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Wednesday, 20 March 2019 02:57 pm

NZ’s cultural capital debate has winner at CubaDupa: Wellington

British tourist Max Barber: “Wellington’s fun man. Everyone’s chill here.”

By Sam Robinson

Wellington may just have won the war for cultural kingpin status if the city’s residents immersed in the buzz of CubaDupa are to believed.

With Auckland hitting back at the claim Wellington City Council in its latest long term draft that “Wellington is known as the culture capital of New Zealand”, the debate is not going away.

Where better for to test opinion than with this week’s CubaDupa festival.

Drew James, cultural director of CubaDupa, is diplomatic: “I actually love both cities.

“What we have here in Wellington is very unique and very distinctive and I think we should just

continue doing what we do very well.”

As Wellington’s CubaDupa festival roars loudly in the streets with an expected crowd of 100,000 NewsWire took the question to the festival-goers, asking: “Who is the culture kingpin of the New Zealand and why?”

Hannah Young (21), right, from Wellington thinks her city is it. “Well just look around all the different eclectic people that are here.”

Lauren Jack (17), left, from Wellington was blunt: “Auckland is like drab, and grey and business and I hate it.”

Olivia Bailey Masters (17), right: “It’d probably be Auckland”. Why? “I just have a gut feeling.”

Even Max Barber (21), a British tourist, weighs in: “Wellington 100%. Wellington’s fun, man. Everyone’s chill. It’s good, it’s happening here. Everyone’s happy it’s a nice place.”

Overwhelmingly the answer seems to be Wellington with only a couple of disagreements.

Jill Ford from Wellington says: “I don’t really care. I don’t think it’s an issue.”

Local high school teacher Nat Randall (45) is clear: “Wellington”. When asked why she says: “This. CubaDupa. Everything we do pretty much.”

Sean Brendan-Prescott (38) from Kawerau: “I’ve lived in both and I would say Wellington.”

Te Auaha stage and screen student Zoe Snowdon says: “Easily Wellington. Circa Theatre and Bats Theatre are the most creative places I’ve been in my entire life.”

Even Aucklander Rebecca (22) says: “Easily Wellington. It’s just a really cool city. It’s awesome.”

And Hudson (24), left, from Wellington says: “I think Auckland is just another big city without much in the way of culture. There’s not really like a centre or a sense of uniqueness about Auckland in the way there is about Wellington. I think Auckland is just a not quite as good Sydney”.


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