Creative work

As well as researching and writing about New Zealand music, I have been involved with various creative activities and projects over the years. A selection of my creative work in the fields of comics, film, radio and music is described below. Links to relevant online reviews have been added where these are available.


Since 2007 I have been collaborating with my friend Mat Tait, a Motueka-based artist and designer, on a series of New Zealand legends and tall tales adapted for the comic medium (as outlined in this blog post). My role has been to write scripts for the tales, Mat’s to create the artwork. The heading dog who split in half: Legends and tall tales from New Zealand, a collection of seven such tales, was published in October 2015 by Potton & Burton. For our dedicated website about the book, see: oldweirdnewzealand. Three of the stories appeared prior to this in a variety of forms, the first being reprinted in several different publications: see below.

The heading dog who split in half: Legends and tall tales from New Zealand (Nelson: Potton & Burton, 2015).
[See here for reviews and other press coverage.]

‘A tale of old Waihi’, Faction 3 (2014), 53-60. [Available from Comixology here]
[Review: Girls Like Comics: Faction 3 Review (16 October 2014)]
[Review: The Weekly Crisis: Faction 1-3 Review (25 September 2014)]
[Review: The Comics Alternative Podcast: Episode 98 (27 August 2014)]

‘The heading-dog who split in half’, in From Earth’s end: the best of New Zealand comics, ed. Adrian Kinnaird (Auckland: Random House New Zealand/Godwit, 2013), 370-376.

‘The heading-dog who split in half’, in Love Stories (Melbourne: Pikitia Press, 2013).
[Review: The Comics Journal, ‘Comics from Oceania’ (3 October 2014)]
[Review: Australian Comics Journal, The Comic Spot podcast (30 October 2013)]

‘The Princess and the Come-Ashore Whaler’, Werewolf (online magazine, 2011-2012).

‘The heading-dog who split in half’, Werewolf (online magazine, 2011).

‘The heading-dog who split in half’, in Love Stories (Motueka: Mat Tait, 2007).
[Review: File Under Other (26 June 2008)]
[Review: Sequart Organization (5 May 2008)]

Films and radio documentaries

My work in the film medium initially focused on writing and directing experimental dramas. These culminated in the short film Falling out (2004), featuring actor Stephen Bain, which screened at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany, in 2006. It was later screened widely in Europe as a part of a programme of New Zealand films curated by Mark Williams, founder of CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand. My film work has subsequently received a mention on the Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand entry ‘Experimental Film: Technologies and venues, the 2000s’ (accessed 15 December 2014). I have also created radio documentaries and ethnographic films based on my music research.

Charles Royal on guitar strumming. Ethnographic film (self-produced, 2009). [Excerpts can be viewed on Charles Royal‘s Youtube channel.]

Nooks and crannies [with Jack Perkins]. 15-part series about New Zealand folk songs (Radio New Zealand, 2004-2005).

Songs of Billy and Pack [with Jack Perkins]. Radio New Zealand, Spectrum radio documentary (Radio New Zealand SP 1315, 2004).

Falling out. Experimental film drama (self-produced, 2004).

Bird. Music video for the alternative rock group Marineville (self-produced, 2001).

On the low shore. Experimental film drama (self-produced, 2001).

Poor you. Experimental film drama (self-produced, 2000).


Since the mid-1990s, I have been part of various musical groups in Wellington, including the band Pony Club and the folk group The Sepia Tones. Between 2009 and 2012, I played guitar with the kapa haka group, Ngāti Pōneke Young Māori Club, memorable performances with them including the 2010 senior regional competitions and the 28 Māori Battalion final hui, held at Pipitea Marae in 2012. Recordings made with Pony Club are listed below.

‘Paperbag lover’, in Nature’s worst songs about New Zealand. CD compilation (Nature’s Worst Recordings, 2010).

The Tower of Lint. CD recording (Wiggly Tapes WT/CD005, 2003).

Horizon. EP cassette (self-released, 1999).

Days of wine and… wine/Soaked 7” single (self-released, 1997).