Friday, 27 April 2012

Anzac Day Reflection

By Helen Beamish

Around 150 people of all ages gathered on 25 April to reflect on the tragedy of war and to remember those who died in the process of "going to war" for our country.
The Blueskin Bay Remembrance Service is always a time for the community to gather and be grateful for the relative peace of our lives, and to be challenged to choose peace in our personal relationships as well as the wider communities we live in – locally, nationally and internationally.
This year, the newly refurbished Waitati Hall was graced with some amazing artwork by the pupils of Warrington School. 
Guest speaker, Glenys Clement, continued the recent tradition of a "local" sharing stories of their family involvement in past world wars and the impact on their family. She told the story of her Dad, who served in WW2, and was able to capture both the tragedy and the camaraderie of being a soldier and the toll this took on her grandmother, father and mother.
The sense of community "gathering" always extends through time before, during and after the service... we are grateful that so many people choose to contribute to marking this day locally. Thank you!
If you would like to be involved in future services – telling your family story or helping with organisation please contact Helen (482 1440) or Alastair (482 2505).


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Nicole Foss: Preparing for the Economic Depression

By Andy Barratt
Nicole Foss began her talk at the Waitati Hall in late March by describing herself as a "big picture" person. And it was certainly a big picture that she set out before her audience.
Nicole's thesis is a simple one. The developed world faces two imminent crises, a financial crisis and an energy crisis. The financial crisis will come first (we are already experiencing its first phase); the energy crisis will arrive somewhat later. Hence the title of her talk: important though Peak Oil and other forms of resource depletion might be – not to mention the ever-growing spectre of Climate Change – it is on the current financial situation and its implications for our way of life that we should concentrating our attention right now.
Nicole is not the only one to be talking of an inevitable economic collapse, of course. A quick search on the internet or the shelves of the public library will supply endless hours of depressing reading. But where her analysis differs from most (see, for example, Dmitry Orlov's darkly hilarious Reinventing Collapse) is that she expects this to be a deflationary (rather than a hyperinflationary) economic depression. In her account, the banking crisis of 2008 marks the high point of an economic "bubble" which she describes as a massive pyramid scheme which (like such bubbles in human history) is bound to burst – at immense cost to us all. When it comes, the ensuing depression will be at least as long as the Great Depression.
And that is only half the problem, of course. This is because the energy crisis will then follow hard on the heels of the economic depression. (Thankfully for those wishing to keep total despair at bay, Nicole hardly made mention of the ever-escalating dangers of global Climate Change – a small enough mercy though it might seem.)
On the energy front, Nicole gave a fairly rapid summary of what is by now a standard analysis, reviewing the Peak Oil scenario, diminishing returns on energy invested in ventures like oil from shales, the lack of credible alternatives to cheap fossil fuels, and so on. The good news, though, is that the impact of the energy crisis will be mitigated – at least for a while – by the economic crisis, which will reduce demand and thus give us a breathing space before the supply collapse really kicks in.
The final part of Nicole's talk was the bit we were all waiting for, of course. If all this is on the way, what the hell do we do about it? There is no way New Zealand will be miraculously spared. Our problems are well understood already: high household debt; a housing price bubble; vulnerability to rising interest rates; and a reliance on international trade (which is a major casualty during periods of economic depression). The NZ dollar will fall in value and we are likely to pay the price of having our trading banks in Australian ownership.
As we face all of this, Nicole reminded us of the importance of human psychology and the need to steer a course between the natural – but ultimately unproductive – responses of anger or fear. Instead, she stressed the need for us to keep a long-term view and to focus on constructive activity. What this means above all is doing things for ourselves. Forget about central governments coming to our rescue and work towards survival from the grass roots. In a depression, deglobalization and decentralization will be the way forward and strong local communities an absolute necessity.
So what do we do? At the individual household level we need to reduce debt as quickly as possible and gain as much control as we can over essentials, such as water and power supply. Hold on to cash (don't rely on the banks!) and try to pool wealth across generations, reinventing the extended family. We also need to become generally much more tolerant of the risks we face, accepting these as a natural part of the process of living. We should invest where we can in "hard goods", the things we need when the going gets tough: shelter, land, water provision, cooking equipment, low-tech transport, hand tools, books and manuals, medicines, and so on. At the community level, it will be a matter of pooling resources and understanding that interdependence, not autonomy will be the key to resilience. Again, Nicole drew on her background in psychology, emphasizing the necessity of developing relationships of trust.
Oddly enough – and despite the depressing prognosis it contained – Nicole's talk was, for me at least, an invigorating experience. For those who missed it, her interview on the Kim Hill programme on National Radio (March 24) is available on the internet. And her website (theautomaticearth) also has lots of interesting stuff on it.

