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March 2014 P6 An exceptional story of a West Auckland pioneer

t s e w our

brought to you by West Auckland Wedding Expo


West Auckland Peace Poppy Project


Gabrielle Fa'amausili wins 2014 Halberg Award


Arena Fitness


For more information on The Trusts, visit our website or email us at

International Soap Box Derby racing at Westgate The fastest fun on four wheels, but without an engine or a sail, goes into its 11th year on Sunday 16 March, when Waitakere Rotary stages the West Auckland round of the International Soap Box Derby series on Westgate Drive.

The event has its origins in Dayton in Ohio, USA in 1934 and is now headquartered with a purpose built track at Akron, Ohio. It has been held annually in the US ever since with the exception of the World War 2 years, and has developed standardised, streamlined cars that must be used by any organisation wanting to run one of these events. The franchised event has now spread to a number of countries, including New Zealand where the franchise is held by the New Zealand International Soap Box Derby Trust. Rotarians from the Rotary Clubs who race, including Waitakere Rotary, are the trustees. The West Auckland event is one of three rounds in New Zealand, with the winners from each round going forward to compete for the national title and travel to Akron to take part in an international event to choose a world champion. Riverhead School's Henry Dyer won the international title in 2010. The cars are handicapped like race horses, with weight added or subtracted to ensure that the combined weight of each driver and car is equal. The core competition is between schools who are supplied with "Super Stock" cars. These cars are built in kitset form in the US to very precise standards to ensure that they are as equal and as safe as possible. The Rotary Clubs buy and supply them to schools who find sponsors and pay an entry fee. Each car will have a team of eight, aged between 10 and 17, and comprising at least four drivers and four pit crew per car. The cars are disassembled at the end of the racing season and the next year's teams have the task of assembling them (yeah right, tell that to the Dads!) and making them race ready for a safety inspection ahead of race day. Any that are below par must be brought to the required standard with spares provided by their Rotary Club. The racers themselves must wear a properly fitting helmet,


trousers, long sleeved shirt and closed toe shoes. It's important for the students to be their own mechanics because if they get to go to Akron, they have to build their car when they get there. "Nevertheless, it's very hard to get the parents to stand back and let the kids do the work," says Heather Pattison, secretary of the Trust and immediate past President of Waitakere Rotary. Heather also adds a plea to spectators to stay off the crash barriers. Such has been the appeal of the event that, in addition to the Super Stocks for the schools, there are Masters cars for advanced drivers to use in demonstration races, and two "Corporate" cars for adults to try. Recently introduced are the "Super Kid" cars with room for a driver and a youngster with a disability. These don't race but they allow youngsters with disabilities to participate in the thrill of the Soap Box derby. Another new dimension that allows even more youngsters to participate is the video competition Heather Pattison introduced four years ago. She noted how many times Rotarians were told how the event created bonding between students, including some whose temperaments would never allow them to participate in the racing. A keen photographer, Heather saw the opportunity to introduce the video competition as a way to involve students who want to be involved but whose skills don't run to driving or mechanics. It has been a great success. Winning schools each year, get to keep the shell from their winning racers to put on permanent display. A new body is supplied for the running gear, for future competitions. The Soap Box Derby is supported by The Trusts Community Foundation; another example of money raised in The Trusts venues being given back to the West Auckland community.

