Thursday, December 2, 2010


Ruth Arnison is a Dunedin poet who recently won both first and second prize in the Timaru Rose Society's annual poetry competition. But as well as writing great poetry Ruth prodces POEMS IN THE WAITING ROOM a pamphlet of poems distributed free to doctors' waiting rooms and rest homes. They are a mix of old fashioned traditional main stream and new poems by New Zealand poets. Ruth selects the poems, clears copyright, sweet talks sponsors and arranges printing and distribution four times a year, a big task and all voluntary.

Jan Vernon is a Temuka poet who won first prize in the Rose festival contest three years ago. She is often published in The Listener and other magazines. Recently she completed a magnificent long dramatic work of Poetry, 'Pele's Children'. Jan regularly visits a local rest home in Temuka and reads poetry to the residents, many of whom are younger than she is.

These are just two of the people who quietly give their talents and time to making life better for people around them. As well as these two there are the secretaries of groups,social, religious,sporting dramatic, musical who work incredibly long hours without pay. I wonder, if some 21st century Guy Fawkes succeeded in exterminating Parliament would we notice? If our unpaid volunteers disappeared how long would our communities be able to carry on?

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