Our People: Dayne Smith
Meet Avondale's Storyteller
Despite growing up in Taranaki, Dayne always felt like Avondale – where he and his family came from originally – was home. He grew up with photos and stories of Avondale in the 60s–70s, and spent lots of time there during the 80s–90s for school holidays and family events before moving back himself in 2001. Today, he is raising his own family in the ‘828’. Maybe that is why he is so passionate about community building in Avondale.
Starting out in 2014 on social media under the banner “I Love Avondale” (I♡AD), Dayne started to celebrate and showcase the good things in Avondale. As he created momentum, he came to the attention of Avondale Community Action (ACA) who had secured three years’ community development funding via the Department of Internal Affairs. From 2017, I♡AD became a fully funded project under ACA “showing and growing the good in our hood” online and on the ground.
That funding really launched I♡AD to another level as Dayne and his then-colleague Leilani Kaihe-Bennett were paid to address community needs and aspirations. Most not-for-profits rely on volunteers to some extent, but to reliably and consistently move forward you need people who will show up every day and that means paying them. Not everybody realises that he has support for his work. Recently someone said they thought that recognised him washing car windows at the Ash St intersection. Dayne was taken aback. “Seriously?”
The first major initiative launched by I♡AD was a fortnightly community dinner called Feed the Streets (FTS). The meal was started in 2017 in response to a large number of streeties in and around Avondale’s town centre, and the availability of rescued food. Today, FTS is weekly and is part of a group of I♡AD-led community food initiatives under the collective name, Kai Avondale. Alongside FTS is a weekly social supermarket called Free Guys, a small food rescue service collecting unsold food from local eateries and a growing network of Avondale school breakfast clubs.
Many people assume that if kids are going to breakfast clubs, then the parents must be poor or not looking after their children properly, but this is simply untrue in most cases, says Dayne. Working with breakfast clubs has made him keenly aware of the various narratives and nuances of the children’s situations. While it’s true some come to the breakfast club because they have no food at home, some do not have time in the morning to eat or eating breakfast is not normalised at home, and others may have eaten but come because they are still hungry or to socialise with their peers. So, what else is happening now?
Dayne worked hard to secure the lease on a council building at Eastdale Reserve which is becoming a new hub for recreation, youth and after school activities which complements his work in schools. Schools are where the greatest needs and opportunities come to the surface. He can make a big difference in one place at one time by working with local schools because there is the highest volume of need in a single space. For example, Dayne is also involved with activating Rosebank School’s Community Hub, a storytelling project with Avondale Primary School and a one-to-one student mentoring programme across a cluster of five Avondale area schools.
Much of Dayne’s work is collaborative or supportive in nature whether it is helping reestablish the Avondale Wolves rugby league team, finding paid opportunities for the Fresh One Crew of young creatives or connecting Crescendo Trust of Aotearoa with Panuku Development Auckland for a music mentoring hub on Avondale’s mainstreet. He notes “building community isn’t about doing it all yourself. It’s about utilising our collective strengths to work together and putting the kaupapa of ‘doing good’ before our egos.”
Another key pillar of Dayne’s work is storytelling: whether words or visuals. With support from Panuku, he showcases Avondale’s culture and creativity by curating the street posters fronting the 3 Guys site on Great North Road and shares local stories online via #PeopleofAvondale and other social media posts.
However I♡AD’s online content has evolved since its inception in 2014, when it was the only dedicated Avondale news and information platform on social media.
There has been a changing of the guard in the Avondale Business Association executive which has brought fresh energy and a different vision to the business community. Dayne backed the changes and now no longer needs to promote local businesses as that is now being done well by the ABA.
The area also now has its own Facebook Group which has grown rapidly and sees very active engagement. Dayne says he is glad there is another platform to ask questions about lost pets or what that loud bang was last night, and to find out what is going on locally.
Now as dad to three children with partner Katy Galo, Dayne is at a different stage of life, but just as active and passionate as ever. He is on the board of Rosebank School and has recently joined the board of The Kindness Collective, a charity that matches those in need with those that have more to share.
In the last decade, change in Avondale has accelerated and Dayne is changing too in the way that he delivers community building services. Representing the neighbourhood of Avondale, Dayne has been offered the opportunity to once more pitch for government funding for community building in the area but this time with more of a focus on the town centre and Rosebank Peninsula. How he might do that work has changed but the goal remains the same: to show and grow the good in Avondale.
