Thursday, 30 June 2011

meeting country

Besides being Earthquake Country Lyttelton aswell as the whole of Canterbury has become Meeting Country:

  • meetings about rebuilding ( Where? Preserve old? Destroy old? Re-create old?Make new buildings look old? Who will do it? Who will plan it ? Who will control it? Who will control the planning? Who will plan the controlling?), 
  • meetings about geology (Why earthquakes here? Why not in Wellington? When is an earthquake an aftershock and an aftershock an earthquake? Is a 5.4 quake 45km deep the same size than a 4.5 quake 4.5km deep?Can I buy shares in geonet?),
  • support-groups for people in red-stickered houses, people living in the red zone and for people with red faces,
  • meetings for people in affected suburbs, in the CBD, or made homeless through quakes,
  • business meetings,
  • and possibly meetings for people who are sick of talking about earthquakes!

After an initial enthusiasm with huge turn outs everywhere I sense a bit of meeting-weariness at the moment. But on on Monday night I attended the inaugural Lyttelton Arts Collective meeting, and I am glad I went: it was chaired by Trent Hiles, Lyttelton teacher, organiser and artist, and Elfi Spiewack, a Lyttelton silversmith (originally from Germany).

Elfi's jewellery's workshop, situated in the Magma gallery, went down with the February earthquake. While first feeling understandably downcast by this, Elfi then went into action to make her vision come true: create a place for Lyttelton artists and the community to celebrate art, become engaged in art and enjoy all the different facets of art.

The mood of the meeting was buzzy, music from the belly-dancing class next door lent an exotic flair, great ideas were thrown around: design ideas ranged from re-using existing warehouses to pyramid, whare and waka shaped buildings. Earthships were also mentioned. Besides the expected ideas of cinema, theatre, music, studios and galleries, other suggestions included running art competitions, having annual stone-symposiums, creating courtyards and spaces for outdoor art and swapping artists with arts centers in other countries.

Not ones to sit around and waste time, Elfie and Trent were off today to meet with the Christchurch Council to share ideas from the meeting and discuss practicalities such as available land and spaces, possible funding etc.

While the destruction of the Magma gallery by the earthquake gave Elfie the push to start down this path, the idea of the Arts Collective spans time and space : Art and community go together like earthquakes and liquefaction, like Harbour Union music and tapping feet, like a giant London Street Dairy icecream and a brain freeze, like Joe Bennet and his dog, like a stitched heart on a Lyttelton chest: they belong together.

Written by Bettina Evans.

Monday, 27 June 2011

love in a little town

A beautiful short film about the love and the embrace of our town.
It captures the essentials about this place and the reason why most of us couldn't think of any other place we would rather be.
Thanks James.
If you like the film please vote for it here and you can read more about James the filmmaker here.

Love in a Little Town from James Muir on Vimeo.

posted by Jacinda, also at

This is what I like to term "My Spot". This place has a way of restoring my body and soul.
This place does not belong to me and is one of the many lovely restful places so close to us all here in the harbour.
Lately I have taken to the outdoors as a way of renewing my faith in Mother Nature like many of you who will have been thrown off balance by the quake.
She is no disappointment. Far from it.
In a few minutes I walk down to where there is no traffic, no buildings or walls, just the sweet smell of Winter closing in and the glorious expanse of still waters and statuesque hills.
It never ceases to amaze me with it's infinite beauty and life giving abundance, how the renewing vibrations seep into me every time.
I give thanks for being so lucky to live here and to be able to enjoy and appreciate Mother Nature's Gifts.
How lucky are we really?

Have pride in where you live and enjoy it.
It only takes a few minutes and you can be walking around the hillside through a wooded track.
Or listening to the gentle lapping of the water on the beach while the early winter sun glistens and sparkles it's reflections.
Take time to lose your thoughts , meditate or reflect while enjoying Nature's gifts.
Use this time to regain some faith in Mother Nature and gain perspective.
Gather your strength from the resilience of Nature.

written by Camille O'Donoghue

Friday, 17 June 2011

celebrating anyway

After Monday's further major shakes, there is a lot of brokenness here in Lyttelton as you can see here and here.
There is sadness and loss.
There is also a continuation of trying to imagine a future with such unstable ground.
One thing that isn't broken though is our community spirit and with Matariki and Winter Solstice upon us and the Festival of Lights postponed, a good local crowd decided to gather and celebrate anyway.
Friends had already bought ingredients for a warming chai tea and had organised a yurt to put up on the old Ground site. Music folk from The Harbour Union played and everyone rejoiced to see a bunch of us stitching hearts and came and joined in.

