The Alve's are an old NZ family who arrived in the Wairarapa in 1876 and who began farming in the Manawatu in 1900 near the site of the old Opiki Toll (Suspension) Bridge. On Easter Sunday 2015, 60 members of the family gathered at the P.N. Convention Centre after a graveside service at their immigrant forbears' graves in the Terrace End Cemetery. Caroline welcomed the family to the Convention Centre gathering with a Cry she wrote especially for the occasion - see below.
On the 21st March I opened an International Conference held by the Soroptimists. The word soroptimist is coined from 2 Latin roots ‘Soro’ meaning Sister and Optima- meaning Best, highest good. Literally translated Soroptimist means – “That which is best for women.” Soroptimist International is a global volunteer movement working together to transform the lives of women and girls. Advocacy Awareness Action has been a catch phrase of past conferences. They are always looking for new members so ladies, if you think this is something you may be interested in joining go to their website for details on how to join.
The Town Crier with Soroptimists Delivering Her Cry
21st March also saw our city’s iconic event, The Festival of Cultures swing into action. I have been involved in the opening ceremony of this very special event for a number of years now. We have at least 29 different ethnicities now living in Palmerston North. The Festival of Culture brings them together under an umbrella of Unity and Harmony - something we have work very hard to achieve and we are proud of our success. Thousands of people descend on Palmerston North during the week which culminates in the square on the Saturday to feast on a variety of different foods and enjoy Multi-Cultural entertainment and stalls. This year we had diplomats from 12 different countries attend the Opening Ceremony.
UCOL held their annual Graduation Ceremonies on the 24th and 25th March. This is a great time for celebration in the city. It is my task to round up the graduates and academic staff into some semblance of order and to lead their parade around to the UCOL atrium.
A Past Pupil from St Peter’s College at the UCOL Graduation
UCOL Grad Christopher Stones is a Past Neighbour of the Town Crier
Willy graduating from UCOL with Bill Flowerdew, a nursing colleague of the Town Crier's from the 70’s
New Deputy Mayor of Palmerston North Duncan McCann at UCOL Graduation with the Town Crier
2015 has started with a hiss and a roar and does not seem as though it will ease up any time soon. The most exciting news is Palmerston North has a new Mayor. His name is Grant Smith. He has embraced the role with vigour. He has taken the initiative to hold public sessions in Council's Customer Service Centre on The Square generally on a Tuesday and Friday morning between 10am and 11:30am. Anyone can go along and have a chat with the Mayor.
In January I was privileged again to be associated with The Quilt Symposium Manawatu 2015. Quilters and tutors came from the USA, Canada, South Africa United Kingdom, France, Australia and New Zealand for a week long symposium. The opening was held at the Regent Theatre and workshops were held in a number of venues around the city.
Quilt Symposium Manawatu 2015
Hot on the heels came the start of more High Teas at the Hotel Coachman. I have ‘hosted’ a number of these. It is a great way to celebrate special occasions like significant birthdays and anniversaries. Others have come to enjoy an experience of yester years, playing ‘Lords and Ladies of the manor' for a couple of hours. High Teas are held on the 3rd Sunday of each month between 2pm and 4pm. Bookings are essential and can be made by ringing Hotel Coachman’s reception on 06 356 5065.
Hotel Coachman, Palmerston North Phone 06 356 5065
We also had the first 2015 Citizenship Ceremony, where 100 people became New Zealand Citizens. At each ceremony we have 2 officers from one of the Armed Forces attending. At this particular ceremony I was delighted to meet up with a young man who was a past pupil at the school where I work. I ask Damian if he minded posing for a photo with me and he kindly obliged.
Citizenship ceremony with Damian who was the army escort on the day.
In April I was MC for the New Zealand Nurses Associations – Women’s Health Section Conference held in the Convention Centre in Palmerston North. It was an inspiring Conference with quality presenters. Having trained as a nurse in the late 60’s early 70’s in the then Palmerston North Hospital’s Community Nurse programme, I was totally absorbed by the changes that have evolved. I really enjoyed catching up with a number of women with whom I had worked. Some attended as delegates while others presented papers.Dr Jenny Carryer spoke on- Women's health is more than just a diagnosis and Faye Selby-Law - Smoking cessation . They are two in particular that I have seen follow Nursing with a passion - while Kerry Hocquard, who presented a paper on Surviving Melanoma, is a really good friend She is an absolute inspiration in here role with the Cancer Society in prevention of melanoma.
We are very blessed to have such dedicated people in the health sector.
This opportunity came out of the blue. I was invited to host the iconic winter event at the Hotel Coachman as the regular host, Chris Burn from the Breeze local radio station, was unavailable. I thought it was to be a one off occasion but I was asked to host 4 of these decadent, delicious afternoons.
