As summer drew to a close …


LITTLEBIGMARKETSAs summer drew to a close I had appreciated many of the outdoor activities involving food that Tauranga has to offer. The weekly Farmers Markets, The Little Big Markets at the Mount, and the Gourmet Night Markets at Coronation Park.  A great summer vibe, good food and live music.  I even caught one of the movies at the Night Owl Cinema with my husband, my teenage son and my mother. Three generations who all enjoyed the retro popcorn, rugging up under blankets to ward off the cool sea air and laughing at the old movie starring Lena Horne who would be described as ‘HOT’ by today’s standards.

Jazz in the Garden at the Brain Watkins House on Cameron Road was a revelation.  Who knew that in the garden behind the old homestead you could sit and listen to the laid back jazz of Marion Arts and Carlos Souza and never know you were beside a main road in Tauranga. With a gold coin donation to get into the garden and $4.00 to go through the house if you wished, it was a very inexpensive way to wile away a Sunday afternoon. The volunteers who were in each room of the house were a mine of information about the house and its occupants and Tauranga history. The house is open every Sunday afternoon so make an effort to see some of ‘old’ Tauranga.  We don’t have much of it left unfortunately.  I loved the display of vintage hats made by one of the owners, the antique gold leaf wallpaper in the front room and the hand embroidered clothing and manchester.

In the lovely garden, Marion played guitar and sang songs in French and Spanish accompanied by Carlos Souza who played percussion and sung back up vocals.  It was the perfect music for the venue.  Marion also played a couple of her original compositions.  All ages sat under trees and umbrellas and enjoyed a cup of tea from retro Crown Lynn cups.  There was a variety of stalls to spend a little bit more at as well with baking, produce and plants and Save the Children Fund crafts on offer.  I also discovered the Tauranga Writers Group stall.  Jenny Argante and Marlene Shores had their own books there as well as a number of independently published Tauranga and Bay of Plenty authors. I have seen the articles about local book launches but didn’t relalise how many titles in different genres were published and how accessible information was for people who want to start writing or for writers who want to get their manuscript published.  Jenny gave me a flyer titled ‘March Celebration of Independence’ with 8 events listed for March, showcasing storytelling, writing workshops and book launches. Some of these events were held at The Cargo Shed or Creative Tauranga.

NOTE:  Storytelling at the Multicultural Festival at the Historic Village was postponed due to the cyclone and will be held in April.

Jenny Argante is Branch Chair of the New Zealand Society of Authors (Bay of Plenty), an award winning author, a life member of the Tauranga Writers Group and takes workshops on writing and publishing.

Marlene Shores wrote and illustrated her childrens’ book titled “Hillary and Bob. The Hedgehogs in the little town of Litter”.

On the first day of autumn, in brilliant weather, I enjoyed the spectacle of the Pipe Band Championships. There were 47 Highland Pipe Bands en masse on the infield at the Domain. The  mace flourishing competition, seeing the Junior World Champions, St Andrews College, the incredible variety of tartans worn by the bands and the sound of the massed bands was amazing.  Judging by the number of teenagers involved there is no danger of this tradition disappearing.

Unless you are a sportsperson, the Domain is probably not a destination park in Tauranga and should be.  Even though the facilities look little different to when I was a school pupil in Tauranga, there is a lovely little park for children to play in, tables to sit at and lovely trees to cool off under. From the grandstand there is a great view over the wide grassed area at the Takitimu Drive end of the Domain to Mauao. The entry to the Domain and some areas in it could do with some TLC but it is still one of our open air spaces that should be enjoyed and only a short walk from the CBD.

I also recently attended a meeting at the Tauranga Art Gallery about how to keep talented people in New Zealand and related topics such as how technology will impact on our lives in the future, work and play in our cities and more.  Very thought provoking.  As we entered the atrium space to be greeted by our host for the evening, I was impressed by what I saw over her shoulder.  Vivid stripes cut a swathe across the atrium walls with scrunched balls of fabric emerging from the corner.  If you are in a grey mood, call in to the Art Gallery for a shot of colour therapy from this new exhibition by Miranda Parkes. I will definitely be returning to check out the new exhibitions in the next couple of weeks.

Viewed and authored by Diane Hume-GreenScene “My life in Tauranga has been enriched by music, colour and creativity Family involvement in the Tauranga Jazz Festival, sewing and textile retail and my business with my husband who is an architectural designer have all contributed to my love of the arts.”


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