Ranui is a community, not just a suburb in West Auckland…
Last Sunday as we walked past St Malachy’s, next door to Earthsong, a big Samoan mama on walking sticks stopped to give us each a big hug and wish us a happy Mother’s Day. Outside the church were people of every colour and age, and again we were hugged warmly, this time by a Congolese woman we have met a couple of times at the Friday night market, and by a Pakeha Dominican nun.
The Ranui Community House offers classes as diverse as a children’s cooking class, German playgroup, a daily Islamic homework group, hiphop dancing, and the “Kalihari Book Club for Genteel Persons” as well as quilting, ESOL, tai Chi, ukulele, gardening and so on.
Locals say hello every day in the street, and clusters gather on the porch of the community-run Tea Tree Café for a chat and lovely organic home-grown food.
We’ve joined tai chi classes, and Charmaine (with others from Earthsong) is helping in the literacy programme at Ranui School.
And yes, this week there has been a horrendous double murder here – a Ranui man killed his wife and daughter on Monday. That doesn’t make Ranui a violent community. There are men in every city and rural area, men of every race, religion and social class, committing acts of violence throughout New Zealand every day, and men murdering women and other men almost every week.
What makes Ranui a good community is the way the people here are responding: supporting the children and other family members most affected by this brutal act, affirming the many fine women and men in the local Islamic community, publicly condemning violence, teaching more and more local men to solve problems peacefully. We are proud to live in a community like this.