Pictures from Tongatapu Island

Tonga’s history – treasured or trashed?

Within an hour of our arrival in Tonga we had learnt a little about Tongan government failure to protect an area of heritage and environmental sensitivity from housing development. The Tonga Heritage Society is a diverse group of Tongans and others – residents, expatriates, academics, business people -which was established to protect this area at Popua.  […]

Walking for Peace

We’ve just been to Taranaki to join the Pakeha Hikoi for Peace– a walk from New Plymouth to Parihaka in support of Mayor Andrew Judd’s campaign for Maori representation on New Plymouth District Council. The council’s proposal to include one Maori ward for the next Council election was defeated last year by a Citizen’s Referendum. […]

Treasures in the Hokianga…

  Toi Te Rito Maihi, one of our favourite artists, is having a retrospective exhibition at Village Arts Gallery  in Kohukohu until 26 June, so we decided to spend a few days in the Hokianga.   Her exhibition is inspiring – she is so talented in many different media- drawing, writing,  poetry, painting, print-making and , of course, […]

W.H.O Celebration

On Saturday 30 April, W.H.O (Women of Hope: Helping Ourselves) invited Ranui residents and others to a celebration in the newly renovated Ranui Community Centre.  Beginning with a processional dance by Congolese  and Burundi women, the evening continued with a PowerPoint presentation of their activities so far (gardening, driving lessons,  establishing a play centre for the […]

Ika- the restaurant with a difference

Ika is the Maori word for fish, and Ika serves very good fish, from sustainable sources.. Ika also serves olives and wine and some vegetables from an organic property on Waiheke.  But even more important, Ika pays its staff a living wage – the only  restaurant we know of that does so.  Laila Harre and her […]

The Auckland Writers’ Festival…

…last weekend, offered an abundance of wonderful literature read by authors and others, and some excellent interviews and presentations.  We indulged ourselves this year, going to nine  sessions together and a couple separately. We’re filled with admiration at the efficiency of organisation, fine sound systems, diversity of literature.. The most wonderful session for us was  Spirit House: Foreign Soil, a […]

The 1980s – the forgotten decade that changed NZ forever

On Tuesday 17 May, Charmaine spoke at one of Ika’s Salon evenings… Laila Harre, the owner of Ika Bar and Grill,  asked Charmaine to describe some of the huge changes in Auckland and Aotearoa in the 1980s, their effect on her personally and politically, and on the students and staff of Auckland Girls’ Grammar School […]