Labour Weekend Market Day

We haven’t had a market on Rakino for a few years, so a few enthusiastic people have decided to have a crack at reinstating it on the Rakino events calendar.
It’s going to happen this year on October 23rd, 1pm till 3-ish, down at the Hall, after the RRA meeting. There will be a $10 a market table koha to be donated to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust.

If you have bits and bobs to sell, come on down, and if you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket, definitely come on down. Come on down regardless.
There will be a sausage sizzle, so bring some gold coins for that, and Jennie Cruse will be busking, so bring some gold coins for her.
There will be t-shirts, tote-bags, cool pottery mugs, preserves, pearls, and much more. The art rooms will be open also, for painting ceramics, and jewels. Cash transfers are available.
If you need more info, email me,

We look forward to seeing your lovely faces on Sunday. 🙂

How Freakin’ Good Was THAT Rakino???

I’m arrogantly confident I’m speaking for all who turned out when I say that JT & Agnostics with Holly Shepheard was another ripper of an island event.

The pre-gig outdoor lounge with likely lads.

JT is bass player John Thomson, and the Agnostics are a confection of Maciek Hrybowicz on guitar, Bill Forrest on saxophone, and Freddie Limbert on drums, all accomplished musicians from Waikato.

Holly Shepheard guested on vocals, and we were also treated to a set featuring Massey Ormsby as guest vocalist, with the addition of Rakino’s Tom Donaldson on saxophone.

The first set seduced the audience in gently with a set of blues originals by John, followed up by a second set in which Holly exercised her impressive pipes to the approval of the enraptured crowd.

Holly exercising her impressive pipes.
Guilty, as always…

Rakino knows how to turn on a hooley, so it wasn’t long till the carefully placed chairs were thrust back against the walls and the the hedonism started in earnest, led in large part by Mr. Garth M. Broadhead who knows how to cut a mean rug. He spun and dipped his dancing partners with aplomb, and kept the admiring audience in thrall.

Mr Garth M. Broadhead rug-cutting.

The rest of us ponied and chicken-scratched, and Billie the Dog participated in some horizontal dance moves later in the evening. Even the committed outdoor loungers and boozers were enticed inside for a bacchanalian blues boogie.

Bacchanalian Blues Boogie.

My abiding memory of the third set was of the band with Massey at the helm doing a beaut version of ‘Wild West End’, making Dire Straits sound soulful and cool… again. 🙂

Tom on sax! Massey to the right on vocals!

Our much-loved Hall juts precariously and spectacularly above the tide, and as the last set was ending I glanced out the open window and to my discomfort spotted the sea churning in, the inundating waves of the very high tides of recent days. I noticed the sea was at wharf height and the waves had created visible puddles as we hefted the couches back indoors post-gig.
The after parties continued for those with fortitude or limited sense of self preservation, and I had to crawl Hulk-wards at 3.30am because I’m a lightweight.
Blues and sybaritism were the winners on the day.

Sybaritism winning.

My view on the hall

As you’ll know, the position of the hall is something of a problem, as king tides can cause inundation and damage. Recent goings on in the RRA have prompted me to have a think about what should happen to the hall, I poked around council reports, costings, and the possible solutions. It looks like boiling down to:

Two Options
There seem to be only two solutions on the table, demolish the hall and do a new build, as proposed by the RRA committee or the Lift and Shift option, as recommended in the two local board reports.

Proposed move and lift
Lift & Shift the Hall

Demolish and build new

My preferred option is for a lift and shift, for the following reasons:

A new build will not be fit for purpose
Discussion with community members, along with the results of a survey about what people want and value from facilities showed that a gallery, art space, and, library, and music venue are core requirements rather than peripheral.

Although square meterage wasn’t discussed in the meeting, it was mentioned that library, artists studio space, and gallery would no longer exist.

A hall with capacity for 40 or so people negates its use as a music venue, so effectively, the new build proposal fails to meet almost all of the community’s requirements.

