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Do young people get cold shoulder in our churches?

Community NZ Catholic Newspaper


'VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholic young adults felt the hierarchy started listening to them in preparation for the 2018 synod of bishops on young people, and they will do whatever they can to make sure their voices continue to be heard, said a youth minister from New Zealand. “May we be bold”, was the wish expressed by Isabella McCafferty from the Archdiocese of Wellington at a Vatican news conference on June 18.Miss McCafferty was one of more than 280 young people from 109 countries set to take part in a post-synod youth forum in June.The Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life asked bishops’ conferences around the world to identify two young adult leaders to participate in the forum, being held at a retreat centre just south of Rome.Schonstatt Fr Alexandre Awi Mello, secretary of the dicastery, told reporters, “There is always a risk that after a big event people lose enthusiasm, move on to the next thing”, but Pope Francis and the dicastery are serious about not letting that happen. “The synod on young people is in its realisation phase,” he said. “There is still much to be done”, and the forum was designed to continue that conversation with young adults who are experienced in reaching out to their peers.Miss McCafferty told the Catholic News Service: “Young people want the Church to give them room to be involved.So, yes, they want their voice heard, but they also want to be part of the things that happen after that”, actually implementing changes.Involving young people in sharing the Gospel message in ways that are relevant and make sense to them and to their peers, for example, through the use of social media, is especially important, she said.Young people also are deeply committed to protecting the environment, she said, and they want to be involved in the efforts of the Church to reduce its impact on the environment and to promote respect for God’s creation.Most of all, she said, young people are looking for “an authentic Church”. “Authenticity is about transparency, it’s about vulnerability at times, but it’s also about ground level, about being community,” Miss McCafferty said. “Rather than always thinking of the Church as this thing that happens in Rome, it’s about what it means to be Church in our local area”, and it always involves “person-to-person contact”. When a young adult goes to a parish church regularly for months and only one person talks to him or her — it happens, she said — it tells that young adult that an authentic, caring community does not exist there. “Young people don’t feel particularly welcome” in many church communities, she said. “Young people are looking for an encounter with each other, with the Church and with the sacraments, but it needs to happen in relevant ways for them”, which involves a willingness to “interlink with each other more and holding each other up”. echo $variable; . The post Do young people get cold shoulder in our churches? appeared first on NZ Catholic Newspaper .'

Overcoming adversity to serve others

Community Times

Ratepayer advocate Gayleen Mackereth has been presented with the Dawn Johnston Koru Award, given in recognition of someone in the community who has overcome adversity, to live a life of serving others.She was recognised at the annual changeover of
'Gayleen Mackereth with (l-r) Ian Rodger from the Half Moon Bay Rotary Club who nominated her for the award, Adrienne Davies past-president of the Inner Wheel Club of Howick and Del Johnston.Photo supplied.Ratepayer advocate Gayleen Mackereth has been presented with the Dawn Johnston Koru Award, given in recognition of someone in the community who has overcome adversity, to live a life of serving others.She was recognised at the annual changeover of office bearers of the Howick Inner Wheel Club recently.While riding her bike some years ago, Gayleen was hit by a driver who ran a give way sign, resulting in multiple injuries, months in a spinal unit and consigned her to a wheelchair. “Not one to let her incapacity to get her down, Gayleen has demonstrated her resilience over the years, by sheer determination – whether it be chairperson of the Howick Ratepayers and Residents’ Association with involvement in research through the exhaustive Auckland Council plans and documents; meetings with council representatives and much correspondence with the Council regarding the long-term saga of Stockade Hill view-shaft,” says Adrienne Davies, immediate past-president of Howick Inner Wheel.Gayleen teaches a number of students on-line in French, German and Spanish and despite living with extreme pain, and battling tiredness, Gayleen puts on a brave face and never stops.She undertakes swimming and physio exercises, plus tall walker to help with the mobility of her upper body and is very appreciative of the constant help and assistance from her husband, Don.Dawn Johnston, a charter member of the Howick Inner Wheel Club, decided on this award after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and it was based on the International Inner Wheel theme for 2017/2018 ‘Leave a Legacy’. The inaugural presentation of this award was made last year to Alan Breslau of Half Moon Bay who survived a horrific plane crash many years ago, followed by many years in hospital and then a lifetime of encouraging and empowering others.The spiral shape of the koru, the emblem of the award, signifies new life, positive change, personal growth, harmony, and hope for the future.Sadly Dawn lost her battle with cancer in May this year. . The post Overcoming adversity to serve others appeared first on Times .'

