Accessibility Navigation:

Interview with Jan Ives

Ives, Jan
Fisher, Andy
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places
Jan Ives talks about life in New Zealand
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Andy Fisher interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
JI (Jan Ives): I'm Jan Ives. I'm from New Zealand.
AF (Andy Fisher): All right. Jan Ives, I just want to ask you, um, are there any like, childhood stories that you remember from your childhood that may be not indigenous to the United States but indigenous to New Zealand? [Pause] Or even some, or just a story that you remember?
JI: I don't know how different it is from the American way of life, but New Zealanders tend to spend their holiday times at the beach. Even, even in the winter our beach holiday is, is different, and we enjoy it because we have such a large coastline. As a child, one of my greatest memories was going to the beach during toheroa season, toheroas are a little bit like, um, large paphies. Do you have paphies here?
AF: Puppies?
JI: Paphies?
AF: No, // huh-uh. //
JI: // No? //
AF: I don't know what // that is. //
JI: // It's a // shellfish.
AF: Oh, // OK. //
JI: // It's // a bivalve shellfish // ( ). //
AF: // So // it's kind of like a clam or an oyster, maybe?
JI: Yeah, but it would be about three inches by four inches in // di-. //
AF: // OK. //
JI: -It's in measurement.
JI: And you had to dig into the sand, into the wet sand, to get these 'cause they dig themselves down. And then you pull them up, and you split the shells-.
AF: Uh-huh.
JI: -And you mince them on the beach // in a-. //
AF: // OK. //
JI: -Mincer and they squeal, but they don't really squeal-.
AF: Oh, all right.
JI: // -It's just ( ) themselves. //
AF: // [Laughs] //
JI: And, um, they make them into fritters and cook them over a barbeque, // or-. //
AF: // OK. //
JI: -An open fire.
AF: OK, cool.
JI: Then we boil up the belly of tea, that goes with it, over an open fire with a, an old, uh, tin that's been thoroughly cleaned and you boil up your water and you throw your tea leaves in and you have hot tea and toheroa fritters, and it would be one of the most marvelous meals that you could ever have.
AF: Very cool, very cool. What beach, what were the beaches?
JI: Uh, of course our coastline is littered with beaches, [laugh] I mean it's just beach // after beach. //
AF: // What, // what ocean would that be on?
JI: Uh, it would be on the Pacific // Ocean. //
AF: // Pacific // Ocean.
JI: Yeah, and um, the place that I'm thinking about is right up north of the north island, um, on what we call Ninety Mile Beach.
AF: OK. And it probably is actually 90 // miles long? //
JI: // It's quite, // not quite 90 miles long, but it's, um, quite isolated, uh, there are certainly not, um, there aren't vetches or houses-.
AF: // Right. //
JI: // -Close // to the beach at all. You can actually drive up the beach in trucks, and cars, and things, uh, when it's low tide.
AF: So it's like, have you been to Daytona Beach here in the United States?
JI: No, I've heard about it, // though. //
AF: // Right, // it's about the same thing, except it's more built up along the beach // then it would be there. //
JI: // Well we, // there is, you know, it's quite a wilderness further up // north. //
AF: // Very cool, // very cool. Um, what about any, how are schools different in New Zealand from the United States?
JI: The structure of our school is a little bit different. Our children start school at five years of age. And that's called our primary school. Um, they can go to kindergarten for up to two years before that. Um, from the time they turn three, from three to four they usually go in the afternoons only. And from four to five they go in the mornings only. And then, they start, uh, primary school at five, um, and we have six years at primary school. Um, and then they go to what we call an intermediate school, uh, which is sort of equivalent to middle school. Um, they're about 10 or 11 when they first go. Equivalent to sort of grade six probably.
JI: And we have two years at our intermediate schools, um-.
AF: Right.
JI: -Uh, which is sort of following the British system.
AF: Right, OK.
JI: Um, and then they go to our high schools, or secondary schooling area, and they go from year nine through to year 13.
AF: OK. So there's 13 years instead of, like, we have twelfth // grade. //
JI: // Well, // it's 12, sometimes 13-.
AF: // OK. //
JI: // -Depending // on whether or not they can get into university, which is like your college.
AF: Right.
JI: Uh, they have to get certain grade level to get in, um, some people don't, so they have to back for their thirteenth year.
AF: Oh, OK.
JI: Yeah, and, uh, then they, usually depending on their degree, it's usually, sometimes three, but more often, four, five, or six years at university.
AF: OK. Do the, I guess the parents, do the parents pursue or push education on their children more so than they do here? Do you see a difference in the students? The way the students react to learning?
JI: Uh, yes there is quite a big difference. We certainly don't, we're not as, um, persistent with the use of grades-.
