Sunday, December 28, 2008

A new government will have to take the high road in New Zealand in 2009...

The old year is coming to a close. We have just had a general election and the Labour -led government we had been used to and earlier relied on to rectify the abuses of the 1990's has gone. Both Helen Clark and her deputy, Michael Cullen both stood down from the leadership of the party almost immediately. Phil Goff and Annette King are the new leader and deputy respectively, of the Labour Party. What of the future?

The new prime minister and leader of the new rightwing National -led coalition, John Key, has a big task under the present economic difficulties; he may well have a poisoned chalice in leading New Zealand during these times.

This is not my political blog and I don't wish to put off readers of "Down by the HuttRiver" by writing it as such. I just wish to commentate on the present political situation where a brand new government will have to take the high road in their endeavours to justify their elevation to power in 2008. If they are unsuccessful they may not get a second term from a fickle electorate who have never explained just what the change they wished was really all about. Were they just bored with a three term Labour-led administration, or wanted a change of direction? Time will tell!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Somalian refugees need to consider the cultural requirements of their host countries...

A story in one of today's Sunday papers here in NZ caught my eye:

Three Somalian teenage refugees have been questioned regarding allegations that they have been preying on young impressionable girls for sex. The eldest of the trio has ben charged with underage sex with a girl last month. Two other girls had made allegations against him and his two friends aged 16 and 17 years as well.

The police were investigating claims these three youths were targeting young girls attending church functions in upper middle class suburbs.

They denied charges and said they had no idea why the girls were telling "lies". Why would the girls tell lies in the first place?

One of the trio said he believed "people from the government" were biased against them. He said one of the girls he had sex with told him she was 16 years old; he said he was disappointed later she when discovering she was only 13 years old. Disappointed?

I think these refugee youths wouldn't find themselves in trouble if they stuck to girls in their own age -group. They are undoubtably aware of New Zealand's sex laws and our cultural requirments, which were obviously much stricter than those they were used to. They are obviously targeting young girls from church groups who they believed were "fair game".

An interesting story. Of course the youths were innocent and blamed the girls for being flirtatious. Yeah and I'm the Mother Superior! As an aside, aren't Somalians Muslim who have strict laws regarding illicit sex? Thats what I thought!

Or is it because Somalian and other North African cultures lack real respect for their women and girls, and men and boys can please themselves when, where and with whom they satisfy their sexual urges? I really wonder!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Boulcott Hospital, a small private hospital that has entered 21st century, i-suite operating technology...

Boulcott Hospital, a small private New Zealand hospital that has adopted 21st century, i-suite operating technology...

Boulcott Hospital in Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand, is a great little modern hospital set up for a variety of operations that do not have to be done in one of New Zealand's larger state owned and operated hospitals.
I have personally been a patient at Boulcott Hospital on a couple of occasions for minor operations to my hand and knee. Both medical and post operative treatment were excellent. The hospital caters for private and ACC patients, and perhaps some other insured patients as well. This is not an advertising post, but some positive comments from a former patient who received excellent medical and treatment there.

Just imagine the news I read today about Boulcott Hospital:

A new operating theatre has been constructed and fitted out by medical technology company, STRYKER, who have built the first of these 21st century style operating theatres in the Wellington and central North Island region in New Zealand.

Lets discuss some of the comments made: A whole new way of looking at surgery; Clinicians no longer have to be in the same operating theatre or town - to view surgery carried out at the hospital, thanks to its cutting edge technology of its new i-suite-operating theatre; This allows surgeons and theatre teams to work in a more collaborative manner ...(because)everyone can see whats happening - Richard Grenfell.

Cameras inside operating lights and other equipment reportedly film operations, which are shown in real time on three screens inside the theatre.

It can also be broadcast to remote sites, such as seminar rooms or other hospitals, even in other towns; perhaps even in other countries too!

There is also much more room around the operating table, which allows surgeons and theatre teams to work in a more efficient and collaborative manner because everyone can see what is going on there.

Surgeons have headsets to communicate with the seminar room and can also access patient notes, X-rays and other information on touch-panel screens while working in the theatre.

The theatre reportedly cost about NZ$2 million dollars, part of a NZ$7 million dollar upgrade of Boulcott Hospital, which included new in-patient beds and a day- stay suite.

Dr Grenfell said that, unlike oldstyle operating theatres which are very cluttered with various monitors and cables, the state of the art i-suite used ceiling mounted booms to accomodate medical equipment and monitors. He also said surgeons had enthusiastically adopted the new technology and rated the i-suite operating theatre as their favourite theatre; it gave them the best view of surgery they have ever seen.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

NZ National Government introduces fascist 90 day hire and fire law under urgency...

While this is not my political blogsite, it deals with social issues which have to be discussed.

The newly elected rightwing National Government in NZ has introduced under urgency and passed into law a '90 day hire and fire Act' giving small employers(under 20 employees) the legal right to sack workers without notice or grievance procedure within the ninety day period.

While the provisions of the new law are attacked, the worst aspect was the law being introduced under urgency a couple of weeks before Christmas. Under urgency prevents debate in the committee stages of law making.

The only protection workers will have are those under human rights legislation.

