Although he’s lived in Waihi Beach for the past two years, Sean Jamieson – aka Amnesia Jones – is a local Blockhouse Bay lad, and he’s recently released his self-titled debut album.
Educated at Marshall Laing Primary, Blockhouse Bay Intermediate and Lynfield College, Sean didn’t formally learn music until high school at Lynfield College. Through his guitar teacher he joined the jazz combo, a small ensemble playing jazz fusion. This was a big, eye-opening experience coming from playing guitar, listening to rock music and the blues, then getting thrown into jazz, and Sean credits this with piquing his interest into the world of combining genres.
“Carving your own sound is the hardest part” says Sean. “I don’t really have a genre - subconsciously my music is a mixture of everything I’ve ever heard – rock, jazz, funk, soul…”
After a quick stint at audio engineering school and five years at the Rock Shop, Sean and his wife, Tash, left Auckland to concentrate on his music. Amnesia Jones is the result of that, produced entirely by Sean, in his tiny, shoe-box sized home studio in Waihi Beach.
"This way of working where people produce their own tracks and work on a laptop tends to be more common in the electronic music scene - hip hop for instance", says Sean. "This album is a combination of that way of working but also live instruments are involved, not just the computer. I’m trying to blend those two ways of working together.
"There's a lot of music that’s live nowadays - band orientated and all recorded in a studio - and a lot of people think that’s the only way to make music. I've combined the two elements together, as well as all the genres and my influences, but on a production side it’s a blend as well.
"I wanted to sound like a band, not one dude in a room, and I also want to bring it to the live stage - it's written to be played with a live six-piece band."
While more common to release a single or an EP first to try to gain traction, Sean released the album first. "Though it’s a lot harder getting people to listen to a whole album, the main reason is because the songs are designed to be listened to at the same time - they merge into one", he says.
Although Waihi Beach is great for producing music, Sean and Tash will soon relocate the studio to Titirangi. “I’m interested in collaborating and producing with other artists as well as my own music. Auckland will fit our lifestyle better in that respect”, he says.
Amnesia Jones is available on Spotify and all other streaming services.
See more at www.amnesiajones.com
Written by students in the Communications Club
Year 5-6 Inter-school Cricket Field Day
On Thursday 21st March the Blockhouse Bay cricket team competed in the Year 5/6 Inter-school Field Day at the Eastdale Reserve. We entered 6 teams and our A1 team won the A Grade Section and the championship cup. Blockhouse Bay School teachers Mrs Hayley Davies and Mrs Sally Kilpatrick commented that there were some close matches but the children’s sportsmanship and encouragement of each other was outstanding. Overall, they were extremely proud of the teams’ performance.
By Cassandra Walters (Y4) and Alyssa Rolls (Y3)
Blockhouse Bay School staff and students dressed as a superhero, wore bright colours or dressed in cultural clothes for our Superhero Day. On Thursday 28th March we stood with our Muslim Community and thought about the heroes who helped the people of Christchurch and New Zealand. We walked in a school-wide parade and came together as a school and community to sing the National Anthem. Everyone looked beautiful in their outfits and we felt proud to be part of Blockhouse Bay School and the Blockhouse Bay Community.
By Isabella Smith (Y4) and Roxie Conning (Y4)
That little building on Hillsborough Road, perched on a small, triangular shaped section opposite the road to Waikowhai Bay. Many of us travelled past it for years, ‘seeing but not seeing’; for a few years it housed a ball gown shop, and before that a church.
Then a few years ago some building work began and an apartment block began to emerge, with offices on the ground floor. It was intriguing to watch this new building helping to shape the landscape of the new look of Auckland, where multi-storey apartments and town houses replace single family houses and little old shacks that have stood for years. With a housing shortage city wide, in many cases the only way to go is up.
Rohit Patel is the man with the vision for this site. He designed it himself with offices for his primary business, Eclipse Insurance & Mortgages in mind. The building also houses two apartments and another ground floor office space.
In 1989 as a 16-year-old, Rohit came to New Zealand with his family from Fiji. He continued his schooling at Lynfield College and in the early nineties studied for a Diploma in Financial Services. Then for seven years he worked for State Insurance before going out on his own.
Rohit naturally gravitates toward people, and uses his knowledge, experience and resources to help where he can. “He just can’t say no!” laughs an associate, Shalini Shandil, who has known him since they were teenagers. “Rohit always gives 110% to anything he’s involved in, whether that be family, community or business”, she says. “He works really hard – in the early days he worked two jobs to pay his mortgage – yet he always finds time to walk beside a person in need. He’s like an amateur life coach at times”, she says, smiling.
Rohit believes that all people have value, some just need someone to take an interest in them and give them some life advice. “I like to think I made a positive difference in someone’s life. I believe in ‘paying it forward’”, he says.
Far from being ‘all work and no play’, Rohit is also sporty and active. He recently cycled to the city with his teenage daughter, enjoys the occasional round of golf when he has time, and with a keen interest in performance cars, he’s a bit of a petrol-head as well.
