The little red car that could
Free parking is a valuable commodity for Auckland drivers – especially in high demand areas like shopping centres and, in this case, park and rides. Of course, in New Lynn and Avondale park and ride facilities are still like a mirage on the horizon; but Onehunga has its own very nice carpark.
Around 8am most weekdays the Onehunga train station carpark gets full. Imagine if you arrived and just missed out on that last vacant space. Well, you would have got a carpark if this little red car had not been parked there 24-7 for over eighteen months!
Auckland Transport will tow you from a clearway within twenty minutes, but it is looking like it could take them twenty months to remove a mould-infested, abandoned car from Onehunga.
Yes, it’s the little red car that could. It could just sit there obliviously collecting tickets – the latest one this January. Yes, it has just sat there and not been vandalised or stolen, which says a lot about the good people of Onehunga.
It still has its tyres chalked with the date 01/07/19 by some long-forgotten parking officer. Truth can be stronger than fiction!
Stuart Dawson says, “It’s been more than eighteen months as it was [already] parked there when I started working here [eighteen months ago]”.
Get ready for EcoFest West!
West Auckland welcomes back EcoFest West, the largest local environmental festival bringing together over 100 events from 21 March to April 19 across our neighbourhoods.
Find fun and take home skills to share in events covering food, art, household hacks, transport, and exploring nature. In your neighbourhood you can take part in workshops, experiences, and activities which celebrate and restore our natural environment, and teach ways to live more sustainably.
The festival kicks off on Saturday March 21 with the EcoHub Market Day, a free, family-friendly day of hands-on activities, eco-friendly product stalls, food and entertainment. Confess your environmental ‘sin’ and receive penance from a mystery confessor behind the upcycled screen of our Confessional, custom built by My Backyard Garden Project. Try out novelty bikes or even learn to ride, and find simple tips to help you reduce waste and have a more healthy home. Get a taste of what’s on offer in your community, right from the heart of EcoFest West at the EcoMatters hub.
During the month-long festival, Whau locals can discover crafters and makers teaching upcycling, transforming old clothing into new accessories, artists who use the earth to explore soil painting, and experts on the flora and fauna living in our own backyards.
Bring the whole whānau to learn about freshwater life in our streams or take in some spoken word from young poets with solutions to climate change while perusing the local market. There are so many ways to take part in West Auckland’s love for our environment, join in at EcoFest West.
Some of the events coming up in and around the Whau during EcoFest West:
EcoHub Market Day
Saturday March 21, 10am-3pm
EcoMatters Environment Trust, 1 Olympic Place, New Lynn
Creatures Of The Night
Friday 27 March, 7-10pm
Blockhouse Bay Recreational Reserve, Rathlin Street, Blockhouse Bay
Painting With Soil Pigments
Wednesday 15 April, 2-4pm
Blockhouse Bay Library, 578 Blockhouse Bay Road, Blockhouse Bay
Saturday 4 April, 10.30-11.30am
New Lynn War Memorial Library, 3 Memorial Drive, New Lynn
21 March - 19 April
1909 - 1949 Great North Road, Avondale
Visit www.ecofest.org.nz for the full EcoFest West 2020 Programme.
EcoFest West is brought to you by EcoMatters Environment Trust and funded by the Henderson-Massey, Waitākere Ranges and Whau local boards, and The Trusts Community Foundation.
The war on moth plant
Your skin itches, your eyes run… The fibre goes up your nose.
And while the fruit looks very similar to the nutritious vegetable the choko, this plant is poisonous. I’m talking about moth plant, moth vine, cruel plant… Araujia hortorum SYN Araujia sericifera.
When a moth plant seed pod bursts thousands of seeds will fly around your neighbourhood and sprout easily, creating more of a headache for you and your neighbours.
This could be the worst weed growing in Auckland! And it’s flowering right now in your garden and at your neighbours, in parks, on building sites and wasteland.
It’s time to work together and get rid of it.
Originally from South America it was introduced into New Zealand many years ago and we now regret it. It’s smothering our native trees and desirable plants and it will be doing the same in your garden if you are not aware of it
There is a very active Facebook group called the Society Totally Against Moth Plant (STAMP) where you can report sightings of it and ask for advice. Sites are recorded so that action can be taken. If it’s in a public space contact Auckland Council. But you can take direct action too.
Make yourself aware of this plant so you can easily identify it and remove it. Do not get the sap on you or in your eyes – if you do, wash your skin immediately. Wash your eyes with warm water or an eyewash.
Right now is the perfect time to kill the plant before the seedpods have a chance to develop fully. Dispose of all parts by putting them in your rubbish. Do not compost it! Stumps should be painted with a weedicide – ask at any garden centre or hardware store for the most appropriate product. For more information check out https://tinyurl.com/M0thPlant
Let’s eliminate this pest now!
Jacqui Knight, aka the Butterfly Lady
Avondale College students have gained 38 Scholarships (including six Outstanding) as well as an Outstanding Scholar award in NZQA's 2019 New Zealand Scholarship exams.
