Thursday, March 10, 2011

Walking for Peace and Justice in Christ Church, New Zealand

We’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel.  We’re luckier than the vast majority of people and I don’t take that lightly. This year, we went to New Zealand and had a fantastic trip. The country has an incredible amount of scenic beauty and the people that we met along the way were very kind. The atmosphere there of tolerance was reminiscent of how it was in America before everything became so polarized here.

Even our timing was fortuitous. We spent four days in Christ Church and left there about a week before their horrendous earthquake. Mother Nature can really wreak destruction when she decides to do so. People there were still traumatized by the September 2010 earthquake, but they had made much progress in re-building. The only evidence of that earthquake that we saw were scaffoldings on buildings being repaired. We expected to see much worse. Discussion had gotten underway on how to re-build in a sustainable way and they had an exhibit at their city Art Gallery on city planning complete with discussions and dialogues open to the public.

One of the many charms of the city was how compact it was and how easy it was to walk to everything in the central area. The visitors’ center suggested a walking tour of all the sites for peace and justice within the city. One of those was the Kate Sheppard Memorial and since it's women's history month, it feels fitting that we were there. For those who don’t know – and prior to our trip, I didn’t – in 1893, New Zealand became the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote. This was 26 years ahead of the USA.

Here I am at the memorial of New Zealand’s Susan B. Anthony – or in order to avoid being ethnocentric- I can say that Susan B. Anthony was the American Kate Sheppard. New Zealanders are very proud of this piece of their history and many buildings are named after her.

Next time I'll show some of the other peace and justice symbols that we visited and share some New Zealand recipes. They too have their 20 minute cookbooks.


Linda Gartz said...

So glad you made it home safely. Seems like there's a new disaster somewhere every week. Now Japan. I liked the Susan B. Anthony sculpture. See you at OCWW.

Lisa Sachs said...

Thanks Linda. It's good to be back here. It seems like there's more disasters all the time. Is it a result of global warming or do we just hear about them more.

Susan said...

Thanks for the heads-up about Kate Shepherd. There are so many amazing women throughout history and so little time to learn of them all.