I suppose nothing illustrates more the fact that I have not made such a huge move from Australia to New Zealand than the ability to attend an Anzac Dawn Service. It was great to see the New Zealand, Australian and British flags flying side by side.
The speaker at the service in Dunedin, Air Commodore Baillie seemed to stress the partnership that developed between the two countries on that first Anzac Day and, when he said not only did the New Zealanders and Australians become comrades in arms on the first Anzac day they also became mates, I felt tears running down my cheeks.
I have had nothing but welcome since my arrival (with occasional friendly ribbing).
Apparently I do not have a strong Aussie accent and many people mistakenly think I am returning home. Of course I am bucking the usual trend of Kiwis to move to Australia. I was amused when the removalists said my sister sounded far more Australian than me.
The dawn service in Sydney commences at 4.30am while most suburban ones start at 5.30 or 6.00. The service at Gallipoli starts at 5.30. In Dunedin the actual service started at 6.30am but dawn is much later down here. I was able to get up at 5am and leave home just after 5.30 and still have a good position whereas last year I caught a train about 1.30am.
There were a number of differences. The Last Post and Reveille did not immediately follow the Ode which is the norm in Australia. There were less hymns. The catafalque party added a Maori warrior as well as representatives of the three services. I do not know how he stood still all that time in just a grass skirt and loose cloak. I was glad to see, although barefoot, he was standing on a mat over the marble surface. It was warmer than yesterday but the wind was brisk.
I was disappointed we did not sing the Australian national anthem. In Sydney they do sing the New Zealand anthem but then it is not included in the services in suburbs and country towns. I guess there would be many more New Zealanders in Sydney than Aussies in Dunedin. I was surprised that very few around me were singing and regretted that while I know the English I have not persevered in learning the Maori words. A phot of the cenotaph in Dunedin is on the right.
I attended the Dawn Service at Gallipoli in 2002 and here is a brief clip from the service there last year.
I promised to provide some photos of our journey to Queenstown.
I fell in love with Queenstown on my first visit back in 1967 and have always had a photo in my bedroom but I realised it was not the town for retirement. It is now a busy tourist centre, especially for extreme activities but I still think the views are some of the best in the world. I enjoyed showing them to my sister.
From Dunedin on Tuesday we drove through the Central Otago towns of Middlemarch, Ranfurly and Alexandra, finally passing through the Kawarau Gorge with a stop at the Roaring Meg waterfall, into Queenstown.
Wednesday was a glorious blue sky and we drove to Arrowtown which was once a centre of gold mining and walked in the old Chinese settlement as well as the heritage main street.
We returned to our hotel about 4km out of town and took the free shuttle into Queenstown where parking is at a premium.
First up the gondola for a view over the town and Lake Wakatipu
then back down and a walk in the gardens followed by a seafood lunch
and then a trip on the steam ship Earnslaw.
Thursday was a quick drive of nearly 500km to Christchurch, stopping to view Mt Cook and again I do not remember such a clear view in my previous visits.
Then to the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo
and a stop for lunch in Ashburton.
I wanted to arrive in Christchurch by 2.30 to give my sister sufficient time to visit the Antarctic Centre which is excellent. However I was so zonked that when my phone rang and I was told they wanted to deliver my new chairs, I said : "Sorry you can't, I am in Antarctica"
On Friday we walked around Christchurch and visited the cathedral
before my sister caught the 1.30pm plane to Sydney via Wellington and I drove the 360km back to Dunedin arriving home about 6.30pm
At the moment I am waiting for a plumber to finish installing a laundry tub so I can go down to the city and begin booking my round world airflights for August to November.
Things have been go go go since my sister arrived on March 23rd. Despite being older than me she has far more energy. When I wanted to have my afternoon siesta, she polished the furniture. When I wanted to rest after hanging 6 paintings/pictures, she insisted we keep on going (there are 33 of these throughout the lounge/dining and hall). She was in her element dealing with tradesmen and choosing colours while I absolutely hate it. The decorator gene which is suppose to accompany the gay gene does not apply to me eg I was amazed at having to decide between different shades of white for the bathroom tiles, white is white to me. Sadly we had several explosions as we have had all our lives but these blow over. She admits she can be bossy and I know I can be lazy and hate making decisions.
I have had trouble finding time to read the blogs on my list let alone writing my own.
My sister arrived on the evening of March 23rd and stayed for 3 nights in the hotel where I had been living for nearly 8 weeks. The first day she saw the house, loved the layout and location but realised there was a lot needed doing especially as the previous owner was a DIY person who really had no idea. I have seen a number of tradesmen scratch their heads in amazement. We made many trips to Mitre 10 the mega hardware store in Dunedin. We also chose new dining chairs and a reclining chair so I will not need to lie on the lounge to watch TV in future. These finally were delivered yesterday.
