Arrowtown book buyer Miranda Spary continues her
recommendations for a good read and life, as she sees it
Yet another week of noticing how fun and fabulous it is to
live in the Wakatipu - that is, as long as you are healthy
and wealthy enough to enjoy it all.
Despite successive governments choosing to see the Wakatipu
as a nest of squillionaires all perfectly able to support
themselves with the most minimal funding of essential
services, we all know that the majority of residents are
working their butts off keeping body and soul together.
Just ask the teachers, police, nurses and doctors how many
problems are facing some families. My archrival Scotty
Stevens hit the nail on the head with his editorial this week
about the need to support local causes. He was really talking
about supporting local events like the Motatapu and the
Festival of Colour and all the brilliant summer concerts by
But he also reminded us that Wanaka has a much stronger
culture of community involvement than the Wakatipu, not just
with attendance at their local events, but with funding them.
He's right, and while there is a hard core of enormously
generous locals this side of the hill, they are a pretty
small group and the same people's names appear on every
single fundraiser's list as likely supporters.
If you are new to the area, and want to get to know some
locals, supporting community projects is a great way to go.
Cath Gilmour, who has spent the past year spearheading the
fundraising effort for the newly fabulous Memorial Hall
opening tomorrow - $20 tickets for the opening concert -
emailed me today to let me know about the Queenstown Lakes
Family Centre which helps children and families who fall into
the mild-to-moderate area of mental health issues.
They struggle along begging from the same pool of grants and
funding that all the other worthy local causes are chasing as
If you are one of the lucky ones creaking with cash, do think
about sharing it round a bit more. I'm not really good enough
at biking to do the Motatapu but it was fantastic being a
supporter - driving my friends over the hill to the start,
and then cheering like crazy as all those 3500+ filthy,
sodden, euphoric-at-finishing athletes got to the end.
Even I was good enough to do my new favourite tourist trip,
though - taking the Earnslaw (it's always been a
favourite, especially the sing along on the way back) - to
Walter Peak and then cycling to the beautiful Mavora Lakes on
what will eventually be the Round the Mountains trail (this
is the new bit).
I hadn't been on the Earnslaw for years and I'd
forgotten how thrilling it is - something about that
old-fashioned pumping of pistons and those enormous
temperature gauges and all that smoke. Laptops and cellphones
would be so much more interesting if you could see them
working like that. I've heard that yet another Millbrook yoga
teacher is pregnant.
It's so wonderful to think the basin will be full of tiny new
yoga teachers by the end of the year. Congratulations to
everyone involved!And congratulations to local author Sally
Stone who's written Pandemic. It's written for 10 to
12-year-olds about New Zealand's worst disaster - the1918 flu
I'm a huge fan of books about complicated subjects written
for children - adults writing for adults often just put in
too much detail and then it's difficult to digest it all. The
flu was a terrible end to an already terrible time and
Pandemic sees it all through the eyes of young Freda who is
waiting for her brother to come home from the war.
Yet more war and terror in Nadeem Aslam's The Blind Man's
Garden where two Pakistani foster brothers try to go to
Afghanistan to help the wounded after America's post 9/11
invasion. It's a wonder this book isn't bleeding - it's the
most agonising read I've put myself through in ages.
Aslam is a terrific author and he paints such terrible vivid
pictures of people doing their best to do good, but failing
to understand or be understood, especially in a world where
the rules and boundaries are impossible to understand.