1944 – 13th January 2020
That evening we sat together around the table as a team, quietly introspective and yet deeply cognisant of our surrounds. This was her place, we all felt that. The table perched on a terrace in the community garden at Project Lyttelton Portal. The fragrance of fresh flowers mixed in the warm breeze, and the vista across the port and up round the valley – a tangible reminder of the many messages our dear friend often shared regarding the inextricable connection between environment and people. How could you not see possibility when presented with a landscape of such magnificence? Margaret was there with us that evening as we reflected together on all that we had lost through her passing and yet all we had gained because of her time with us.
In January 2020, our dear friend and colleague Margaret Jefferies passed away after a health journey she navigated so characteristically in line with her values. Margaret died, as she had lived, opening the door for others and holding the space for courageous conversations to happen. Margaret had been part of our Leadership Lab whānau from very early on and it was her involvement in the Leaders in Community LinC Project which ensures her āhuatanga is deeply woven into the fabric of every iteration. Margaret had such a beautiful way of sitting quietly and observing, listening, allowing space to move and respond. The depths of her thoughts and consequent messages prompted deep personal reflection and challenged us all as a team in one way or another. We have been challenged to deeply consider values alignment in the work we take on, to consider carefully where the energy is, to ask ourselves if our work/relationships/lives bring joy and if not…to dance a different dance. It was as though through Margaret’s ‘funky blue glasses’ she could see the world as it should be and knew just the words and the timing to challenge us each to consider what action that might prompt – action rooted in LOVE. She asked us to see ourselves as other did, to realise the magnificence and uniqueness we each possess and to be brave enough to simply ‘bring ourselves’.
Margaret’s belief in the interconnectedness of humanity, the environment, the spirit led her to reach out to diverse communities, individuals, organisations, leaders – led by love and a deep desire to ‘truly see one another’, to build authentic relationships and to change the governing narrative. As our nation navigated Covid-19 lock down legislation earlier this year, and the implications of the global pandemic, people were forced to slow the pace, to think critically, to try new ways of being, to be guided by love and to deepen connections with one another and the environment…It’s hard not to hear Margaret’s quite whisper in this space suggesting we consider what core we wish to preserve and what future we hope to pursue.
She was not afraid, not of dominant ideology, not of marginalising legislation, not of speaking out nor of death – instead she taught, through her actions, a brave alternative. In late December 2019, we had the privilege of working with Inspiring Communities to capture some of the many wisdoms of Margaret Jefferies in film. We sat together in Margaret’s lounge, watching the birds surf the vortex up the valley, laughing together, crying, remembering but mostly listening to the stories, learnings and critical messages our friend wished to share. What a beautiful joy filled taonga this film is, a legacy to one of our nations greatest community leaders.
She had five wonderful children of her own, but she was mother to many. As a team at LinC we bade her farewell in this life, but her messages, her vision, her heart and her love will journey with us forever.
Arohanui dear friend Margaret xoxo
Māku te ra e tō ana, Kei a koe te uruanga ake o te rā – Let mine be the setting sun, as yours is the dawning of a new day.
Some touching tributes
View an online tribute from a local Lyttelton friend of MargaretView here