Monday, 23 April 2012

BLUESKIN RESILIENT COMMUNITIES TRUST

by Chris Skellett, Co-chair


For the last couple of years, you will have been reading in the Blueskin News about the wonderful array of activities under way in the Blueskin area. What a fantastic range of community projects geared towards providing us with a sustainable lifestyle in an uncertain future.



Anyone who attended the Nicole Foss presentation last month could not help but feel alarmed at the inevitability of an impending global economic collapse coupled with a total breakdown of carbon-based energy strategies. Something has to change, and it has to change soon. It's all too easy for us to sit at home and watch the global dramas play out on the six o'clock news, but here in Blueskin Bay (including Purakaunui and Long Beach of course) we have a great opportunity to actually do something about it. Most people choose to live in the area because of the lifestyle. We love looking after our own: growing our own food, chopping our own firewood. Now, within our area there is a growing level of excitement about creating a viable source of renewable energy, a wind cluster.


We have the technical expertise, the financial know how, and the political goodwill, to make something quite special happen in our area. Whatever business model we eventually use, BRCT's commitment is that the community will, as much as possible, own the project, either as shareholders or as members of a co-operative. Community ownership is, both financially and psychologically, the critical factor in the project's success.



Wind cluster plans are being prepared for further community participation. The Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust is aware that we would be establishing the first community-owned wind farm in New Zealand. As a prototype of this kind of venture, we have become a nationally significant project and would provide a model for other communities to follow.  We would be able to generate our own power in our own community.



It will be a great feeling to look out at the turbines slowly rotating on the hill, and know that they were built by us, are owned by us, and are pulling us together as a community.  We will have greater control over our power prices, greater certainty over a sustainable power supply and will have achieved something quite radical as a community.



I joined the BRCT as one of six trustees.  We have the role of ensuring that the trust stays true to its objectives. Encouraging Blueskin Bay's resilience, through local food production, transport initiatives, and energy projects such as retrofit house insulation, a planned energy advice service, and the proposed wind cluster, are excellent goals for our community.



I would encourage anyone with an interest in the trust to log on to the website or to visit our office at Waitati School. These are exciting times for the bay. I hope that everyone will feel connected at some level to the idea of developing a more 'resilient' community, and that you can be supportive of the many different and worthy initiatives already under way.



You can find out more about the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust at: http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/ or by calling 482 2048.

