16 September 2010

Little happenings

These last few days have been quite fun. I've taken a week's leave - some of it for study, some for a rest! - and have been spending quite a bit of time with the family.

Monday, however, was a study day. I spent a fair proportion of it in at Archives New Zealand, looking up papers for my report on the Wahine disaster. It was quite a moving experience, in a lot of ways. I was handling papers that were part of the evidence to the original Court of Inquiry in 1968, including the original Navy divers' photographs of the damage to the ferry. I found a heap of useful stuff, the most important of which was an affidavit for the initial investigation from the Harbourmaster who was not able to be present at the Court of Inquiry, as he had been in a serious accident. This evidence had not been referenced in any of my other sources and added quite a bit to the picture I'm building up of what happened.

I've spent quite a bit of time at the gym this week too, and have been really enjoying it. Also seeing some results which is rather nice so quickly! Just little results for now, but I've dropped some weight already and am feeling a lot better in myself for having some good exercise going on. I decided not to go today - after three days in a row in the first week I felt my body needed a short break (and we had a huge family ramble today anyway), but will be back tomorrow. We're away this weekend so not sure how that will work out, but I'd like to have even a quick cardio at some point, given I'll be spending most of it sitting down at Synod!

Today we took small daughter to Te Papa (again). She wanted to spend a lot of time in the "Awesome Forces" exhibit today and was asking lots of questions about how earthquakes happen and why - the displays have recently been updated in this area and we were able to explain to her the kind of earthquake Canterbury's had and helped her understand why it happened.

We then spent a lot of time in Toi Te Papa/Art of the Nation, which is a new exhibition of some of the art collection. I was stunned to find one of my all-time favourite NZ paintings in the exhibition, which I'd only ever seen in a photograph (a very small one!) - and there it was live and in full, glorious colour...

It's the Pink Terrace, by Charles Blomfield - unfortunately this is a fairly grainy copy! These beautiful natural features (the Pink and White Terraces, on the edges of Lake Rotomahana in Rotorua) were destroyed in the Tarawera Eruption of 10 June 1886 - they completely disappeared. Each later of these sinter terraces was taller than a person, with many layers and pools of geothermal water. People came from all over the world to bathe in them. The Pink Terrace (Otukapuarangi, "fountain of the clouded sky" in Maori) was slightly smaller (although "small" in this context is a bit of a misnomer), and was a paler pink at the bottom and became a deeper colour further up to the top. The White Terrace (Te Tarata, "the tattoed rock" in Maori) was a shimmery white from bottom to top, with different-coloured pools of differing temperatures for bathing. It is such a tragedy that they're not there any more!

Anyway, back to Te Papa. Small daughter was fascinated by this painting, and by a number of others in the collection. She didn't like the Woollastons (fair enough, I didn't either!) but loved some of the portraits.

And now I'm turning my attention towards our Diocesan Synod this weekend. Synod is the major decision-making body in an Anglican Church, a mix of lay and ordained people chaired by the Bishop. Each parish has lay representatives and all ordained clergy who are currently with Licenses (ie working in parish ministry) have to go. I went last year as a youth representative, but this year I was elected as the parish representative so I have voting rights. It's also a great chance to meet and catch up with some of my friends in other parishes!

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