Lucy Lawless Guest NZ Herald Editor 13 June 2014


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Lucy Lawless


13 June 2014

Editorial by Lucy Lawless
13 June 2014 Issue of NZ Herald
A hundred times I tried to turn down the guest editorship. But eventually their persistence and my hunger for new challenges won out. And maybe I could do some good? I canvassed interesting people I know for great untold stories in their field. I was inundated with suggestions. But in the end, you can only do what's authentic for you.  I have always been a cheerleader in the fight against child abuseand neglect. Likewise, climate change, which just proves that child neglect is intergenerational.  Given that Standard & Poors recently gave NZ a 'D' for creditworthiness owing to our vulnerability in the face of climate change and an ageing population, the major parties might want to reflect on their choice to ignore our lack of preparedness. They risk looking like denialists, stuck in the dark ages or worst of all, deep in the pocket of supra-national oil companies who are concerned about no one's survival but their own.

Yep, climate change is blowing into town like the Whore of Babylon and she wants her money! Unfortunately, so does everybody else. No lightbulb or factory to change. I've always thought that enlightened self-interest would light the way forward but evidently blatant self-interest is the only force that actually works in the world of business. So, instead of me bleating on about the catastrophic climate change, only  we have tried, when highlighting issues, to present workable solutions as suggested by people who actually know what they're talking about.  Dairy farmers are doing great work cleaning up farming practices. To be fair, the driving force is not concern re climate change but low input farming is definitely better for the planet. Because of our ageing population and straitened hospital budgets, I wondered if it would be a case of geriatric the time I was 64. Happily, the good folks at the Starship Foundation are showing how we are all going to be better off by factoring social profit into the accounting. It's a formidable case of a stitch in time.
 We want to be encouraging of emergent technology and research. Research doesn't sound sexy but by collecting and sharing valid data, we feed into the world knowledge bank and eventually it results in better outcomes, better remedies.  It's a tricky world but good things are happening. Believe it.





21 July 2017

This Fight Is Making Us Sick by Lucy Lawless

This Fight Is Making Us Sick by Lucy Lawless

By Lucy Lawless
21 July 2017

Image636362561989346000The boat is rocking and rolling inexorably towards its destination high in the Arctic Circle.

I wake from deepest slumber at 7.01am, exactly the same time as yesterday.

Breakfast is meager on a GP boat, which is exactly right, judging by some of the green faces. I am feeling annoyingly perky, glad to not be in hell with them. I was seasick once and pray it stays away.

After muesli I go up to the bridge where Nacho points out where a whale spouted a minute ago. I sit and wait but it is a full five minutes later that we catch it happening again. I am hoping the pod is heading in the same direction as us. I'd love to see them up close. I was on a dolphin watch experience in Whakatane once and a pod of pilot whales swam right underneath us. It was a mystical experience.

I am aware that I'm close to shirking cleanup duty so I sneak off and have a quick shower.

As I exit I see someone in rubber gloves cleaning the lav nextdoor. Wait, he's on his knees retching. Could that be my friend, Andrew from the Auckland office? He was wearing a blue T-shirt before and now he's wearing a red one. Andrew works comms and is communicating nicely with that toilet -roaring, he is. Poor devil. I wonder if when he signed up for bathroom duty, he knew how convenient it would be.

Unlike on land, the coolest chicks on boats are invariably the dirtiest. Miriam is a deckhand who is also in charge of garbage and recycling. Like all of them, she's wiry, fit and able. Her pants look like they've weathered many, many campaigns.

I help her carry the trash to the poop deck which is (naturally) located in the rear. Most of the sorting has already been done by the crew who deposit paper/organics/cans in the proper bins. Not to be shipshape would offend the hive.

When I come out, Andrew has moved on to the downstairs loos, toilet brush in hand. He tries to look chipper but he's green about the gills. There's a splatter of cack on his shoulder like the father of a newborn. Hey, Andrew, you missed a spot! It's a three-tshirt kind of morning.

At 10am we are getting fitted for drysuits which are designed to handle full immersion in Arctic waters. We are going out on the inflatables. The drysuits are heavy duty neoprene and devilish hard to get into. I put mine on and immediately regret it because suddenly I want to go to the loo "just in case".
But the briefing has begun in the bowels of the ship. As Nacho (Argentina) instructs us about safety protocols, Desiree (campaigner, Philippines) emits a wee splash of puke on the floor between the attendees. "Sorry!" She mutters preemptively and then showers them in a magnificent arc of breakfast. It was quite something.

