Halswell Domain

Halswell Domain
View from the Model Engineers' site in the Halswell Domain

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Our Second Community Market

Nancy playing her harp under the trees
The second experimental community market held in the grounds of St Lukes Church was another success.  35 great stalls filled our space and there was something for everyone.  Stalls sold local produce, garden plants, cut flowers, pickles, bread and bakery goods, some food stalls and a range of crafts. A number of community groups ran fundraisers and we had some great live music from Rachel (singer songwriter guitarist) and Nancy, (a harpist).  There was also a bouncy castle and kids games going on throughout the market.  3-4 local businesses also ran stalls to highlight and sell their products and services

David, a fruit and vege grower from the Old TaitTapu Rd
The team from the Halswell Community Project and our sponsors at St Luke's Church were delighted when Sunday 24th November dawned sunny and warm (after a week of cloud and drizzle), although as people noted later, perhaps it got a little too hot during the afternoon!  Most of the people who came to the market were able to spend some time sitting in the shade and perusing the various stalls.  The sunshine was a little more challenging for stall holders who did not have umbrellas or tents to provide shade.

Craft, plant and clothing stalls
 Overall we'd have loved to have seen a few more local residents at the market.  We were pleased that most of the stall holders felt there were enough people attending the market to justify their running a stall and are keen to come back again in February.
We really appreciate the support of the locals - ongoing support is going to be really important to keep our stallholders coming back and to ensure the sustainability of the market.  We will need to see a few more supporters at our coming markets this summer in order to decide what we should do next year.  The long term viability of the market will depend on having plenty of people coming along. 

There is quite a bit of parking available across in the Library carpark and down at the Hall (both less than 5 mins walk away).  Many people from Halswell on the Park, Muir Park, and Oaklands chose to walk from home and a few also biked to get to the market.  cyclists could park onsite in the new bikestands or at the gate and most brought panier or packs to take away their purchases.

Put Feb 16th 2014 - 1-4 pm into your diary and come down and check out what is on offer at the next market!

Two local businesses soon after setup, before the rush

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shining cuckoos around Halswell

I was in my garden earlier this week (near Quarry Park) and heard a shining cuckoo/ pipiwharauroa.   They have a very distinctive call  and are said to herald spring.  I always like hearing them for that reason - no matter if it is well into summer when I hear them!   They are also known as rainbirds in some parts of New Zealand - testimony to the fact that that on the west coast of both islands, spring can be quite a wet season!

Shining Cuckoo:  Photo from DOC website
Pipiwharauroa are small insect eating birds - only about the size of a sparrow and they fly each year between here and the Solomon Islands.  They go there to eat up large on insects over our winter, before returning here in spring.

They breed here, laying their eggs into the nests of  grey warblers tiny birds with relatively loud and also very distinctive song.

There are a few places around Christchurch where you can hear shining cuckoos throughout the summer - so listen out as you walk, or bike around Halswell  because you might just hear one.

You can find out more about shining cuckoos here  or you can listen to an interview about the shining cuckoo here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Spring Clean ....

