Last Wednesday Linda and I paid a visit to Ruth Coombes at her house here in Devonport…
Linda Blinkco and I have Ruth to thank for inspiring the peace map which is being developed for The Cultural Mapping Project exhibition in August. We now also have Ruth to thank for a great afternoon and inspiring the inclusion of a permanent peace annex as part of the museum of the vernacular.
One of the reasons we went to visit Ruth was to look through the various treasures she has collected over the years to see what might be suitable for display as part of the peace map. It was really fantastic to trawl through the mountains of ephemera she has collected over the years: badges, hand quilted banners, posters, photographs and more. I have always found a certain delight in rummaging and in other peoples closets never knowing what you might find and the colourful array of objects and images she revealed did not disappoint.
After looking at and documenting many of the objects Ruth had gathered to show us, we went outside and sat on the back porch in the late sun to discuss and learn about various aspects of the peace movement of which Ruth has actively been a part of.
We learnt that Auckland is now a city for peace and that it’s commitment will be celebrated by a ceremony on June the 8th, the anniversary of our 25th year as a nuclear free nation. Auckland joins Wellington and Christchurch as cities for peace in New Zealand.
We also learnt that on the 9th of August Auckland the Auckland peace group commemorates the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings of 1945 which took place on the 6th and 9th of August respectively. These commemoration ceremonies happen all over the world to create awareness of the continuing damage to many lives as a result of the bombings, to pay tribute those who have passed as a result and to encourage working towards a peaceful future Lest we Forget.
Ruth also told us of her involvement in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (or W.I.L.P.F) of which she is also a part of and she kindly loaned us a chronological representation of the groups activities for the past 94 years which I intend to display in the vernacular lounge from today.
We finished our tea and our visit concluded by collecting bags of fresh feijoas from the yard before we traipsed back to the office with renewed energy and enthusiasm for the project.
Thank you Ruth!