A Challenging Row in the Chop
The weather was not ideal for the school holidays with torrential rain and wind warnings in force for much of the country, keeping most people hunkered down inside. However, with a short respite in the weather mid-break, the New Lynn Sea Scouts were quick to make use of the window to get out and explore the Hauraki Gulf.
The younger Scouts were the first to set off for three days on Ponui Island. The intention was to sail across from Kawakawa Bay on the Friday, but high winds forced the decision to journey under oars to minimise the chance of a capsize enroute. With the wind and tide off their stern quarter it was a fast, but challenging, one-hour row in the chop. Setting up camp on the foreshore with the sea breeze was the next challenge, but completed before sunset.
With Ponui’s donkeys proving an effective alarm clock, Saturday was spent exploring, sailing, relaxing, and setting a long line – the resulting fish quickly devoured with the evening meal. The main meal of roast chicken and veggies was cooked on an open fire, a new experience for many of the scouts.
“In the city it’s challenging to find a spot to relax around a fire at night, away from phones and internet” says Andrew, one of the leaders, “so it was an experience appreciated by all.”
On Sunday the boats were optimistically rigged in the morning, but in contrast to the heavy winds on Friday the little fleet was becalmed – so the oars were put to good use again.
Back at Kawakawa Bay the senior scouts took over the boats and headed off for their 4-day sailing expedition, taking in Ponui, Waiheke and Motuihe Islands before landing at Westhaven Marina in the city. With the wind a no-show on the third day, the oars were once again put to good use.
In Term 3 the group will focus on racing training as they prepare for their National Regatta title defence this Christmas/New Year in Porirua. A successful defence will see New Lynn claim the longest winning streak in the nearly one-hundred-year history of the competition, testing them on numerous skills including rowing, sailing, swimming, lifesaving, canoeing, ironman, seamanship and camping.
However, the programme is not all competition; the primary focus is on building confidence around water and developing life skills while having heaps of fun along the way.
After my editorial last month on outstanding Kiwis and how we seem to have disproportionately more per capita than one might expect, it was interesting to then come across in the media Professor Welby Ings, who has written a book called Disobedient Teaching. I haven’t read his book, but I did watch a couple of interviews, and I found his ideas compelling.
Professor Ings maintains that the “number 8 wire” is not a cultural gift, it has to be taught. He says that with the focus on testing and passing standards, our culture of innovation is dying in the current education system. Kids are learning to be compliant strategists who learn how to tick boxes but who haven’t learned how to take risks. “And,” he says, “you don’t win the Americas Cup with people who are terrified of taking risks.”
I believe there are very few educators who are not passionate about teaching, and that is evident by the articles that I get sent, showcasing the learning that is going on in our local schools. But I believe Professor Ing’s points are also important to take on board, because we all want the best for our children, who represent our future society.
Professor Ing’s views notwithstanding, it is heartening to hear of organisations such as Scouts and Conscious Kids, who are helping to keep the innovative kiwi spirit alive, and who are offering many opportunities for children to take risks and grow and learn from them. Read about several of them in the pages of the Beacon this month, and be inspired.
The longest existing art group in the west, formed 35 years ago, Titirangi Painters are proud of their achievement in showing excellent art. The 25th Annual Exhibition is the culmination of a year’s work from all the group’s artists, and showcases an extensive variety of art works.
Over 40 artists will display work in a variety of mediums; watercolour, pastel and oils; paintings that are contemporary, realistic and abstract. Several artists will give painting demonstrations, and all artists will be present to talk about their art and painting techniques
Titirangi Painters art group has many of the most well-known painters from Auckland’s West; Sharon Mann’s realistic watercolour and pastel, Lynette McKinstry’s atmospheric work of westie scenery (and winner of several Waitakere Trust Awards), Helen Stevens’ attractive watercolour flower paintings, and Monique Endt’s ‘real look’ of the west. The list of well-known west painters goes on: Suzaine Greenshields, Irina Velman, John Campbell, Colin Blomfield, Robin Mansfield, Abdul Satar, Kate Mora, Edith Diggle and Barbara Leikis.