Of particular note was the achievement of Year 13 student Albert Wang who won an Outstanding Scholar Award, along with his six Scholarships, (including two Outstanding, in Physics and Chemistry).
Remarkably, nine of Avondale's 20 students awarded Scholarships were only in Year 12! Of these students, Heather Wallace achieved a Scholarship in four subjects; an impressive result.
Scholarship is New Zealand’s most demanding and prestigious secondary school academic qualification. Each year, approximately three percent of students studying each subject at Level 3 are awarded NZ Scholarship, if they reach the standard that has been set. The rewards are financial, with students being able to win scholarships of up to $30,000.
The gift that keeps on giving
It’s the end of an era for the Blockhouse Bay Senior Citizens hall. Originally incorporated in 1967, the Blockhouse Bay & District Senior Citizens Association aimed to provide a place where older people could gather for social events in the then isolated and underdeveloped Blockhouse Bay area.
In the early days meetings of the Association were held at St Saviour’s Church hall but through the fundraising efforts and personal donations of its members, Auckland City Council land at 522 Blockhouse Bay Road was purchased. Local donations meant that a building could be constructed on the land and this building became the club rooms for the Association in around 1973. It was to be a gathering place for the over 60s of Blockhouse Bay and the surrounding districts.
The legacy of the early members has continued into the next generation. One of the present members of the Association Ted Dixon, became involved initially as the auditor for the Association. He did this for 33 years. His late mother, Audrey Crothall, was secretary of the Association. Other members including club president Rangi Mitchelson, present secretary Shelia Hall, treasurer Lorraine Warren and her husband Ray, have dedicated enormous amounts of time and effort to the running of the Association and the maintenance of the hall.
In recent times, much of the maintenance and organisation has been undertaken by Ray (82) and Lorraine (75). Lorraine has become ill in recent times and carrying on the hall is simply too much for them.
The hall has been a popular place for older people to go and socialise with others over the last 50 years. It has provided a place to meet and play bowls and cards. The hall has also been used by various community groups for events. There is no longer such a need for a social hub for the elderly in Blockhouse Bay; it is no longer an isolated community. Much of the work undertaken by the Association is now carried on by churches and other community groups. A community centre has also been established in Blockhouse Bay.
Maintaining the hall has become more difficult for the members and with diminishing demand for its objectives, a decision was made in the first instance to offer the hall to the Auckland Council who could continue to operate it for the purposes of the Association. Sadly, this was not something Auckland Council was able to do, and so a further decision was made to sell the hall and use the proceeds of sale for community and charitable purposes.
The hall was sold in December 2019. The Association wishes to apply the proceeds of sale of the building for the benefit of the over 60s in Blockhouse Bay and surrounding districts.
The funds must be applied to the best advantage of the community of Blockhouse Bay, in continuity of the purposes of the Association, being social and useful activities for citizens of 60 years and over including:
The Association now calls for expressions of interest from the community. We are looking for community groups and/or charities that can apply the funds to good use having regard to the purposes of the Association.
Members of the Blockhouse Bay Senior Citizens & District Association were sad to see the hall sold. The members acknowledge and appreciate the support for the senior citizens of Blockhouse Bay an its surrounding districts. The members welcome the opportunity to create an enduring benefit to the community with the use of the funds.
Expressions of interest should be sent to:
Alexandra Low & Associates
PO Box 163045
or email to: email@example.com
Expressions of interest should include a CV of the organisation; an outline of what is proposed; and a summary of how the funds will be applied to the best advantage of the community, having regard to the purposes of the Association. It may be that the funds will be applied to more that one purpose depending on the responses we receive. Applications close 1 April 2020.
West AKL Artist Talks 2020
With its inspiring environments and diverse communities, West Auckland is home to some of New Zealand's most well-known artists and richest art activities.
In association with Te Uru Contemporary Art Gallery in Titirangi, West AKL Artist Talks 2020 has been curated to engage with current exhibitions. This series of three free artist talks has been organised by ArtSpark at Green Bay Community House, and highlights the work of nine contemporary artists.
Painting Abstractions brings together three expressive abstract painters: Philippa Blair, a pioneering NZ artist with a long, well-established international career; Stella Corkery whose gestural paintings link with music, and Nicola Farquhar whose colourful, lyrical exhibition Listening: Twitching can be seen at Te Uru from 22 February.
Repeating Cycles presents diverse artists connecting to the art of Theo Schoon, who has a retrospective exhibition at Te Uru from 7 March. Tracey Tawhaio (Ngai te Rangi, Whakatohea, Tuwharetoa) is well known for working across diverse media with Maori imagery; Kathy Barry’s pencil and gouache works connect energies and meditative processes; and Sarah Munro’s stitched artworks are based on a 1769 artwork by Tupaia, the Tahitian navigator who guided James Cook on his first Pacific voyage.