Blueskin Playcentre Building Project Update

By Michaela Wilson, President Blueskin Playcentre

We are very excited about receiving $25,000 from the Community Lotteries Grant.
Blueskin Playcentre has 13 families (18 children) currently enrolled and our numbers are growing. We are very excited about the move to Waitati Primary School as we believe this strengthens our community and is a wonderful opportunity for the children to make an easy transition to school. We look forward to the retrofit of a classroom kindly offered to us by Heidi Hayward (principal) at Waitati School and supported by the Ministry of Education.
The Playcentre Association, Carole Gillions, Brendon Whip and Maree Coll have supported us with the move by arranging for temporary licences until we have secured the rest of the money for the build.
The community has supported us through different fundraising efforts and donating to the centre. Last year we received support from Mt Cargill Contracting which donated sand for a new sand pit, which the Waikouaiti Community Board donated $1000 towards, and  Lotteries donated $6000 towards an outdoor area and safe fencing for our playground. Paul Ashford Landscaping built the sand pit for us.
We had a wonderful opening with Room 3 (new entrance and Playcentre kids), Buttons the Shetland pony and lots of bubbles. This is the beginning of our new playground area and the children are thrilled. We have been working towards this since 2009 and look forward to completing the project this year.
I should also mention that the centre is run by a parent co-operative of volunteers under group supervision. Staff at the centre have donated their time to help build a new early childhood facility in Waitati, the only one of its kind in Blueskin Bay and a wonderful asset.
The Otago Playcentre Association President Carole Gillions would like you to know:
As you are aware Blueskin Playcentre has moved into a room at Waitati school and currently we have a temporary license for this location. This license expires on 17 August 2012. On behalf of the Blueskin Playcentre I would like to give you a formal update of where we are with the relocation and building extension project at Waitati School.
In November last year all the drawings and specifications for the new extension work were completed and signed off by all of the parties involved (including the Ministry of Education). The total cost of this project has been projected to be $180,930 (excluding GST) of which  Blueskin Playcentre and the Otago Playcentre Association have already spent $17,000.
We applied to our internal capital building fund (SRCW) within the Playcentre Federation for a large portion of the building cost. In December last year we received notification that they would grant us $100,000 and would also provide us a contingency budget of $16,000 for items which come up in addition to those are planned.
We also have applications in with three other funders, Otago Community Trust, Alexander McMillan Trust and Pub Charities for a total amount of $75,000. Just recently we received $25,000 from the Otago Community Trust. We are waiting to hear back from the other two funders. Therefore, the earliest time we would be able to look at commencing building of any kind would be June 2012 (pending funding ). As soon as funding is received we will be able to meet with you and plan a date which suits the school for us to start the building. Until the funding is received though, we are unable to give a firm date. 

Jumble Sale
Our annual jumble sale is coming up on 27 May. The money from this will be used to help with costs towards our new building. We also fundraised at the Bland Park Music Festival. We would like to extend a big thank you and plenty of aroha to Tania Turei and Katie Bourne for the organisation of this event and also to all those musicians who played.
We also enjoyed fundraising  at the annual A&P show. Thank you to those who again organised this event. We are so grateful for the use of the Noddy train at these events. We held an Easter raffle and sold Easter bunnies to raise funds. Thank you so much to all those wonderful people in our community for your support and hard work. We and all the little people at Playcentre are very grateful. Hopefully we see you all at the jumble sale!



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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


Working Bee at Living Legends.

by Valerie Fay
Hi, everyone. Just a reminder that we are having another working bee at the Living Legends site on the morning of Sunday 29 April . Meet at the usual spot and time: 9.30am in the Orokonui Scenic Reserve at the end of Killarney Street, Waitati.
 
Try and spread the word amongst friends and neighbours as we need many more hands to help maintain the plants. If you have any questions you can contact me via e-mail at mikeandvalfay@clear.net.nz or phone me in the evening on 482 2806.
 
Lucy will be back at the beginning of May. Best wishes,


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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


BLUESKIN ENERGY PROJECT


by Scott Willis


Using electricity to heat our homes is an inefficient use of electricity (though of course better than fossil fuel alternatives) and clean burning wood can be carbon neutral, as long as new trees are planted for those cut down. We currently heat our homes using firewood (including pellets), diesel, gas, coal or electricity. Our national electricity supply is only about 70% renewable at present – low for a country with all our wind, hydro and solar resource and small population. But keeping warm in cold weather is important for good health, and the way we keep warm can also maintain environmental health. So clean-heat is important, but you'd be foolish to waste that heat in an un-insulated, or poorly insulated house – it's just too expensive.