Another post from the lovely Rebecca Harford of who runs the Love my Body Programme.
The weather is getting better and the days are getting longer, now is often when we give our house and gardens a bit of a clean out - well we should also do the same with our body.
1) Clean out your wardrobe: Try on your clothes- are they too big? put in a recycling pile to either be dropped off in the closest clothing bin ASAP or have a 2nd hand clothes swap party with friends. Have you not worn that item last summer- put it in the recycling pile. If there is clothes that you haven't worn this winter- put them in your pile too!! no point in saving them for another year and taking up space!! Check your clothes over- are they a little too loved or need mending (and be honest with yourself if you don't fix it tonight then put it straight in the bin!!)?? Make sure to check your undies and socks too- have a good clean out and then treat yourself to some gorgeous new frills- its amazing how great it makes you feel!!
Here's some good advice on when to bin your bra!!
  1. Has the lace on your bra begun to pill, stretch or tear?
  2. Do the straps on your bra hold their length without stretching?
  3. Is the band that fits around your rib cage stretched? Does it still hold tight to your body?
  4. Have you gained or lost weight recently, resulting in a change in your rib cage and breast size?
  5. Do you notice any fraying fabric anywhere on your bra?
  6. Are the moulded cups of your bra beginning to show signs of wrinkling or dimpling?
  7. Is the fabric of your bra looking dingy, gray or stained from perspiration or everyday wear and washing?
  8. When you wear a tight-fitting top over your bra, do you notice any bra bulge anywhere along your breast line and back?
  9. Are you feeling any discomfort or pain between your shoulder blades or back?
  10. Are you having to tighten the straps of your bra more often to give your breasts proper lift and support?
If you answer yes to one of these questions then you need to ditch that bra!!
2) Give your skin a refresh!!- Not the skin on your face!! now is the time our pearly whites are starting to come out and I'm not talking teeth!! SO its time to give everything a spruce up.
                 - Dehair- do whatever it takes and get rid of ALL of that unwanted hair no excuses!!
                 - Exfoliate- give EVERYWHERE a good scrub with a lovely exfoliant
                 -Moisterise, moisterise, moisterise- get a gradual fake tanner (like Dove summer glow its great!!)- having a bit of colour on your skin will make you feel more confident :)
Now you need to be doing this at least 2x a week- believe me you will thank me for the extra 15 mins a week you spend on this when you need to slip quickly into a skirt, shorts or singlet and your legs and arms look great!!
3) Clean out your makeup, skincare products etc etc- Have you been holding onto some nice smellies for another day??- well start treating yourself and use them!! IF you haven't used something for 6 months either pass it on to someone who will, use it yourself or bin it!!
Here are some tips for when to bin your make up and skincare products:
  • Most powders, concealers and lip balms are anhydrous (they don't contain water), so they can last for a couple of years.
  • Cleansers and moisturizers often contain fatty acids, which can turn rancid quickly. Toss after six months.
  • Multiuse products such as 3-in-1 sticks and creams can spread germs from lips to eyes and cheeks. Wipe the surface before switching areas, and discard or replace after six months.
  • Pencils can last several years unless you wet the tip with saliva or water. To be safe, sharpen before each use.
  • Mascara should be tossed after three months without fail. The tube is a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Foundations can last up to a year if you keep your fingers away from the bottle. Instead, use a sponge to apply..
  • Store cosmetics in a cool, dry place outside the bathroom to extend their shelf life.
Good luck and enjoy the results from your big spring clean :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Post from Shirish Paranjape (standing for community board in Riccarton/Wigram)

The joys of democracy
Some weeks back, I decided to contest for the position of a community board member for Riccarton-Wigram ward.
During these past weeks of campaign and community interaction, I have experienced many aspects of our community, our city.
1.  Our local government structure of mayor, councilors, community boards: Many people, particularly those born overseas asked me to explain what a community board is, what it does etc. After listening to me, their unanimous comment was that this structure is such a nice one to have. Let us make this structure work for our communities!
2.   I found that most people were genuinely interested in discussions leading to positive outcomes for the city. The awareness level of local issues is very high, and people liked to discuss issues which affected them and others.
3.   Community support for the process of elections, including candidates’ campaign is very high and positive. House-owners and businesses not only gave permissions for signage, many actually made adjustments to accommodate the same. Businesses engaged in printing brochures, signs etc. supported with quick turn-around times. Media and community groups engaged actively and promoted good discussions.
Personally, I learnt a lot just through this process of campaigning, communicating, meeting people and visiting different parts of our city.
But I also learnt that the voter turnout at local elections is less than ideal, around the 50% mark!
When I first heard this, this was indeed a surprise, as this did not match the active community involvement I had experienced otherwise.
I wondered about the reasons, which perhaps include.
1.    Lack of voter awareness about candidates
2.    Some candidates not forthcoming about providing detailed information about themselves.
3.    The website www.vote.co.nz run by Local Government New Zealand is an excellent resource but very few voters know about it. Perhaps the publicity is not adequate.
I feel that to improve democratic processes, indeed the effectiveness of democracy itself – widespread community participation is vital.
Let us look at countries such as Egypt. Hundred have laid down their lives in an effort to get democracy.
We in New Zealand are much luckier. We do not have to go to such extremes. All we need to do is to participate in the elections in big numbers.
We do not even have to leave the comforts of our homes.
Let us make Christchurch as the city with (near) 100% voter turnout.
Let us do it together. Let us make it 100%.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Halswell Market - What's happening?

