Packing – who has mastered the art?

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Travelling – what to take and what to leave at home.

I travel to the USA and Australia  quite often, and sometimes to other wonderful locations. I should be good at packing but I am not!! Well I seem to take too much and or forget things. I had fun buying a hair brush in Istanbul because I left mine in NZ !  I’ve read all about how one should roll your clothes and  about expensive compartment systems and so forth. Do they really work? I think rolling is good, less creases. Anyway read on for some excellent tips that will help you pack sensibly.

Please add in the comment box your favourite tips.

Choosing a suitcase.

Soft-shell cases aren’t particularly weatherproof and are vulnerable to being sliced open by thieves if in off beat countries. Hard cases come in various materials, ( including human beings 🙂 ) suggest you avoid plastic, they break.  By and large  you get what you pay for. The well-known brands have life time warranties. Concealed zips deter the slick thief who can open a zip with a pencil in 5 seconds flat! Combination locks take 5 minutes to open I am told. Seriously I can even open a zipper. 

4 wheels are fabulous, you can push or pull with little pressure, a dream in large airports where you walk for several k’s. Spend the money, you won’t regret it. My Delsey case arrived with one wheel bashed in; once I opened it we popped it back out and it was good as new. My small Samosonite 55cm  for the overhead locker weighs 1.8 kg’s empty.   packing

The best rule I’ve heard for a one bag trip is the “1-2-3-4-5-6 rule”, and it’s usually good enough for longer trips. 1 hat, 2 pair of shoes, 3 of pants, 4 shirts, 5 of socks, 6 of underwear – the trouble is I always add one more of something!! Or try following this simple formula. Pack three tops for every bottom. Generally, pants and skirts take up more room than shirts, avoid heavy denim etc.

So here  am packing once more for 3 weeks in the USA, summer temperatures, time at the lake and some city time. I know of one woman who travels with a different outfit for every day and she takes two check in cases; I can’t manage that by myself through airports etc. I haven’t seen a gorgeous porter or even an ugly one in years, so I only take what I can carry. Maybe a husband would be useful. ( smile)

This new luggage called a Barracuda is being tested currently  and I think it has many merits.. watch the video and see what you think. It has a USB port, what next?

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/barracuda/barracuda-collapsible-luggage-tray-gps-usb-charger/widget/video.html

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Packing

I wonder what everyone else travels with??  I take one hard case and one carry on case very light weight thanks to Samsonite. The small one is for my beloved camera, a jacket and book, medication and anything else I might need in flight.I always have a pair of knickers in the carry on too because if you arrive at a destination minus your luggage you will be pleased to have a spare pair! I always have my chargers in my carry on luggage as they were once stolen from my check in luggage about 3 years ago in the USA.   😦    We think taken by the very people who check the bags. The TSA lock was not damaged, however  my case was in transit for several hours at the Denver Airport. I suggest you pack your chargers in your hand luggage too as I have read that it is a popular item to steal !!

I have included beach/boat shoes, my best sandals, and one pair of walking shoes. and I wear one!  I’d love to pack more shoes but I think I can manage?.  Four pairs of trou’, one shorts, one togs, sun glasses, umpteen tops, 2 pr pj’s, one merino jacket for cool summer evenings, one pashmina wrap.  And of course underwear! The later take up no space. I buy quick drying knickers from Jockey, ideal for travelling. One small hand bag as well as my online Tumi travel bag. Check out the Tumi range.  I always take a lingerie bag for worn undies.  2-3 walk shoe soxs and a sunhat? That’s a toughie, I don’t want my best sunhat ruined by folding and the floppy hats make me look like an Australian drover! Pack your socks/underwear/small-items inside your shoes.  I also pop an alternative pendant or bracelet inside my shoes.

Leave the Bling at Home

Leave pricey watches and jewellery  behind. If you aren’t prepared to lose it, don’t pack it. Buy a cheap Swatch for traveling and costume jewellery for show, mind you in some countries I wear my expensive watch and rings; America and Australia are fine. But I didn’t take them to India and Istanbul or Tibet. Sometimes discretion is wiser.

Air compression plastic bags are miraculous and make sense.  Squeezing air out of clothes, giving you more room in the suitcase. your clothes look like vacuum packed meat, well not quite!  Giant Ziploc bags work, too. Just roll them tight. – See more.