History and Character
While I’m not a diehard old building preserver, the existing structure does have a quirky presence and a long history in the gulf, having been originally constructed as WWII army barracks on Motuihe Island.

With a budget of $300,000, a new building is unlikely to be an aesthetic and architectural marvel.

It would be less wasteful and, I think, more in line with the values of the island to re-use rather than trash and rebuild. The local board report suggests the hall is basically sound, and good for another 30 – 50 years.

Big Island Weekend in Review!

Image courtesy of Stephen Thomas.

The weekend got off to a cracking start with the exhibition opening Upstairs at the Rakino Community Art Gallery on the Friday night. Liquid refreshments were generously provided by Harriet and the Malings, and a good time was had by all attendees. It was encouraging to see the level of support for Rakino and Rakino associated artists. Holly and I were so surprised by all the people that snuck out of the woodwork and showed us the wonderful art they make ON THE DAY OF THE EXHIBITION, so we decided to make it a regular event throughout the year, with shows of Rakino artists work on big island weekends. Please let us know if you want to be included at Easter! It takes a fair bit of toil to hang works to their best advantage, so the earlier, the better. We’ll be harrassing you for work regardless…

Holly and her lovely rondels.
Group shot with Terry and Scarlett’s paintings in the background.
Julie and Mia.
Harriet resplendent in pearls.
Clinton and David framing Carolyn’s painting beautifully.
Ling’s much sought after phone box painting red-stickered.
Glamorous Mclafferty’s, and Holly’s paintings.
A bold piece on a happy customer.
Elisabeth, suitably astonished by a fabulous piece of art.

Saturday morning started off in drizzle, but thankfully brightened up. I didn’t have time to get down to the Rakino Nursery open morning and sausage sizzle, as I was running around like Billie the Dog with two tails, but John assured me it went very well, with lots of trees pre-purchased for the winter planting season. The nursery was looking pretty sharp as the previous weekend there had been volunteer tidy-up, many thanks to all who attended.

Images courtesy of Stacey Thomas.

John’s precious kowhai in the sun.
Carolyn on bread and butter duty.

To my regret I also missed Rewa Grimsdale’s flax weaving workshop, owing to the continuing two tails issue, but reports of it glowed, the photos are wonderful, and I understand that there will be an ongoing weaving group on island, as the participants are keen to expand on the skills they learned. Maybe I can join in with this??

Photos courtesy of Rewa Grimsdale.

Weavers at Josh and Holly’s.
Lyndsey and Rewa in action.

Similarly, Mia Straka’s talisman project was also very successful. I saw a number of women wearing their talismans on the beach on Sunday…

Photo courtesy of Mia Straka.

Saturday night, and the event I’d been quietly working on for several months was about to eventuate. The fabulous Mr. Anthonie Tonnon and his wife Karlya were finally on island and Anthonie was about to perform his Rail Land show. I was a bundle of frayed nerves, but my anxiety was unfounded. He was wonderful, and so was the audience (mainly 🙂 ). I fulfilled my dream of having him perform on Rakino, and I understand they similarly had a great time. There are so many great photos of his performance in our hall; I’m just going to post a selection below, and credit you for the images if they are yours. Here is a sweet video from Clare first up..

Billie the roadie. Photo courtesy of Rob Cawte.
Before the gig in the outdoor lounge, courtesy of me.
Courtesy of Julianne Taylor
Courtesy of Elisabeth Easther.
Courtesy of Rob Cawte.
Courtesy of Stephen Thomas.
..and the party went on, courtesy of Rob Cawte.

Up at the crack of noon, DJ’s Hudge and Bobby Brazuka were down at Sandy Bay, where we swam, picnicked, and listened to some summer sounds on the beach, a perfect wind-down. Many thanks to Alf for his stellar pizza delivery service, and Hayden from Sea Cleaners, who cheered me up with tales of how much plastic waste the Sea Cleaners team has removed from the Hauraki Gulf. It’s really impressive.

