Monday, May 28, 2012

One week's heroes

Sunday a week ago we gathered for a poignant AIDS candlelight memorial service. Lynda Johnston organised this opportunity for quiet remembrance of those we have lost to HIV and sadly to hear from those who told us of the continuing stigma that attaches to those with this condition.

Congratulations to Dujon Cullingford, Logan Reynolds and Kylie Zinsli for sharing their inspiring stories at the inaugural Youth Chat (aimed at adults) sessions held during the week.

Jeanette Fitzsimons’ submission to the Electoral Commission last Tuesday in Hamilton combined careful analysis based on long parliamentary experience and a principled approach to the issues. I would say that the Commission will consider her submission carefully. (Jeanette has just been acknowledged by EECA - Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency - for her outstanding contribution .)

A woman in Wellington phoned to ask if I would visit Mr and Mrs Zhang to express her sadness that they had been attacked outside their shop in Melville. When I did so, they assured me that they had received much kindness from the community and that they like living here. I was greatly touched to realise that they were gently comforting me.

The Hamilton Bluegrass County Band, line dancing and a new fast food sweet treat - Hungarian twisties – pleased the crowd at Hillcrest Park on Sunday. Paula Law leads the Hillcrest Guardians who organised the event . Their response to issues on the park some time back was to bring the community together through events such as this. Paula’s energy and leadership makes a difference in this community.

This week's heroes

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The very model of a modern annual meeting

Successful learners shared their stories at the recent annual meeting of English Language Partners Waikato.

Speaking confidently, Ratana Om told of coming to the Waikato as a refugee from Cambodia. A week later he started work at the mushroom factory in Morrinsville. He had no English so travelled to Hamilton twice a week for evening classes with English Language Partners. He is now managing a mushroom factory in Mercer.

Burmese refugee Saw Khon Hmine was elected to the committee. Two years ago when his group arrived I recall being moved by his eloquent speech at the powhiri.

ELP’s committee is enviable for its strong educational and financial skills plus an admirable mix of ethnic backgrounds: Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Indonesian and now, Burmese, with both tutors and learners represented.

Simon Murray from the Talking Tech Foundation, inspired us with the company’s approach to philanthropy - encouraging a culture of generosity. (Subsequent events have tempered my enthusiasm for the CEO of Talking Tech but perhaps we need to separate philanthropy from politics).