Linus firmly believes that on Halloween night the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch and flies all over the world delivering toys to all good children everywhere. —Charles Schultz
Kiwis get into the spirit
by Roger Childs
Last Saturday at Parkrun there were people decked out in black with funny hats, and this evening, weird-looking kids are set to prowl the streets with expectant faces and large bags! It’s that time again; have your candy/sweets ready.
We didn’t celebrate this favourite American day when I was a kid, however, with the influence of American culture many Kiwi youngsters dress up on 31 October and head out trick or treating.
The Peanuts fans among you will recall the patient Linus camping out every year on Halloween night, waiting for the Great Pumpkin to ascend from the patch.
Very amusing, but all rather strange! Linus’s friends use to tease him because the big vegetable never put in an appearance. However that didn’t stop the lad living in hope and nestling down in the garden. The power of positive thinking?
Stepped in history
There are plenty of interesting historical links for Halloween. The Celts in Ireland celebrated the Samhain festival as autumn melded into winter. It is possible that this dates back more than 5,000 years!
The traditional colours today have historic links:
- orange for harvest
- black for the death of summer.
There was a superstitious element, as it was thought that at this time the souls of the dead would emerge. The Mexicans have a major festival to remember the Day of the Dead. Marauding ghosts were a worry and costumes were worn and fires lit to keep them at bay. (See more below.)
Christian leaders have used many so-called ‘pagan’ celebrations for their own festivals, as with Christmas and Easter. Then in the eighth century Pope Gregory III decided that Samhain could be morphed into a time for remembering the saints, so November 1 became All Saints Day.
The day before was known as All Hallows Eve and so the modern name of Halloween developed. The Catholic Church also decided that this would also be a good time to remember the dead, so November 2 became All Souls Day.
Mexico’s Day of the Dead
The Christian remembrances also tie in neatly with the traditions of indigenous people in Mexico.
They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. Mexican Sugar Skull website
So The Day of the Dead is a major Mexican holiday and in Wellington on November 2 the Mexican Embassy will have their traditional cocktail party. I’ve been to one and it was great!
Remembering Halloween in style
The festival is remembered around the world and dates back deep into western civilization. Certainly the Americans go to town and 31 October is a holiday over there. Apparently one quarter of all candy sold in the USA in a year, is at Halloween time!
New Zealand has now embraced Halloween. Most folk have some treats in the cupboard for the children who will call round tonight in their ghoulish costumes and fancy dress.
Some religious communities and schools take a very dim view of the festival, but in fact it was the Christian Church that incorporated the ancient Samhain festival into the main stream.
So enjoy Halloween, the kids love dressing up and it’s a fun time.
This may even be the year when Linus’s perseverance is rewarded and the Great Pumpkin might rise from the garden patch.
It is a not-to-be-missed celebrity recital from the stunningly virtuosic Ukrainian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk, making his third visit to Waikanae.
This is his only solo recital in New Zealand so tickets will be in hot demand.
Gavrylyuk’s international profile is steadily rising, especially since he launched his 2017/18 season with a BBC Proms performance of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto, described as “revelatory” by The Times and “electrifying” by Limelight magazine. Similarly acclaimed performances have followed, including with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Tokyo Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, the Hallé Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic.
Born in Ukraine in 1984, Alexander won First Prize and Gold Medal at the Horowitz International Piano Competition in 1999, followed by First Prize at the Hamamatsu International Competition and the coveted Gold Medal at the Arthur Rubinstein Competition. In 2009 he made an acclaimed recording of the complete Prokofiev Concertos with the Sydney Symphony under Vladimir Ashkenazy who described him as “a major talent”.
For his Waikanae recital he will play works by Mozart, Brahms, Liszt and Saint-Saens. The second part of the concert will be devoted to Mussorgsky’s masterpiece – Pictures at an Exhibition. The concert is in the Waikanae Memorial Hall at 2.30pm.