But his biggest sporting passion is soccer. Rohit’s team ‘Young Bloods’ (of which he is president) competed in the 2019 Annual Gujarati Soccer Tournament over Easter weekend. They didn’t make the finals, but Rohit is satisfied that he gave it everything he had. “Successful people have no fear of failure; they have resilience, learn the lessons and adapt from it,” he says.
Last month, in front of a large audience on a beautiful sunny day, Khottey Sikkey Bollywood Dance School presented a vibrant act of Bollywood Fusion with Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Garba and Contemporary dance styles to the 20th Auckland International Cultural Festival 2019.
"Most of our students are born in New Zealand and this was an excellent opportunity for them to not just connect deeper with the Indian Culture and the various dance styles from across India, but to also embrace the diverse cultural acts that were showcased at the Festival" says Kesha Surti, the Director of Khottey Sikkey.
Khottey Sikkey's kids and adult categories thoroughly enjoyed presenting their fusion acts on this exciting multi-cultural stage.
On the evening of April 4th, pupils of Glenavon School put on a Cultural Night for their families and the wider community. In spite of the large audience, which was estimated at around 1,000 people, the children performed with confidence. They had rehearsed weekly for the whole term in preparation for the show, in which every pupil at the school took part.
Families and teachers supported the students to put together a performance for their chosen cultural group, including costumes and makeup. The stage was beautifully set, bordered by decorated gazebos from which families sold cultural dishes that they had cooked themselves, giving the event an authentic market vibe.
Glenavon School parents, Jess Leslie and Ellis Thorpe, supplied professional lighting, while another parent, Jared Yearsley, edited videos captured by teacher Matt Sheaff. The videos - which can be viewed on the Glenavon School YouTube Channel - are absolutely superb, and readers are encouraged to look them up on YouTube. The videos are short, and there’s a separate video for each group’s performance.
The Cultural Night was obviously a great success, uniting the school and community while affirming cultural origins.
It’s been a strange and slightly disturbing summer for monarch butterfly lovers throughout the country. 80% have reported very few eggs being laid in their gardens, while 20% have had a bumper season, with more caterpillars than their food source, swan plants (milk weed), can support. So what’s going on?
That’s the question Jacqui Knight – Blockhouse Bay’s ‘Madam Butterfly’ – wants to get to the bottom of. She’s one of the 80%, while her friend in nearby New Windsor had so many, she was farming caterpillars out to any who could take them. Jacqui says the only monarchs she raised this year came from ‘transplants’ like this. Her concern prompted her to start a Facebook page, ‘Monarch and Milkweed Matchmaking NZ’, which, as the name suggests, links caterpillars with swan plants all over the country.
Butterfly Bay near Whangaroa Harbour in Northland was once the overwintering habitat for thousands of monarchs. In 2005, upon learning of the impending development of an eco-resort in the bay, an entomologist was engaged to research the habitat. Only five monarchs were found in that habitat, raising concern for the monarch population country-wide.
As a result of the exercise the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust was formed, however the question soon arose about endemic butterflies that were once prolific in the country and are now rarely seen. This prompted the Trust’s purview to be widened to protect and conserve not only monarchs, but butterflies and moths endemic to New Zealand.
New Zealand has at least 20 native species of butterfly, such as red and yellow admirals, coppers and the little blues. Aerial spraying, wasp predation and habitat loss have decimated the population, and many larval food plants are often viewed by home owners as weeds. However, with the efforts of butterfly enthusiasts, through planting and pest-control butterflies are making a come-back in the cities.
In 2014 Jacqui noticed a monarch overwintering site at the Blockhouse Bay Recreational Reserve (Rathlin Street), also noting the presence of several swan plants which appeared to have been planted by a local. She left a note on one of the plants, asking for the ‘gardener’ to contact her, which he did. His name was Dennis Lincoln, and he and Jacqui decided it would be a great idea to make the area into a butterfly habitat to preserve the local monarch population, and with the blessing of the Whau Local Board they began.
The Blockhouse Bay butterfly habitat is a work in progress, and relies heavily on the efforts of a variety of volunteers from the community such as the group of students from Blockhouse Bay’s Auckland International School who show up every Monday for an hour to help with whatever is required. “It’s a great learning experience for any volunteer, especially the younger ones”, Jacqui says. “Most don’t know a leaf from a stem initially, but eventually they become familiar with the different plants and master useful skills such as weeding and planting.”
An ongoing project is to suppress weeds and improve the poor soil by covering with cardboard, and mulch supplied by Council contractors. Planting nectar plants to provide all-year-round nectar for the butterflies is also a priority.
Jacqui is keen to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer at the butterfly habitat. She also welcomes visits from schools as part of their outdoor education curriculum. “With the butterfly habitat problem being so widespread, it’s important that education starts with the very young if our butterflies are to thrive”, she says. “Like bees, butterflies are a very important link in the ecological chain”.
If you are interested in learning more about the habitat, or to volunteer, contact Jacqui Knight at email@example.com, or join the Facebook group Blockhouse Bay Recreation Reserve Butterfly Habitat.
Paul Donovan saved a woman’s life in the main street of Blockhouse Bay by simply opening a car door.
