Creative Chaos

Creative Chaos

Sunday, 3 November 2019

this is the other part of New Zealand

this breaks my heart - a 5 year old not being present for 2.5 months already in his first year of school.
This shows a country where there IS poverty; families who are struggling to rent; struggling to have one million dollars to buy a damn ordinary house in the biggest city in the country; families who can not afford basic health care/ a visit to the doctor; families with little support; families with little money to buy a school uniform or lunches; families who actually work full time, but can't afford basics.
The answer might be to move out of the big smoke, go to a smaller town, but will they get a job, away from family support, go to schools who have language weeks, have another student in their school who speaks their heritage language etc etc.
I don't know how to help at all,; this is impossible to keep a student where they need to be academically and socially. It's a NZ wide issue, but i still think most kiwis are in la-la land over poverty/costs in the expensive parts of NZ for just daily things!
It's far from an equal society or even a society which offers the same equitable experience!
Things ARE improving with the government in power, but i also see daily battles and too many needing help, and there is not enough help...

teachers take the brunt for too much, as do little 5 year olds who have no say in being put in a postion out of their control.....

Monday, 21 October 2019

Long weekend in Wellington

My school board kindly gives us all a 3 day weekend once a year. I flew the hour down to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, to meet up with a friend from Christchurch (an hour south again). This dear friend actually used to be a penfriend of mine from Boston, MA, USA and we first met at my wedding 23.6 years ago! We've met in Boston, the UK and Australia over the years and she has now lived in NZ for 12 or so years.
This was the view from our air b'n'b - right on Cuba Street - the best location!

 I was so delighted to go and visit NISA - it's underwear made by former refugees in Wellington and I own quite  a few items of theirs. Such a good cause.  Perfect for Christmas gifts - I've bought underwear for the entire family. Quite neat to see where they sew everything! I was part of their crowd fundraising event to get special machinery to enable them to be able to sew men's underwear.

 my favourite tea shop... TLeaf  Another great place for Christmas gifts...
 We went here for dinner... i'll psot photos of that another time... WOW !
 Nisa underwear i bought... all made here in Godzone.
 Wellington city... on a harbour - a fab walking city. Can't beat the cafes .

LOVE the city - i lived there while at Library School in the 1990s. It was SO fab to catch up with my friend April - another post to come! New Zealand travel is so goo d- my 3rd trip this year around my own country.

Friday, 18 October 2019

last month

 This is my "Northeasterly" sock wool remnants blanket. I am enjoying knitting it a lot. Some of this wool I was gifted a year or tow back by the lovely Christina from A Colourful Life.
 This kept students entertained the other day - I must remember to use it daily. Good practice.
 I'm collecting Christmas picture books - in a few more weeks I'll wrap them up and students can take turns at unwrapping one day to read. We finish school on December 12, so I will start Christmas stuff in a month for so (although one told me on Monday there was only 70 odd sleeps to go! We countdown for student birthdays etc!).
 And the cutest rubbers from KMart for maths. I don't buy much these days - if I am shopping it is for classroom supplies...
 I've been clearing out my house.... huge piles of books to Hospice. Mint condition fiction and some mighty good stuff. I've also donated stuff to two school libraries.
 And was a bit mortified at the state of my current school library, so went shopping for them (donation from me).
 Well the school teacher, ex-librarian HAD to have the Gruffalo pyjamas from Peter Alexander....
 We baked coconut bread at school during Tongan Language Week. It was yum!
I'm off school for a few days - off to doctor shortly - not a fab start to term 4 when there is so much to do.........

Friday, 11 October 2019

WOW... things carry on....

I'm still here! I'm posting a lot more on instagram these days (kimberleyatk).

It's the school holidays - the "holidays" every 10 weeks or so save me as a teacher! From this Monday, I've only 9 weeks left of my first school year teaching! (New Zealand schools start the school year from January 29 this year and finish anywhere from Dec 12 - my school - to December 20 - each school makes its own decision!). It has been the most incredible journey and i've learnt a TON! I do love the NZ system - I'm in a single cell classroom (becoming uncommon as walls are disappearing across classrooms and there can be any number of students in a huge space with multiple teachers teaching - team teaching) and have my own group of students and do our own thing. I can pretty much teach how and what I want ( there is a curriculum, but how I choose to teach it is up to me and my students too, as they get a say as well!). It is awesome. It is HARD! It is the HARDEST thing I've ever done in my life. 60-70 hour weeks are a killer - I'm working on getting that down - I'm glad I've teenagers/one adult "kid", as crikey, how any teacher with their own young children does it, is beyond me! It is your LIFE! It seems like it is your ENTIRE life!