The Halswell Community Project are going to try to put on three market days over the coming summer (Sunday 13th October, Sunday 24th November and Sunday 16th February) on a a small site (St Lukes Church) to test the feasibility of setting up a market in Halswell.  These days will help us find out what people want from a market here and also whether the community are interested in the market idea. 

We set up the Halswell Community Project in February this year, and amongst other things we have been finding out more about what we need to do to set up a market.  In that process we also learned about markets that have failed around Christchurch and the reasons why they failed. 

Lyttelton Market 2013

To run a weekly market, you need:
  • A good venue, 
  • A consent to trade,  
  • Reliable vendors who are selling things that people want to buy, and 
  • Many customers who come regularly and buy from the vendors. 

We are working on the venue and have had talks with a few people around the place.  We have been told by the Council that doing it on Council land is difficult and something to be avoided, and we have talked with the supermarket manager and he is not keen to have a market in his carpark because it will create congestion issues.  Schools are a good place to run a market and we are working on that but this will take us some time to sort out.

To run a regular market, the Council requires us to have a consent, in which they assess things like noise levels, parking, effects on the neighbours, effects on traffic and a number of other things.

A consent costs several thousand dollars which includes Council costs and the cost of paying a planner to work with us to put the application together.  We expect that it will also be a major investment in our own time - both in finding funding and in doing what is needed to put in an application.

The rub is that a couple of new markets in Christchurch have failed, so funders are going to want to know that we are sure that we can get a market up and running if they are going to give us that amount of funding.

Vendors and buyers - how markets fail
To run a successful market you need a good number of reliable vendors and a good number of reliable buyers and the vendors need to sell what the buyers want.  Without ALL of this nobody comes!

 Having a good number of buyers
Last year we ran a survey to find out how interested people are in the idea of a market. Perhaps the most important aspect of that was how many people chose to go and fill in the survey.  We put 4000 fliers into letterboxes around Halswell and about 390 people filled in the survey.  We know that some people do not have access to computers, but the question is if only 390 people were prepared to fill in our survey how many would actually come to a market (something that arguably takes more effort).  At this stage, we are unsure exactly how interested Halswell people really are in a market and what this might translate into when we actually run a market.

Without a good number of buyers, vendors don't want to come back

To get a good number of buyers, you have to sell what people want to buy!
People are most likely to want to buy food on a regular basis. If you think about it, many of us do buy food each week but we don't spend nearly so frequently on other goods and services.  So a good market needs things like eggs, bread, good fruit and veges, and food that people can eat on the spot with a coffee.
There are a relatively small number of vendors around Christchurch.  Vendors selling things like bread, cheese, pastries, pies or preserves (for example) need to be licensed.  Vendors that sell veges either need to be reasonable sized growers of a variety of veges,  or commercial operators who buy from the grower, so they have enough to sell at a regular market.  Many vendors attend more than one market and while some might be keen on a new option (if it doesn't clash with a market they already attend) some may not want to come to another market.
We'd love to get new, local vendors but new vendors may need time to learn what it takes to run a good stall and whether they really want to do it. As such there is a little more risk in getting new vendors to a new market, so we need a way to manage that.

