Archive for » February 15th, 2015«

Protesters give Prime Minister John Key a hard time

Auckland Action Against Poverty protesters disrupt John Key’s arrival at an Orakei function yesterday. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Prime Minister John Key had to be shielded by the linked arms of police officers from a group of shouting and shoving protesters when he arrived for a National Party function in Auckland yesterday.

He arrived smiling but showed visible concern at one point as he brushed against sailing boats parked by the wall of the function room at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club in Orakei.

Inside, the noise from people chanting “Stop the War on The Poor,” amplified music and protesters banging on wooden rear doors drowned out speeches, until police enforced a 20m buffer zone.

However, the Prime Minister did not leave by the same door as he came in – choosing an exit out of the sight of the body of protesters and driving away in a different car.

The police presence, reinforced by dog handling and maritime sections, numbered 31 – nearly as many as the protesters from the Auckland Action Against Poverty, led by former Green Party MP Sue Bradford.

At one point, the veteran protester gave police the slip and ran up external stairs to the clubhouse upper floor where she said she was met by police and bundled down the inside stairs, her loudhailer breaking in the struggle. “I was trying to get to talk to the Prime Minister but many police came and stayed with us.”

National Party member Steve Clerk said he walked by the side of Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye as she left the function and they had to run a gauntlet of protesters.

Police pulled out one of the protesters, who had earlier revved a car close to the club door and waved a red banner, and took him to Auckland Central Police Station. It’s not clear if he was arrested or charged.

- NZ Herald


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Sailing on; Croixdale couple celebrates 70 years of marriage

Raymond and Cecilia Rath of Bayport celebrated their 70th anniversary Feb. 9. (Gazette staff photo by Anna Bjorlin)

Croixdale residents Raymond and Cecilia Rath celebrated their 70th anniversary Monday, Feb. 9. The two have spent a lifetime together, and have six children, numerous grandchildren and a wealth of memories to show for it. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the couple’s life is the five years they spent sailing around the world together with four of their children. The walls of their apartment at the assisted living facility in Bayport are covered in colorful photos of their travels.

Raymond and Cecilia Rath of Bayport celebrated their 70th anniversary Feb. 9. (Submitted photo)

The two first met in Tucson, where the 20-year-old Raymond was stationed as part of the Air Force, or the Army Air Corps, as it used to be known. Cecilia, or Ceci as her husband fondly calls her, was 19 years old and working in the library where Raymond would often go to read to escape the sweltering Arizona heat.

“He’d come in to read, and he’d sit there and hold the newspaper up in front of his face, and every now and again it would go down and I’d catch him looking,” Cecilia laughed. “Then it’d go back up and I thought to myself, ‘Oh, no. A good boy like that and he’s shy too?’”

It was love at first sight for Raymond, who told his friend, “I just met the girl I’m going to marry.”

“I was writing to my parents a lot, and they were becoming concerned because all I would talk about was Cecilia,” Raymond said. “They thought she must be some kind of witch who put a spell on me or something.”

The two met in August, and after a six-month whirlwind romance, were married by February.

“Our parents didn’t really approve,” Cecilia said. “My mother didn’t want to have her daughters marrying military men, or ‘gringos’ as she called them, and his mother wanted him to marry someone from their neighborhood.”

“She wasn’t Catholic, and she was Mexican,” the Wisconsin-born Raymond said, laughing. “My parents didn’t even know what a Mexican was at that point.”

However, the young couple was not going to let anything stand in the way. Since Raymond was still in military service, Cecilia would follow him wherever he was transferred.

“We could be stationed anywhere from a few weeks to a couple years, so it was tough,” Raymond said. “I’d get orders to leave, and then I’d write back to her where I was, and she’d get on a bus or train and follow me out there.”

The Raths had six children. (Submitted photo)

In 1963, after 20 years of service, Raymond got out of the military, and the two found their way to Stillwater. With three sons and three daughters, they knew they needed a bigger house.

They ended up settling near Andersen Windows in Bayport with the first two-story house on the point and spent 17 years there while their children graduated from Stillwater Area High School. After their youngest left, the two weren’t sure what to do.

“I knew I’d like to get a boat and sail around the world, but I had no idea how we were going to do that,” Raymond said. “But then my friend who was in diving school in Florida invited me to come down and look at some.”

Raymond ended up buying a 60-foot steel yacht he christened the “Cecilia” and he, his wife and four of his children spent eight months working night and day to fix it up.

The Raths traveled the world on their sailboat, “The Cecilia.” (Submitted photo)

“Our oldest two were married with kids of their own, but our other two boys and girls dropped everything to come and help us,” Cecilia explained. “We all had our own jobs; I was the chief cook and bottle washer, and I mended the sails. Our son Bill was the captain and Ray was the owner— he took a course on refrigeration and found out how to get a refrigerator and freezer onboard.”

Since all six crew members had spent months working on the boat, each individual knew it from the inside out. Once the boat was ready, the Rath family set sail from Florida and headed toward Belize.

During their five years of traveling, the crew of the Cecilia traveled around the world, meeting new people and exploring new cultures. They sailed from Portugal to Spain, down around the Mediterranean to explore Greece and Crete, to Egypt and Israel and England and Norway, among many other places.

Though they ran into several storms on their travels, their steel boat was stable and safe.

Raymond and Cecilia Rath of Bayport spent a lot of time aboard their sailboat when they were younger. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Feb. 9. (Submitted photo)

“We had heard about pirates taking over boats, so I carried my dad’s .45 with me and a couple of rifles,” Raymond said. “The kids all looked like pirates themselves with their dark hair and, in the boys’ cases, unshaven faces, so I’d tell them to yell, ‘We were here first!’ if they saw anyone coming while they were up in the rigging, but we never ran into any trouble.”

After their travels, Raymond wrote a series of books about their experience sailing, along with several depicting his and Cecilia’s life together before and after, to create a history and timeline of their family.

“Ceci and I have always got along just great, especially during our years sailing,” Raymond said. “The children were happy to be aboard, and we all had a fantastic time. It was very, very nice. When we did stop sailing, we had a lovely rapport with the four who sailed with us.”

Contact Anna Bjorlin at [email protected]


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