Monthly Archives: June 2011

Pledge Me

Freerange recently used an Australian based funding platform called Pozible to raise $AU1500 to print a special book we have made called Chur Chur: Stories from the Christchurch earthquake.   It worked!  We were lucky enough to have support for our fundraiser from a similar new platform in NZ called Pledgeme.  Basically some deal as Pozible and the international Kickstarter, but all NZ owned and operated, so perfect for projects located in the Shakey Isles. Go well.

PledgeMe is the 1st funding platform in NZ. We want to offer the same opportunities that your project had but right here. It is 100% Kiwi owned and operated and aims to bring together those wanting to complete a project they have a passion for, with those who are willing, and able to support them financially.

Crowdfunding allows those with a dream to publicise their goal and attract pledges from as little as $5. In return they offer rewards that will be awarded if their target sum is reached. Content and authenticity of a project are checked before upload and a timescale is set.

A project target can be as little or large as the imagination desires, you are only limited by your ideas. It is free to add a project; charges only apply if the target is reached.

We operate through the website, www.pledgeme.co.nz, and are open to a range of creative talents: arts, circus, dance, film, photography, music, theatre, stand up comedy and other fields such as food, design, fashion, technology, games, comics, journalism, among many others.

So don’t just sit there NZ – get Crowdfunding……

Camilo Borges

Come and follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/pledgeme

www.pledgeme.co.nz

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Flotille

Flottille (detail) from Etienne Cliquet on Vimeo.

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Lovely Lyttelton

I thought this video sits nicely in the theme of our next release Chur Chur: Stories from the Christchurch earthquake When I visited Chch after the earthquake in February my parent’s neighbour said to me one day “I’ve realised that even though you can always rely on your family and friends, sometimes your neighbours are the people you need the most”. True true. This is a beautiful video.

Love in a Little Town from James Muir on Vimeo.

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Coincidence and Anna Z

Sometimes life seems to meet itself coming around a corner… where an incident occurs which relates to an idea or concept that you’ve been thinking about; working on; that’s been occupying your mind.

I’ve been finding this a lot recently. It’s almost as if there’s matter amassing around your head, like a magnetic cloud, which appears to attract other instances of this concept that has assumed a different form.

And it doesn’t only seem a coincidence. There are many theories of time coalescing and forming in different patterns: chaos theory; the butterfly effect; periodic orbits.

The theory of periodic orbits (Robert L Devaney) posits that time itself is cyclical in the way that a snail’s shell is, so that you come to similar occurrences over a number of years, which are however marked in some way as different – a different size, shape, patterning, or perspective – which means that the incident itself builds on its parallel that existed before, resulting in the end in the formation of something new, something that has been created as a ‘thing’, only because you have noted the parallel incidents and thus built them up and constructed them to create a recognizable form.

From a statistical perspective, coincidences are inevitable and often less remarkable than they may appear intuitively. Mathis says that an example of this is ‘the birthday problem’, where the probability of two individuals sharing a birthday within a group of 23 people already exceeds 50 per cent (http://www.jstor.org/pss/2031144).

Carl Jung was particularly interested in the idea that a given set of coincidences is a form of synchronisity: that the experience of events is causally unrelated, yet individuals group them together by their meaning. Since ‘meaning’ is a complex mental construction, the grouping of events is siginifcant only to the person observing the events. The percieved ‘meaning’ suggests the existence of a ‘deeper order’, where the individual is both embedded in an orderly framework and is the focus of that orderly framework.

Recently one such coincidence occurred to me, which prompted this deeper level of interest in the idea.

I am about to go on a ‘family history’ trip, to travel to Hungary, where my father is from, to find out more about my grandparents. We will be staying with my father’s cousins, who I have never met and only some of whom he has met, in a small village of approximately 800 people near the Austrian border. This village is so small that we are staying in a nearby larger village, Gyor, whose population is approximately 130,000.

About a month ago I was a first-time participant in a voluntary tree planting group, which was holding an event to attract more people to engage in the activity. There were about 80 of us who turned up on a crisp beautiful winter’s day, in the hills about 90mins out of Melbourne proper. We were encouraged to plant in pairs, and rotate partners so that we would plant a ‘tree per person’. Given the average planting time this meant we were able to meet approximately 20 new people throughout the day.