These two young women held down the fort serving up warming chai and love. 
The lovely Paige, local belly-dancing goddess brought delicious cakes to share with families. She confessed it had been a personal therapy to get through these shaky times; an ancient way for women dealing with crisis.
We all encouraged her to continue this particular therapy and share the results.
Community therapy through baking and eating

Music, chai and community togetherness was served up into the evening.
With much of every new day uncertain at the moment, living in a loving, creative and resilient community is the certainty I stand firm upon right now.

Written by Jacinda, also at

Sunday, 5 June 2011

festival of the lights


  • Masked parade - everyone welcome to join in. Begins at the Recreation Centre. Gather from 5.30pm
  • Stalls, food and drink.
  • Performers from The Loons and others.
  • Homegrown musicians: 
Amiria Grenell, Unfaithful Ways, 
The Eastern, Lindon Puffin and others.

    Always a great night. 
    This year in particular we all have good reason to gather together and celebrate the shift towards the light again.

    See you there. 


    I cry frequently these days.
    Not a full blown cry but the welling up of tears that then flow down my cheeks.  It causes people to stare a bit and sometimes ask if I am alright.  
    When they hear I am from Christchurch, they seem to agree that this response makes sense.  
    I don’t cry necessarily because I am sad as much as because it seems to be what my body and soul require to keep myself ‘righted’.  It typically begins by hearing that someone has done something thoughtful and encouraging for someone else – particularly in response to supporting us here in Christchurch or those folks in Japan who seem so indelibly linked to us right now.  I don’t feel that it is bad to cry – not at all, it feels as though I am honouring the situation that my family, my community and others like us have are facing .  
    It also comes from some deep inner feeling of being blessed to have survived and to feel so cared for by others in this world.  I feel touched that out of their busy lives they put so much effort into ensuring that we have something more to hold onto and to  remind us that we are not alone.  
    How could that not touch my heart?

    Posted by Sarah van der Burch

    Saturday, 4 June 2011

    the cooperative.

    different people holding hands around

    The cooperative movement began in Europe in the 19th century as a response to the industrial revolution and the threat that mechanisation of labour had had on people's livelihoods but has just as much relevance in the economic and social climate we find ourselves today.
    As communities world-wide grapple with possible far reaching consequences of climate change and peak oil, the carbon footprint of communities are put under the microscope and solutions are sought on how to reinvigorate and strengthen local community's . The term "localisation" encompasses a range of strategies for building resilience and self-sufficiency in communities.
    For instance, looking at ways to localise as much of it's food production as possible minimises a communities food miles, cuts transport costs in the food we buy and maintains local control and security for as much of that community's food needs as possible. Another example is creating community work spaces so that we have facilities for people whose work allows them to remain in the community during the day. This prevents "suburbia syndrome" in which communities are left empty during the day as people leave to work in other places. Instead it invigorates the health and well-being of a community and keeps people connected to where they live.

    Cooperatives can be part of a community's resilience.
    A cooperative is an association of people who have come together voluntarily in a jointly-owned and democratically controlled business to meet the economic and social  needs and aspirations of a certain community. It is based on values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.
    Imagine the residents of Lyttelton being shareholders in a network of local cooperative businesses.
    Imagine local members of these cooperatives deciding on what businesses are priorities for this community and being employed to manage and run these businesses.
    Imagine the economic benefits of owning these businesses locally, sharing these benefits with the broad base of resident members and keeping the money circulating within this community.
    As we look toward the future for Lyttelton we need imagination and courage to find solutions to our current situation which will also set the foundation for our strength and resilience in the future.
    If you are interested in reading more about coopratives check out, and this interesting article.

    Written by Jacinda Gilligan, also writing at