Many the times a politician leaves Parliament and releases a memoir or gives a tell-all interview to mark the end of their stint in the corridors of power.

Not former Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty.

Always one to challenge convention, Delahunty, an MP from 2008-17, has found another way of reflecting on her eight years in Parliament which brings new meaning to the term 'political theatre'.

She's taken to the stage with a one-woman show called Question Time Blues, in which she shares the highs and lows of her Parliamentary career.


Titles of some of the 25 spoken word poems she performs give a hint to the content; "Double the Quote of White Men — You Can Never Have Enough" and "The Lying, the Bitch and the Wardrobe" among them. The latter talks about her feelings when former Green Party leader Metiria Turei was criticised about the cost of her clothing.

Delahunty, who lives on the Coromandel, says she'd long jotted down ideas and verses as a way to deal with some of the frustrations of our political system. Fellow green MP Jan Logie suggested she had enough material for a spoken word poetry show so, with the help of her theatre-maker sister Sarah, Delahunty came up with Question Time Blues.

"A politician is not an actor — actors have more self-awareness — and while I'm very comfortable with public speaking, the show is a challenge to me because it's not public speaking. It involves creating real characters, telling stories and sharing what I have written," says Delahunty, who had never acted before.

"Sarah knew exactly what she was doing; at one point, I was waving my arms around and gesturing like I was in the House making a speech and she very quickly told me not to do that. I couldn't have done this without her."

First performed to sell-out crowds at Wellington's Bats Theatre, they're now bringing the show to the Auckland Fringe Festival.

"It's a good way to detox from the whole experience of Parliament," says Delahunty. "Many of the frustrations I had were because there's a lot of old school Westminster traditions which are really irrelevant to our country and ensure that sexism and racism are built into a structure that isn't based on the Treaty of Waitangi or our place in the Pacific.

"There are also the hilarious and bizarre work experiences that I had and I really wanted to share those with the public. People can behave badly [in Parliament] because it's the type of environment that can encourage petty behavior and while they're only human, the culture could be so different."

So, what were some of the more hilarious experiences? Delahunty recalls times when you're asked to answer curly questions from opposition MPs, you stand and hope to give an eloquent and well-thought-out answer but your mind goes blank.

She also talks about some of the highs, such as the passing of the Marriage Equality Act, and some stranger encounters like when as a Green Party Education spokesperson she visited the Gloriavale Christian community.

Then there's her relationship with social media.

"I really struggle with some of the technicalities and trivialities of it; of being a politician and having to think about how many 'likes' you get on Facebook. I was interested in how we can do things differently, what sort of country we want to be and how we can change things to achieve that."

What: Question Time Blues
Where & when: Vault at Q Theatre, Thursday — Saturday