Wednesday, October 26, 2016
The first time I heard Lesley Parker's Halswell Community Choir and invited musicians was at one of their earlier concerts in the Halswell hall a few years ago. They made a big impression with the choir doing a fabulous job of singing upbeat songs, sometimes in five part harmonies which the audience sang along to. Afterwards, the musicians jumped on stage to belt out dance numbers and the hall erupted with the whole audience jumping to their feet and dancing for the rest of the evening. We had enjoyed the night so much that naturally when Halswell Community Project were trying to think of another community event to hold, we thought of Lesley and her friends and thought a Halswell winter dance would be fun. And yes, it was, it turned out to be another great night where the crowd danced all night long to perfectly pitched cover songs.
The Halswell Community Choir are often seen at local events and the thing that strikes you about the choir, apart from their lovely tunes, is the joy that is on their faces. They are loving every minute of what they are doing, and with the self-deprecating humour of their Irish director, as well as a mix of other musicians, it makes them a very entertaining bunch.
All this musical talent came to Halswell, not long after Lesley and her husband Matt arrived here from the UK. It was then that Lesley started the choir. Lesley had grown up in Northern Ireland and Matt, London. Music is a big part of their lives, however, they also have day jobs. Lesley works as a science teacher at Westmount school. Matt used to work for the city council but is now a pastor of Kings Church in the city. Kings Church is part of a worldwide family of churches called New Frontiers which is involved with church planting. There are New Frontier Churches here in Christchurch and also in Wellington, Auckland, New Plymouth and Nelson. Many of Lesley's fellow musicians attend this church too.
Matt and Lesley both came from homes where there was a love of singing. Matt's dad even joins the choir when he comes over from London to visit. Lesley's family attended the Quaker church, which ironically, worships in silence. Her parents could both hold a tune well and everywhere she went, Lesley joined a choir or worship band. Matt obtained a degree in Music at the Royal Academy of Music in London and plays the bassoon, amongst many other instruments.
The community choir was started by Lesley because "what she loves to do most is to sing with other people." She also loves to see the support the group gives to each other and also "the joy in the room at the end of evening spent singing."
Their current songlist includes a wide variety of songs such as: Sammy Davis Jnr's”Rhythm of Life”, Josh Groban's “You Lift Me Up”,”Three Dog Night's”, “Joy to the World”, Dave Dobbyn's “Welcome Home”, Bic Runga's “Hello, Hello”, and Ross Meecham's “The World Still Turns”.
The choir sings at the Anthony Wilding retirement village, the Aidanfield Christian School Fair, the St John of God Christmas Carols and have their own concerts at Te Hapua. The next place they are singing is the Aidanfield Christian School Fair on Saturday 19th of November.
The other musicians that often accompany the choir are local musician Ross Meecham playing his own songs. You may also hear the talents of Sam Watson, Catherine Bryant, Alex Bryan, Chris Horn, Matt Parker and the fabulous Kings Blues Band.
Prospective choristers do not have to audition; the only job requirement is that ".they enjoy singing. Everyone is welcome”. If you are interested in coming along to choir, message Lesley on the choir's Facebook page or email email@example.com or turn up to practice on Monday evenings in the Aidanfield Christian School 7.15-9.15pm
While most children at age six are learning to read, Jasper Harrison was writing a book. His book "The Adventures of Jasper and Sharkcrock in Magictopia" has now been published, and arrived as a lovely Christmas surprise. Jasper opened his Christmas parcel and discovered his own book!
Japser's story is set in the magical world of Magictopia where the sky is red, the grass blue and houses are made of dragonfruit. Magictopia is in civil war and Jasper Kungbear's parents, the King and Queen, have gone missing. Jasper and his friends embark on an exciting journey to find the map that will lead them to his parents. They encounter challenges such as vicious giant bombardier beetles, Ninja robots and the evil villain, Dr Poisoning Pirate. The story is full of twists and turns because in Magictopia, the kingdom where one thousand witches and wizards reside, anything can happen. It is a delightful, humorous, original, action packed story that any primary school student would love to read.