As part of this rotation I met woman named Anna Z. Anna Z was herself half Hungarian, and 20 years earlier had traveled to Hungary to find out more about her own father, who came to Australia just after the war, and had died when Anna Z was in her youth.

As it transpired, Anna Z’s father had grown up near Gyor, had left Hungary the year before my own grandfather, had come to Melbourne via the same Italian port, and had settled in the same country town as my grandfather.

I was blown away that Anna Z’s father had partaken on a journey so similar to my own grandfather’s. Had Anna Z’s father known my grandfather? And how was it that I met Anna Z so soon before departing for my own investigative experience, which would mirror Anna Z’s not only via the nature of the quest, but also as because of the similarity of experiences that Anna Z’s father had to my grandfather.

What events had passed that resulted in meeting Anna Z? Was it purely a coincidence that I decided to go tree planting on that Saturday? Is it enough to think that my own magnetic cloud of thoughts of Hungary and my family that swirls around my head gathering momentum attracted me to this activity and this location on this particular day, to plant with this particular woman.

It would be nice to think that meeting Anna Z was an event caused by the ripples and changes of my thought process emitted into the universe – it makes me feel special, significant, and part of a ‘deeper order’. But perhaps I am essentially assigning a form to causally unrelated events; shaping this experience so that it reflects my own thoughts; and thus creating meaning and validation of the significance of my trip.

Emily Hollosy

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tricky transport

Local elections are famed for managing to spur even fewer voters than the big one every four years. Nonetheless, the election of Celia Wade Brown to the position of Mayor in 2010 was a significant gesture from the citizens of Wellington. Wade Brown shares a hairstyle but little else with departing Mayor Prendergast, who, rightly or wrongly, was judged by many pro-Celia voters  as erring too often on the side of business, and not the sustainable kind. Wade-Brown is a dedicated Greenie, a believer in better public transport, “vibrant communities” and economic well-being. A freeranger in spirit.

It seems strange, therefore, that under her watch, Wellington is likely to face the unpleasant situation of choosing between a variety of stupid propositions to improve traffic flow around the Basin/Mt Vic/Airport corridor. Next month we will get to ‘choose’ between a flyover that follows the curves of the Basin Reserve, or one which diverges slightly before joining up with the Mount Victoria Tunnel. A flyover in a city of 195,000 people, a city whose central can be crossed from one end to the other on foot in about an hour.

Public opposition to the flyover, and various other proposals including a second Mt Victoria Tunnel and a four lane road to the airport, was reportedly at 78% in 2008. There is little evidence that the public has changed it’s mind since. It feels particularly perverse given the current Mayor’s dedication to cycling, her preferred mode of transport even when heading to her own press conferences. We can afford to create a second tunnel, but there isn’t a cycling lane from Newtown to the City? We are used to myopic policy concerning climate change related issues in this country, but ‘better’ roading is nowhere near as connected to our economic performance as agriculture. Who are they trying to please?

Mostly, this seems to be another example this government’s backward approach to forward thinking in transport. As Rod Oram pointed out in a  Sunday Star Times weekend column, the government has gone to extreme lengths to undermine Auckland Council’s plans to extend railways in the central city, claiming that existing road, parking, and bus infrastructure can easily expand without hiccups until 2040. The Council and it’s consultants reckon that “an Auckland population of 2.2 million would result in another 500,000 vehicles if we stick to our existing road-dominant investment in transport”. No one knows where those cars would go.

None of this is exactly surprising. The central government was diagnose a long time ago with an inability to calculate the difference between long and short term gain. As these plans are rolled out piece by piece across different parts of the country it’s difficult to unite various affected groups under a concerted effort.