I love these foundation  brushes with a lid. brush

First I looked at my bulging toilet bag – it was full of free samples that have been around the world several times! They went into the draw at home!! Now I have plenty of space.The makeup case is a  zip affair, small so that is fine. On the plane I have a brush  ( see photo ) with a secure lid so I put foundation onto  that for a touch up on the flight, a lippy and that’s me for the flight!! Easy really.The airlines supply toothbrushes and moisturizer usually. Remember don’t wear perfume when flying out of consideration to the passenger next to you. Some folks have allergies to perfume. See my earlier blogs on travel.

Shoes can get pretty dirty after a week of traveling. Put your dirty shoes inside the free hotel shower caps.  Toward the end of your vacation, your suitcase will probably be filled with dirty clothes. I like this American tip;  put a dryer anti static sheet in the bag with all of your dirty clothes, it’ll keep them smelling fresh and keep them all from clinging together.

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I take a small shampoo and conditioner stolen from hotels somewhere  on my travels. Your hair is going to survive and your luggage will have room for those new shoes you just had to buy!! A brush, comb and styling brush, hair mouse, deodorant,  lip balm, tooth brush from supermarket that is motorised, small toothpaste tube from my dentist, (they often have samples just ask),  throat lozengers, eye drops just in case, bongela, just in case, lots of ‘just in case’ items. Paw Paw cream ( fixes everything ), wet ones, makeup remover Mircrolette , (well travelling can give you constipation!!)  http://www.aftpharm.com/au-products/micolette  , panadol or similar, razor, Sudafed just in case, Orajel for cold sores, (just in case), small scissors, a band-aid, pressure point foam pad for blisters, just in case. And a few pills and potions from my friendly GP.

Take a slimmer wallet — Buy a very compact wallet traveling, instead of your normal one. It frees up space in your purse. Makes room for the camera perhaps. You won’t need your library card or shopper loyalty cards on vacation — just an ID and a few credit cards should cover it.

Long journeys are great for catching up on the reading pile. Instead of packing heavy magazines, tear out the articles that you want to read.  Vanity Fair and Vogue now weigh 95  % less. Alternately, take magazines that you can leave behind, shedding weight as you go. Of course, you could just load up the iPad with books and articles. (What? You are still addicted to paper., surely not.)

I leave NZ with 5-6 presents wrapped for family and friends; plus pineapple lumps and jet planes, this makes room for shopping space on the return! This almost fills the suitcase but not quite so do I pop in my best black jacket just in case? Another pair of walk shoes just for fun? I need to read my own advise.

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I need my phone charger, iPad charger, two camera chargers, spare batteries and a torch –  really? Yes really, power cuts do happen. Charge all phones, cameras, iPads, and laptops before getting to an airport. If you do get delayed you can at least read your mail. Carry the adapter for your destination in your hand luggage, a multi-plug version is the best. You can buy all sorts of adaptor plugs  do your research and buy the best you can afford. Take a double plug if  you have phones and cameras to recharge.

So now I am ready to go… I have a travel scale to check the weight.. excess baggage charges are rather high and undesirable. Check and double-check, make lists, remember to read the lists and so forth! Remember your passport.

Au revoir and  don’t panic: you don’t even need tickets these days 🙂

Here is my previous blog on travel etiquette. all coloured words should be links.

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Guest Sculptor – Juliette Milne

 

 I am excited to share one of my favourite New Zealand sculptors with you. Juliette Milne resides in Auckland where she is a busy grandmother, wife, student and artist, not neccesarily in that order!

 

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Juliette is currently studying  art history as a ‘mature’ student and in recent years has exhibited regularly in the greater Auckland area. She has exhibited work in many galleries and locations including Brick Bay; The Black Barn, Hawkes Bay; Tarawhanui Art in the Woolshed; Waiheke Art Gallery  and of course her work is in many private collections.

 

LMC-1001 copyThe attention to detail is possibly what  sets Juliette apart from many artists. The above detail  is from the exquisite Nikau frond below…this measures 35 cm long approx.

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I sat down with Julette and asked her a few questions, I enjoyed her responses and I am sure you will too. This is a great insight into a working sculptor.

