I stood on the edge of the hole the workers had dug that day, with my book clutched tightly under my arm. As I peered into the hole trying to work out why it had been dug, the muddy water seemed to draw me forward. I toppled into the hole and went completely underwater.
I was three years old and I couldn’t swim. As I struggled underwater, my foot found an object on the bottom of the hole. Standing on that, I managed to get my head above water and then climb out.
I walked into the kitchen and stood next to mum. Dirty water dripped onto the floor from my soaked clothing. I was wearing a home-made knitted brown cardigan and leather shoes. My chubby fingers were still wrapped around my book. It was dripping wet as well.
Fascinated with the building works going on around our newly-built home, it was my habit to go and see what the workers were doing each day, then talk with Dad about it when he came home. Seeing me standing there dripping wet, it came as a shock to my parents. Looking back, it’s amazing to think that I could have drowned over 50 years ago at the family home in Lynfield.
With both my parents now gone, the property – Tropicana – is to be developed by Rymans as a retirement village, specialising in the end of our life cycle. I had almost reached that stage prematurely!
Rymans are seeking resource consent for the development and the plans show that Tropicana will basically become a greenfields site from bare land. They have a reputation for doing things well, and this development, priced at $120m, will be the biggest project ever seen in the area.
The footprint of the eight buildings extends across the entire site, excluding most of the regenerating bush. The most visible part to neighbours, the 10 acre farm, will be changed forever.
It was developed from steep, gorse filled valleys in 1967. Tropicana Drive was created as a subdivision to pay for the extensive earthworks and civil engineering. The original farmhouse was moved to Commodore Drive and sold.
That was the start of my 47 years farming. Over the years we had other farms totalling 3,300 acres, but Tropicana was special in its urban environment. For years, we struggled with stray dogs attacking the sheep. At these times, tending to the dead, dying and wounded sheep and lambs was heart-breaking; animals were seldom eaten – stock worrying seemed more of a game. Then the leash laws changed and dog attacks on sheep became a fading memory.
The farm was top-dressed by a ground spread contractor. One year a new driver turned up. The young guy said that when his boss told him he had a 10 acre block to do in Hillsborough the driver thought that he was pulling his leg.
Tropicana was an anachronism; the largest privately owned property in the former Auckland City area. It was unsustainable as a private residence in times of increasing land pressure in the city. The next phase of becoming a top-class retirement village will cater for hundreds of local residents in their ‘third age’ stage of life.
Change often brings sadness – certainly, with the sheep already absent for two years, the strange sight of a little bit of country in the city is missed. Now it is time to embrace the future. This massive project by Rymans will be an asset for the community – retirement villages by their nature are low impact and well-managed.
You are welcome to share your memories of the sheep in the city with me at www.bhb.nz.
Recently 115 women took the opportunity to either dress up in their best sari or try a sari on for the first time for a Bollywood night. It was a chance for any woman from any background to experience first-hand the vibrancy of Indian dance and music. If they didn’t have their own sari, they were helped to dress in a loaned one so they could really be immersed in the fun. The colourful event was held at Hills Baptist Church (The one with the ever changing slogans on the sign on Hillsborough Road).
The food was from a local chef and had a variety of spices, flavours and vegetarian options. The ladies had dinner, sari demonstrations, sari fittings, performances, testimony, a dance demonstration and then a good boogie which was just what some people needed!
The Blockhouse Bay Business Association is pleased to announce that we have just appointed CAMPAIGNZ LTD as our managers. Gary Holmes is the owner and principal consultant of CAMPAIGNZ LTD and provides services to several BIDS in Auckland. His staff member Wendy Dunn will be our Town Centre Co-ordinator and will be in charge of the Christmas Parade which is to take place on the 10th of December.
The committee are delighted to have Gary and Wendy join our team. We also wish our previous Manager Robynne all the very best in her new home, and thank her for providing much needed support in a challenging year for the BID.
As I travelled to my office this morning, my shoulders were tensed, stomach knotted, and my right foot was firmly planted on the floor of the foot-well – where the brake pedal should be. However, as I was in the passenger seat, no amount of pressure by my right foot would cause the car to stop, regardless of my willpower. I was being chauffeured by my 16 year old learner driver.
I might add here that, having been blessed with twin sons, we actually have two brand new learner drivers in our household – a phenomenon that was unforeseen as we welcomed our gorgeous boys into the world back in June, 2000.
As I consider the stage of life we are now in, it occurs to me that we might as well keep our L plates handy, because hardly a year goes by without a new challenge to expand our abilities or our perspective on life.
A couple of years ago it was a major renovation of our home. Before that a major relational issue that threatened to de-rail our family. The past year or so it’s been a full household as we welcomed up to three homestays at a time to our family of six, and at some point in the future another change will be navigated as prepare for my mum to live with us.
No matter what the stage of life, there will always be new challenges to grow us and pull us forward into our future. One thing I have realised is that our ability to handle challenges and changes is greatly dependent on our perspective, and on the degree of positivity with which it is anticipated.
