Allison joined Johnsonville Scottish Country Dance Club as a beginner in 2013. At the end of 2013, club treasurer Barbara Thomson became very ill, and in early 2014 Allison volunteered to take on the role of acting treasurer.
Allison stood as treasurer at the 2014 AGM, and has been club treasurer ever since, an amazing tenure of nine years in the job. No other Johnsonville club treasurer has approached that length of service. (According to club records the next most long-serving was Ron Hook, treasurer for five years from 1984-1988.)
Over the last nine years, quite a few things have changed in the life of the club, increasing the number of financial transactions, and expanding the duties of treasurer.
has widened its advertising campaign for beginners’ classes
holds more social events like the summer ceilidh and midwinter dinner
continues to increase the number of live music nights
has introduced the option of an annual door fee.
Each of these comes with an increasing number of costs and payments, and consequent increased workload for the treasurer.
reduced its opening hours and then closed its branch in Johnsonville, making banking of door money less straightforward
phased out cheque books, necessitating the club switching to online authorisation of payments, not an easy transition due to ANZ processes
Covid also came into play. Cancellation of club nights and events over the last three years has resulted in reimbursements to those who had paid annual door fees, and registration fees for cancelled events.
In her time on the committee, Allison has also taken on other responsibilities.
been heavily involved in Midwinter dinners since we introduced them in 2015, delighting us with her mulled wine, co-organising catering, and taking on the role of kitchen co-ordinator
served as finance person on the combined Annual Dance sub-committee each year since 2018, when we made the move to shared annual dances with Capital City Club
handled finances for special club events like the club’s 50 Golden Years Celebration, and one-off region events organised by Johnsonville, such as Hogmanay and New Dancers’ Celebrations.
I am extremely grateful to have had the continuity of service that Allison has brought, and particularly to have had her support during the Covid years. It has made my role as President an easier one, having someone with an intimate knowledge of the club’s finances, who I can rely on completely. Thank you Allison.
For her spreadsheet work (membership and dance books)
Christine is a very recent member of the club, only joining us at beginners’ classes in February.
Despite this, in April she stepped forward when I asked if anyone could help with updating the club’s historical spreadsheet of membership. This list was created by Joan Clayton in 2016 for the club’s 50 Golden Years’ Celebration, but hadn’t been updated since then.
On 21 April I passed on five years’ worth of membership lists, and by 4 May it was done and dusted, and I thought I would try my luck and see if Christine would be interested in cataloguing the club’s dance books.
With dreary weather coming up, Christine thought it could be a good autumn-winter activity. Over the next 2-3 months we exchanged packages of books on Monday nights, and Christine created a catalogue of the 227 different books held by the club, Rod’s copies of those books and the additional 164 which Rod owns personally.
A lot of the books have been donated over the years, to the club and to Rod. Christine suggested including donor information, along with all the other information. In total, Christine worked her way through 629 books once duplicates were included. A mighty effort.
Spreadsheets are not everyone’s cup of tea, but fortunately for us, Christine enjoys ‘playing with spreadsheets’. Her work has added to the club’s historical records of membership and made life easier for Rod ,and for future tutors using the club’s collection of dance books. Thank you Christine.
Each year it is the turn of one club in the Wellington Region to organise what is the highlight of the Region’s dancing year.
The 2022 New Dancers’ Celebration is the third hosted by Johnsonville since Rod Downey became tutor. The first was in 2003, and the second in 2013.
Johnsonville hosts the 2003 New Dancers’ Celebration
We have documents for earlier and later periods in the club’s history, but we are missing most documents from a period including 2003. We must make do with the New Dancers’ programme of dances, the accounts for the event, and a single paragraph in the 2004 NZ Scottish Country Dancer magazine.
The 2003 New Dancers’ Celebration was held at Onslow College, a popular venue for large events at the time, taking over from Newlands College.