JI: -Um, we're not grade orientated. Um, more to do with [intercom announcement] more to do with, um, personal achievement than it is competing with classmates.
AF: Oh, OK.
JI: Um, grades become important in the secondary school, not so much in the // middle school-. //
AF: // Oh, OK. //
JI: -Or intermediate school.
AF: So it's like when they get to high school or the equivalent of high school // level. //
JI: // Yeah, // and we have external exams. Um, by the time their in, uh, grade 11 and grade 12 their sitting, what we used to call Bursary in-school certificate.
AF: Oh.
JI: Uh, but now we're going through a process ourselves, which is now called NZCEA.
AF: Uh-huh.
JI: Um, where it's sort of internally done, but they still tests at the end of every unit of work that they do-.
AF: // Oh. //
JI: // -And // if they don't pass those they don't go on.
AF: OK, got you.
JI: And there's a lot of controversy about that at the moment. Is this a good thing? Should we go back to the old thing?
AF: // Right. //
JI: // Yeah. //
AF: Kind of like there is here-.
JI: // Yes. //
AF: // -With // the different teaching styles-.
JI: Yeah.
AF: -And the different forms of theory-.
JI: // Yeah. //
AF: // -And // all that stuff. Um, I know you were a principal, right? // And. //
JI: // I // was a deputy principal, or assistant // principal. //
AF: // Yeah. //
JI: Assistant // principal. //
AF: // Assistant // principal. Um, what do you see different about the administration's role in the schools? Is it the same, or is there differences in what you, I guess the roles that you see our assistant principals handling or?
JI: I think, the, the main difference to me is that fact that our middle schools and intermediate schools, be-, because I had, basically for 29 years, taught in an intermediate school-.
AF: Right.
JI: -Um, the biggest difference would be size.
JI: Um, our biggest intermediates, in some of our biggest cities would probably be no more than about 800.
AF: Oh, wow.
JI: Yeah, and, I mean here we've got 12.
AF: 1200, // right. //
JI: // Yeah. //
JI: Um, so I suppose that does create differences in itself, um, as far as the role of an administrator, we possibly spend a little bit more time at the chalk face.
JI: Um, it's quite usual for us, if we can't get subs, for things to go in and take classes.
JI: Um, and most of us like doing it, because it's nice to get to know the kids-.
AF: // Right. //
JI: // -On // a more personal level.
AF: And it's probably nice to get back into the classroom a little // bit, too. //
JI: // Yeah, // it is.
AF: Just to keep // you fresh [laughs]. //
JI: // Yeah, well, I think // that's why I've enjoyed being here for two years.
AF: // OK. //
JI: // Um, // after being out of the classroom-.
AF: Right.
JI: -It's rather nice to back in and do that, relating // with the kids. //
AF: // Very good, // very cool. Um, what, as far as culture-.
JI: Yeah.
AF: -Um, what differences do you see in the New Zealand culture and the United States culture? The biggest, are big differences or?
JI: Not, not enormous differences, um, the most obvious one to me is the dependence of the children.
AF: Oh, OK.
JI: Um, I think our children, generally speaking and I mean there are greater differences and similarities in different areas, um, but the, the biggest thing would be that, I think, our children are more, um, independent.
JI: I think American children. [Intercom interruption]
AF: [Laughs] Sorry.
JI: Uh, I think here in the States parents, um, and it stems again from the grade thing, I think, um, they push their children at home a lot more. I mean, we encourage our children a lot, too-.
AF: // Right. //
JI: // -And // by pushing, I don't mean necessarily that's a bad thing, I think they're just a bit more intense than we are-.
AF: Right.
JI: -Possibly because grades matter earlier here, I, I really don't know // the reason. //
AF: // OK. //
JI: Um, our children wouldn't be picked up at school as often and I know again that's a geographical thing-.
AF: Right.
JI: -Uh, because a lot of the schools are out in the country, they have to either be bused or, or-.
AF: // Right. //
JI: // -Carpooled. // Um, and we, our schools tend to be in the urban areas, we, we have country schools, too um, where they're bus reliant, um, but generally speaking, because most of my experience has been within the urban area-.
AF: Right.
JI: -Um, the children bike to school, they walk to school, um, and they don't live huge distances away from school.
AF: Do you feel like it's safer over there than it is here, or about the same?
JI: It's probably about the same. I think, although we're a smaller country, smaller population, we're starting to get the same sort of problems that you've got here.
AF: Oh, gotcha.
JI: // Yeah. //
AF: // Gotcha. // Too much influence of America on the rest of the world // [laughs]. //
JI: // Probably a lot of TV influences. //
AF: // Right, exactly, // exactly. Well, I thank you for your time.
JI: // Oh, you are very. //
AF: // That's all we // need.
JI: // You're very welcome. //
AF: // Appreciate that. // Thank you.