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
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.
Each year Massey University celebrates the achievements of its graduates. There is a week long celebration in May, and a one day ceremony in November.
Each Graduation Ceremony culminates in a parade. Behind the Town Crier, led by the Drum Major, followed by members of The Pipes and Drums of Palmerston North and Districts Pipe Band, come the flag bearers - guiding the Massey Ram mascot. Then, falling in behind the academic staff from Massey University, comes a throng of exuberant, balloon festooned graduates - all wending our way from the Regent Theatre to a huge marquee, especially erected, in the Square. Parents, whanau and friends all gather to cheer them on.
It truly is a wonderful occasion.
Lisa Purda HOD Art at SPC - a Massey graduate - with the Town Crier