The Book is Here!

The MIPIK book features 25 local stories which celebrate the skill, tenacity, courage and bloody good yarns of our Coffs Coast community.  All profits from the sale of this book go to CanDo Cancer Trust which provides assistance to local cancer sufferers and their families.  Local stories helping local people!


Local Stories helping Local People

Life can dish up unexpected challenges and sometimes we need a bit of help to meet those challenges.  The CanDo Cancer Trust provides financial support to patients and families attending the North Coast Cancer Institute.  It's a way for our community to lend a helping hand to friends and neighbours facing tough times.

We are delighted that our local stories will be helping local people.  You can lend your support by buying a book or attending the live show.

Join the Fun

Marty & Sandy van Veluwen

The Musician and His Wife

If you like listening to live music while sipping a chardy and have spent time in Coffs Harbour in the last 25 years, chances are you have heard Marty van Veluwen play.  If you’ve cut a record on the mid-north coast, it was probably produced in his music studio.  If you’ve studied song writing at the Conservatorium, he would have been your teacher.  Marty has been making music in this town for a long time.

He credits his wife Sandy with making him a musician, and she says he’s being too kind.

We hear both sides of the story.

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BEST OF MIPIK: Michael Crossland

Photo by Emma RhoadesA Message of Hope

I use the rope to play tug of war.”  That was the opening line in a letter that Michael Crossland recently received from a young girl in Denver, Colorado.  Michael remembers the girl; she was the one dressed in black with black eye make up and black nails.  The plan had been to hang herself in a motel room, she wrote.  But after hearing Michael speak she had decided the rope was better used to play tug of war with her friends.

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BEST OF MIPIK: Alison Page

Breathing Hope into our Community

If you have ever opened the paper or turned on the news and seen a story about Aboriginal Australians that just made you want to weep with hopelessness and despair, then you need to spend an hour with Alison Page.  She is a tonic, a genuine breath of hope with the outlook and energy to change the world.

You may recognise Alison as the bubbly Aboriginal interior designer on the panel of ABC’s The New Inventors.  Perhaps you have purchased a piece of Alison’s exclusive Diamond Dreaming jewellery from Mondial Neuman Jewellers in Sydney’s QVB.  If you live in Willcannia you might remember Alison from the weeks she spent in the community while designing the new hospital.

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Reverend Ian Mabey

Politics and the Priesthood

I meet Reverend Ian Mabey at “the office”.  At fifty-four years of age, the Rector of St John’s Anglican Church is a big, jolly-looking man with a resonating voice, a finger-crushing handshake and an embracing laugh.  I’m guessing that Ian is a firebrand behind the pulpit, a natural deliverer of the word of God.

And Ian agrees that he’s a natural.  When people ask him why he became a priest his answer is simple.  “I could do no other. This is what I was meant to do.”  But it took over 40 years for Ian to enter the priesthood, so his path to God was never as straightforward as those words might have you believe. 

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LJ Martin

I Dare to Dream

LJ Martin has a dream. “I dare to dream that the world’s children will understand that the world was designed for all of us – that the beauty of (the world) is that we are all different,” he says.

It seems an oversized dream for this teller of stories and singer of songs who appears regularly at Los Angeles schools and foundations.  It is a bold dream for a man who has suffered indignity, incarceration and rejection because of the colour of his skin.  Ironically, it is a dream that began with hatred, rage and fear.

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Jenny Ellis

The Overcomer

Filmmaker, photographer, painter, teacher, co-founder of WOW Women of the World, mother, grandmother: Jenny Ellis is a woman of many talents.  She’s also not short on dreams.  “I see myself touring and filming in the remote regions of Australia in three black 4WD vehicles,” she tells me.  “One has all my media equipment, the other has the editing equipment and computers, and the third is set up for me and my grandkids.”

The idea of bringing the stories of outback Australia to the world is wonderful, important even.  But it seems a stretch for this 47-year-old Aboriginal woman who is solely responsible for raising four grandchildren under 7, who still cares for a daughter with a mild disability and who currently does most of her photographic and film work on a voluntary basis.

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Lynn Mabey

Life Choices

I’ve never spoken with a ‘Pro-Lifer’ before.  This thought occurs to me as I head off to meet Lynn Mabey.  We humans tend to surround ourselves with people who look at life through the same prism, our exposure to other views limited to the evening news or social media.  So I am a little unnerved by the thought of sitting across the table from a driving force in Pregnancy Help Australia (PHA), a national organisation with a publicly pro-life stance.

I needn’t have worried.  Lynn is not a placard carrying, fanatical activist.  Once the interview begins it is obvious that she is intelligent and determined, yet I can’t escape the sense that this warm, 50-something woman is motherly - the sort of woman you expect to see sizzling sausages at a fundraiser or running the school fete.

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