FionaBradleypic 286x300Fiona Bradley. Photo supplied.An Ashburton woman has been appointed to chair an international committee of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

For the last three years, Fiona Bradley has been a member of an international WAGGGS committee tasked with providing governance support and advice to the World Board and writing rules of procedure for use at regional and global conferences.

Now she’s been appointed to chair the committee. In the past, the chairperson has come from the world board, but WAGGGS has broken with tradition and appointed Fiona.

Because of Covid-19, the committee holds virtual meetings five times a year but working sessions of members tasked with specific issues are held online two or three times a month.

Fiona chaired her first meeting last month with a further one planned for March. “I felt really excited about chairing the committee and supporting the work,” she says. “One of the projects we’re working on is an induction package to support new people being appointed to the world board and other committees.”

In the light of the pandemic, the committee is examining how countries can vote on decisions and important documents like the budget and strategic plans.

A challenge for Fiona is working with members who have different languages and come from different cultural backgrounds. “I have to be aware of that, be patient and incorporate their viewpoints into the meetings,” she says. “It’s interesting working in this space.”

Fiona’s focus when making decisions is to consider what’s best for the world but she does it with New Zealand’s interests at heart.

She’s delighted with the appointment. “It shows that girls from New Zealand can take up these appointments and make an impact at a world level,” she says. While her appointment will be reviewed in July, it’s likely Fiona will be appointed for a further three years.

However July heralds another important event in her guiding life. She’s been nominated to stand for the world body of WAGGGS. Her nomination from Girl Guiding NZ will be contested in an election that month.

“I’m happy to have the support of New Zealand and to go through the process,” she says.

Fiona started her guiding life as a pippin in Ashburton, then a brownie before becoming a guide and ranger. She’s a strong champion of the guiding movement and sees its role in the 21st century as advocating for the rights of girls up to 18, to make life better for them.

Influenced by being a WAGGGS delegate at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York, Fiona has led the Voices Against Violence programme in New Zealand.

“It addresses all forms of violence that girls encounter. It could be physical, family, bullying, psychological dating violence or being in a controlling relationship,” she says. “Advocating for the rights of girls is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.”

Fiona is now based in the Manawatu and works in pharmacy.

She recently completed a three-year term on the national executive of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand and is currently working as a Pharmacy Project Facilitator where she provides advice and support to all pharmacies in the MidCentral region, advocates on their behalf and builds relationships with others in the health care sector.

By Malcolm Hopwood © The Ashburton Guardian - 5 February 2021

Pauline and Roger Paterson 2021Pauline and Roger Paterson. Photo supplied.When Roger Paterson started nearly 40 years ago, he had one hearse, one chapel, one office and six caskets.

He thought that would be enough when Paterson Funeral Services opened for business on December 1, 1982. But he was wrong.

“We were ready to go but didn’t expect the response,” Roger said.

The day before he opened his doors, he received his first client and, by the end of December, he’d conducted 13 funerals.

“I was working eight to five and building caskets at night,” he recalled.

“From then on we never looked back.”

Roger and Pauline Paterson were very relieved.

For six months prior to opening, they’d lived on $100 a week as they finalised the business, developed the A-frame garden centre as a chapel and contended with resource consents and red tape.

Roger wasn’t new to funeral directing.

When he left Hakatere College, he became an apprentice to cabinet maker and furniture restorer, Arthur Stephenson.

But it was only a fill-in job. While he was gifted with his hands, he preferred them to hold handcuffs, a baton and arrest society’s hoodlums.

“I wanted to be a policeman. I was tall, interested in mysteries and the police had a basketball team that competed annually in Australia,” he said.

“Arthur decided to concentrate on boat-building, so I accepted a job as a casket maker, while I waited for the next intake at Police College.”

Roger described his job as making wooden overcoats for people. However, he was casket maker for Baker Brothers and O’Reilly for one day only.

The next day he was holding the feet of a dead body as it was loaded from a stretcher on to a hearse at Ashburton Hospital.

“It didn’t faze me at all,” he said.

“I started to learn all aspects of the job and qualified as a funeral director and embalmer.”

For 15 years he worked for the family firm, then decided to go out on his own.

“It was one of the hardest decisions we had to make,” Roger said.

He was offered funeral homes for sale both on the West Coast and Central Otago, but the Patersons were committed to Ashburton.

Roger even declined a job as funeral director and paid basketball referee at Fresco University in the United States.

