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The Weekly Roundabout #76

Mōrena e Gizzy Local whānau  

This week I met with Sarah, the luminous wahine lugging this big kaupapa. When I first met with her in November last year our kōrero centred around diversity, and to be honest, it still continues to today.

I think that diversity can run much deeper within any collaboration, business or even an institution, and this should always be more than the bare minimum; the box tick.  Sarah’s original concern with herself in the Weekly Roundabout was that she unintentionally fell into an echo chamber. Somehow we thought it would be different for myself, and although our writing styles are distinctly different, the design was very much the same and resulted in a similar outcome.

Gizzy Local is for the community and therefore should always be about the community.  Consider this a bit of a break up letter, it’s not you, but definitely us.

This is our ode to delivering more than just the bare minimum, making our content more consistent and much more representative of the voices of our community, being sure to tell stories of people and important things going on around us; to bring to light these different perspectives.

No longer a one sided kōrero, but a multifaceted one.  We’re looking forward to getting out there and engaging in your vivacious perspectives.  

Arohanui ki a koutou,
Jordan

P.S. we will be seeing you again next week, just in case you were wondering. We’re just twiddling the dials on the vibe machine and seeing if we can’t switch out that echo. Let’s see how we go! 

THE WEEKLY ROUNDABOUT

#66 Matariki

February 12, 2021

Kia ora whānau,

This week our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced that Matariki will be made a public holiday; the first public holiday that recognises Te Ao Māori. A Matariki Advisory Group, made up of recognised experts who awhi mātauranga Māori, will use their knowledge to determine the date for the new public holiday for the next 30 years to reflect the position of the Matariki star cluster, which shifts slightly each year. Just as importantly, they will be working to educate Aotearoa New Zealand on why we celebrate Matariki. 

This is a huge move forward e hoa mā. Growing up as both Maori and Pākehā, I was taught that the strongest narrative to follow was Pākehā; my world was saturated by this way of being, and I was taught that the Māori part of me had to submit to it, because outside of this world, I had no sense of belonging.

Of course the experiences of anyone navigating the dark avenues of oppressed identity are different. But one thing that does bind us, is the structure governing the whenua in which we stand upon. The governance that told us that being Māori meant being less than. This toxic dialogue that only worked to hold us down, and to control us. 

Thanks to the dedicated many who have helped to uplift Te Ao Māori, I’m relieved and proud to say that our tamariki will grow up recognising that we have a profound identity. This recognition of our way of being tells our tamariki that our sense of belonging in Te Ao Māori is beautiful, fierce and powerful.

Remember this is a world that we share together, and when everyone recognises the value of indigenous peoples around the world, we negotiate forward, collectively, into a future of equity, of deeper understanding, and of genuine respect for our natural world. 

Arohanui,

Jordan

#67 Pumice to the Skin

February 5, 2021

Kia ora e te whānau,

As we come towards the end of this week, how do we each feel right now?

There’s a bit of necessary turbulence occurring, ironically coming off of the back bone of Waitangi Day.

On Tuesday, Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi was ejected out of parliament for refusing to wear a tie. A strong stance that shook headlines globally, ultimately resulting in head turning toward our so-called progressive country. Because of this shake up, ‘the tie’ dress code in parliament is no longer mandatory.

What is a tie? A tie is a dress code, a uniform, a neck choker. Rawiri refers to the tie as a ‘colonial noose’, a western way of being used to impose order into the lives of others. Why was this arguably petty excuse for silencing someone thrown Rawiri’s way? In a Re: newsnz interview recently, Rawiri said he thought it was about time we parted ways with our head of state, the Crown. This would result in us bidding farewell to Queenie and becoming a republic within the Commonwealth. Such progressive views would once have deemed Rawiri as politically radical, however, it could be said that this radicalism is well-suited to this time we’re currently occupying.

Was ordering a uniform on Rawiri a way of reigning authority, of keeping him in line? Dress codes are quickly becoming a layer of dead skin we’re desperately trying to shed. Like all of the narrow-minded decisions once made on behalf of Aotearoa New Zealand, to serve the majority, the wealthy, and the proper.

We’re living in a time of opportune change, where we’re taking back our identity, and applying pumice to the skin.

Arohanui ki a koutou,

Jordan

#64 Revitalise

January 22, 2021

Kia ora everyone,

There’s a collective sigh of relief happening right now, does anyone else feel that? A reset almost. This is the Age of Aquarius; a revitalization and importantly, the call to engage with community. So I’m curious, what forms of community and revitalization are happening in your life right now?

Have you shed a layer? I feel as though I’ve been shedding layers my whole life, where I used to think I was pedantically uncertain about my “style”, I now see that I was just trying out new versions of myself. Do you feel revitalized like this, or are you chipping away at something different? New year, new you, am I right? 

It’s a cruel joke for us to meme ourselves into believing that the end of “2020” would mean all the trauma packaged up inside of it would just dissipate. Yes, there are these victorious moments, such as that of Cheeto Satan leaving Office, Aotearoa being well managed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the arts being celebrated rightfully, and locally. 

Darwin Arts Festival in Australia was the first festival to grow out of the pandemic, and then came our region’s very own Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival, a triumph that was not nearly celebrated enough. These festivals embody pockets of communities, all coming together for connection and deeper meaning. I think we could all use a bit of depth in our lives nē? 

Ironically the Age of Aquarius is supposed to see the end of the Anthropocene, that is the geological epoch that measures the impact humankind has on the planet, this epoch that we are hopefully learning to find symbiotic ailments for. 


Does your form of community or revitalization awhi the transition into this powerful age?

Arohanui, Jordan

#63 All the Thanks

January 15, 2021

Kia ora Whānau,

This will be my last post in this space as I hand the keyboard over to Jordan who joined us at the end of 2020, about one year after we started this Weekly Roundabout email newsletter.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned many times now, my friend Tom Teutenberg and I established Gizzy Local in order to create an online platform for our community to safely express themselves; to share their stories and use their voices in order that over time we can begin to get some sense of who we are as a community, and come to recognise the wealth of wisdom, initiative, ideas, skills and talents held by the people of Tūranganui-a-kiwa, Gisborne.

It feels an honest thing to do then, to pass this proverbial pen over to someone who has had a very different lived experience to me, to add their perspective to this space of musings.

In time, the pen for this space will be held by someone else, and someone else again, and hopefully after a while we might come to see all of the overlaps, the intersections that are between us, the things that remain constant no matter where we have come from, what circumstance we live in, what we look or sound like, what we do or do not ‘know’.  

I’m looking forward to more time and headspace for writing stories and bringing other aspects of our Gizzy Local dream to fruition and looking after myself a little bit better in 2021.

Ngā mihi ki a koutou, and Jordan, may that pen flow freely 🙂

Sarah

#62 Tokomaru Times

January 8, 2021

Happy New Year to you Gizzy locals! I hope this first week of 2021 has treated you well.

Our whānau has been enjoying a simple summer spent close to home. After fifteen years or so of experiencing the annual R&V occupation, I’m these days able to enjoy the transformation of our city for that fleeting moment, no longer compelled to escape town for the duration.

While we still avoid the supermarket at all costs, a couple of laps of town for some R&V-er-spotting with my daughters has become our own annual event. It seems an efficient way to get a visual summary of what’s going on in the rest of the country within a particular demographic in one easy outing and our girls delight in it!

I have also come to love the transformation of our city for that brief moment in time for the effect it has on the locals who remain to stick it out.. the interactions we have over our shared experience as a local floundering about in suddenly unfamiliar seas of traffic queues and a skewed demographic. The grateful smiles of recognition, the opportunity to share a sentiment about something other than the weather.

These past few days we’ve been doing our laps in one of our favourite camping spots, Tokomaru Bay, our bikes joining the 4W motorbikes, Side by Sides, horses and camper vans in the busiest summer we remember experiencing up these ways.

Granted, the last couple of days have been marked by the annual Hapuku Hunt, the beach lined with peoples’ lines cast out into the bay and whānau building competition-standard sandcastles; the road verge jammed with empty boat trailers, Te Puka Tav packed.

But Toko locals reckon it’s been busy beyond these past couple of days too, and a different kind of busy to summers past. Pam Saunders opened Tokomaru Bay’s Art Gallery, Toi five years ago and agrees that this year in the gallery has been her busiest yet, not just in terms of visitor numbers but with the number of local artworks heading out the door destined for new homes all around the country.

There’s a noticeable difference in our Freedom Camping communities too, with the usual Tairāwhiti locals being joined by locals from further afield. The proprietors of The Fish Shop say they’ve been enjoying the local flavour of their customers, the ability to share a yarn with people visiting from other parts of the country.

The campsite game of choice amongst the young ones this year is called ‘Infected’, a creepy sign of these times. But I’m appreciating this summer for the side effects of a small country cut off from the world.

There’s some lovely cross-pollination going on amongst the people of Aotearoa as we get out and experience the flavours, sights and sounds that accompany the lives of our fellow New Zealanders. The impetus on supporting local becomes even more powerful as people step outside of their usual stomping grounds, and extend that appreciation and support across the country.

It really is a massive privilege it is to be able to be living this way in these times.

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

#61 Balance

December 23, 2020

Kia ora tātou

This seems a pretty good time of the year to kōrero mō balance – the yin and the yang. This weekend past I spent in Pōneke with some inspiring creatives, and although the kaupapa was to uplift atua wāhine, much of our kōrero leant on the individual obtaining both the feminine and the masculine.

Do you feel as though you embody both of these sources? They’re there, intrinsically a part of you. They feed one another in this symbiotic swirling within your wairua and within your tinana. In western society we’re taught to put a door up to whichever one of these sources that doesn’t align with our presenting bodies.

In other rich knowledge for our collective kete, polyculture teaches us that nature is symbiotic. Where insects and plants reciprocally support one another, and plants await the dawn siren of the birds so that they know when to wake up. This waking up of papātuānuku teaches us how the non-human world can reciprocally flow in order to operate. To its advantage, this natural world is not held down by the weight of gender.

There’s a plethora of memes floating around currently sarcastically bidding farewell to 2020, the year that challenged us all. Who knew that such mass could hate the digits 2020. Particularly at this time of the year, during a pandemic or not, we’ve reached our peak of exhaustion; we are unbalanced, too hot or too cold, and too busy emotionally, physically and spiritually.

How will you reconnect your wairua with your tinana this festive season?

Enjoy the rest whānau, arohanui ki a koutou.

Jordan

#60 If you call, they will come

December 18, 2020

Kia ora e hoa mā

I’ve been pondering space. Right now, it’s like this crazy game of musical chairs, only the gag is, there are hundreds of chairs missing. This thought aligned well with some hard rubbish I spotted on my drive to mahi one morning. It was this 80s brown suede couch, if I hadn’t been running late, I probably would have picked it up. I drove past the couch a few days later only to see it had been pillaged. Someone had taken the cushions – sure justifiable – but someone had also taken the side of the couch.


Objects and space are a bit different, I get that. But in the way that we consume them, they are very much alike. People are panic buying in the same way that they panic-bought the toilet paper. This panic buying is a flared reaction to our housing crisis, and when locals cannot afford the property market, they get flushed out.

Last week we received a lovely email from a local and Gizzy Local reader, Linda. Linda had a proposal, a collaboration of sorts. I arranged to meet with Linda at her house one afternoon and she showed me about her spacious, well cared for property. Linda’s concern is that she has all this excess space she knows she alone doesn’t need, has reached an age where she alone cannot manage it. 

Linda has an 8m x 3m established vege patch and wants to offer it up for others to nurture and take sustenance from. I really wanted to tautoko Linda so phoned TEC to see if they knew of any community gardeners to lend a hand. That conversation led me to believe that it’s not so much a lack of space for the community garden kaupapa but rather the lack of hands to love it. This led to the kōrero that as rental properties are sold up around us, there are people being left with no option but to leave Tūranga. 

This is how I imagine the post-covid “new normal” Sarah spoke of last week. Is the new normal a post-apocalyptic turn where community gardens are left barren and locals need to resort to moving away from their tūrangawaewae? The irony is, is that if anything, the pandemic forced us to slow down. Some are still lulling in this limbo, while others are stepping on the tapu heads of generations of tāngata whenua, and generations of locals to get the best piece of this suede couch, the last roll of toilet paper.

I won’t leave this on a stiff note – no doubt you’re longing for the positivity of our lovely friend Sarah. Instead I want to ask you how we might nurture this space that Linda is offering up. Maybe you’re an avid gardener, or maybe you’ve got one too many mokopuna doing tik toks that you’d rather had their hands in the soil than swiping their screens. Let us know, we would love to hear from you!

Linda, if you’re reading this, thank you for your time and I promise to keep watering your garden.

Arohanui ki a koutou,

Jordan

#59 The From-the-heart Thanks

December 11, 2020

Kia ora Gizzy Local Whānau,

This week in pondering what I might plant in this space today, I’ve settled on gratitude.

At Mangapapaa School’s Senior Prizegiving this week, in his opening kōrero principal Paul Sadler reflected on the extraordinary year we have shared.  And as we move into our summer holiday period very much as we always have; with relief, excitement and often some measure of reckless abandon; in many other parts of this Covid-ridden world, it is the strange new post-covid norms that will determine how their holiday season unfolds, rather than family traditions or the weather.

And while we now know that we never actually know what might happen from one week from the next – we could find ourselves back in Lockdown at any time – I also have a large measure of gratitude for the perceptible changes that have taken place in my own life, our community and our country as a result of Covid and the Lockdown phenomenon, the year that has been 2020.

And so I suspect, this Christmas Holiday period will be unlike any other that has preceded it for many of us here in Aotearoa. Whether it is coloured by our learnings from lockdown; the pleasure of doing less and of doing it slower (travelling by bike or growing the kai), an enhanced appreciation for people in our lives, ability to get in the ocean, and the knowledge that we live in a community that cares for one another; I think that the gratitude is going to be that much more palpable this year. 

As this is likely the last remotely sensible Roundabout I’ll manage this year, I’d like to pass on my big, from-the-heart thanks to all of you who have taken a moment to write or to stop us in the street, to contribute your thoughts, energy, ideas, feedback and creativity to the Gizzy Local kaupapa this past crazy year.  

I am so excited about Gizzy Local 2021, a year which is set to be shaped by more collaboration, more diversity and more creativity and wisdom, with which our local community is so generously endowed.

Kia kaha Gizzy Local whānau.



Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

#58 Accomodation of Modest Proportions

December 4, 2020

Kia ora tātou,

I heard recently of a house selling for just under 1 million dollars. One million dollars.

That’s crazy. We’re not talking mansions here, we’re talking an old house, concrete clad and uninsulated. Let’s ask ourselves, who can afford a million dollar house? Certainly not I.

The idea of home ownership is out the gate. How many people are on high-end salaries or own investment properties here in Tūranga-nui-a-kiwa? What happens with those of us who get paid below the living wage? Honestly, it’s a very large portion of our region. The gap of inequity is growing bigger and bigger, and I beg you not to think that that has anything to do with the choices one has made. This work hard, play hard neoliberal jargon is exhausting.

People won’t move to Gisborne, who’d want to do that drive? Auckland has been in a housing crisis for years now, and finally the sprawl has reached farther than any of us ever anticipated. Our own housing crisis is rife here in Tūranga-nui-a-kiwa, with over 200 whānau and individuals waiting for houses to be built, an ever growing list for the Ministry of Social Development. Auckland Mayor, Phil Goff, says “building more houses will help bring balance between supply and demand”. Sure, but what about here in Gisborne? Kāinga Ora, Homes and Communities are moving mountains to build these houses, but the demand for builders is colossal – for this Government initiative – but also for these million dollar investment properties. How can the builders keep up?

So if you can’t buy, then why don’t you just rent? Sure, (I mean, go on, why not help grow the pockets of the wealthy?) but with the rateable value being pushed upward of 27-30%, rental prices have fast become as unaffordable as owning a home. Not to mention the lack of rental homes actually available. This situation sees people entering survival mode, with many taking to the streets, while judgement (as it always has) sweeps across those of us who have it better off.

This neoliberal hegemonic discourse needs to change. Surely the slowing down and self-centering that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to our lives is proof enough that this wheel has been spinning way too fast for all of us to keep up with. In particular, the generations of those of us who are still suffering from the impacts of oppression through colonisation.

Modest dwellings and landshare options are feasible avenues for those of us closed out of the housing market. These options require us to reframe the way that we use space, to detach our ego by letting go of this ownership rhetoric. Because these options are a direct rejection of the neoliberal way of living, entities such as local councils stand steadfast creating barriers, but we desperately need an immediate alternative for everyone. Could you live in a Tiny House? Share land with others? Grow vegetables together? Care for one another?


