Freerange Community Feedback.

Last month we collected feedback from the Freerange community via a short survey. After a busy year built on multiple publications and the formalisation of the Freerange Cooperative, we were eager to shape a plan that could build on the things that we’re good at; decide on some new things that we could get better at; and make sure we do all these while keeping firmly in touch with what and who, Freerange is all about.

To give some context, the motivation for the survey emerged late last year when we held our first face-to-face meeting between the whole team of Directors in Christchurch. Looking back, Freerange had published 300 blog articles over 4 years; our seventh Journal was about to be launched; and Christchurch: The Transitional City was doing incredibly well; as well as five other print publications for the Press, and a charity compilation album. As the community, organisation, and finances were growing -in complexity if not size- it became crucial that we understood more about the Freerange community so that we could give, share, and enable value for it.

There were only a few simple and fairly broad questions asked, and I’ve simply reproduced the responses here as they are, with some short comments about what we’ve understood from them. After getting some idea of participation in Freerange, we asked how our blog was going, what kind of stuff we could be publishing about, and what else we could do for the community. The sixth question in particular had some really encouraging responses that we’re pretty excited about.

Continue reading “Freerange Community Feedback.”

The Leasons

Written by Ruth Hill with photographs by Dion Howard, this article originally appeared in Freerange Volume 2: Gardening & Violence in 2009, edited by Barnaby Bennett and Gina Moss.

 

A small organic holding in sunny Otaki, New Zealand, sprouting kids and pigs and walnut trees, seems a world away from the devastation of war-torn Iraq. But for Adrian and Shelley Leason, the two are intimately connected.

A hail of arrows, knives and tomahawks fly through the air as Adrian Leason strolls through the paddock pushing a wheelbarrow full of small children.

“Gardens are violent places,” he muses.

“Full of creatures eating other creatures, plants struggling for primacy, strangling other plants….”

He pauses by a small bonfire.

“I’m not happy about that fire, boys,” he remonstrates gently with his older sons, who are practising their marksmanship on distant targets with a variety of weapons.

“Piss on it, please.”

This peaceful rural idyll is home to Adrian and Shelley and their semi-feral tribe of beautiful children – Jack (13), Finn (11), Che (9), Mana (6), Ari (4), Samuel (2) and Davy (born in April). The Leasons have rejected many of trappings of modern life, including television, but the couple have ensured their family is attuned to world events in a way many of us manage to comfortably avoid. Continue reading “The Leasons”

Rapata

After a long and exhausting adventure our good friends Spartacus R have released the long awaited vinyl edition of their album The View. Here’s the opening track from the album.

 

If you like it, you can get the vinyl here: http://spartacusr.bandcamp.com/album/the-view or at Death Ray in Newtown, Wellington.

The Politicisation of CERA and the planning of new Christchurch

This, strangely, is a crossback-cross-post originally published at Rebuilding Christchurch by Barnaby Bennett, chief egg of the Freerange Press and editor of the magnificent book “Christchurch: The Transitional City Part IV“. This is the first of an epic four-and-a-half-part analysis of the political machinations in Christchurch, and how they are influencing the rebuild. -Byron, Ed.

 

No government was ever going to be able to seamlessly respond to a crazy series of events like the earthquakes that hit Christchurch between September 2010 and the end of 2011.  It was an insanely complex and difficult event and the tangled nature of all the little parts mean the development of new ideas and plans and the construction of these is no easy task. Yet, this shouldn’t mean a pass card for our representatives. In this article I’ll argue, and explain, why I think the removal of the public from most of the rebuild process is a critical mistake both politically for the government and for the citizens of Christchurch. Continue reading “The Politicisation of CERA and the planning of new Christchurch”

What’s going on with the Arts Precinct: Incompetence or Deceit?

In the last week there has been a long overdue rush of public announcements about the Performing Arts Precinct in Christchurch. These can be tidily split into categories of ‘why didn’t they announce this 6 months ago’, and the more bewildering ‘are you trying to make yourself look stupid?’.  I’ll explain this below, and by doing so try to work out a question that could easily apply to a number of projects in the city at the moment: is the current sad state of this project a result of incompetence or deceit? (It’s a long article, but there are specific recommendations at the end!)

I’ll start with the obvious announcement. The government has decided that a significant part of the area designated for the Arts Precinct is now no longer needed so they have wisely decided to remove the designation. This allows the owners of the land to avoid compulsory purchase of the land and to either sell the land or to develop what they want.  It has been obvious to everyone involved that this land was not needed for the arts precinct project with the Council’s repeated and consistent position to retain and repair the Town hall. For a department that has been given the mandate to improve the quality and speed of the rebuild it seems strange to tie up this bit of land for so long given that it has been known since late August last year when the Council voted unanimously (for the 2nd time) to retain the Townhall.  It was signaled long before this with the Council vote the previous year and the acknowledgment in the Cost Sharing Agreement between the CCC and CERA that the Town hall was likely to stay. This is from a famously fractured council, and not a single member voted against retention on two separate occasions. Continue reading “What’s going on with the Arts Precinct: Incompetence or Deceit?”