With my aching shoulders reminding me of this morning’s ride, which I was not quite in the head-space for, I realise that keeping our L plates handy is a good thing. It’s a reminder that as we embark on a “new thing” we will, for a time, be learners, but with perseverance, practice and self-belief, we will eventually achieve mastery and be on to the next of life’s challenges.
The annual Blockhouse Bay Village Santa Parade is ready to go this weekend says Town Centre Manager, Wendy Dunn.
The planning is complete and ready for people to take part in the festivities. Let the fun begin!
“Let's support what has always been a popular day for families and the community,” Wendy says. She can be contacted on 022 0785913 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If ‘millennials’ such as those who competed in the local Lions Club’s Young Ambassadors Competition are anything to go by, our future is in good hands.
Eight outstanding youth leaders from schools in the area competed in the Zone final, hosted by BHB-Lynfield Lions. The judges found it challenging to select a winner among contestants of such high calibre, but eventually Linda Zou of Auckland International College (BHB) was chosen - also a popular choice with the 50+ guests.
Judging was in three parts: 40% CV (eg. community service, school record, extracurricular activities), 30% 10 minute interview with three judges on community leadership, and the final decider was a five minute talk on a subject of their choice.
With a substantial monetary prize for further education, Linda now goes forward to the Lions Clubs’ District Finals. Runners up were Jaggar Bootten of ACG Sunderland and Ariana Brunet of Western Springs College who also received monetary awards towards education purposes. The five other entrants were awarded $50 book vouchers.
Left to right: Linda Zou, Ariana Brunet, Jaggar Bootten
The Lynfield College Advanced Premier Debating team have had an outstanding year in the Auckland Schools Debating and NZ Schools Debating competitions and tournaments.
Auckland Schools Debating
Having won the Grand Final of the Advanced Premier - a rare achievement for a team of Year 12s –Lynfield College are now the reigning Debating champions of Auckland. They also placed 3rd in the ASD Seasonal Championship and Impromptu Cup tournaments.
This is the first year Lynfield College has ever had a team entered in the top grade, and to come out on top of the best teams in Auckland is a testament to the incredible pool of talent at the school. ASD main sponsor, Russel McVeagh law firm called it “a massive achievement” on their FB page.
Year 12 students, Jia Dua, Karan Kalsi, and Kitty Sun successfully affirmed in a unanimous decision "this house believes social movements (e.g. Feminist movement, LGBT movement, race-based groups such as Black Lives Matter) should not criticise the views of those outside their movement on the basis of their privilege," beating Diocesean School for Girls, also a Year 12 team.
NZ Schools Debating
Each year, NZ Schools Debating holds a regional tournament, from which 12 debaters are selected to form two teams who will represent Auckland at Nationals. At the tournament LC’s Advanced Premier team took 2nd overall, and Karan Kalsi and Jia Dua were awarded the Best Speaker and Highly Commended, respectively. For the second year in a row, Karan was selected for a Regional Team, which, for the second year in a row, went all the way to the Grand Final of Nationals.
Picture: (Kitty Sun (left), Karan Kalsi (centre) and Jia Dua (right), winners of the Auckland Schools Debating Advanced Premier Grand Final.
Congratulations to Maisy McLeod-Riera (Year 13) who was awarded 2nd place (Trusts Prize) for the 16-18 year old Photography category within the 30th Trusts Art Awards Competition, winning $350.
Maisy's entry (shown above) aptly named Infrared Sirens was described as "Mythical and surreal, an intriguing image bordering on painting" by judge Andrew Rankin.
The exhibition was held at the Corban Arts Estate, last month, with entries from students aged 13 - 18, showcasing a range of talents in a wide range of media such as drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture.
Athletics is often called the foundation for all other sports through developing basic running, jumping and throwing skills. Roskill South Athletic Club who recently started their season in the grounds of Lynfield College is testimony to that statement.
As well as many of their athletes over the years going on to success nationally and internationally in athletics, many have taken their developed skills into other sporting codes with great success. The most recent example of this was in the Rugby Sevens teams at the Rio Olympics.
No less than six of the Rugby stars representing New Zealand came through Roskill South Athletic Club as children. There were the Ioane brothers, Reiko and Akira and Sonny-Bill Williams in the men’s team. Sonny-Bill needs no introduction and the Ioane’s are making their names well known with call-ups to the All Blacks recently.
In the women’s team in Rio previous Roskill South members included Theresa Fitzpatrick, Tyla Nathan-Wong and Niall Williams. Niall has young children currently in the club.
While enjoyment and the family-friendly nature of athletics provides an opportunity for children to get outdoors, exercise and have fun, it is easy to see the opportunities the sport can open up in other areas to excel and achieve greatness.
Club President Peter Wyatt says, “the enjoyment in being involved is in seeing the excitement when children achieve personal bests, running faster times, throwing or jumping greater distances than they have before”.
Roskill South Athletics meets at Lynfield College on Tuesday nights from 6pm and would welcome new members to join them. More information can be found on www.roskillathletics.com.