I finally did it!

I have tried to learn Te Reo a few times over the years and, although I picked up a few words, I never managed to learn much or pass the course. One provider even said “I needed a more basic course” and it was their beginner level one! Hmmm. I don’t have an ear for language and suspect it’s tied to my utter lack of musicality.

This time I enrolled in the Te Waananga o Aotearoa Papa Reo course, with has books, audio and a wonderful local Kaitiaki to support me. One year on … I have passed the course. 

Am I proficient? Heck no. But I can introduce myself, ask & answer basic questions and so on. Now that the course is complete, I’m going to go back to book one and start again, learning all the extra words I didn’t have time for initially. I highly recommend the course; the structure is good, and the support makes it so much more achievable.




A balancing act

Recently someone contacted me regarding the local newspaper and I felt the need to explain I have little spare time (not that they had pressured me at all – the need was in my own head). That said, my life is a bit of a juggling act, and I’m fortunate to have the support I need to keep the balance. Tony has always supported me to do my art and be involved in the wider library profession, and my family and friends support me in myriad ways.

What’s going on in my life? Here’s a snapshot of most, but not all, the things:

  • I work fulltime as Libraries & Cultural Services Manager at STDC; I manage 7 libraries, the museum and an arts position
  • I’m Chair of the Professional Registration Board with LIANZA, which means I’m also ex officio to the LIANZA Council
  • I’m 3/4 of the way through the Papa Reo course with Te Wananga o Aotearoa
  • I mentor a couple of librarians around the country
  • I have a month long art exhibition coming up October with the lovely and talented Dimmie
  • I travel for work, and art, fairly regularly
  • I teach art classes locally, and am teaching in the South Island in July
  • Tony and I publish the local monthly newspaper
  • I have some ongoing health issues, and am waiting on a 3rd MRI (2nd on my spine)
  • I’m a food addict and, following weight loss surgery, need to make sure I do the right things every single day
  • Tony has some serious ongoing health issues which are increasingly restrictive
  • Tony has PoA for his cousin who has dementia, and I support him in this

Don’t get me wrong – Tony and I have a good life; we’re fortunate and this busyness is my (our) choosing. But the health issues are an unwelcome complication that mean I make sure we both get enough rest, and there’s “uh oh” flexi-time built into our schedules. Taking anything else on just isn’t a goer for now.

Tony & I 20190504

cjs18 day 12 Jessica Sporn

Today’s artist is Jessica Sporn. I have followed her work for years, have some of her wonderful stencils, and admire both her art and process. So, I was very excited to see her working with flag imagery as I’d worked on flags when I did my art qualification at The Learning Connexion, and love the work of Jasper Johns (among others).

As with all cjs18 classes I won’t talk about the process but in this instance I do want to tell a little of the story behind this piece. The story scratched into the gesso underneath is about a recurring dream I have involving my best friend Sandra and I searching for someone in hospital grounds. I can draw the buildings, see the land, follow the roads, and have a map of where people are at the final building we need to get to – so a lot of detail. I had the dream again last night and phoned Sandra to discuss it.
She thought for a bit and said in the last couple of years she’d gone out to Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital, where a relative had once spent some time.

I used Google images to search Tokanui and the third photo was *it* – the place in my dream. I tried some other abandoned hospitals etc but no, none of them were right. Tokanui it is. Why I dream about Sandra and I being there, I don’t know yet.

The rest of the imagery is about learning a waiata (Maori song/chant) for Monday when we have a powhiri to welcome our new CE at work, my constant struggle to learn more Te Reo, and the flag is the Tino Rangitiratanga flag (actually black, white & red). This all ties in together, but not in ways I can articulate in words – hence it’s in my artwork.

day 12 jessica sporn