The excited kindergartners skipped down the driveway alongside the Central Interceptor site. Every day they had passed the work site on the way to and from kindy. They had just been to look at the billboard photo of some of their kindy friends. The children remember the days that Karen and some of the Central Interceptor workers visited kindy and they told them so many interesting things about how the new tunnel would be made. Today, they even got to dress up in high viz jackets and hard hats just like the workers!
When Watercare’s Central Interceptor project arrived outside Blockhouse Bay Christian Kindergarten’s front entrance on Dundale Ave, the kindy team decided to turn an inconvenience into a learning opportunity. So, when the children asked questions, they were told that the council was working hard to make the waterways clean and that it was a ‘big job’.
Blockhouse Bay Christian Kindergarten opened its doors in 1996 under the leadership of the local community Church’s pastor’s wife Denise Reddell, a passionate and qualified ECE teacher.
She had firm beliefs that a kindergarten is not just ‘playing with blocks’ but about education and preparing children for school, and for life. And so Blockhouse Bay Christian Kindergarten began, with a staff of committed and professional ECE-trained teachers. This foundational philosophy continues today with a wonderful group of dedicated teachers.
In the 25 years since there has been very low staff turnover; just four kindy managers since Denise (all of whom are ECE trained): Carin Broadmore (now Kirkman), Antonia Hutchings, Marjorie Ross, and Cindy Watkins Barlow. Teacher Nancy O’Connor celebrates 20 years this year, and Antoinette Carvalho (soon to retire) 21 years!
The kindergarten was set up as a service to the community and, as a not-for-profit, all funds go back into the kindy. “We don’t try to compete with others in the sector operating under a business model”, says Board Chairman David Marshall. “Rather, we work our strengths with a focus on natural play and learning. Parents often comment on the friendliness at our kindy. The children are relaxed, and they sense the peace and stability here, so it’s those less ‘tangible’ things that are important too”.
Kindy Manager Cindy goes on to say, “Our philosophy is that we want our children to be ready for the world; to learn how to be friends, to become good citizens, to have respect for each other and the world. And we want our families to have a good experience here, to have confidence in leaving their children with us”. This high-quality education equips the children for the transition to school and later life.
The kindergarten has built good connections with the local schools. They have a transition to school program for the older children, and often get comments from schools about the children being relaxed and friendly, and ready for school.
Separated from the road by a stream, it’s easy to be unaware of the existence of this hidden gem of a kindy and, with the works at its entrance, it’s even less visible. But for those who cross the bridge to the spacious complex beyond, it’s truly worth the effort!
Our People: Eunice Limpus
1921 was a tumultuous year. The world was in a recession with industrial unrest mounting and unemployment soaring. Russia was in the throes of the Great Famine, and communism was on the rise. It was also a year of firsts in New Zealand: ANZAC Day was observed for the first time, the first radio programmes were broadcast from Otago, and the Springboks toured New Zealand for the first time.
It was also the year that Eunice Cranston was born.
She was the oldest of three siblings who were separated when Eunice was 10 when her mother died of meningitis aged 31. Young Eunice went to live with her grandparents and despite all this describes her childhood as “marvellous”.
When Eunice was 21, she and family friend, Bill Limpus, began seeing each other. Bill was soon going off to war, and asked Eunice one day, “How long would it take you to get married?”
“Oh, about a week”, was the reply.
But when Bill proposed Eunice said, “Oh, I could never get married in a week!”
In fact, it took her two weeks. They had been courting just six weeks when they married on 4 November 1942.
Eunice had an extensive working life, including working in a shoe factory and in the cafeteria at Air New Zealand. She also ran a home for boys with Bill on Shelly Beach Road, helping wayward teenagers who hadn’t been naughty enough for prison.
Eunice shares an apartment with her daughter Janice (Jan) at Murray Halberg Retirement Village in Lynfield. Jan speaks highly of her parents. “They were always caring for people”, she says. “I’m biased, but her and dad were tremendous people, really good people who were always helping others.”
Eunice’s response to that was, “It was nothing. It was just the way back then”.
Jan, who used to run a hairdressing business, said her mum would even help her in the salon. “She was the shampoo girl!”
In celebration of Eunice’s 100th birthday last month, fellow residents, friends, and family, including her son Grant, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, filled the village activity room. Jan opened the celebration proceedings with a sweet speech comparing the qualities of her Mum with those listed in Galatians 5 v 22-23:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Said Jan: “When I read them, truly I was amazed because the Bible was describing my Mum.
It’s a question she gets asked a lot, but with a twinkle in her eye, Eunice reveals that her secret to longevity is “breathing”.
