Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Introducing "me".

I was asked to introduce myself and answer questions for a monthly local West Harbour community paper. They have a local personality introduced each month with the same set of questions.

Here was what I sent into them...

Dave grew up in North East Valley, Dunedin, completing a plumbing apprenticeship with A&T Burt Ltd.  Changing careers meant 5 year’s study (4 in Melbourne, Australia) to become a minister in the Associated Churches of Christ. After a ministry in Palmerston North and as a traveling field worker, he returned to the Dunedin Church where he served for 27 years. It was late in 1986 with wife Jean, five children, and goats and hens, he moved into Sawyers Bay and enjoys the rural aspect and the community feel. Experiences such as running a drop-in centre, involvement in Habitat for Humanity, 25 Community Christmas Day dinners, helping to form the Dunedin Night Shelter Trust (still chairman) and other community orientated programs followed. His passion is helping to create inclusive caring communities. In 1994 he added working as a Workplace Chaplain to his ministry and continues to serve Dunedin Fire Fighters, Speights brewery and St John Ambulance. In retirement he helps out at the Port Chalmers United Church. He recently facilitated a public meeting working toward forming an Iona Management Trust, promoting creative community use of the historic Iona Church building.  

Q. If you had a chance which three people alive or dead would you invite for dinner?
A. Jesus of Nazareth. He was known as a glutton so he’d enjoy the meal. William Wilberforce was an eccentric determined politician and Dr Martin Luther King learned from great minds and had courage and hope.
Q. What are your three favourite movies?
A.  ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Chocolat,’ and ‘Pay it forward.’
Q. What was your first car and if money was no object what car would you buy? A. A 1938 Austin 12. (at rest under Forrester Park now) I’m a van man, so an electric van of some sort. Or failing that a completely restored ‘63 Dodge Ambulance.
Q. If you were to face the guillotine in the morning, what would you choose as your last meal?
A. Lambs fry with bacon, mushrooms, onion and garden fresh parsnip and carrots mashed together, with spud.
Q. Which three countries would you most like to visit?
A. Canada, Brazil and United Kingdom.
Q. When you were at school can you remember what you first wanted to be when you grew up?
A. A Farmer.
Q. What do you think is the most useful invention of all time?
A. I suspect the Internet will be seen as a very important turning point in history.
Q. What is the best book you have read?
A. So many? I have two – Man’s search for meaning by Viktor Frankl and Meeting Jesus again for the first time by Marcus Borg.
Q. If you had a time machine where in the past or future would you go?
A. Late 19th century NZ.
Q. If you had to spend 1 month on a desert island name three things you would take along?

A. My Swiss army knife, a pen and paper. It would be a quiet place with no interruptions, for reflection and writing.

I add some photos for colour...
Our family about 1981 when we had a 1963 Dodge ambulance towing a 25ft caravan.
Historic Iona Church which we are going to use creatively for community stuff. 
My wife & I are honoured at the Dunedin Night Shelter.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A trip away

We went in my old van. You can see so much more and it goes OK.
Tekapo lake early in the morning.
Stavely - a great we place for lunch 
Some of the family at our evening meal on the Saturday.
Forrest walk

Childrens' imaginations run wild when we saw these "huts".
Part way up on our hill walk.

We pause to add a layer on the ridge - really cold wind.
The track coming down.
Looking back as we were leaving for home on the Monday.
I was going to write a blog about why I voted for Labour, but I think I am over all the political election speculation in NZ. The thing that really disappoints me is that the present Governing party, the National party is spreading lies, misinformation and offering tax bribes to hold onto power and unthinking greedy people are listening. I will be really disappointed if they get back in, as polls suggest they will. The calibre of people they have is in my view very low. The Prime Minister, Bill English, I once thought of as a man of integrity, even though I disagreed with his political views. But under the pressure of a close election he has told lies, evades straight questions and has condoned lies and misinformation. His ministers also tell lies, are aggressive, and put opposing people down in bullying ways. I think they are following successive leaders of the National party, but they are not good role models.  It almost feels like some of the low level practices we saw in the USA election win have crept into politics here. Jacinda Ardern, the Labour leader, on the other hand has been up front, dignified and positive. A leader we can be proud of. Who will win is anybody's guess.  
A Brief Holiday
My wife and I went on a brief holiday recently and I wanted to share some photos of our lovely country. My wife turned 70 in July, so to mark this special event our children planned a family break away in a tourist town of Hanmer. It is North and inland from Christchurch. It has hot thermal pools to soak in, bush walks and mountain scenery. Our daughter and son-in-law from here in Dunedin initiated it. Our son, wife and two grandchildren were coming down from Wellington, while our son, wife and two grandchildren from Christchurch were coming up to join us. It was indeed a lovely family weekend together. Jean and I set out on the Monday before and travelled to Central Otago for two nights. There I have two brothers and so we visited each and caught up on them and their family news. From there we travelled through the picturesque Lindis Pass, past Mount Cook (the highest mountain in NZ) through to Lake Tekapo. There we soaked in heated pools and enjoyed the stunning scenery for my 69th birthday. We moved on to the township of Oxford where Jean and I spent quite a bit of holidaying time during our courting days. Jean's parents used to have a bach, (or crib or small holiday house) there where we spent a few hot lazy summer holidays. Then we ended up in Hamner for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, driving the 540k home on Monday. I appreciated again the country we live in. On the Sunday morning we all went on a flat forrest walk, and it was great seeing the grandchildren exploring the sights and sounds of the forrest. In the afternoon, my oldest son suggested that he and I could go for a walk up a hill, "its a relatively easy walk Dad" he assured me. So he, early 40's, and me, 69 years, went up what turned out to be a bit of a mountain. There were steep parts of the track where we were scrambling up rocks. I was puffing, he looked like it was a wander in the bush. The scenery was great, but we could see the weather coming in and heard thunder. We reached a high ridge below the summit and we were in clouds, in a freezing wind and it started snowing. While we had some extra layers we were not equipped for this, so we turned for home trudging down through falling and lying snow. I love that my son wants to walk with me, we both relax better in the bush. It was a week away and I came back to a very busy schedule, but it was a great break, and I do love my family. We did miss the son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren we have in Edinburgh, Scotland though.