Jasper loved putting all his creative ideas into one story. Justin, Jasper's dad, said he “loved seeing the unbridled imagination of a six year old. 'Magictopia' is Jasper's world and it was a lot of fun to play around in a sandbox world and edit the story together." They are currently writing Jasper's second book and plan to write more.
A love of reading and a well-developed imagination have been nurtured in Jasper by his parents, Justin and Lisa, who began reading to him even before he was born. He had had so many stories read to him that at age four and a half, he would happily read books by himself. Furthermore, Jasper of his own accord, decided to read movie subtitles. "He did this for two and a half years and increased his reading speed considerably," notes Lisa. "He reads up to ten hours a week, especially when he has discovered a new series that he loves."
Further confirming his writing talents, Jasper achieved a High Distinction in the writing ICAS exam, which is only achieved by the top 1% of students entered from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
Other influences are his writing Granny and a writing Dad. His Granny, Tui Harrison, wrote for a regional newspaper and still enjoys writing the occasional poem and short story. Her son, Justin, is a member of the Christchurch Writers Guild and reviews New Zealand books for "Takahe", a nationwide literary magazine. Justin also loves to write fiction. He, in fact, wrote his own first 20,000 word story when he was still at school and has written his own 120,000 word novel: "The Eye of Torrbey" which he hopes to get published soon. Recently, too, he wrote its prequel: The Mage Wars. Jasper credits "The Eye of Torrbey" as being an inspiration for his own writing.
"The adventures of Jasper and Sharkcrock in Magictopia" by Jasper and Justin Harrison can be purchased on Amazon, Fishpond or by emailing : HarrisonFamilyPress@gmail.com Look out also for Jasper and Justin's next book in the Magictopia series that is coming out in November 2016.
Stop Press: Jasper and Justin’s book has been accepted to be reviewed by an independent reviewer and will appear in the August edition of Takahe magazine : Takahe.org.nz.
Sunday, September 18, 2016
Kia ora koutou,
I am seeking election to Environment Canterbury (ECAN) to make a positive contribution to our region, and in particular to support further work on protecting and enhancing our unique heritage, waterways and biodiversity.
I live in Halswell with my wife and our three children. We are active in our school community as well as many local sports teams. I have 20 years’ experience in the environmental planning space, including a long stint working for Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu, a lengthy stint at Landcare Research, and a short gig on secondment at CERA (I took away some important insights). I have been in my current role at an environment planning and design consultancy for the last three years.
I was an inaugural member of the CWMS Regional and Christchurch-West Melton Zone Committees, and am the current Co-Chair of Te Ara Kākāriki Greenway Canterbury Trust. I also hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Management, and Post Graduate Certificates in Applied Science (Ecology) and Social Science. With your support, it is my hope that we can continue to progress our recovery and rebuild, while enhancing our special waterways, unique heritage and indigenous biodiversity.
Support a Halswell local onto ECAN and remember to vote!
Cheers and thanks, Craig.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Connected Communities, Thriving Christchurch
I’m standing for Council because I am passionate about both this community and Christchurch City, and because I’ve been serving the community here for a few years and see standing for Council as a further possible step in that process.
I’m a “Jill of all trades" rather than a master and have worked in a range of situations - from farming, and tourism, to conservation, economic development, resource management and social research. I’ve worked with many different communities to help them frame and reach their goals and solve the problems that they face. I currently run my own business as a social researcher, and work voluntarily both here in Halswell and across Christchurch.
Alongside my interest in community development I have also been involved in working in the areas of transport, climate, economic development and improving our democratic processes.
The Halswell E-Newsletter, the Halswell Community website, the Halswell Community Facebook presence are all ways I've worked to connect our community, get more people involved in it, and in having a voice in the area. The monthly Halswell Market, also, provides a regular local gathering, a place to promote local small business and local clubs and activities.
My PhD is in social science and my main interest is in how groups and communities can work together to build resilience through strong local connections – to manage resource issues, recovery and to look ahead to think about how to meet future challenges.