It’s interesting to compare door fees. In 2003 they were $10 Adult, $9.00 RSCDS and $4 Juniors. In the last 19 years door charges have risen relatively little, in 2022 they are $16, $13, and $5 with a lower charge of $10 for new dancers.
Music was provided by longstanding musician Peter Elmes and associates (individual musicians were not listed in those days). We can see that musicians’ rewards have also not risen greatly over the years. In 2003, Peter received $450 for his three-piece band, these days it’s around $600 divided amongst three musicians.
The 2003 dance programme listed 20 dances, more than we do these days – perhaps because our population of dancers is a little older. But many of the same dances are on the 2022 programme including perennial favourites Minister on the Loch, The Reel of the 51st, and of course The De’il Amang the Tailors.
It seems no-one wrote about the event as such at the time. The only written reference I’ve found was in the Wellington Region notes in the 2004 NZ Scottish Country Dancer:
There was some surprise but delight when Alan Burn (RSCDS NZ Branch Membership Co-ordinator) telephoned to advise that Wellington Region had won the ‘large region’ class of the Branch’s Membership Challenge. Murray Corps (NZ Branch secretary) presented the award to Phyllis Henry the Region Treasurer at the Region’s New Dancers’ Celebration dance hosted by Johnsonville Club.
The accounts show door takings of $1,040, so at $10 maximum entry fee, there must have been over 100 dancers. This was typical for the times, making for a very special night for all the new dancers that year – including Elizabeth Ngan, our very own Kitchen Faerie.
And again in 2013
By the time the 2013 New Dancers’ Celebration came around (this time with 18 dances on the programme), things were very different, with records galore.
Johnsonville Club now had a weekly email newsletter, with no need to rely on paper records.
Additionally, our photographers/videographers were taking digital photos and video recordings of our events.
In the Johnsonville Club newsletter of 23 October 2013, Secretary Pat Reesby wrote enthusiastically about the 2013 New Dancers’ Celebration held at Newlands Centennial Hall on Saturday 19 October:
“What a wonderful time we had at the New Dancers’ Celebration, with lots of dancers (new and ‘old’) from other clubs. Twelve sets! And special thanks to Debbie and friends who organised the (tartan) bunting. It was much admired and I’ve heard on the grapevine that another (bunting) bee is planned sometime – there are heaps of cut-out pennants left over. The bunting is a wonderful club asset.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve set a trend. Bunting bees may pop up in all sorts of places …
We had a wonderful band for the night – Lynne Scott, Jean Malcolm and Richard Hardie. Lynne says: “I think a lot of people enjoy the sound of the band with the double bass in it. And Richard and Jean are such good musicians! I really enjoy playing with them. Also, I do work quite hard to select and arrange music that suits the shape and formations of the dance, and perhaps that helps underpin the playing. It’s certainly fun!”
Pat goes on to say:
“Loralee Hyde took lots of photos at the dance and has shared them with us. There’s a lovely one which shows at least four of our new dancers.“
Club photographerLoralee Hyde, had been taking photos of dancing since the 1970s. In 2013, armed with a better camera than previously, Loralee recorded many happy memories of the 2013 New Dancers’ Celebration.
Fortuitously, Pat had also just begun her career as a Scottish Country Dance videographer, and filmed some of the dances on the night. Her videos bring back memories of our younger selves and fellow dancers, some who no longer dance, and some who are no longer with us.
The dances Pat filmed are still new dancer ‘staples’ at Johnsonville. Looking at her videos you can see the capacity crowd filling the hall, and feel the wonderful atmosphere of music and laughter.
You’ll see quite a few children on the dance floor and you may spot some parents swelling the crowd of spectators. It was a pleasure to include the presentation of RSCDS NZ Branch medals to the Region’s junior dancers on the night’s programme, making for lots of energy on the dance floor and an audience who really appreciated the skills and achievements of these young dancers.
Nearly 50 years of photographing Scottish Country Dancing
It wasn’t until I inherited thousands of photos and slides from my mother Tess Hyde after she died in 2018 that I fully realised where my love of photography came from.
