Radio and Red-zone

A knock on the door proved to be a reporter and photographer from RNZ National.  This morning’s ‘Press’ told us that Regenerate Christchurch expect to have a draft plan for the Avon Loop area by the end of this year.  RNZ wanted comment from a local, had been told that my landline was dead, so they came calling.  We walked round to the beginning of the red zone where they interviewed me (as Chairperson of the Avon Loop Planning Association), and took a photo.  I asked when it might be broadcast and was told it would be on ‘Checkpoint’ this evening.

Later I contacted our Association Secretary to alert her to the possibility of Checkpoint, and she told me I had featured on the 1pm News.  It hadn’t occurred to me to listen, but I did catch the 3pm News, and heard my name mentioned.  I was also briefly on ‘Checkpoint’, and people have told me they heard it.  We now just await some word from Regenerate Christchurch.

“They say a plan there soon will be
let’s hope they consult you and me.”


Digital Detox Dominates

Our internet access disappeared early yesterday afternoon.  Woe!  No e-mail, no blog, no Facebook, no Wordscraper!  I tried everything I could think of – switched the modem off and on several times, rebooted the p.c., but no luck.  I went to phone my IT support person, and realised the telephone landline wasn’t working either.  I then used my cellphone to contact Vodafone who tried several things, including getting me to plug the modem into a different phone jack, but again no luck.  They told me that they would send a technician within 48 hours, and I resigned myself to an involuntary digital detox.  This was one occasion when I almost (but not quite) wished that I had a smartphone.


After my play reading group this morning I took my tablet to the library, and used their Wifi to check e-mail messages.  Just before 3pm the landline phone rang!  I hastened to answer, and the technician informed me that our connection had been put onto the wrong port – there was a ‘wrong tracing in the exchange’ which had now been corrected.  At least there was no cost to us as there would have been if the fault was at our place.  I didn’t think to ask for a day’s discount on my Vodafone bill.  We are both relieved to once again be connected after a 26 hour digital detox.

“The ‘net connects us with the world
but sometimes it all comes uncurled.”

Botanic Bellbird

On a drizzly morning the New Zealand section of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens was alive with birdsong.  I managed to record the bellbird.

kakabeak-smallAnyone who says the native plants of Aotearoa lack colour needs to view this magnificent kakabeak.

“The bellbird singing loud and clear
unseen, must have been very near.”



Women’s Music

What a great evening’s entertainment it was at the Christchurch Folk Music Club’s celebration of NZ Women First in the World.  Such a treat to hear women’s music, and all in aid of the Women’s Centre.  First Judi Smitheram sang, then Sue Galvin and Jane Edmed.

Judi Smitheram accompanied by Mary & Melanie

Judi Smitheram accompanied by Mary & Melanie


Sue Galvin & Jane Edmed

Sue Galvin & Jane Edmed

Sue and Jane encouraged the audience to join in with ‘Bread and Roses’, having first tossed Roses (chocolates) at the audience. I enjoyed the performance poetry by Trish Waters – must look out for her again.

All Girl Big Band

All Girl Big Band

A highlight was the wonderful All Girl Big Band with some jazzy numbers.  As a finale all the artists joined in singing Helen Reddy’s ‘I am Woman’, a fitting ending to a wonderful evening.

“Women’s music – we need more
of the tunes that we adore.”

Riverside Heritage Walk

Yesterday was the first of the Red Zone Treks that are part of The Breeze Walking Festival.  A group of 50 met by the Barbadoes Street Bridge, where we heard about O-Tautahi history, then The Bricks, then round the Avon Loop, to Englefield Lodge.

Englefield Lodge

Englefield Lodge

This house was built in 1852, and it’s sad to see how it has been allowed to deteriorate since the earthquakes.  Our trek led us around River Road, through the red zoned area, and the beginnings of the hoped-for Avon-Otakaro Forest Park.

Flourishing native trees in Avon-Otakaro Forest Park

Flourishing native trees in Avon-Otakaro Forest Park

Our final stop was Di Madgin’s Riverside Heritage Garden at 373 River Road North.  It was heartbreaking to see this carefully preserved garden in the midst of the red zone.  Di and others worked hard to persuade CERA to keep the area as a heritage park, but CERA never adopted a heritage policy and the future of this area is unknown.

Di Madgin's Garden

Di Madgin’s Garden

After our 6km trek it was good to have a bus to transport us back to our starting point.  There are five more Red Zone Treks planned for the Walking Festival, and all would be interesting and worthwhile.

“We walked the river’s red-zoned sides
and learned its history from our guides.”


Feast of Flowers

The cherry blossom’s out in Harper Avenue, always a joyful sign of spring.


I couldn’t resist crossing the road to enjoy the daffodils too.


When people are crossing, the traffic lights stop the cars to let pedestrians and cyclists through – just as it should be.

“The cherry blossom is superb
with daffodils beside the kerb.”

Real Rangiora

Rangiora is a joy to visit because it has real shops – such a change from soulless malls.


Many of them are in refurbished old buildings.


Part of the library is the old Council chambers, and it has a magnificent ceiling.

Library ceiling

Library ceiling

Local homes are a mixture of very new and attractively old.



Oakleigh was once the home of Major-General Sir Howard Kippenberger who was Editor-in-chief  of New Zealand’s War Histories.


One appeal of travelling north to Rangiora is that you get to see lambs, although these ones were nearly full grown.

It’s easy to understand why so many people chose to move to Rangiora after the earthquakes.  It’s a very attractive town.

“I can see why this town would be
a most attractive place to flee.”