Locals honoured worthy; R&V over; sad end but hope for positive 2017

EDITORIAL

The New Year has been welcomed in traditional fashion in the district, making for a positive start to a year that promises to be an uncertain one both nationally and internationally.

Four people from this district were included in the annual New Year Honours List, all of them more than worthy.

Geoff Thorpe headed the group, being made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the wine industry.

Tangiwai Ria is recognised for her contribution to Maori performing arts and the community, and trained opera singer Catherine Macdonald for the leading role she has played for decades in the city’s musical scene.

While not so well known generally, Kay Baxter of the Koanga Institute has created the largest heritage seed repository in the southern hemisphere.

Other national awards have created controversy with allegations that they were given to people who were only doing their jobs but this quartet more than belie that cavil.

It is heartening to see another successful Rhythm & Vines festival behind us. It is disappointing to see some arrests for drug offences but the 17,000 young people who attended were generally, with a few exceptions, well behaved and always bring some vitality to the city.

Founder Hamish Pinkham is already planning for the 15th festival which brings people from other parts of the world here, not to mention many thousands of dollars for local businesses.

Let’s not forget that all through Gisborne and up the East Coast there were family groups and friends reuniting and gathering for their own celebration.

The sad feature of the holiday was the death of a third Tongan school party leader, Leotisia Malakai, as a result of her injuries in the Christmas Eve Wharerata bus crash which brought the road toll to 19 at that point.

The traditional holiday period was extended this year by having New Year’s Day fall on a Sunday, but now it is back to business and the challenges of 2017.

The New Year has been welcomed in traditional fashion in the district, making for a positive start to a year that promises to be an uncertain one both nationally and internationally.

Four people from this district were included in the annual New Year Honours List, all of them more than worthy.

Geoff Thorpe headed the group, being made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the wine industry.

Tangiwai Ria is recognised for her contribution to Maori performing arts and the community, and trained opera singer Catherine Macdonald for the leading role she has played for decades in the city’s musical scene.

While not so well known generally, Kay Baxter of the Koanga Institute has created the largest heritage seed repository in the southern hemisphere.

Other national awards have created controversy with allegations that they were given to people who were only doing their jobs but this quartet more than belie that cavil.

It is heartening to see another successful Rhythm & Vines festival behind us. It is disappointing to see some arrests for drug offences but the 17,000 young people who attended were generally, with a few exceptions, well behaved and always bring some vitality to the city.

Founder Hamish Pinkham is already planning for the 15th festival which brings people from other parts of the world here, not to mention many thousands of dollars for local businesses.

Let’s not forget that all through Gisborne and up the East Coast there were family groups and friends reuniting and gathering for their own celebration.

The sad feature of the holiday was the death of a third Tongan school party leader, Leotisia Malakai, as a result of her injuries in the Christmas Eve Wharerata bus crash which brought the road toll to 19 at that point.

The traditional holiday period was extended this year by having New Year’s Day fall on a Sunday, but now it is back to business and the challenges of 2017.

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