Therefore, alongside the Blueskin wind cluster project BRCT is working to establish a Community Energy Advice Service, as part of BEP. Very soon we expect the DCC to launch an 'Eco-Housing Targeted Rate' initiative to support further insulation installation and clean-heating installation. We're working with the DCC and the Community Energy Network to develop an information and advice support package to accompany the eco-housing initiative and make it accessible, particularly to residents in cold unhealthy houses. As part of that (if we can) there'll be home energy audits, telephone advice and more, to help people take action within their budget. Such a service would not only ensure people understood the various grants and offers available: it would also allow the knowledge we've developed to be made more available, and allow us to use the experience of others who already provide this service in other parts of NZ. Our biggest challenge as usual is finding the resources to make it possible, and we're working hard on that.



Ironically, it was while wood-splitting late March that I suffered one of the downsides of firewood – 'Autumn Hand' as some health professionals call it – or the accidental and painful meeting between a sharp axe and unwary thumb. As many of you know, at present I'm the only employee at the BRCT office, but when I was out of action through April, BRCT volunteer trustees and friends, who already contribute a great deal, stepped up to keep the energy work moving along while bone and flesh knitted. I'm enormously grateful to them and all who've helped this past month. You've probably found the latest BEP pamphlet in your mailbox thanks to their hard work for example. Other work on the boil centres around the establishment of a 'Power Purchase Agreement' – a necessary element to ensure financial viability of the local wind cluster – and ownership structures. Wind testing continues to provide still richer data on the available wind resource, and as soon as I clear my office backlog we'll begin preparation for mid-year community meetings, where the full proposal options will go out on the table to be discussed and debated. And as we move further into the year our website www.blueskinpower.co.nz/ is where you'll find fresh information, like for instance photo-shopped images of what a wind cluster on Porteous Hill might look like from three different Blueskin locations.



For information on BEP contact Scott on 482 2048 or by email scott@blueskinpower.co.nz.

WOO Hard Pressed Again



by Paul Cardno
This month's harvest market showed that WOO is now independently fully hard pressed again. This happy story really started about a year ago when Jason (let's call him Mr Apple for short) and Paul (we will call him Mr Builder) got together and started talking about creating an apple press for WOO (for the sake of this article and to keep things complicated let's call the apple press Mr Press). Design started on Mr Press and he was drawn up and scribbled down.  He morphed from spinning machine to metal monster and then finally settled on wooden beauty. Mr Apple had been quite diligent in collecting and filing Mr Press designs, and Mr Builder found these most helpful. See photo for details of design.
Mr Press of course couldn't be created out of thin air, so materials where obtained from several sources. Three sources are of note:

A - Large Dealer 1 - Oregon wood, for the frame, was obtained from Chris Cox in exchange for currency.

B - Medium Dealer 2 - Ash wood , for all apple contact areas, was donated by Scott Willis. This was in exchange for a smile and cleaning up under his house (OK, maybe not cleaning up under his house but helping to clean up under his house by taking all his best wood for a WOO project).

C- Small Dealer 3- More Oregon wood was donated by PJ, after Mr Builder broke the first top plate by applying too many tons to the car jack, in the March harvest market (thanks to Mark for lending the G clamp that held Mr Press together that day).

Construction of Mr Press started not long after Santa Claus had left our Blue Skin Bay and had gone back to White Snow Bay.  Mr Builder did a final design of Mr Press and Mr Apple reviewed this, agreement was settled and construction began.  Mrs Builder did have to put up with lots of noise emanating from work zone and trails of saw dust ,but nothing that Hetty (Mr and Mrs Builder's vacuum cleaner) couldn't deal with.

Mr Press was seen at the last harvest market, standing tall and feeling the press of the day as villagers talked about apple cider and drank freshly squeezed apple juice. He has also informed WOO that he was so happy with the flavour of the day that he's decided to settle right here in Blueskin Bay and is looking forward to being under pressure for many years to come.

Thanks also goes out to Hank for lending Mr Builder the longest and straightest drill bit.

