Annie Short, Aotearoa New Zealand

Scholar August 2020

During my 45 year career, I have worked in many fields, including primary teaching in South Auckland, in the Fraud Department of American Express Cards and in Export Co-ordination in the fishing industry.  In every situation I find myself in, my fascination for what makes people tick and the events that have influenced their lives rise to meet me.

My father, Ron Bacon, was a very big influence in my life and because he was a primary teacher he influenced many young lives. By far his greatest influence, though, came from his writing. He had more than 100 books published and is seen as most influential in his pioneering of revitalising Maori Legends in the 1970’s.  In 2017 I became inspired to honour his contribution to healthy community values by writing his biography and thus began a journey of surprises and new understandings.

In early 2019 I visited Vaughan Park for the first time. I live in Nelson and, while visiting Auckland, my closest friend took me to the Park to experience the tranquillity of the chapel. While passing through their reception area I saw the notice about Scholarships. I was amazed at the serendipity of this as we had just been discussing how I would benefit from time and space to gather my thoughts and feelings around my writing.

My journey to collect all the different strands of information and stories of my father’s life has led to an understanding  of the healing that can happen through story telling and collecting all the “sides” to those stories. Although these are my personal family stories, I feel there is much that is recognisable by others, in the same way that parables link our revelations and thereby our opportunity for forgiveness.

The trick appears to be to trust the process and not to mind when I reach a cul-de-sac and to not get in the way when things seem to be going well even though I don’t know where they are heading. The opportunity  to live at Vaughan Park for a month in 2020 is part of that trust in the process. To be able to sit quietly and reflect, while surrounded by the support and beauty of nature, is a gift.