Ngā mihi nui,
Jordan

#57 Home Sweet Home

November 27, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

I caught up with Jordan one morning this week to continue our kōrero over a coffee. My first few sips of coffee were taken in a simmering rage as I admitted that her rumination about the ‘exploiting class’ in last week’s Roundabout had led me directly to Gisborne’s housing crisis; the shape that it’s taking as our neighbourhoods are rapidly gentrified, our rents skyrocket far beyond that which is affordable for most people on an average Gisborne wage and countless people lose sight of ever buying their own home.

Population growth has long been aspired to in this town and in this country as some kind of magical fix all to all of our economic woes, but as it plays out in reality, we are far from ready for it. It’s hard to get excited about the economic prosperity of the few that benefit from more people in town when for many in our community it means they can no longer access the most basic of needs, shelter.

Brave new thinking around housing is required on every level, but in the absence of any faith that the kind of sweeping systemic changes necessary will be actually made, for me it’s the local initiatives emerging around us that hold the most exciting potential in this crisis.


Ideas that originate from the ground up, solutions that involve the people affected, are the most likely to address the wider context to issues. Initiatives that start at the flax roots are more likely to incorporate other elements also essential to the health and wealth of people and place, borne as they are by that starting point of connectection, to the people and to the place concerned. 


At Gizzy Local we’re looking forward to exploring some of these community-led initiatives over the coming months.

We’re also interested in hearing your ideas or the little or big things you might already be doing to help people out in these time. Now is the time to pool our knowledge and step up for the people around us. We’d love to hear from you! 


Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

#56 A Productive New Moon in Scorpio

November 20, 2020

Kia ora tātou,

There’s been a lot of change recently, has anyone else felt it? I’m far from an astrologist, but I’ve been reading into it as of late, and apparently we’re experiencing a change with a new moon in Scorpio. “What does this mean?” I hear you say. One word: 

Reset. 

I want to continue the kōrero from Sarah last week. It seems that if we want to participate in this world, we are contracted to do too much. Keep up, be a productive contributor to society. Often when we’re stuck in a constant rhythm—this cycle of productivity—we neglect to see what’s happening in our natural reality.

French philosopher turned sociologist turned anthropologist, Pierre Bourdieu, tells us that the way we invest ourselves in the world is polarizing. We occupy it, but to our detriment we become occupied by it. This is a direct impact to our mental health, nē? We become so attached to this idea of success that we forget to check in on ourselves, and to check in on others. Personally, I became so attached to the attainment of success, that I dropped being present in all of my relationships. This realization required me to see the wood for the trees. What is success if our loved ones have to break our fall when we’ve worked ourselves to the bone? 

Capitalism—we’ve been conditioned to view this world as one of production; according to Karl Marx we’ve long functioned in this realm that separates the primary producers from the exploiting class. Who are the exploiting class, and how do we now function as primary producers? Well, we all occupy different jobs, therefore only you can define that duality. Āe, I understand how this is slipping into the realm of academics, but this kōrero critically defines the way that we “live”.

Let’s go back to the moon: new beginnings, potentiality and realization. 

Kia kaha, 

Jordan  

#55 Sustainability in the silly season

November 13, 2020


Kia ora e te whānau,

The other day I had one of those ‘how’s your week going’ check-in conversations with a friend at the Elgin School Pool. It was the type of conversation that can often leave you mildly unsatisfied, taking place in and around the wrestling of bathing caps, goggle straps and usually at least one unwilling kid, if not two.

These conversations take place at a time of day when we’ve removed our work hats (but still have trusty mobile phones on hand, ready to plug in and plug away at any opportunity) and we’re in after-school run around mode.

It’s that time of day when your body and mind are saying ‘Come, lie down with me here on this sunny spot on the couch, have a cuppa.. would someone like to read me a book or tell me about their day?’

But instead I’m on the hustle rustle, talking to a friend about how busy we are. Or trying not to talk about how busy we are, but seeing it in the other’s eyes.

But this day was different. My friend, who manages a local not-for-profit organisation, told me about a subversive act that she and her colleague had carried out the day prior.

“We went through our calendar of events for the rest of the year and decided not to add in anything new” she said.

I was stirred, cheered and excited. Could this be the start of something new? A new Movement whereby we seek to do or offer less, in the knowledge that what we will do, we will do better and with our whole hearts? 

I have spent lots of my adult life fixated on enabling connection between humans, but somewhere along the way it feels as though the scales have been tipped. These busy lives of ours are filled with so much good stuff, all of these opportunities to learn, grow, celebrate and play.  And while I’m grateful to the people that make those good things happen, and for the variety of experiences on offer these days, even out here at the edge of the earth, I’m starting to realise that so much of anything is usually probably too much.

The same organisation I’ve talked about here has also chosen to celebrate their work, staff and supporters during Matariki in lieu of squeezing yet another Christmas party into the silly season. 

I’ll be taking a leaf out of these guys’ book this silly season and trying to keep it sustainable.


Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

#54 Introducing a new voice 

November 6, 2020

Kia ora whanau,

This week it really is such a pleasure to introduce Jordan Walker to readers of The Weekly Roundabout. Welcoming Jordan into this space is a milestone for Gizzy Local, signalling to us that we are one step further in our creation of a safe platform for our people to add their unique voices to the conversations of this place.

At Gizzy Local we talk a lot about our goals of building our community’s resilience through connectedness, by enabling better understanding of, and support for one another. On a personal level, having Jordan join me here will allow me to step outside my own echo chamber more easily, feel more connected, supported and resilient. Acting local whilst thinking global. Kia ora Jordan, huge thanks for stepping in and stepping up!

To learn a little more about Jordan you can head here.

Till next week, Sarah

* * *

Kia ora tātou,

Recently I attended a whakatau at Whirikoka. This welcoming was for manuhiri arriving from Ōtaki and Tāmaki Makaurau. As I entered the wharenui I was gently gestured to where I should be sitting. I sat with the manuhiri. I looked down the row at my friends, one who I knew had grown up here in Tairāwhiti. I was confused, was this the kawa of Whirikoka, or were we simply mistaken for not being of this place? I’ve been told that I look like I come from Auckland. I still don’t know what this means. I’ve gone out and tried on different versions of me, but does this determine my whakapapa?

I confessed to my friend, “I used to play along the creek behind this wharenui when I was a kid. I have strong memories of riding my scooter along that crooked footpath.” There was an undeniable pull, and so my friend and I gave into it, and drifted over to the other side. In doing this, we received a few looks, but ultimately the whakatau just went ahead, and we happily sang along to the waiata and mōteatea that we were familiar with.

Tēnā tātou katoa,

This memory lifted me recently. We all flow in and out of Tairāwhiti. Some of us leave when we’re young, and some of us move around it, but nothing can deny the gravitational pull of it. Tairāwhiti, Tūranga-nui-a-kiwa, Gizzy — it can be a haven for many, whether we have fond young memories that attach us, or whether we’re just trying to grow anew.

Ngā mihi nui,
Jordan

#53 Leaps of Faith

October 30, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

How are you all going out there? Are you pumping along with all of the frenetic excitement and activity that is Te Tairawhiti in Spring? Or are you struggling a bit beneath the weight of it all?

Over the last couple of weeks I attempted a holiday because was sagging with the weight of it all, real, imagined and otherwise. My aim was to create a bit of space in which to commit to a re-build of that which had been forgotten, lost or broken during an overly-busy period in my life.

While I haven’t quite managed anything resembling a conventional holiday I’ve managed a bit of dusting off of surfaces, put a bit of heart back into our kitchen, had my hands in the dirt, got some seeds in the ground and I have watered them. I’ve restored a couple of habits that I know I need in my daily to be well, but which are always the first to go when life gets busy.

Perhaps most excitingly, this extra bit of space and a couple of quiet pleas for help have yielded not one, but two new Gizzy Local contributors. Today, for those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting her, I am so thrilled to introduce to you Stephanie Barnett, whose story and work you can link through to below. Stephanie has provided me with a massive dose of inspiration and hope lately, in her determination to bring conversations around mental wellbeing into the open, with the commitment she has made to her creative path, and not least in her resolve to value that work.

Placing value on creative work is an ongoing challenge for our community of creatives at large, which of course this publication is a part. Stephanie’s story is a timely reminder to me of the importance of sharing our stories and of taking leaps of faith.

I hope you enjoy it and find loveliness in these days, whether you’re out amongst it all or keeping close to home.

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

#52 Rail & Food

October 23, 2020

Kia ora Whānau,

Happy Labour Weekend! There’s so much going on, I hope you have a ball whatever you get up to. I’m still in attempting-to-holiday mode so I’ll leave you here. Huge thanks to those who are stepping in to keep the Gizzy Local train rolling, not least Anthonie Tonnon – check out his piece below about his upcoming Rail Land Show in Muriwai next weekend, which for him is as much about the communal journey as it is the destination.

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

#51 What goes up must come down

October 16, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

After all of the intense activity and excitement over the past few months, this particular Gizzy local is hitting the other end of the pendulum swing so I’ll be taking a little break over the next week or two.

We have so much planned for our platform and so much awesome stuff going on in our community that we want to bring to light but sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and hit the spring cleaning first.

For me that is both a figurative and literal notion. It’s time for me to return to my home and my family; to wipe a good six months of dust off my home and life, get my hands in the soil, bring myself back to life.

As I step off the content treadmill, I’m looking forward to the fresh voices that will fill the quiet and I look forward to freeing up some headspace in which to work on the sustainability of this little operation of ours.

If you’re interested in adding your voice we would of course, love to hear from you.

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

#50 What a week!

October 9, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

It’s been a big week alright.. From a glorious day down at Te Pūtahi, the Festival Hub parked up in the very lovely Caravannex, followed by Pecha Kucha on Tuesday, NOise VACANCY on Wednesday and yesterday spent in full recovery mode after an overcommitment to a dance installation at the aforementioned NOise VACANCY.

There have been many thought-provoking conversations had, to surely be revisited over the coming weeks, but for now I’m heading back to the Caravannex for a couple of hours before a full afternoon and evening of Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival events.

There are still a few tickets available for Reid & Ruins this evening, Maisey Rika tomorrow night and Gitbox Rebellion Sunday night. Not terribly many though, so get in quick!

Enjoy the last weekend of Festival goodness won’t you!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

Check out the weekend’s events & get your tickets here.

#49 There’s a Traffic Jam in this week’s Roundabout

October 2, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

This week’s roundabout is packed, so I’ll keep this brief and let the contents do the talking.

Today marks the last day for you to have a say in what the Council’s next Long Term Plan looks like. Please take ten minutes or so to feed into this process, you can find the link below.

Also today, this year’s Te TairāwhitiArts Festival opens and there is so much going on we’re going to have to keep our wits about us! One event that I know is dear to many of your hearts may have flown beneath your radar, but for Pecha Kucha fans, this one promises to be one of the really great ones! With a focus on Design and Architecture and a stellar line up of presenters, which has even been announced (see below!), I’m excited by the local flavour this Pecha Kucha will bring to this year’s Festival.

Another conversation relating to our built environment also going on during this busy time, is one that will bring some nuanced thought and valuable perspective into current discussions around how we represent the past. First Meetings Kōrero takes place this Sunday, see the post below for more details.

And one last cheeky nudge goes to NOise VACANCY, another event adding some comment, or should I say ‘noise’, to the conversation about our local shared spaces, namely that of our sadly empty CBD. Check it out on the Festival website and get your free ticketshere.

Enjoy this gloriously jammed week ahead won’t you, and if you feel like a chat and a nosy at a stunning and very clever piece of local design, Gizzy Local will be spending time in theCaravannexat theFestival Hubon Tuesday and Friday next week.

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

#48 School Holiday Blissballs

September 25, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

With many other parents I’m breathing a sigh of relief as I see my girls off to school for their last day of term today.

Not only do the next two weeks offer a break from routine, and a return to some of that quality time we may remember with such nostalgia from back in those times of Lock Down, school holidays can also offer a chance for parents and whanau to look back over the past term and think about what worked and what didn’t.

Too many afternoons spent driving back and forth between ill-timed after-school activities? Too many days when there’s not enough time to put a decent kai on the table? Not enough time to check in on what your child is up to at school? No time for impromptu strolls around the neighbourhood foraging for stray fruit or a hopeful rummage around in the vege patch?

We usually call a halt to all extra-curricular activities at the end of Term 3 and dedicate Term 4 to after-school beach time. With the kids being that much older I’m not sure that will fly this year but I’m looking forward to whatever retrenchment and consolidation I can muster so that we’ve got as little on our plates as possible as we wind down and (perhaps more realistically) wind up into summer.

As a new walkway along Valley Road nears completion, I’m going to be putting the call out to other families along the route interested in getting their kids walking home from school as a group, now that they’ll have a safe way of doing so.

While we can still remember Lock Down and how our alive, kind and safe our neighbourhoods and roads felt when we were all using them, this feels like a good time to reclaim our roads for our kids. Some of my best childhood memories are of my walks home with the other neighbourhood kids of varying ages, many of whom I wouldn’t have otherwise known was it not for sharing that same path home. I wish that too for my own girls.. the raucous laughter and language, the singing, the jokes and I suppose, the Tik Tok.

For all those parents having to manage the work-school holiday juggle these next two weeks, I wish you all the best. If you’re still stuck on any dates, check out all of the school holiday programmes we’ve compiled into one easy list below, and of course the many different wonderful happenings that will be going on as a part of Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival, the second coming, for some good doses of goodness in between times.

Hooray for Level One! Enjoy.

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

#47 Manaakiahia Te Reo!

September 18, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

It has been cool this Wiki o te Reo Māori to see the different ways in which our community and our country is celebrating te Reo Māori. And while it would be great if every week was seen as te Wiki o te Reo Māori, a week of celebration and effort provides at the very least a marker by which we can check progress in our respective Reo journeys, as we undo the damage done over the past couple of centuries and make our way back to a place where te Reo Māori provides us with common ground for both communication and understanding.

What words and phrases have entered our daily conversations that weren’t there last year? One of my strongest memories of first moving here to te Tairāwhiti was hearing more Reo in my daily life than I’d ever heard before. I remember noticing words like whanau, whare and tamariki were used almost as much as ‘family’, ‘house’ or ‘child’.

It took me a few years to realise that it wasn’t that I hadn’t remembered my few words of Reo Māori incorrectly, but rather I had grown up on the dialects of the North, first Taitokerau and then Tāmaki Makaurau. So pōwhiri became pōhiri, and even the way Kia ora slipped off my tongue gradually changed over the years. I reckon it took me about three years of practicing pronouncing Rotorua correctly before I was brave enough to say it in the company of others. That was a biggie!

For me one of the truly exciting things about the reemergence of Te Reo Māori for our people, is the way that the language uncovers so much potential for understanding. So much more than language, words like Manaakitanga, Wairua, Mauri, Whanaungatanga and Whakapapa reveal concepts containing multiple layers of meaning, which give us exquisite insights into te Ao Māori – the Māori world view, which speaks of the interconnectedness of everything.  It is in this understanding – of the interconnectedness of everything – that I believe the key to healing the past mamae, as well as our survival as a species, resides. 

That’s where I’m at anyway, on my Reo journey – far to go, but loving every little taste.. what about you?!

Arohatia te reo! Love the language! Manaakihia te reo! Cherish the language as well as all that lies beneath it, comes before it and what it offers for us in our shared future. 


Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

THE WEEKLY ROUNDABOUT #46: THE SPRING FLURRY/ SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

Reflecting Nature, us humans are emerging from our East Coast version of a winter hibernation into Spring.

Nature appears to get fairly hectic in Spring with the crazy-making Nor’westers, the wild swings between hot and cold, and the flurry of growth on the trees and in our gardens, which go from bare-faced famine to colourful feast within a matter of days.  

For us East Coast humans the hectic nature of Spring is undeniable. It’s always a swift tumble towards the A&P Show and Labour Weekend, which has been for a couple of decades all about celebrating the delicious bounty of certain varieties of grape, or perhaps getting away for your first Freedom Camp for the season.

And now we have Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival to add to the glorious chaos; a chaos which is of course this year exacerbated by the uncertainty of Covid.

Our household finally got around to booking our TTAF tickets last night and it feels only fair to urge you to do the same yourselves if you haven’t already done so. TTAF takes place during school holidays so it’s entirely possible that there will be a few out of town folk also checking out those tickets, which are particularly competitively priced when compared to ticket prices elsewhere(!)

It’s so good to see the number of local artists in this year’s line up and I’m excited by the flavour this will add to the mix, from Katy Wallace’s Caravannex, which was inspired by our very own camping culture and built right here in Gisborne by the creative team Wallace McKinnon, to Noise Control, which is a direct response to the current state of our inner city centre. 

