No historian, however detached, works without an ideological framework. –Charles Freeman

Thanks to our September speaker Larry Keim

Last month a small but attentive audience heard Larry speak on his time with the United Nations in this disputed territory. He was in the area for 6 months in 1995 as a UN Military observer. He was part of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum of the Western Sahara (UNMRWS), which seeks to allow the local people to choose between being part of Morocco or form their own government.

Larry outlined the nature of the area; the challenges of the environment; the political problems, getting supplies of food, water and fuel, and what it was like living in such a remote desert area. The audience particularly enjoyed his anecdotes on serving with other military personnel from many countries. There was some fascinating detail about the Chinese, Russians and Ukrainians. 

Driving in the desert is problematic and it is essential to keep to the “roads” such as they are. Avoiding land mines is crucial as the annual Paris – Dakar Motor Rally drivers are well aware. Occasionally camels and goats meet a nasty end getting blown up in minefields.

The Western Sahara is the last territory on the planet to be decolonized by the UN and it is incredible to think that 27 years after Larry was there the long sought-after referendum has still not taken place. The vast majority of countries support a vote taking place, but the Moroccans will not have a bar of it.

The Speaker for 11 October is Roger Childs on “What will Kiwi kids be learning about NZ History from 2023?”

The concept of having New Zealand History taught to all Year 1–10 students aged 5–15 was greeted with enthusiasm in late 2019. However when a very selective list of possible topics was released, concerns were expressed. Professor Paul Moon summed up the feelings of many: …there are risks that, if done poorly, compulsory history in our schools could veer into the realm of indoctrination.  

The curriculum draft was published in 2021 and put out for consultation. About 5000 submissions were received. The report on the submissions stated that there would be no changes. In fact there have been significant adjustments: a new main idea and a new context as well as much more detail on the coverage which fills in plenty of gaps. The submitters obviously had an impact.

  • Tuesday 11 October, starting at 7.30 pm sharp.
  • Kapiti Uniting Church, 10 Weka Road, Raumati Beach
  • In the hall beyond the main door and up a small set of steps.
  • A koha would be appreciated.

The speakers and topics for the last two months

8 November — Mark Dickson: The changing Kapiti Coastline 

13 December — David Hadfield: Barry Hadfield – first mayor of the Kapiti District 

If you have any suggestions for speakers for 2023 let one of us know.

Two events of interest coming up

Kapiti Horticultural Society Meeting

  • 7 pm Friday 7 October 
  • Venue Kapiti Uniting Church, 10 Weka Road, Raumati Beach — lower level meeting room
  • Speaker: Karina Hilterman on herbs culinary and healing.

Bring your best yellow or orange flower or herb. Raffles, Sales Table, Supper. Free entry.

Friends of the Kapiti Libraries

Sunday 9 October at 2:00 pm in the Ocean Road Community Centre’, Paraparaumu Beach we, have for you an adventurous theme. 

Of Nuns, Priests and Books: Antipodean Adventures with James Joyce will be presented by Drs Sydney Shep and Marco Sonzogni, Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses.  Ulysses is probably one of the most popular unread novels of all time. After 100 years, however, it is still offering up fascinating secrets. On the centenary of its publication, two scholars share surprising new stories about the book, its owners, and its readers. 

Dr Sydney J. Shep is Reader in Book History and the Printer at Wai-te-ata Press, while Dr Marco Sonzogni is Reader in Literary Translation. Their work was assisted by John Seton who is majoring in Law and Classics and is currently in Berlin via Dublin completing his degree. Ocean Road Community Centre will be decked out with banners relating to the centenary of Ulysses.

All are welcome, refreshments are served, and entry is by koha.

We hope to see you on Tuesday 11 October for our Kapiti Historical Society talk. It would be great to get a good audience.

Roger Childs, Gordon Dickson and Larry Keim