Sea-level Rise, the final talk in the series, is in collaboration with EcoFest West. The Pacifica Mamas, a collective of traditionally skilled Pacifica heritage artists, focus on sustainability; Rebecca Swan presents her project on disappearing bull-kelp forests off the American West coast, and Janine Randerson discusses New York artist Sarah Cameron Sunde’s 36.5 - A Durational Performance with the Sea, in which she stands in the Manukau Harbour for a full tidal cycle, exhibited at Te Uru from 22 February.
These talks are a really unique opportunity, in an up close and intimate setting, to discover exciting artists in our neighbourhood and gain an insight into the rich diversity of artmaking in West Auckland.
Where: Green Bay Community House, 1 Barron Ave, Green Bay.
When: Friday 6th March 7-9pm: Painting Abstractions
Friday 20th March 7-9pm: Repeating Cycles
Friday 3rd April 7-9pm: Sea-Level Rise, in association with EcoFest West
Book Free Tickets here: http://bit.ly/WestAKLArtistTalks2020tickets
More info: http://bit.ly/WestAKLArtistTalks2020
This event is possible with the generous support of CNZ Creative Communities Scheme, the Green Bay Community House and the Whau Local Board.
After nine years and over a hundred performances at rest homes and retirement villages all over Auckland, the members of local Steppin Out line dance group are calling it a day. Changes of circumstances of members have made it more difficult to schedule practices and performances that everybody can attend.
From what started as one performance dance to thank their teacher at the time Annette Kennedy, the group now has 35 dances in their repertoire. For several years they practiced at the BHB Community Centre.
Steppin Out (originally Steppin Six) have always billed themselves as “not a professional group, just keen line dancers who dance for fun and friendship.”
One hundred percent of donations received have gone to their chosen charities - this year Dementia Auckland. All costs of transport, practice room hire, costumes etc have been borne by group members. It is estimated that over the year more than $14,000 has been distributed.
“We are all very sorry not to be able to continue, but are very proud of what we have achieved in being able to support some really worthwhile charities”, says spokesperson Graham Edwards.
Midge Marsden Replay at the Bay
Midge Marsden rocked Blockhouse Bay Beach yet again with a strong set of R&B.
When you get old pros like Midge and his band, you have to feel for the warm up act that precedes them. The old guys took to the stage and from the very first song the crowd was instantly energised. One couple sprang up to dance right away. It wasn’t long before there was a seething mass of bodies swaying as they danced to the beats.
As the band played on, the tide came in and the twilight disappeared. The mellow crowd soaked up the ambience and then it was all over except for the walk back up the hill from the beach.
At least this year Midge didn’t say that it was definitely his last gig. He even hinted that he could be back next year if the crowd asked for him! It’s hard to imagine Music in Parks at Blockhouse Bay Beach without him!
$4.4 million for local schools
The schools infrastructure package announced by the government at the end of last year has been roundly welcomed by local Principals. For most schools this represents an average funding increase of 40% over a five year period. All up, that's about $400 million extra for schools, a huge boost that makes me proud to be part of the government.
Just prior to this announcement, we learned that an additional $26 million in funding was allocated to fix leaky buildings at Lynfield College. The existing administration block will be rebuilt and a new block of 30 classrooms will replace those that have ongoing weather tightness issues. My colleague, Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood, and I have been advocating for this since we were first elected two years ago so I was very pleased to learn that this problem will be fixed.
The amount schools receive is mostly determined by roll size. Schools will get $693 per student up to a maximum of $400,000, but will receive a minimum of 50,000 for maintenance regardless. Schools in the New Lynn electorate will receive a total of $4.4 million. This funding can be used to replace (rather than repair) things like guttering and roofs, upgrade school grounds and rooms and put in more energy efficient heating for schools.
The package is also intended to benefit local businesses and communities by creating smaller scale projects that give work to local tradies and building companies. Arahoe School is entitled to the maximum grant of $400,000 and I understand that a local firm has been contracted to expand its upgrade programme, to reconfigure and re-clad five classrooms.
This type of investment supports the economy by spreading the wealth and helping to future-proof it against economic shocks. It’s also a huge boost for the students and staff whose learning and teaching conditions will be greatly enhanced.
New Communicare Coordinator, Albina Muthiah, says now that school’s in, it’s time for seniors to get out and have some fun!
Albina joined the Auckland not-for-profit late last year and has already got a schedule of games and activities in mind for the members of her Avondale Friendship Centre. Says Albina, “I can see my grandparents in all my guests and love to listen to their stories. I am happy that I can bring a smile to their faces and make them feel special.”
Like all coordinators in Communicare’s 21 friendship centres Albina is looking forward to renewing friendships and meeting new members this term.
As well as a variety of activities Communicare centres provide morning tea and lunch, welcoming vulnerable older people from the local community.
There are 21 friendship centres in Auckland, including Blockhouse Bay, Mt Roskill and Hillsborough.
See listings in “Regular Social Events” on p9. For more information phone 6315968. www.communicare.org.nz