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YOUR WINDOW TO THE COMMUNITY
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2012
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Girls in the
A wag about
Margi's on air
By JUDITH LACY
Broadcaster gives voice
to arts and environment
Hearth maker: Margi Mitcalfe produces Hearth, an arts and environment community radio show, from her Palmerston
Photo: ROBERT KITCHIN
Home is where the hearth is --
and information on Man-
awatu's arts and environ-
Yesterday, Margi Mitcalfe's 70th
Hearth show was broadcast on
She started Hearth 18 months ago
to fill what she saw as a gap in local
Local newspapers cover the arts
and environment but there was not
a local radio show doing so, she said.
Sound is so immediate, people
can experience it from their living
rooms. It takes the audience right
She wanted to make Manawatu's
She chose the name Hearth as it
is a warm, central place to gather
together. It also has hear'', art''
and earth'' in it.
On average, Ms Mitcalfe puts
eight hours of her own time into
making the show each week.
Sometimes it is a labour-intensive
process, other weeks it is straight-
It's just such a positive thing to
be involved in,'' she said.
There is so much happening in
Manawatu, lots of people coming
together for shared reasons.''
She has no problem finding
people to interview, but sometimes
feels bad she cannot cover every-
There's only so much you can
cover and you choose to do this
[item] and it's often at the expense
of five others.''
However, it is a wonderful prob-
lem to have.
[Palmerston North] has this
reputation for being dull and
nothing happens, but there is so
much going on.''
Interviewees appreciate being
They feel special and valued and
Ms Mitcalfe produces Hearth from
her Roslyn home, working on her
laptop -- sometimes in her favourite
place in the garden, under the
She had no previous radio experi-
ence but has found editing program
Adobe Audition easy to use.
She teaches creative and
academic writing at Massey Univer-
sity, has had poetry published in
literary journals and her poems
have placed in local and national
Three of her poems inspired by
the Len Castle ceramics exhibition
at Te Manawa are in the Spring
2011 edition of Landfall.
She considers herself a little bit
of an artist''.
Her visual art dabbling ranges
from calligraphy to pencil drawing
and paper marbling; her artist
books have been exhibited in Auck-
land, Hawke's Bay, Wellington and
On her garden shed she has sten-
cilled two trees -- one gold and one
silver to match the colours of her
She loves painting on walls.
I would just love to live like that
and cover walls with paint, but I
Ms Mitcalfe grew up in Well-
ington and travelled overseas. She
came to Palmerston North 18 years
ago to finish a bachelor of arts
majoring in media studies.
She also has a diploma in
counselling, a postgraduate diploma
in adult teaching and learning, and
a master of management in which
she explored inter-cultural com-
The study has been helpful when
Personal highlights include cap-
turing children's voices, being let
into artists' lives and being a vehicle
for the transmission of Maori arts
From a family of environmental
activists, Ms Mitcalfe said she has
always been a nature person''.
Humans need to value the earth
as it enriches our lives.
It doesn't always come at a cost,
to think environmentally.''
While there are flowers in Ms
Mitcalfe's garden it is primarily one
of function: strawberries in pots
under the washing line, and crushed
egg shells are scattered around veg-
etable and herb seedlings in the gar-
den that was once lawn. Growing
containers are all-sorts -- even pum-
ice, polystyrene and a wheelbarrow.
Eco-sourced native tree and shrub
seedlings sit in front of the garage.
Ms Mitcalfe is helping her partner
grow them for a bush restoration
Some of Hearth's shows are
recordings of arts and environment
speeches and events.
So often she has heard someone
sharing good ideas and thought it
was a waste only 30 people were
present. These resources are so
easily wasted if not held for a future
audience,'' she said.
[Hearth] is like a container for
them that holds and stores them.''
Ashhurst nursery Edible Garden
has been paying Hearth's broadcast
fees, but that arrangement is about
to end and Ms Mitcalfe is seeking a
Hearth is broadcast on Access
Manawatu 999AM 6pm Tuesdays
and 10am Fridays and 4pm Sundays
on Radio Control 99.4FM. Hearth's
five most recent episodes can be
heard at accessmanawatu.co.nz.
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