In this treasure trove of photos, I discovered my mother had kept her own mother’s collection of dozens of photos of her family from the late 1890s onward. The first photo my grandmother had of my mother was taken in 1924 when she was just three weeks old.
Mum had told me she’d been given a Brownie box camera when she was in her early twenties. That started a lifetime of recording family life and activities including birthdays, weddings and travels.
My father Jim Hyde was a keen photographer as well, capturing records of farming life in the 1930s on the family farm in Horahora, near Cambridge. Dad kept a diary in 1937 when he was aged 16, detailing life on the farm and his first year of paid farming work for a neighbour. His diary entry for 22 February says, “Mr Scarlett took me to town. I bought a camera for 9/3.” (9 shillings & 3 pence; around NZ$0.92).
In 1962 mum finally got a high quality camera which could take colour photos; a Zeiss purchased duty-free by her mother and step-father when they went to the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia. Right through the 1960s and early 1970s she took slides as they were cheaper to develop than colour film. In the late 1970s she changed to colour film when she and my father toured Britain and Europe.
An early start to my photography journey
Mum passed her Brownie on to me in 1962 and that started me off on my photography journey, initially taking photos of our family activities.
The Brownie was old by then and didn’t produce great shots so I was thrilled to get a new camera for Christmas in 1962 (I can’t remember what type it was).
From that time on, I invariably had a camera around my neck at family celebrations and holidays.
Near the end of the 1960s, I got a Kodak Instamatic, a very popular camera with ‘magic flash cubes’ that clicked on to the top of the camera.
Early photos of dancing
By the mid-1970s I’d moved on to a Pentax Spotmatic, a 35mm single-lens reflex camera which I used for years.
My friend Christine (who now lives and dances in Rockingham south of Perth) introduced me to Scottish Country Dancing in Hamilton in 1974. I was hooked from the first evening. My sister Karen started dancing in Hamilton at much the same time.
I soon began taking photos of dancers and dancing. However, the flash on my Pentax Spotmatic wasn’t strong enough to take good photos of people actually dancing in the low-light conditions of many halls. So I generally stuck to photos of groups, particularly when dressed up for special occasions such as theme nights or ceilidhs.
I moved to Wellington from Hamilton in 1983, initially taking up dancing at Lower Hutt Club before moving on to Ngaio and then Johnsonville. Some of the halls we danced at did have good lighting. Even with a limited flash, at times I managed to get reasonable photos of dancers taking to the floor.
I spent 2003-2004 in Tanzania with Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA); an amazing opportunity for wonderful wildlife and landscape photos. In 2004, I got my first digital camera, a Lumix DMC-FX1 which had a small zoom lens; great for capturing wild animals but not so good for photographing birds (which I was increasingly passionate about.) The size of the images was just 3 megapixels, compared to the 12 megapixel photos available on many mobile phones nowadays!
Although there wasn’t any Scottish Country Dancing available in Tanzania, I still had the opportunity to dance occasionally. Here I am dancing with Maasai women at a friend’s family celebration. I handed my camera to the driver who took us out to my friend’s home in the grasslands in northern Tanzania. He enjoyed taking some great shots!
A digital single-lens-reflex camera: A boon for better photographs
My photography of both dancing and birds took off when I got my first digital single-lens camera in 2008; a Panasonic Lumix with a small zoom lens. Being able to take clearer and close-up photos was a revelation.
As this camera produced higher-quality images of dancing, I recorded more and more events for Johnsonville Club along with other celebrations throughout the RSCDS Wellington Region.
Welcoming in the New Year with toe-tapping music and fine dancing at a Hogmanay is a special celebration for Scottish Country Dancers.
Tributes to those who have contributed to Scottish Country Dancing in Wellington
The archive of photos Johnsonville photographers have produced over the years provides a visual history of those who have made major contributions to dancing in the Region or who are no longer with us.
