If you’ve never been . . .

August 13, 2014

If you’ve never been to Oamaru’s Victorian Heritage Celebrations you’ve missed a treat.

This year’s festivities run from November 12th – 16th with the theme of transport.

The programme hasn’t been finalised but if you click on programme at the link above you’ll see last year’s which will give you an idea of the delights which await you this year.

Oamaru TODAY's photo.


Matariki

June 28, 2014

Today marks the start of  Matariki, the Maori New Year.

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises just once a year, in mid-winter – late May or early June. For many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year.

Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). According to myth, when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.

Cycles of life and death

Traditionally, Matariki was a time to remember those who had died in the last year. But it was also a happy event – crops had been harvested and seafood and birds had been collected. With plenty of food in the storehouses, Matariki was a time for singing, dancing and feasting.

Modern Matariki

Matariki, or Māori New Year celebrations were once popular, but stopped in the 1940s. In 2000, they were revived. Only a few people took part at first, but in just a few years thousands were honouring the ‘New Zealand Thanksgiving’. A special feature of Matariki celebrations is the flying of kites – according to ancient custom they flutter close to the stars.

The Northern hemisphere celebrates mid-summer but here it’s over-shadowed by Christmas and New Year which follow it.

Matariki provides us with an opportunity for a mid-winter celebration.

Some have suggested making it a holiday but the changing date would make that problematic.

Besides, we shouldn’t need an official holiday to celebrate – it’s something we can do with family and friends by ourselves or in our communities as we choose.

The coldest weather is almost certainly still to come, but we’re now nearer spring than autumn which is as good an excuse as any for some fun.


The importance of volunteers

June 17, 2014

The many thousands of people who give their time, energy and skill to help others is being celebrated in National Volunteer Week.

Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Jo Goodhew is encouraging people to take part:

“This is a week, co-ordinated annually by Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ), which is set aside to celebrate the contribution volunteers make in their communities,” says Mrs Goodhew.

This year’s theme is “Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te tangata.” Translated as “With your contribution and my contribution the people will live.”

The Maori proverb refers to co-operation and the combination of resources to get ahead. It suggests that if we pool our ideas, with equal respect for all parties, we will get a better result and everyone will benefit.

“I commend VNZ for selecting such an appropriate proverb. It really captures the essence of volunteering,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Kiwis like to muck-in and help-out.  New Zealanders are among the best volunteers in the world with nearly a third of us volunteering collectively about 270 million hours every year.

“Our volunteers freely donate their time and energy to keep our communities running. They are the backbone of our sports and social groups, search and rescue organisations, and the arts and cultural sector.

“This government recognises the significant contribution of volunteers and is working to make resources and support more readily available to community organisations.”

 

Volunteers play an important role in our communities.

An active volunteer sector is a sign of a healthy communities and society.

Volunteers work with and for people in churches, interest groups, service and sports clubs and a whole range of other interest groups and organisations, including political parties.

Working in the latter isn’t usually regarded as community service but it is.

Wanting to make a positive difference is what motivates most members and candidates.

There’s always been an exception to this with paid union people adding to or replacing volunteers in parties on the left.

The Internet Mana Party has made an unwelcome addition to that – its candidates are being paid.

The problem with that is it’s impossible to know where their loyalties lie – with the party or the paymaster.


Oamaru steaming ahead

June 3, 2014

Just a few years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine anyone saying this, let along Dame Kiri Te Kanawa:

. . . While in Dunedin, Dame Kiri said she hoped to visit Dunedin’s Royal Albatross Colony and take a trip to Oamaru.

”I’d like to drive over to Oamaru – it’s so beautiful. . .

I don’t know if her hopes were realised, if they were she would have found the town under full steam for the fifth annual Steam Punk festival:

From Auckland to Ashburton, Oamaru to Opunake and even Invercargill, they steamed into Oamaru for a weekend of Steampunk.