The following day my furniture arrived, all 90 boxes. Fortunately it was mainly in good condition. Some mould on a few items of furniture (Sydney's humidity?) which led to the polishing already mentioned and a few scratches. 20 boxes were of books which I only began to open yesterday. We moved in the next day, March 26.
I had already had new carpet laid in the lounge/dining to match the carpet the previous owners laid in the rest of the house only a few months earlier and had all the electrics checked and new power points installed.
Now we began the job of arranging for the kitchen to be completely remodelled and the bathroom/laundry to be renovated. This led to the choosing of colours etc already mentioned. The bathroom is being done as I write and the kitchen cupboards will be a few weeks. New blinds through much of the house have also been chosen and will arrive in a few weeks.
We did manage to have a nice lunch the first Sunday at the beachside suburb (a late birthday lunch for me) and went on 2 walks with my walking group. The first was just a few hours to a nearby hill and past a lake while the second was on Easter Monday and we were away for 6 hours travelling to the mouth of the Taieri River south of the city and walking nearly 8km
Finally I took her away for 3 nights to Queenstown and Christchurch from where she flew home last Friday. I will post some photos of this trip in my next entry.
I am afraid I did not give as much time to Lent and Easter as I would have liked.
On Palm Sunday we attended Sung Eucharist at the local parish before going to lunch at the seaside.
My sister does not like the solemnity of Good Friday and I knew the long services would be difficult for her so we attended on Thursday night which has not been my custom in the past, living such a long way from my previous church.
The service was fairly informal and was held in the hall and we sat in a circle. We did not participate in the feet washing but were not alone in this. I knew my sister would be uncomfortable and must admit it would have been a first for me. The Eucharist was distributed around the circle as we each administered the bread and wine to our neighbour.
Then we processed in silence into the church where the altar etc was stripped before we left in silence. Both of us found the service very moving.
Good Friday has always been a very holy day for me but this year we just ate hot cross buns and fish meals to acknowledge the day. In the afternoon we drove north along the beaches and bought an ice cream in a small town which would have been infra dig for me in the past.
Easter Sunday we chose to go to Choral Eucharist in the cathedral as the family service advertised for the local parish did not enthuse me. The choir singing was beautiful but I did miss St James, King Street.
Unfortunately my sister had one of her TIA turns. This is not unusual if we have to stand for long periods and there was a baptism of 3 adults so we had turned around in the pews to face the font. Usually she realises an attack is coming and sits down but she was embarrassed to do so and as I was facing away from her I suddenly realised she was falling onto me and luckily managed to grab her and sit her down with the help of one man. She lay along the pew for most of the sermon and as usual was completely recovered 20 minutes later. I do worry about her attending church by herself as the attacks mostly occur while standing for long periods. There is a risk that one of these attacks may become a full blown stroke so your prayers would be appreciated.
Next year I would like to be in Sydney at St James for Easter but time will tell.
My sister says she enjoyed her 17 days in New Zealand although I felt too much of the time was spent in hardware and furniture stores or dealing with tradespeople. However it was good to have her advice and assistance (well most of the time).
Have been reading the April magazine from my previous parish.
A new rector has just been appointed to St James, King Street.
Rev Andrew Semple is currently Dean of Bathurst. He grew up in Sydney and was active in youth ministry in North West Sydney, a hot bed of evangelicalism. He was later involved in church work in the Diocese of Armidale, the other, less extreme, evangelical diocese in NSW.
However he studied at St Mark's Canberra and was ordained in the Diocese of Grafton. I am not so happy that he seems to have spent much of his ministry as an Army chaplain but that is showing my prejudices.
His appointment had to be approved by Peter Jensen and in replying to a letter of thanks from the parish nominators, Jensen mentions that his parents met at St James, King Street.
Elsewhere in the magazine there is an historical article regarding a previous Rector and it mentions that in 1937 "Micklem’s resignation from St James’ led to a crisis over the appointment of a successor. Archbishop Mowll required the incoming Rector, the Rev. E.J. Davidson to make substantial changes to the liturgy including the replacement of the 11am Sung Eucharist or ‘High Mass’ with the service of Morning Prayer. This led to an exodus of parishioners to Christ Church St. Laurence. It was not until 1984 that Fr. Hughes, soon after his induction, restored most of the liturgical practices abandoned at St James’ in 1937."
Phew, that explains it, it would be a shock to find that Peter and Phillip Jensen were conceived as a result of a meeting in an Anglo-catholic environment.
A retired teacher librarian who loves travelling especially by train and wastes a lot of time on the Internet.
An Anglican who knows God loves me as a gay man.
Moved at the beginning of 2010 from the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia to Dunedin, NZ.
One of the best things I ever did.