Click the links below to see more about some of these dancers and musicians:
2022Kelburn’s Farewell Kelburn Club held its final dance on 19 June, closing after more than sixty years. John Gregory was presented with a Tribute from the Region to mark his enormous contribution to dancing.
The joy of special Scottish Country Dancing occasions
I got my current camera, a Nikon D7200, together with a great zoom lens in 2015. With this camera I can get wonderful shots of birds…as well as continuing to photograph special dancing events in the Region.
2021Ngaio 50th Anniversary As a member of Ngaio Club from 1990-1992, I was thrilled the club asked me (along with John Patterson) to take photos at this celebration, another evening filled with the joy of fun and friendship.
2014Wellington Region 1920s Ball An elegant evening of dancing in a beautifully decorated ballroom to celebrate the decade in which the RSCDS was formed.
To make sure I occasionally get a photo of me dancing, I sometimes hand my camera over to someone on the side-line, asking them to get some shots, like the one below.
2012Wellington Region Diamond Jubilee Ball This Ball at Government House celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll. The Governor General Lt. Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine welcomed us and joined in some of the dancing. The smiles of the dancers, their laughter and the fun had by all made photographing the event an enjoyable activity.
Continuing to make memories…
I’m still working hard to get good photos of birds. Although dancers move around, I’m more likely to anticipate where they’re going than for birds which flit around or simply fly off!
There’s nothing quite like photographing the joy of Scottish Country Dancing; attempting to catch the moment dancers smile to their partner or across the set, and covering well. As shown in my photo on the cover of the New Zealand Scottish Country Dancer 2022, Volume 69.
My plan is to continue recording dancing celebrations and tributes, so we can easily reflect on the fun we’ve had and the friendships made.
I’m not sure when fruit salad started to be part of the supper offerings, but it’s definitely there to stay – we do love a refreshing fruit salad, with a little jelly and cream. We may even love it a little more these days, with jelly no longer such a regular part of our lives.
Tartan – the more the better
In the early days the dance floor was filled with men in kilts, and women in white dresses and a tartan sash. There are not so many tartan sashes around now, but still enough tartan to bring Scotland to the dance floor.
Adding tartan rugs to the walls and stage reinforce that Scottish atmosphere, and since 1988, Johnsonville club’s cheerful red tartan tablecloths have beckoned us to the supper tables.
The Pièce de résistance is the club’s tartan bunting, conceived of by our 2013 beginners. They moved swiftly from concept to bunting bee, producing strings of bunting in time for the 2013 annual dance. Somehow, as soon as the bunting goes up, it feels like a celebration.
Live music – we love that too
Lastly, and very importantly, the club has a long history of live music at annual dances. The first reference to live music at an annual dance (that I’ve managed to find), is to ‘Mesdames McIntyre and McGowan, and Mr McIntyre’ at the 1971 Annual Dance, then to Hugh McKenna in 1974.
From that beginning, the club’s enthusiasm for live music has made it a matter of course at our annual dances, with an extra special 5-piece band for the club’s 50 Golden Years Annual Dance in 2016.
Our Annual Dance is the highlight of the club year, and we aim to keep it that way. We’re especially fortunate to have club photographers and videographers who record all the fun on the night, giving us the pleasure of reliving good times past.
Kelburn’s Farewell Dance on Sunday 20 June started me thinking about club history, and reminded me that Johnsonville’s longest-standing members also have links to Kelburn Club.
It’s a nice opportunity to find out more about those members who have danced at Johnsonville for so many years, and also recognise the inter-connectedness of the Wellington Scottish Country Dancing community.
There are four current members who have been dancing at Johnsonville Club since the 1980s. Elizabeth Rendell, John Markham and John Homes all joined the club in 1981, and Aline Holden as she was then (now Homes) joined in 1982.
One way or another they all have connections to Kelburn Club.
