Johnny and Jeanette Green have been dancing together for thirty-three years. In fact, it was dancing that brought them together.
Johnny worked at Tamaki Intermediate as a caretaker, and was also an international referee for Olympic styles of wrestling. When time allowed, his other passion was dancing.
He would often go to a tea dance at the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre and dance with the ladies who, like him, had no regular partner. One Sunday in November, shortly after returning home from refereeing at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Johnny’s fancy was taken by a new lady who was sitting on the other side of the hall.
In Johnny’s words: “After watching her dance with other men I thought ‘she’s good!’ But every time I went to ask her to dance some other man beat me to it. So, I got clever; as soon as I saw the MC pick up the mike I started across the floor and most times I got to dance with her.
“I asked her to go dancing with me several times, then finally after about two months she said okay, but that she would meet me in the hall at Royal Oak School. Then when she did arrive it was with another lady dancer I knew. When I went up to ask Jeanette to dance the other lady stood up and said, ‘Come and dance with me Johnny!’ I said, “Sorry, I came to ask Jeanette,” and after that we would always dance together.”
Not long after that the couple who ran the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre Tea Dance stopped because of ill health and Johnny and Jeanette were talked into taking over. They since became qualified teachers in Old Time, (now called Classic), Modern Sequence and New Vogue.
Johnny is a Londoner from Edgeware, near Watford who emigrated to New Zealand with his first wife and two young sons in 1963, as a New Zealand Army recruit. Early on he was on manoeuvres in Waiouru and lost the use of his legs due to a slipped disc. Though initially paralysed from the waist down, Johnny eventually regained the use of his legs through determination and hard work, progressing from wheelchair to crutches to two walking sticks, and was eventually given a medical discharge from the Army.
After a recommendation from his specialist that he work his back hard to help strengthen it, Johnny answered an ad for a bricklayer’s labourer. He quickly learned the trade and eventually became a foreman.
Both Johnny and Jeanette were widowed early in life, Jeanette losing her husband when he was just 36, and Johnny losing his wife in 1965. They each raised their two children alone.
Both of Jeanette's two children were ballroom dancers, with Jeanette's daughter Sherrie competing at an international level.
They continue to lead very active lives, or as Jeanette puts it with a laugh, “we do quite a lot for old people!” They enjoy getting away in their campervan and look forward each February to Art Deco week in Napier, where they love to dress up in the clothes of the period and compete, often winning their categories and even the overall winner title.
The couple continue to teach dancing every Monday at the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre, as they have done for thirty-three years, and that doesn’t look like changing any time soon.
In the April issue of the Beacon we reported on a petition that was underway to restore to the top of Mt Roskill the longstanding tradition of a cross at Easter and a star at Christmas. Following is an update from petition organisers Jonathan Subritzky, Ella Kumar and Fonoti Luke Gates since the presentation of the petition to the Tupuna Maunga Authority.
Since presenting the petition to restore the cross/star on Mt Roskill’s summit to the Tupuna Maunga Authority (TMA) on behalf of over 4,000 Aucklanders on 6 May, we have been working to maintain momentum and to be listened to by the Authority.
The support from the wider community on this issue has been massively encouraging. We’ve had people sending spontaneous messages of support on all platforms. Many of these comments have related to people’s personal memories or insights on what the cross/star on the summit has meant to them – recurring themes include how it is a symbol of community which binds Mt Roskill together, or is a reminder of ‘being home’. Many new immigrants to the area associated the cross/star with their initial arrival in our community and this association has endured ever since. And, of course, for many it is a comforting symbol conveying hope, redemption, and goodwill. Local Maori families who live in Mt Roskill also do not agree with the stance of the Maunga Authority.
This is the sentiment which we reflected to the members of the Maunga Authority when we gave a submission during the public forum section of their meeting.
We were frustrated and rather disappointed when we were told by the chairman, Paul Majurey, that there was little prospect of the cross returning to the summit in the same way as it has in the last 60 years. Indeed, to ensure this, the Authority last year quietly removed all the supporting infrastructure from the summit on which the cross/star depends to function.
What is the Authority’s issue with a cross/star being on a summit for a few weeks? This issue goes back six years to the Treaty settlement which transferred the ownership of Auckland’s summits from the council to an iwi collective. The new premise is that all mountains must eventually conform to tikanga Maori, and accordingly the tihi (summits) must be cleared of anything which violates their tapu (sacredness).
The TMA takes this view very seriously. They are very determined to make sure that eventually, all of Auckland’s summits are plain, grassy areas free of any man-made structures. Accordingly, they have been extremely resistant to our community’s request to restore our cross/star.
We met with the Mt Roskill Ministers’ Association, who own and run the cross tradition, to bring this issue to the attention of Michael Wood MP on 24 May, raising concerns over the democratic deficit inherent in the TMA’s framework. Mr Wood was averse to the suggestion that the Treaty legislation should be revisited, and suggested we go back to the Authority and continue to negotiate.