Waiting for the inflatables to be launched, I'm staring down into the Arctic waters thinking how would one describe that colour? I imagine the paint swatch. Blueblack? Igneus rock? It's a scary color. It might roll over on its side and regard you with one whale eye. And it occurs to you that there's so much more below it that above and how you would not like to die inside of it.

Training goes on all day. It's all about transferring boats in different conditions. I want to protest that I'm just an actress, just here for the photo ops, but it's too late. Our little boat is momentarily deep in a trough and the massive Arctic Sunrise is high on the swell, just metres away. Beneath the waterline, the bottom of the hull is rose-coloured and for an instant, she is thrust so high out in front of the wave, you can see a gash of red like a ferocious smile. Then she chomps down hard on the Barents Sea. And we are drenched by spray.

For more about Lucy's role as an eco-warrior go to AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Eco-Warrior Subsite



20 July 2017

Joining The Club To End The Oil Age by Lucy Lawless


Joining The Club To End The Oil Age 
by Lucy Lawless
NZ Herald - 20 July 2017

OK, so I am not Greenpeace. And I don't work for them.

But I met the activist Bunny McDiarmid 25 years ago when I basically played her in a TV movie called The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior.

She had been a crew member who was ashore at the time of the bombing in Auckland 1985. I met her and her partner, Henk, and found them to be completely unaffected, forthright, funny, educated and wise.

They were a revelation to me - nothing like the crazy hippies I had been taught to expect. I was raised in a conservative home and my Dad embraced all that Robbie Muldoon embodied in the 70s. There were "Think Big" stickers next to Rolling Stones ones on my brother's bedroom door.

Bunny eventually went on to run Greenpeace New Zealand and then after a short break last year, became the executive director of Greenpeace international. And now I count a number of their activists as the classiest and most decent people I've ever met.

So while I don't work for Greenpeace, I know who they are at their core and I believe 100 percent in their integrity.

So now I find myself on an icebreaker ship, going literally to the ends of the earth with them. Our mission is to hasten the end of the oil age.

We just cast off from the port of Tromso and the waters of the Sounds are utterly calm, the ship rolls left and right when it hits a current. The craft is crazily sensitive and makes me wonder what's ahead.

The medic administered sea sickness pills two hours ago to newbies like me. I'm wearing Norwegian boots with curled up toes as a sultan might wear. So my big toes can give a thumbs-up sign when something cool happens. 

Before we left port, I went into town to get a cheap and cheerful raincoat and was lured down an alley by a shingle pointing to Tromso's (Ye olde) shoemaker. I was really charmed by the storybook cobblers, with little shoes all in a row.

"Gosh, did you make those reindeer boots or are you mending them?" I ask the apple-cheeked lady in the gingerbread apron. No, that's not reindeer she explains, "it's ....(snort, snort, snort)."

"What... pig? Like some kind of hairy boar, endemic to this area? Fancy!"

"No, not pig. It's, how do you say - oh, I wish I knew the name for it in English. You know..." she makes the action of repeatedly clubbing, "you know, the babies on the ice!"

"Oh, gosh, right, well, I don't think I'll be wanting a pair of those."

Jaysus, I thought as I left, definitely not in Kansas anymore.

For more about Lucy's role as an eco-warrior go to AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Eco-Warrior Subsite



14 January 2015

Lucy NZ Herald Column: Beware The Vampires Deep In The Gorge 7 January 2015

Lucy’s January 2015 column was posted 7 January 2015

You read of Lucy's articles by going to the AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Columnist subsite

Beware The Vampires Deep In The Gorge 7 January 2015

Dad had us eating out of the palm of his hand on the long holiday road trip up north to Grandma's.

By Lucy Lawless

I am sitting between my Dad and big brother on the wide leather bench seat of our big car. Mum is in the back holding the baby.

My Irish twin, Davey, complains that he wants to sit in the front. He is 11 months older than me but I am proud that everyone thinks he looks younger than me. Plus, he can't say "fish". He pronounces it "thish", which I also lord over him.

I bags my turn to pay the tolls at the Auckland Harbour Bridge. To me it is a lovely old brontosaurus and it is thrilling to come flying over its back and down the tail. My ears pop a bit. Terrifyingly, the oncoming cars are corralled by nothing more than a streak of white paint but I know my Dad will hold the mighty Falcon steady.

We are waylaid by an extra-long queue for the toll booths. It is an irritation for grown-ups but Davey and I still fight over who gets to throw the florin to the man. I win because I am a brat and soon we are on our way.

