Every Monday the Chronicle fires 10 questions at a Whanganui local, revealing their passions and some things you didn't know about them.
Today Laurel Stowell talks to UCOL Student Life Coordinator Elsie Goodge about an ideal night out, her favourite food and more.
Where were you brought up?
In Parsons St. I did speech and drama, and I did theatre with Amdram and appeared in school performances and had singing lessons. Then, aged 16, my sister and I went to England for a summer holiday. I auditioned for a drama school and spent a year at the Academy Drama School of Whitechapel, starting at 17, and then the Mountview Conservatoire for Performing Arts in London.
What did you do when you returned to New Zealand?
I trained at the Avalon Film and Television School and worked in television production for a year. Then it moved to Auckland and I got a casual position at Te Papa. Because of my background in TV and film production I was approached by their events team.
Which events that you have done are you most proud of?
One of them is Te Papa's 10th birthday event. We organised a Queen of the Whole Universe pageant, for drag queens. It pulled in the entire gay community. They all came down dressed up and looking amazing and fabulous. There were also Pasifika and Māori performances. We got more people through the door that day than we had on opening day.
It was highly successful and exhausting and wonderful. It was a pinnacle.
Another is Vintage Weekend here. I was one of the people at its founding and I think its legacy is strong. It's really satisfying to see that it's still going and that people really love it.
What do you do in your spare time?
I play music and try to go along to various wānanga about taonga puoro (traditional Māori musical instruments) around the country. I grow gourds. I was going to show them, and their traditional uses, in the Artists Open Studios. I also do a lot of volunteer work. I'm on the board of the Community Arts Centre and the Guyton Group Trust and Awa Puoro ki te Ao.
How did you get interested in taonga puoro?
It was Te Papa's fault. I was by far the whitest person on the team but they said Māori people seemed to like me. They put me in charge of the marae programme. I organised a whole series of wānanga, and one was on taonga puoro. I was given a koauau by one of the carvers and Richard Nunns said it was not an ornament - it needed to be played.
You perform sometimes with Te Taikura o Te Awa Tupua. Tell us about that.
I met Morvin and Kura Simon when they were in charge of the Whanganui Iwi exhibition at Te Papa. Morvin took over the museum's waiata group, and asked me to join. When I returned to Whanganui he asked me to join Te Taikura. I had always wanted to do kapa haka, but was told it was only for Māori when I asked to join at intermediate school.
I absolutely love Te Taikura. I love everything it stands for. It's just such an uplifting thing to be a part of. I wish that more seniors in our community would get involved.
What's your ideal day off?
I love a day when I can relax, guilt-free - chill out with no obligations. I might watch a movie, bake a cake, make popcorn.
What's your favourite food?
I really love nuts and berries. One of my biggest treats is just to get a whole punnet of raspberries or blueberries, and I always have nuts in the cupboard.
What's your favourite night out?
It would be seeing a really good live music or performance - theatre or installation or dance, or a live band. I don't think there's anything more euphoric or cathartic than that.
What's your favourite place in Whanganui?
One of my favourites is Ototoka Beach, when the tide is at its lowest. There are rock pools, and it's rugged and isolated-feeling. I just think it's a beautiful place.