West Auckland Wedding Expo West Auckland will be the place for brides-to-be, on 30 March, with the fifth annual Wedding Expo at The Quality Hotel Lincoln Green. The event has gone from strength to strength since its inception, it's popularity assured by the fact that unlike some other wedding shows, it is a free and very user-friendly event for brides-to-be and their entourages and inexpensive for the exhibitors who get quality time with prospective customers. Last year more than 1,000 West Auckland brides-to-be, mothersof–the-bride, husbands-to-be, family, bridesmaids, and friends patronised the event, bringing a large and valuable market to 50 of the finest wedding support companies serving West Auckland. Organiser Colleen Acton, Business Development Manager at the hotel, says that the exhibitors cover every need from those organising complete weddings, to florists, cake makers, video makers, photographers, wedding fashion houses, hire facilities, caterers and wine suppliers, limousines and even travel agents to book honeymoon travel. West Auckland has a vast range of ceremony options from beaches to vineyards, and there will even be advice on planning a tropical island getaway from a Rarotonga Wedding Planner. Colleen says that while it has the convenience of a "one-stop-shop", the Expo is small enough to let brides and their entourage spend quality time discussing their individual needs with the suppliers. Many exhibitors go away with bookings and it's even possible for brides-to-be to leave with their whole wedding organised. "The big wedding shows can be expensive and exhausting, but not the Wedding Expo Waitakere," says Colleen. "We have everything a bride could need, and plenty of choice between suppliers, but we're small enough for brides to enjoy personal attention. They can bring mum and dad, fiancÊ, bridesmaids and so-on and there's always time to talk with experts about their individual needs; their flowers, the hairstyle they want, the kind of cake they want, the food and wine, literally everything." The event has been very popular because it's free to the public, inexpensive to the exhibitors and being held at a hotel, it means people can take time out to relax in one of the bars or Icon Restaurant on site while they talk things over between themselves. In addition, with the venue being a 3.5 star hotel conscious of the wide ethnic and religious diversity in West Auckland, it is geared to design and deliver culturally appropriate wedding receptions, hen parties, stag "do's", engagement parties, all complete with accommodation and menus tailored to the event. The celebration can be held in the main function centre which seats up to 160 in comfort and style and still has room for a dance floor. Guests can organise their own decor, or get the hotel to dress the room and, importantly, the hotel will clean up afterwards. Quality Hotel Lincoln Green Manager Hammond Cardon says the Wedding Expo has been good for the hotel. Wedding receptions have increased from about 6 a year to 15 a year since the Expo has been held. "Offering the Expo free to the general public we see it as part of The Trusts commitment to "Giving Back", to the West Auckland community," says Hammond. "Through this event, West Auckland brides have their own local event to introduce them to all the suppliers who can create a truly great wedding just for them".


West Auckland Peace Poppy Project is hugely successful July 28 this year marks the centenary of the start of World War I. Nine months and three days later, on April 25, 1915, the ANZAC tradition was born on the beaches and in the hills of Gallipoli. The echoes of July 28, 1914 rumbled down through the rest of the 20th century with wars and revolutions that traced their origins to the Great War. Throughout that century, men and women from New Zealand joined the fight for freedom from tyrannies of one kind and another, but above all, the heroes we commemorate on April 25 did not fight that we might have more war, but that we might have peace. It is in that spirit that West Auckland artist, Cristina Beth MFA Hons (Master of Fine Arts), last year launched her Peace Poppy Project, in the hope it might inspire others to celebrate the peace our heroes fought for. It seems she touched a chord: 1,000 Peace Poppies were made in 2013, and such has been the demand that the number for 2014 is 8,000 and rising. With the overwhelming support she has received, including from RSAs, Cristina believes the Peace Poppy Project could go national next year and possibly international. The daughter of an Army officer, Cristina conceived the idea of a public art installation made up of 1,000 oversize hand-made poppies "planted" in the Titirangi roundabout. The idea was to inspire people to remember the veterans who secured our peace, with individual commitments to honour the peace and spread goodwill in the community. It was to work on a viral basis. People were invited to pluck the poppies in exchange either for doing a good deed or a gold coin donation. The donations would go to the RSAs and those doing good deeds were asked to report them back to Cristina so that she could record them in a book to be published and put on public display. Either way, the people who took poppies were encouraged to honour the value of our peace and spread the thinking "You tell two friends and they'll tell two friends". Supported by Lopdell House Gallery, Auckland Council, Titirangi RSA, Spotlight and Geoff's Emporium, sewing groups made the poppies using red felt petals, with a large black button at the centre and mounted on a green "stalk" acquired from garden centres. These were "planted" in the Titirangi roundabout in the pre-dawn darkness of April 25, creating an awesome blaze of colour for the early morning crowds travelling to Anzac ceremonies. It was a huge success. This year schools from all over West Auckland, scout groups, sewing groups, private individuals and RSAs have been lining up to make the poppies and use them in school study

