The Board was pleased to present the ‘Eastbournes’ 2020 to Jan Heine, George Tuffin, Don Long and Ali Carew.
Jan Heine – many decades of caring for Eastbourne’s beach and bush environment.
Jan Heine’s story is intertwined with the stories of many of Eastbourne’s environmental groups. She has been involved in the establishment, governance, running, and day-to-day activity of many of them – and still is. Jan’s concern for Eastbourne and neighbouring environments started before she and her husband Arnold first climbed the 95 steps to their Days Bay home in 1983. In 1972 they were part of the group which established the Hutt Valley Conservation Society. The Society included several Eastbourne residents (including previous Eastbourne Award recipient, Ray Smith) who together with Jan and Arnold, developed the East Harbour Environmental Association in 1983. The EHEA had and still has an important activist role. Jan and Arnold were also active in the Eastbourne Forest Rangers group which managed much of the trackwork before the Regional Council took over, and also assisted with search and rescue missions. Matiu Somes Island was opened to the public in 1995 and Jan along with other Eastbourne Forest Rangers supported the island’s DOC Rangers by checking for rodents and guiding visitors. Guiding has become a significant job as visitor numbers have increased. By 2000, Forest & Bird had become a strong voice for the environment in Lower Hutt and their President was responsible for setting up the Matiu Somes Charitable Trust in partnership with iwi. Jan was a founding Trustee and still is. Jan is a Life Member of the Hutt Valley Tramping Club. In another example of the interweaving of her work, the Club has for many years spent a winter weekend working on Matiu Somes Island. In 1996 Eastbourne resident Ray Walsh established the Possum Busters group. Hutt City Council provided traps, and residents, including Jan and Arnold, ran trap lines in the hills behind Eastboume and made a significant impact on possum numbers.
Jan and Arnold ran their trap line on the hill behind their home until the 2011 storm which took down many trees and made access impossible. The Possum Busters’ mahi led to the formation of the Mainland Island Restoration Organisation (MIRO). MIRO built a fence of traps which has over the last 25 years had a significant impact on rodent numbers here. Other areas that make Eastbourne a better and more resilient place for all residents have kept Jan busy, including planting the dunes in Days Bay, and involvement with the Red Cross and Civil Defence. She has edited the St Ronan’s Church’newsletter for nearly 20 years and is part of the church’s outreach programme which sees her helping with Randwick School’s breakfast club. But MIRO is the work Jan says she is most proud of as rodent numbers have decreased. Interest and the number of active volunteers and experience has increased. MIRO started with an idea about work worth doing, and that it was worth persevering until eventually the work that MIRO and others do has become almost commonplace.
George Tuffin – forty-six years of leading the Eastbourne-Bays Community Trust and his service to many other Eastbourne community organisations as chair, treasurer, auditor, manager, volunteer and piper extraordinaire.
George Tuffin was born in Whanganui in 1945 and moved to Wellington in 1964 to take up a job with General Motors in Upper Hutt in their finance department. Ibis was the start of a lifetime career in accounting and the world of finance. George has an amazing array of other
interests and has given a lifetime of service to the community. His contribution to sport has been huge and varied, including a major contribution to rowing. Rowing has been a huge part of George’s life and his contribution there has been immense. In 1987 he managed the NZ Rowing Team to the world champs and was appointed manager of the NZ rowing team for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, but stepped aside when coaching and management roles were combined following an additional crew member being selected. In 2007 George was elected a life member of NZ Rowing. Chairman of the Board since 2012. This award is made in particular recognition of George’s 25 years given to the Eastbourne-Bays Community Trust. He was one of a small group of local residents who formed the Trust in 1995 and has been a trustee, treasurer and chair from 2008 until the present day. Members of the Trust never cease to marvel at the wisdom and advice emanating from the Chair. On retiring from fulkime employment in 2011 George turned his attention to Plunket where he was part of a team that consolidated the national organisation into a Charitable Trust. 2017 saw George made a life member of Plunket.
Don Long – the way he has enriched our lives by showing us the fascinating and colourful history of Eastbourne.
Don Long (Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, 2020) for services to literature and education, particularly Pacific language education. A former teacher of the deaf, Don Long has worked and volunteered for more than 40 years as a publisher focused on supporting Pacific languages in Aotearoa and the Pacific, including Te Reo Maori. Don came to the Eastern Bays from Christchurch in t978. When Eastbourne hosted Cambodian refugee families, he volunteered to help teach them English. His interest in the history of Eastbourne and Bays grew from his interest in the Maori language. He was invited by a former Mayor to research into the restoring of Maori place names in the Eastern Bays, research signed off by local iwi, the HCC then adding the place name signs around the bays. That research got Don started and – as he dug deeper – he discovered that Eastbourne is the location of Lower Hutt’s oldest non-British and non-Maori community – our Italian fishing community (which later expanded to Island Bay). He further discovered that we have a much more colourful and fascinating history — and a much longer one — than many of us realise and that knowing about the history of where he lived made living here more interesting. There is a saying in Italian, Chi trova un amico trova un tesoro (a friend is a treasure). Don’s celebration of our history continues to enrich our lives.