Why market days?
We've decided to run three community market days this summer to see if we can find vendors, to give vendors a chance to test the water here,  and to see who comes along.

We hope to find out:
  • Whether we can develop a good set of vendors,  
  • How to locate and work with vendors and 
  • Whether people in Halswell are likely to support a market - by coming along to it.    
Doing this is also a way of proving to potential funders that we are worth supporting if, and when, we decide that we can go ahead with developing a weekly market.

So you can help by coming along, making suggestions to people who might make good vendors.  If you have some ideas about the latter, then contact Phil at communitymarket.halswell@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Guest Post from Sara Harnett who is running for Council

My name is Sara Harnett and I reside in the Riccarton Wigram Ward. I am married to Tjeerd and we have two children (16yrs&11yrs). Over the past 25 years we have built up a successful farm based export business. In the past I have represented New Zealand internationally as a distance runner, nowadays I am a keen cyclist as well as supporting and encouraging our girls in their chosen sports. I have a strong interest in planning and design and how it impacts on the environment and ones quality of life. I believe that people in the Riccarton Wigram Ward deserve better.
I suppose one of the reasons I am standing for council is because of my involvement with a number of Plan Changes in the area. I have see first hand the way the system works. The Resource Management Act (RMA) is a very large document full of policies and objectives on sustainability, protecting the environment and mitigating the adverse consequences from new developments. Unfortunately the RMA is not nicknamed the rich mans act for nothing as it seems to be that often all of these objectives and policies in the final decision can go straight out the window. When was the last time that protecting versatile soils was given any weight? This is not a question of being anti development, we are in business after all, it is about effective planning.
Effective planning takes into account the impact that decisions have on the wider community. It requires thought, a simple word but something that seems to be lacking.
Christchurch faces unprecedented new growth. How do we keep a balance between the needs of a growing city and preventing urban sprawl. How do we protect our green spaces and improve our public transport and access for cyclists and pedestrians.
I remember the "Share An Idea" seminar after the earthquake and been surprised by how many people thought that "Green Space" and "Sustainable Transport" we're important. What happened to those aspirations?
Often people will run for council promising to bring rates down, it never happens! Keeping control of fiscal expenditure is important and good design and planning is much more cost effective than some laissez faire approach.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another Spring

It was with great sadness that we farewelled an equine friend this winter. Bridget was at the property that I graze at when I first arrived in June 2003. She was 'twenty or so', a grouchy, bossy mare with a stubborn streak a mile wide. She breathed like Darth Vader, had a figure shaped by seven pregnancies, and tended to chase cattle and horses alike into corners so that she could kick them.

She had several talents, including a surprising burst of speed when the gate to the road was left unattended (fortunately she always turned left to rampage on the lawn, rather than charging down the driveway). She loved water. You only had to walk towards the hose on hot days to have her come over. She would stand for you to drench one side, turn so that you could spray the other, then trot off down the paddock, flicking her tail at the drips running from her belly. She would stick her head in the water trough up to eye level, and roll and play in any large puddles she could find.

As the years passed, Bridget began to show the more obvious signs of ageing. She started to struggle with chewing hay, and became less eager to trot away after a wash, instead settling for a fast walk. She stopped itching her belly by rolling, and instead became extremely partial to tummy scratches (which were welcomed by heavy breathing and drooling). Bridget slowly sank down the pecking order until she was put in a separate paddock to stop her being bullied. She started to lose weight in the winters, and found it harder to put it back on in spring. She was getting old. A conversation with her owner revealed that she had been born in 1977.

In the last few years Bridget was a great customer of the local stockfood supplier. She would devour 40 litres of hard feed each night, and had a feed bill running into the hundreds of dollars each month. I often remarked that it would be easier just to feed her the money, as it would save on the heavy lifting. She adored her food and, when insufficiently hungry, she would tip over her 20L buckets to pick out the yummy bits, leaving the rest. This winter she stopped walking down to the gate for me to feed her, instead requiring yours truly to cart her (very heavy!) dinners down to the part of the paddock she liked to eat her dinner in. I put this down to dodgy eyesight, but having seen her make her way to the gate for her owner to feed her treats, realised that I was being manipulated. I was happy to be manipulated by her, so the waitressing continued.

