Yesterday was Sunday 12th May, Mother’s Day.

For the last 4 years this day has been bittersweet.
While celebrating the joy of being a Mum to my son, Ben…

It is a reminder that my Mum, Marie Duggan is no longer with us. After a courageous journey living with terminal cancer for over two years, she passed away in November 2020.

“May your legacies far outlive your names.
May generations tell your stories.”
Danielle Coke Balfour

Her legacy lives on through me & through my son, Ben.
We regularly talk about her & imagine what she would say to us in different circumstances.
The impact she made in our lives is still felt today.

“But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story,
because hers is where yours begins.”
Mitch Albom, ‘For One More Day’

If I was to sum up my Mum in three words:
Faith, Family & Community.
I was blessed to be her daughter.
Much of who I am today is thanks to her.

My love for reading/learning is due to my Mum making sure we always had books in our house, with weekly visits with my four siblings to the Whanganui Library.

When I was 13, we shifted back to Christchurch. I followed in her footsteps & attended her old school: Villa Maria College, where faith & community service were part of our education.

“Have you ever thought about the legacy you’re leaving your family, your community, your world?
Most people never give it a second thought.
But a legacy is something you’re creating every day, whether you realize it or not.
What exactly is a legacy? Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘legacy’ as ‘something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.’”
Lisa Haisha

Today was the last day for the Draft Long Term Plan 2024-2034 Hearing of Verbal Submissions.

I didn’t make a verbal submission this year. You can read about my ‘why’ here:

My written submission is here:

At the last Draft Long Term Plan, I was part of the newly formed ‘Shirley Road Central’ Incorporated group, that presented the ‘Where Is Our Community Centre?’ petition on 12th May 2021:

Over 1,200 residents signed the petition for a new building to be built at 10 Shirley Road.

A few days beforehand (my first Mother’s Day without my Mum), I was busy signing up committee members so our group would be seen as ‘official’ by Council staff (not just a Facebook group), then we would be given extra minutes for our verbal submission.

It was my way to honor my Mum & continue the fight to advocate for a new building at 10 Shirley Road.

Our connection to 10 Shirley Road is literally about births & deaths.
I attended antenatal classes at the Shirley Community Centre over 16 years ago.
My Mum attended the NZ Society of Genealogists – Canterbury Branch, where she spent many hours researching.

My love for research is thanks to watching/helping her search through documents in the Family History section of the old Central Library & seeing her sitting at our dining table trying to find the connections between family members.

At the beginning of 2021, my Dad gave me her original book on Charles Duggan, that we had worked together on over 30 years ago when I was a teenager.

I had forgotten his story, so I started rereading it & realised our Charles Duggan was the C. Duggan, Librarian, named in the time capsule.

“Celebrations as new community centre opens [April 2021] in St Albans…The original foundation stone that was salvaged when the original building on the site was demolished is featured in the community centre.
The contents of a time capsule unearthed during the demolition of the former building have also been placed on the site of the new facility.”

Listening to the then Mayor Lianne Dalziel speak about legacy, made me wonder what would Charles Duggan think, to know his legacy was still a part of St Albans.

A full circle moment for me as his descendant, advocating for a new centre/learning library at 10 Shirley Road:

Similar to his “St Albans Mutual Improvement Association” that focused on “The mutual mental improvement of its members. Classes for special studies of various subjects being formed, lectures on current topics, readings and discussions were also a part of the means devised for the advancement of culture and general knowledge.”

I like to think my Mum helped to remind me of Charles Duggan & find the rest of his story: his connection to St Albans & one of the earliest suburban library services in Christchurch.

She was my biggest supporter & sounding board for all my ideas.
As I grew up, she told me that I should become a librarian or a detective.

I sent her this song for one of her last Mother’s Day…
A Mother Like You by JJ Heller
“I know that it hasn’t been easy
I hope that I love like you do
‘Cause I know that this world would be better
If everyone had a mother like you”

For the last two years of her life, she listened & encouraged me to keep advocating for my ‘Shirley Centre’ idea.

Talking about 10 Shirley Road helped to distract us from the pain journeys we were both on & gave us something to focus on that we both knew could benefit the generations to come.

“Be a good ancestor. Stand for something bigger than yourself.
Add value to the Earth during your sojourn.”
Marian Wright Edelman

From 1915 (original Shirley School built) to 2012 (Shirley Community Centre demolished), this site at 10 Shirley Road has historically been a ‘place of learning’ in our communities, for our residents.

When will it be our year to establish a new building, a new legacy for the generations to come?

Before my Mum passed away she told me to forget about trying to change the Community Board/Council’s mind & just focus on doing my research.

But she also knew I was persistent, like her.
My ‘why’ I was advocating for a new Centre, was never just about me…
It was about all the people in our communities that would benefit from this space now & in the future.

One of my Mum’s favourite prayers was:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Which reminds me of the ‘Volunteering Canterbury’ Facebook Post, 13th March 2024
– What is it that YOU wonder about?
– What do you wish ‘somebody’ would do something about?
– Could you be that ‘somebody’?
“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realised I was somebody.”
Lily Tomlin

Recently Ben & I were talking about my Mum’s legacy in our lives. I wondered out loud “What will be mine?”
Ben straight away said “Shirley Centre.”
I laughed at the time & said “but it may never get built.”

I’ve been thinking about our ‘legacy’ conversation since then & this quote comes to mind:
“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ben was 10 years old when I first presented my ‘Shirley Centre’ idea to Council in 2018:

He has grown up listening to my research/ideas, been involved in collecting signatures for the petition, helped to ‘activate’ the site through ‘Skip Day’ & watched as I’ve presented to our Community Board/Council over the last 6 years.

Whether a building is built or not, this is a part of our family’s story/legacy.
From Charles Duggan, to my Mum – Marie Duggan, to me – Joanna Gould (Duggan) & to my son – Ben Gould…

“May your legacies far outlive your names.
May generations tell your stories.”