Please note that the Queen was not consulted in this building process but has given her full blessing provided that WOO WOO Juice (cider) is not taxed to buy new table cloths.

Human songbirds in Waitati?

by Karen Jacquard

 

Recently at a Tony Backhouse singing workshop (a capella, gospel and world music styles) three Waitatians, Jenny and PJ, and Karen, talked about their wish for a singing group to meet regularly in the village. Nancy Miller, who has directed choirs for many years (including Sunny Side Up), has offered to hold a workshop for interested people, and/or run a regular singing meet. At present we envisage the meeting to be held -- according to numbers -- in someone's home or in the hall side room. This is informal, and fun, and you need not have past experience or know how to read music. Choice of material has yet to be decided, however it will be four-part harmony and unaccompanied, and at first the style will probably be gospel, world music. So, if you enjoy singing in the shower, shed, kitchen, with other people ... or if you are even unsure that you can sing and yet are interested in learning, then please contact Karen on 482 2335

 


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From
blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY

by Sue Hensley

This is the first autumn for three years that there have been no rats
trapped. An excellent sign and we hope this nil result will be
repeated when the tracking cards go out.

The regular health check of the kiwi took place recently. One kiwi
whose transmitter had failed early on had not been seen since "his"
release in 2010 despite hard work by field staff and the DOC kiwi dog
and handler's expertise. However one night after a particularly
disappointing day a non-transmitting kiwi responded to the "human"
kiwi call and was caught. He turned out to be a she (bill length is a
key identifier of male or female but it can be tricky sexing juveniles
whose bills are still growing) and had put on a good amount of weight
as had the other kiwi weighed.

 The six-monthly health check of the penned tuatara showed that all
had increased in weight, body length and were in good condition. There
are significant variations in size between some individuals. Two males
of the same age; one weighed 99gms and measured 282mm whereas the
other weighed 47gm and measured 221mm. The smaller tuatara has been
re-housed with a female of similar size and age.

The unfortunate death of the female takahe while recovering after
surgery has changed translocation plans. Two males have now been
chosen and it is hoped they will arrive in late May.

Get those cameras out because we will be looking for some amazing
photos of Orokonui for a 2013 Orokonui Ecosanctuary calendar.
Competition details will be on the website.

Another great band night is lined up with Swampy, D and 5 Pint playing
on Mothers' Day. These and other events can be found on
www.orokonui.org.nz or on our facebook page. The Visitor Centre and
cafĂ© are open daily 9.30 – 4.30pm.

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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Waikouaiti Coast Community Board

By Gerard Collings

At our April meeting staff provided a summary of the feedback received on the proposed Harvey Street footpath between Orokonui Road and the entrance to Blueskin Nurseries. Staff also advised that tenders received were more favourable than expected meaning that the work will be able to be undertaken this financial year.

The submission period on DCC's Draft Long Term Plan 2012/2013 2021/2022 (LTP) is now closed. The Board are generally supportive of the LTP and our submission included the following matters;

Debt  expressed concern about the use of net debt as a measure for the Council's decision making process. We consider it appropriate to include DVL's debt/financial position in DCC's deliberations.

Asset sales – we consider it prudent for the Council to explore the sale of non-core assets, such as investment properties, as a means of reducing Council's debt.

Coastal management highlighted that there are a number of key coastal margin areas under the direct control of the DCC that require careful management. We asked the DCC to allow adequate funding for the management of these in a proactive rather than reactive manner.

Review of Reserves requested Council review the reserves in our area to ascertain the potential for surplus reserve land to be used as a funding mechanism for the development of other key reserves in our area such as Mount Watkin/Hikaroroa.

Operational savings – expressed support the Chief Executive's ongoing efforts to identify operational efficiencies that provide for savings without affecting the level of service.

Blueskin Bay Library – confirmed our continuing support for this project's inclusion in the LTP.

Waikouaiti Landfill Closure confirmed our support for the inclusion of a transfer station in 2015/16, and the decommissioning of the landfill in the 2016/17 and 17/18 financial years.