I consider you well established as a sculptor in Auckland.  Do you  exhibit in Queenstown perhaps or Australia? If not why not?

“Thank you for the compliment, I have had great rewards through the contacts, the exhibitions and the friendships I have made but it is a challenging journey.

I have retrenched from the South Island having been represented in Dunedin, Queenstown, Christchurch and Nelson but at the present time, sales and costs outweigh the benefits of having work everywhere. You have to keep a balance because you can spread yourself too thinly.

I have exhibited in group shows overseas several times, but solo shows, or having my work stocked by overseas galleries is not something I pursue. The link that my work holds to New Zealand is important to me and is better exhibited nationally.”

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You have been studying at university recently; is this to advance your sculpture or just because you enjoy learning?

” Both. A  University  friend pronounced that we are confirmed “epistemophiles” which I had to go away any look up and discovered what I was … someone who loves searching for and learning new things. There is no denying that research and information cements, feeds and deepens your learning and is ultimately reflected in the concept for your own work.”

Why do artists generally speaking need a formal arts education to get recognition?

“In this day and age there are so many “artists” … it’s a fashionable thing to call yourself, and most are not going to cut the mustard without formal learning.  Two very good friends, Peter and Sylvia Siddell who had no formal training in the arts (who have sadly both passed away) often debated this point with myself, Jim Wheeler and Terry Stringer.  They were great debates and each of us have won the debate in our own way.

For me it was a major part of the journey and I gained so many skills and friendships that I would have otherwise been lucky to have stumbled upon.  Lecturers make good friends but perhaps that was the added bonus of being a mature student.  Good lecturers are what I call wonderful people-people. “

When did you start making sculptures?

“I had worked in 2D for many years and when I returned to formal study for my fine arts degree I firmly expected to continue in this vein but I had a wonderful lecturers, in particular, Trish Scott, Paul Cullen and Deborah Crowe, who reinforced in my mind how important 3D was to my thinking. My drawing, my painting and ultimately, my sculptural pieces are all very much in the realm of 3D.”

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Are there other artists in your family?

“Oh yes they are and were wonderful women.  On my Father’s side, Heather Lomas painted wonderful landscapes and portraits, her work is still revered in the National Portrait Collection in Wellington. On my Mother’s side, her cousin, my Godmother was an Elam student and to this day is one of my greatest critiques and encouragers.”

“What was the catalyst to start working in bronze?

“When I returned to fulltime study to gain my degree if fine arts, the thrust of my research was into the lack of recognition of women’s achievements. I worked in a number of medium, one of which was resin making the “lace-pearls”.  To me they were like containers of memory incorporating the lace worn, washed and held by my forebears and carried their touch.

Furthering and celebrating the memorial side of recognising these women led me to working in bronze which is traditionally a medium of acclaim.  Initially, I didn’t make medals in the traditional sense. I drew a metaphorical parallel between these women and our native New Zealand bush,  focusing on the seed pods and layers of the plants which nurture and protect the next generation. Hence my series of Harakeke are the seed pods, not flowers. As a continuum from my work with the lace, I embossed the surface of each pod with a fragment of lace, like a fingerprint or a mark acknowledging my  past.

 I enjoyed working in bronze, it’s predominantly a masculine environment and as a woman I felt it had a poignancy with the concept of my work.

I moved on to create several other series of works in bronze and am a member of MANZ Medal Art New Zealand, formally the Medallion Group.”

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Can you tell me more about your involvement with Medallions – MANZ?

“It is a group started by Betty Beadle following the death of her husband Paul to hold together the artists they had taught, worked with, or encouraged. It is a very prestigious and well respected group and I was fortunate to be invited to join them eleven years ago. We exhibit annually, sometimes more frequently. This year is the 25th Anniversary of the group and Sir James Wallace has invited us to hold our exhibition at the TSB Wallace Arts Trust, Pah Homestead, July 20th – September 20th 2015.

Do you plan to return to larger pieces? Or are they just too heavy to manage?

“I enjoy working on a smaller, more intimate scale but still make larger pieces in fact  am currently working on a commission for two very large pieces but in this economic climate I would not consider a solo exhibition with work on this scale.