The anticipation is starting to rise as people remember the buzz that took hold last year; that sense that anything might happen with all that creative energy pulsing through our streets, eateries, venues and our own homes. And for a fair few people around town, there’s quite a bit still to do in that last haul to kick off..the buzz is already well and truly buzzing!

Me – I’ll be listening out for the buzz of bees and stealing as many moments in my garden as I attempt to achieve some semblance of roundedness as we count down to October.  Nature has this lovely way of revealing order amongst the chaos, which can often be that little less easy to discern where us humans are involved! 

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#45 Safety Check

September 4, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

This week was an interesting one for Gizzy Local.

Framed positively, it offered up the chance for us to walk our talk, which is to provide a safe platform for different voices, stories and perspectives in our community to be expressed.  I’ve used this space before to talk about the benefits of getting involved in conversations with people who think very differently or hold divergent beliefs to ones’ own.

So on the face of it (an unintentional pun), someone like me – a noisy proponent of the joys of getting older, lover of deep set wrinkles and major fan of crow’s feet – particularly as face masks become more and more a part of our reality – publishing a business profile on a clinic specialising in cosmetic medicine should count as a major achievement in my own books. However I’ve found it a real challenge to see it that way.  

Under a different light, namely that cold dim light you tend to shine on the things that swirl around your head late at night (which is totally different by the way, to the warm toned dim lighting also often used in the wee hours, which are to the contrary, deliciously kind on the gracefully ageing face), I’ve been overly aware of the position we find ourselves in as an entity that exists for the sole/soul purpose of providing a safe space for community connection.  

A lot of our time and energy these days is going into building pathways to fund our mahi, to enable our team to push on with resources and tools that we think will provide real value to those of us that live here in the Tairāwhiti, not to mention continue to provide a platform for those who may not otherwise have a voice. Having only so recently entered the realm of paid content, the reality-check on the kinds of moral and ethical dilemmas that can and will undoubtedly arise with paid content, is timely. 
 

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#44 Art on Stage

August 28, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

In October last year we sent our first edition of The Weekly Roundabout just as the 2019 Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival was drawing to a close.

I remember feeling that that month’s worth of conversation, storytelling, theatre, powhiri, dance and music that had been delivered by both Tuia 250 ki Turanga and Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival had left our community irrevocably changed. It had given some whanau the opportunity to experience Art on the stage for the first ever time. For many of us, cans of worms had been opened, giving us all the reasons we needed to embark on our own whakapapa journeys, to commit to more courageous conversations, to learn more and to heal.

This year too, Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival will to provide a much-needed tonic and healing for our community after the events of the year so far. If there’s one thing we’ve all come to expect this year however, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted. So just as year’s Festival Programme launch will be taking place  via livestream – this Monday, 7:30-8pm, we’ll be collectively crossing our fingers and toes, and sticking to our social distancing and vigorous hand washing routines in the hope that this year’s Festival will be able to go ahead in October. I believe Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival is one of the most important things to happen around here in a long time, and I can’t wait to see what’s on the programme for this year! 

On that note, I’m jumping in my car to see Anthonie Tonnon perform at the Opera House in Whanganui. I was introduced to Anthonie’s music last year at the Dome as a part of Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival. Because of Covid restrictions he’s replaced his single show with THREE performances over the course of the evening to allow for ample social distancing amongst the audience. What a blimmin trooper.

Anthonie Tonnon is an engaging performer who has amazing dance moves. I’m a big fan of his issues-based storytelling; a fellow writer who doesn’t appear to need to go any further than his own home town for inspiration. Whanganui is a long way to go from my own home town, but there’s nothing quite like getting face to face with your own inspiration. Off I go!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#43 Events in these times

August 21, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

As you can see in this week’s Roundabout our Events Team have done a pretty stellar job of keeping tabs on which events have been cancelled, postponed, or are going ahead under revised Level 2 conditions over the coming week. 

I’d like to give a big shout out to the people who work so hard to pull these events together to bring us together, particularly in these times when doing so requires quite a dance – you’ve got to be on your toes, be flexible, informed and pretty brave too I reckon.

No one wants to find themselves at the centre of a Covid outbreak but at the same time, there’s also this awareness that the act of bringing people together to learn, talk, laugh, eat, dance and cry, to experience something larger than ourselves and give us reason to step outside of our comfort zones is also crucially important right now. 

These events also represent peoples’ livelihoods and community groups’ lifelines, so as long as we feel safe to do so, and while we are able, it is just as helpful to be getting out and about experiencing local, as it is to be buying local. Same same, only a little bit different.

Me, I’ve got my eye on next week’s Far Out Film Night at the Dome and the Lightbulb event at Tāiki e. What about you?

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#42 What a difference a day makes

August 14, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

What a difference a day makes.. Earlier this week I was sitting down with Alex looking through footage from a couple of awesome local events from last week – Tautua Village’s inaugural ‘The Sesh’ and the Opening of Tiki Toki, Dayna Chaffey’s first solo exhibition at Miharo Gallery. (You can find that footage in the Gizzy Local Stories on our social media, links at the top of this email.)

We were reflecting on the incredible ‘bounce back’ we have had as a community since lock down; the fullness of our Gizzy Local Events Calendar, the interesting new events that have emerged, different approaches being taken by venues, artists practically selling out on opening nights (Dayna Chaffey), events selling out and restaurants booked out all over the show!  Gisborne has been going off.

Just one day later and all of those assumptions we’d been making about our immediate futures – the big plans and the small plans – were all of a sudden again back up in the air. So here we find ourselves again in the land of uncertainty. Having been here before though, it’s not an entirely new landscape to navigate and the language is already familiar. 

It feels like a good time to remember what worked for us last time we were here, the practices and the rituals that helped us to balance out the uncertainty. It’s a good time to remember what didn’t work too.. 

For me, tapping out of social media and boundless news feeds is crucial, and it seems even more necessary this time around with a certain brand of ‘politics’ having entered the mix. Gizzy Local feels at home in this space, we know that this is where we can shine and play a really important role in keeping our community uplifted and connected. It really is our pleasure to provide a counterbalance to the other stuff that might be running rife on your social media feed.

We live and breathe the happenings of this place and its people and we are taking heart from the way in which our community not only came together and took care of each other when Covid first hit earlier in the year, but the way in which we have risen from those ashes since..in such style, with such creativity and in such vehement support for each other’s efforts.

On Wednesday afternoon after our sudden re-entry into Level 2 someone mentioned they had already noticed a palpable extra layer of kindness in their interactions with their fellow humans that day. One of the positives of the uncertainties 2020 might be that we are getting better at talking to each other about our individual experience within that of the collective; remembering to check in on others and being more open and honest about how we ourselves are faring. Be Kind – there have been far worse rallying catch cries through history!

Given that we don’t know what levels we’ll be living within over the coming days we’ve opted not to share the coming week’s events in this edition. The calendar is still live, so you can head directly to gizzylocal.com/gisborne-events or push the All Events button below for all current events information. We urge you though to check with event pages or organisers directly to check whether things are going ahead. We’re updating these as information comes to hand but we can’t ensure that we have all of it.

Enjoy the emerging Spring loveliness and BE KIND! Not least, to yourself 🙂

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#41 The Weekly Rounds About

August 7, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

This week I tried something new, in hosting a pot luck with a new friend for a bunch of people, of whom none really knew who else would be coming, or what the reason for gathering was. 

Our kaupapa was to bring a group of Tairāwhiti locals into one room; people who care and think about this place, and do great things here. Beyond that, our hopes were for as diverse a group as we could manage; a varied cross-section of perspectives, lived experiences, philosophical angles, ages, and cultures.

We could have found tens and probably hundreds of people to invite but, constrained by our own networks, and within those networks, not wanting to place yet another thing on the plates of the many people who are already way too busy already.. we eventually managed to send out some invites. 

I’m not sure whether it was more scary to be on the imagining, writing and sending, or the receiving end of those invitations, but I suspect the fear factor was on par for both parties. We discovered just how challenging it was to ask someone, especially when it’s out of the blue, to come along to, or invest in something that is largely undefined. 

As it turned out, the evening itself wasn’t as scary as it was coming up with the concept, in fact it was a great success. It was a real privilege to be in such a respectful space, especially given range of humans in the room: farmers, artists, community educators, forestry capitalists, someone from the Gisborne Chamber of Commerce, climate-change makers, someone from Trust Tairāwhiti, entrepreneurs, keepers of the home and hearth, an anarchist or two, guardians of the land, wairua, and maramataka, a yoga school chef, healers and children (this poetic description of attendees provided by Andrew, co-creator of the evening’s proceedings. Thanks Andrew!)

The topics of the evening dwelled often on pine trees and their very close topical cousins, carbon, climate change and work.  My views felt pushed to their limits at times, as I’m sure was the case for most of us at varying points of the night. But sitting alongside such a diverse bunch, I heard a lot, learnt a lot, and identified plenty of gaps in my own perception, understanding and awareness of what’s going on in different boardrooms, living rooms and Marae across our region.

My own personal take home from the evening, was the importance of safe spaces in which people can stand and speak in their/our own truth, and in which to listen; of sitting alongside people who don’t necessarily think or live anything like you do. Unless we’re pushing against the perimeters of our own comfort and understanding, we don’t appear to get anywhere much at all.

I’m not sure where I got this week in all my rounding about, but my tank is certainly fuller than when I started out, and the juice is that much fruitier.  Something like that anyway..
 
Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#40 Co-conspirators

August 3, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

This week I’d like to introduce Gizzy Local’s newest co-conspirator, Alex Andrews. Born and bred here in Tūranganui-a-kiwa, Alex is a year and a half out of Gisborne Girls High.  She had intended on following up her year in Australia with explorations of Europe, which she dreamed of doing by train. But we can all guess at how that might not have panned out and so, all things considered, Alex is pretty happy to be back here, safe, sound, and creating new and different experiences than she otherwise might have.

Alex was drawn to the kaupapa of Gizzy Local and excited by the opportunity to join in some creative shenanigans. With her eye on a digital marketing degree in the future we are stoked to provide a space for Alex to gain some confidence and skills while contributing her own voice to a fledgling but totally real community movement in the place she knows best; her hometown.

It’s only seven weeks to go until the 2020 General Election and as a first-time voter, we thought Alex was an ideal candidate to take our community on the local campaign trail. No jaded, seen-it-all-before, waste-of-time apathy in that smile! Last night Alex dropped her introductory video onto the Gizzy Local social media and we’re looking forward to walking alongside her as she navigates the rite of passage to becoming a voter. 

Providing space for young people (actually any people!) in which to find and express their voice is a huge motivation for us here at Gizzy Local. As our Gizzy Local community continues to grow and diversify, so too does the range of voices and perspectives expressed within our platform need to grow and diversify accordingly.

We’re always on the look out, but often that isn’t enough. So if you know anyone with some skills they’d like to try out, any faces with shiny smiles and hearts that hope, give them a nudge and get them to send us a message or email hello@gizzylocal.com.

Looks like we’ve got a relatively quiet week ahead on the events front, but if you do like to keep abreast of what’s going on, do make sure you check in with the Gizzy Local Events calendar.  Our fabulous Pascale keeps it scrupulously up to date, even if something comes up for the following day, Pascale ensures it gets whatever airtime is left.  It’s an ever moving feast so worth checking in with. Thanks Pascale for keeping us comprehensive!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 
 

#39 Technological difficulties

July 31, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

Mine is an uneasy relationship with technology, and I know I’m not alone. Running a website is one of the deeply ironic facts of my life as I am one hundred percent a one-on-one, in-person kind of gal.

But as we all know technology is an inescapable part of life, and it is up to each and every one of us to fashion our use of it so that it serves us and doesn’t just eat away at the quality of our lives. It’s not easy particularly when it comes to raising kids to do the same.

Gizzy Local as a website and its accompanying social media feels like a bit of an anomaly in this day and age. We don’t seek to reach millions of people, hoping only to strengthen and build connections between our existing real-life community. 

When I set out to start building Gizzy Local with my co-collaborator Tom Teutenberg, one of my driving aims was to alleviate the need for people to be on social media any more than they wanted to. I’d had countless conversations with people who claimed they were only on Facebook to keep in touch with what was going on locally. The grand idea was to create one place that Gizzy locals could go to, to access information they might need to live a good life here and namely, to free up more time to be off-screen and in-life.  The truth is of course that our relationship with social media is much more complex than that. 

At the moment we are spending a lot of time behind the scenes to likewise create a one-stop-shop Online Marketplace for Gisborne businesses. Again, the driving ambition is to free business-owners up from having to spend so much precious time feeding the social media beast, and responding to online queries, and so that consumers don’t have to spend their precious hours chasing simple pieces of information through the warrens of incomplete Facebook pages, review sites and defunct webpages. Again, we aim to achieve this by bringing together all of the important information into one place. 

Next week is Tech Week. My first instinct when I saw the posters was to run. To hide my head back in the sands of my childhood, back before there were computers or even buttons on phones. But of course there is more to tech than meets any eye, and there are a whole heap of people working to harness tech for good, for the well-being of communities, the environment, and for individuals, our planet.

I’ll be making a point of checking out the panel discussion ‘Tech for Good: Power to the People’ featuring two local wāhine Debs Hancock and Renee Raroa, alongside Amber Taylor discussing their shared passion
for empowering communities through tech and sharing data for community and environmental action. 

For a full list of the tech week events nationwide, head to Shanon O’Connor’s Tech Week piece below. If you prefer the in-person approach, even when it comes to tech, the local events are all in the blue events box beneath this.  

There are all sorts of other interesting little bits in that calendar too! I hope you find something in there that piques your interest!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#38 Short Sweet

July 24, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

This Weekly Roundabout is dripping with the rains of Northland. The language and stories filling my head are those of my sisters and brother, my nieces, nephews and my parents. The birdsong in the trees outside is that of my childhood and the smells coming from the kitchen, the same.

Each time I head away on holiday I tell myself that I will find quiet spaces and moments in which to reconnect with Home, with the spirit and happenings of Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa; I assure myself that I will manage to keep up with the rhythms of Gizzy Local and and each time it seems, I prove myself wrong.

And so, this week’s Roundabout is of the short and sweet variety. Find below the details of the coming week’s events and stay tuned for a return to the usual assortment of local goodness next week.  I hope this last week of School Holidays has been a fun one for those others of you who are in that zone, and I look forward to joining you all again soon! 

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 
 

#37 A Circle

July 17, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

This week we have had the great pleasure of sitting back and watching as our very simple intention of Gizzy Local as a space in which we raise up the good stuff of this place, and encourage others to do the same, has  gently snowballed of multiple acts of good will and giving amongst our community.

A couple of weeks ago Cain Kerehoma and Renay Charteris of Kia ora Consulting offered to donate to a Gizzy Local competition in which we asked people to share ‘What embodies Kia ora Tairāwhiti to you? What is it about this place that gives you life?’

The responses were awesome, a succinct little summary of life out here – the people, our beaches, hospitality scene, fresh fish, our long summers and great climate, the thriving waka movement, our yoga scene, the riches of our Moana, fresh produce, and this from Merle Walker “It’s definitely no one thing for life in Te Tairawhiti, it’s all about a bean bag at the Dome, attending local events, neighbours sharing produce, business owners giving you wings, hangman game on fb, community working together through covid, beautiful coastal spots and an open fire burning in the early hours at the Marae.”

Merle won the prize and graciously offered it immediately on to a charity of our choice. Our thoughts went straight to the Eastern Whio Link, who are doing such awesome mahi protecting dwindling numbers of Whio in the Waioeka.  You can find their story below. And so that tidy little circle of good will was completed. Or was it? 

What I notice is that when you really begin to embrace the notion of local, of looking out for and engaging in behaviour and action that is all about the raising up rather than the taking down of each other, those concepts of individualism, of competition; that it’s got to be us OR them, start to reveal themselves as constructs that we can choose to opt out of, very easily in fact, especially once we get started.

We realise that there is enough room for all of us here, whether we’re in the same business, trying to achieve the same goals, meet the same target markets, help the same people, or tap into the same pool of limited resource.. The more we support each other, the more we are in turn each supported, the richer and more inter-connected our lives become.

Gizzy Local is convinced that the more we raise each other up by supporting each other with our wallets, our words and our actions, the less dependent we can be on external forces, which in these times appear to be less and less dependable every day.

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#36 Local Inspirations

July 3, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

As the winter cold has seeped deeper and deeper into my bones this past week, my motivation to tackle the tower of doom that is my To Do list is sucked away with every moment I spend huddling next to the fire attempting to remain focussed yet comfortable.

And so I have spent most of the past week avoiding the energy-sapping cold – fire dichotomy of my working from home scenario, and getting out and about with a bunch of different locals who are digging it in despite the cold, the politics of the day, the crazy year it’s been.. or perhaps in equal measure, because of those things.