Blueskin Bay Clean up days confirmed our continuing support for the cleanup (mega skip) days.

Moana Gow Pool confirmed support for the DCC's ongoing financial assistance.

Seal extensions support the ongoing funding of the seal extension programme, albeit over a longer period.

Dust suppression support the continuation of the dust suppression programme.

Public toilets, Waitati – requested support for the community fund raising for public toilets in Waitati.

Stadium With the information currently available we do not support extending the term of repayments beyond 20 years. We asked that Council consider the differential for farm and rural ratepayers to ensure they are not overly burdened as a result of capital value of their property.

Boards Discretionary Fund – no reduction in the amount allocated to the Board's discretionary fund.

Civil Defence support the level of funding for emergency management.

Ward Structure – support the existing ward structure.

Eco-housing retrofit initiative – support this initiative.

Tourism – asked for Council's assistance to further develop the tourism opportunities in our area including further signage and branding of the Coastal Scenic Route.

Economic development seek an undertaking from the Council that they will actively explore opportunities for business development within the Board's area.

Copies of DCC documents out for consultation are available from Council and through Council's website http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/council-online/currently-consulting-on

The Board's next meeting is at 5.30pm, 23 May 2012 at the Karitane Hall.

Members of the public are welcome to speak at the Board's public forum, however those wishing to do so need to advise Jane Hinkley our Governance Support Officer (Phone 4743374) before 12 noon on the day prior to the meeting.  

Remember you can view the Boards meeting agendas, reports and minutes at either the Waikouaiti or Blueskin Libraries or through the DCC's website at "http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/council-minutes". Members of the Board are only too happy to hear (by phone or email) from members of the community about any issues within our area.

Purakanui School

By Bridget Davidson


Purakanui School had a busy term 1 with our Kiwiana theme, learning all about the geography of New Zealand and what makes us unique as New Zealanders. Our Year 7 and 8 students and Mr Cook had a great camp at Quarantine Island with seniors from other schools in our cluster. We have had school swimming at Port Chalmers' pool every Tuesday afternoon and two triathlons – one at Warrington Beach, the WAWA Challenge, and one at Macraes Flat. Congratulations to all the teams and individuals in these events who competed very enthusiastically, with many gaining places. We were also part of the Waikouaiti Music Jam which took place on 4 April.

A very successful weekend on the Rail Trail was enjoyed by 12 children and 11 adults in mid-March. Some of our students biked 56 km from Ranfurly to Omakau on the first day, which was a superb effort. The second day was shorter, being rained off at Chatto Creek after 12km. We all enjoyed hot chocolates to dry out.

We are currently having Cybersafety workshops to help parents and children to learn about responsible use of the Internet. Our end of term community assembly happened on 4 April with a pot luck supper afterwards.

Mrs Allen has recovered from her knee operation and thanks to all our relievers who helped Mr Cook run the school while she was away.

Check out further school information and news at www.purakanui.school.nz. Don't forget our preschool Little Cockles and Tiny Pipis groups which run weekly. Anyone is very welcome to attend. Telephone the school on 482 1026 for further information.



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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


Saturday, 21 April 2012

BLUESKIN GARDEN CLUB

by Lyn Hastie
 
Blueskin Garden Club held their last meeting at the Blueskin Library. Our speaker was Dylan Norfield from the Dunedin Botanic Garden. Dylan was well prepared with photos on the screen and gave an interesting talk of taking part in the prestigous Chelsea Flower Show and also about his life in a family nursery in England. Dylan was a judge at the recent Ellerslie Flower Show.Thanks Dylan for giving your time to our club members. Several club members recently held a plant stall at the Blueskin A&P Clearing Sale.We hope to rekindle some of the competitions we used to hold at previous shows. Look out next year for a return of vegetable baskets, fruit and vege competitions, produce, baking, something for the children, etc etc. Your ideas are very welcome so please contact one of our members if you would like to add to our ideas. If you have access to a very large tent or a marquee please let us know too. Our AGM will be held on Thursday 10 May. More details to follow via club email. Contacts are President: Glenys Clements 482 2640; or Secretary :Lyn Hastie 482 2896.
 