Ali Carew – many years of editing, writing, collecting and sharing the stories of New Zealand and Eastbourne, to help us better understand our past and imagine better futures.
Ali Carew did not start out to be a historian. Graduating with an MA in English, and hopes of a publishing career, she ventured instead into the emerging IT industry. IBM-training as a computer systems analyst gave her a meal-ticket which enabled her to work overseas – and also to meet her husband, David. After six years of working in Canada and in London, and travelling in Europe, they returned to Wellington in 1975, and Ali began her second career, as a full-time parent.
Ali’s association with the bays began during her Lower Hutt childhood, with Eastbourne a favourite place for family picnics. Her mother, Kathleen Low, belonged to the Eastbourne Spinners, and during school holidays she often took the children with her. Ali remembers Miss Stace teaching her to spin; and Mrs Dellabarca delivering fish to the group, and the damp parcel being carried home on the bus.
The Eastbourne connection became permanent in 1985 when Ali and David and their daughters Caitlin, Meredith and Briony moved here to live. The following year, Ali enrolled in Women’s Studies courses at Victoria University. There she met feminist writer and editor Anne Else, and summoned the courage to ask her for advice on how to get into publishing. Anne generously offered to take her on as her apprentice, thus launching Ali on her third career, as a freelance editor.
The books Ali was to edit over the next 25 years span the political, economic, social and cultural history of this country. She worked for many publishers, her longest and closest association being with Bridget Williams, of Bridget Williams Books. Ali will always be grateful to Anne and to Bridget for enabling her to pursue her dream career, and for their enduring friendship.
Ali’s interest in local history began in 1999, when the Historical Society of Eastbourne (HSE) hired her as editor, and then as co-author with Ann Beaglehole, of Eastbourne: A History of the Eastern Bays of Wellington Harbour, published in 2001.
Being co-opted (or coerced?) onto the HSE committee in 2002 gave that interest a major boost. Soon Ali was writing regular history articles for the Eastbourne Herald, which were well received. The 2006 centenary of Eastbourne becoming a Borough inspired her to write a series called ‘From our 1906 correspondent’, reporting on the independence campaign ‘as it happened’. The articles led to the publication of 100 Years: The Borough of Eastbourne 1906-1989 and Beyond, by Ali Carew and Mary McCallum. HSE also marked the centenary by organising a very successful History Weekend in the Muritai School Hall, which Ali co-ordinated.
Since its formation in 1981, HSE had amassed a large collection of historical material, and in 2008 it embarked on a mission to create a formal archive with an online catalogue. Librarian Hilary Low (Ali’s sister) was hired to set up the new system, and returned later as Cataloguer and Collection Adviser, working with Ali and other volunteers to process the flow of donated items.
Responding to inquiries from the public is one of HSE’s key roles, and especially helping people to research their family history. It’s a challenge Ali enjoys, drawing on the Collection and other resources, including the memories of long-time residents like Alan Collins and Sue de Lange.
Ali officially retired in 2010, but continues to edit books for family, friends and other good causes. One highlight was working with author Julia Stuart on Half a World Away: Eastbourne in Wartime 1899-1928, published in 2016 by the Eastbourne Memorial RSA.
Oral History is another of Ali’s special interests. HSE began doing interviews in the 1980s, and in 2011 Ali took over as project co-ordinator, working with a keen team of interviewers to create a unique archive of life-stories.
The Eastbourne Heritage Trail, launched in 2018, was another major project, the brainchild of Murray Gibbons. Ali researched and wrote the content of the displays, and also does popular guided walks of the Trail. Other ongoing projects she’s involved with include the restoration of the old police cell; closer liaison with local schools to promote the teaching of local history; and developing a resource on the early Maori history of the area. Ali has also taken over as editor of the expanded HSE newsletter.
Ali would like to thank the HSE Committee (specially Sue), the HSE volunteers, Hutt City Council staff, and the many other people she’s worked with over the last 20 years, for their enthusiasm, commitment and support. Lastly, she would like to thank her family for their love and support, especially David, for his technical expertise; Meredith (a real historian), for her research skills; and Hilary, for keeping Ali on the straight and narrow, archivally speaking.
Ali is a worthy recipient of this recognition of Excellence.