They’d travelled around the world for three months ending up in America when he was shoulder tapped. Pauline was included in the package, being offered a position as theatre sister at the local hospital.

“We lay on the beach at Hawaii making the decision,” Roger recalled. But it was home that appealed.

After 53 years, Roger is still an active funeral director.

He sold the business to Lamb and Hayward a few years back but, while semi-retired, he’ll still assist if families request him.

“People looked after us and we looked after them. It’s still a real pleasure to help families in their time of need.”

Pauline worked alongside Roger as partner in the business, administrator and even helped out in the mortuary.

“As a registered nurse, I knew the anatomy of the body.

“I prepared the deceased for viewing which sometimes had its challenges following a post-mortem,” she said.

If Roger wanted to become an after-dinner speaker he could tell many stories about funerals, many amusing, some quirky and several tragic.

He recalls the death of Tuarangi Home residents who’d been abandoned by their families.

Only the officiating minister, the sexton, the Tuarangi Home manager and Roger, were at the graveside. Just four people to commemorate a life.

But there were also hilarious moments to cherish.

Roger tells the story of a father and son who couldn’t get along.

When the father died the son agreed to be a pallbearer just to ensure his dad had popped his clogs.

During the committal, the board holding up the casket broke and the son plunged into the grave with his father on top.

“I’m sure dad had the last laugh,” Roger says.

At 74, he has no thought of retiring from funeral directing or any other of his interests.

“I’ll keep the buzz going for a few more years as long as I’m fit and able,” he commented.

Mid Canterbury would be the poorer if Roger and Pauline relinquished their involvement in the community.

Their commitment to Mid Canterbury is a story in its own right.

Roger has had a long and distinguished career in basketball. He was a representative player and referee from his teenage years until the age of 60.

“I never missed a season,” he said proudly.

Pauline also played and refereed basketball, she was an administrator and still referees mini-ball and wheelchair basketball.

Roger’s been a District Grand Master of Masonic Unity Lodge and the district benevolence officer.

He’s chairman of the Ashburton Trust Event Centre, vicar’s warden at St Stephen’s, long-serving member of the Ashburton Licensing Trust, patron of Mid Canterbury Basketball, president of Ashburton Lions and builder of the Lions playhouse for its annual Christmas raffle.

Pauline is a member of County Lions and secretary and treasurer of the NZ Basketball Foundation. The list goes on.

“We were brought up in families to assist other people and that’s been our contribution to the community,” they both say.

There’s certainly no time to build caskets at night.

By Malcolm Hopwood © The Ashburton Guardian - 4 February 2021

ash4 ashburton college new teachers 696x522New teachers at Ashburton College were getting to know their way around campus this week. Photo supplied.Ashburton College will start the new school year with a roll of 1270 students and 10 new teachers.

Principal Ross Preece said two of the new teachers were returning from overseas because of covid and four were beginning teachers.

They are teaching subjects including physical education, science, English and maths.

“One is coming from Melbourne and has been in lockdown. One is coming from England and has been in lockdown. They are New Zealand-trained teachers coming home.”

He said three of the four beginning teachers had been on teacher placements at the college last year. “We were impressed by them and they obviously by us.”

He said teacher appointments made in the past week meant the school was starting 2021 fully-staffed.

Among the new students will be 285 Year 9s, in their first year at college. This is up from the 270 expected.

Mr Preece said family circumstances had changed for some and other families had moved to Mid Canterbury for employment.

He is hoping 2021 will have no covid disruption to classes but the school is prepared to take learning online quickly if students have to stay at home.

While most students had their own electronic devices, the school would distribute 100 Ministry of Education devices to families who had none. Teachers also had online versions of their lessons ready to roll.

Mr Preece said the school and community had learned a lot about online learning during last year’s covid lockdown and they were better prepared this year.

“If we get 40 covid uninterrupted weeks, I will be delighted though.”

He said students sitting NCEA last year achieved “solid rather than spectacular” marks, despite the challenges of 2020.

He said endorsement levels, where students were recognised with merit or excellence above the pass level, were down from 35 per cent to 25 per cent but that would be covid-related.

The college was generally achieving slightly better than schools in a similar decile, he said.

The college is continuing to work on its $60 million rebuild plans, with concept plans being reviewed by the ministry.

“We are hoping that by the end of this term, our master plan will be finalised and we have something to share with the community.”

The new campus could include solar power and other environmentally sustainable features, as well as a large covered area that could also be used for community events.

© The Ashburton Courier - 4 February 2021