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COUNCIL OF ELDERS POTLUCK EVENING ... by Mary Christian Bailey

Friday, August 19, 2016
One of the great things we have been seeing lately is the way Norfolk people are coming together, united in a common cause. For the most part, these are people who call Norfolk their home, and they are in a passionate struggle to make sure that it stays that way. One local group, the Council of Elders, with representatives from all the Pitcairn families, is determined to see that Norfolk’s culture is protected, and are taking important steps to ensure that the rights of Norfolk Islanders are respected.

All this takes money, and so a fundraiser was planned. It was decided to hold a Potluck dinner at Rumours, and invite people to come along with food, and just a $5 donation, recognising that many are going through tough times because of the recent changes. Other groups like NIPD, the Tent Embassy, and Hands Up For Democracy and many other supporters pitched in to help with the setting up and organisation. People offered to “sit in” at the tent embassy so the night time regulars could attend the “Potluck.”

What an amazing evening it was. Large numbers of people turned up, bringing food for the tables. We have had a few “Potlucks” lately, and they just get better and better. It is as if people find cooking a good way of expressing their feelings and their community spirit.

The night was rather cold, but there was a lovely fire burning in the fireplace inside, and most of the oldies took advantage of this. Outside, the hedges shielded us from the worst of the cold winds. But the warmth of the company and the camaraderie, plus the hot food, made up for the chill.

Quite a few “locals” living overseas were there, catching up with old friends and relatives. Many were back on Norfolk for Roy’s 80th, and for Gaelene and Rossco’s wedding. What a great opportunity for the to take part in an important community activity, and show their support for the cause in a practical way. Many say it is frustrating living away when they know people at home are hurting, and their island home is being treated poorly.

 
The raffles were amazing. Very generous prizes had been donated. The first prize, which was $900 of excavator work, was won by a visitor! In a win-win situation, he was able to swap with the winner of a lovely box of vegetables, and everyone was happy. One very popular win was the hamper of groceries, which went to Colleen Crane, who has been very busy feeding people down at the Tent Embassy.

Donald and Andre and their groups provided some great entertainment. Then the Baunti Beauties treated us to a display of their dancing, and a few little ones joined in.
 
A couple of special visitors were Lesley and Dan, from ITN, who are producing a Norfolk Island segment for the “On Assignment” program. This will be viewed in England in October. The film crew were delighted to have this opportunity to film our community at its very best! It was such a warm and friendly evening, and it had been well worth the effort of coming out on a cold night.

Now you may think that a $5 entry donation would not raise very much money. But it was like the Feeding of the 5000 in more ways than one. Over two days, the Council of Elders received almost $13 000 for their cause.

 
Thank you to the “Rumours” team for allowing us to enjoy the ambience and comfort of your venue. Thank you to those who gave such generous raffle prizes, and to all who bought tickets and donated moneys.  Thank you to all the great cooks who contributed to the feast. Thank you to the organisers, those who helped set up and clean away. Thank you to the Council of Elders. It is so good to know you are standing up for us in such a positive way. Thank you everyone for giving your best, and making it possible for us to celebrate our beautiful community.



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