To answer the second half of your question, my larger works are cast in several pieces and welded together so only become difficult to manage in the latter part of the process.  Its fun, challenging and at times unwieldy! “

I recall a large Nikau palm frond at Brick Bay, is that piece still there?

“There have been two of my Nikau works at Brick Bay, and it was such an honour to have had work there. One was sold from there to a private collector and I have the other in my garden. I have been approached to install another work there and maybe, when I feel I have the right piece, I will. “

On a lighter note did you make pies as a small girl? Or  people out of “play doh”?

“Play Dough? Well that dates me! I made that for my children, it hadn’t been invented when I was young.  We had Plastercine  and Plaster of Paris and it was just as much fun. I can’t say I recall the mud pies but no doubt they were there and as yummy as ever. I did make sand pies and lots of things out of lumps of wood, nails, and ‘things’. I drew and painted on everything and stuck everything up on the walls and curtains in my bedroom and invited people in to see my exhibitions, much to my Mother’s horror.”

When and where is your next exhibition?

“I have already mentioned the exhibition with the MANZ Group in July and I have also been invited to be part of a group show to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Waiheke Art Gallery which will run from late August till late September this year. I don’t have plans for a solo show at this stage, I enjoy the comradery and involvement exhibiting in group shows.”

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Where do you get your inspiration as an artist?

“Life, family, the world I live in …. just keeping my eyes, ears, and heart open.”

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Medal Artists of New Zealand: Regroup Reflect Regenerate

21 July 2015 – 20 September 2015, Pah Homestead Upper Galleries

This exhibition celebrates the 25 year journey of the Medal Artists of New Zealand.

Regroup Reflect Regenerate looks to the past, present and future of this impressive group of artists through a comprehensive display featuring 35 exhibitors and over 200 medals.

“Medallic art is an art for lovers of sculpture on a small scale; art in the palm of your hand.  The primary function of the medal has always been to be a bearer of messages, communicated intimately by the artist to the public.”

L.Tilanus, FIDEM, 1998

FLYING – it can be like a cheap Thai massage!

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Flying – something New Zealanders learn to do well. Or do we? Because we live at the bottom of the world most ‘Kiwi’s’ will fly Internationally during their life time. I know “Kiwi’s” are flightless birds however that is partly the point! My first flight outside of NZ was 50 years ago.YES 50 years ago!!  I had an aunt living in Fiji so decided to go and visit her, I had not been earning for long  so it was a very big deal financially and emotionally. First I had to fly from Dunedin to Auckland. I don’t recall the details now except to say it was the beginning of my passion to travel and see the world. I instinctively knew there was more to marrying the boy next door and becoming a farmers wife. I had to escape! (my city friends just wanted to marry the boy next door, so there you are – we are all different fortunately) I did fall for a tall dark Fijian ‘prince’ for a few weeks, but I got over him easily enough, it was the army uniform 🙂  Anyway I digress. Now days flying is not as glamourous as it was  back then,it is glorified train travel at best. We are so fortunate to have one of the best airlines in the world Air New Zealand to whisk us away to exotic destinations. California, Canada, Japan, China even Australia and more. We should support them  as the alternatives are scary! We have several great airlines serving the Pacific if you are flying to Asia.

I feel sorry for Americans who have to fly 4-5 hours internally and their domestic airlines have no idea of service and comfort. None of their domestic airlines hold a candle to other airlines, there airlines don’t even appear in the top 100 airlines list!  They have little opposition so they seem to  have stopped trying, they run on tight budgets and generally the experience is less than satisfying. The air crews are often grumpy and bored, or down right rude. The planes are over booked. They allow people to put luggage 20 seats from where they are sitting. Boarding the flight with massive cabin luggage is inconsiderate, think about it, if we all took massive bags they wouldn’t fit in the cabin space.  I blame the airlines for allowing such big pieces.   In the USA Delta charge $US25 a piece to check a bag…outrageous really. Reduce that cost and half the cabin bag chaos would vanish! Flying across the USA brings out the worst in people, me included. The passengers push and shove to squash themselves and their luggage into small spaces. The Italians are pushy too… it can be quite comical to watch.