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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


WAITATI OPEN ORCHARDS

by Hilary Rowley
 
The third and final Harvest Market of the year has been and gone (already). By all accounts it was another big success with plenty of
apples squashed and funds raised. Well done everyone who organised, picked, crushed, came along, ate and drank. If you still have
some apples left over but don't have a fancy beast of an apple juicing machine at your disposal, try freezing them. The freezer will
break down the apple flesh so it's easy to pulp. Only put sound apples in the freezer or cut out any rotten parts. After freezing the
apples overnight leave to thaw and put in a food processor to break into a pulp. You could probably also devise some method of 
bashing them to a pulp if you don't want to use a food processor. This step will be so much easier after the time in the freezer. 
 
We are aiming for 4 litres of juice so start with 3.5kg or so of apples. Strain the resulting pulped apples through a jelly bag.  Measure the specific gravity of the strained juice with a hydrometer, and water
down until it reaches the range between 1035 and 1050. Add 100 grams of raw sugar to your 4 litres of juice, then pour into a
demijohn or other suitable vessel. Add 5 grams of champagne yeast. Leave at room temperature for a couple of days with some cotton
wool at the neck of the demijohn as a seal.  When the frothing has reduced fit an airlock, with water in it, to the jar and leave to
ferment for two weeks in a warm place, or until the cider has stopped bubbling. Then syphon into bottles and seal. Leave for three months
in a dark  place. At all stages in this process everything must be very clean and sterilized.
 
Apples certainly grow well in Waitati, but there are other fruits at this time of year too. The strawberries and Myrtus Ugni planted
around the skateboard ramp should be ripe now, and Albany Surprise grapes are fruiting abundantly at our place now, after zero frost
protection last spring, so would probably grow in a lot of sheltered spots in Waitati over verandahs and against walls. WOO planted
some feijoas at Orokonui riverside park, but these seem to be much later than the North Island fruit which is turning up in the shops
now. A variety called Unique has so far proven to be the one for fruiting early in its life in this area. Don't forget to look out for
blackberries. They may be a horrible weed, but it's better to eat the berries than let them seed more prickly tangles.

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From blueskin.co.nz and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media: voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff, Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point, Purakaunui), Dunedin, New Zealand. All material sent to or published by us is "copyleft" in the public domain and may be freely shared, archived, re-edited and republished. If you want to credit the source it's "blueskin.co.nz".


Nicole Foss: Preparing for the Economic Depression

by Andy Barratt

 Nicole Foss began her talk at the Hampden Hall on 23 March by describing herself as a "big picture" person, and it was certainly a big picture that she set out before her audience.

Nicole's thesis is a simple one. The developed world faces two imminent crises: a financial crisis and an energy crisis. The financial crisis will come first (we are already experiencing its first phase); the energy crisis will arrive somewhat later. Hence the title of her talk, important though peak oil and other forms of resource depletion might be – not to mention the ever-growing spectre of climate change – it is on the current financial situation and its implications for our way of life that we should be concentrating our attention right now.

Nicole is not the only one to be talking of an inevitable economic collapse, of course -- a quick search on the internet or the shelves of the public library will supply endless hours of depressing reading -- but where her analysis differs from most (see, for example, Dmitry Orlov's darkly hilarious Reinventing Collapse) is that she expects this to be a deflationary (rather than a hyperinflationary) economic depression. In her account, the banking crisis of 2008 marks the high point of an economic "bubble" which she describes as a massive pyramid scheme which (like such bubbles throughout human history) is bound to burst – at immense cost to us all. When it comes, the ensuing depression will be at least as long as the Great Depression.