I’ve been inspired by a trio of Gisborne Boys High School boys featured below who opted to take a business opportunity and turn it into a not-for-profit enterprise to benefit their community.

I’ve been completely awed by Matawhero Lloyd, Tawera Tahuri and their whanau who are healing the land and their people in Whatatutu with literal blood, sweat and toil and massive dedication, clearing land of invasive Willow, restoring their awa, planting thousands of natives and ultimately saving it from becoming just another vast tract of pine forest.  They are holding a Matariki whanau planting day tomorrow (see the events listings below) and I urge anyone who knows how good it feels to put a tree in the soil to get out there and get amongst their kaupapa. Your bucket will overflow I am sure of it!

Finally last night I had the immense pleasure of taking in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest at Evolution Theatre. It was incredible to step into an almost-full house on such a chilly mid-winter Gisborne evening, famed as we are for our hibernation habits. But even more notable was the show itself. Described as a trivial comedy for serious people, the genius wit of Oscar Wilde delivered so convincingly by an awesome cast had us laughing out loud throughout the performance.

As my friend and I marvelled over the cast’s ability to remember such fast-paced richly-worded dialogue in such extreme Victorian accents, and as I realised that a mother of my daughter’s friends at school was playing one of the main roles, it made me realise again how much there always is to discover about the people we live alongside, how rich everyone’s lives are, if we only scratch the surface.

There is so much passion and talent and grit amongst our people – so much to derive a little heart, strength and solace from, especially when our own energies might be a little on the wintry wane.

Thank you Sun Up Cycle, Marcus and Tawera and Dinna and the Evolution Theatre crew for filling up my depleted bucket this week x
 
Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#35 Kia ora Tairāwhiti

June 26, 2020

At the beginning of the week I experienced one of my customary returns home to the Tairāwhiti from wherever else it is I have been: with a big sigh of relief, and a follow-up period of reflection as to ‘Why the Sigh’.

This time around I found myself feeling gratitude for our diminutive size and came up with #239 on my list of reasons why I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but here:

#239 Tūranga, Gisborne is small enough that you can’t help but brush up against people who think, see, look, talk and experience life differently to you. Small community living doesn’t allow (as much) for the sub-cultures, demarcations or the silos of city life. 

I realise that some people won’t necessarily count this as a positive effect of small town living – I’m sure there are plenty of young Gisborne people who crave for nothing quite so deeply as a narrow little sub-tribe to crawl into as soon as they get the heck out of here. 

But when it comes to thinking about what we need as a community to live well here – to thrive and to heal – I can’t imagine many of us being so foolish as to assume to know what all of those things are for everyone. I suspect a lot of that comes of that recognition of how much diversity exists within our community, as we brush up against each other every day – in our work, on our streets, in our schools, supermarkets, in the water, at the beach, library, pools and playgrounds.

My Reason #239 is the small story behind a competition we’re running this week – starting today – sponsored by Cain & Renay of Kia ora Consulting – a couple of people who spend their lives working with others to live and to be well. Check out our Facebook and Instagram for the competition details – and tell us, what is it about living in Te Tairāwhiti that makes you live well? What embodies ‘Kia ora Tairāwhiti’ for you? Go into the draw to win fifty bucks cash to spend on whatever local goodness you please!

I hope you make the most of this growing events calendar and its ability to provide solace from these chillier & rainier times!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#34 Straight outta lockdown

June 19, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

And just as we were starting to get so comfortable with all of cuddly greetings again, a reminder of how closely those Covid-borne woods still loom. We’re not out of them yet!

This week’s post on Gizzy Local from Trish Tangaroa reminded me that it is not only ‘okay’ to keep calling upon my own learnings of lock down, but that it’s necessary in order to keep moving forward, rather than just returning to that which was and is still broken.

So this week I’ve been mindful to set aside little pockets of time for things other than work (as thoroughly engrossing as it is!) – returning to my garden, neglected since lock down, and making the decision to step outside our region’s borders to accompany a dear friend on a rainy roadie.

We will feel the effects of Lockdown for a long time to come, and looking at the coming events in the Gizzy Local Calendar and noticing what’s emerging across various platforms, different peoples’ responses to that experience are going to continue to feed us for many months and years to come.

One of my personal favourites so far is an immersive audio performance by Coco Solid, which was one of the pieces of work produced for the Pantograph Punch – Artist in Residence series, designed to help with an emotion you might have been feeling during lockdown. Locally I see a new band name in the Dome lineup – ‘Supreme Brother Sound’ are touted as the authentic sounds of the East Coast and are coming ‘Straight Outta Lockdown’ to the Dome with their roots, rock soul, funk and pacific RnB styles on July 11.

I’m excited to see and hear what else comes out over the next while.

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#33 Giving Feedback

June 12, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

What a week here in Gisborne. If nothing else the events of the past couple of weeks have shown us the power of giving feedback.

Feedback is a necessary ingredient in conversation. Without feedback a conversation ceases to be a conversation and it becomes something altogether different – a monologue, a rant, an instruction, diatribe or worse.

The beauty of conversations that happen in person is that feedback occurs naturally through the 93% of our communication that is nonverbal. We demonstrate to each other how we feel about what is being verbalised in the way we hold ourselves and the expressions on our faces.  

When it comes to conversations that need to take place amongst entire communities of people to help inform decisions that affect the way we all get to live our lives, that feedback loop is incredibly important but is one of the most difficult processes to generate, let alone equitably.

Unlike this most recent debacle of the replica Endeavour ships when a decision to NOT consult was very consciously made by a number of our elected councillors, plans for our community are usually put out for consultation amongst the public and with the targeted inclusion of specific groups within our community as a matter of process.

The problem is I think quite simply that for most of us, these processes, whether they are in the guise of surveys, feedback forms, community meetings, or a submission process, are much like foreign places, where the conversation is being held in a foreign language.  

* * * 

If these past weeks have shown us anything, it is that giving a little feedback can be effective. This week a Covid-19 pandemic response and recovery plan was launched for Te Tairāwhiti called Rau Tipu Rau Ora. The regional forum behind the plan (which includes chairs of the local iwi authorities as well as Trust Tairāwhiti, Eastland Group, Eastland Institute of Technology, Hauora Tairāwhiti and GDC) described the plan as a ‘living document’ and have welcomed community feedback on its current contents. 

If you have been following this conversation here in the Weekly Roundabout for a while you will know that Gizzy Local have been putting a fair bit of thought into how we can best use our platform to not only enable our community to understand each other better, but contribute towards a community that self-determines and self-leads their solutions.   

* * * 

As a first practical step in that direction Gizzy Local are pulling together a feedback document on the Recovery plan Rau Tipu Rau Ora and we would like to invite you to contribute.

As a community of people who have spent the last few months talking, thinking and breathing little else than this subject we are deeply interested in the contents of this document and would love to provide the space for you our community to share yourthoughts on the document, and most importantly your ideas about how we should be moving forward after the events of these past few months. 

You can share those thoughts with us on hello@gizzylocal.com. If you’d rather talk in person or over the phone, email us and we can arrange that too. We invite you to communicate with us however feels most comfortable for you. Send us a voice recording or a video if that works, the only thing we’re not quite so proficient in is emoji, but I’m sure we can find some kind of translator if we need it!

If you know of anyone who might like to add their thoughts to the community feedback loop, you can find the Forward and Share buttons at the bottom of this page.

We hope you’re enjoying your return to normal – that events calendar is slowly but surely getting rosier by the day! 

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#32 Giving Voice

June 5, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

It’s one of those weeks when the events of elsewhere eclipse those of one’s own microcosm, or do they?

Our online and real life worlds are dominated by the massive civil unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer last week. Distinctions between here and there become irrelevant as the shortcomings of our own justice system, and even closer to home, the inequities playing out so regularly in our own local politics arena, are highlighted.

As a Pākehā, I’m perpetually nervous of having conversations with people who don’t look like me about colonisation, about white privilege or Te Tiriti o Waitangi.  I want to have these conversations, I want to learn more, I want to understand, I just don’t want to have to open my own mouth. I’m afraid of not knowing enough, I assume that my privilege will have blinded me to layer upon layer of another’s truth, I’m scared I’ll say the wrong thing, strike a bad chord, that the intention behind my words will be lost: I’m afraid of losing face. 

* * *

If there’s one message I’ve been hearing loud and clear this past week is that we need to move beyond our own beliefs about ‘not being racist’ and actually start calling it, where ever and when ever we see it. Most importantly we need to be actively seeking to understand what the mechanics of racism actually are; the complex system of social and political levers that mean that life in our societies is a totally different ball game depending on whether you are Māori or you are Pākehā, Black or White. 

To deepen that understanding we can read articles and essays, of which there are a profusion at the moment, helping us to unpack the many layers of institutional racism and its effects on the peoples those systems have oppressed. But even more importantly I think, we need to be having the uncomfortable conversations ourselves, and not just with other people who look and sound like us. 

The more we keep talking, the more commonality we find in our shared humanity. The more we keep talking the more we can come to a place of understanding, on a personal level, the meanings behind the language of white privilege, structural disadvantage, colonisation and decolonisation. The more different lenses, analogies, personal voices that are given to these words, the more we will come to understand what they mean. 

* * * 

Gizzy Local aspires to be a safe space in which conversations like these can take place; where the medium of story is held with the highest of regard, and the telling of these stories in our own words reigns supreme.  I like to see gizzylocal.com as this online stop over, where local perspectives and stories are gathered and given the respect and awhi they need and deserve before taking flight out into the real world, into real conversations between us, as prompts, as starters, as the things in themselves. 

* * * 

In asking you, the Gizzy Local community, to share your thoughts ideas dreams and opinions with the rest of our community, I am aware of the need to also do this myself; to walk my own talk. On this occasion this requires me to give my own wavering Pākehā voice to the events of this past week, both here and away, to muddle my way through my messy understanding of how we have arrived at this place and to pledge Gizzy Local as a safe local space in which to have these conversations.

Conversations such as these are often issued from the pens and mouths of academics, ‘activists’, politicians; the most articulate, knowledgeable, cohesive or downright loud of communicators. In the media we hear from the extremes of opinion, with not so much in between. For most of us though, these are conversations to muddle through, they are conversations in which we might start by asking questions, and they are conversations in which to listen. We might emerge less certain than when we went in, and we have to believe that’s a good thing.

These are not comfortable times but they are crucial times and the more of us that rise to the challenge, I want to believe they are changing times.

I’d love to hear from you, especially if my clumsy sentiments have made you feel uncomfortable. Tell me about it 🙂

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

“Opting out of a conversation because it makes you uncomfortable is the definition of privilege.”

#31 IRL 

May 29, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,

Many of this week’s conversations seem to have revolved around the two very different ways we are working, conducting events and meetings these days: online from ‘the comfort of your own home’ or its seemingly old-fashioned counterpart, out in the world, kanohi ki te kanohi, face to face, in person.

While some people are enjoying the relative ease of not having to leave their own home, others are questioning the effectiveness of their work process and output as they begin to notice what gets left out when your interactions with other humans become restricted to those you have planned.  A friend yesterday described this perfectly as the all-important ‘cross-pollination’ that occurs when you bump into someone that is not necessarily a part of your immediate team, workplace or family, and she wasn’t referring to the spread of a virus, but rather that of ideas, perspectives and opinions.

***

It’s important to dwell on that idea of what lost and what is gained from the use of one form over the other because it is happening everywhere and at pace. The rationale behind this separation was obviously important to stop the risk of community transmission of Covid-19. But as that necessity eases over time, the reasons for holding onto this new way of conducting our lives requires a bit of scrutiny. 

The case for reducing our carbons emissions is a compelling one and a no-brainer when it comes to flying around the country for meetings that absolutely can and should be conducted using teleconferencing. But it makes me sad to hear that same argument applied to a local situation when it was a mere few weeks ago that we were all such rabid bike riders and walkers.  Two weeks into Level 2 and the Gizzy roads are the busiest anyone has ever seen!

On a positive note, we’re seeing a faster return to events in our calendar than we might have expected, which is undoubtedly due to the number of those that are taking place online. Some online events are seeing higher numbers as people cash in on the ease of tuning into a public talk or a yoga class without having to change out of their tracksuit pants and head out into the cold night, and that’s great! I attended my first ever online meditation class this week and was totally sold on the whole package.

***

There’s no doubt that many of us feel as if our conversational skills aren’t still quite back up to scratch and that’s okay! But let’s go easy on ourselves and keep working at it. I hope we don’t forget how to do the face to face, and that it continues to be something that is held in the highest regard. Relationship, human connection, fellowship ultimately rely upon it;  without those, we have nothing.

On that, I’m looking forward to a return to our Gizzy Locals – In Their Own Words stories that we started at the beginning of Lock Down. I’m just working up the courage to start asking people face to face..ha!  Watch this space and please hold me to account if you don’t see any! 
Enjoy your long weekend wonderful people!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#30 Out & About

May 22, 2020

Kia ora e te Whānau,
How are you going out there? It’s a pretty wild time isn’t it, heading out of our homes into our workplaces, to the shops, schools, bars, cafes and restaurants and finding ourselves face to face with the various layers of life in Level 2.

In some ways it feels like this lovely even playing field, in that we’re all as equally confounded as each other.  No one really know how it works; what the appropriate way of entering a building is, how to order a meal, where to pay, how to pay; and not just because these systems differ from one place to the next, but also because we’re all beginners in this new way!  None of us are any more or less sophisticated than another, as we fumble awkwardly along, with the odd self-conscious giggle through this new way of living outside our own homes.

We’re all having to renegotiate our own personal boundaries, and often on the spot. “Do we hug?” is the new greeting. “Do we not?” I’ve been surprised at how comfortable I am personally with physical distancing; can barely believe I’m one of the people taking the just-conscious step or two backwards as I talk to someone. How easily decades-long habits have been changed almost overnight!

***

At Gizzy Local we’re feeling pretty amped on how the space we have carved out in the Gizzyscape is taking shape, and cannot deny the influence that the events of these past couple of months have had on our emerging direction. 

Our plans for the near future will stay true to our roots, to enable connectedness within our community through gathering useful information in one place, and through storytelling. Our time in isolation really has brought home to us the importance of also supporting our wider local business community, as well as our events community.

We think there’s great value in the ‘Gizzy Local way’, rather than resorting to traditional or even current marketing formulas, we love getting to the heart of things, weaving story and relationship around and amongst a community of people, of businesses, and organisations who know, understand and support each other. 

In today’s edition you’ll find steps in all of these directions:
Our first events calendar in two months (a tiny but sensible start!)
A cool little vid on a brand new local business
A collection of short films by local filmmakers.
A hefty but excellent essay by a Dunedin-based political scientist on potential post-pandemic scenarios.

Enjoy!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#29 Vision vs Dream

May 15, 2020

Last night I dreamt a really happy dream. Upon waking I recalled an overwhelming sense of relief at finally having found a way to describe and share our vision for Gizzy Local. 

Unfortunately, as I dug a little deeper into the fading remnants of the dream, all I found was a Lentil Bun.  All of our hopes and dreams, our purpose, our vision, our WHY encapsulated in a brown-y beige lentil bun. 

I think the most disappointing part of it all is that I have no idea what a ‘lentil bun’ even is.. a lentil burger, yes. A lentil bun, no idea.

Whilst I have already lost many of you, I am sure – talking about one’s dreams is never appropriate in public spaces – I offer it to you here by way of explanation as to what’s been going on lately in the collective Gizzy Local brain. 

Conversations taking place within Gizzy Local lately revolve around questions of our role in our community; where we sit in the evolving ecosystem, and how we can best serve our community. We’ve been asking ourselves how much talking, storytelling and communicating we can stomach before the urge to act – to just do something – takes over. 

We framed up our vision almost a year ago now to provide an online space within which our community can connect with each other and the things that happen here, with the idea that we get to know each other and come to understand each other better.  

We have spent these 10 months gathering and sharing stories, perspectives, ideas and thinking from different voices in our community, and we have steadily built upon a collection of resources to help our community connect with and support, the things that happen here. 

These last couple of months, like everyone else, we have had to change up the way we do things and re-direct our energies to fit the gaps as we’ve perceived them. And during this pause we have realised how much further our vision actually stretches; not only do we want to enable our community to understand each other better, but we want to contribute towards a community that self-determines and self-leads their solutions.  

With yesterday’s Budget announcement and all of the thinking, plotting and planning that has been going on via Zoom amongst many thinkers and do-ers in our community during this ‘pause’, opportunities abound right now for our community to forge a new direction. 

Over the coming weeks Gizzy Local will be looking for your input on how best we can play a part in enabling conversations and information-sharing, as well as access to and participation in, those opportunities.