Jackie and Jimi hooking into the snarlers. Photo credit Rob Cawte.
Beach beats! Photo courtesy of Rob Cawte.

Thank you to everyone that participated in the weekend. It was a great success, and hopefully we can do something similar next year. Your support was invaluable, and much appreciated.

Summer on Rakino 2021

It started off as a whim to get Anthonie Tonnon to perform on Rakino, and grew from there into a weekend of events and activities…

Proceedings kick off on Friday Jan 8 at 5pm with an art exhibition opening Upstairs at the Rakino Art Gallery. There will be a range of works to peruse and purchase, paintings, prints, woodwork, and jewellery, made by Rakino locals and Rakino friends. Join us for a celebratory glass of wine and nibbles. As always with island gatherings, feel welcome to BYO!

Image credit, Holly Shepheard
Image credit, Lisa West

10am till 12pm Saturday morning starts with a Rakino Nursery open morning with John MacKenzie on hand to advise and take orders for the coming winter’s tree planting. The baby trees are looking lush with lots of new growth. They’ll look even better planted in your backyard, and our burgeoning island wildlife will appreciate the gesture! Please walk down to the nursery via the track from the AT land on South Pacific Rd.

1pm till 4pm Rewa Grimsdale will be holding a flax weaving workshop at 21 Woody Bay Rd. (Josh, Holly, & Billie’s house). Participants will have the opportunity to learn to prepare flax for weaving, and make a flax flower and loose woven kete.
I’m keen on this one; harekeke is a material there’s no shortage of on Rakino!

From 3pm till 5pm contemporary jeweller Mia Straka will be holding a talisman making jewellery workshop at 21 Woody Bay Rd. You can get a feel for her work here: Mia’s work is sculptural and thoughtful, and this workshop will probably suit ten year olds and up..

8pmAnthonie Tonnon begins his performance at the Rakino Community Hall. I really can’t emphasise how lucky we are to have him perform on Rakino. I can only urge you to purchase tickets here: because this will be a really unique experience. You can learn more about Anthonie here:

Anthonie Tonnon

Sunday the 10th starts at a leisurely 12 pm with a flurry of activities. DJ Hudge, Bobby Brazuka, and Friends will kick things off down at Sandy Bay with Beach Beats. Koha and pizza deals available courtesy of Alf’s Woody Bay Pizzeria.

Simultaneously Grace Carr-Shepheard will be on hand at 12pm to talk about the small changes we can all make to make our world a better place.

At 1pm, Hayden Smith from Sea Cleaners will be chatting about the amazing work Sea Cleaners do in our ocean environment.

Drag the teens out of bed for these inspirational and informative chats down at Sandy Bay. Bribe them with beats and pizza!

DayDateDepart Stanley BayDepart DowntownDepart RakinoArrive DowntownArrive Stanley Bay
FriJan 8/2110.40am11am11.55am12.40pm1pm
Jan 8/216.50pm7.45pm8.30pm8.50pm
SatJan 9/2110.40am11am11.55am12.40pm1pm
Jan 9/213.15pm3.35pm4.30pm5.15pm5.35pm
SunJan 10/2110.40am11am11.55am12.40pm1pm
Jan 10/213.15pm3.35pm4.30pm5.15pm5.35pm
Belaire’s timetable for the weekend of the 8th/9th/10th

Sadly the event ‘Walks, Talks, and Snorks’ has had to be postponed due to America’s Cup racing. As soon as the Hauraki Gulf is no longer a four-lane highway, the event will be re-instated. It will follow the same format, however, so read on…

Saturday, January 16 and we have more treats in store! Walks, Talks, and Snorks is an eco fiesta on Rakino. We are very lucky to have a visit from scientists and enviromentalists Tim Haggitt, Tim Lovegrove, and Kerry Lukies, thanks to the efforts of Elisabeth Easther. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about our birdlife, our marine environment, and our little blue penguins. Those with good swimming skills and their own gear have the opportunity to participate in a guided snorkelling experience with Tim Haggitt in Sandy Bay. For more details and links, visit