In July of this year I arrived at the paddocks to find Bridget lying down. Her eyes were becoming glazed, and I couldn't get her up. The vet arrived, and was followed by her owner's brother. After roughly 45 minutes of the three of us cajoling, pushing and pulling we managed to get her up. She was a bit shaky, but practically dragged the vet the length of the paddock so that she could get into the shed to warm up. She went through every possible puddle on the way, to the dismay of the vet, who had forgotten her gumboots.

Bridget had another three weeks with us. She started coming down to the gate for her dinner again, looking over the fence with an expressive, expectant face as 4.30 approached. She began shedding her thick winter coat, in preparation for the spring that never came for her.

Bridget was put down on Sunday 4 August, at about six thirty in the evening. She had been found unable to rise at seven that morning, and despite a day of vets and injections and pleading, did not regain her feet. She was a horse who always tried her heart out, so the decision to end her life was relatively easy.

I have many memories of Bridget, most of them happy, some sad. The most bittersweet is this: In the hour before she was put down, she rallied a little. She sat up, pricked her ears at me, and looked around for her dinner. I brought over her feed bucket, she gobbled a few mouthfuls. She did this a further dozen times, and I was happy to serve such a courageous spirit.

Bridget, summer 2011.

Rest in peace, darling girl.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Guest post from Vicki Buck: Candidate for Council in our ward

Local government elections are coming up in October this year.  

In Canterbury we have had our democratic right to vote for Regional Councillors removed but we will still be electing people for the Health Board, the CCC and for the Riccarton-Wigram Community Board.  
Here's a guest post from Vicki Buck who is running for Council in the coming elections.  She brings an amazing amount of experience in community work and in Council.  
Any other candidates standing for council, community board or health board in the Riccarton Wigram Ward  who would like to contribute to this blog are more than welcome to send posts to halswell.newsletter@gmail.com.

Vicki writes:

Standing for the City Council again was something I never intended to do. But over the last year or two  I’ve felt  really worried  about what is happening  at the Council. Like you and everyone else I want to feel excitement and hope about our city.  And that requires a Council that functions very well.
I got involved in the City Council as a Councillor when I was 19 …and then was Mayor from 1989 to 1998, so I know from that experience that the City Council can be really good. And I hate the fact that it doesn’t feel like that at the moment .
This is the first time since the September 2010 earthquakes that we have had the chance to stand for Council.  Nominations were already in on the 4th September 2010.  So right now at this election we have a once-only opportunity to transform this community. Christchurch sits on the edge of a massive transformation . And it’s important that we make sure the things that make us an awesome city to live in stay , and that we can feel excitement and ownership of the new.
The Council’s budget looks quite scary to me at present so I’m keen to work to get the Council’s finances back on track, and to make sure that all the functions that we should be able to take for granted are working really well. This will be tough because the debt levels look worrying and the insurance issues are severe. So this area needs lots of attention, and caution.
So does the housing situation, which is serious. The Council is the second largest landlord in the country so has a huge role to play in this. And after the stress of the last few years we want to be able to enjoy our communities and this city and all they can be.
 But we have also learned that communities can be incredibly strong and are very important in our own sense of well-being.  I love bringing people together and seeing the magic that can happen in collaborating.
Many people want to contribute to the city but don’t want to stand for election to the City  Council. it’s important that we make sure our people , our very best asset, feel that they can achieve the things they want to do. Helping make that happen is the most fun job there could be…and that’s the part I enjoy most .
Halswell is growing very quickly and it’s important that growth is done well . I’m really keen to listen to what you think is important in your community. I like doing that most in coffee shops . Or if phoning or email is easier , then my mobile is 0275 842 542 and my email is vicki.buck@xtra.co.nz.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cycling: a good way to get around

I started biking round Halswell when I was a kid - around about the age of 9, from what I remember.  It was nothing unusual at the time - it was just what we all did.   Unlike most, however,  I’m still cycling now a few decades later.  Why? Mainly because it’s fun,  but it is also convenient, quick, cheap, friendly and safe.  