John Markham’s first experience of Scottish country dancing was at Kelburn, having gone along as a spectator in 1969, and been ‘dragged up’ (John’s words) by original Kelburn tutor, Mirth Smallwood
Elizabeth Rendell started her dancing as a teenager at the Wainuiomata Club in 1965, then danced at Kelburn Club before moving to Johnsonville in 1981.
John Homes danced at Kelburn Club in the early 1970s, with tutor Betty Redfearn, before moving to Johnsonville in 1981. He met Aline when she joined Johnsonville Club in 1982, and they went on to marry in 1986.
The teachers in the photo above are: Back row: Iain Boyd, Margaret Laidlaw, Romaine Butterfield, Rita Brennan, Margaret Allison (Bailey), Edith Campbell, Hilda Brodie (Smith), Kath Burn, Maureen Robson, Damon Collin, Dave Macfarlane, Mirth Smallwood, Barbara Gill, Elizabeth Ferguson, Val Jenness, Gary Morris, Marie Malcolm, Alma Secker, Glenys Mills, Noeline O’Connor, Ian Simmonds, Raynor Stratford. Front row:Betty Redfearn, Norm Whitson, Carol Smith, Annette Zuppicich
Friends and fellow dancers heard the sad news that Barbara Kent passed away on Friday 25 February in her 89th year. She will be missed by many in the Wellington Region, and farther afield.
Barbara was part of the Wellington Scottish Country dance community dating from the 1960s. She loved her dancing and contributed a great deal to the community, while preferring to keep a low profile.
Barbara danced at (the now dis-established) Wellington Club, and at Lower Hutt Club before coming to Johnsonville, where she was a member for around 30 years. Her earliest recorded membership is in 1973, and she was still recorded as a member in 2002. In later years she was a long-standing member of Tawa Club.
However, her trips weren’t only for work. In 1979 she joined a group of 36 dancers on a trip to Canada (described in full in the 1980 NZ Scottish Country Dancer magazine).
Barbara was part of a Māori performance item at the 1979 Oktoberfest at Kitchener/ Waterloo. As Scottish Country dancers, they ‘found a compromise (with Māori approval) by wearing a Māori type sash and headband with white frocks and shirts’, and were well received.
In amongst all her travel, Barbara found time to support Johnsonville Club both as a tutor and a member of the committee. She was club tutor in 1985 and part of 1986, took beginners’ classes in 1991, 93, 94 and 1996, and was a relieving tutor through the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In 1976 her role as president was cut short, when she was posted to Moscow, but she returned as a committee member from 1978-79, and then served a part year as president again in 1980, and was back on the committee in 1991.
1991 was the year Rod and I started dancing, and we really enjoyed our time in Barbara’s beginners’ class. In those days beginners were initially taught in a separate room in Johnsonville School until supper time, then joined experienced dancers in the hall for the rest of the night.
As beginning dancers, Barbara prepared us well. Her encouraging manner and graceful style paired well with her strong technique and clarity of instruction. For some reason my abiding memory is of her teaching hands across, getting us to understand the elegance and precision of the formation as opposed to muddling through with hands everywhere and anywhere.
When Johnsonville held its 50 Golden Years celebration in 2016, Barbara’s health did not permit her to dance, but we were very pleased she accepted the club’s invitation to be part of our celebration of those past members who contributed so much to the club.
Johnsonville Club remembers Barbara for her commitment to dancing, her support of the club and its members, and her many achievements. As her family expressed it in the Family Notices in the DomPost on Wednesday 2 March – A full life well lived and enjoyed.
Barbara’s family also thanked Malvina Major Village (among others) for their care of Barbara. Unit #9 was Barbara’s home over the last few years, and she told me she was quite tickled to have followed in the footsteps of Ngaio dancers Frieda and Murray Allardice who themselves followed Johnsonville Life Members Isla and Eric Norris in making #9 their home.
Eric and Isla had a long history with the club, first being recorded as members in 1968, and retiring from dancing in their 90s – their last recorded membership at Johnsonville was in 2003. For at least 20 years, Isla and Eric also served tea to club members at supper time.