Looking after our environment: A clean, attractive environment is central to our City’s wellbeing. We need to take care of our water, our soil and our climate, since these things support our communities and our economy.
Fostering local economic wellbeing: This is about ensuring that everyone in our city is housed, fed and able to contribute to our collective wellbeing, and be acknowledged for that. Encouraging and supporting local businesses, and community groups is an important part of this, as is spending money in ways that help us to keep as much of it as possible cycling through our local economy.
Transport: I want us all to be able to move around Christchurch safely, cheaply and easily. I support options such as safe cycleways, attractive walking facilities and dedicated bus lanes, so people have sustainable, healthy transport choices. Having even a small number of people move away from using cars can have a significant effect on traffic movement and even roading costs.
Better Democracy and Participation: In my experience, the more people can work together constructively to solve a problem, the better the outcomes. If we can harness our collective knowledge and creativity, we have a better chance of meeting the challenges ahead of us and perhaps turning them into opportunities. There are many fantastic initiatives in Christchurch that we can build from to do this - both within the Council and in the wider community.
Check out the video for a bit more about me.
Contact me on 027 286 8653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
growth that has occurred in the Halswell ward. I am concerned that essential
infrastructure and transport planning has not kept up with this growth.
Many planning decisions are made without regard for the “knock on” effect of
those decisions in the future. I will push for a transparent process to arrive at a
very clear view of what our area should look like in the future. Let’s have a
clear view of what our Ward should look like in the future. We may not stop
growth, but we can control the outcome.
Strong, decisive and bold actions are required to address out traffic problems. I
will work with NZTA and others to find pragmatic solutions to the issues.
Residents of Halswell and Westmorland have been urging the Council to
reduce traffic speed in their areas. I intend to vigorously pursue their requests.
After 48yrs of living and raising a family here and many years of community
service, including 42yrs service in the NZ Police and 15yrs on the
Riccarton/Wigram Community Board, I feel I am well qualified to seek the City
In my 42yrs service in the NZ Police, I was the Officer in Charge of the Hornby
Police, responsible for the delivery of Policing services to the Halswell Ward. I
was instrumental in developing partnerships with the Community and allied
agencies that resulted in significant reductions in reported crime. I feel that
Halswell area has been neglected in a Policing response. If elected I will be
determined and will strongly advocate for an increased Police presence
including a dedicated Community Constable.
The Halswell Ward, requires someone who understands the machinery of both
local and central government. I will work with all of our people and develop a
sustainable community that creates a healthy environment, that deals with
issues of the city rebuild, traffic, housing and urban development.
I have worked in the Halswell Ward for the last 25 years. I understand the
problems that exist now and that will occur in the future. Halswell requires
and experienced Councillor and Community Board Member who has the
understanding and experience to advocate for change.
My affiliation with the Halswell Ward extends back many years with my father
who served 35 years in the RNZAF and retired from Wigram. My father
navigated the first De Havilland Devon to New Zealand and this aircraft is on
display at the Air Force Museum. I am extremely proud that the Riccarton
Wigram Community Board recently named a street after my father, Colin Laloli
Place, off Corsair Dr.
We must improve the quality of life for everyone. I want to include you in the
process of resolving our issues. I will bring to the CCC an open and common
sense approach to decision making.
Together we can solve the issues that face our city and protect Christchurch,
our special place.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
I have been selected as The People’s Choice candidate for Council to run in the upcoming local body elections for the Halswell ward .
This is both an exciting and daunting opportunity , but one I have embraced .
Throughout my career, I have often chosen roles which empower people to become their best . These positions have demanded an ability to make connections and build relationships quickly; skills demonstrated in my ability to establish links with and collaboratively work with, ECE’s, Plunket, Pacific Trust, schools and other agencies to connect with parents in these communities
.I strongly believe in the importance of social justice and am hopeful any work I do will build a more equal and fair community.
For me it’s all about legacy.
A legacy is something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor, or from the past.