I wonder why some flights your feet become ice blocks, others they are on fire. In this day and age why can’t the temperature be pleasant and constant? If you are hot or cold ask the cabin crew to adjust the temperature. They can alter the  temperature within about a 10 degree range. Now the new Dreamliner planes have much better air quality. The good news is that Air New Zealand have these new planes on some routes called Dreamliners with improved air quality. I know many of you are affected by the poor air quality and return home with bronchial problems. I certainly do.  The lovely medical specialist told me that airlines reduced the moisture content in the planes air supply to make the planes lighter and consequently weigh less and save fuel. Maybe I should only fly on routes with Dreamliner jets. So I am dreaming of Dreamliners on all flight routes before I age too much… as the saying goes Dreams are free! I actually now take antiobiotics when flying. I am not alone with this problem so if you always come home sick talk to your GP. Put the fun back into travel.

The worst part about blogging is that the airlines don’t read my blogs..if only they did and  took action.  Perhaps they could publish articles on flight ettiquette??

Gripes about flying are easy to write about so I apologise if this is a tad negative. However try pushing the buzzer for a blanket on a Delta flight – an hour later they turn up; imagine if it was urgent! Magazines are usually non existent or the Delta Magazine which is totally uninspiring.

On long haul international flights when you are all on board and seated meals are duly served. On many airlines when you have completed your meal it is not OK to thrust your seat back to the sleep position… The person behind you may still be eating and the wine goes every which way, or the coffee!  Wait until the trays have all been collected – PLEASE – it’s a simple thing to do and you won’t miss more than 15 minutes of snooze time… It’s called being considerate. It all comes back to consideration for ones fellow travelers. Consideration for others goes a long way in life, and in particular in public places and on public transport. No matter how many months before I fly and have booked a seat Delta won’t give me a window seat!! Or if they do it is the last row on the plane! If you try asking a crew member what the massive river beneath us is and they look blankly and say they have no idea! I hope our crews are more helpful. Then there are the pretzels..I hate pretzels. Seriously not even a choice of nuts or pretzels. I know I am sounding like a spoilt child –  well I am.

OK so now we are  all seated on the plane, relaxed and ready to go. What Is that jerking my seat? The jerking is an 11 year old, it has parents but they are not parenting so the next 3 – 4 hours is like a cheap Thai massage! Don’t let children kick the back of the seat in front of them, come on parents, show some inconsideration and teach some consideration. I have no problem with crying children, spare a thought for the parents and the child and maybe offer to help if they are in your little area, those little ear drums often react to the pressure.

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When you first sit  down for a long flight Introduce yourself to the person next to you…first name is sufficient.  Even just ‘hello’. On long flights especially, I like to know who I am sleeping with!! And they may even help pass the time with intelligent conversation… If there is an emergency they might help save your life !!! At worst you have been polite. Men – please keep your voices low;  raucous loud laughter and bad language do not have a place on an aeroplane…. by all means enjoy a few drinks but remember altitude makes you intoxicated quicker and no one wants a loud drunk sitting near them – Be considerate. And lastly don’t pass flatulence; go to the bathroom rather than effect the six people sitting near to you… We had the steward come through and spray our space due to some ignorant individual recently; so be considerate to your fellow passengers.

Men are the worst at this! And on that note aim carefully, visiting the cubicles after a man has sprayed the walls, toilet seat and floors is horrible…be considerate to the next person….you are not at home now! Empty the basin and leave the place tidy and dry!!!

Ladies – You never know who will end up seated next to you, and they may not have a tolerance for perfumes or lotions. For some, strong scents can bring on headaches or migraines, so hold off until you’ve disembarked to use your favourite perfume.

Despite all those comments I actually enjoy flying.. I make the most of the time, watching movies, reading, sleeping and eating.

I am soon to fly to the USA and I will enjoy that 11.5 hour trip and then a five hour domestic flight. I wish I could say I will  enjoy the later but NO, one just suffers it !!  Thanks DELTA.. you could do sooo much better.  

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Are you talking flags –

My favourite I finally managed to download from the internet.

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We are being asked to consider changing our flag in New Zealand. A very emotive subject and a tad risqué to the encumbent Prime Minister perhaps. Anyway I searched a few designs that are being considered.. I have no idea if these are final Government choices or not.It would be good to have a design that showed we were not Australians on first glance!

