all key qualitites.

The fandom (and potential to profit from ‘super-fans’) is what seemingly drives this industry; However, once you start looking closer at this, questions start arising. Why are these sometimes significantly older men so emotionally invested in these young girls? Is it obsession? How healthy or unhealthy is this obsession?

With a constructed image of innocence and youth catering so blatantly to the personal desires of these fans, one has to consider some realities, such as safety of the idols (and perhaps a few other things).

This is cleverly illustrated with the characters we are introduced to; specifically Rio Hiiragi, or ‘RioRio’, to her fans. She is paving her way to hopeful success by doing her own promotional work, and utilises her small fan-base for support; you can truly see her earnest determination to succeed.

If you have little to zero knowledge of the subject, I would  highly recommend this as a introduction or taster if you will; It provides a fantastic overview as well as an objective take on Idol culture.

Absolutely recommend.


The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 24 May – 5 June –

DocEdge 17 | Fallen Flowers, Thick Leaves

Netherlands / Germany | Chinese / English Sub | 2017 | 80 min | Laetitia Schoofs

‘Fallen Flowers, Thick Leaves’ subject matter is highly relevant and current, touching on sensitive issues not often discussed in Chinese culture and commonly considered taboo. In-depth sexual education for women is scarce and not as widely available in this setting, and we gain some insight into what is becoming more available in terms of education in modern Chinese culture, with the happiness and satisfaction of these women in mind.

Much is still suppressed in regards to the control the Government exercises, however this is being challenged  – we are introduced to some captivating women; intelligent, independant and attractive. Women whom are sometimes condisered ‘freaks’, as they are unmarried, single, without children and past their mid-twenties. They are subject to the cultural and societal pressures placed upon them, however the discovery and acceptance of the fact that they do not need to reply on a male partner for their sexual satisfaction is empowering to some.

Director Laetitia Schoofs has a sensitivity and gentle beauty to the treatment of her subject, which is felt throughout the viewing of “Fallen Flowers, Thick Leaves’. At times I was reminded of last years DocEdge screening for ‘Inside the Chinese Closet’, and in a way these films are both linked – hopefully creating some awareness and understanding of the juxtaposition of a culture held back by tradition, but propelling towards modernerty at a rate which highlights these shortcomings so blatantly.

Highly recommended.

The 12th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 24 May – 5 June –






humans of mac+mae: Michael Johnson

This is my library.  

My library is special to me as I grew up being placed in special classes at school after being told that I had learning difficulties and ADD and that I would struggle to learn for the rest of my life.

My library is a reminder of the belief I had to have in myself to follow my dreams and never let anyone tell me who I could and should be. I find it extraordinary that the thing I was told I would never be good at is the thing that inspires me the most in life, as I love to learn from extraordinary people and teach others how to be extraordinary.

It’s a daily reminder to me to keep inspiring people to live an amazing life and never let anyone else tell you who you can be and what you should do with your life.

The Mojo Master and his library

The Mojo Master and his library

Michael Johnson believes that everyone is truly gifted, but most people just never have the tools, confidence, motivation and self-belief to find what makes them come alive and live it daily.  Also known as The Mojo Master, he’s mentored and coached thousands of people including world champion athletes, national sporting teams, executives and business leaders.  His mission is to help millions of people globally to tap into their individual talents and become the masters of their own destiny, leading to more fulfilling, happier and more successful lives.

The Mojo Master is bringing his event The Next Level to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch next month.  Learn the exact steps to create a strong, powerful mindset and gain mental and emotional clarity so you can take control of your success, happiness and future goal.  Click here to buy a ticket.

Inspired by the ‘Humans of New York’ series, we’re talking to our network find out what’s special to them, whether it’s a place, a thing, or a memory – Meet the “humans of mac+mae”

NZICF 17 | our top picks for NZ International Comedy Fest 2017

The New Zealand International Comedy Festival is back from Thursday 27 April to Sunday 21 May in both Auckland and Wellington.  Like previous years, the festival promises a line-up of both local and international comedy super stars!  With so many to choose from, you might not know where to begin.  To help, we’ve put together our list of top picks (in alphabetical order) for you to have a look at.