We are an incredibly small team that currently runs on 1kg of coffee beans/week. If your changed circumstances mean you’ve got a bit of time on your hands, and you know you’ve got some skills to add into our mix, or if you would like to join our illustrious sponsorship board alongside the Far East Coffee Co. please hit the reply button and send me a line. Or just hit the reply button and send me a line anyway, it’s always one of the best parts of a week hearing back from you!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#28 Value of the Venue

May 8, 2020

Kia ora e te whānau,

To those of you that have just joined us this past week, Nau mai, Haere mai. Thank you for joining us!

Usually The Weekly Roundabout is where you’ll find the hottest list of what’s happening in lil’ ol’ Gizzy over the coming weekend and week. 

I remember how, before going into Lock down, that list would often overwhelm me, how to fit in all of the things I wanted to do in that list, as well as get stuff done around the house, get to the Farmers Market, do something fun with the kids AND get in a little chill time? 

That really does feel like a lifetime ago and, reflecting on that now, I wonder how things will look once  Events come back into our lives? Will we show more restraint now that we’ve experienced the simple pleasures that can be found in the quiet life? Or will we return with even more enthusiasm and commitment than before?

How our post-lock down social lives will look depends largely on how our events organisers, musicians, artists, clubs and venues have weathered this storm.

Venues are doubly crucial for a city as isolated as we are: they provide a critical link between us and the outside world through which the cultural currents of the day to reach us and feed us. Without them, we find less reasons or excuses to engage in the act of creation ourselves. 

The internet, our screens, can never replicate the ‘in person’ experience, the palpable energy and buzz of creation in real time and real life.  This is one of the things I myself am most excited about post-isolation, but we still may be a way away from that.

So until then, if you too value what places like Smash Palace and the Dome Cinema and Bar contribute to our cultural life and not to mention, ability to have HEAPS OF FUN, make sure you check out the Boosted Campaigns linked to at the bottom of the page, and contribute in kind.

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#27 Bubbles Burst

May 2, 2020

Kia ora e te whānau,

To those of you that have just joined us this past week, Nau mai, Haere mai. Thank you for joining us.

In ‘normal’ times, a Weekly Roundabout is your guide to events taking place in Gisborne over the coming week, and a quick stop to catch up on any new Gizzy Local content as well as other links we think might be of interest and relevance to Gizzy locals. These past few weeks however, it seems we mostly just talk about ‘Life in these times of Covid’ out here in the Tairāwhiti.

I could apologise for that, but I think that this small pause in the great rumblings of ‘progress’ may just be the best opportunity we ever get as a community to re-frame and re-state what a healthy, resilient and equitable community living in harmony with our landscape looks and feels like. 

If you do think I’m labouring the point, please let me know and I’ll drop you a line when I’ve moved on and you’re safe to open your Weekly Roundabouts again!  Such is our level of commitment to you, our community 🙂

* * * 

So how have these first days out of Level 4 been for you all?

On the face of it, nothing has changed for us in our bubble. Aside from buying dinner last night, our daily lives have remained exactly as they have been for the five weeks before that, unbelievably we haven’t even been to the beach yet. The lock down way of life, lived close to home and with no added extras, seems to have well and truly become our norm.

But despite nothing having changed for us, everything feels suddenly very different and I have found myself in a kind of mourning for Level 4. The road outside our house is no longer the steady cheery stream of people on bike or foot, and our family bike rides beyond our own street are already fraught with the fear that comes with kids on bikes, on roads with cars. 

In just four days of Level 3 the juggle of work and schooling has become more intense and we no longer feel as if we’re doing either of those things properly. I think about our daughters returning to school and wonder how long it would take for this closeness we’re all feeling; our more nuanced understanding of each other and our respective quirks, to get lost again amongst the busy to-ing and fro-ing of life. 

I think about conversations overheard at the supermarket, between men discussing their gym work-outs they have planned for their day, the Rēwena they’re going to bake, and wonder how long those routines will be maintained once everyone is back to the full rush of their 40, 50, 60 hour working weeks.

If there ever was a perfect time for us to start transitioning to a four-day work and school week, this is surely it! An extra day to work in the garden, put a loaf of bread in the oven, go for a walk or a bike ride, spend time with the kids, get around to all those jobs you hadn’t gotten around to until you had to stay at home for five weeks, to sink into the kinds of things that deepen our connections to the earth, to each other and ourselves: the simple stuff that doesn’t require more money but definitely benefits from a little more time.  

As for all the cars back on the road, I’ll leave you here before I get started on car-less days.. But then again, you’re probably all dreaming of those right?!  

I hope you enjoy another simple but fruitful weekend out here in this paradise we get to call home.   
 
Ngā mihi nui,

Sarah

#26 The Locals’ economy is booming!

April 24, 2020

Kia ora Gizzy whanau,

These past weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about local economies. A month ago, our ability to spend money on anything much other than food and the bills was effectively taken away from us. Personally I have loved this aspect of isolation, but it’s a simplistic and short-term view of things, because I know very well how much I’m going to appreciate a coffee made by a barista, or a night out listening to live music when we come out of this again.

Has anyone else noticed the alternative local economy that has arisen in place of the old one and which is positively booming?! Yesterday I dropped some pumpkin soup off to a couple of friends while I was out on a bike ride. When I arrived home my bag was full again, with soup replaced with an origami book and a whole lot of limes. Three weeks ago I unearthed a pair of Doc boots I hadn’t been wearing, dropped them off at a neighbour’s place and a few days later I found some beautiful handmade creations, shallots to get into the garden and swan plant seedlings from the same neighbour in our letterbox.

Everywhere the streets are peppered with boxes of apples and feijoas -it’s not as if this is a more abundant season than usual, but this year we have the time and energy not only to gather their fruit before it rots on the ground or is eaten by wasps and birds, but also to pass it on, whether that’s putting it out on the roadside, letting friends know, or getting it to foodbanks.

* * * 

Aside from one lot of advertising revenue in our early days, Gizzy Local has been living entirely on a currency I’m going to call Local Love. Pre-Covid we had been setting some lofty goals around monetising our mahi but when Covid-19 hit, those goals hightailed it to the furthest horizons of my self-belief. My aspirations to be able to pay people for their Gizzy Local mahi felt yet again like a very distant dream.

When the Far East Coffee Co. came on board earlier this year as Gizzy Local sponsors, we got our first taste of a currency that could sustain other parts of our beings than just the feel good factor – coffee!  And the thing the felt best about our first foray into ‘monetisation’ was that each partner – both GL and Far East – got to set the value of our offerings, with neither of us having to scramble around for anything other than what we were already doing: 

Just as Jo and Steve at Far East know just how much time, labour and energy is required to roast and package a kilogram of coffee beans, Gizzy Local knows what is required to carry out all the different parts of what we do. In our partnership Jo and Steve divert an amount of coffee towards supporting the caffeine habits of the people who bring you Gizzy Local, and we divert an amount of the energy we put towards promoting good stuff in our community to promoting the good stuff that Far East Coffee Co. do.
 
This week businesses around the country are furiously trying to work out how they need to adapt to an evolving situation. We too are thinking long and hard about how Gizzy Local can keep doing what we do into the future. More and more I am interested in participating in an economy that’s aimed at supporting the community consumer and it seems that Gizzy Local is perfectly placed to do just that.

May your days smell and taste of feijoa and apple crumble!
   
Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#25 How are you going?

April 17, 2020

Kia ora Gizzy whanau,

How are you going? It’s an age-old question that after years of serving as little more than a rhetorical greeting, is currently undergoing a resurgence as a legitimate question that demands an honest answer.

Despite the fact that each day in isolation is very similar to the one before it, and the one that is likely to follow, my own response to that question, depends very much on the day and at what point in the timeline of the lock down it has been asked.

For those of us taking note of how we’re feeling, through conversations with friends and whanau, keeping a journal or a running commentary through our social media, it’s interesting to notice how often the way we are feeling about things intersects with others sharing the same isolation timeline. I definitely noticed a perceptible slump in peoples’ spirits around the ‘halfway mark’ of the 4-week lock down, did you?

In this period of isolation I feel as if I’m undergoing an intensive and extended therapy session. The longer I’m alone with my family with nothing else to do but notice things about myself, the way I relate to my kids and my husband, and the ways they relate to each other.. we’re definitely sorting some stuff out!

As a natural introvert, and someone who’s always got a million projects, this period of isolation has been a welcome break from a hectic busy life. But I find the longer we’re in this, the less motivated I am, and the less sure I am about anything. Recently I’ve realised I’m not even sure what I would want do that I can’t do now once we’re allowed out again. Unbelievable.

In these days of isolation, my answer to the question ‘How are you going?’ is often much more detailed than I would ever have allowed for pre-Covid-19.  In the old days, giving an honest answer sometimes almost felt like a subversive act, or worse an act of presumption: Who am I to take up this person’s precious time with the banal details of my existence, or my emotional state?  

Right now though, it seems to me, on many levels, the most important thing we can do. While we are all in this together, how each and every one of us are experiencing this is different. Those differences can highlight the inequities in our system, and alert us to the things that need to be addressed moving forward into the brave new world we face.

It’s a funny old time to be an optimist and I experience extreme discomfort sharing my thoughts each week through the Weekly Roundabout, knowing as I know every day, just how lucky I am. 

But this discomfort is the driver behind this publication, this online space, which we’ve created and continue to hold for our community. Gizzy Local isn’t mine, nor is it that of our contributors. The idea behind Gizzy Local is a growing repository for the many diverse, unique, wise, funny, hopeful, smart, insightful voices of you, the Gizzy locals. So that we may understand each other better, help each other better, and together, work towards a bright and hope-filled future. If you feel brave enough, press reply to this email, and let us know how you are going.

Ngā mihi nui, have a beautiful week in your little slice of this paradise we share.
Sarah 

#24 A moment in time

April 3, 2020

Kia ora Gizzy whanau,

In the microcosm of my home and neighbourhood I feel as if we are getting to live a pretty rich life right now. You can hear the leaves on the trees rustling, the birds chirruping up an aural storm, the neighbours calling out to each other, a distant hum of lawnmowers, and behind that the roar of the sea. We have been blessed by the weather gods this past week or so, which has also really helped with our ability to enjoy this time at home.

The street I live on has been the busiest it gets. With foot and bike traffic, with people keeping more than the required distance physically, but making more connections with their fellow human beings than I suspect they might usually make in a month, or more. 

As people stop to chat with their fellow walkers and bikers and the people out in their gardens – their neighbours – I notice this new openness amongst us. We’re openly joyful and appreciative of the opportunity to connect. It’s as if we have remembered how much we need each other; real people in the flesh, not just behind a screen.

This is a precious moment in time for us New Zealanders staying home to hopefully save our country from the calamity being faced by so many other communities and countries all over the rest of the world. 

With our immediate future so uncertain right now, I think it is important to dwell for this moment on what it is that we do and do not need to live well. What is working for you as you isolate at home? What are the things that you are not just missing, but recognise you need for your well-being that you can’t access right now? What do we know of others in our community and how this time is for them? 

We have been forced into a simpler way of living that is much easier on our planet. The economic system that has determined the way we have been living and which has created so much inequality amongst humans and destruction for our planet, has been ousted as a ‘fragile fiction’ as we are being shown every day more and more, how little it serves us when we actually need it.

If we didn’t have the government we do have at the helm in this time, we may have been facing starkly different circumstances right now. It is hard to imagine any of us will deny the need for a strong and equitable public health system, or a welfare system that activates when our ability to earn an income disappears.

Rather than filling the Lock Down void with Netflix and social media and whatever we can think of to take our minds off the scarier parts of what we’re currently experiencing, let’s give ourselves the opportunity to take pause and think about better ways of moving forward. Our planet is taking advantage of this brief moment in time to breathe, and so should we. 

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#23 Back to the Tribe

March 27, 2020

Kia ora Gizzy whanau,

A few weeks ago Courtenay Waikari wrote a story for Gizzy Local about neighbourhood organisations, which concluded by noting that Covid-19, or the Corona virus as it was called all the way back then(!) provided us with a good reason to get to know our neighbours. 

These last few days, as physical distancing has entrenched itself as our new norm, biking down our road has brought it home to me that we don’t need the excuse of the pandemic to connect with our neighbours – it’s happening naturally with us all just staying at home! The last two weeks my bike rides have been peppered with more waves, smiles and called out hellos than they ever have. This sense that ‘we’re all in this together’ started building before the official catch cry was even coined.

As I delivered Covid-19 support fliers to our neighbours’ letterboxes this week, there were cheery exchanges with nearly a third of the residents on our road, who were out in their gardens; a dad throwing a ball with his son, neighbours conversing from opposite sides of the road, kids hanging around their dad trimming the hedge, a bit of DIY, a mum walking her bub and a background of different households’ music adding to the glorious Sunday-afternoon feel.. Our neighbourhood was alive, and not only that, it was filled with those good vibes that usually portend the onset of summer, not the threat of a pandemic. 

Right now, after four days at home together, this lock down feels like one of the best things that has happened to our family for a long time. We’re rolling in time. Nowhere to be, except here. We’re living in real time, rather than racing our way through our days, and lists of 100 things to tick off on our way to bedtime. We get to linger over conversations, allow them to veer off into pure nonsense; random activities such as handstand competitions enter the fray..  

Of course there is uncertainty about the future, that is universal. But I have the luxury of enjoying this situation because I feel safe. Safe with the decisions being made by our government on our behalf; safe because I am lucky enough to have a safe place to stay; and safe because I believe our families’ mental health is likely to improve rather than worsen under these circumstances. 

There are those amongst us that have an exceptionally idealistic view of times like these; where we have to strip it all back to the basics. I am one of those people. But I realise that my own little bubble is a bubble of privilege. 

Knowing that is one of the big motivations behind the Gizzy Local campaign we’ve got going on Facebook and Instagram. We’re hoping to get people from all walks to share their stories about how they’re going through all of this. This is what we need:

Email hello@gizzylocal.com a photo (of you or what you’re up to) and answer whichever of these questions you feel like answering:

– How are you going, what do you reckon about all of this?
– What are your challenges, your coping mechanisms?
– Do you need support? If so, how can we, your community help you? 
– Are you offering others support? Tell us about it.
– And lastly, are there any silver linings? 

Help our community connect and of course, “Stay Home and Stay Safe”.
Ngā mini nui,
Sarah

#22 Reframing

MARCH 20, 2020

Kia ora e te whanau,

Who wants to be commenting on the current state of affairs this week in this highly saturated media market? Not me, I have to admit. But Gizzy Local has promised a Weekly Roundabout to your inbox today and so.. here we are!

Like everyone else at the moment, the Gizzy Local team are trying to come to grips with this strange new world we have found ourselves in. All of us are trying to keep up with the huge amounts of information coming through to us minute by minute, measuring it up with our own realities, and trying to make decisions about our behaviour, movements and communications for the day, the weeks ahead.

How this looks, what this means for each of us, how easy or difficult these decisions are to make, is of course different for each and everyone of us. 

Gizzy Local’s overriding purpose to encourage and enable connection amongst our community as well as with all of the wonderful things that happen here in the Tairawhiti, suddenly feels rather muddied.

A big Gizzy Local driver has always been to get people to get out of their homes, out from behind their screens and out into the real world to connect with real people, in real time. All of a sudden, that’s no longer appropriate.

So at present we’re undergoing a reframing of our role as community connectors. What does community  wellbeing and connection look like when its not happening in person? I know for a fact that it isn’t sitting in our homes on our phones on a constant trawl between Facebook and all the news sites with intermittent stopovers on Netflix.

I hope that there are going to be some great things that come of this almighty shake up, of the enforced slowing down, of people spending more times in their own families, of people having time to think, to reconnect with simple acts of growing their own food, of making, of cooking, and all the other things that get lost in the manic busy lives so many people live. 

And I am feeling so very lucky to be living out here on the East Coast of Aotearoa. I am feeling so lucky to live in a country led by a government who are leading the world in their response to Covid-19, to looking after our people. 

But even though we are now in this moment at least, ‘in the clear’ when it comes to Covid-19 out here on the East Coast, there are already people, groups and businesses in our community hurting, struggling and scared.  In Gizzy Local’s own immediate community the venues, event organisers and hospitality trade are feeling the crunch big time and we’re feeling for them.

We recognise that Gizzy Local has big potential over the coming months to help our community navigate its way forward inclusively, compassionately and better than we’ve ever done before.

But we absolutely don’t have all the answers. Right now in fact, I’ve got nothing!

At Gizzy Local we have always said that our potency resides in the people who use the resource, who share their voices, ideas and stories through this medium we are co-creating, and so – now more than ever we invite you to share your ideas about how we might make our community stronger over the coming months. Where are the gaps? How might we fill them? What needs can we service using the platform we have created? How can we help our venues, event organisers and other local businesses weather this storm while we’re trying to keep ourselves safe? How can we help our most vulnerable people? 

