Learning more than just fancy dress

Dunedin Society for Creative Anachronism members (from left) Hayden Majic, Natalia Yates and...
Dunedin Society for Creative Anachronism members (from left) Hayden Majic, Natalia Yates and Ciara Foley dress in medieval attire at the Dunedin Public Library. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
There is still a lot to learn from the Middle Ages and a medieval society in Dunedin is closing the knowledge gap for a new generation.

The Dunedin Society for Creative Anachronism hosts medieval feasts and Roman and Greek role play from the 1600s or before for its members who could be 8 or 80 years old.

The society had an open information evening yesterday at the Dunedin Public Library to welcome new members.

Society co-ordinator Natalia Yates, or "Lady Csperka Farcas", said the group was open to all ages and awarded ranks based on the medieval skills a member acquired.

To become a knight, a member would have to learn how to dance, sow and demonstrate chivalry.

She said a lot of the skills learnt had practical applications outside of the group in the real world as well.

After the Christchurch earthquakes, she was left with no power where she lived but was able to rely on skills she had learnt in the society to survive, including making a fire.

She had recently closed her wool shop, The Felt Princess, which she started after learning how to felt in the society.

Another member of the society, Ciara Foley, said there was a culture of sharing knowledge in the society.

"What makes the organisation so special is the sheer diversity and sharing of knowledge.

"I think with the separation of generations through technology, we don’t really get together and share skills much any more, but I think I’ve learnt more practical skills in this organisation than I had in school."

She said it was a wonderfully reciprocal group.