For more information, tickets and a bunch of other things, check out the Comedy Festival website.


Angella dravid

Love makes you do crazy things.

This is a love story. Well, kind of. Except it went a bit wrong. Really wrong. So wrong that Angella’s written a show about it. A story so intriguing she’s been nominated for the Billy T. So bizarre that it has to be seen and heard to be believed.


Anya & Saran

Anya Rzhevitskaya and Saran Goldie-Anderson (Saranya Asks) expected to solve the world’s problems (or at least their own) with their last show How Not To Be A Fuckwit. The show was a success, the self-help empire is booming, but fuckwits are still everywhere – look at 2016. What happens when you’re the agony aunt and you still have problems. Who do you ask?


Aunty Donna

Professional entertainment consisting of jokes & sketches intended to make an audience laugh.

With over 139K Subscribers, 19.3 million hits on YouTube and their own sketch series Trendy on Comedy Central you know you’re in good comedic hands.


Becky Lucas

Becky Lucas is a Little Bitch.

Writer, performer,  and fervent tweeter. She’s returning to the Comedy Fest after a successful debut last year as part of Breakout Comedy.

Becky is refreshingly real on stage and one of most exciting new voices on the comedy scene, quickly commanding worldwide attention.

It’s going to be very funny and exciting, however if you have a red rummy face and wraparound sunglasses don’t come, it’s probably not for you.


chris martin

After three years away, Chris Martin (the comedian!) is back in New Zealand with a brand new show.

“One of the UK’s best young observationalists” – The Guardian, has returned to discuss the key to happiness; how to tell you’re in a posh area and the importance of owls in your life.

Read our review of his 2013 show.



He may look like Big Bird after a buzz-cut, but Frenchy’s no Muppet!

The charming, self-deprecating crowd-work master has sold-out comedy festivals & theatres around Australia, NZ & the UK. His live show is where he really unleashes his anarchic wit.

Find out what two million social media followers love about Frenchy – and prepare to be offended!


Guy Williams

Guy Williams is back with more of his wrong opinions spoken confidently and loudly!

His revolutionary quantity over quality approach is “licensed to thrill”. Boy oh boy this is bound to be one of the shows in the year!

“The most unfunny comedian since Seinfeld” – Ivan Lloyd, Facebook


good guys

The 10th Good Guys comedy extravaganza is set to be a cracker. Each year a line-up of all-star headliners donate a set for SpinningTop charity, often prompting them to throw out the script and ‘go rogue’ in this hilarious gala style event.

In Auckland you’ll be treated to Dai Henwood, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Nick Rado, Jesse Griffin and more in this 2-hour show. A special event not to be missed!


Lou Sanders

Lou Sanders is a new force to be reckoned with on the UK Pro comedy circuit. Named one of the Top 10 comics to see in Vogue, Elle, Timeout, The Guardian, The Times and The Independent, we’re bringing The Best of Lou Sanders to The Classic Studio for just 3 late night shows only. Hold on to your seats!

Also see her in The Big Show.


Nazeem Hussain

Nazeem Hussain has a love/not-so-love relationship with Australia that is fraught with mistrust. And given the state of the world, the feeling’s mutual.

Public Frenemy is the latest show to come from one of the most in demand TV and radio personalities in Australia. If his 2015 & 2016 shows are anything to go by, this show will sell out in New Zealand. 

Read our 2016 interview with him.


Phil Jupitus

Phill Jupitus is heading to New Zealand with his new show Juplicity!  Join the stand-up comedian, poet, improviser, and TV stalwart for over an hour of tales, laughs and diversions.  Watch in delight and/or horror as this experienced funnyman smashes laughs out of the chaos of his own life and the uncertain world that surrounds it.  

Adult themes and situations, but delivered childishly.



Romesh Ranganathan is heading to New Zealand for the first time with his current show exploring the rationality of his worldview.  Irrational will see Romesh examine the issues close to his heart, and explains why everybody else is wrong about them.