Hohepa Hawkes Bay had its annual Family Weekend at the end of September, coinciding with the start of the school holidays and and the Family and Caregivers’ Association AGM.
In the past, the Family Association has had a significant role to play in organising this event; this time Santi arranged it all, and there were many improvements, some surprises, and the Association AGM was last event in an action-packed day. JD was standing down from his role as chairperson, and from the committee, so he wanted an opportunity to speak.
The weekend started on Friday evening, with a shared meal at Macaskill House. It was nice to meet the parents and siblings of other residents who live there. We turned up just after 5 pm. There was a woman called Trisha there – I figured eventually that she was Trisha Glover, a newish staff member whom I’d been wanting to meet.
Then we went off with Vicky to see Harlequinade, a play performed at the Clive Hall. It was a very good production, memorable for several reasons: the enjoyment of the audience, especially folk like Vicky, the wonderful music (including Deryn’s violin playing), the way the cast (and supporting cast) worked together and supported each other, and some very memorable performances, including the wonderful clown. Afterwards we took Vicky home, arranging to pick her up at 5 pm the next day.
Saturday began early at 8:45 am with a karakia from Weylan. Then a woman called Constanza was live-streamed from Switzerland (she had recently visited Hohepa in New Zealand). After this Trisha Glover spoke, and showed photos from an Anthroposophical Conference she had attended at the Goetheanum in Dornach. She spoke very well, and managed to make it all seem not too wordy. She stressed courage, and humanity, in our dealings with each other. Pictures of the famous building resonated with me, reminding of other Hohepa buildings I have seen, and of the beautiful and stunning Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona.
We had morning tea outside. Thankfully the weather was fine. The food was good – nice club sandwiches, for the most part. The breaks for morning and afternoon tea and lunch provided plenty of time to catch up with other parents and staff.
During the day there were several presentations by staff, sometimes illustrated with video, which were very helpful and interesting. The “residents” are now known as “the people we support” – a welcome change, building on Hohepa’s motto of “Every Life Fully Lived”. There is a strong Maori component, with three staff members speaking about their work. They involved us all in singing “Te Aroha” (which I also sing with my singing group, so I kind of knew it).
Me te rangimarie
Tatou tatou e
Then we were taught a Maori song for Hohepa! This went down very well. Santi threatened that next year we will learn the accompanying poi dance as well.
During the lunch break we were invited to take part in an art activity. I made my way to the Art Room, where Eva had set everything up really well. There was room for several participants at any one time. I washed and dried my paper, and then chose three colours to use – green, blue and crimson. My theme was three-fold: faith, hope and love. I wish I had taken a photo of this painting! JD helped, but I did most of it. I signed it with our names and Vicky’s.
In the afternoon we heard from the management team, and then the regional board had its AGM. There were two apologies, but the others, it seemed, (unlike in the past), really wanted to be there. The Family Weekend won out over the WOW Show in Wellington. Subsidiarity was mentioned!
After afternoon tea there was a presentation from Housing New Zealand. Their work complements Hohepa Hawkes Bay’s desire that none of the residents sleeps at the Clive site. They are actively buying up suitable properties, sometimes (ideally) in clusters. It is a relief that Hohepa are no longer engaged in building projects with their spiraling costs, and are really engaged in helping to move folk away from the Clive site.
Finally there was the Family Association AGM. Unbeknownst to us the Chairman of the Hohepa Foundation had turned up, and wanted to speak. JD will remain on the Foundation, and he did get to speak (afterwards being complimented on this and asked that it be included in the minutes).
That evening we shared a pizza with Vicky at our motel, before going to the party (and dance) at the Creative Workshop in Tennyson Street in Napier. The workshop has been open one year (since the last Family Weekend), and there was a birthday party. Despite reservations, it has worked out really well.
It was a busy evening. Vicky declined to dance with me but I did get to dance with JD (even if it was to Mamma Mia!) Although the formal ball had been a successful feature of the Family Weekend, it was nice to have something more casual (and we didn’t have to buy tickets).
Saturday night was a short one, with the start of Daylight Saving. We got away at 10 am and had a good drive back, our only major holdup being north of Otaki. Well done, Hohepa! This was the best Family Weekend ever, in my view. It’s good to feel that we are all more alike, despite our differences.