Support for church petition

Community The Star

Community concern about the uncertain future of Highgate Presbyterian Church in Maori Hill is gaining momentum, with a recently-launched petition gathering more than 800 signatures. Parish plans to demolish the nearly 100 year-old church are on hold
'Community concern about the uncertain future of Highgate Presbyterian Church in Maori Hill is gaining momentum, with a recently-launched petition gathering more than 800 signatures. Parish plans to demolish the nearly 100 year-old church are on hold while an appeal from a parishioner is heard by the Southern Presbytery, and alternative options are explored. The public campaign to save the church is being led by prominent heritage developer Stephen Macknight and his brother Richard, whose efforts are supported by nearby residents keen to retain the historic local landmark. Two weeks ago, a group of residents led by Gillian Fleming and Barbara Frame launched a petition opposing the planned demolition, and have since collected more than 800 signatures. “Public interest is definitely gaining momentum. This is a landmark that means a lot to people, even if they don’t have an association with the church,” Mrs Fleming said. Historic buildings such as the church had been built with a lot of community support and were appreciated as local treasures, she said. “You lose your built heritage one building at a time, so it is very important that we do everything we can to save this one.” Concerned that the parish was making a decision based only on an initial assessment of its earthquake risk, the Macknight brothers recently commissioned a new, detailed seismic assessment of the church building by Dunedin structural engineer Lou Robinson. He found it was not earthquake-prone or at risk during an earthquake. “The engineer’s report showed that church building is 80% earthquake compliant, and it would take very little to make it 100%,” Richard Macknight said. The end gables were the only areas where the church may be vulnerable, and these could be strengthened for about $10,000, he said. “We have a lot of experience in this area, and it’s not as scary or complicated as people might think.” Dunedin City Council has also weighed into the issue, with heritage adviser Dr Andrea Farminer keen to offer advice and assistance to the parish. Dr Farminer said although the church was not on a heritage register, it had “very strong heritage values”. “It has been a local landmark since it was built in 1920, with the support of the community, and it has become part of the local community fabric.” Dr Farminer said the updated seismic report showed the church was in better condition than parishioners might believe, and there was funding available in the DCC’s heritage fund to help incentivise retaining the building. “We feel that the wider congregation may not have all the facts, so our aim is to try and provide information and broader advice from the heritage perspective.” The city council was quite disappointed with the parish council’s approach, and felt that the church was a community building that deserved to be retained. “We definitely feel that it should not be demolished and we would like to see a re-think. To that end, we want to engage with the parish council and the congregation,” Dr Farminer said. Highgate Presbyterian Church minister the Rev Geoffrey Skilton said the church understood there was community interest in the building’s future. “Unfortunately, we cannot comment further at this time as the matter remains subject to an appeal. “The planned demolition remains on hold until at least the next congregational meeting, a date for which will be set after the appeal process is complete.”'

Refurbished city hostel means more hospitality for homeless

Community NZ Catholic Newspaper

The James Liston Hostel, an emergency housing facility for homeless people in Auckland’s city centre, re-opened this month after undergoing a top-to-bottom make-over, which cost more than $5 million.
'The James Liston Hostel, an emergency housing facility for homeless people in Auckland’s city centre, re-opened this month after undergoing a top-to-bottom make-over, which cost more than $5 million.James Liston Hostel Trust board chair John Metherell said the refurbishment of the 50-year-old building was largely driven by Dame Diane Robertson, the previous board chair. “Dame Diane came onto the board as chairperson with a vision of refurbishing the hostel that, at the time, was in a deplorable state of disrepair — where gumboots for staff were the order of the day, due to the building suffering major leaks, causing flooding in work areas,” he said.The upgrade increased the hostel’s capacity by seven new beds, bringing the total to 52.The roof was replaced and re-pitched.New bathrooms, a new kitchen, a modern central heating system and improved security features were added.A dedicated women’s wing was set up with swipe-cards for rooms, toilets and showers.Bishop Patrick Dunn and Auckland diocese general manager James van Schie (right) are shown through the refurbished James Liston Hostel. “Nothing was left untouched,” said Mr Metherell.Dame Diane said there were second thoughts about having the official re-opening on June 5, due to the weather. “[This building is] . . . for homeless people, so they don’t have to sleep on the streets in this weather.So, this weather in winter with pouring rain is actually perfect, the perfect day for us to be back in James Liston and celebrating this huge renovation,” she said.Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who spoke at the event, stressed that housing is a basic human right that needs to be extended to everybody.The Auckland Council shouldered $2 million of the total renovation cost. “We say that our vision for Auckland is to be an inclusive city.But we look around the city and we see our failure to include all people,” he said.The council’s official count showed 800 people sleeping rough in Auckland. “We ought not to be satisfied until homelessness in our city is a rare and transient thing,” the mayor said.He congratulated the board and the staff for the “fantastic work” they were doing. “This place will be a hub for social services,” he added.Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said homelessness is “one of the great moral issues of our time”. “Somehow, as a country, we’ve forgotten how to house our people,” he said.He said the Government is addressing the issue by allocating $197 million in the Budget to tackle homelessness, through the Housing First programme.Mr Metherell also expressed his gratitude to refurbishment project manager John Dobrowolski and hostel manager Charlotte Ama.Mr Metherell said Mr Dobrowolski has extensive experience and expertise in construction project management in New Zealand and Australia and he was totally committed to the project for more than a year. “This has not been easy, by any means, as additional issues were identified during the refurbishment,” Mr Metherell said.Mr Metherell also said the operation of the hostel is “demanding work, given the situations and issues that residents are dealing with and that require special people management skills”. “The trust sincerely appreciates the standard of realistic and humane care that the current manager, Charlotte Ama, and her staff have shown,” he added.Mr Metherell said the James Liston Trust was an inner city ministry set up in the 1960s through a cooperative effort involving Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic representatives. echo $variable; . The post Refurbished city hostel means more hospitality for homeless appeared first on NZ Catholic Newspaper .'