The Returned Services Association is questioning why the Government is so determined to replace the New Zealand flag saying ‘no one is protesting in the streets. I think we are by and large quite apathetic and don’t feel strongly or we surely would be protesting in the streets. In America everyone flies flags, it is wonderful. I wish we were more patriotic. A pride in your flag is something special. We are improving slowly, especially when there is a major sporting  fixture happening. However few people fly flags on their properties, I wonder why? Some schools don’t fly flags. In Newmarket,  where I live, we used to have three flags flying however these too have disappeared in the past year 😦 Retailers don’t seem to have the cash, not even Westfield!!

Anyway just for fun; please tell us your favourite design in the reply box  from this selection I found on line. I numbered them 0 to 5 to make it easy. And please comment if you want to retain the current flag or not. I am happy to see change however I would like it to retain something of our past 100 or so years.  I like the first two designs… and would not be adverse to either.The silver fern on the black could be a little larger so when it blows in the wind we still can see what it is! I personally do not like the green colour being introduced.

Here is the referendum bill detail. The formal flag design suggestion process will start in early May and close in mid July 2015, with flag design guidelines and requirements published online at http://www.flag.govt.nz

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Philanthropy and or Charity

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“Philanthropy is the act of giving financial resources to a cause that is intended to improve general human well-being, and where the giver expects no direct reciprocation or financial gain in return.”

” Charity tends to be a short-term, emotional, immediate response, focused primarily on rescue and relief, whereas philanthropy is much more long-term, more strategic, focused on rebuilding. One of my colleagues says there is charity, which is good, and then there is problem-solving charity, which is called philanthropy, and I think that’s the distinction I have tried to make”

How much is enough? 

New Zealanders are estimated to have given $2.67 billion to charitable and community causes in 2011, and that figure Is probably double that by now, going on past increases.   Charitable donations over $20.00 are tax-deductible so that may be a small incentive to give $20.00 or more.  Although traditionally, the churches recommend  giving a 10 percent tithe to charity, the average American gives at the level of 3.2 percent of his or her income (pre-tax). From the USA Govt figures. The time volunteers spent in 2013 was worth an estimated $163.0 billion. The value of volunteer time combined with private giving accounted for just under half a trillion dollars ($498.17 billion), and volunteer time represents a third (32.7 percent) of the total. ( USA figures)

Supporting a Charity

New Zealanders are a generous bunch, but with so many tragedies it’s no wonder charities are fighting donation fatigue. Maybe you want to keep giving but wonder if your money is making it to the people who need it. And how do you decide who to give to? Decide what change you want to see, It  may sound corny, but if you’re giving to charity you probably want your money to change the world for the better..

Veteran donor Kate Frykberg says you’ll get further if you spend a little time thinking about what you want.

“The first thing is to decide, what is the change in the world that you want to see?”

“It could be that children are safer, or the environment is cleaner.”

“Then think about what work might help that change.”

Once you know that, think about who is making a difference in that area. Frykberg says it’s worth doing some web research, and not just looking at the glossy brochures.

Which begs the question – how much did they spend on those brochures?

Ask questions??

Most charities should be able to tell you the percentage of money that goes directly on frontline services, and how much is spent on things like admin and fundraising. To get a more complete look at your charity’s money, Frykberg recommends looking up its annual returns on the charities commission register. I didn’t know it existed until recently!

I always used to give a  few dollars to anyone who asked me for money on the street, I no longer do this. Sometimes I will add to a street collection but  it is rare, now days I am far more selective. I think most of us can afford to give a little but we often worry if the money goes to the needy people or is spent on huge amounts of glossy advertising.  TV advertising is expensive, do the TV companies give it for free? I don’t think so. Those charities get nothing from me. Red Cross and Save the Children do get a donation from me when there is a special calamity such as the Nepal earthquake. For the rest of the year I leave them to their own resources.