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projects, to spread goodwill among neighbours friends and, better yet, strangers raise money for the RSAs, to pay homage to the veterans of many wars and to honour the peace they won for us. Once again the public will be invited to take a poppy. Cristina says that last year most people preferred to make a donation and she expects that will also be the case this year. The money will again go to the RSA. Nevertheless she will continue with the idea of creating a book of the project, and list the names of the people who made poppies. The demand has been so great that Cristina, again working with Lopdell Gallery, has created kitsets made up of felt to cut into poppies, buttons and stalks with which independent groups can make their own poppies. They then return the finished products, literally by the box-load, to Cristina for this year's art installations at three different West Auckland locations, the Titirangi roundabout (again), the new pebble garden at the Waikumete Cenotaph and at Todd Triangle in New Lynn. Auckland Council donated $5,000 to cover the cost of 5,000 poppies, but the demand has been so great that the number has swelled by a further 3,000 and while this is likely to be recovered from donations, any gifts to help defray the costs will be more than welcome.

There is still time for anybody wanting to take part to obtain a kitset from Cristina, who can be contacted via or on facebook at CristinabethArt. There is also a website reachable at:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. We will remember them... There is a total of eleven different Anzac Day commemorations at various times, throughout West Auckland on 25th April. The full list of commemorations will be published in next month's edition of Our West, in your letterbox from 15th April. 4

Mixed Martial Arts teacher, Steve Oliver joins Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation The legendary Oliver name has re-appeared on the Board of the Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation with the election to the board of "The Don's" nephew Marc and, more recently his son, Steve. Steve is a world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), also known as Mixed Martial Arts, and is a major influence in the New Zealand sport, through his world-class Mixed Martial Arts Academies. These now train hundreds of youngsters in West Auckland and the North Shore and have contributed to MMA becoming one of the fastest growing sports in New Zealand. It is also one of the fastest growing in the world. Success in the sport is, for many of them, translating into greater all round successes, including greater academic success, Steve told Our West. "Typically they walk in and they're so shy they won't meet your eyes; and then you watch them grow and become self assured and confident," he said. "Parents come and thank us. That happens a lot, it's not just sometimes; and sometimes they have tears in their eyes. "I believe we have a kids' programme that is equal to the best in the world," he said. "It's a form of self-defence and that makes it an added plus for girls," he added, noting that his own daughter Hannah recently won the world junior BJJ title in Los Angeles, making her the third generation of Olivers to have succeeded on the world stage. He says that his students have to actually compete against other fighters. No one gets hurt but the protagonists get a real understanding of how their sport works and how they would make use of it in a real life situation and that adds to the sense of self-confidence". On his return from overseas three years ago, Steve founded the first academy beside his father's iconic first gym in Glen Eden. He has since opened a second academy on the North Shore and sees his work with youngsters as something of an extension of the work his father did with many youth. Steve recently helped organise the National No Ji championships at The Trusts Arena. This BJJ event is the largest held in New Zealand, featuring more than 300 competitors and between 900 and 1,000 fights. Sky TV is now proposing to run a pilot show on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, with Steve as the host. Steve started as a boxer who wanted to wrestle. Like his father Don, who was a wrestler who took up weightlifting to build his strength, Steve took up power-lifting and became the first New Zealand junior to medal at a world championships, with a silver in the bench press and third overall. Then in 1995 he saw BJJ on a DVD and decided that was where he wanted to place his focus. He studied first in Los Angeles under Rickson Gracie and later in Sydney. Rickson (pronounced the Portugese way as Hickson) is a black belt 8th dan Grand Master of the Gracie Barre discipline that now has some 600 schools world wide. He is a member of a martial arts dynasty started by his father Helio. Steve trained under Rickson and alongside Rickson's son, the late Rockson Gracie. Along the way he has earned a Black Belt, a world title and a clutch of Australian titles. Having been invited to join the board of the Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation, Steve is very keen to help the Foundation that honours his father (and still has his mother as Patron) develop in the future.