The last few years have produced several new members who will be exhibiting this year for the first time; Margaret Kemp, Jithman Ramachandra, Robin Scott, Natasha Smyser, and Leomie Willoughby-Ellis. And these are only a few of the wonderful artists in the Titirangi Painters group.
There is a special award ‘Best of the West’ sponsored by FRAMES by DANIEL which will be judged by Kelvin Collins from The French Art Shop. Visitors are asked to select their best painting in the ‘public vote’ section sponsored by Xpress Stationery, New Lynn.
Titirangi Painters’ Art Exhibition ls a great way to spend Saturday or Sunday viewing this large display of Local Art.
Paintings are available for sale.
New Pastor for Blockhouse Bay
Blockhouse Bay Community Church is excited to introduce their new Associate Pastor, Dan Forest who recently arrived from Canada with his wife, Amy, and their daughter, Lucy. Dan and Amy visited New Zealand a few years ago on holiday and fell in love with our beautiful country and are now enjoying being here on a more permanent basis. They’re in the process of setting up home in Blockhouse Bay so you may see them shopping at Countdown, having coffee at one of the local cafes, or enjoying family time at one of our parks.
Known by most people as BBCC, the church has been part of the community since 1974 and is a part of a movement known as the Christian & Missionary Alliance, with churches and ministries in over 80 countries around the world. With its multicultural congregation and friendly, lively atmosphere, BBCC has a growing community focus, offering English conversation classes, Mainly Music for pre-school children, parents and caregivers, pre-marriage preparation for couples, and the fully-licensed early childhood facility, Blockhouse Bay Christian Kindergarten.
Dan will be working alongside the Senior Pastor, Rev. Andrew Marshall, who’s the longest serving Pastor in Blockhouse Bay, having started in 1995. Andrew also serves as the National Director for the Alliance Churches in NZ so with Dan’s arrival the church is hoping to get more involved in our community, offering hope and support to a variety of physical and spiritual needs.
Dan can be contacted on 626-6284 or at email@example.com
The Keas, Cubs and Scouts at Iona Scouting Group had both the police and ambulance services visit this month. With such exciting ‘day jobs’ it’s no surprise that these emergency service professionals grabbed the scouts’ attention from the moment they arrived.
The police allowed the children to sit on their motorcycles and activate the flashing lights in the car park, and then answered questions about their job. Of particular interest to the group was handcuffs, guns and tasers.
Then it was the turn of the ambulance service, who taught the children some basic first aid. It was a lot of fun bandaging up one another, but the highlight of their visit was climbing aboard the ambulance and being told about all the weird and wonderful equipment inside.
Thank you emergency services for the important work you do. Our Keas, Cubs, and Scouts loved that you took the time to visit, and you never know the impact that visits like these have on impressionable young minds.
Settle down and have a cuppa mate
Lynfield has its own little dragstrip at the traffic lights on Hillsborough Road near Countdown. The two lanes merge into one and plenty of jostling goes on in the evening rush hour as people head home. Sometimes patience runs low as drivers hunker down for the crawl to Blockhouse Bay.
Nathan Pene from Titirangi recently managed to offend a driver who eventually stopped and confronted him at the roundabout on Portage Rd and Kinross St. As Nathan put it the other driver had a few kilometres and “5 minutes to get all red faced and steamy”.
Nathan posted this on Facebook:
“If anyone knows the little angry chap driving a funny looking 2 door silver car registration plate xxxxxx please advise him this is my Facebook page and he can PM me to meet up and have a cup of tea and I'll teach him how to merge lanes properly, like a zip.
Or pass on my message.
Little angry man you got out of your car to come and talk to me at the roundabout by Green Bay looking perturbed and muttering something to do with the freight industry ..... truck you or trucking tanker or trucking are soul.
You jumped back in your car so fast when I got out of my car to meet you half way and I unfortunately didn't get to take in your message.
Me being 6ft 4 and you only 5ft 6 I think I might have scared you a tad. I kind of think you realised your mouth was moving faster than your brain.
