Towards “A Ukulele Revolution”

(from left) Joe, Bernard, Tanya and Charmaine with some of Bernard’s beautiful instruments We have an exciting new project – helping to raise funds for a ukulele-making workshop and training centre in Poutasi, on the south-east coast of Upolu, Samoa.  This village was destroyed by the 2009 tsunami, partially rebuilt, and then severely damaged again by […]

Kaumatua and Tamariki at Tahuna Pa

We returned to Tahuna Pa near Waiuku recently, to have lunch with Moea Minhinnick, her daughters and mokopuna. We picked up two special kaumatua on the way: Joan Macdonald, elder of the Tamaki Treaty Network and indefatigable worker for social justice and peace, and George Flavell, Ngati Te Ata kaumatua historian and environmental kaitiaki from Waiuku. We were joined […]

Invisible disability..

Aio Wira held another community dinner on Sunday 11 October to raise funds for the training of deaf interpreters to complement the work of hearing signers. There are some situations which require deaf people who understand deaf culture to interpret for hearing people who, while skilled in NZ sign language, cannot always fully understand the nuances of deaf culture. […]

A new Coromandel enterprise..

A highlight of our recent holiday weekend in Coromandel was going for a guided walk with Jamie Watson, a young local Maori man planning to develop a Maori tourism enterprise in the area. We met him at Driving Creek  Café after our trip on the Driving Creek Railway with our friends Shila and Farida.  We admire […]

Celebrating Women’s Suffrage – September 19th each year

New Zealand was the first self-governing nation to grant all women the vote, when a bill was passed in Parliament on 19 September 1893.  Each year Women’s Suffrage Day is celebrated throughout Aotearoa (although largely ignored by mainstream media, of course…).  There’s an excellent web page about women winning the vote at We went to […]

All Black in deed…

We’ve had enough.  We’re absolutely sick of having people assume we want to hear endlessly about rugby, and the ABs, and the World Cup. Like  hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders, probably, we are not fans of rugby – indeed we find it a war-like, ugly disgusting game glorifying brutishness and thuggery.  It’s often played […]

Samoa scenes…

We’ve just returned from the winter warmth of Samoa and Tanya’s 70th birthday. Here’s a few glimpses of our week… Flowers…     Fale…     Poutasi Village Developments : Crafts, Education and Gardens…       Church on Sunday, of course: the Methodist Church in Siumu     Tanya’s 70th birthday surprise from Sinalei Staff… accompanied by “Manuia lou […]

Shakti – Celebrating 20 Years

We’ve mentioned before our friendship with Farida and Shila, from the group which founded Shakti in Aotearoa. We have a huge admiration for Shakti’s work, which began in Auckland as a service for women from minority ethnic backgrounds experiencing domestic violence. This year it celebrates 20 years here in Aotearoa, and its expansion to […]