More than fifty friends and family, including several infants, gathered at the Quaker Settlement in Whanganui for a Work Weekend over Queen’s Birthday. The event opened with a shared meal that was followed by an ice-breaker event, and the first of several evenings of games, music and convivial conversation around the central fire.
Work started enthusiastically on Saturday morning. Out on the land, a group of strong backs laboured to clear ditches, while another team of willing hands levelled and formed one of the popular tracks up to the summit of the look-out hill. Simultaneously, a group of plucky planters put in more than two hundred trees, all of which are designated by bamboo markers.
While they toiled in the soil, a group of gifted chainsaw-operators cut down and heaped-up dead and loosened branches from tree lucerne that have served their time as shade for emerging native growth. This pile was transformed into light timber then sawn into wood-box size lengths that were stacked to dry out for next year’s fires.
Closer to home, a gang of gardeners removed weeds along the Virginia Road frontage. Another group of clever crafts-people busied themselves by weaving living hazelnut tree branches into walls and windows to screen the hazelnut tree bower over in the food forest. Additional work done around the main Settlement included potting-up seedlings, progressing the cool-store, and helping the cooks in the kitchen.
On Sunday evening, the last night of the Work Weekend, everyone gathered in the main hall for a showing of slides that documented the history of the Settlement from its foundations in the early 1970s through to the present. For all those who have had a long association with our community, it was a wonderful walk down memory lane. For those who were new to the community, it was an enlightening glimpse of the history which they have joined.
Everyone who turned out for the weekend got an outstanding amount of work done while having an incredible amount of fun. This was particularly true of the young people who turned the Work Weekend into a real social event.
The organizers would like to thank everyone who came out to help make the Work Weekend such a success, particularly all those who worked in the kitchens to produce a series of truly scrumptious meals.
For more photos see the Gallery on the Homepage