Club minutes from 21 June 1988 are full of decision making for celebrations of Johnsonville Club’s 25th Anniversary as a community group. (Previously dancers were part of the St Columba Presbyterian church Friendship Club).
In amongst confirming Peter Elmes as musician for the Special Club Night celebration on 27 June, and realising there would be no cake (!) as the club’s cake baker was going overseas, the minutes record:
Isla Norris has made up a set of table covers for use at dances, and she and Eric are presenting them to the club for its 25th Anniversary. A letter of thanks to be sent.
A correction at the next committee meeting on 26 July clarifies that:
The tablecloths were from all three Norrises, including Gaye.
The tablecloths would have made many an appearance in that year of celebration in 1988 – at the (cake-less) Special Club Night on 27 June, the Annual Dance on 9 July, the Special S-themed Party Night on 3 October, and then the Final Night on 9 November.
Isla and Eric’s wish that the tablecloths be used at dances has been fulfilled many times over since 1988. As the photos below show, the tablecloths create a colourful and cheery presence at Tartan Nights, Annual Dances, Summer Ceilidhs, Midwinter Dinners and special events such as the club’s 50 Golden Years Celebration in 2016.
Plus One More
More recently another tablecloth has joined the collection. In 2016, her first year with the club as a new dancer, Liz Hands donated a blue and green tartan tablecloth, bringing numbers up to six – perfect for Midwinter Dinners. Originally bought for family dining at a refectory size table, Liz no longer had use for it when she downsized.
In 2013, the club’s tartan bunting joined the club’s tartan tablecloths in being indispensable to any club occasion. The bunting transforms any hall from drab to festive, bringing colour and excitement to our events, photos, and videos.
How did the bunting come to be?
The first bunting bee
2013 was a bumper year for new dancers at Johnsonville, and it was also the club’s turn to organise the New Dancers’ Celebration. The bunting was the brainchild of new dancers Debbie Cooper and Lee Fraser, as a way to decorate Newlands Centennial Hall for that occasion, and for the club to use into the future.
Debbie took the lead, collecting unwanted tartan or plain fabric from club members, some of us scoured the op-shops for more, and Pete’s Emporium supplied the rest. The call was put out for pinking shears and volunteers, and many club members answered the call.
Pat Reesby held an open house, where people could come and wield the pinking shears to cut out triangular pennants, ready for the sewing team. Her diary from that time lists members Jean Denne, Joan Clayton, Kristin Downey and Shirley Kalogeropoulos as potential pinkers.
Joan was also on the sewing team, together with new dancers Allison Kay, Deborah Shuker, Shelley Hancock, and Debbie and Lee. The bunting bee took place at Ngaio Tennis Club rooms, where Debbie and Lee were members. Deborah S remembers an ‘evening at Ngaio Tennis Club rooms (with) two machines at least and cutters, pinners and material guiders to the machinists’.
The bunting is launched
On the afternoon of 19 October 2013, club members met to decorate Newlands Centennial Hall for the New Dancers’ Celebration. There were pot plants, tartan rugs, saltires, and tartan tablecloths on the supper tables, but the star of the show was the new tartan bunting.
The hall looked fantastic, and a great night was had by all. You can see the bunting in close-up at the start of Pat Reesby’s video of The Illabo Rant, as well as the happy crowd.
We ended up with an unexpectedly large turnout on the night, as we agreed to host the medal presentation for juniors, with family members in attendance.
From then on the bunting became a standard feature of club events, next appearing at Kristin and Rod’s house for the club’s first ever Summer Ceilidh in February 2014.
The bunting made every Tartan night at Johnsonville School hall a special night, and added enormously to the atmosphere of every Annual Dance from 2014 onwards – see Pat’s video of The Robertson Rant from our 2014 Annual dance.
