Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 21 August 2014 Contents local news
21 August, 2014 | Page 17
Raewyn Black wears many hats.
“She is a fabulous enthusiastic person,
wife, mother, grandmother, farmer, Justice
of the Peace, wedding celebrant and Mrs
christmas – the primary mover and shaker
behind the Riverton christmas parade.”
That’s how one good friend describes her.
Raewyn and husband Graeme run the
lawson-lea farm, halfway between Riverton
and otautau, where they have a stud of
coopworth sheep. one of Raewyn’s hats
is that of the secretary for the Southland
coopworth Sheep Breeders’ association.
She has been involved in community work
for decades. She was a president of the
Riverton Plunket Mothers and Fairfax Rural
Women. When her four children were young,
Raewyn had been the secretary of the Isla
Bank Primary School Board of Trustees.
More recently she returned in an advisory
role, but later joined the BoT and stayed
on for five years. She coached netball at
aparima college and swimming at the
Riverton swimming pool, taught tap dancing
and choreographed aparima college
Floral art has been her passion for 25
years, for the past 19 of which she has held
the role of the President of the Western
Southland Floral art club.
“It used to be just flower arrangements, now
it’s more of an art, creating minimalistic
designs using plant material that’s readily
available, such as leaves, pods, seeds,
paua shell and flax. We also use a lot of
kelp which turns black and shiny when
washed and dried,” Raewyn explains.
But just using her creativity to make floral
arrangements wasn’t enough. She wanted
to share her skills with others, pass the
knowledge on. So she set herself another
challenge – a National Teaching Diploma in
Floral art, and eight years ago she achieved
this goal. Now she can pass her skills to
other club members and to newcomers to
“We have a twin club in Ripon in North
Yorkshire. In the past a lot of members
of the Yorkshire club came here and we
hosted them in our house in Te anau,”
This year she gave them an opportunity to
return the favour during her two-month trip
to Europe and UK.
“I have just been there and had a high tea
with the members of
the Ripon Floral art club who visited us in
one of Raewyn’s favourite hats is red and
pointy with a fluffy white trim. If you go to
the Riverton christmas Parade, you will
see her wearing it as part of her Mother
christmas costume. Raewyn has been a
convenor of this event for 17 years now.
“My husband Graeme is in the lions
club. They put out a float or two and man
the streets. I spend the winter making
costumes and ask the lions to help with
funding. We’ve got it down to a fine art.”
This is another major outlet of
Raewyn’s creativity. over the
years she has accumulated a
container full of costumes and
props, and her garage is full of
christmas parade vehicles.
“I found a Morris Minor under
a tree, painted it red and
use it as Noddy’s car at the
parade. For my 40th birthday
I got a life-size sleigh. last
year I made a giant Buzzy Bee
powered by a mobility scooter.
The ideas just keep coming.”
Why is she doing it?
“You only need to drive down
the street to know why you
do it. You can bring so much
pleasure to so many people. It
used to be hundreds, now it’s
thousands that turn up.”
Raewyn has been a Justice
of the Peace for nine years
and is a vice president of the
Southland JP’s association.
“No privileges, no perks, it’s
all voluntary,” she said, adding
that 2014 is the Year of the JP.
“It’s been 200 years since
the first JPs were appointed in
New Zealand at Waitangi.”
Four years ago she got herself
a new hat when a friend
asked her to be a marriage
celebrant at her wedding.
as this seemed to go hand
in hand with her JP role, she
took it on. Now she performs a
lot of weddings, many for her
Sometimes she combines her different
roles for the greater benefit of all.
When she conducts a wedding she might
use it as an opportunity for the Floral art
club to raise money by providing floral
arrangements for the wedding.
However, her self-proclaimed most
important role, is being a Nana to her three
grandchildren – caitlin (3 years), Hunter (11
months) and lucy (3 months).
Raewyn loves the community she is part of.
“I’m very lucky to be half way between
Riverton and otautau, so we get the best of
both worlds,” she said.
The benefit is mutual, as it seems that
Riverton and otautau get the best of
Raewyn’s a busy bee
Raewyn Black riding the Buzzy Bee powered by a mobility scooter and used at Riverton’s annual
PHOTO: Alina Suchanski
“Community Advocate” celebrates people in our community
who go the extra mile, without fanfare, to make our
This is an occasional series but we’re keen to acknowledge
as many of our community advocates around the entire
region as possible. If you know of someone who deserves a
public pat on the back, please let us know by calling Kirsty
or Brendan on (03) 249-9070 or emailing
In this issue Alina Suchanski profiles western Southland
whiz Raewyn Black.
Te Anau Community Fund
Meridian recognises the importance of local
communities to our hydro and wind operations.
The Meridian Manapōuri Te Anau Community Fund gives your community
a say on what local initiatives are supported and funded by Meridian.
The Fund, managed by a panel of community members and Meridian staff,
is about working together to build strong communities.
The Meridian Manapōuri Te Anau Community Fund is for the communities
of Te Anau, Manapōuri, Clifden and Tuatapere, and provides $500,000
to help community projects in this area over three years.
TO APPLY FOR FUNDING
The next closing date for Meridian Manapōuri Te Anau Community Fund
applications is 27 August, 2014.
For more information on the Meridian Manapōuri Te Anau Community
Fund, or for an application form, please visit meridian.co.nz or email
You can also call us on 03 357 9732.
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