In 2014, the club was looking around for a venue for our second summer ceilidh, having grown too large in number to continue dancing at Kristin and Rod’s place (where the first Johnsonville summer ceilidh was held).
Amongst many other places I visited, was Newlands Marae, Ngā Hau e Whā o Paparārangi. It turned out not to be suitable for our ceilidh, but a connection had been made. So when it came time for the marae to celebrate Neighbours’ Day, they got in touch to invite us to participate.
Neighbours’ Day is all about connections within communities, and across cultural groups, and it seemed like a good thing to be involved in. The theme for 2015 was ‘the young and the elderly’, and at the time we could offer both!
Newlands Community Centre helped with organisation, and promoted the event:
Mark your calendars now for Neighbours Day 2015. This year Newlands Community Centre and Ngā Hau e Wha o Paparārangi (NHEWOP) are organising a neighbourly event for our community on Saturday 28 March, 1 – 4pm at NHEWOP marae. There will be activities and entertainment for young and old including Scottish Country dancing, kapa haka, face painting, bouncy castles, sports activities, hāngī and much much more! Come along and meet your neighbours and have fun!
The plan was for the pōwhiri to take place at 1pm, and for us to dance outside on the grass at 2pm. However, the rain changed all that, and we danced inside instead, which was a little cramped but it made for a cosy atmosphere.
Around two sets of Johnsonville members came along, ranging from longstanding dancers to some of our new dancers (Sarah and Josh), who’d only been dancing for a month or two.
We starting with a demonstration of The Robertson Rant (video from the club’s 2014 Annual Dance), and the ever-popular The De’il Amang the Tailors (video from Wellington’s 2016-2017 Hogmanay, with plenty of Johnsonville members and past members).
The day was all about sharing the experience with the community, so we moved on to some easy dances that everyone could enjoy – our very newest dancers and audience members alike. The Kingston Flyer (video from the 2013 New Dancers’ Celebration, organised by Johnsonville), and Rod’s dance Room One both made for a lot of laughter (as in this video from Johnsonville’s 2015 Bright Midwinter’s Night).
Pat Reesby, who was club secretary at the time, wrote in the club newsletter of 1 April 2015:
“Last Saturday at the marae in Ladbrooke Grove was great fun. We demonstrated The Robertson Rant and De’il Amang the Tailors and then encouraged people to join in The Kingston Flyer and Room One. Here are some photos (thanks to John Munro for taking one of them).
By the way, the ‘fairy’ is Marie Thomson 1 of the New Players of Newlands, and talking with her reminded me that when I worked for Kapi-Mana News back in the 1980s I used to review their plays and pantomimes.”
Click through the arrows at the bottom of the photo gallery below to see the fun we had participating at the Neighbours’ Day celebration in 2015. All photos by Pat Reesby except where stated.
So, a good time was had by all. And some of us went home with gifts of plants from the Newlands Community Gardens. The cabbage trees we received are looking good, and our white kākā beak is struggling on in the Newlands wind.
7 October 2021
- Marie was a fantastically larger than life Newlands personality, who passed away at the end of 2016.