Gizzy Local has a great readership, a passionate, creative and smart team and big heart. Lend us your ideas and let’s see what we can do together. 

Please share with us your ideas, big or small. hello@gizzylocal.com.
Until next week, take care. 
Sarah 

#21 Local Support

March 13, 2020

Kia ora e te whanau,

This week feels like a huge milestone as we announce Gizzy Local’s first offical partners in crime, or connection rather – the Far East Coffee Co – who have come aboard our waka as our first sponsors. 

It’s heartening to be in cahoots with people who harbour the same aspirations to build community, to lift our hometown; our people and our place, through collaboration and by supporting and celebrating Local where ever we can. Its a refreshing break from the individualistic, competitive model that has wrought so much damage on our people and our earth over the past few decades.

We look forward to building more such mutually beneficial relationships so that together we can create a resilient, connected and fun(!) community that will be a shining light as we forge our into the future!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

#20 Constant Gardeners

March 6, 2020

Kia ora Gizzy whanau and welcome to this week’s update.

Gizzy Local continues to evolve as we keep adding to our offerings, all aimed at keeping you connected with what’s going on out here on the East Coast of Aotearoa, NZ. 

This week we’ve added another section to gizzylocal.com, specifically for the visual arts. Now when you’re on our home page, you’ll see one more in the lineup of the bright yellow buttons, called Exhibitions.

We’re big fans of the arts and big believers in the power of creative expression in people’s daily lives; whatever that expression might look like, whether it’s the way you dress, you’re a mad gardener, genius designer of water feed systems, a midnight poet, songstress to the stars or Barbie doll dresser-upper, builder, joiner, weaver, kitchen whizz or painter.

The act of creation, that feeling of being in our zone, when the rest of the world fades into the background and your whole being is absorbed in whatever it is you are doing, can’t be beaten. An important ingredient in our own creative lives is our ability to access the creative output of others, to inspire us, to provoke response, to get us thinking. I believe this can be even more potent when we get to experience creativity in our own community, to know that this kind of thing is happening in homes, studios, sheds right here around us, sometimes even by people we know, right here in Tūranga, Gisborne.

So we’re stoked to bring a little extra light to the visual arts through this new section of ours. Not only do we have so many talented artists right here in our midst but we also get to experience the work of artists from other parts of the country and the world in person at a world class gallery we’re so lucky to have right here in the middle of our own city, PAULNACHE.

Tonight two new exhibitions of painted works open in two galleries in our small city. Neither of these exhibitions will be up for a great period of time, let’s catch them while we can…see you tonight?!

And let’s not forget the Salty Sirens Women’s Surf Festival kicking off tomorrow with Skate Workshops and the Adventure Film Tour at the Dome, and hitting full flight with a day of awesome stuff including a makers market, live music, food, yoga & of course surfing down at Midway on Sunday. Gizzy Local will be there flogging off our first run of stickers and taking pre-orders for our patches designed by the fabulous Katy Wallace. See you there!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#19 Giving Thanks

February 28, 2020

Kia ora Gizzy whanau,

Welcome to this week’s Roundabout. The word ‘Roundabout’ feels particularly apt this week, having felt dizzy for most of the week attempting to navigate some manner of coherent path despite bung computers, glitches in systems, family sickness and too many things on the list all doing their best to derail my high hopes.

So for the sake of sanity and sobriety(!), I am going to set aside a bunch of exciting bits of news I had intended to share with you today and instead just take a note out of today’s Friday Doey at Taiki E (which for those of our new readers, is the awesome Community Impact House Gizzy Local is based, in Treble Court), which has been earmarked as a Day Of Gratitude.

First and foremost, Gizzy Local wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for my husband Mathew Keyworth. During my six years or so of at home mumming we often had conversations about what I would do when I re-entered the ‘work force’. For a while Matty erred strongly on the side of getting-a-job rather than trying to start something from scratch, and indeed my first step was to get a job. But this is the dream, the compulsion, the belief, that has never gone away – a connected, active and vibrant community, based on understanding, and unity in our diversity. Gizzy Local has been a sacrifice for our family, for Matty – a non-earning mum working full-time within school hours means there’s a fair bit of stuff that comes unstuck, as any family with two working parents knows. Thank you Matty for having my back, giving me the space to pursue this and try to make it work, for forgiving me for always packing my plate too full.

Gizzy Local would likewise be utterly impossible without Tom Teutenberg. Tom has a full time day job, but is the most gracious and enthusiastic co-pilot and whizz bang tech guy I could ever hope to try and build a Gizzy Local with. Tom has to fit Gizzy Local into late nights and weekends, which is also of course a big sacrifice. Thank you Tom for being such a blimmin’ champion – the process is always fun, enjoyable and creative, which is all I could ever ask for. I love your work!

There is one other person, without whom Gizzy Local would by now be a miserable attempt at anything, and that is Pascale Delos. Towards the end of last year Pascale came on board to take over the Gizzy Local Events Calendar. As I mentioned last week, she has almost single-handedly input more than 500 events into the site since that time. Pascale has logged up hours and hours and hours of trawling about in the nooks and crannies of the web to find out what’s happening in Gizzy and bring it into one place, so that the rest of us don’t need to spend our lives doing the trawl! Like the rest of us, Pascale is doing it all for love. Thank you Pascale, you are a superstar. 

Next week, once I’ve made my way through this week’s pile of Life Glitches, we have an announcement in the form of some Big Thanks to some other local superstars; a local business, the inspiring people behind it, who have come on board as Gizzy Local’s first ever sponsors. It is such an important first step towards growing ourselves up into a self-sustaining enterprise. Woop woop! I look forward to sharing that story.

Lastly, I’d like to thank you all for keeping up with our exploits, our attempts to create something wonderful with you our community, for all of us. I believe in our community and I believe we can work together to transform ourselves into a force for our future. 

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#18 Spreading the word

February 21, 2020

Kia ora Gizzy Whanau,
This week the Gizzy Local mission has been to find local champions to help us spread our Gizzy Love.

We’ve got a fairly good idea of who you jokers are – you engaged and active citizens, out n about-ers, arts nuts, events organisers, people who love lists, owners of overflowing calendars, community do-gooders (don’t take that in the wrong way, that’s the ultimate in labels, surely!) folk with fingers on pulses and in many pies!

You guys are the heart and soul of our community, we’re sure of it. We’re so stoked to have your support; we’re so grateful to have something to reflect back to our wider community, a human face to emulate, to transcribe into useful technology, messaging and communications.

Our job now is to make this community resource known to the hundreds and thousands of other people in our community we know could also benefit from having the information we pull together on Gizzy Local at their fingertips.  

Since December 3 we have uploaded precisely 500 new events onto the Gizzy Local calendar. For me this represents a variety of things:
1. So many opportunities for connection, enjoyment, healing, health and entertainment for our community.
2. Really useful intel as to the kinds of skills and knowledge and interests held by our community. 
3. A great resource for event organisers, enabling them to look ahead and choose dates for events without clashing with similar events etc.

If you find value in Gizzy Local, whether it’s through the events calendar, the weekly activity directories or the stories about our people and place, we’d be stoked if you took a moment to spread the word with your friends, colleagues, parents, schools, clubs and other networks. 

If you’d like an info sheet to share within organisations, email us on hello@gizzylocal.com. Or simply share the love on Facebook, Insta and pass around the web address.

We’d love to help you to help others connect with the goodness of Gizzy! Have a great week 🙂

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#17 Removing barriers to connection

February 14, 2020

This week we have been celebrating the arrival of a new button on the front page of Gizzy Local. It’s unimaginatively named Weekly Activities.PDF, but hopefully what it lacks in creativity it makes up for in usefulness for our users.

The idea behind the series of Weekly Activity spreadsheets behind that button, relates directly with the kaupapa of Gizzy Local, which is to enable and encourage connection, both amongst ourselves and with the things that are happening here in Tūranga, Gisborne. 

We’ve created four different sheets to cater to four different areas of interest: 
* The Wellbeing sheet lists things like yoga classes, meditation groups and tai chi sessions.
* The Kids sheet lists activities to cater for parents of babies through to teenagers.
* The Dance, Fitness & Sports sheets has a wide range of activities from Zumba to Crossfit to traditional  sports such as tennis, golf or badminton and a bunch of different dance groups.
* Arts & Community has a crazy range of activities from Mahjong to sustainable gardening to board game groups to life drawing.

The importance of healthy connection amongst us is at the forefront of our minds this week with the Tairāwhiti pine forestry industry having almost ground entirely to a halt and the drought creating such uncertainty in our rural communities. Just as we may know a new parent struggling to adjust with the isolation of being at home with their new baby, have a parent coming to grips with retirement, or a friend in a bit of a slump, we hope that this resource is something that you all share around to enable that very simple but of so important thing of connecting with our fellow human beings. 

The Gizzy Local story this week about two wahine transforming our local arts scene with Mīharo
Gallery started with a powerful act of one woman stepping in to help a fellow mum in need. I am a firm believer in the power of connection, what incredible things can come of making a call, sending a text, asking ‘How are you?’.

Reach out this week, connect, make change & share the Gizzy Local word – Events, weekly activities, stories! We’ve got it all!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#16 The Te Araroa Edition

February 7, 2020

This week’s edition comes to you from Te Araroa. I’m perched up in the lush garden of Twilight, a beautiful little cafe caravan, which offers up truly delicious fare made with the seasonal spray-free fruits and produce of this tropical-feeling garden overlooking the township. Banana palms and Fig trees, bees and butterflies abound.

To look around this lush green, you would never guess that these guys are in the middle of a water crisis, but they are. Locals’ tanks are empty and.. so is my laptop battery as it turns out! 

This week look out for Gizzy Local’s new weekly schedules of classes and activities, which will sit alongside our Events Calendar, bringing you more ways to connect with each other and what’s going on. You may even find a story or two if you’re lucky..we’re getting there 2020, truly we are!

Nga mihi,
Sarah

#15 Moving into Action

January 31, 2020

This week I returned from almost three weeks in the South Island, which had followed closely on the heels of a couple of weeks up in Northland and my, it’s good to be home!

I have returned home to Tūranga Gisborne with that fire in my belly. An urge that only seems to strengthen when I stray from this place, to keep finding ways to enable connection and action amongst our community – to give space to the different voices, ideas and stories that make up our community, in order to create more understanding amongst ourselves.  So that in turn we may continue to grow ourselves into a resilient community of people who can face our changing future together with courage. 

The impetus for change is all around us and there are so many people, from all walks of life, taking up the challenge in myriad different ways, individually and collectively. 2020 really does feel like the year that people realise that they can no longer hide behind their fear of sounding like a fear mongerer, ‘too negative’ or just a Debby Downer. This is the year in which we are all being called to courage and to action. 

And so it is that Gizzy Local is very grateful to have found itself a sympathetic and symbiotic home outside of its web address and social media accounts, in a corner of funny old Treble Court, an abode filled with a bunch of real life people also happily afflicted with fire in belly tendencies; an abode called Tāiki e.

Tāiki E describes itself as Tairāwhiti’s first impact house, a collaborative space with a shared agenda for social and environmental action. The idea is to kickstart a local aroha ecomony.  For those of us sharing the space this means making a decision to stop waiting for all of the components often thought of as necessary to create action or ‘impact’ (like funding for example) to eventually fall into place, and to instead create an environment which welcomes the ideas, knowledge, passion and can-do of others; a space in which we throw in our respective skills, knowledge and passion to get stuff done. Stuff, projects, activities, things, which might address climate change, social justice, the meth crisis, mental health or the housing shortage for example.

Just as Gizzy Local was founded upon the premise that we don’t need to look elsewhere for inspiration, ideas, knowledge, epic storytellers or beauty, Tāiki E is based on the knowledge that we the people here in the Tāirawhiti have all the skills, knowledge, energy and ideas to make change ourselves. 

As I began preparing for this edition at the end of my first full day actually sitting at my computer in Tāiki e yesterday I realised I was sharing the room with the organisers of two of today’s events, both of which have been created in order to bring you – people in our community – together to do cool stuff in, with and for our community.

Check ’em out.. there’s a Friday Do-ey at Tāiki E all day today, and the Turanga Action Hui down where the Waikanae Stream meets Grey Street from 6pm.    

I look forward to sharing some of the awesome stories coming out of this space, as well as seeing you there..now you know where we’re at and where to go if you’re of a mind to get stuff done – don’t be shy! 

Haramai te toki, Haumi e, Hui e, Tāiki e!

Sarah 

#13 New Year’s Resolutions

January 10, 2020

This has long been my favourite time of the year and it has nothing to do with the festivities, the holiday season or the changeable weather. It has everythingto do with New Year’s Resolutions.

I love my annual practice of dwelling on the year past, evaluating, taking stock and then launching into the dreaming, plotting and planning phase for the next one. In years gone by this has mostly taken place prone on beaches, my head firmly rested on folded arms, eyes shut to the world. Every so often I would take pleasure in lining up all the random scraps of paper that spoke of the different locations, holidays, diaries and journals of each year’s Resolution Making Phase, and evaluate them for signs of evolution, to retrospectively plot fated pathways and to check for recurring themes. 

This year precisely zero percent of the process has taken place lying face down on a beach, but between hanging with the extended whanau, packing for our next adventure and some micro-adventuring on rafts in the gorge(!) I have finally settled upon my resolutions for 2020.

A good half of my resolutions were based on Gizzy Local, which I’ll share with you here – do not fear, I will spare you the personal ones. 

1. This year you will all get to experience Gizzy Local evolving into a more sophisticated, content-rich and user-friendly version of itself.
– Tom is already ticking away at the third version of our event calendar since we started Gizzy Local six months ago, which will be speedier, more user-friendly and will have a number of additional handy-as features.
– Gizzy Local content will be separated out into different sections, headed by a diverse bunch of local contributors – magazine-styles.
– Gizzy Local will have a section dedicated to activities that occur on a weekly basis, from yoga and meditation classes to bellydancing, from community gardening to mountain bike rides, separate to the events calendar.
– Gizzy Local will have a Gallery section to keep up with the different shows going on across the city at any time.

2. Gizzy Local will continue to grow as a supportive and diverse community of contributors, which encourages and enables people to ‘out’ themselves as thinkers and creatives, and which adds to the collective voice, well being and wealth of our wider community, of Tūranga, Gisborne.

3. Gizzy Local will become an employer, focused on lifting the capacity of our growing community of contributors, and enabling them to contribute in ways that works for them; their wellbeing, their families and chosen lifestyles.
 
Those are them! And while there hasn’t been much published output from Gizzy Local these past few weeks, there is a very tangible energy gathering around this idea of a co-created community space and all sorts of rustlings have been going on behind the scenes, which you will start seeing evidence of over the coming weeks. The Resolutions are already taking on a life of their own, as they are wont to do! 

Returning to Number 3. on the resolution list, I’m off to the South Island for the remainder of our school holidays, so you won’t hear much from me over the next little while. You will however be hearing much more of some other voices, which has of course been the point all along…!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#12 Unwinding the Whirlwind

January 3, 2020

Happy New Year you beauties. 

By the end of 2019 the heads of the Gizzy Local team were spinning with so many ideas, stories and plans for the future. It had all started to feel a little crazy to be honest. The last couple of weeks have quite successfully unwound most of that whirlwind; have in fact brought almost a total halt in most of the proceedings. Rather than feeling bad about the lack of holiday output though, we’re going to set our sights on a gentle return to the momentum of 2019, aiming for the clarity of 20/20 vision that is already all the rage this year…here’s hoping anyway!

Here is another round up of what’s going on around these parts this next week. Today just fresh up on the site (it’s been a while!) is a piece from Gizzy Local’s newest contributor Courtenay Waikari. She probably doesn’t need much in the way of an introduction – as many of you will know Courtenay ran for local council in the 2019 Local Body elections for Gisborne. While Courtenay wasn’t elected this time around, she realised that she wanted to keep the conversation about Climate Change alive here in the Tairawhiti and moreover, get her community involved in acting upon it. 

Gizzy Local and Courtenay share very similar goals around engaging our community to create a better place for all of us, now and into the future. We are so rapt to have Courtenay aboard as the Kaitiaki of our Kaitiakitanga Section. She will be bringing together the ideas, stories, conversations and actions that relate to the ecosystem of our community, from mental wellness to Climate Change. This awesome wahine is of this place, she is passionate, speaks in language that we can all understand and perhaps most importantly, she means action. Welcome Courtenay, we are honoured to have you aboard our waka and excited to play our part in the movement you are driving for Gisborne to be a Climate Action City.