Finally we reach the Brynderwyns on our six-hour journey to see Grandma for the Christmas holidays. The Brynderwyn Hills are pretty unremarkable. I'm just a kid but frankly they hardly seem worthy of being given a name. No offence.

Anyway, the Brynderwyns are where I have to give up the prized spot in front. When the coast is clear, Dad gives us the okay to switch places en route. He slows to 60km/h to make the transition safer, though somehow Davey still manages to give me a kick in the armpit on the way through. Now he has to put on the seatbelt because he's in the front but no one bothers in the back, despite Mum's protestations. We are bulletproof. All the same, we slow to gawk at the spot where a busload of 15 souls plummeted to their deaths 10 years earlier.

In the back of the car I slump low and let the thrum of the engine own me. The power poles whiz by and the wires do barrel-rolls in mesmeric patterns. They roll one way, reverse, reverse then vanish altogether. I hold my breath willing them to resume. It's a battle of wills.

By and by they do and I doze off. The car slows. I instinctively sense we have arrived. I lurch up from deepest child slumber, with seat buckle imprinted on my sweaty cheek, and find myself eye to eye with a Hereford bobby calf. Dad's car swims like a salmon through a stream of bovine anguish. They seem to know they're headed for the abattoir at Moerewa.

As we get closer to the Mangamuka Gorge, Dad grows confident enough to make the ultimate offer, to tell a vampire story. The climax of any scary story has to occur in the gorge. It's dark and twisty and Dad makes helpless pleas to the sky that our car not break down for who knows what could happen in this inhospitable land?

If he makes the offer too early, his voice may not last the distance. We are overjoyed to have the bejeezus scared out of us. There is always a priest, a good guy and a couple of ne'er-do-wells. Only one will live to tell the tale, which is exactly what Dracula wants. He knows that after a feast he can hibernate in his cellar till the next brood of treasure hunters comes a knockin'.

We learned some rules about life on a Dracula hunt.

Read More

You read of Lucy's articles by going to the AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Columnist subsite



3 December 2014

Lucy December NZ Herald Column: Face To Face With Societys Dark Side 03 December 2014

Lucy’s column for the NZ Herald for December is a chilling one. Face To Face With Society’s Dark Side. Click on the thumbnail or read it online.


Counties Manukau special squad keeps in touch with recidivist child sex offenders, to everyone’s advantage.

Last week I followed Detectives George Grove and Kim Matthews as they did their rounds, visiting some of the 80 medium and high-risk child sex offenders living in South Auckland.

It's part of an initiative called Operation Guardian designed to help the Corrections Department who manage parolees - and for police to monitor and manage the offenders longer term.

Click on the thumbnail to read or read it online

You can read more of Lucy’s writing for the NZ Herald at the AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Writer Subsite



12 November 2014

Lucy Lawless NZ Herald Column: When The Star Becomes Fan of a Fan 12 November 2014

This month’s Lucy’s column is devoted to the Xenaverse and why fans do what they do. The online version should be up soon.



for more of Lucy’s articles, check out the AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Columnist subpage



9 October 2014

NZ Herald Lucy Column for 09 October 2014: Simple Act Shows A Cultural Chasm

In today’s NZ Herald, Lucy looks at the plight of the Australian Aborigine. Lucy was introduced to the problems the indigenous community faces when she went to Broken Hill to film “The Code”.  More news and multimedia of Lucy in The Code can be found on the AUSXIP Lucy Lawless The Code Subsite

Lucy writes a very good article about the problems confronted by the Indigenous people of Australia.

Click on the article for the full scan. For more of Lucy’s column in the NZ Herald, go to the Lucy Writer subsite




12 September 2014

NZ Herald Column - Lucy Lawless: Hungry children - the hidden toll


Lucy Lawless: Hungry children - the hidden toll

Written by: Lucy Lawless

NZ Herald 12 September 2014

If you don’t want your taxes to help feed poor kids, think again — we’re all already paying a big price

Social scientists and doctors from the Child Poverty Action Group are up in arms because more than a quarter of a million Kiwi children are living beneath the breadline.

Who are these kids? I can't see them from my suburb. And why the hell should my family's tax dollars be spent on people who can't or won't look after their own?

The concept of being my brother's keeper is totally out of fashion. When I was a kid we were always raising money for the "pagan babies", but we are now hardened to the plight of people we can't see or don't understand.

But here's the truth: we are already paying for the offspring of poverty.

Hungry children are sick children. Sick children make poor students who struggle to become productive members of society. Feeding children in schools is a smart strategy. More accomplished students will profit all New Zealand in the long run.

Read More





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