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The Sweet Life

I’m positively buzzed. I was sitting at my desk some months ago when – DING! – “you’ve got mail.” Sheridan Gundry had sent an email to The Gisborne Herald about a swarm of bees in her backyard. If you have never seen one they are dangerous-looking things. Menacing and wandering. A pretender to the throne has hatched in the hive and there can only be one queen in the hexagonal home.

I picked up the phone and gave Sheridan a buzz. It turns out she was the communications manager in her house. It was her partner Mike who was the bee man. We got chatting about the funny honey-making insects and that was that. As a perennial YES man I put down the phone having agreed to take up the sweet task of beekeeping.

The best part of beekeeping is the minimal amount of anything. The bees do the work.  Your job, more or less, is to not let them die. Kind of like children or plants.

The hardest part of beekeeping is the minimal amount of anything. You have to remember you helped bring them into this world and not forget they exist.

But the hobby ain’t cheap. The gear costs a fair few hundred. Thankfully our species is pretty flaky. 

“Oh beekeeping sounds cool! 

Let’s give that a go babe, 

I think we could really make a go at this!”

People love experimenting and trying things out. You probably know three or four people who have given up on the craft already. Go borrow all their gear until they forget they ever gave it to you.

As it was, my sister had bought Practical Beekeeping before she gave up on the honey game and handed that over. Another friend lent us all the other gear we needed. 

But it was Mike who was the real MVP. Someone who has very much not given up on the sweet life. Mike runs beekeeping workshops at the Environment Centre and has hives all over the show. It was he that got the ball rolling finding a swarm of bees out in the wild, captured it and brought the usurper queen and her followers to our kingdom. 

What a kind man. 

Now my brother and I are beekeepers. Jethro bought the boxes and paint so my total outgoings so far is 26 dollars to account for the six-pack of beers that must accompany us to the hives.

For me, joy in life comes from toddling into a new world for a while and having a look around, talking to the people inside their spacetime and hanging about in their secret worlds. The honey world is one worth dipping your toes in for a little nectar.

Bee people are just like us, except maybe a little sweeter. They walk and talk about bees, a gentle hum in conversation about the weather, flowers and sky. It’s a relaxed hobby, like panning for gold.

And like gold, there are those who enjoy the business, and there are those with the Fever.

The crazy eye.

Darting tongue.

Shaky hands.

The big M.

Manuka is where money is at and where the bad blood starts. Don’t look at them, just keep walking. If you do get stuck talking to one, DO NOT ask them where their hives are in case they take you as a thief for their gold.

Anyway. That’s all I know. Jethro and Mike have done most of the beekeeping. I’m more of a moral support worker. Conceptual and thoughtful.

Start asking around. Call up your flakiest friends with too much spare coin and recommend they give beekeeping a go today.

Start asking around. Call up your flakiest friends with too much spare coin and recommend they give beekeeping a go today.

There is a free course at EIT and the Environment Centre runs courses from time to time.

Story and Photographs by Jack Marshall.

Building Bands, One Night at a Time

It’s sorta obvious the current owner of Smash Palace Bar Gisborne, Darryl Monteith is a musician. As I walk in, he’s already on stage cranking out “History Never Repeats” by Split Enz, accompanied by his mate Mo. A young fulla and his dad have arrived at the same time, guitar case in hand, obviously here to play. Others, like me, are here to listen, to support budding musicians gaining their confidence, and perhaps experience a seasoned talent bust out something special.

Build-a-Band started about 2 years ago, and used to be on Fridays. The instruments are all on loan from local musicians, but bringing your own is pretty standard too. Electric guitars (including left hand), acoustic guitar, bass, drums, bongos, various percussion instruments…. all there. If you’re a bit shy there’s a post to stand behind, but that spot can get a bit crowded.

The original concept was that individual musicians get up and jam, some would gel as a group and go on to start a band. Darryl reckons there’s loads of musical talent in Gisborne and sees Build-a-Band as a way of helping to nurture and develop that talent. Mostly folks are happy to just come along and jam. Try out a song they’ve written. See what sort of reaction they get, or have that one time a week they are totally in the zone. It’s building bonds between local musicians who probably wouldn’t otherwise have known each other existed.

As we know, Gisborne attracts a few travellers, and even though our borders are closed we still have interesting folks from far off places passing through or basing themselves here. Some of them have proved to be accomplished musicians and thrilled to have a chance to play. On nights like that, Smash patrons get to experience something they may have to pay big bucks for in another setting. But this is Build-a-Band. Everyone’s welcome. The ages vary, the styles of music vary, the levels of experience vary, but everyone’s all about the music. As I head out the door there’s a call from the stage, “We need a blues guitarist!”