Check out her first piece for Gizzy Local here where she introduces the concept of a Climate Action City, with its three foundational pillars of Taiao – The Natural World; Ohanga – The Economy and; He Tangata – The People.

Hoping this finds you too very much still in holiday mode, even if it’s just for another few days..

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#11 Briefly

December 27, 2019

Kia ora, e te whānau,

Welcome to the Other Side of Christmas and the gloriously relaxing slope to a new year! This is where we really start slipping into cruise mode isn’t it. I’m writing this from the sun splashed confines of my sister and brother in law’s Lilliput Caravan on our last day of the North.

It would feel entirely inappropriate to attempt any more than a lazy and slightly mumbled congratulations for making it through the last few days and some very warm wishes for these last days of 2019 and indeed the decade.  So without further ado, I will leave you to dip into the list of the last few Gizzy events of the year below.

Very special thanks to Pascale who has been keeping the Gizzy Local calendar up-to-date and in a very fabulous state as the rest of us have slipped deeper and ever deeper into holiday mode and associated inactivity. 

Enjoy! We’ll see you back in 2020!

Sarah

#10 Reconnecting with the past

December 20, 2019

Kia ora, e te whānau,

This edition of The Weekly comes to you from my hometown, Whangarei. Using that word ‘hometown’ in reference to someplace other than Gisborne, elicits pangs of guilt. It takes all of my willpower to not delete it, (in fact I have deleted and rewritten it three times). 

But it is thanks to what has been going on chosen hometown of Tūranga, Gisborne this past year or so, that this trip home I am approaching things a little differently. In the twenty four years I have been returning to Whangarei since leaving at the end of school, I have without fail, spent the entirety of each visit with my family, with the very occasional catch up with an old school friend or afternoon at a favourite beach, squeezed in as an afterthought. 

If I was to pick out a theme of 2019 for myself, it would be the realisation of my almost total disconnection from my past, my ancestry and my own personal history, including that which still lives on up here in the North. When I rounded the East Coast fourteen years ago I fell deeply and utterly in love with a place that felt like home and I haven’t looked back since. 

This trip home is panning out a little differently and I attribute that entirely to the conversations started this year by the Tuia 250 ki Tūranga folk, the Tairawhiti Arts Festival crew and which have continued ever since, with friends, family and strangers alike.

This time I am making some space to reconnect with my whenua up here in Whangarei; I’m making a conscious decision to discover the place that Whangarei has become since I’ve been gone. This involves a setting aside of the preconceptions of my youth and the adoption of an openness and a willingness to be surprised and to learn, which I suspect I’ve always had in spades for every other place I’ve visited other than this one.

One full day in and this already feels like a new place to me. Yesterday I allowed myself the luxury of wandering; my camera clicked away like crazy and I walked away from conversations heady with hope, filled to the brim with the energy of people buzzing on this place. 

It’s not always easy to truly see your hometown, whether its your birthplace, your whenua or your adopted one. And while through Gizzy Local we set out to shine the lights on the taonga of our place; the gems, rough or finely polished; we too can become stuck in patterns of seeing that render us blind to certain aspects. 

This week we launched a #gizzylocal campaign on Instagram. A camera can be a useful tool in helping us turn on our seeing eyes. If many eyes are honed in on that which embodies sense of place for them, and this is shared among us, this might in turn open each of us up to different ways of seeing, and of discovering the different hues of gold, hidden or not, around the place.

So tag your Gizzy pics #gizzylocal, or if you’re not on Instagram, send them on through to hello@gizzylocal.com. We’ll post our favourites and hopefully we’ll all discover new layers or corners of this place we call our hometown!  If you’re in your other hometown this festive season, I hope you enjoy doing the same 🙂

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas & much in the way of cheery festive cheer,

Sarah 

P.S. We’ll be back next Friday with an appropriately (even more) pared back version of the Weekly Roundabout.

#9 Small Town Living

December 13, 2019

Kia ora, e te whānau,

I have well and truly arrived at this point in time. The last half day of school, less than two weeks ’til Christmas, and my head and heart are a messy fray of all the loose ends calling out to be tied, all of the preparations needing to be made for my annual trek northward and the voices and bodies of all the weary humans around me, ready to just stop and be, rather than doing all this stuff that may or may not actually need doing after all.

I had this editorial written on Monday(!) in preparation for how I might be feeling by today. It talked of the excitement of heading out of Gizzy to the new sights, different faces, different perspectives and lifestyles of the people in places other than here. I got all ahead of myself and started anticipating that exquisite sense of calm, of relief, of return and belonging that always hits me like a massive combined surf/meditation/yoga/post-session beer might, as we’ve finally passed the last of the cities – Tauranga and its associated suburb towns – and we hit the coast heading through the Pohutukawa Tree Tunnels to Whakatāne and Opotiki.

My editorial waxed lyrical about small town living because that’s the thing I always come home brimming with appreciation for after spending time in bigger places. After this week’s tragedy on Whakaari/White Island off the coast of Whakatāne however, all of that felt rather glib and one-dimensional.

All of the great things that can come of living in a small town – of knowing each other, of closeness to whatever is going on and our ability to get involved with it – are of course the very things that make events like this week’s happenings in a small tight-knit community all the more real and lasting for that community. 

So at the end of this week, we’re thinking of our nearby cousins in Whakatāne, another beautiful cruisy coastal small town much like ours, hoping for a safe recovery operation today and the long-term healing of all the kinds of wounds that might come of something like this.

E ngau kino nei te aroha,
Sarah 

#8 Becoming Local

December 6, 2019

Kia ora, e te whānau,
At Gizzy Local we continue to widen our horizons, with new awesome people coming onboard and our range of offerings expanding out into new directions. With all of this activity, I have this week been reflecting on the word ‘local’ and our reasoning behind our name ‘Gizzy Local’. 

We have three new sections in the pipeline. One is dedicated to what’s happening in the local Visual Arts arena, one is for Activities and Classes that take place on a regular basis and the last one is an Eating and Drinking guide to Gizzy. It is this last inclusion that has given me pause as it is somewhat of a departure from our core business of keeping our community connected with ‘what’s happening’ around here.

Whilst one could probably argue that keeping up with the comings and goings of eating and drinking establishments in the current climate qualifies as ‘what’s happening’, the point of departure is really that such a feature broadens the appeal of Gizzy Local to an out of town audience. When we first started Gizzy Local we were unashamedly for “the people who live here and love here” and all of our energy has been focused on creating a resource to enable connection amongst our community; a guide by locals, for locals. 

My own favourite places to visit away from home are those in which there is this strong sense of things bubbling away, people doing amazing things beyond the doors that open onto the street; it drives my urge to explore a place, to scratch beneath the surface, meet the locals and engage.. The kinds of places that appear to have been created for tourists with rafts of experiences clearly created for visitors, including a very specific kind of retail experience, hold no appeal; there’s no sense of spirit, soul or character; they feel empty to me.

I am not against tourism, nor am I a rabid ‘locals only’ advocate. In fact I think of the word ‘local’ more as a state of mind than a status to be achieved by living in a place for a certain period of time – but I would say that wouldn’t I, I’m not from here..

But I believe it is hugely valuable to have a community made up of people who consider themselves to be local. For me the word local implies investment in a place and its community; it implies a sense of belonging or an aspiration to belong and it’s existence or not determines how a person lives in a place. 

Gizzy Local aspires to create a community of locals. People who are connected to each other and what’s going on, who care about each other and what happens in this place.  It’s useful to remember that in every person that visits Tūranga, Gisborne there also resides a potential local. Those of us that were once visitors to this place might remember that moment we connected so strongly to this place, a person, the vibe, the landscape, an experience, a job, that we decided that this was or might be our home.

One such local brings us our story of the week ‘Becoming Local’ by one of our new contributors, Katherine Evett. Katherine visited Gisborne four years ago and decided to stay. She is a great example, illustrated beautifully by her story, of how ‘local’ can be embodied by an intention. That intention to engage and connect brings an awesome depth to her life here in Te Tairāwhiti and I have no doubt, to the lives of the people that she touches around her. Welcome to Gizzy Local Katherine, we love your mahi!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#7 A path to connection

November 29, 2019

Kia ora, e te whānau,


It’s been a week of making connections with awesome people, planning and the flinging around of ideas for Gizzy Local, amidst increasingly harried attempts to catch life up with the dates showing on my calendar.  

In between times I’ve had a few weeding sessions on Barker’s Hill, either full noise with my daughters or enjoying a spot of quiet with our dog Misi Tero. As I’ve pulled weeds, from the tiny to the almost impossible, small details of the surrounds have entered my vision and my imagination; I’ve ruminated or not thought at all, I’ve gotten a few scratches, exchanged the odd holler, the occasional conversation (one through the window of a Dawson Building Co’s van leading to the amazing effort of a certain Barker’s Hill resident and his trusty grubber) and I’ve enjoyed the glide back down the hill on my bike.  The most lovely thing of all though has been the perceptible deepening in the connection I have with my neighbourhood. I hope it has had that same effect for you other guerrilla weeders! 

As Christmas looms, so conversations have turned to the thing itself and the beast it has become – of consumption and expectations – and of the emotional rollercoaster the day unleashes on many.   It seems to be that there’s there growing urge amongst certain generations to disrupt Christmas, but its not an easy issue to tackle. Not when it involves so many layers of family dynamics, multiple generations and the romance and nostalgia of ritual and tradition. 

An article up on Gizzy Local this week looks at the way in which local makers and markets can provide a solution to this quandary many of us find ourselves in at this time of year as well as some other alternative ideas around de-consumerising and de-plasticising our Christmas celebrations. This weekend there are no one but a few opportunities to support local makers – our local economy – whilst also fulfilling that actually very lovely act of giving – one of the best parts of Christmas. Check them out below. 

As for all of the connection-making over cups of coffee this past week, I’m looking very much forward to introducing a pretty magnificent array of new contributors to the Gizzy Local community over the coming few weeks. As always, these are exciting times ahead!

Enjoy this bonanza of a weekend!

Ngā mini nui,
Sarah 

#6 Spring Growth

November 22, 2019

Kia ora, e te whānau,

Somehow the end of the year has completely taken me by surprise this year. I have no idea how though when all of the warning signs have been there. The annual precursors, Show Weekend and Labour Weekend, followed by the flurry of end of year school events – athletics days and this week, the Turanganui Kapa Haka Festival, always an experience to warm the cockles of a heart, a week of song and story to connect by. 

Walking around town at this time of year is always another dead giveaway that summer, holiday and visitor season is upon us. Come October, previously empty shop front windows are covered with lengths of brown paper and by the end of November there’s all of a sudden a handful of new shops/cafes/pop ups scattered around the town, buoyed by the prospect of summer crowds and visitor dollars.

This year this annual phenomenon feels amplified however. As pointed out by a (Gizzy born and bred but now city-dwelling) friend recently back home for the weekend – Gizzy is pumping at the moment! 

In conversation about this very thing last night, the analogy of Spring Growth was pulled out and held aloft victoriously for me, like a giant stem of Dock, tap roots and all.  At the moment everything’s going nuts out there..the flowers, the veggies, the fruit trees, grass and weeds and, those weeds aside, that growth is exciting, encouraging and heartening just like the growth we’re experiencing in our city at the moment.

But just as in our garden we’re keeping an eye on the bits that are important to us; making sure the spinach that’s gone to seed and one and a half metres high isn’t squashing your tomato seedlings, these ‘boom’ times are also times in which to remember and stay strong to the values most important to us as a community. These are times in which we need to hold our sense of self, of who we are as a community up high, and pick out the important limbs to which this growth and energy should be channelled. It is a time to remember that not everyone benefits from times of growth, and like the fledgling seedlings, we need to keep an eye out for them.

Over the coming weeks Gizzy Local will be shining more lights on more locals doing more cool stuff, some of it new, some of it so much a part of our lives or our landscapes we may not even see it anymore. These are exciting times in which to celebrate the Spring Growth, and to reflect on how to best channel it.

One more week to go on the Barker’s Hill guerrilla weeding campaign. The weed piles are growing, but the weeds in the ground are still winning! Get amongst and, enjoy!

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah 

#5 Whanaungatanga

November 15, 2019

Kia ora, e te whānau,

This past week musings around the way we humans organise ourselves; in our work, in our communities and in our change-making endeavours, have dominated the collective Gizzy Local brain.   

While the status quo probably remains mostly unchanged for many workplaces in Gisborne, things are definitely changing elsewhere in the world. With the nature and scale of the challenges we’re facing, traditional hierarchical models of organisation are more and more being recognised as the ineffectual dinosaurs they are; inherently slow to respond to change and to innovate, they’re not keeping up. (Sorry dinosaurs).

The shift is towards flatter structures, which are more ‘agile’, better for information sharing and embracing innovation and are better placed to respond quickly and fluidly to that which comes their way. Pulling together a band of thinkers and doers for an enterprise such as Gizzy Local inherently takes on this flatter structure. When there’s nobody being paid to tell other people what to do, and people aren’t been paid to be told what to do, everything becomes much more nuanced.

Time hasto be invested in relationships and in fact, the mahi is the fostering of connection, of relationship;  without them, there is no output, there is no mahi. Connection is the investment and it is the reward. When talking to people who volunteer there is often this expression of fulfilment and satisfaction that undoubtedly comes of working on things that they believe in, but it probably too reflects organisational dynamics based on respect and relationship that come in lieu of the pay packet.    

I’ve been reminding myself of these things a lot lately as we continue to forge ahead with creating a safe and dynamic online space for our people and place, a place where the focus is on building community awesomeness, connection and action rather than profits. I’m far from comfortable asking people to ‘jump aboard!’ to contribute without the conventional reward of a pay check but I’m learning a lot about whanaungatanga, am relishing the connections, and lapping up the passion that so many of you have for our community and this place. 

So whilst sometimes things can feel a little slower, a little less ‘productive’ than it could be, these feel like solid foundations we are building that will hold true and fast even in the face of the pay checks, which surely one day will come 😉 

Enjoy your weekend – there’s a lot to get amongst! 
Ngā mihi nui, Sarah

Word of the Week: 

WHANAUNGATANGA

1. (noun) relationship, kinship, sense of family connection – a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging [..] It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship.

#4 More trees please

November 8, 2019

Kia ora whanau and welcome to summer – I guess?!

Usually the onset of summer sun leads us to water for both its hydrating and cooling properties, although last summer I remember the ocean felt rather more like a bath than a cool down at times.. These days I find myself dreaming just as much of trees as water as the heat rises, or rather, feeling desolate at the lack of them.

I remember that when I first arrived in the Tairawhiti (I am now ashamed to say), I totally fell for the bare barren landscape. Having grown up in Northland with its pohutukawa-clad bays and frequent pockets of bush this ability to perceive the shape, the curvature of the land so utterly was new to me.  I was fascinated with the hills, every curve and hollow traceable with a finger, the grass that would fade to blonde every summer, stark against blue skies, the windswept trees marking the prevailing winds on the hills of Makorori, the white cliffs of Te Kurī-a-Pāoa, of Uawa and Tokomaru Bay.

After a couple of years of living here though the reality behind this ‘exotic’ landscape began to sink in. After the romantic poems were written and the photographs taken, the lack of solace of a shady spot on the beach becomes a daily reality. The slips that close roads, that threaten people’s homes and livelihoods, the slash, the flooding..the realisation that if you want to immerse yourself in bush, you’ve got about two options, and if you want to go for a bush walk, you’ll be done in 20 minutes.. 

And so I’ve spent most of the past 15 years dreaming about trees and how we can get more of them around here. And while yesterday the Zero Carbon Bill passed its third reading, as a piece of legislature built on compromise, with carbon budgets that won’t be legally binding amidst many other shortcomings, it feels naive to get excited about it.  Just as other schemes purportedly trying to achieve positive outcomes for our environment inevitably become watered down versions that may well do as much harm as good, the One Billion Trees Programme being a case in point, and a recent Landcare Research study reported on here shows that ecologically significant vegetation and habitat on private land is being lost at a rate comparable to pre-1840 deforestation. It can be difficult to maintain optimism in the face of all of these scarred hills, walls of pine, beaches of slash, and inadequate legislature.

As always though the solution to flagging faith is to think local, however small may be. So keep an eye out for tree planting days, get involved in groups who are doing the mahi, sign the petitions, make the submissions, and whenever you can, enjoy the simple but these days almost radical act of planting a tree of your own.  

Lastly, a big thanks for the support we’ve received from the bunch of creative community-minded thinkers and do-ers who have made contact with us over the last two weeks, Gizzy Local is looking to some exciting times ahead! 

Ngā mihi nui, Sarah

#3 Spring Cleaning

November 1, 2019

Kia ora whanau! 

