Joan Macdonald

Joan with WILPF display

For the last month we have known that a dear friend, Joan Macdonald, was dying. We saw her on the morning of Friday 12 August. She was sleeping deeply; we talked quietly to her, saying our goodbyes, and spent some time with her daughter Beth before we left. Joan died that night, peacefully. On Friday […]

Pictures from Tongatapu Island


Tonga’s history – treasured or trashed?

Popua pic

Within an hour of our arrival in Tonga we had learnt a little about Tongan government failure to protect an area of heritage and environmental sensitivity from housing development. The Tonga Heritage Society is a diverse group of Tongans and others – residents, expatriates, academics, business people -which was established to protect this area at Popua.  […]

Away in Tonga


Three months ago, we booked a trip to Tonga, to coincide with Tanya’s break from Te Ara Reo classes, and the worst of cold wet of winter, we hoped. So here we are, after a very busy time for Tanya of te reo practice and assessments, for Charmaine of paperwork for community groups, and for […]

Walking for Peace

Photo by Glenn

We’ve just been to Taranaki to join the Pakeha Hikoi for Peace– a walk from New Plymouth to Parihaka in support of Mayor Andrew Judd’s campaign for Maori representation on New Plymouth District Council. The council’s proposal to include one Maori ward for the next Council election was defeated last year by a Citizen’s Referendum. […]

Treasures in the Hokianga…


  Toi Te Rito Maihi, one of our favourite artists, is having a retrospective exhibition at Village Arts Gallery  in Kohukohu until 26 June, so we decided to spend a few days in the Hokianga.   Her exhibition is inspiring – she is so talented in many different media- drawing, writing,  poetry, painting, print-making and , of course, […]

Nga mihi o te tau hou… winter solstice greetings

We hope everyone in Aotearoa will be enjoying some Matariki events and festivities… (and midsummer greetings to our northern hemisphere friends and family!) Arohanui, Tanya and Charmaine

W.H.O Celebration


On Saturday 30 April, W.H.O (Women of Hope: Helping Ourselves) invited Ranui residents and others to a celebration in the newly renovated Ranui Community Centre.  Beginning with a processional dance by Congolese  and Burundi women, the evening continued with a PowerPoint presentation of their activities so far (gardening, driving lessons,  establishing a play centre for the […]