When I started blogging a couple of years ago, I wasn’t entirely convinced that anyone would ever want to read my musings – let alone engage with them by liking posts, subscribing and commenting.
I’m still slightly amazed – and completely humbled – that I now belong to a wonderful online community of talented, articulate, funny and compassionate people, from all over the world, who offer insightful, witty and often incredibly helpful comments on my posts, and engage in dialogue that I find both enjoyable and sometimes very comforting. You have become a virtual whanau – or family.
In the last week I’ve been nominated five times for a blogging award; three times for Shaking the Tree, and twice for ZimmerBitch. I really can’t quite describe how honoured I feel that five women whose work I admire and am inspired by feel similarly about my blogs. It’s particularly touching as I’ve been feeling lately that the pressure of work – namely my role in organising NZ Sculpture OnShore – has left me little time for blogging and I have abandoned quite a few posts because I didn’t have time to write and edit them to a standard that I felt made them worth sharing.
Time feels like my enemy at the moment. NZ Sculpture OnShore begins in just over a month, and my role as Marketing Manager seems ever-increasing. The event raises money for Women’s Refuge – over $1.34 million to date – and is the largest sculpture exhibition in the country. It’s run mainly by volunteers and people working pro bono (like me) so everything is done on a shoestring, and often late at night or first thing in the morning – squeezed between the everyday demands of “real life.”
So, to my wonderful blogging friends who have nominated me, I offer thanks and something of an apology for not participating in the awards you have offered to share with me. I can’t in good conscience accept an award if I’m not prepared to engage fully with the conditions, and I don’t feel I can spare the time to do that right now.
But you have got me thinking. It’s become increasingly clear that the principal pleasure I derive from blogging is being part of a community, and I haven’t been very good at looking outward and engaging with that community as much as I’d like. So I’ve decided that in lieu of participating in awards, I’m going to commit to better acknowledging the members of my whanau; sharing your posts and, I hope, introducing you to people you may not already know online.
In the meantime, I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks to some very talented bloggers whose work – if you don’t already know it – you might like to check out.
And thank you (again) to every member of this blogging whanua. You have turned what began as a faintly absorbing writing exercise into an important part of my life.
Ngā mihi nui (my best wishes)
Back home after four days “down country”; I’ve unpacked, dealt with the laundry, emptied one in-box and baulked at the task of responding to all the emails in the other. I’ve drunk my quota of coffee and raided the fridge. Now I think I need some quiet time.
The old county council offices in Raetihi. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with Iphone4, edited with Pixlr Express.
My road trip through the central North Island as taken me to lots of small rural towns. Many are struggling through the loss of traditional industries and our nation’s social and political inability – or unwillingness – to address massively unbalanced economic and population growth which is seeing Auckland’s formerly productive farms and orchards turned into housing estates while smaller towns, and even provincial cities, languish.
In Wanganui – like many towns – many old buildings in which generations of New Zealanders have lived, worked and transacted business now lie empty. Yet I’m beginning to love this provincial city where my father has made his home. It has a thriving arts and cafe scene and hasn’t been overrun by chain stores and Two Dollar shops.
I would have loved to spend more time photographing these beautiful old buildings. Sadly I didn’t have time on this trip and I would also like to capture them without parked cars, road cones and Council trucks blocking my shots!
This post was written in response to Sally’s Phoneography and non-SLR digital photography challenge.
En route to visit my dad, I took a detour up Mt. Ruapehu, the North Island’s tallest mountain. It looked like a great day for skiing, but I was content to just crunch around in the snow for a little while.
I’ve spent the day pondering how I might respond to yesterday’s election; how I might convey my disgust and disappointment that given an opportunity that only comes once every three years, the people of NZ might choose compassion over greed; sustainability over short-term, limited and selective economic “growth.” I still can’t quite explore all the dark recesses of anger and disgust, so I’m sharing this eloquent and passionate post, which says what I would try to, if only I could.
My heart is sore. I never thought I would feel so saddened by a country. I never thought I would feel so disillusioned with the people of New Zealand. I never thought I would ache with sorrow for the way New Zealand has become a country of people who worry more about their pockets than the future generations to come.
Last night I had decided to stay away from the news, but inadvertently [well maybe not] found myself seeing New Zealand sink in to the mire. The people of this once great country voted for another term of corruption, another term of money and profits for the big corporations above the health and welfare of this land, its people…its very heart.
To those of you considering immigrating to New Zealand I say this.
This land called Aotearoa is dying. We are not clean and we are not green. We do…
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Amongst the visual arts, sculpture is one of my favourites. I also love the interface between two and three dimensional art. The piece above sits high above an exhibition space at Te Papa Museum of New Zealand in Wellington. The words are from a World War I recruiting poster. At the time, New Zealand was a British Dominion and was swift to follow Britain in declaring war on Germany and its allies. Almost ten percent of New Zealand’s population served in that war, and this tiny country of around one million souls suffered a casualty rate of 58 percent – amongst the highest of any nation in the conflict.
With some embarrassment I admit that when I took these shots, I didn’t note down the name of the artist, or the work – something I feel quite bad about as I know how important it is to acknowledge the creativity of artists.
I loved these two pieces; elaborate coils of wire attached to a white wall. As the light changed throughout the day, visitors experienced different patterns – and indeed different sculptures.
Kerrie Poliness is a Melbourne-based artist. This installation at the Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, NZ consists of lines drawn directly onto the walls with black marker pen – creating the illusion of three-dimensionality.
It’s so often said that the eyes are a window to the soul, the words are in danger of becoming a cliche. Yet, we are remarkably good at assessing character from facial expression – eyes perhaps most of all. We all know about smiles that move a mouth, but never quite reach the eyes.