Gail Ellison was semi-conscious and sweltering in the autumn heat when he found her at 4pm on a Monday afternoon. She had been sitting in the parked car for several hours unable to move due to hypoglycaemia unawareness which is a complication of diabetes. The car windows had fogged up and her clothes were wet in the heat.
After calling an ambulance, Paul assisted Gail to get out of the car. He noticed her diabetic badge and realised that some sugar lollies might help. The ambulance arrived and that seemed to be the end of his involvement until Gail’s family went on Facebook to try and find and thank the man who saved her. Gail was quoted as saying "I don't think I'd still be here if it weren't for that man and I really would like to find him. I think someone up there was looking after me because I hate to think what might have happened if I had driven.” Thanks to the power of social media they have met up again, giving Gail her chance to say thanks.
So what made Paul investigate and act on an ordinary Monday when many others had walked past the car in the centre of the village unaware of Gail’s plight? It was not as though he was in a great mood after wasting most of his day trying to sort out his internet banking. Coming out of the bank he wondered if something was wrong in the car with condensation on the windows. When he first investigated he thought that Gail was ok and just having a rest with her eyes partly open. Leaving the car to cross the road something happened. Paul had second thoughts and went back to the car to double check that she was ok. What prompted him to do that?
Hard times don't create heroes. It is during the hard times when the 'hero' within us is revealed. Bob Riley
Emergencies are not always obvious. From time to time, all of us have thoughts or feelings that something does not add up or is not quite right. The outcome depends on whether we are prepared to interrupt what we are doing and act on that small voice in our head. The way we choose to live makes the difference to how we respond.
Paul is a volunteer surf lifesaver, as are others in his family. He is used to looking out for people, alert to hazards and being prepared to help by responding rapidly. Maybe that is why he was the hero that day while others walked on by. The decisions that you make long before the crisis happens determine how you will respond in an emergency.
Thanks to Paul, Gail has recovered fully and the outcome could not be better.
By John Subritzky
It’s taken 100 years, but the New Lynn Tennis Club has come a long way. From humble beginnings in 1919 at the Shaw’s home in Rata Street, New Lynn, to their current premises at Mason Park, Fruitvale Road, New Lynn.
The club celebrated its centenary on April 13th with 140 guests - current and past members, and families of members no longer with us, including the granddaughter of Shaw Family.
Players of all ages, from 7 years old to those in their 80s and 90s, were on the courts in their Wimbledon Whites using wooden rackets which would now be known as vintage.
It was a trip down memory lane, catching up with other members not seen in years, looking through photos of past tournaments, and chatting over a glass of Pimms and a plate of berries and ice-cream.
Eventually 140 people sat down to dinner, with plenty of anecdotes and stories bringing club history to life, followed by the cutting of the celebration cake and a toast raised to the next 100 years.
Special thanks to those local businesses, community groups and our own members through whose efforts the event became a great success.
The Playgroup at Church of the Saviour has a new centre manager, Jessica Chao, who is busy getting to know the parents, carers and kids.
Jessica is a qualified early childhood teacher with 6 years of experience, and she loves the fact her little guy Louis can come to work alongside her.
Prior to training in early childhood education Jessica had a varied career and once worked as a script writer on a fast-paced current affairs TV show in China! She speaks both Mandarin and English, and is ready to help out parents with encouragement and advice, and to provide a great space for families to play, sing, dance, make crafts and enjoy morning tea together.
Parents with young children can sometimes feel isolated at home - a local playgroup is a great way to make friends, get connected and have fun. Anyone wanting to come along on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday from 9am can drop in at 2, Heaphy St, or email email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In March, Robbie Chamberlain was working late in his business on Wolverton Street. Around 1am he heard someone breaking into one of his cars outside, so he went out to investigate. He confronted the young man, and in the ensuing altercation Robbie knocked him down.
As he turned, he got a surprise of his own! He realised that he had walked past a second unseen offender who had been in the back seat of a vehicle checking out the contents of the boot. This bloke came out of the car towards Robbie, armed with a knife. Defending himself, Robbie landed a few good punches, disarming the offender in the process. At this point the two thieves had had enough and decided to retreat, hopefully to never return.
Robbie captained the West Auckland Admirals Ice Hockey team for 8 years before retiring last year, and also competed in kick boxing for about ten years but has never experienced anything like that before. With his fight-or-flight instincts fully kicked in, Robbie says he was more pumped up on adrenalin than he has ever been in any competition.
With the benefit of hindsight, Robbie says he would now do things differently. Instead of confronting an offender he would try to discreetly observe the person while attempting to get Police onsite so that an arrest could be made. It is fortunate that Robbie could handle himself in this situation, but he readily admits the outcome could have been very different.
Despite the knife being handed in to Police, the offenders in this case have not been identified so far.
Blockhouse Bay locals Robbie and his wife Heather are the second-generation owners of MG Rover NZ. They specialise in servicing Land Rovers, meeting hundreds of people each year who are passionate about British vehicles.
They also enjoy the opportunity to help people in a tangible way, offering a second chance at life to people many other employers wouldn’t risk.