New MP shows pro-life support

Community NZ Catholic Newspaper

The first New Zealand Member of Parliament of Filipino descent has made a strong pro-life statement in his maiden speech in the House.Paulo Garcia, who came into Parliament on the National Party list following the retirement of Nuk Korako, gave his
'The first New Zealand Member of Parliament of Filipino descent has made a strong pro-life statement in his maiden speech in the House.Paulo Garcia, who came into Parliament on the National Party list following the retirement of Nuk Korako, gave his maiden speech on May 29.Mr Garcia introduced himself as Catholic, Filipino and a New Zealander.During his speech, he said “whatever laws we might pass in this Chamber, the pro-life voice must no longer be despised and discounted as offensive”. “Preachers of tolerance and inclusion must no longer seek to silence and condemn those with opinions that make them uncomfortable, but are nevertheless opinions based on another person’s own beliefs and values systems.” He told his fellow MPs that “there have been people who say my views are intolerant.Why?Because I am pro-life?Because I believe in the sanctity of life?Because I take the great Māori proverb literally and to its logical conclusion?He aha te mea nui o te ao?What is the most important thing in the world?He tangata, he tangata, he tangata — it is the people, it is the people, it is the people”. “When it comes to human beings,” Mr Garcia added, “we cannot pick and choose which ones are protected and which ones are not, and we cannot say some vulnerable lives must be protected, but others not.” Also, in the context of the Christchurch mosque killings earlier this year, Mr Garcia called for an awareness of religious intolerance used in debates.But he added that “it is insulting for some in this Chamber to suggest that the sole motive [for] retrograde policies, such as euthanasia, are religious ones, which is akin to saying that people of faith do not have intellect and shouldn’t also take their place here and contribute to society.We live in a day when we have put our own interests ahead of our children, and this modern society will continue to do so to its own detriment.” Mr Garcia said that men in New Zealand are particularly at fault in this area. “Women are often left abandoned, uncertain, and pressured to get rid of unexpected children or to raise them on their own.I salute in absolute praise all single mothers.” Parenting is the most important job we have, he added. “As mothers and fathers and, collectively, as a Parliament and as a nation, we need to support our parents, we need to support our families, and we need to support our children, but I highlight that the men of this country need to do more.We, as men, need to stand strong in our relationships.We must be reliable providers and protectors.We must show tamariki the way to respect and honour women.” Mr Garcia said there is not “a day that I wake up without giving thanks for being in New Zealand”, which he praised being a place “where people from the world over are able to live without fear in the practice of their faith and values, and in observance of their cultural norms”. While he had experienced hatred, slander and being ostracised, he acknowledged the suffering of others from many walks of life — displaced youth, those with issues around alcohol, drugs and gambling and those elderly who are isolated.Each of us has “the capacity for greed, anger and hatred”, he cautioned.But he also argued strongly for Parliament to protect freedom of speech echo $variable; . The post New MP shows pro-life support appeared first on NZ Catholic Newspaper .'