More bunting is needed …
Fast forward to 2016, and the club’s celebration of 50 Golden Years of association with the worldwide network of RSCDS dancers. Karori Recreation Centre was chosen to accommodate what we hoped would be a big crowd of dancers, and the space was HUGE.
So of course, we needed more bunting! Club secretary John Munro rallied club members to the cause, beginning with the club newsletter of 12 April 2016:
‘Step forward for the Bunting bee. We’re aiming to have a full complement of tartan bunting ready to decorate the hall for our 50th anniversary dance in August. Didn’t it look great on Tartan Night!’
The next week he confirmed that:
‘The Queen Bee is summoning the workers for Thurs 19 May and/or Sat 21 May. On these days the ‘bunting co-ordinator’ Janet McFadden has Open House between 10am and 4pm for bunting construction. Prior donations of tartan/plaid/plain coloured fabric are extremely welcome.’
Then on 18 May:
‘Bring pinking shears if you have them and beaver away with a cheerful group. All participants will be members of the Illustrious Order of the Bunting Bee, which has been dignified with a fine dance devised by Rod Downey.’
Ready for 50 Golden Years
And finally on 25 May John reported:
‘Now we are well supplied with extra bunting to decorate Karori Recreation Centre for our big dance on 20 August. Many thanks to: Janet McFadden, Deborah Shuker, Liz Hands, Joan Clayton, Moira Scott, Prisilla Conroy, Kristin Downey.’
And so a generous expanse of bunting adorned our ‘big dance’, with around 150 dancers, a 5-piece band led by Peter Elmes, five pipers and a drummer from the City of Wellington Pipe Band, and a demonstration set from Newtown Juniors. What a spectacle it was, and how perfect to be surrounded by our tartan bunting.
Kristin Downey 18 November 2021
All photos by Loralee Hyde except where stated.
Note: The club also holds a small string of beautifully sewn and finished tartan bunting, donated by Lieschen Bayvel in 2016. As John Munro wrote:
It will be perfect to grace our midwinter dinner and our 50th celebration dinner. Lieschen Bayvel is a friend of Janet McFadden, both members of a longstanding quilting group. When Lieschen heard that Janet was looking to borrow pinking shears for the bunting bee, she went a whole lot better and donated some bunting already made up.
As you can see, her name is not very Scottish, but her recently deceased husband was Scottish and she thought it would be appropriate to donate the bunting to our Scottish Country Dancing club. Thank you Lieschen.
This year at the AGM the committee was pleased to recognise the work that often flies under the radar – that of hall setup and pack-up.
Most often, service awards go to those who hold a formal position in the club, or perform a service which is highly visible in some way.
This year, the committee chose to recognise the service of three members who fly under the radar.
None of these members holds a formal committee position, but each of them makes a regular and ongoing contribution to the club, with no fuss, no bother, no expectation of recognition, and a great attitude of service to our club community.
This year the committee took pleasure in recognising the contributions of the following club members, who have made substantial and ongoing commitments to the set-up and pack-up of the hall, before and after club nights.
Tomoko has been with the club since 2013, when she and husband Charles, came along to the club’s beginners’ classes.
For many years now, Tomoko has been part of the team of people who stays till the end of every club night, to help pack up the hall – first at Johnsonville School Hall, then Johnsonville Bowling Club, and now at Khandallah Town Hall.
This is not a formally appointed team, it’s not rostered, it’s made up of people who see the need and step in. From 2017-2019 there were also formally rostered teams of volunteers to cover pack-up (when Rod and I were overseas for extended periods), and Tomoko’s name was always on the list.
Tomoko works quietly in the background, always looking out for what needs doing, helping out when she can, ensuring there are plenty of hands to share the work of packing up. Thank you Tomoko, your practical support for the club over many years is very much appreciated.
Wendy already had a long history as a Scottish Country dancer when she joined the club in 2019. She was so keen to dance with us, that she joined in the fun at the Summer Ceilidh before the dancing year started.