I believe we have a kids' programme that is equal to the best in the world

"I'm full of ideas for ways that we can help our West Auckland kids," he says.


icons west

Don Buck

of the

"Looking north at the foot of what was known as Don Buck's Hill there is some rising ground, gorse covered, with a few old pines around a deserted house. A few years ago that house was a busy store and the knoll was encircled with the queerest imaginable collection of sack shanties and whares. In a semi-circle they stretched round the store, all under the eagle eye of Don Buck." So says Vagabond, writing in the Auckland Star in 1926. It is almost impossible now to know exactly the true story of the legendary Don Buck, but Vagabond's story was written by someone who knew the man and the camp, just nine years after his death, and is undoubtedly as close to the truth as anyone will get. Even the correct spelling of his real name is not certain. Francisco Rodriquez Figuero appears on his headstone at Waikumete but both the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Star of the time, with access to court records, spelled Rodriguez with a “g” (the Portuguese way) not a “q” (the Spanish way). They spelled the surname Figueira (which, we’re told, is correct). Don Buck was variously described as a gum trader, storekeeper, farmer and viticulturalist. He ran a general store and a camp for outcasts at Swanson. He put the outcasts to work digging gum, which he then bought and sold for a profit. Depending on who was telling the story he was either saint or sinner, and in truth he was probably a bit of both with a lot in between. Certainly he was a legend in his own time and in the century since his death, in August 1917, has grown to almost mythological status with lurid stories of a highwayman with his camp full of male and female, thieves, vagabonds and prostitutes and their wild and drunken ways. He was always elegantly dressed with calf length boots, embroidered waistcoats, a calf-length top coat and a sombrero, and was frequently seen astride his beloved black stallion. According to Vagabond, Don Buck would provide new arrivals with the means to build a rough shelter, a spade and spear for gum digging and a week's provisions. Mr W R T Leighton, described by the Auckland Star in 1930 as ‘the Father of Henderson', told the paper that any new arrival at the camp was given: "enough tucker to keep him going and many men made good that way. The camp however drew a fairly rough element at times, in search of work or a rest from the city and it is on record that a plea to an Auckland Magistrate 'I'll go to Henderson, your Worship' gave many a delinquent a chance to make headway. It was a pretty lively place at times".


In his gum dealings he had a reputation for scrupulous honesty, a habit that apparently didn't extend to everything he bought and sold. Says Vagabond: " was common knowledge in the camp that some of the property that was exchanged had not been acquired through proper channels." He was no stranger to the law on petty matters, such as driving his gig without lights, after sunset and letting six horses roam loose on the main road at Henderson. He may have been an accomplished con artist of sorts; to buy and sell gum he needed a licence and to keep a book of purchases, but in 1904 he was fined for not keeping the book. The excuse his lawyer gave was that Don Buck wasn't good with English. Obviously no-one remembered the very eloquent letter Don Buck wrote six years earlier (1898) to the editor of the Auckland Star, complaining bitterly about the cost to himself of being called as a witness in a court case and then not being needed. Vagabond wrote in the Auckland Star that; "when I first knew the outfit, he had clearly established himself there as storekeeper and uncrowned king of as rough a mob as you could muster in the whole province." "Anyone down and out used to make for the camp and whatever Don's failings, he never turned a man or woman away as long as they played the game. They say there is honour among thieves and there certainly was a certain kind of it in that strenuous little kingdom." "Don was tall, good looking, with a deep voice, handy with his fists, always had some 'shooting irons' about the house and he was held in considerable respect so that in all the broils, battle and sudden death that shook the camp, none of them ever swept nearer than the front steps of the throne. The carousals and the fights used to afford his Majesty a certain amount of amusement." Don Buck would supply kegs of whisky but was never known to touch a drop of alcohol himself. Camp dwellers, however, got fuelled up on an especially potent port-like liquor and fought, sometimes resulting in grievous bodily harm and several deaths.

