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Rat World Magazine: A Magazine for the Underground is an independent bi-annual magazine that showcases independent arts in Aotearoa and internationally. The magazine was created by Jennifer Cheuk in January 2022, with the first issue being published on the 2nd of March 2022 by Jenn's own Selcouthbird Press.[1][2] Rat World won the 2022 Auckland Zinefest: People's Choice Award.[3]


Send submissions to As of issue seven, contributors receive a free copy of the magazine and a $30 payment.


Founded by Jennifer Cheuk in January 2022, Rat World is an independent print and online magazine “for the underground” that places emphasis on showcasing emerging BIPOC and LGBTQI+ creatives. The look of the magazine is inspired by underground comix and vintage back issues of New Yorker-style magazines, driven by a desire to “call back to the community spirit of independent, anarchist, and old school underground printing”.[3][4][2]

Led by Jennifer Cheuk 卓嘉敏 (Editor in Chief) and Aidan Dayvyd (Designer), the publication features critical discourse as well as event photography, interviews and new work by both emerging artists and established creatives, which The Spinoff describes as making “the arts scene in Aotearoa feel vibrant and expansive”.[1] While each issue does not have a theme — “Themes don’t align with our ethos of accessible submissions — they can feel limiting and daunting, particularly for emerging creatives”[5] — Cheuk has observed that themes often naturally emerge. These include collage (Issue 2), food and supermarkets (Issue 3) and art industry burnout and the state of creative practice in Aotearoa (Issue 6).[3]

The magazine is largely self-funded, with the first issue paid for by Cheuk’s own savings. “To her surprise, each issue has made a ‘measly profit’.”[1] Sales revenue is augmented by advertising for “local galleries and bookshops that the magazine wants to support”,[1] and each contributor receives $25. The magazine is stocked locally and overseas, with Cheuk saying: "We have so much amazing creative talent in NZ and I wanted to make sure their work was being seen on an overseas stage. The way I decided to do this was to put NZ creatives alongside international creatives, meaning I could stock overseas as a way of platforming NZ work."[3]

On the name, Cheuk explains “Rats are everywhere; [I realised] it’s not the people who matter, it’s the rats… There’s this lost underground of amazing creatives and they keep the world beating.”[3][1]

The print magazine is supplemented by Rat World’s online platform where they publish reviews and interviews. They frequently partner with other arts organisations — such as Basement Theatre, Performing Arts Week Aotearoa and Auckland Pride — to provide coverage of festivals and theatre shows.[3]

In addition to the magazine, Rat World runs a range of events, including having a presence at Semi Permanent[6] and Melbourne Art Book Fair, as well as zinefests in Tāmaki Makaurau,[7][8] Ōtautahi and Pōneke, running workshops on zine-making[9] and Christmas card-making,[10] and featuring in talks at events like Small Press Fest.[11] Launch parties are deliberately planned to be inclusive and community-centric. They’re held in easy to access spaces such as Open Coffee Shop and Epolito’s Pizzeria, and are always all ages, to create a hub for people to connect and celebrate local art, music and creativity.[3]




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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Rat World. (27th of September 2023). Rat World: Issue Six. Rat World Magazine, issue 6, pp3.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Rat World. (22nd of April 2023). Rat World: Issue Five. Rat World Magazine, issue 5, pp1.
  14. Rat World. (30th of June 2022). Rat World: Issue Two. Rat World Magazine, issue 2, pp1.
  17. 17.0 17.1
  18. 18.0 18.1