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Sustaining Our Wellbeing and Values

Written by Sue Quirk, Head of People and Culture, Te Papa Tongarewa


Te Waipounamu – turangawae – the place where I feel connected. Since the Programme began I have been looking forward to coming south. My heartland and the place where I would share ‘my life’. More about that later.

Coming to Christchurch in a post-earthquake time evokes different reactions for us all… Some of us started this experience by supporting the local economy at Smash Palace on our night before – a beautiful moon-lit evening outside equipped with ‘hotties,’ aka hot water bottles!

Thursday we were treated to a stunning spring day and the blossom everywhere made it that much brighter too. We started our day at the CTV site – a very poignant and respectful place to start our walk around the re-build. We were fortunate to have two knowledgeable locals to guide us – what most struck me was how quiet the inner city had become– what I knew of a bustling city has not resurfaced. A fun interlude for an emerging Christchurch inner city was the Margaret Mahy playground – I love playgrounds so the inner child was re-released for a short time. More importantly, the deliberate decision of the planners to create a new space for children early in the redevelopment was inspired. The walk moved to the memorial wall, which was moving and considerable effort had been made to consult with all the families to create a place that was right.

In the afternoon at Lincoln – Research Centre as part of PGG we learnt from Peter Townsend that Christchurch is shifting from being a CBD in the original sense, to a central city to reflect holistic living through parks, entertainment, work and play.

The cheese rolls that greeted us on arrival at Lincoln was just what a southern woman would want – perfect.

Our panel of guests in the afternoon showed first-hand the resilience of this city which is making positive progress and at the same time, the impact is still felt.

We were well looked after with nourishing food and hospitality.and it was soon time to depart on our comfortable coach to Hanmer. The journey north and inland at twilight was relaxing as we meandered into the hills and stopped at a fine location for dinner the Marble Point winery. Fish pie and roast beef were the highlights along with the pinot noir.

Our accommodation for the next couple of nights was very comfortable – with a large open fire to create just the right atmosphere for the evening ‘my life’ sessions.

Friday we began at the Heritage and we were spoilt to have Candice and her little baby boy with us over the three days – a huge effort.

The highlights for me over the next couple of days were the listening ‘knee to knee’ exercise and the illustration of how our inner and outer worlds collide simultaneously. We also spent some time in the outdoors being ‘at one’ with nature where I valued the solitude and feeling of hearing and sensing the elements around us. We had a syndicate activity that explored the environmental challenges we face as a planet which was fun and informing. I enjoyed getting to spend time with my new triad.

During the few days I was mentally preparing for ‘my life’ which was to occur on the morning of our last day – to get myself in the right space, I forced myself to get up early and walk up Conical Hill – which was a vibrant start and also enjoyable to meet Richard and Jolie… ’my life’ happened and it’s a funny thing as afterwards friends and family ask ‘how did it go’ but I’m not sure what success would look like but what I know is it felt good to share my quirkiness!