Tickets can be bought at Waikanae New World or Moby Dickens Books in Paraparaumu Beach, or through the society’s website www.waikanaemusic.org.nz
Enquiries are welcome on 04 905 6070 or 293 4025.
Mozart: Rondo in D Major, K485
Brahms: Rhapsody in G minor, Op 79, No 2
Brahms: Intermezzi, Op 117, Nos 2 & 3
Liszt: Étude No 6
Saint-Saens: Danse Macabre (Liszt/Horowitz)
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
by Christopher Ruthe
Oh happy day
Oh happy day
That Edward stole my heart away.
A septuagenarian (called Septo For the purposes of this poem).
Looking youthful for his age
And with a glint in his eye
As I laid bored in a box
With nephews nieces brothers sisters
All iridescent yellow balls.
Not just any balls
But tennis balls.
We were for giants really.
And of us all, Septo
Lifting me gently out
He paid a lady to set me free
From the box in the store.
I rode in the front seat of Septo’s car
So smooth the ride.
So lucky not to be
Dumped in the truck.
Once home I knew That something special
Was about to be.
I shook my coat
So I really shined.
Then I was sensitively wrapped
In non colonial wrapping
To make me full of well-being.
(Septo told me his friend Jacinda told him it was so).
A while later
I heard a scratching
And a pulling
And out I burst of my well being wrap.
To see a young lad
Who introduced himself as Edward.
Having spent months
At Labour Parties
(Not Birthday parties)
I came to love the name of Edward.
And I knew the joy of fondling
The high spirited bouncing
And even the little kicking.
And Edward said he loved me
I was a happy happy ball
Maxed out on well-being
Jacinda, Septo’s friend’s, favourite phrase.
Then Edward was called in.
Suddenly the balancing and bouncing stopped.
All was silent.
Where had my lovely Edward gone?
I heard from inside the house
Laughter and cheers
A jolly good time
Being had by all.
And where was I?
The former belle of the ball?
Stuck in a garden.
Sitting in blood and bone
And coffee grinds
And sheep poo pellets.
Like at a Labour Party
No longer important.
And as the rain comes down
As the gale screams
As a kindly ball I still say
To my Edward.
Will you remember my well-being.
And not the Party’s?
“This poem was inspired in part by He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction . It blames colonialization for mental health illness, promises prevention of mental health issues and sets out the formula for permanent well-being in NZ.
“It is also a story of the child’s response to a gift in the 21st century, raising the question of what is genuine ‘well-being’.”
Legislation demands that we all follow the diktats of tikanga, while the great majority have no idea what that means. —John Robinson
Are we becoming two nations?
By Roger Childs
When we support the All Blacks, Silver Ferns or other top sports people we are barracking for Kiwis representing New Zealand with pride. Ethnicity doesn’t come into it. However, if we did an analysis, we would find a mix of people with ancestors from Samoa, Ireland, Scotland, China, Fiji, India, Tonga, England, Dalmatia etc .. And some of them would be part-Maori.
In sport there are no ethnic distinctions, but in legislation and accepted practice it’s different. There are over 90 parliamentary Acts which make special provisions for part-Maori and their tikanga (culture). But there are no references to people of British, Irish, European, Asian or Pacific Island descent. Why not? Well Maori are regarded as special because of their links to the first Polynesian settlers to arrive in the country. It doesn’t matter that these ancestors might make up a very small part of their DNA and that part-Maori only make up about 15% of the population.
In his book Dividing a Nation; the Return to Tikanga John Robinson analyses why Maori have special status and rights based on a new tikanga which bears little resemblance to the culture of pre-European times. And he examines the ever-increasing implications for all Kiwis of the impact of this latter day tikanga on the New Zealand way of life.
An excellent analysis of the race-based realities
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. —United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. —Proclamation by the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
John Robinson starts his book with some observations on the implications of present race-based divisions in New Zealand, defines the term tikanga and the ways it has changed, and examines how adherence to its precepts has split the nation in the modern era.