Don Buck, Icon of the West

As Vagabond says: "Bacchanalian and fearful were the scenes enacted at the camp on wine days. The ordinary jollification of a gum diggers' community is sometimes colossal but at Don Buck's camp they went too far. One man was hacked to death with an axe, another couple disfigured each other with the jagged ends of broken bottles and one man got so completely drunk, he fell face down in the fire and suffocated where he lay." Allegations of someone hacked to death by axe, were exaggerated. Court reports from February 12, 1912 show that George Fry hit John Denny with an axe, after Denny hit Fry with a bottle during a drunken frenzy. Both men were charged with assaulting each other and Denny said he was so drunk he had no idea he had been hit with an axe! The story of William Whiteside dying in a drunken stupor, in 1912, was however correct and this and the subsequent enquiry seems to have shaken Buck badly. These rampages led some magistrates to call for the camp to be closed and in time his shanties were condemned. For all that, it was quite common during the life of the camp for the police or magistrates to send wrong-doers to the camp as an alternative to gaol, so they obviously saw effective rough justice at work. As Mr Leighton said, being sent to the camp represented a new start for quite a few men. It is certainly true that a number of people were indebted to Don Buck's kindness and compassion, with gifts of money and food and the opportunity to work for a living. Vagabond says that after the closure of the shanties: "Don seemed to lose all zest for life. First he got a cold, then dropsy set in and at the comparatively early age of 56, or perhaps less, he passed away." The Waikumete headstone says Buck was 47. Whatever his age, he may well have been a very sick man; today dropsy would be associated with congestive heart failure. In a poignant footnote, on the day he died, his beloved black stallion kicked the stall of his stable repeatedly to summon help and kept it up until someone came.

14 year old Gabrielle Fa'amausili adds 2014 Halberg Award to world title In a year that probably defies description, young Avondale College student Gabrielle Fa'amausili has become a Junior World Champion, world record holding back-stroker, New Zealand age group record holder in the 50 free (beating Lauren Boyle in the process) and this month, the 14 year old was named as the winner of the Halberg Emerging Talent Award. She is the first West Auckland athlete to win this prestigious award that is reserved for the young New Zealand sporting talent most likely to succeed on the world and Olympic stage, in the future. Gabrielle, at just 13, was the youngest swimmer in the FINA World Junior 50m Championships backstroke final, in Dubai, in August last year. She blasted off the start first and led throughout to beat out Russian Daria Ustinova and American Clara Smiddy, in a time of 28.64, half a second outside the world record of 28.14 she set in the heat.

Earlier in the day Gabrielle had qualified for the semifinals of the 50m freestyle, in a new national age group record of 26.10s. However, she concentrated on the backstroke, but two months later in October, she proved her freestyle class when she took out the New Zealand national title in the 50 free. She twice broke her own age group record at the nationals, finishing with a time of 25.33. She also beat Lauren Boyle, one of the world's top women swimmers. Perhaps training in the unheated, open-air, Avondale Intermediate pool is her secret weapon. In addition to the Halberg Statuette, Gabrielle received a grant of $10,000 as part of the Award. The Trusts congratulates Gabrielle, another Westie over-achiever.

Kite Day returns to Harbourview - Orangihina Kite Day is on again on Sunday 16 March, at Harbourview, Orangihina Park Te Atatu Peninsula, between 10.30am and 1.30 pm. More than 1,000 people, most in family groups, flocked to the first event last year for a day intended to re-introduce today's youngsters to the sheer fun of making and flying kites while celebrating West Auckland's smoke-free parks. Kites in a multitude of colours, shapes and sizes filled the sky as people joined in the fun, enjoying the free refreshments and activities, without a cigarette in sight. The idea originated with Local board chair Vanessa Neeson, who says she remembered how much fun she had flying a kite as a girl. "The day was just as I had imagined it last year and I'm keen to make it bigger and brighter this year," she says. "It was a fantastic coming together of many different parts of our community, which is exactly what's needed to build understanding and create a sense of pride and belonging."

Good News!

Dear Customer We're pleased to announce that you are able to redeem your $10 Pluspoints vouchers earned through our liquor stores at The Trusts hospitality venues around West Auckland too! These venues include Black Salt, Bricklane, Origins, The Marina, The Hangar and more. For a full list of The Trusts hospitality venues, please visit:

cal Liquor King Dick’s Lo West Liquor Wine & Spirits

You can use your Pluspoints voucher towards payment of your dining experience, and to taste some great cuisine at these venues. Plus it's a nice way to treat yourself, or someone else! Thank you for your continued loyalty. We hope you enjoy this new way of redeeming your vouchers. Kind regards,

The Team at The Trusts


The Good Times Guide Celebrate the end of the working week with our fabulous $10 cocktail Fridays. Relax and enjoy live music on Sunday after noons 1-4pm, always popular. facebook/hangarbarnz @hangarbarnz ph: (09) 835 1056 Mexican_ƒ.indd 1

104 Central Park Drive, Henderson


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Our West March 2014  
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