Day 20: Lang Suan

This is a guest post generously shared by Nicholas Jordan, a freelance writer who peddled his insatiable appetite around Thailand and wrote about it over at Im Still Alive. I met Nicholas walking the Routebourn trek in New Zealand’s deep south a couple of years ago, he was eating a bag of spinach because he reckoned it had “the best price to nutrients to weight ratio.” I got hooked midway through this journey, and have chosen to drop you there on Day 20, but if you like what you see, I encourage you to get back to Day 1. –Byron. Ed.

 

March 27, 2014

Alan told me he’s really slow. I didn’t believe him because that’s totally a normal thing to say to a stranger you’re about to ride over 100km with. We were both trying to suss the other person out and make sure they’re not a total gun and or a slothian slug from the slums of slowtown either. We didn’t ride very far today so I’m still unsure of how fast or slow he actually is. Continue reading “Day 20: Lang Suan”

Climbing Diaries Part 1: Getting off the Ground

Last week a young man was rescued from a 400 million year-old rock crack out west of Victoria. Famous in climbing circles, the Squeeze Test at Mt Arapiles is a committing clamber through a boulder that sits split in half not far from the local campsite. He had slipped and trapped his hip around 10 at night, and spent a rainy 10-hours there before rescue services were able to successfully slide him out to safety. Thousands have no doubt passed the Test since Mt Arapiles was first pioneered as a rock-climbing mecca in the 60’s, but to the uninitiated, the idea is fucking terrifying, and so it should be. I’ve squeezed through the rock a few times now, and let me tell you it’s no picnic, and I’m on the narrow side of skinny. Not that you’d need convincing, imagine yourself for a moment thrutching* your wedged body horizontally between two rocky surfaces. It’s too narrow to turn your head around once you’re in. Continue reading “Climbing Diaries Part 1: Getting off the Ground”

Freerange Community Feedback

Things are getting quite exciting this year for Freerange with two Journals in the pipeline (we’re on the home straight!) and the eagerly awaited follow up to Christchurch: The Transitional City is progressing amazingly. We’ll also be revitalising our blog, developing our publishing platform, and building the Cooperative. Woop!

In particular this year, we are focusing on nurturing the community of people that have become a part of the Freerange project, so we’ve written a simple little survey to start a conversation with our everyday readers, contributors, or future pirates.

It’s only a few questions that will take a minute or two, and will mean a lot to us.

One respondent will get a free copy of the Transitional City book, although you are also welcome to complete the survey anonymously if you don’t wish to supply your contact information – all good!

 

Click here to access the survey.

Save the Hundertwasser Gallery in Whangarei

I am seeking people to support a letter to the Whangarei District Councillors that are attempting to kill of the Hundertwasser Art Gallery Project in a council meeting tomorrow.  Please read this description and details are below.

A long planned (and debated) gallery designed by the late international Artist Hundertwasser is in danger of being dumped by the Whangarei District Council after some Councillors have put forward a proposal to remove it from the annual plan.  Their logic in doing this is that people have not been consulted about the project, yet they are trying to remove it from a document that will go for public consultation.

This is a project that offers huge financial and cultural opportunity for Whangarei, it has been supported by the last two mayoral candidates, the two sitting northland MPs Phil Heatley and Shane Jones (from both sides of the house) support the project.  Financial analysis of the project by Deloitte supports the councils position. A recent poll run by the local newspaper shows significant popular support for the project. And yet at a council meeting tomorrow a number of Councillors will attempt to vote this project out of the plan.

The total cost of the project is $13 million, of this the council has agreed to fund $8 million and a further $5 million will be raised seperately. $2 million of this amount has already being raised for the project.

One Councillor has stated that this money would be better spent on roads. To give a comparison the Wellsford to Puhoi road project is estimated to cost $760 million dollars, and the recently finished Te Matau a Pohe bridge cost $32 million dollars.

Another Councillor is worried this project will leave the WDC in a similar state to the Kaipara Council after that council misinvested in a sewerage project. The original budget for that project was $35 million and the total cost became $60 million. This is a small project compared to this and the construction of an art gallery is very predictable compared to a major sewerage system.

Spending $8 million on an Cultural project that will make Whangarei an international destination is a prudent decision and the current motion to cancel the project is unwise.

More about the project can be read here: http://www.wdc.govt.nz/FacilitiesandRecreation/Town-Basin/Pages/Hundertwasser-Art-Centre.aspx

If you would like your name attached to a letter that I am sending to the council to reject the motion being put forward by the Councillors: “That the Hundertwasser project not be included in this year’s annual plan and that staff be instructed to remove all reference to the Hundertwasser project in forthcoming workshops and annual plan drafts.” as being undemocratic and unwise can you please email me barnaby@projectfreerange.com tonight.

I will send the email first thing in the morning.  Can you please include your name and any fancy sounds positions you might hold. Also be great if you could say whether you grew up or had a connection to Whangarei.

 

 

 

EWH

The amazing band Electric Wire Hustle features Freerange contributor Mara TK, and I’m delighted to see/hear they have released the debut track of their LOOOONG awaited new album. Epic. Tune.  Check it out.

 

 

Freerange is going to start featuring some more music as we seem to be surrounded by super talented people, music included.