And that is only half the problem, of course. This is because the energy crisis will then follow hard on the heels of the economic depression. (Thankfully for those wishing to keep total despair at bay, Nicole hardly made mention of the ever-escalating dangers of global climate change – a small enough mercy though it might seem.)

On the energy front, Nicole gave a fairly rapid summary of what is by now a standard analysis, reviewing the peak oil scenario, diminishing returns on energy invested in ventures like oil from shales, the lack of credible alternatives to cheap fossil fuels, and so on. The good news, though, is that the impact of the energy crisis will be mitigated – at least for a while – by the economic crisis, which will reduce demand and thus give us a breathing space before the supply collapse really kicks in.

The final part of Nicole's talk was the bit we were all waiting for, of course. If all this is on the way, what the hell do we do about it? There is no way New Zealand will be miraculously spared. Our problems are well understood already: high household debt; a housing price bubble; vulnerability to rising interest rates; and a reliance on international trade (which is a major casualty during periods of economic depression). The NZ dollar will fall in value and we are likely to pay the price of having our trading banks in Australian ownership.

As we face all of this, Nicole reminded us of the importance of human psychology and the need to steer a course between the natural – but ultimately unproductive – responses of anger or fear. Instead, she stressed the need for us to keep a long-term view and to focus on constructive activity. What this means above all is doing things for ourselves. Forget about central governments coming to our rescue and work towards survival from the grass roots. In a depression, deglobalization and decentralization will be the way forward and strong local communities an absolute necessity.

So what do we do? At the individual household level we need to reduce debt as quickly as possible and gain as much control as we can over essentials, such as water and power supply. Hold on to cash (don't rely on the banks!) and try to pool wealth across generations, reinventing the extended family. We also need to become generally much more tolerant of the risks we face, accepting these as a natural part of the process of living. We should invest where we can in "hard goods", the things we need when the going gets tough: shelter, land, water provision, cooking equipment, low-tech transport, hand tools, books and manuals, medicines, and so on. At the community level, it will be a matter of pooling resources and understanding that interdependence, not autonomy will be the key to resilience. Again, Nicole drew on her background in psychology, emphasizing the necessity of developing relationships of trust.

Oddly enough – and despite the depressing prognosis it contained – Nicole's talk was, for me at least, an invigorating experience. For those who missed it, her interview on the Kim Hill programme on National Radio (24 March) is available on the internet. And her website (theautomaticearth) also has lots of interesting stuff on it.


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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

PURAKANUI SCHOOL

by Bridget Davidson

Purakanui School had a busy Term 1 with our Kiwiana theme, learning all about the geography of New Zealand and what makes us unique as New Zealanders. Our Year 7 and 8 students and Mr Cook had a great camp at Quarantine Island with seniors from other schools in our cluster. We have had school swimming at Port Chalmers' pool every Tuesday afternoon and two triathlons – one at Warrington Beach, the WAWA Challenge, and one at Macraes Flat. Congratulations to all the teams and individuals in these events who competed very enthusiastically, with many gaining places. We were also part of the Waikouaiti Music Jam which took place on 4 April.

A very successful weekend on the Rail Trail was enjoyed by 12 children and 11 adults in mid-March. Some of our students biked 56 km from Ranfurly to Omakau on the first day, which was a superb effort. The second day was shorter, being rained off at Chatto Creek after 12km. We all enjoyed hot chocolates to dry out.

We are currently having Cybersafety workshops to help parents and children to learn about responsible use of the Internet. Our end of term community assembly happened on 4 April with a pot luck supper afterwards.

Mrs Allen has recovered from her knee operation and thanks to all our relievers who helped Mr Cook run the school while she was away. Check out further school information and news at www.purakanui.school.nz. Don't forget our preschool Little Cockles and Tiny Pipis groups which run weekly. Anyone is very welcome to attend. Telephone the school on 482 1026 for further information.


Bridget Davidson
Board of Trustees         
The WAWA Challenge 2012








Poolburn Tunnels - Rail trail trip - March