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Archive for the ‘Christchurch – Central’ Category

I was honoured to be presented with a Civic Award last evening.

My Civic Award

The event was held in the great Hall of the Arts Centre.  Awards were presented by the Mayor Lianne Dalziel, there was music from a string quartet of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and refreshments afterwards.

Receiving the Award from the Mayor.

Each Awardee was invited to come up and stand with the Mayor while their citation was read.  Mine was ‘For Community Service’ and I had been nominated by members of the Volunteering Canterbury Board, particularly for what I’d done during the earthquakes and re-organising VolCan afterwards.  These Awards are usually for voluntary service, and I was surprised to receive one for fulfilling my paid role.  However, it’s true that when you’re in a paid role in the voluntary sector, the boundaries are often blurred and you end up doing voluntary hours as well (especially when there have been earthquakes).  I also saw the Award as being recognition of the value of managing and supporting volunteers.  I was able to refer to these aspects in the very short speech I gave afterwards.  We had not been warned that there would be an opportunity for the Awardees to speak, and it’s a few years since I’ve done impromptu public speaking.  It would have been good to have had a chance to prepare for this!

Over the years I’ve organised about thirty Volunteer Awards events, and it was interesting to be on the other side of such an occasion.  I was pleased to have Stephen and two close friends share the evening with me.  Afterwards there were group photos, including one of all the Awardees with the City Councillors.

I’m seated, second from left

‘This unexpected recognition
acknowledged my earthquake position.’

 

 

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The strong southerly was causing this hollyhock to bend over and I worried it might break.  Others had been staked, but this one was on its own.

Windblown hollyhock

I hurried out to place a strong bamboo stake and fasten the plant to it.  That should hold it firmly.

Staked hollyhock

‘I rescued it from a cruel southerly
with tender action, almost motherly.’

 

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On International Volunteer Day, 5 December, Volunteering Canterbury (VolCan) celebrated its 30th anniversary.  As Manager for 21 of those 30 years I was delighted to attend the carefully organised programme.  This started with a dance from the Catholic Cathedral College Filipino Cultural Group, gracefully depicting a fishing tradition.  The history of VolCan was narrated, several people spoke of how volunteering has changed their lives, and there were presentations to two special volunteers.  I was honoured to be invited to cut the anniversary cake together with a seven-year-old volunteer.

30th Anniversary Cake

The programme finished with items from two Star Jammers, refreshments, and a chance to chat.  This was a first-rate way to mark a special occasion, and a great opportunity for me to catch up with people who’ve been important in my life.

‘The VolCan folk will always be
respected and most dear to me.’

 

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This year’s Santa Parade took a route down Madras Street, very close to our home.  We sat in comfort on camping chairs with an excellent view of all the 130+ items on parade.  There were Storybook characters, Bands, Ethnic groups, Schools, and Youth groups.  The sky was overcast with some drizzle, but not enough for anyone to get really wet.  We were sitting by the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church which was offering free coffee and had a queue of people taking advantage of this.

Stephen was in the Parade for 30 years, even leading it one year.  More recently I joined him and we rode in style in an old model A.  This year ‘our’ Model A carried Bananas in Pyjamas.

Bananas in ‘our’ car

A more sedate couple in 2006

It was wonderful to have the parade back in the central city.  Events like this remind us of how special it is to live centrally.

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‘This grand parade was entertaining
despite the fact that it was raining.’

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A guided tour of Turanga was offered to Friends of the Library today.  Although I’ve already paid several visits I knew there was more to explore and was pleased to take advantage of this occasion.  I hadn’t previously realised that each floor is colour coded, with walls and furniture to match, and a featured bird.  The birds are in the order of height in which they would be found in the forest.  Level Four, Creativity, is blue and features the kereru (I didn’t think to take a photo there).

Level Three, Discovery, is purple and features the tui

Level Two, Identity, is red and features the kakapo

No food or drink is permitted on Level Two because it holds some of our most valuable and culturally significant collections and we want to protect them for current and future generations.  On every other level you can consume if you wish.

Level One, Community, is orange and features the titi.

One aspect I hadn’t noticed before is the mirrored dressup area for children on Level One.

Dressups on Level One

The Ground Floor, Connection, is green and features the pukeko

We were shown the sorting room on the ground floor.  All the books go automatically through a machine which sorts them according to their bar codes.  A librarian then puts each lot into a trolley for delivery to the appropriate level or branch library.

Sorting the returned books

I noted on the upper levels there were often two or three copies of the same book, and a whole shelf of Mills and Boon.  One shelf in the sorting room held books which were ‘borrower’s own’, i.e. they’d been returned to the library but didn’t belong there.

Our tour group was guided by Emma.  I learned much more about the library, and enjoyed some peeks behind the scenes.  Afterwards we had afternoon tea in the Spark Meeting Room.

‘This library holds much more than books
there’s new things everywhere one looks.’

 

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I went to a local postal services agency to post my Xmas parcels to daughters in the U.K.  Note, I didn’t go to a Post Office.  Those don’t exist any more.  There are still a few Post Shops, 80 out of 880 post outlets, but NZ Post plans to close all Shops soon.  They like you to organise your parcel posting online and use their courier service, but this is not practical for many people.  Postal services are now located inside chemist shops, bookshops, and supermarkets.  I use these rather than organising postage online as I like to think I am keeping workers in jobs.  For the same reason I eschew the self-service tills in the supermarket.

My presents were wrapped and just needed to be placed in a postal bag and weighed, once I’d filled in the address and customs declaration.  I’d carefully ensured that the contents of each bag were valued at less than $70 (£38) to avoid VAT being charged at the other end.  The staff member perused my declaration and asked me to confirm that the bag included a fridge magnet.  It did, and I hadn’t realised that these are now forbidden to be posted.  They are listed under ‘Other Prohibited Items’ along with Animals (except correctly packaged bees, leeches, silkworms and harmless insects).  My sealed bag had to be cut open, ditto the wrapped package inside, and the magnet extracted.  I’m not an expert parcel wrapper, but this one will look even more amateurish than usual when it finally arrives.

The forlorn fridge magnet is now residing on my filing cabinet, and I’ll be even more careful with my choice of gifts in future.

Sheepish magnet

‘The sheepish magnet could not go
the other gifts were deemed righto.’

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Sunday was the official opening of the City Promenade.  This time I walked the whole way with a friend.  We started at Manchester Street, completed the Scavenger Hunt, and handed in our cards at the far end opposite the Antigua Boatsheds.   Despite a drizzly day (unsuitable for beach walking) there were lots of people on the Promenade.  We saw a choir, a band, face painting, and stilt walkers.  At The Terraces children were given bamboo sticks with meat on the end so they could feed the eels that live there.  We met a volunteer who gave us vouchers for the Black & White Coffee Cartel who opened a branch near Pegasus Arms earlier this year.

Of course we were happy to get a free drink, and buy something to eat.  We sat outside where we could watch the passing crowd and hear the music.  The City Promenade is a great addition to the inner city and one I shall be walking often.  Another Anchor Project finished at last, it was originally planned to be completed four years ago.

‘Although it took time to create
the Promenade was worth the wait.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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