After our first camp up the coast, and yes the first swim of the season over Labour Weekend, I have taken this week off ‘Gizzy Local Business As Usual’ and have dedicated myself to a bit of a Gizzy Local Spring Clean instead – that is a metaphorical spring clean by the way, my keyboard is still filthy, my screen smeary, the recycle bin still overflows and the state of my house…well Gizzy Local has a lot to answer for these past few months, I can tell you!

Four months into the Gizzy Local story feels like a good time to take a step back and with eyes narrowed against the light, to take a good look at this online home we’ve been co-creating with and for our community ‘the online version of your favourite pub, the smoko room, school gate, farmer’s market and your weekly catch up with Aunty on the phone’ as we described our vision for Gizzy Local when we launched at the end of June.

Over the past few years I’ve thought a lot about how we’re working as a society, on an individual and whanau level, and how this life of 9-5 (and usually more), this perpetual state of ‘SO busy’ we live in, has a lot to answer for when it comes to the abysmal state of our population’s mental/physical health as well as our planet.

I’ve often thought about how, if we were all working less then we’d have more time with which to tend to ourselves, our families, our communities, and by extension, our planet..work less, live better. And while its a ridiculously idealistic notion with so many of our people living on the poverty line, I have spent many hours dreaming of a life in which  

We’d be spending more time with our children, not just nagging at them to get ready for the next thing in the back to back schedules of our days; and the savings we might make on childcare.
We’d have more time to grow more of our own food, to get that nourishment we know comes from having our hands in the dirt, just the simple act of spending time outside in nature. 
We’d have more time to make more of our food, wouldn’t have to rely so much on the convenient versions that only come in plastic, with their generous helpings of 220, 320 and other tasty numbers.

Of course you couldn’t afford to buy as much stuff, which would also be really great. We need to buy less stuff.
We’d have more time to source the things we need secondhand, we’d have more time to learn how to repair things and to make things, we’d have more time to experience the nothing-else-quite-like-it satisfaction of doing so.
We’d have more time to be mindful over our rubbish and to sort our recycling beautifully every time, rather than be that mad woman, kerbside in her dressing gown swearing at the encrusted baked bean tin leering from the bottom of the bin as the truck grumbles ominously down the street. 
We’d have more time to give to our community, our friends; to build relationships and grow ideas to take us beyond this crazy treadmill we’re so many of us on, this being busy, this feeding of a broken system.
We’d have more time to grow trees and find places to plant them.
 
Turanga, Gisborne just doesn’t feel like the kind of place that we should need to be so busy. So often I ask myself, how is it, that even here all the way out here out east, are we all so busy?

All of these considerations preceded the building of the Gizzy Local house, which was hastily constructed over six weeks or so earlier this year, and upon which I’ve this week being inflicting a little Spring Cleaning. It is ironic to say the least that I find myself very busy – too busy – these days. And so the time has come to transform Gizzy Local from this lil’ shack, built and maintained on labours of love, to a structure which can sustain itself, which can pay its way going forward, and will survive periods of extreme busy-ness like the month just gone, regular occurrences like school holidays and wonderfully mad Gizzy summers.

We’re looking for people who are inspired by our kaupapa to join the kaupapa. If you have marketing/sponsorship/advertising skills to add to the mix, or have other ideas as to how you might add to the Gizzy Local goodness, whether you’ve got stories to share, or creative skills to add to the mix.. please get in touch. We’re hanging out here ready to listen on hello@gizzylocal.com. 

Also as a result of this week’s clean up we have decided to Marie Kondo our calendar – soon all weekly classes and activities will have their own separate printable .pdfs (to be updated quarterly), thereby uncluttering the main calendar.  

Anyway, enough talk of Spring cleaning and spending too much time indoors on computers, I’m out! Enjoy.
Ngā mihi nui, Sarah

#2 Big October Weekends

October 25, 2019

Kia ora whanau, Here we are on the cusp of another of Gisborne’s most celebrated weekends, Labour Weekend. Gizzy has long been famed as a sunny, fun and let’s be honest, boozy destination for the long weekend that spells for many of us the first flush of summer. Right on cue, the first load of strawberries arrived at Village Berries this week, and while the kids have already had a couple of splashes in the sea, I’m saving up for my (often theoretical) annual Labour Weekend ‘first dip of the season’.

As seems to be the way these days in te Tairawhiti, there’s plenty more in the mix than just wine and food on offer this weekend – though there are some pretty fabulous-looking options in that department too! Dragtober is one event really taking that ‘mix’ to another level this weekend.

Diamond Belle Productions is a collaboration of visual and performing artists who have taken advantage of the exceedingly creative vibration these past few weeks to launch their production company, which aims to serve up some alternative entertainment to the Gizzy peeps, with a specialisation in Drag. Their interactive show is a combination of performance, hosting, party, witty banter and shade that only Queens can get away with.

Izzy Te Rauna and Nikorima Thatcher had been discussing this type of venture a couple of years ago but when their gay nephew was beaten earlier this year, Nikorima was encouraged by family members to start performing again. With that kind of impetus and whanau support, the pair gathered up their courage and decided that the time had come to shake up the town, to give Gizzy the opportunity to ‘taste the rainbow’.

With hopes of creating a platform for people to come out and be celebrated, the company is on the lookout for new talent in all areas, on and off the stage. As always, it is the story that sits behind a thing, which makes the thing into something else, something much more than just another thing going on this Saturday night. For the stories, I am so grateful, they are our connection to life and to each other.

Enjoy your weekend in the sun!

Ngā mihi nui, Sarah

#1 First Edition

October 18, 2019

Kia ora whanau!

Welcome to the first edition of Gizzy Local’s Weekly Roundabout. Each week we’ll be compiling a tidy little ’round up’ of what’s going on locally over the coming week and in the near future, to enable a bit of forward planning – if that’s your jam.

You’ll find links to the latest Gizzy Local content as well as to other bits and pieces we come across in our travels that we think is worth a look or listen.

When choosing this segment name we thought we’d avoid any reference to broad spectrum herbicides and give an appreciative nod instead to Gizzy’s preferred form of roading infrastructure, the ubiquitous roundabout.

Whereas traffic lights are the dictators, I see roundabouts as the enablers. The traffic light often seems to be utterly indifferent to the ebbs and flows of the life it is supposed to be directing. But at a roundabout we are allowed our autonomy; and as we sit there at the ready, waiting for our moment, there is this inkling of hope that all of us roundabout participants might simultaneously find our flow state and come out of this roundabout experience and into the next one exactly when and as we were always destined to…

And whilst that often means a few minutes late in Gisborne, I have been totally impressed at how we have rallied our perpetually late selves and shown up in force and in great spirit to the incredible happenings of the past two weeks, put together for us by the hardworking people behind Tuia 250 ki Turanga and Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival.

I myself feel like a different person to who I was two weeks ago. It’s been fairly gruelling on an emotional level; I have had so many conversations that I’ve never had with anyone before, let alone with people I’ve never met before, as we have sat alongside each other taking in so many stories and voices in so many different forms. I’ve cried so many tears and have often woken tired as the stories I’ve absorbed by day have found their way into my dreams at night.

And whilst there have also been many huge swellings of joy in the mix, the lazy part of me is looking forward to ‘this all being over’ so I can just hide away in my garden and not be crying in public and experiencing sometimes uncomfortable emotions.. but I don’t think that is a particularly realistic hope for myself or our wider community for a number of reasons:

A) This, as we all know, is just the beginning. Here we are arrived at SHOW WEEKEND! which is followed by Labour Weekend, which is followed by Summer…

B) I suspect that just as I feel like a different person to who I was two weeks ago, so too does our community feel changed by this experience. I believe we have shown the way for the rest of our country as to how we can keep moving together towards a better future for all of us, together.

C) I reckon Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival has been the coolest thing that’s happened for, to and by our community for a long time, and it is surely here to stay.

Anyway, I hope you find some value in this here edition of The Weekly Roundabout.

Please drop us a line if you have any thoughts for us! Have a cracker of a weekend whether you’re at the A&P Show, catching the last of The Festival or any of the other cool stuff going on around here (See below for details).

And don’t forget to stop and smell the last of the Spring blossoms while you’re out and about 🙂

Ngā mihi nui,
Sarah

THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF TAIRĀWHITI /JANUARY 27, 2021

This is the Essence of Tairāwhiti, a one day event celebrating local producers and providers, hunter gatherers, and performers. All of these elements collide to produce an energetic vibe for sharing kai. Unlike other food festival models that provide space for vendors to compete for customers, Essence of Tairāwhiti provides a space of equal footing; where your all-inclusive ticket enables you to taste everything from everyone. That’s a lot of kai. You could say it’s a real ‘bang for your buck’, or more so, for your puku. 

We’re talking 1kg worth of kai. Can you handle it? But what’s even better is that the kai is locally sourced from passionate hunter gatherers of our region, from Ruatoria all the way down to Morere, “from both sides of the maunga and moana”. The freshly caught kai is then publicly prepared by incredible local chefs. And if you’re not already plump with anticipation, the kai is also cleverly paired with wines from local wineries such as Long Bush, Spade Oak, TW and Bushmere. This is a foodie’s Utopia.  

Already floundering for a ticket?

Surely you’re as interested as I was to find out who is delivering a food festival of this magnitude. I recently had the pleasure of meeting local foodies Katie and Drew Hill, and their fellow collaborator Stephane Dussau. The trio tautoko the vision of this kaupapa; to feed souls with goodness through sharing local produce and knowledge.

The trio understand more than the recipes one can scribe up in the kitchen. What better way to manaaki visitors than with a philosophy that emulsifies community through food?  

Drew and Katie are also producers of The Food Cartel, with a business model that simmers with the same philosophy; sharing local kai, supporting and educating diets. Stephane Dussau, ex-owner and Chef of Marina Restaurant adds a flame to this mix. Not only with his focus on quality (and we’re talking Michelin star quality!), but because he has a deep desire to celebrate this region.

It’s starting to sound as though the trio have always been destined to do this. In fact, in watching Drew and Katie interact with Stephane, you too would have sworn that they had known one another for years. Lounging over the backyard couches and seamlessly bouncing kōrero off of one another. Lifelong friends, surely. Stephane told me that he’s been hanging out with the pair for only one month. I was shucked.

The value and philosophy behind Essence of Tairāwhiti is clearly contagious, with local businesses offering support by way of time and resources. They’ve snagged local hunter gatherers from all over the motu, such as Sam the trap man, Hunting with Tui and many more who will demonstrate their knowledge and share their passions for hunting and gathering kai and kaimoana. 

Essence of Tairāwhiti also aims to educate diets. The trio shared with me a story of their own journey, where they recently headed down to the beach to collect seaweed to see if they could cook it. They collected neptune’s necklace and brown kelp and made seaweed fritters,

“We’re learning things as well. Seaweed tastes like mushroom and aubergine. Then we added kelp, and kelp is like chilli!”

The three often reflect back to lockdown, where we all learnt that one can definitely not eat money. However one can learn how to be self-sufficient and sustainable; how to grow and gather kai, and Essence of Tairāwhiti aims to demonstrate just how accessible kai can be in our region.

To help you along on your own educational journey, food passports showcasing the 22 tastings will be provided. The idea behind this kaupapa is not only to guide your memory (after one too many wines), but also provide a recipe for each tasting so that you’ll be able to recreate these dishes for your whānau and friends. Now that’s clever.

How will I get there you ask? Well, Essence of Tairāwhiti have got you covered. A bus ticket to and from the festival is all-inclusive to ensure you travel safe. Your destination is the dreamy stables of the A&P Showgrounds where you will be greeted with an etched glass and tote bag for your own hunting and gathering. Representatives from each hapu and iwi of Tairāwhiti will be at the showgrounds to greet and welcome you through pōwhiri.

Stepping into the space you’ll be greeted with an intimate environment; boutique furniture and umbrellas beckoning you to sit, relax and be merry.  A retail space will be selling platters and locally made craft wares. There will even be spot prizes. 

And what’s a celebration without music? There will be DJ sets from locals Steve King and Campbell Ngata, as well as live music from the Lazy Fifty. These tunes are sure to have you muddling on the dance floor, if not happily poaching in your seat. A festival saturating you in good vibes.

This unique kaupapa of celebrating our region through kai is what we’ve all been waiting for. Surf and Turf made from venison, wild hare and paua? Yum, yes please.

Essence of Tairāwhiti will be opening its doors to your palate on the 27th of February, starting at 3pm sharp all the way to boogie town, 8pm. Go on, you should probably get that ticket.

Story by Jordan Walker

Photograph X Tink Lockett @uniquelytinkphotography

TRANSGENDER IN TAIRĀWHITI PT. 1

Hiking the stairs of the old post office building, to the 5th floor, I wondered how we once depended so much on this structure for our communications. Pushing through the weighted door led me to numbered offices. Office number 8 held inside of it the precise measurement of determination and tenderness to deliver an important, and sometimes stigmatised moment, becoming and being transgender. 

Laughter rattled through office number 8’s door. I paused for it to have its full course. When I knocked, a warm and resonating voice answered keenly “come in!” I entered to a room of 3 people, all wearing wide smiles. Tee Wells, Tink Lockett and Jase, “We’re celebrating” expressed Tee, filmmaker and owner/operator of Tairāwhiti TV. Tee is non-binary and prefers the pronouns, ‘they/them’. They handed around a bowl of lollipops – these genuine and nostalgic offerings that would lend insight into the reason for representation of this project. 

This kaupapa is Transgender in Tairāwhiti, the bones of a 4-part pilot of documentary shorts, representing four people as they express their experiences as trans people in Tairāwhiti. The documentary will consist of a 10-minute clip for each collaborator, with each of their experiences portrayed through videography and photography. 

Transgender in Tairāwhiti consists of 4 diverse collaborators: Gio, Lesley, Nganeko, and Jase. The first collaborator on the scene was Gio, a trans woman, Tongan and in her mid-twenties. Through connections of Gio came Lesley, also a trans woman, Pākehā and in her mid-sixties. Undeniably, Lesley’s experience stepping into their truer self in a 1950’s Gisborne is unfathomable. From up the coast came Nganeko, a trans woman, Māori and in her early twenties. Finally, and therefore the reason for sugary celebrations, was Jase, Pākehā, early twenties and the only trans man of this kaupapa. 

The mana in the room was pulsating, Tink Lockett, a renowned photographer of nude imagery expressed her deep desire for fairness, “we’re all the same with no clothes on”. I mistook what Tink’s nude imagery meant. Off the cusp, I thought that her intention for nude photography meant that she was looking for sex appeal. I was quite wrong. Tink wishes to change body imagery, proudly extending an ambition to desexualise how we see our bodies. 

There sits a bricolage of diversity within this kaupapa. As previously mentioned, these collaborators hold their own ‘identity markers’ within each of their kete. Tee is proudly Queer – we both spoke of our experiences existing as ‘lesbian’ at Gisborne Girls’ High School. Tee has travelled the world working within film, also working with Māori Television and TVNZ. They have also developed some life experience of Queerdom both in Aotearoa and overseas in Australia and Cambodia. It makes sense that a Queer, non-binary person speaks to and captures the experiences of these people trying to navigate their way through their trans journeys. But what of Tink? Well, it should comfort you in knowing that Tink profusely checks herself. She’s very open in knowing her privileges and her status. She reiterates to me, “I’m white, I’ve got blonde hair and I’m straight”, there is something intensely trustworthy in Tink’s transparency. 

The pair met a few months ago after working with Queer Vocal Loop Artist and Musician EJ Barrett from Taranaki.  When Tink found out that EJ was coming to town to film a music video, they tee’d up a time to do a quick nude-art photo shoot during *EJ’s visit.  It was the video project itself which piqued Tink’s interest to make contact with Tee.  Coffee and kōrero was shared at PBC, and the rest grew out of the 5th floor old post office building. Sitting now in this same office, I watch the two exchange the most fluid discussion; it unravels in front of me, and reveals this excitement of positive representation. I’m told of another collaborator, Chris Shotton, who identifies as gay and understanding the need for this type of work, donates his time to help Tee and Tink.

This project is nurtured in authenticity, with underlying values making up the very beams of this kaupapa. Of course, as is the case with most artistic endeavours, this documentary is being created off of the backs of these wonderful humans. The group wish to secure future funding to help tautoko the continuing movement of this kaupapa.

Here at Gizzy Local, we’re fortunate to be welcomed into this space as it evolves. Further to this, we’ve been invited to watch, listen and ask questions of these collaborators at a panel, soon to be announced.

* EJ does not hold any gender and prefers to be acknowledged by name only

Story by Jordan Walker
Images provided by Tink & Tee

If you’re keen to follow this journey of Transgender in Tairāwhiti, give Tairāwhiti TV a follow on Facebook and on Instagram.  More on Tink’s work can be found on her Facebook and Instagram pages.

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