The sacred pōhutukawa and the Takapuna apartment dwellers walking all over them

Community The Spinoff

An ancient grove of pōhutukawa on Takapuna beach was once used by Māori to prepare the dead for burial. Today the trees are frail and pose a danger to the path below: mana whenua want it closed but some residents want to keep it open as it provides
'An ancient grove of pōhutukawa on Takapuna beach was once used by Māori to prepare the dead for burial. Today the trees are frail and pose a danger to the path below: mana whenua want it closed but some residents want to keep it open as it provides easy access to the beach. T here’s a grove of pōhutukawa at the north end of Takapuna beach. They’re magnificent: big, old, stretching trees that reach out over the sand. If you haven’t seen them in real life you can see them in paintings and historic photographs , generations of New Zealanders walking along the beach wearing their decade’s strange hats and clothes, the arms of those trees framing their progress through the years. The grove has a much longer unphotographed history. The trees were used by Māori in the preparation of bodies for burial. Those arms held up the dead and let nature clean their bones, before the bones were gathered up for burial elsewhere. The famous pōhutukawa captured in the lithograph Takapuna Beach, ‘a favourite summer resort’ . Image: K. Watkins. 1894. Those ancient arms are finally getting frail. If you look up into the branches you can see strops holding up some of the elderly limbs. The trees have also been carefully pruned and thinned over the years, iterations of Auckland councils doing their best to keep the trees alive and the people underneath them safe. This job gets harder as the years go on; at some point we need to plan for the trees to fall and for new pōhutukawa to grow up among them, taking their place as we and our funny clothes have replaced our ancestors’. I t wasn’t great forward planning when the North Shore City Council built an expensive boardwalk through the grove in the early 2000s. While it was operational, the boardwalk provided access to the end of Takapuna beach for around an hour every high tide, but it has now been permanently closed for reasons of cost and public safety . It’s still possible to walk along the beach at almost all times, and at high tide it’s a short stroll around the grove and the apartment blocks behind them to get to the beachside cafe and the coastal walk north . Let’s step back to those apartment blocks: The Sands, The Rocks and the Mon Desir (named after the iconic Mon Desir hotel that they replaced). These residents currently have a stone accessway from the back of their apartments to the beach, and most of them want to keep it. This will involve stropping more trees, continual monitoring and continual intervention, all on the public purse. The arborist’s report states that removing the accessway is the best option for the health of the trees, as well as “the most pragmatic in terms of managing current and future risk to the users of the footpath network.” The council is currently taking public submissions on these two options : (1) close the area and let it regenerate, or (2) keep the stone path to the private apartments open and rig up the trees to keep it safe. Consultation is open until July 12, and the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board will make the final decision. An Auckland Council ‘drop-in’ session takes place underneath one of the towering pōhutukawa. Image: Keri Mills A recent RNZ story on this issue framed it as public access vs iwi interests. There are two problems with that framing. Firstly, it’s not about public access at all, unless as a member of the public you value having access to the locked back gate of the Mon Desir apartment complex, perhaps in order to gaze through the bars at a lifestyle most of us will never be able to afford. A Rangitoto Observer headline runs “Blue-chip apartments could lose beach access”. This is a more accurate description of the situation, but still depends on whether you think being diverted to a 1.35 minute walk from the pedestrian gate, down The Promenade and onto the sand (and I have a bad ankle at the moment) constitutes “losing beach access”. This is not about public access. The RNZ story talks about the boardwalk – but the decision to close the boardwalk has been made. The decision still pending is about the stone path through the grove, which provides more immediate access to the beach for the private apartments behind the grove, and nothing else. Rangitoto Observer, 21 June 2019. Secondly: sure, there are iwi interests involved. You can read about their concerns here . They include radical agenda items such as making sure the public is safe, collecting seeds from the trees in case of myrtle rust , fostering new native plant growth, encouraging native birds to return to the area, removing rubbish bins from inside the grove and perhaps putting up some signage to describe the historical and cultural significance of the trees. The framing of community vs iwi is concerning. Do the residents of these apartments constitute “the community”? Are iwi not part of “the community”? The concerns identified by iwi focus on the big picture, the long term, heritage values, and generally what one might think of as “public” interests. W alk up The Promenade. Past the Mon Desir apartments on your left is a plaque on the wall which tells you Takapuna beach “was originally called Waiwharariki (the water of the common flax). The grove of magnificent pohutukawa trees on the cliff was known as Te Urutapu (the sacred grove) and was greatly revered, all wayfarers paying tributes or placing a sprig of fern or manuka at the foot of a tree as they passed.” Photo: Keri Mills Take a left along Hurstmere Road, a gentle right on to Anzac St and look out for a carpark. Pay tribute. This carpark was the site of a very lively local debate last year about the future use of the area. Possibly too lively . I don’t have strong opinions on the carpark story, but I do want to lightly bring it up. It’s a stone’s throw from Te Uru Tapu; it’s a site that is clearly very valued; it’s a story people know. It’s Matariki . A time to remember the dead and reflect on the future. A time for harmony and respect. And a great time to make a submission to the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board on the future of the grove of pōhutukawa trees at Takapuna beach.'