When I think of a legacy, I think of Jane and John Deans, the first Europeans to settle in Canterbury Without their vision ,passion and strength ,we would not have Putaringamoutu -Riccarton Bush, a magical place with 600 year Kahikitia trees whose ancestors have been growing in this same place for 3,000 years ! A place that my grandchildren and I love to visit . Without the Deans passion to protect and preserve the bush from the early European settlers who were desperate to cut down any trees for building materials, we would not have it today.
What are our modern day Putaringmoutus? What is it that we should be protecting for future generations? Just,as the Deans did so long ago?
Is it our water quality and quantity?
Our Native flora and fauna?
Our sense of community; its connectivity and culture?
Or maybe the conditions that allow each child in our communities to thrive and to reach their potential?
“The early years are absolutely critical for how a persons’ life turns out. If you really want to make a difference for people; intervening early and getting it right, that is the key; that’s where your money should go, that’s where your focus should be”
( Professor Richie Poulton; Episode One ”Why Am I” TVNZ On Demand.)
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Christchurch became the best place in New Zealand to be a young child because the City Council agreed with this and ploughed resourcing into those organisations that work towards this end.
There is a Maori proverb that says…
Hapiata te ara tika pumau ai te rangatiratanga mo ngauri whakatipu
Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations
What would a community that fosters knowledge, strength, independence and growth look like?
A sustainable one! Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This means working together as a community to protect our environment and natural resources , and our sense of community,so that our children and grand-children can enjoy them as we did.
If I were to win this position, I would be working to make this happen.
Monday, August 15, 2016
The population of the Halswell Ward is projected to grow to 34,000 by 2034 from 15,000 currently (reference 2013 Census) putting strain on present recreational and community facilities. It is imperative we, as residents, plan for this increase in population and I would like nothing more than being able to represent you, our community, in this process.
I am strongly supported by my wife Linda, a Practice Nurse working within the Halswell Ward, and two adult children. Prior to shifting to Halswell I was an active member of the Hillsborough Residents Association involved in deputations to the then Minister of Transport, Maurice Williamson and local MP David Carter, representing affected residents, during early development of the Opawa Expressway to Lyttelton. When relocating to Halswell in 1997 my wife and I rallied local interest and successfully campaigned for a safer playground in Muir Park. Soon afterwards I joined the Halswell Residents Association.
Under the umbrella of the Halswell Residents Association my focus was on achieving better community functionality and ensuring information was made available to the community offering individuals the opportunity to contribute to consultation processes. Presenting multiple deputations to the Community Board, Council, Local Government Commission District Plan panels and Environment Canterbury, provided me with experience and knowledge of process, enabling me to optimise outcomes for the community. Some recent examples include working through the Designation of Requirements Process, to secure land for library and community facilities at Te Hapua, Halswell Centre, correction of the CCC rating database to create equitability for rural ratepayers (an ongoing process) and input via Plan Change 60 to the establishment of major subdivisions at Longhurst and Knightstream
I am an elected Halswell River Rating District Liaison Committee Member, which in tandem with ECAN, sets, administers and programmes expenditure to maintain critical drainage networks down the Halswell River. Our environment is precious.
In 2015 I instigated, via the District Plan process, consultation with wider south west area green-field landowners facilitating information exchange between landowners and CCC, resulting in CCC modifying Outline Development Plans (ODP’s). As a result new green-field land development will be undertaken in a co-ordinated manner rather than paddock by paddock. Local input is critical with constant change occurring due to intensification and density housing plans in the South West green-field growth areas. This enables us to future-proof our communities.
You may have noticed other candidates are standing for Council positions as well as positions on Community Boards. I am standing solely for Halswell Community Board, as my goal is to be one of Halswell Ward’s two Community Board Representatives. It is my intention to ensure you, the community, are kept informed of pending changes in your local area and included when possible, in open and transparent negotiations.
Currently working as an electronic security technician, with responsibility for installation of large public and private sector security systems, when selected for Community Board I intend my role as your Community Board Member to be a fulltime commitment.
Our Community will be My Priority.
Contact anytime Ph. 0279420027 E: email@example.com
Contact anytime Ph. 0279420027 E: firstname.lastname@example.org