He provides plenty of examples of how tikanga has seeped into many aspects of modern practice and endeavour, even science! As a scientist I have been particularly concerned by the quite absurd demands by the Royal Society of New Zealand for matauranga Maori ( the Maori way of thinking) as a basis for scientific work, in a reversal of the concept of scientific endeavour, which seeks provable facts, without any particular cultural bias.
A major section of the book covers the period before the Treaty of Waitangi where tikanga was dominated by the inter-tribal wars, utu, widespread killing, cannibalism, slavery and infanticide. He then deals with aspects of post-Treaty history through the appeal of various religious movements, the implications of the rural-urban rift that followed World War Two and how tikanga was reinvented from the late 20th century.
In looking at this latter period he analyses the explosion of race-based legislation and the implications of the growing power of the racist, all-powerful Waitangi Tribunal.
Along the way, he dispels plenty of myths such as the popular notion that colonisation, and the western development that accompanied it, were devastating for Maori and resulted in a fall in the population. Based on sound demographic principles and data, he demonstrates that it was the killing of thousands of women and girls during the inter-tribal wars and the consequent lack of breeding stock, that caused a delay in the population recovery of Maori.
A major strength of his fluent writing – he has written a number of books on New Zealand history — is the frequent reference to what people, and particularly Maori leaders, were saying at the time. His research is always very thorough and his conclusions are soundly based on the evidence available.
Dividing a Nation is laced with historical and literary references, and includes many examples from the author’s own experience of working for Maori institutions such as the Waitangi Tribunal and Te Puni Kokiri, and his family’s experience of racism.
The realities of the present and possible futures
There is plenty of analysis of the realities of Maori life today from dependence on the Domestic Purposes Benefits and disagreement with the actions of Oranga Tamariki to protect vulnerable children, to the problems of gangs and unemployment. He also give many examples of where pressure from Maori groups, sometimes involving violence, has led to unpleasant confrontations in places such as in the Urewera, Northland, Kawhia, Lake Taupo, Te Mata Peak, Opotiki and most recently, Ihumatao. Invariably Maori have got what they wanted.
The underlying message of the book is that the reborn tikanga has divided the nation in the modern era, underpinned by a plethora of race-based legislation.
John Robinson is not confident that problems which this has created can be resolved, however, he offers three possible futures –
- Coming together as one people
- Maori Anger
He feels strongly that the present issues need to be understood, discussed and debated so that a better way can be found for the nation to move forward. This is an important book which should be widely read to appreciate how our country has been changing for the worse.
Dividing a Nation; the Return to Tikanga by John Robinson is published by Tross Publishing and retails for $35. It can be bought with postage paid from the Tross website.
As usual, it is spread over two weekends as the number of artists makes that essential, and even with 4 days involved, you’ll be doing well to visit them all in that time!
The 52-page booklet (DL size) including maps is available from several places, or you can download it here Waikanae and Waikanae Beach entries are pages 28-42 in the booklet. Most are familiar to regular readers, but there are a few newcomers.
It’s a highly recommended opportunity to check out the work of the talented artists and artisans in Waikanae and the Kapiti District.
According to the two women volunteers at the stall at the market on Saturday (in the photo), there are two main requirements: a reasonable level of fitness (but you won’t need to climb up multi-story staircases in Waikanae carrying 50 kg of clothing and gear) — and that you show up when called. Sometimes the need is medical rather than extinguishing a fire.
They said that the advent of the ‘Ewy’ has reduced their work as there isn’t the need that used to exist to attend car crashes on State Highway One. But there are still the inevitable call-outs for summer scrub / bbq fires and house fires in winter.
You can read about it on the volunteering part of the Fire and Emergency NZ website here
The Salt and Wood tavern opposite the intersection of Marae Lane and Ngaio Road was opened in mid-2016 and was in a way a replacement for the Waikanae Hotel, bought by the GWRC in 2015 and closed in September that year to make the grand commuter parking lot. The only other such venue in the town centre is the Chartered Club. See earlier posts.