So, we will. We are open to respectful, inclusive dialogue with the Authority and any other party, and hope that at the same time there is respect for the people of Mt Roskill and our legitimate wishes. To this end, we are pursuing a potential hui which would include the Authority, the Ministers’ Association, Michael Wood, and the Mayor Phil Goff; which we hope will be able break through the deadlock and find a workable solution which will return this beloved symbol to Auckland’s horizon.
Lions in the Roaring Twenties
In anticipation of a great decade, a ‘Welcome to the Roaring Twenties’ themed dinner was held recently by the Blockhouse Bay-Lynfield Lions Club, whose goal for the year is to increase the club’s membership by 20 in ’20.
On this occasion six enthusiastic community-minded people were installed as new Lions and the newest members of Lions Clubs International. The ceremony was conducted by Incoming District Governor Judy Allison who also installed Club Officers for the 2019-20 year.
Further achievement for the club was the presentation by Zone Chairman Doug Grinter of several Lions Clubs International Centennial Challenge Awards for service in Diabetes Awareness, Youth, Environment and Hunger categories.
Officers who were installed to take club into the ‘roaring twenties’ are Director Nick Tautari, President Janelle Collins, Secretary Alan Gray, and Treasurer Jenny LaTrobe.
Interested in becoming a Lion? Go to www.bhbl-lions.org/membership
Blockhouse Bay School News
Written by students in the Communications Club
Inter-School Cross Country 2019
On 14th May the Blockhouse Bay School inter-school cross country students went to Blockhouse Bay Reserve to complete the cross country. There were 80 children representing Blockhouse Bay School who had trained regularly in the mornings. The course was long, but the students were positive and gave it their all. There were some excellent results from the children placing in the top 10.
By Cassandra Walters and Mary Strange (Year4)
MOTAT came to Blockhouse Bay School because we are tinkering and making all sorts of things in our Inquiry Learning. We learnt about pulleys, levers and wedges. Room 3 students thought Melissa and Kent were very good teachers and it was very exciting and interesting to make our own creations. We felt lucky that we got to make our own Rube Goldberg Machine even though it did not always work!
By Isabella Smith (Year 4) and Alyssa Rolls (Year 3)
Wairaki Stream Weed Wranglers
On Saturday 18th May we suspiciously eyed the rain clouds at 9.30am that should not have been there. Optimistically we set up anyway, only to have raindrops wash away the writing on the sign… quick - Plan B! Then, as we trooped down the pathway at 10am the rain fortuitously stopped. Phew!
Greeted by swathes of palm grass and tangled vines trying to trip us at every opportunity, we twenty stalwarts set to work clearing Tradescantia and blue morning glory.
While making some safe pathways, we piled the seed heads of the palm grass and placed the evil vines into a gigantic weed bag. Some of our team decided to vent the frustrations of their week by grubbing and spading the palm grass out of the ground, as well as some ginger roots, resulting in some very satisfied grins.
The weed bodies we piled into composting heaps, adding the ginger roots to our weed bag. We also had a go at making insect hotels and will watch with interest to see who and what inhabits them.
A small group went rubbish collecting and was very pleased to report that there were no trolleys in the stream - success! They also wrestled a couple of ponga logs from the stream that were blocking the flow. The grateful stream sighed with relief. Another small group targeted the Toe toe and were very pleased to release this native to grow and prosper.
We have a very dedicated community team, including students and staff from Lynfield College. We really appreciate people donating whatever time they can to help enhance our nature reserve and enjoy their satisfied smiles at the end, hopefully a sign that they also feel the value of their efforts.
Join us for our next workday on 20 July. Keep updated on Facebook: friends of wairaki stream
Help with Anger Management
We’ve all had the odd day when our temper gets the best of us, but if you find that you’re grinding your gears in anger on a regular basis more often than you and others would like, then you could probably benefit from a great workshop that has helped many people in the past.
The ACE - Anger Change Education workshop is designed to change outcomes for individuals and families who want to learn to deal with their anger in a constructive and healthy way. It gives people the practical tools to get control of their anger, and is also helpful for anyone with a friend or family member with anger issues.
The course is headed up by experienced counsellor and social worker Steve Brodie from Just Solutions. “My general observation is that the people I have worked with are desperately looking for someone or something to give them direction, affirmation, security and hope,” says Steve. “It is all about the individual and their own response to change and loss, and developing new skills to cope with today’s life problems”.
Steve has over 32 years’ experience in the field including 16 years with South Canterbury Violence Intervention Project as a court appointed facilitator, experience as a workplace support counsellor, victim support counsellor, and experience in group settings after working as a peer supervisor for restorative justice. Steve is also a co-founder of the Highway2 programme for children and youth and has run anger management workshops for the Bridge programme.
The course covers:
When: Saturday 29th June 9.30am-3.30pm
Where: Church of the Saviour
To register or for more info, email email@example.com or call 021-112-3252.
One of the biggest and most important pieces of legislation I will be working on in Parliament this year is the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill. I’m very excited about it because it gets us underway with responding effectively to climate change, so that our children and our children’s children have a decent world to grow up in.