The Hotel Coachman came up with the idea of organising High Tea on the 3rd Sunday of each month, over winter. They are extremely popular. On 2 occasions there were very large groups who had chosen to celebrate Significant Birthdays by booking in for the High Tea. This swelled numbers significantly. However the challenge was not at all daunting to the staff who managed to keep tea pots full and plates laden with treats. Most guests being offered small boxes to take home any ‘left overs.’
The Grand Piano being played in the foyer by Sarah from Palmerston North Girls High, provided a pleasing ambiance. Full marks must go to Russell Chappell who creates the delicacies served on the tiered cake stands. The cakes he creates for ‘special occasions’ are truly spectacular. If you are wanting a cake that will be remembered just contact Russell through the Hotel Coachman – you won’t be disappointed.
Valdorines Palmerston North Marching Team CLICK TO ENLARGE
On August 9th I attended the Lower North Island Leisure Marching Teams Marching Display day at the Village Valley Centre in Ashhurst. I was invited by a friend of mine and member of the Valdorines Marching Team, Helen Kingston, to receive the march past and salute from all the teams, and then to formally open the event. There were about 40 teams registered for the day's display.
What a great group of women - mostly aged between 40 - 70, all have a passion for team work and keeping fit – hence marching. Their uniforms, each team quite unique, are worn with pride and their routines were quite complicated.
I believe there are a number of Leisure Marching teams throughout the country and they are away looking for new members. I met a number of women who had had knee and/or hip replacements who took up leisure marching as part of their recovery. If you are keen to find out more, email me via my contact form and I will try to get a person who is in your area to contact you.
I was approached by Gunhild Litwin, a member of the organising committee, as I was leaving the 2013 Christmas Parade and asked if I would consider opening this event. We exchanged details and the rest, as they say, is history.
His Excellency M Laurent Contini, the Ambassador of France, Michael Absalom, president of AFMLTA (Association of Foreign Modern Languages Teachers Australia) and his executive committee and Martin East, president of NZALT ( New Zealand Association of Languages Teachers) and his committee were all invited, along with a number of life members to celebrate the 40th anniversary of NZALT.
I met teachers of numerous languages who worked in a variety of areas including schools.
The committee did a fantastic job and the opening night set the stage for a very successful celebration.
With His Excellency M Laurent Contini, the Ambassador of France
March was a particularly busy month for me with a couple of double up functions I was commissioned to attended, along with working at school for part of those days.
UCOL (Universal College Of Learning) our Polytechnic College held 3 graduation ceremonies over the 11th and 12th of March where graduands were presented with either their Diplomas or Degrees and capped as appropriate. It was my task again, to lead the parade from the Regent Theatre around to the UCOL Atrium.
Festival of Cultures The annual festival of Cultures was held again in March. This has become an iconic event in Palmerston North. I have been opening this event since I became the Town Crier in 2000. It is one of my favourite tasks. It is the one event that brings every ethnic group in Palmerston North together under an umbrella of unity and harmony.
New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Dairy On the evening of the 12th of March I was invited to pen and perform an opening cry for the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards for the lower North Island.
Passion for Progression - The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards attract farmers from across the country, working in all levels of the dairy industry. The awards showcase and support our passionate farmers of the future. The three competitions give entrants the chance to earn a regional or national title and to share in substantial regional and national prize pools
This is an annual event and it was a great evening. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting some of the folk who are the backbone of the NZ dairy industry.
The Friendship Force of the Manawatu hosted a National Conference in Feilding Feb 19th. They had around 130 delegates from all over New Zealand. I had only just heard about the existence of the Friendship Force when I went to Kingston in Canada for the World International Town Crier Tournament last year. A couple, Sheila and John Brazys, made themselves known to me and were there every day giving support and encouragement to both me and my fellow Town Crier and sister from Central Otago, Paddy-Ann Pemberton. They were such a great couple I will always remember their kindness. The Friendship Force is something I will most likely join once I retire from my fulltime work at St Peter’s College. I was really excited to be able to meet some of the delegates and to absorb some of the ambiance of this enthusiastic, hospitable group, when I performed a welcoming cry at the beginning of their conference. When I returned home I went on their website and found their Pledge ( see below) which encapsulates what they are about The Friendship Force Pledge As a member of the Friendship Force, I recognise that I can make a difference. I recognise that I have a mission. That mission is to be a friend to the people of the world. As I embark upon this adventure, I know that others are watching me. I know that through my example to my own fellow citizens and the people of other nations, the cause of friendship, love and peace can be furthered. I can make a difference.
Caroline was placed 9th out of the 34 Town criers who competed in the World Invitational Town Crier Competition in Kingston, Canada. Caroline wrote from Canada soon after the event, "I am chuffed as I knew it was going to be tough competing against the men but I had a personal goal of being ranked in the top 10 so YEAH! I also won the Best Dressed Town Crier Award so I am delighted." Caroline is on her way home today following the Competitions which ran from 1-5 August. As soon as we have more info and pics we will link to them from here.