I bike all around the City and out to Lincoln regularly to get to work meetings, shop, run errands, visit various libraries or meet people for coffee.  And heaven forbid - at weekends I've been known to do it for recreation but that's a bit less common!

 "You're taking your life in your hands" someone said to me the other day and many people say to me that they won't cycle because it is too dangerous.  It's not as bad as most people think.  It is much more common to die or be severely injured driving a car or a motorbike than it is riding a bike - so much so that bike deaths are still considered newsworthy - so we hear about them.

Looking back over the many decades that I've used roads around Christchurch - and I've biked 1000s of kilometres each year -  I've had one accident (in 2010, someone turned his vehicle, right, into my path as I travelled straight ahead at the traffic lights by the Halswell Library, because he didn't see me) and I was driving my car at the time.  Despite travelling at well below the speed limit, the car never recovered, and I was out of action for about three weeks while my ribs healed enough for me to get back on the bike

Not that I haven't had near misses on the bike, but I've also learned where to look for trouble,  and how to avoid it.  It is possible, as with driving, to be a very defensive cyclist and to cycle in ways that minimise risk.

In rush hour, cycling is incredibly safe, fast and fun.  I love passing all the cars in the tail backs from Dunbars road onwards.  The only things moving at any pace are cyclists.
On top of all the obvious things, are the statistics on the effects of inactivity on health and death rates. We never consider that too much time sitting down in front of the computer or watching TV might be dangerous - but it is!In fact it turns out that the overall health benefits of cycling are far greater than the overall health costs (in terms of cyclist injuries etc)
"Those who exercise regularly are at signi´Čücantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, all types of cancer, high blood pressure and obesity,” says Dr Lynn Cherkas" in this article. 
As a cyclist, the research indicates that I have less chance of catching colds and 'flu and when I do I"ll recover quicker than people who do not exercise as much.  Kids who get exercise on their way to school do better at school and adults who exercise before work do better too.
A study of 200 people carried out by the University of Bristol found that employees who exercised before work or at lunchtime improved their time and workload management, and it boosted their motivation and their ability to deal with stress. 
And on top of all this cycling is a great for mental health! As this article points out, cycling not only makes you smarter - it also increases a lot of the chemistry in your brain that makes you feel peaceful and calm.

On top of that, I save money. There is the obvious, of course.  I fill my car up with about 35 litres of petrol every 6-8 weeks rather than every week or two weeks.  My car running costs are not high.  I don't have as many sick days as I would if I didn't bike (and because I work for myself and as a volunteer, that is significant).  I don't have as many doctors bills, I don't pay gym fees.

I even save YOU money! How?  Well, There's lower health bills, and this is pretty significant!  Check out this publication for a very comprehensive outline.
I do about 10,000 times less damage to the roads on the bike than in the car, (and I still pay the same rates and taxes as you for that roading). In Portland, Oregon, they found that investing a few million dollars in cycle paths caused about 10% of car drivers to get onto their bikes.  The savings to the city in road maintenance alone more than paid for the cycle paths.

I also subsidise your parking - particularly around Halswell where parking is "free".  Car parking is, of course, NEVER free! It's just that out here you don't pay the cost of it directly (and even in town you don't pay the full cost of it).  Car parking takes up a lot of real estate and we share the cost through rates, or in our shopping bills.

So, get out there guys - consider the benefits and think about the possibilities.  Even getting out there and walking more can be of major benefit to you personally.  Both cycling and walking are friendlier than driving a car -  after all, it's much easier to smile and say hello! :-)