Tauranga Zinefest 2021: Self-expression and creativity through Zines

Thursday 24 June 2021

It’s a small, DIY, self-published magazine about any topic under the sun. It’s a Zine, pronounced ‘zeen’ and Tauranga has it’s very own Zinefest that will take over the Tauranga Art Gallery this month.

The content and appearance of a zine is completely up to the creator and can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Making a zine is all about self-expression and creativity, and you can find zinemakers and zinefests all over the world, says Tauranga Zinefest organizer Hannah Wynn. 

“Lynette Fisher and I organise Tauranga Zinefest annually, at Tauranga Art Gallery. It’s free to attend – anyone can come and peruse the latest clever, witty and poignant zines, and meet the creative folk behind them.”

Zinefest is something that happens all over the country – not just in Tauranga – so how did it all come about in Tauranga?

Hannah Wynn: Yes, Wellington has been running Zinefest for 20 years now. After visiting Hamilton and Auckland Zinefests, we decided to bring a Zinefest to Tauranga, knowing there’s a ton of creatives and writers locally. We also knew we could connect all of these people nationally. We now have connections with Zinefests, makers and independent writers all over Aotearoa. 

How did you get involved and is there a reason behind the passion of Zinefest?

HW: We’re both very nerdy where it comes to all things print! I’m a graphic designer and Lynette’s a visual artist – we actually met when we were both studying the Bachelor of Creative Industries at Toi Ohomai. We played with the idea of a Tauranga Zinefest, but it wasn’t until Tauranga Art Gallery came on board, that the true magic happened. 

How do people get involved with Zinefest and do you have to be an artist to participate?

HW: Not at all! That’s the thing about Zinefests – anyone and everyone can be involved! There’s a mad rush for the maker’s stalls – obviously there has to be a limit on those space wise, but other than that the day is filled with activities, workshops and performances all based around the unique culture of the zine. It’s free to attend, and we’ve found a lot of people return year after year, either as audience or participants. You can follow us on the usual socials where all the info is available - Facebook and Instagram.

Looking through some photos from previous years, there seems to be a lot of different genres and media forms – How many different types are there and what would you say is your favourite and why? 

HW: It’d be impossible to count how many genres are covered, again, the beauty of the zine – it can be about anything and as basic or fancy as you like. Poetry, Fantasy, Anime, Fine Art, Digital Art, Hand Stitched, Photocopied, Professionally Printed – the list is endless, and it’s hard to choose a fave – but we both love the ones produced on the risograph (kinda like a retro colour photocopier), and the laugh out loud politically charged strip comics. Honestly, it’s mind blowing what people produce. 

If someone had no idea what Zinefest is about or what you can do at the event, how would you describe it to them?

HW: Tauranga Zinefest is held in the atrium at Tauranga Art Gallery – about 30 different Zinemakers will be in attendance with their own separate stalls – these will be filled with all different shapes, sizes, and genre of Zines with accompanying art, prints, badges and all sorts of other paraphernalia. Throughout the day there will be performances by Poetry Slammers, a photobooth and badge maker, a makers table (the kids love this), our personal Zine library and workshops. And of course, a steady stream of people taking it all in. 

Why do you think that an event like this is so popular?

HW: We think it’s because for visitors, participants, artists, writers, rangatahi, musos, bird watchers, poets and everything in between, it’s a completely inclusive, welcoming and fun day – and free!

Come July 24, when the Tauranga Zinefest will take place – is there something in particular that you are most looking forward to?

HW: Hanging out with the cool kids and spending way too much money on Zines!

And what do you think will get the biggest reaction out of members of the public that come along?

HW: Probably just the atmosphere that’s created in the gallery space – so many people come up to us during the fest, beaming, and telling us that they had never heard of a Zine before and are going straight back home to start writing and drawing and making. 

Held in conjunction with the Tauranga Zinefest, is the inaugural Wham Bam Tauranga Poetry Slam event that will be held the night before, alongside Motif Poetry. The Bay of Plenty poetry slam heats start from 5.30pm on Friday, July 23 – where you’ll get to experience some quality spoken word poetry, by slammers from around the country, competing for Slam glory. On top of that, there will be a DJ and performances from previous winners. Tickets for the poetry slam are available from Eventbrite from just $10. 

Tauranga Zinefest 2021
Tauranga Art Gallery
Saturday 24 July, 10am - 3pm
Free, all ages

More info HERE

Images: Supplied. 
Words: Caitlin Houghton