I'm not looking forward to the 9 weeks with testing and reporting and my own assessment stuff... I got up to 24 students, but am down to 15 now, which is awesome, but I am constantly thinking how to move them up (lots of our students come in at a 3 year old verbal/ developmental age, low social skills etc) - there has been MAJOR progress, but still not where they should be. But then I also think, why on earth are we making 5 year olds read and write?! It is crazy! European students don't start till they are 7 and they end up at the same place as our kids.... sigh. I have to do my job...

This is my classroom which I re-set up 2 days ago....

There has been a TON of knitting since June... not a lot done before that while I got my brain around teaching and the massive career change I had made... This is my northeasterly blanket using odds and ends of 4 ply...
 hats for a winter trip over the seas coming up...
 a cowl....
 another hat...
 me in my Tongan clothing and mu newly finished Flax jersey...
 Another flax on a hospital floor - yeah- we've had quite the year with the 18 year old DAMN lucky to be alive after SEPSIS and appendicitus....

I'll do my best to keep blogging again.... hope all is well with all....

Sunday, 24 March 2019


I don't really know what to call this post. A week ago a lunatic went on a gun rampage at two mosque's in the South Island city of Christchurch, killing 50 innocent children, women and men who were going about their daily lives in a peaceful way. This senseless event has shaken our country and made everyone look at themselves and how they view others. We've had two memorial events at school in the past week and I'll say that I'm glad I have five year olds as there has been little talk from them to prompt me to say more, of which I'm thankful.
There is a lot of anger and disbelief with many saying "this is not us". Our prime minister Jacinda Ardern has shown incredible leadership around this, with her face even beamed onto the world's tallest building in Dubai as a mark of respect for the dead and her.

May the world come to its senses and nothing like this ever happen again in New Zealand. Jacinda has moved fast to ban all military style weapons - I don't understand why anyone needs a gun personally. We now have armed police outside mosques/schools etc - this is NOT New Zealand - I'd never seen any police armed here, until this hideous event happened.

Sunday, 10 March 2019


8 weeks ago we were in Singapore. it really seems like a lifetime ago! It was such an incredible city - I could truly easily live there  if it wasn't for the HUMIDITY! I'm a hot person and walking out of aircon for as little as 10 minutes there did me in! I learnt very fast NOT to wear skirts or dresses in such humid weather or I'd pay for it fast! I travel very lightly, but didn't really count on clothing sticking to me! We ended up in a routine of going out early morning (and things open much later there - even finding breakfast to us was challenging - we basically went to the local Food Republic every day!) , coming back around noon, diving into the swimming pool to get cool, a change of clothes and then repeat a few hours later, and then back late at night for the 3rd swim or shower! I easily went through 2 full changes of clothing a day. I hence ended up at a Uniqlo finding $S10 shorts and buying multiple pairs (as I seriously travel very light - 4 of us coming home had only 47kg of luggage in total and we did shop too!), plus some stuff for my work wardrobe. I also shopped at Muji (stationery and tees) and Kinokuniya - OMG what an INCREDIBLE HUGE, HUGE, HUGE bookshop! Thrilled to find Chinese New Year books for school! I also went out to the IKEA to find some stuff for school.

These photos show the downtown area on our first day there. We were totally blown away by the cityscape - well the entire city island really. It was so easy to get around, so very safe, so some days we all just split up and went out own way to see our choice of musuems etc - my teens are happy at roaming around cities by themselves and the MTR train system is the best! 
The only really busy part of the city to us was Orchard Road - otherwise to us it seemed to be pretty uncrowded - even mostly empty train stations/trains. 
There is sooooo much to do - we stayed 6 days which was enough, as by then the heat had exhausted me! 
More another day - I highly recommend it for a holiday with a family of teens!