What do you do when it is cold, wet and windy in winter? Well, if you belong to the New Lynn Sea Scouts, you are likely to throw on your wetsuit, grab a boat and go and have some fun on the water, and that’s exactly what they did.
Each year Sea Scout Groups throughout Auckland get together and take part in a winter sailing series run off Farm Cove in the Tamaki Estuary. This year’s series comprised 13 races over seven weekends. These were sailed in either a two-person Sunburst sailing dinghy, or a 3-5 –person clinker-built cutter. The outstanding performance this year came from a young crew from New Lynn in the Sunburst class. Out of a fleet of 21 Sunbursts competing, they were by far the youngest and smallest of any of the crews, yet they dominated the series from day one. In fact, they had amassed such a lead that by the end of the series they would not have needed to sail the last three races if they so chose; but then that would have been no fun not to be out on the water.
While being a Sea Scout group, it does not stop New Lynn taking part in a large number of land based activities as well. This year the Venturers, these are the older Scouts aged 14+, planned and ran the annual Pitstop Total Exhaustion competition. They had the responsibility to run the event having won it the previous year. This fun event saw teams undertake a series of mentally and physically challenging tasks, interspersed with a bit of bribery, based out on a farm in Swanson. Being held in the middle of winter meant that a good dose of water and mud could be added to the day’s activities.
Getting out on the water sailing is both a great way to enjoy the outdoor playground that is Auckland, while also developing numerous life skills. “Running activities like the Pitstop is not only fun, but again helps develop planning, teamwork and risk management skills, not to mention thinking well outside the box” says Andrew one of the Scout leaders. “It is very rewarding to see the growth in life skills of their members as they get out of their comfort zone and push themselves.”
The New Lynn Sea Scout Group caters for boys and girls aged 5 – 19+ years. So if you want a slice of the action on the water, or to go camping and explore the awesome adventure playground that we are blest with out West, then give Andrew a ring on 027 6939 756 or see www.newlynn.seascouts.org.nz for more information
There has been speculation regarding what has been happening at Motu Moana behind the rows of containers that appeared some months ago. Some unusual activity has been heard by neighbours, giving rise to a bevy of questions. We visited Motu Moana to find out more. Here is their response:
A highly successful government Youth Development initiative for the unemployed has found a temporary home at the Motu Moana Scout Camp in Blockhouse Bay.
With the acquisition of former Defence Force land in Hobsonville for housing development, the Limited Services Volunteer (LSV) programme had to be relocated temporarily until premises are found for the programme long-term.
LSV is a joint venture between the Ministry of Social Development and NZ Defence Force, running six-week residential courses that provide young New Zealanders with skills that will improve their ability to be placed into employment. The training aims to provide motivation and adventure-based learning that will give participants the life skills required to gain jobs.
The Defence Force's Youth Development Unit runs the programme, and Squadron Leader Tua Atkinson's team decided that the Scouts NZ camp, Motu Moana, would be the ideal base for two six-month stays between Easter and Labour Weekend in 2016 and 2017.
"The camp has excellent accommodation facilities, an abseil wall, fitness trails, 25 acres of bush and two halls on the site which facilitate the various external providers that come in to teach our young people on topics such as interview techniques, CV writing, finance and budgeting skills", says Tua Atkinson.
"The programme is based on a military model which is aimed at improving the trainees’ self-esteem, confidence, and ultimately their employability, with a strong focus on working in a team environment.”
"Our first Motu Moana trainees graduated at a parade in front of their whanau and friends at Trusts Stadium on 11 June, and we were as proud as they were to see them successfully complete this demanding course.”
There was a strong feeling of unity, love and gratitude as over 50 people joined together for a morning tea on the 5th July at the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre to celebrate Annie Tausi’s recovery from a cardiac arrest eight weeks previously.
Annie (60) was teaching an Aqua Zumba evening class on 10th May at Onehunga pools when she collapsed. If it hadn’t been for the two life guards on duty, Eleanor Mulrennan and Michaela Housiaux-Andrews, who responded immediately with CPR and use of the defibrillator, she would have died.
Annie hosted the morning tea as a way to thank so many people who had encouraged and supported her through her ordeal. She expressed her gratitude to the life guards and emphasised the importance of learning first aid, and for communities to have defibrillators available for public use.
During Annie’s recovery, two of her students, Rosie and Debbie, stepped up to the mark and did an incredible job keeping her classes at the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre going, and a huge thank you goes out to them.
Do you know where your nearest defibrillator is? Find out at www.aedlocations.co.nz
On June 21, Opened Stone was unveiled at the Manukau Domain in Lynfield. This deceptively simple structure was hand-carved in 1971 by Japanese artist Hiroaki Ueda, from a large block of red African granite.
Commissioned by the New Zealand Society of Sculptors and Painters for the 1971 International Sculpture Symposium celebrating Auckland’s centenary, Opened Stone was then placed in the forecourt of the Auckland Art Gallery. In 2008 when the Art Gallery underwent renovations, the sculpture was placed in storage, until its installation overlooking the Manukau Harbour in June.
