Between two worlds
Emma Outteridge was born on a yacht somewhere in the Pacific Ocean and her parents, Ross and Jo Blackman, didn't come into port to settle down until she was 5 months old.
They made their home in Paihia and her father, who had been a sail maker, became business manager for the America's Cup Team NZ. Because of that Outteridge had been immersed in the high-end world of pinnacle sailing and until she went to university in Wellington, she thought everyone lived in different ports for part of the time.
"I was naïve and after I had seen the movie Hotel Rwanda, I got fixated on this idea of saving the world from somewhere in Africa," she said.
She searched for a "project" and found it at Kabria Adult Attention and School for Orphans (Kaaso). Kabria is a little Ugandan village down a dirt road where the school is.
Because of HIV Aids, many children have been orphaned. Ugandans Dominic and Rose Mukwaya started the orphanage and school with 12 children and by the end of that first year there were 49. A couple of years later, Outteridge and two girlfriends arrived in Kabria, boarded at the school and volunteered as teachers for six months. It was the start of her learning.
"A boy called Henry wrote me a letter asking if I could support him at secondary school and I said no but every day I got to see him and I thought how do I leave him not knowing he would be okay?"
She phoned her parents and asked if they could sponsor Henry. They said yes and, as Outteridge says, from then on "my whole life would never be the same".
She had worked for the Louis Vuitton Challenge organising events and she called on friends and colleagues to get other students sponsored.
"In the beginning I was grateful to these people for giving but they said no, thank you, for giving us a way to give meaningfully and know it's going to the right place."
Over 12 years she has arranged sponsorship for 73 students. She goes back to the school every year and considers Henry, Dominic and Rose family. In fact when she married professional sailor Nathan Outteridge, they had a big Ugandan wedding where 1000 people turned up.
She organised a sailing day when she was in Bermuda with the America's Cup, raising US$40,000 ($56,000) and returned to Uganda to deliver a bus to the school.
These two disparate worlds – the wealthy world of America's Cup and the hand-to-mouth world of a village school in Uganda - inspired the name of her first book.
Between Two Worlds
Publisher Allen and Unwin
Author Emma Outteridge
SNA protests nothing new
Significant Natural Areas have been the focus for impassioned protest and the Government has acknowledged wrongdoings in their implementation. Deputy Prime Minister, Grant Robertson, said the process had not been done well.
It's not the first time a government minister has expressed concern about SNAs and it's not the first time there's been a hostile response from landowners.
In July 1997 Simon Upton, as Minister for the Environment and Associate Minister for Local Government, wrote to the mayor of the Far North District Council about SNAs in the proposed District Plan. He advised the then mayor, Sue James, he was aware the plan had generated a great deal of discontent within the community.
"At issue is the heavy-handed and non-consultative way in which landowners have had restrictions placed on the use of land by the rules related to the SNAs," he said.
Upton said the council "must pursue its statutory obligations" but urged it to tackle the protection of significant natural vegetation in a way that won community support, rather than widespread hostility. He was adamant the council had to find another way to relate to the community.
He went on to suggest that if the council can't hear the arguments of landowners and make the decisions rapidly, it should "simply remove the contentious provisions and set about negotiating a fresh approach to protecting important areas of native vegetation in a way that can secure community support".
Landowner opposition to the original SNAs in 1997 came in the form of "Can the Plan", a collective opposition that forced the council to drop the concept. John Carter was Far North MP at the time. He's now Far North mayor and said the council would "pause, reset, and consult" with the community.
However, he also said the council would not make any final decisions until after the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity was finalised, which was expected next month.
The Sounds of Music
The hills of the Far North are about to come alive with the sound of music as a theatre company prepares to stage one of the world's best-known musicals.
As its first big post-Covid production, Kerikeri Theatre Company is performing The Sound of Music — the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical about love and the power of song set against the Nazi occupation of Europe in World War II.
The production features almost 60 Northland singers and actors as well as a big backstage crew.
President Harley Alexander, who plays the emotionally stilted Captain von Trapp, said it the company was producing the traditional version but were trying to "make it fresh".
''What we wanted to do was give the people of the Far North a reason to come back to the theatre with something traditional, familiar and popular."
Alexander said Kylie Penn, of The Magic Playhouse, had been brought in as director for her experience as well as her knack for bringing ''a fresh vibe''.
The part of Maria, governess to the von Trapp children, is performed by Lucy Victory — better known at home in Doubtless Bay as Lucy Houtas, who performed in London's West End before moving to New Zealand and coached a community choir in Kaitaia until Covid hit.
The company has so many talented youngsters to choose from, aged as young as 8, they have assembled two casts of von Trapp children who will perform alternate shows.
''We want the people of the Far North to come away from the theatre with a smile on their faces and song in their hearts,'' Alexander said.
• The Sound of Music will be performed at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri, July 7-11, including school and public matinees. Go to www.turnercentre.co.nz for more information or to book tickets.
Kerikeri Lodge wins award
Hone Heke Flashpackers in Hone Heke Rd, Kerikeri, has been recognised with the Trip Advisor 2021 Travellers Choice Award for Specialty Lodging.
The award celebrates businesses that consistently deliver and is based on reviews on Trip Advisor over the past 12 months.
Victoria Howells, owner of Hone Heke Flashpackers, said working in tourism during COVID had been testing at times.
"We have continued to look after the thousands of international backpackers that are still in this country.
"We hope the Government will look to extend their visas again to fill the holes in the job market that are currently not being filled by local employees."
This 2021 Trip Advisor Award follows Trip Advisor Certificates of Excellence awarded the Lodge in 2017, 2018, 2019.
420 sailing at Doves Bay
The New Zealand Open Team Sailing National Championships took place at Doves Bay, Kerikeri, over Queen's Birthday Weekend.
It was the first yachting event to be held in New Zealand after lockdown and weather conditions proved challenging. Only two full days of racing were completed as the winds gusted 37 knots and prevented racing on the final day.
The winners were Crossbred Kiwis Team comprising Dylan Wichman, Emilie Jones, George Angus, Hugo McMullen, Rueben Corbett and Andi Hawtin.
- Additonal reporting Peter de Graaf