What: Build-a-band
Where: Smash Palace Bar, 24 Banks St, Awapuni
When: Every Thursday night, 7 – 11pm
Cost: Free – wouldn’t hurt to buy a beer while you’re there though!
Story by Leah McAneney
Photographs by John Flatt

TE REO MĀORI CLASSES 2021

EIT

Certificate in Te Reo Māori [Level 2]

– Full time day class OR part time night class with wananga.  February – July. 

This course provides you with the language skills required to communicate and feel comfortable in everyday contexts and in Māori environments. 

  • Fee Free


NZ Certificate in Te Reo me Ngā Tikanga [Level 4]

Full time day class or part time night class with wananga. February – November

For those who already have a general understanding of the Māori language and want to progress further. You will cover Māori language, marae customs and practices and focus on applying te reo Māori to everyday life.

  • Fee Free

Certificate in Tikanga (Waka Ama) [Level 3]  – Wananga based, from February to July.

With a waka ama focus, you will learn about, and be immersed in waka ama. The programme covers subjects like fitness and wellbeing for all ages, for whānau, hapū, iwi and local communities as well as health and safety. You will study the history of waka ama, its national significance today.

  • Fee Free


NZ Diploma in Te Reo Māori (Immersion) [Level 5]  – Full time day class, February – November

The NZ Diploma is designed to provide intermediate skills in te reo tikanga Māori, develop academic writing and research skills, provide an option of Māturanga Māori courses as well as expand on activities that enhance teaching te reo Māori such as Māori stone tool technology, Māori performing arts, and Māori society.

Cost: Approx $5,600 for the first year.


Bachelor of Arts (Māori) [Level 5-7] – Offered as a full time day class. Part time may be considered. Three years full time study

Piki mai, kake mai rā ki Te Aho ā Māui. If you want to play a part in shaping a positive social, political and economic future for Aotearoa New Zealand, a thorough understanding of Te Reo Māori and tikanga is essential as a special taonga, to be shared with all New Zealanders. With the Bachelor of Arts (Māori) you’ll enhance your career prospects and social standing within the community, while contributing to the ongoing drive to revitalise the culture and language of indigenous New Zealand.

Cost: $700 / $1400 per course

Go here for more information on all of these classes.

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TE HA O TE REO

Te Ha O Te Reo offers 10 different packages including Pepeha for beginners – 1 hr a week via Zoom for 20 weeks, All levels are welcome, as are groups.

Riria Haturini has spent the last 35 years developing and facilitating a learning system that embraces different learning styles, abilities and goals. In Te Ha O Te Reo Riria has created a space without judgement to allow people to flourish in the Te Reo journey; here, mistakes are welcome, differences are embraced and achievements are celebrated.

Costs $35 per hr/pp for a total of $700. Sign up before February 6 for a discounted rate..

Head here for more information.

Or check out this podcast to meet Riria and hear more about her mahi.

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TE WĀNANGA O AOTEAROA COURSES

Learn to speak Māori – Te Ara Reo Māori

– From March, 2021, 38 weeks made up of 1 x 3-hour class per week, 2 x noho marae, 4 x one-day wānanga 

If you want to learn some basic Māori language, this is the perfect place to start. Whether you want to use te reo Māori at home with the kids or in the workplace, this interactive programme will have you speaking with confidence in no time.

You’ll start with how to correctly pronounce Māori words, names and place names. You will learn basic greetings and how to introduce yourself, as well as how to understand and follow tikanga (protocols). The kaiako are experienced with teaching beginners, and you’ll be with other tauira (students) who have the same aspirations to learn our indigenous language.

  • Fee Free

Te Pūtaketanga o te Reo – Full Immersion – Full time study over 40 weeks.

Want to speak te reo Māori? There’s no better way than to immerse yourself in the language. Learn in a calm and encouraging environment that also challenges you to speak and think in the reo. Our experienced and fluent kaiako understand what it takes to help you progress to a conversational ability. You’ll learn with others who want to improve their te reo Māori capability, and you’ll get more confident by the day. Kia kaha!

  • Fee Free

Te Rōnakitanga ki te Reo Kairangi – Intermediate Full Immersion [Level 5] – From March over 40 weeks.

Do you want to make a meaningful commitment to your Māori language development? Go well past the basics and focus on your grammar and conversational ability.

Start to learn about regional variations of language and how you’ll understand different dialects. Continue in our fun and inclusive learning environment, and make te reo Māori a language you can confidently function in from day to day.

  • Fees Free

Diploma in Te Aupikitanga ki te Reo Kairangi – Advanced Full Immersion – 40 weeks from March 2020.

Continue your immersion journey in te reo Māori and lead the way for your whānau, hapū and iwi. Function confidently in most situations using only te reo Māori. Learn to articulate your ideas and hold meaningful dialogues using metaphors and whakaaro Māori. Develop a translation skill set, and learn in an encouraging environment that also challenges you to speak and think in te reo.

  • Fees Free

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