President of local French Club receives a prestigious award

President of local French Club receives a prestigious award


Danielle Fillion (president) and Jean-Pierre Gauthier (secretary) Danielle Fillion (club president) and Jean-Pierre Gauthier (secretary)

 

Waiheke French Club is one of our emblematic community groups. The club is run thanks to the tenacity and good will of  local individuals and its activities benefit the whole community. Some governments still understand and value the work of these dedicated individuals[1] and this is how, on  Saturday 1st May, the French ambassador made Danielle Fillion, the long term president of Waiheke French Club, a knight of the Academic Palms for her contribution to the expansion of the French culture. Members of the club,  friends and family, we all celebrated with her  – and this was a very merry affair!

Some 15 years ago Danielle Fillion and husband Roger arrived in Waiheke. Danielle, a retired high school teacher, was soon asked by a friend to preside over the local French Club. She was at first not very interested to organise what she expected to be local French expatriates, but she soon changed her mind when she  found out that the group was actually made of Francophile locals, all keen to improve on and practice their French. The motivation behind the group members hasn’t changed and, by and large, the members are non native speakers of French, but the activities have diversified and the group has grown. Danielle is now seconded by Canadian-born Jean-Pierre Gauthier whom Foreign Accents interviewed last year.

Camaraderie, curiosity and fun is what brings together a very disparate group of locals. Among the members feature Ron and Erin Martin without whose help the club would no longer exist, Christiane Hepburn who created the club, Bernard Rhode, the skipper of Flying Carpet, an  American couple who share their time between Waiheke and Hawaii and retired Canadian diplomat Julie Loranger. And of course, our small French speaking community is always happy to give a hand with the group activities.

listen to Danielle’s speech (Julie Loranger is the interpret):

Danielle’s speech (right click to download)

and to the interview of long term member, Erin Martin

Erin Martin (right click to download)

 Marie Duhamel

Waiheke French Club contact details :

PO Box 419 

Waiheke 1081 

Présidente/president: Danielle Fillion 372 6109 fillion@pl.net
Secrétaire/secretary: Jean-Pierre Gauthier 372 8733 bluemoonant@hotmail.com
 
Vice-présidente/deputy president: Julie Loranger 
Trésorier/treasurer: Ron Martin 
Bibliothécaire/librarian: Christine Beardon 
Animatrice/activities: Sally Lumsden 


[1] meanwhile our  lovely government showed how short sighted it is by cancelling community group education funding!

 



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