The bill will set up a Climate Change Commission, a committee of experts who will have the major task of setting greenhouse gas targets for the country. It will be the Commission’s job to monitor and report on how well we are doing with reducing emissions, and make recommendations to government about how our targets should be achieved. For example, it might recommend a move away from petrol and diesel fuelled cars, towards using electricity and hydrogen instead. The government would then be responsible for making that happen.
The Commission will make sure that we stay on track by setting the amount that greenhouse gases need to reduce within five year ‘emission budget periods’. If we achieve our goal, and similar goals for other greenhouse gases, by 2050 New Zealand will no longer be contributing to world global temperature increases.
To find out more go to https://www.parliament.nz and search for the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Bill. You can read it online or download a PDF which includes a user-friendly introduction.
I chair the Environment Select Committee which will hear the submissions on the bill. I hope that you will make time to have your say. It’s easy - just go to https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/make-a-submission/.
Even just stating, “I support this bill” (or not) is a great way to contribute to this important legislation.
Deborah Russell, MP for New Lynn
Lynfield College student and top silent film maker Joseph Hisayasu has won the Mentoring and Movie Magic award at the Whau Youth Awards held last month at the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre. Joseph was nominated by the Iona Scouting Group for the strong leadership and high impact activities he has delivered at Iona Scouts.
Joseph featured in the Beacon in February when he won Best Director for his work on Attack! Of the Death Robot, the movie also taking out the overall top prize at the NZ International Youth Silent Film Festival.
Having spent many years as a scout with Iona, 16-year-old Joseph naturally progressed through the ranks and showed great initiative as a leader and mentor to the younger scouts. Iona Scouts spokesperson Susanne Webster spoke highly of Joseph, commenting that “he has been a fine role model for some years to our Scouts, who have been inspired by his success in the arts”.
A few years ago Joseph made a short film with the group which can be viewed at https://ionascouts.webs.com/scouts. They hope to see him get an Oscar one day so they can claim to be the stars of one of his ‘earlier short films’.
Joseph is taking a break from Scouts to focus on his education and movie making goals. Along with fellow Lynfield College movie makers, Joseph is headed to the IYSFF Global Awards Show in Portland, Oregon this month where they will represent New Zealand with their silent film.
Iona Scouting Group wish Joseph every success with his film making ambitions and are confident his name will be rolling in the credits at movie cinemas in the future.
They say if you want something done you should ask a busy person, as busy people always manage to cope with ‘one more task’. Well, Blockhouse Bay local, Stephen Dallow, must be one of those busy people you can ask.
Stephen is well known in the Bay for running Kids 4 Drama from the Community Centre, however he is also on the board of the local primary school, is currently Board Chair of Marist College, works full time for Barfoot and Thompson as a trainer and recruiter, is a dad to two busy girls, and recently took on the challenge of directing “Jesus Christ Superstar” for St Peter’s College, opening 13 June at the Centennial Theatre.
Stephen’s first venture into directing was at the young age of 16, directing Peter Pan for Waitemata Theatre, and his passion and love for the theatre has continued to grow. Directing countless shows for Kids 4 Drama he says his latest venture is one of the biggest challenges yet.
Andrew Llyod Webber took many years to find a theatrical company to first produce this piece of work, with professional theatre companies turning it down as the score was too difficult. But once it was finally tackled it has become a piece of theatre history with well-known songs like “I don’t know how to love him” becoming international hits.
Stephen first saw the show as a teenager back in 1994 in the newly opened Aotea Centre and he was hooked. He loved the music, the intensity of characters and the rock feel.
This challenging score is keeping Stephen and the team on their toes as they add a modern twist to the tale, setting it in today’s world. The all-boy St Peters cast are supported by girls from Marist, Baradene and St Mary’s colleges, creating a wonderful team effort across four schools.
Leading the orchestra is local BayLynn Youth Band leader, Miss Zyia Li Teh who has brought together a student band from the college, and West Auckland choreographer Daniel McLean is working extremely hard to teach these students all the dance moves in his nonstop musical.
When asked about the experience Stephen said “I was so delighted to be given this opportunity by St Peter’s and to work with such an awesome, talented, respectful and caring cast of students who are working so hard to create something very special for audiences to enjoy”.
The cast also raised nearly $13,000 for the Cancer Society by performing and walking in the Relay for Life in April this year.
The season runs from 13th to 22nd June, and tickets are on sale now at www.iticket.co.nz.
At a CommUnity Lions dinner meeting, Ivan Lovich, President of Blockhouse Bay-Green Bay Community Patrol receives a cheque for $700, from Lions President Janelle Collins. The cheque represents the funds raised from the Lions Annual Wild Westie Car Rally.
The rally, which was held in March, arrived at their final destination, Puhoi, after an adventurous drive through the Wild West via Old North Rd, Ararimu Valley, Waitoki and Wairewa back roads. Upon arrival at their destination, rally-goers were rewarded for their perseverance by the traditional Lions sausage sizzle.