I have three charities I give generously to:

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The Fred Hollowes Foundation I give via a direct debit monthly, painless for me and such a great charity. Professor Fred Hollows (1929-1993) was a legendary New Zealander, an acclaimed eye surgeon, and social justice activist. He championed the right of all people to high quality and affordable eye care.   “An estimated 39 million people around the world today are blind. But four out of five people who are blind don’t have to be, their condition is treatable or preventable. In the last five years alone, The Fred Hollows Foundation has performed nearly one million sight-restoring operations and treatments, and trained more than 38,000 eye health workers; achievements Fred would be proud of.” It is an easy charity to support as they have many different options to give. I cannot imagine as a photographer how it would feel to be blind, I would be devastated so I am happy supporting these people to enable them to restore so many Pacific  people to better vision.

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Another favourite charity is HOSPICE.What is Hospice care? Hospice care is for people who are nearing the end of life. Hospice care services are provided by a team of health care professionals who maximize comfort for a terminally ill person by reducing pain and addressing physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. To help families, hospice care also provides counselling, respite care and practical support. Unlike other medical care, the focus of hospice care isn’t to cure the underlying disease. The goal of hospice care is to support the highest quality of life possible for whatever time remains. The Hospice staff are phenomenal working day in and day out making sure the last days or weeks of someone’s life is comfortable and as joyous as possible. Imagine doing that 365 days a year? I admire their dedication and from past experience I am so grateful they are in our community to help us.I have nothing but admiration and thanks to these folk. They also have hard-working volunteers raising funds, I spent a few years on such a committee, it is not easy in the current economic climate to persuade people to dig deep into their pockets.  Jo Seagar is Patron of NZ Hospice. The Govt. do support Hospice however that is never enough as the demand for their services increases year after year. I hope you never need the services of Hospice but if you do I am sure it will change your thinking as to who deserves funding and charitable donations in New Zealand, of course you may already give to them.

My 3rd favourite charity is a small organisation based in Auckland called HELP AUCKLAND.  HELP believes that sexual abuse has no place in civilised society. However, for as long as it continues to occur in Auckland, HELP works to enable women and children suffering from the effects of abuse to regain their lives. HELP supports and empowers all affected by such an experience to reclaim their place in their families and society. We provide a culturally safe environment and remain conscious of issues of culture, engaging in training to ensure that we cater to the needs of our diverse society in the best possible way. HELP employs over 30 staff, trained in trauma therapy and other psychotherapeutic and educational approaches, including psychotherapists, crisis counsellors, administration and management. They have one major fund raiser a year called Colour Me Purple, an auction held every March and they do receive some Govt. funding. I am impressed that I receive hand written notes saying thankyou and they make you feel like your meagre donation actually is important which is very nice. It makes me want to keep on supporting them.  I discovered them by chance when I met a staff member who impressed me with her dedication and caring attitude so I made a small donation. Several years later and I am now supporting their efforts regularly and I hope some of you might too. The 2015 event was emceed by Aaron Ward and jazz singer Jennifer Calvey plus many other live performers who all donated their time for free. Next year I hope to be able to attend.

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I always gave to the Cancer Society in past years until my husband needed assistance and it wasn’t forthcoming. I lived 15 minutes from the hospital and they wouldn’t collect him for treatment because  it was across the Auckland Harbour Bridge! Seriously!  Yet they would collect people 40 minutes away living south of the hospital, what was that all about? They still advertise assistance to drive patients to their treatments, so very small donations from me for them. 😦 I do stand on the street annually and collect for them on Daffodil Day but they are not my favourite charity. Charity donations have to be given with warmth and because we want to give and have good feelings with the organisation concerned, not because we are being harangued or their services have let them down. Recently I spoke to someone who had a bad experience at a Hospice and I was stunned; as you might be regarding my experience  with Cancer Society NZ.

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Donating with security.

Check this website for more answers.http://www.cab.org.nz/vat/rcc/comm/Pages/Donating.aspx  It’s generally best to donate or volunteer for charities that you already know and trust, or those you have researched and in which you have confidence. You might like to start your research by looking at the Charities Register. Remember doing volunteer work for a charity is extremely rewarding, it won’t make you rich dollar wise but it will definitely enrich your life. So think about your situation and  consider if you are being generous or miserly? Of course you are being generous 🙂

Give with knowledge and avoid scams and moonlighters. I no longer donate over the phone, it is too risky. Be wise and check people out, legitimate charities do not mind. I also give to the Sallies and City Mission –  a one-off donation at Christmas time. :):)

images (2)Feel free to comment with your experiences – good or bad.