Seasonal workers celebrate the 43rd Vanuatu Independence Day. Photo / Victoria Howells
Celebrating Vanuatu’s Independence Day
The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers last week celebrated Vanuatu’s 43rd Independence Day in Kerikeri.
Vanuatu was formerly the New Hebrides and the country gained independence from France and Britain on
July 30, 1980. The anniversary is marked each year in the island nation with a week of festivities.
Hone Heke Lodge in Kerikeri hosts 48 RSE Ni-Van workers who are employed at Kainui Pack & Cool, a family-owned horticultural business that manages, grows, picks and packs kiwifruit and citrus for a number of Kerikeri orchards.
Owners David and Victoria Howells joined in the Independence Day celebrations, which started with a football match against other Ni-Van workers also staying in Kerikeri. The revelries continued with a shared meal that included a cake decorated with Vanuatu’s national flag, a kava ceremony, singing to a string band and all-day dancing.
“Over and above being hard workers they are always thinking of their community back at home” said Victoria Howells.
The Ni-van workers are fundraising for essential medical equipment for their small island of Epi. In previous years they have fundraised to build a medical facility on the island, including the installation of solar panels.
The string band is made up of RSE Kerikeri workers. Many of the instruments are loaned or borrowed.
They performed Vanuatu’s national anthem, they recited a prayer and sang their independence song Yumi, Yumi, Yumi (Bislama pronunciation of “jumi”, which is a type of Pidgin English and French hybrid meaning We We We). It was composed by Francois Vincent Ayssay.
They have played at Kainui Orchards, at the Plough and Feather Restaurant and at the Old Packhouse Market all in Kerikeri to help towards the fundraising. They will be playing at the Packhouse Market again on August 19 from 9am to 1pm.
Auckland Art Gallery visits Russell Museum
Two visitors to Russell Museum, Te Whare Taonga Kororāreka, came with a purpose.
Dr Sarah Farrar and Julia Waite, from the Auckland Art Gallery, were keen to learn more about Māori artist, Pauline Yearbury, and her husband Jim.
Farrar heads up the curatorial and learning department and Julia Waite is the curator of New Zealand art for the gallery. They have been assembling works of Māori modern art for the past five years and have amassed a strong collection.
They have pieces by Arnold Wilson, Fred Graham and Selwyn Wilson, among others, and realised it was time to give attention to Yearbury.
Her book, The Children of Rangi and Papa, the Māori Story of Creation graces the museum’s Heather Lindauer Hub along with 15 of her original artworks, which are wood panels depicting Māori myths and legends. They were designed by Yearbury and incised by her husband.
She was born in Matauri Bay and went to Russell School. She enrolled in Elam School of Art and at 14 years old was the youngest student ever accepted. She eventually became a tutor and it was here she met her husband James (Jim) Yearbury.
“We hope to exhibit some of her works, which show the breadth of her capabilities,” said Waite.
“We felt that we had a responsibility or an opportunity to do more research and there was interest from outside New Zealand, a growing international interest, perhaps as a forgotten or unrecognised women artist of the 20th century.
“We had some of her work at an exhibition in 2020–2021 called Toi Tū Toi Ora, which included contemporary Māori art and people got excited because it was the first time they had heard of Pauline.”
A discovery from their trip to Russell was that Pauline and Jim were developing refined designs, similar to those of a photographer or a printmaker.
“One of the designs in our collection was a bird that was blue and yet here in Russell the bird was red and yellow so they were taking liberties with colours,” said Waite.
“They are so technically accomplished and you could see how hard she was working and she kept all that work together which is remarkable.”
Pauline Yearbury died in 1977 and the Russell Museum exhibited a tribute to her work.
Small club, big fundraiser
Russell Tennis Club was formed more than 100 years ago, in the heart of downtown, and finally the club is looking at building a clubhouse.
By most standards Russell Tennis Club is small. It holds the usual women’s, men’s and mixed doubles tournaments and weekly social tennis. Courts are available to members free of charge at other times.
Two fenced and lighted regulation courts have fast-drying astroturf surfaces and a dedicated practice wall. There are no facilities for club members to store their sports gear to stop them getting wet and there are no bathroom facilities, which is why they are fundraising with a raffle.
The prizes on offer are generous given the size of the club. The main prize is a weekend stay at Little Donkey Bay Inn near Long Beach in Russell and dinner at Charlotte’s Kitchen in Paihia valued at $2100.
There’s a 20-minute scenic flight by Salt Air in Paihia for three people plus a bottle of Moet valued at $900 and, finally, a local or international travel voucher worth $1000.
The clubhouse will be 50 square metres and the club already has resource and building consent. They hope to start work in October.
Club spokeswoman Jane Knowles said they have a good relationship with a lot of local businesses who wanted them to achieve their fundraiser goals.
“Sometimes we have to put back into the community to achieve our fundraiser goals and these prizes are a mix of both,” she said.
Raffle tickets are $50 each and sales are well under way. Tickets are limited to 200 only and the draw will be on September 2 at the annual Russell Tennis Club dinner and dance.