Wendy is one of the dancers who has danced at three different club venues since she joined, and has always been an early bird, arriving before dancing begins. Soon after joining us in 2019 for her first year at Johnsonville School hall, Wendy was asking what she could do to help with hall set-up, and so she began.
With the move to Johnsonville Bowling Club, helping with set-up translated into a lot of furniture moving! Wendy (working with fellow early-bird Robert Vale), moved countless chairs and tables on and off the dance floor during our 2020 year of dancing at the Bowling Club, and again this year when we returned there to dance during Level 2.
Wendy has continued to arrive early and help with hall set-up at Khandallah Town Hall, doing whatever needs doing, working alongside committee members who also arrive early. Thank you Wendy, the willing work you put in makes a big difference, and we appreciate it.
Lizzie is the most recent club member to be recognised this year, joining the club following beginners’ classes at the Bowling Club in 2020. She is an enthusiastic dancer, and has joined fully in the life of the club from the beginning, attending classes, and bringing her husband PK along to social events.
Despite all the interruptions to dancing over the last two years, Lizzie has kept on coming back, and from early on has stayed to watch the more experienced dancers in the latter part of the night.
Seeing the need, Lizzie became part of the furniture-moving crew at the Bowling Club, starting to pack up while the very experienced enjoyed the final dance of the night. She has continued helping with pack-up at Khandallah Town Hall, staying till the very end to help carry out bags to the car, before heading home herself.
While Lizzie is not the member who travels the farthest to be with us, she does have a fair distance to drive home to Porirua – more so since we moved from Johnsonville to Khandallah. But she still stays on till the end, bringing her enthusiasm to the task. Thank you Lizzie.
Johnsonville Club members are often out and about in the community—sharing the fun and friendship of Scottish Country Dancing. In the past, this has included taking part in demonstrations as part of groups who danced in at retirement homes or in schools, or through current members participating in a variety of community events.
The first photos I took of members’ participation in the community was in 1998 when a group of new dancers from that year, including Kristin and Rod Downey’s children, Carlton and Alex, danced in a demonstration at the Newlands Baptist Church.
More recently, our archive of historical photos taken by various members, brings back memories of those who used to dance with us at Johnsonville, as well as providing a record of those who dance with us now.
When former club member Pat Reesby’s grandchildren were at Ngaio School, a group of dancers from various clubs enjoyed showing the joy of dancing to the students, with some of them joining in!
World Rugby Sevens Parades
When the World Rugby Sevens teams used to play in Wellington, the associated street parades provided a wonderful opportunity for dancers from around the Wellington Region to support the Scottish team and join in the fun of these popular parades.
In the Johnsonville Club newsletter on 12 February 2014, Secretary Pat Reesby wrote:
“Jean Denne, John Munro, Désirée Patterson and I all took part in the Sevens parade last Wednesday. We led the Scottish team, and John Patterson took a photo of us with them (see photo below).
“Others in the photo are Elaine Lethbridge and Mary and Duncan Macdonald. Iain Boyd is holding the RSCDS Wellington Region banner on the left, and Allan Forsyth (from the Association of Scots Societies) the one on the right.”
In 2015, members of Johnsonville, Tawa, Kelburn, and Island Bay Clubs took part in the parade.
Through our Johnsonville Club website, we now have easy access to details about our more recent participation in community events.
Fun at Newlands Marae: 2015
The club took part in Neighbours’ Day 2015 at the Newlands Marae, Ngā Hau e Whā o Paparārangi, sharing the experience of dancing with audience members.
A further community event involving children was a visit to Karori Brownies in 2018. It all came about when the Brownie leader spotted a Johnsonville Club Beginners’ Poster in a shop window in Karori and got in touch with us.
Held in brilliant Wellington weather at Waitangi Park in February, Pipes in the Park was a day of piping, highland dancing, Irish dancing, clan and food stalls – and of course some Scottish Country Dancing.
Let’s look forward to more fun and laughter of dancing at community events in the future!