One group of concerned citizens, however, have eschewed the standard action plan and have resorted to some pretty Trickster-ish behaviour in order to draw attention to the idiocy of these plans. The Economic Illiteracy Group, who attribute most terrible decision making to stupidity not conspiracy, have taken it upon themselves to educate our elected officials, chiefly by supplying handy calculators and My First Jumbo Book of Numbers. The nine councilors who forced a meeting behind Mayor Wade Browns back to support the roading project received maths books and calculators which, it was hoped, would help them to understand basic cost-benefit analyses and to learn “what that pesky `negative’ sign means”. The letter also warns that “it’s never good to look like a dick in public. So avoid making stupid statements about how roads are an investment in the future or how they create jobs, because all the people who’ve already read the book and mastered the calculator will think you’re a moron.”  Ian McKinnon called the anonymous letters “an attack on the democratic process”, a somewhat hyperbolic representation of a process involving a mere 44% of the local population.

Sometimes the best way of speaking truth to power is to make fun of it. It might not be mature, it might not always provoke the intended reaction, but it can get people talking.

an image of the flyover by the campaign prepared by the save the basin reserve campaign.

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Inside the redzone

Post-quake Christchurch

Pictures and story by Kate Shuttleworth

The ground still shudders in Christchurch – there’s an underlying feeling of constant movement and instability. I had a taste of the frayed nerves that Cantabrians feel daily when I woke for a quake measuring 5.1. It jolted me upright in bed at 3am.  By the time it had registered, and I was sitting up in bed trying to decide whether jumping out of bed was warranted, it had stopped. The adrenaline and fright left me awake. The 3am startling left me lying in bed fighting to get some rest before the  start of the day – this has been the reality for some people for months.

Christchurch field officer Ian Hamill has been working solidly for the past few months trying to retrieve PPTA equipment from its office in Latimer View House on Gloucester Street within the red zone. The organisation of this brief entry into the fourth floor office space has been long and arduous for Ian. The building is red-stickered, meaning it is unsafe to enter as it stands – this does not mean automatic demolition although some owners are being given 24-hours notice that a building is going to be demolished and few are given the chance to recover possessions. The PPTA have been fortunate to gain access to the building. Two landlords and two paid engineers accompanied the PPTA’s team of four onto the site.

Mychael Stevenson, Peter Cooke, Ian Hamill and myself (Kate Shuttleworth) had an early start at the Civil Defence outpost next to the Christchurch City Art Gallery. We had a security check and photo IDs were made in order to gain access into the strictly guarded cordon last week. Driving into the red zone is what I’d imagine driving into a war zone to be like. Parts of buildings are shattered with no apparent logic – debris litters the central streets. The Christchurch cathedral has been left a shell, totally lacking in its former presence. A safety briefing outside the the former Christchurch PPTA branch office building gave us the information we needed to safely enter. A generator had been secured to allow lighting up the stair well to the fourth floor.

 

While it seemed dangerous and daunting at first the job needed to be done and engineers assured us they would be there in case of an emergency.
A generator was secured and allowed the stairwell to be lit, we’d expected it to be pitch black and had donned our headlamps in preparation for this.
The engineers worked with the building owners to remove a panel of glass on the floor  allowing access to a scissor lift to take office equipment to a truck on ground level.
The office was in a total state of chaos – littered with paper up to half a metre thick in places. Filing cabinet drawers had flown out and were strewn and buckled – their contents thrown  in all directions. Pot plants had been hurled across the room and furniture and electronics were strewn on the floor. Computers, phones, and drawers were nowhere near their places of origin. Some staff who’d been inside the building during the February earthquake did not want to go near the building as they’d been traumatized by the event. They’d given a list of personal items for us to look for – most of these were found. They included, an undamaged pair of glasses thrown across the reception area; family photographs; artwork; a samurai sword, shrapnel from the Western Front in World War I and some tins of apple tea.

We worked solidly to try and retrieve members files. If you can imagine files scattered everyone with their contents all over the place. We tried to retrieve as many files as possible but closed and very old files had to be abandoned due to lack of time.
Peter Cooke worked non-stop to secure as much electronic equipment as possible. I photographed events while clearing the reception and Rae James’ office space. Three hours later after lots of clearing, lifting and sorting we were finished and all  felt it had been a excellent team effort where we’d retrieved as much as was practically possible

 

 

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