Artist Bronwen Muir was assistant to Ueda during his residency at the symposium. She describes Ueda as a “quiet gentleman with a fascinating life.” He was born to a Samurai family, and even recruited as a kamikaze pilot during the war, though he was never sent on a mission. Muir tells the story that Ueda was once imprisoned by his Kyoto University students for three days and three nights for his refusal to allow the use of power tools. He did not give in.
Before Ueda passed away in 1997, he had requested that the work be positioned overlooking the sea. The position selected overlooking the Manukau Harbour, is truly a worthy location, and it is such a privilege to have this beautiful sculpture in “our back yard”.
Opened Stone is Ueda’s only work on display outside of Japan.
Watch the 3 min Auckland Council video backgrounding the project here>>
As Kiwis we look at the possibility of Helen Clark becoming the first female Secretary General of the UN, and Hillary Clinton, the first female President of the US. What’s all the fuss about, we wonder? We all know Helen would be exceptionally competent in the role, so why are some other countries so fascinated? Perhaps it’s because NZ had such a big head start.
The Auckland mayoralty race is heating up with Phil Goff and Vic Crone the leading contenders. Recently though, I was surprised to learn that Elizabeth Yates became the first “lady” mayor in the British Empire – in Onehunga 1873.
It was the day after the general election – the first time that women had been able to vote in New Zealand. Mrs Yates got congratulated by Queen Victoria and Richard Seddon. It was ironic because Seddon had resorted to dirty tricks to try and block the enfranchisement of women.
King Dick’s manoeuvres backfired and two councillors in the Upper House changed sides and voted for the Bill. Then even legislative councillors petitioning the Governor General could not stop it being signed into law.
Elizabeth Yates’ time in office provided plenty of material for the papers. Her husband had retired from the mayoralty due to ill health, so name recognition would have helped her to win with a 13 vote majority from 227 votes cast. On taking office, by virtue of being mayor she also became a J.P. – another first for women.
Some of the men were not amused. The town clerk and four councillors immediately resigned. Others opposed every initiative that she proposed. During her term, spectators crowded into the council chamber to see what would happen next.
The next election Yates was defeated by 90 votes. It would be 63 years before another woman became mayor in any town in New Zealand.
Yates did make a comeback as a councillor in 1899 for a two year term, which made the meetings quite lively once more.
Despite fierce opposition, she is regarded as one of the most effective mayors of Onehunga. Her legacy included upgraded roads, footpaths and sanitation, elimination of Borough debt, establishment of a sinking fund, re-organisation of the fire brigade and she lobbied the government to allow the Waikaraka cemetery to be re-opened.
She had been active in the women’s suffrage movement, but said she entered public office “simply in the interests of the ratepayers.” What an interesting period in history – and so close to home.
Another local connection to those times is Rose Park in Three Kings, which is dedicated to the memory of those suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote. Mayoress Enid Hay unveiled the sundial in the park when it was first dedicated by the Mt Roskill Borough Council in 1972. Steel sculpture and plaques were added in 2013 to mark the 160 year anniversary.
BEACON asked Mayoral Candidate Vic Crone for comment: "New Zealand should be proud of its pioneering characteristics. We've come a long way in judging people by their capabilities rather than gender. However, we must remain restless pioneers. Our Auckland political system is not yet a reflection of our diverse city. We need strong, inclusive and open minded leadership to encourage and unlock the true benefits that diversity offers".
Politics is still a complicated business. It is now unremarkable for women to be in senior positions as they have built on the history of those who went before them.
Grow your own Drugs
Yes, you read that right, but don’t get the wrong idea! You can grow your own drugs in your backyard. Let me explain: there are so many things we can grow in our garden which can not only heal us, but provide a sustainable source of food, a green manuring cover crop, or to a scientist, a legume crop which helps to fix nitrogen back into the soil.
I speak of Fenugreek; a spice to the cook, medicine to the herbalist, a green manuring cover crop to the gardener, and, to the scientist, Trigonella foenum-graecum, a plant from Fabaceae (family of legumes) which fixes nitrogen from the air back into the soil.
Auckland winter is known for storms - rain, wind, and thunder. A great excuse to leave the garden to its destiny. Some seasoned gardeners give it a rest and plant a cover crop like mustard, oats or barley. These are very fit for purpose, but if you are looking for a crop that also provides healthy nutrition, regulates blood pressure, blood sugar, and proper balance of hormones, plus can give your libido a boost, then fenugreek is it.
Fenugreek is very easy to grow, can be bought in any Indian spice store, and is typically sown in winter. It just needs a well-drained, sunny spot and in 24hrs your new “drug” crop is on its way. The whole crop can be harvested in 45 days or leaves can be harvested at any time of the growth depending upon requirement.
The leaves can be used like spinach, while the seeds are slightly bitter and typically used in spice blends; added to pickles, curries and sauces, and even as a tea. And, it’s the perfect spice accompaniment for potatoes - while potatoes raise your blood sugar, fenugreek evens it out making the perfect companion.
Next time if you need a cover crop, or an excuse to stay away from your garden in winter, give this ‘alien’ a go, chances are you might find a friend for life.
Jai :: Sustainable Landscape Consultant
e :: firstname.lastname@example.org
p :: 021-050-3045