Anyway I'm free to meet up with you all weekend and I know your car now so I'm happy to raise the topic when we meet again.
Safer communities together”
It would be great to hear from the other driver but he has yet to respond to Nathan’s invitation. Nathan is a bit of a gentle giant. He says he has never thrown a punch or had a speeding ticket. He prefers to live peacefully and he grows flowers, despite, as he says, the other driver “May have suggested that my mother was a trucker too”.
Glad to be Back
Julie Stirling and Tony Betti are well-known in the Bay, having been involved in real estate since 1998. And as time has the habit of passing quickly, it may come as a surprise that they are now “back,” with the logical question being, “where have you been?”
A ‘lifestyle change’, lured Julie and Tony to the Bay of Plenty where they continued their real estate success. Though precipitated by family commitments, their return to the Bay is a welcome one, as the couple love it here and are happy to again call Blockhouse Bay home.
Julie and Tony work well together, balancing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and their depth and breadth of experience in real estate is a bonus for their clients, many of whom offer repeat business. They understand the issues of buying and selling on the same market, and while the uncertainty of this can often result in confusion and procrastination, Julie and Tony are well able to guide the process, taking stress out of the equation.
They are also aware of the emotional connections that people have with their home, with many clients having lived in the same house for decades. “With the increasingly common practice of selling the family home and moving to a retirement village, we have become very aware of the emotional toll it can take on a client,” says Julie. “We have had plenty of experience with this and have learned how to be sensitive to what’s going on emotionally. It’s not just about signing contracts,” she says. “I guess you could call it an ‘all-round’ service.”
Glenavon’s Got Talent
Glenavon Early Childhood Centre recently proved that they have talent too, and lots of it. Their recent “Glenavon’s Got Talent” event, which they combined with a celebration of Matariki and Eid, was a great evening of fun and laughter. The children were cheered on by family and teachers, and were awarded Duffy books for their efforts.
Aligning with Matariki being a time of harvest and celebration, the families all contributed vegetables to the evening meal of “Friendship Soup.” After the exciting events of the evening, the children were able to listen quietly to stories of Matariki and Eid, before going home to bed.
Craigavon Park’s playground is getting an upgrade and will be expanded to create an exciting destination play space with new equipment. This will include water play features, a junior climbing frame, swings, basket swing, carousel, rockers, mega swings, a see-saw, and equipment for older children.
The playground will also have upgraded seating, including a large circular tree seat in the shade, and a new water fountain. The playground will have a perimeter fence to separate it from the nearby dog exercise area.
The upgrade is expected to be completed in December 2017, but this is dependent on weather.
Facebook or Face to Face
Having read the tragic news today of the death by suicide of the amazingly talented musician Chester Bennington, I've noticed something. With the deepest of respect for those who have been personally affected by suicide, and without getting into the details of this particular tragedy I want to address a message.
The message is 'if you're in a dark place, ask for help'.
While this is actually great advice, telling a person who is dealing with depression and other mental health issues to 'reach out' can be like telling a person with two broken legs to 'hop down to the hospital'. It may be outside of the realms of their capability at that time.
Sometimes it's time for other people around to be the instigators of connection rather than relying on the sick person to identify their illness. Trouble is, when someone is depressed it can be so incredibly difficult to know what to say. Asking if they are ok can either be like hitting a brick wall or like opening an overwhelming floodgate.
It's at times like these that I become aware of the incredible value of existing relationships and lines of open communication with friends and whanau that have been formed in the good times.
Maybe now is the time to dig below the surface.
Maybe if our conversations regularly and naturally address where we are at, how we are feeling, and the challenges and victories we are facing, we keep the doors to our lives open.
Maybe we should not just be satisfied with seeing photos online, or following status updates, but make sure we talk one-on-one and in person.
Maybe we should take the time to look those we love in the eyes, and listen to their hearts as well as their words.
There are no tricks, no magic words and no guarantees, but when the days are dark and the nights are long, the most valuable thing we have is one another - if we can learn to know, and be known.