On Sunday 10th October, eight members of our NZ Dramatic Inquiry community enjoyed the opportunity to link up over zoom with presenters at the ‘Heathcote now’ conference in the UK. It was really great to have this exchange, which allowed us to mark the 10th anniversary of Heathcote’s passing.

Those around the table at the UK end included David Allen, Brian Edmiston, Tim Taylor, Cecily O’Neill, Iona Towler-Evans, and Dorothy Heathcote’s daughter Marianne. On the New Zealand side, Viv Aitken and Whakarongo spoke on behalf of the group.

The occasion began with karakia and a few memories of Dorothy. These were touching stories indeed, mostly focussed on Heathcote’s humanity and generosity towards others. Next, we heard about the themes emerging from the UK conference – including some of the exciting work on the Heathcote archive.

Whakarongo and Viv spoke about developments in Aotearoa New Zealand, including the metaphor of the harakeke that underpins our approach to governance.

The meeting wrapped up with the blessing of a tōtara seedling. This was one of twenty trees to be planted later that day to honour the occasion.

Here are Whakarongo’s reflections:

I absolutely loved our kōrero (conversation) this morning. I am so grateful for the incredible opportunity we had to share our whakaaro (thoughts/ideas). It was such an honour and a privilege to hear the voices of our UK colleagues as they shared stories of aroha (love), manaakitanga (compassion, care and respect for others) and humour about Dorothy. I felt the wairua (spiritual connection) and was so moved listening to these stories. The thing that struck me the most was the sense of whakapapa – the connection between the people in the room to Dorothy and ultimately her connection to her community and Papatūānuku (Earth mother) through her love of nature and gardening. I can think of no better way to honour her legacy than to plant these magnificent tōtara trees in Aotearoa.
Thank you all for sharing your hearts and passion with us. We are truly blessed. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa.

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