Budget 2021 focused on recovery
Budget 2021 is all about securing our recovery from COVID-19. We’re focusing on helping our more vulnerable children, building more houses and critical infrastructure, and tackling climate change.
The headline item is an increase in benefits. By this time next year, benefits will have been lifted to at least the levels recommended by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group. That will obviously help the lowest income people in our communities, but it will also help all our local businesses. We know that the extra money will be spent in our local shops, giving a much needed stimulus to our local economies. By helping our lowest income families, we help everyone.
We’re also putting more money into housing, partly by simply building more houses, and also by helping city councils fund infrastructure for housing. We know that one of the big barriers to getting more houses built is having the infrastructure for roads and electricity and water ready to go. We’re putting $3.8billion towards getting that infrastructure built. And of course, that will create jobs along the way.
The big decisions about climate change will only be made after the Independent Climate Commission makes its final report. In the meantime, we’ve committed to using the money generated by the Emissions Trading Scheme to help make the changes the Climate Commission recommends.
Out west, $28 million will be spent putting in place a National Pest Management Scheme for kauri dieback. I’ve been working on this ever since I was elected to Parliament and I’m thrilled that we now have a solid commitment to saving our beautiful and iconic kauri trees.
This is a bold budget that is absolutely focused on recovery and helping the most vulnerable in our community. I believe it will make a real difference to all of us.
MP for New Lynn
Two developments are likely to add 120 transitional homes in the Whau.
Kāinga Ora are committed to providing an additional 1,000 transitional places announced as part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan. As the bill for emergency housing in less suitable accommodation like motels hits $1 million per day, the government is scrambling to meet huge demand, increasing the 4,000 transitional places available now.
18 two-bedroom units have been completed in Busby Ave, Blockhouse Bay. As the nation’s largest house builder, Kāinga Ora has been trialling some technologies to increase the speed and quality of its builds, all of which are New Zealand Green Building Council 6 Homestar rating or higher. Busby Ave features Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels which are sustainable and constructed off site. It also trialled bathroom/laundry pods that were factory built off site and installed complete. The project also has a small children’s play area on site.
Now the St Georges Road development of 102 homes is being put forward as transitional housing. It has the advantage of being close to Avondale town centre for services and transport. It also has good scale to help with the wrap around services that Kāinga Ora provides to assist residents to find more permanent accommodation.
Three-shot salute for ANZAC Day
ANZAC Day went off with a bang in Avondale this year!
The WWII Historical Re-enactment Society brought the Avondale RSA 25lber gun back to town for ANZAC Day.
After three years’ restoration work, the artillery piece and former gate guardian for Avondale RSA looked magnificent. It was escorted in the parade by re-enactors in uniform.
At the end of the parade, the gun crew peeled off and relocated down to the inner field of the Avondale Racecourse.
At the conclusion of the ceremony at Memorial Park they fixed a three-shot salute that reverberated around the neighbourhood.
This historic event was achieved with the support and permission of Avondale Jockey Club and NZ Police.
A familiar sight at each Blockhouse Bay village Market Day is a happy bunch of people resplendent in bright yellow vests, chatting to locals whilst dispensing delicious sizzling sausages.
The proceeds from these sales enable Blockhouse Bay-Lynfield Lions to inject life into many charities, youth and health projects.
Despite Covid-19, they have managed to raise over $5000 during the last year or so, for projects such as an annual award for musical excellence at Lynfield College, the Cancer Society, diabetes prevention, Youthline, sending a student on the Spirit of Adventure, several Lions Clubs International Disaster relief appeals and Sight First campaigns, Samoan Measles relief, Young Ambassadors student leadership awards, Blockhouse Bay Community Patrol, and most recently a donation to the Starship Bed Appeal.
A favourite cause is the NZ Lions Clubs Child Mobility Foundation, and the hosting of regular mobility clinics for children with cerebral palsy. With the travel bubble with Australia now open the specialist orthotist and physio were able to fly in last month to assess the children. They then fitted and adjusted the special Hart Walkers that enable the child to stride out, when otherwise they would be confined to a wheelchair.
With some members recently moving out of town, Blockhouse Bay-Lynfield Lions now have vacancies for new members with community at heart.
If your answer is yes, then come along to our sausage sizzle stall next Market Day, last Saturday of the month, in front of the old ASB. Enjoy a meat or vege sausage and chat to us about how you could benefit from becoming part of the world’s largest service organisation.
Alternatively go to www.bhbl-lions.org for more information.