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Inner Wheel Club of South Wairarapa

May 15, 2019 May 2019 No Comments

Because I inadvertently forgot last month’s article, this will cover both months. The Marlborough Fair is over for another year with lots of positive feedback from the Rotarians for whom we catered on both Fair days. While it involved a lot of work it was also a lot of fun.  Our club was also a presence in the Rotarians Information Tent, flying our new banner, which helped get our presence in the community a bit more ‘out there’. 

Our speaker at the March meeting was Annabelle O’Meara who told us about the new Cobblestones Exhibition which opened on 24 February called 38 Sections, 38 Stories. See photo below of the Research team at the opening, with Koumatua Nelson Rangi

Annabelle became involved with the exhibition when it was intended to commemorate Greytown 100 years ago as well as to tell some stories of young men from the Wairarapa who left for WW1. Funding and perceived over-exposure to the WW1 days led to a changed focus. When Thomas Nieuwenhuis, a graduate from the Victoria University of Wellington Architecture department came to Cobblestones on a three month residency, he made an exquisite model of the Main Street in Greytown, which became a ‘shot in the arm’ for the Research Team. This cost $3000 and was funded by the Cobblestones Trust Board. Some of the components of the impressive exhibition are as follows:

  1. The 38 illustrated summaries about each of the sections, spanning Kuratawhiti St to Wood St.
  2. Three large panels describing the pressure brought to bear by the Crown back in 1853 to acquire land from the mana whenua … ultimately leading to the Small Farms Settlement.  1.5m acres left Maori hands, detailed in 41 deeds and resulting in a payment of 23,500 pounds.
  3. In a continuous loop, a projector beams out 60 images of old Greytown, complete with the sounds of horses, etc.
  4. A panel called Notes on the Exhibition; another written by Thomas about his role and a third is a Mihi, written in te reo Maori, with English translation arranged by Papawai.
  5. Artist Tina Rae Carter’s stylised rooftops sit beneath the lettering, painted directly onto the wall and spanning the entire space, along with the Waiohine River on the floor.

Annabelle pointed out the significance of Papawai, reminding us that our history is not just after the European settlement but went back hundreds of years and beyond.

At our March dinner meeting we acknowledged the terrible tragedy of 15 March in Christchurch, and our donation will be winging its way to help the families affected by terrorism striking our shores. The by-product of the awful carnage, however, is the discovery that through the intuitive response of our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and the Muslim community, our fellow New Zealanders, we became a world example of peacefulness and love. 

Our speaker at that meeting was Lynn Bushell, Community Manager of the Charitable Trust called ‘Digital Seniors’. This organisation’s aims are to support the digital inclusion of seniors over 65 years and to help businesses support seniors using their services. You may remember seeing a feature about its launch by the Prime Minister, Hon. Jacinda Ardern in the Wairarapa Times Age. Wairarapa is a pilot programme before launching nationally, and is based on research by Cathy Hardinge. Lynn explained that because technology is advancing at a rapid rate there is a problem she called “Seniors digital exclusion”, which raises issues of ingrained social attitudes, health and safety concerns.

Digital for Seniors understands that unlike most younger people, most seniors have not had the same opportunities to grow in their digital awareness and skills. I can totally identify with this. This, coupled with events like bank closures and o paper-based services going digital is forcing seniors to go digital.

The work, which is all voluntary, is very rewarding. Lynn described seeing the joy experienced by seniors being able to see their grandchild on skype or facetime for the first time! Or playing games online, sharing photos with their friends, all this reducing the isolation that can affect older people. The volunteers help seniors in their homes, meet in cafes or with groups at other venues and are regularly at hubs in Carterton, Featherston, Martinborough, Lansdowne Park, Masonic and Wairarapa Village. For further information contact Digital Seniors, Phone, 0800 373 646, website www.digitalseniors.co.nz or email Lynn at lynn.bushell@digitalseniors.co.nz.

A final thought, the Christchurch terror attack has shown us that a smile has been proven to be as valuable as the almighty dollar. So smile often, even if it is not returned.

New members welcome. Please contact Rosemary Newton, (06 304  9750)

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