The annual festival, in its fifth year, is growing so rapidly – to 15 events over four days this year – that organisers have a tiger by the tail and will be looking for more help in the future to maintain the momentum. . .

ne of the Steampunk organisers, Helen Jensen, was amazed at how the event had grown from its inception in 2010, when it was a one-day affair – a fashion show with a gala dinner.

But, she admitted, it was getting to be a handful for two main organisers, albeit with a lot of volunteer help.

”If it wasn’t for people popping out of the woodwork, I don’t know where we would be,” she said, pointing to volunteers who had just turned up to offer help getting things ready for yesterday’s fashion show.

The number at the mess dinner with airship and teapot racing had trebled from last year, 110 being fed and entertained.

Yesterday’s fashion show had 130 tickets pre-sold, but attracted far more with casual sales.

The 200 tickets to last night’s dinner were sold out.

She estimated probably 80% to 90% of people at the main events were from out of town, but that had been one of the main aims – to get people to Oamaru as a boost for the town. . .

The weekend’s festivities included Oamaru On Fire which was also a raging success.

A funeral in Darfield on Friday and family and farm commitments had to take priority over most of the festivities.

But I did manage time for a wander around the historic precinct after a visit to the Farmers’ Market on Sunday and was entertained by a wonderful procession of people in Steam Punk attire.

Over at Oamaru Life there are photos and commentary on the Steampunk Festival and Oamaru on Fire  – the latter includes a video of the light show.

The rediscovery of the historic precinct and the introduction of steam punk are just two of the attractions that are putting Oamaru on the map.

It’s still a small town but it’s steaming ahead.


Oamaru On Fire

May 24, 2014

The annual Steampunk NZ Festival opens in Oamaru this coming Friday, May 30th.

festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Steampunk NZ Festival 2014 is New Zealands largest and longest running steampunk event. 4 days with 18 events and the start of a fringe festival along side it this year. . .

The events are:

Thursday 29th May

Absynth Night

Friday 30th May

Oamaru on Fire,

Brydone Oamaru Fringe Festival Late Night

 

fringe

Saturday 31st May

Souk Market

Cup cake decorating

Dance classes

Writers Workshop

Steampunk Short Stories – with connections to other parts of the planet – technology allowing

Brydone Oamaru Fringe Festival Family Variety Show

Steampunk Racing Mess Dinner

Steampunk Racing and Music Madness

Sunday 1st June

Steam train rides round the Oamaru Harbour.

Steampunk Round the World

Steampunk NZ Fashion Show

Steampunk NZ Gala Dinner

29th May – 2nd June

Throughout the weekend there will be the opportunity to visit Steampunk HQThe Timetravelers Museum and learn to ride a penny farthing and explore the many other galleries and attractions that Oamaru offers, and then see the penguins.

There is more on the Festival’s Facebook page.

Friday night will be lit up by  Oamaru On Fire:

2014’s Oamaru On Fire, steam, sound and lighting spectacular, will step up again this year says organisers Jan Kennedy and Anton Roswell.  “Oamaru On Fire” is a fire, steam, sound, lighting spectacular that successfully showcases Harbour street (in the old part of town Oamaru) in the evening and in winter as an attraction for the entire family from 4 years old to 94 !

t enhances the Steampunk Festival, attracting large numbers of visitors and locals to Oamaru for Queens Birthday weekend.  For the Past 2 years Oamaru On Fire has been incredibly popular with over 2,000 people attending gaining amazing feedback from young and old. 

This years event will feature “Video mapping” a world class projection and lighting focus using the Harbour street Buildings as a stunning Canvas, as well as an innovative visual and performing arts programme and involvement by young local performers.

Internationally renowed “Visual Architects” Out of the Dark will choregraph the lighting and pyrotechnic experience; which includes video projection mapping previously seen on buildings around the world, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME VIDEO MAPPING HAS BEEN USED IN NZ’s south island.  “Oamaru On Fire”

 

fire

 

 


Three things my Mum taught me

May 11, 2014

Photo: Thinking of my mum today.


Happy Mothers’ Day

May 11, 2014

mothers' day


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