I understand a similar situation exists in the US, but it is not enacted in law, but through employers hiring procedures.

Critics claim that compliance costs will increase, as they did when a similar law was enacted in Britain.

I can't understand how it will assist the employment of more workers; it will just make those already at risk more vulnerable, especially the young, ethnic, or foreign workers on short term visas.

The largest union in the country,the EPMU, made the unparalled and unsuccessful petition to the Governor General to intervene.

In the 1990's the then National Government introduced the controversial Employment Contracts Act(ECA) which affected NZ workers in a number of negative and repressive ways and kept National out of office for nine years. There is genuine fear here that the new law may be the thin edge of the wedge!

Auckland, New Zealand - a rightwing nanny state...

Full of rightwing politicians from councils to parliament, but as nanny statish as anything claimed during Labour's reign:

Right-wing nanny state? While some Auckland beaches are contaminated with sewage and public transport remains an embarrassment, it's good to see the Auckland City Council has moved on to more important matters — like dictating to buskers what songs they can play. If it was April, I'd swear this story was a joke. The new policy says buskers must apply for an annual busking licence and develop sufficient repertoire so they can perform without repetition.

So who will make sure buskers stick to the rule? A council funded busker monitor? Or better yet, maybe the police would like to add it to their list of daily tasks? Will they also restrict the playing of 'Smoke on the Water'? Please? What do you think should be Auckland City Council's priorities? Cleaning up the beaches? Public transport? Moving the homeless from central-city streets? Bringing another international sporting star to Auckland for the enjoyment of the council? Too many questions, I know.

Quite frankly they are welcome to their nanny state. Does anybody admit to actually living there?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NZ Government to consider road rule changes...

New Zealand has been giving way to the right for the past thirty years – it’s the basis of our road rules.

But overwhelmingly those in the business of traffic safety think it’s time we changed it for reasons of safety and common sense– every other country in the world gives way to the left.

The AA has renewed the call to change the rule and the government has said it will consider it.

The rule was adopted from Victoria thirty years ago who used it to deal with their tram system. However, the Australian state dumped the rule in 1993.

The rule is particularly dangerous at T-intersections when there is a car behind the left turning vehicle. The left-turning vehicle may stop, letting in the right-turning vehicle but the vehicle behind on the left may try to overtake, causing a collision.

The AA says further confusion arises when a car indicating left actually carries on straight. Police say this causes 50 crashes a year.

Just about every group involved in road traffic safety, the police, Ministry of Transport, Land Transport, the Cyclist Advocate Network and the Institute of Engineers have called for the rule to be changed.

Changing the rule will making driving in New Zealand easier for tourists but the focus is on safety.

Analysis by the Ministry of Transport suggests that it could result in a bout 160 fewer crashes per year.

Acknowledgements to Automobile Association NZ

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What exactly are those 'black boxes' that reveal the facts after an aircraft accident...

What exactly are those 'black boxes' that reveal the facts after an aircraft accident?

These black boxes are an important key to the facts relating to a any aircraft accident. In most cases there are two boxes:

The first one contains the voice cockpit recordings - usually the final 30 minutes of the flight.

The second contains a wealth of flight data, which helps to paint a picture of what was occuring on board the aircraft by giving details on engine, electronics and flight management systems.

It has been explained that in a modern jet, such as the Airbus A320, involved in the fatal Air New Zealand accident off southern France in the Mediterranean Sea recently, the information from both boxes should give investigators a clear picture of what had occurred.

All the systems in an airliner are recorded to go into the box electronically, Transport Accident Investigation Commission chief investigator, Tim Burfoot allegedly stated after the recent Air New Zealand crash.

The name 'black box' dates back to the 1950's when they were first introduced into airliners and operated like a typewriter; they were actually changed to 'orange boxes' to make them easier to find after a crash.

Inside the boxes, wrapped in layers of protected packaging, are the vital memory cards containing voice and flight data. These boxes are built to withstand the most severe conditions, including extreme altitude, heat moisture. The boxes themselves can be destroyed, but the modules inside containing the memory cards can in theory survive the crash.

In New Zealand, for instance, according to Mr Burfoot, most air-accident investigators do not have the luxury of having such data because they are reserved for commercial jets, not the smaller aircraft that are more in use in this country.


Monday, December 1, 2008

It was a privilege to serve with Peter Lorimer and the NZ Labour Party...

Last Saturday, Nov 22 2008, I attended the funeral service of an old Labour Party comrade of mine from the early 1980's, Peter Lorimer of Taita; before Rogernomics and its founder contaminated not only New Zealand, but the great old party itself.

Peter was the Chairman of the Taita Pomare Branch of the NZ Labour Party, and we both stood on the Labour Party ticket for the 1983 Lower Hutt City Council elections. Neither of us were elected, but that is hardly the point. The point is being involved in your community and helping others in the best way you can. Peter did that in spades! He wasn't one for beating his own drum, so the surprise shown by those at his funeral when reading an election pamphlet from that 1983 election campaign which had Peter's photo in it wasn't surprising in the least. It was a privilege to unashamedly serve with Peter and the NZ Labour Party.

And in passing lets farewell and congratulate another old party comrade in Helen Clark for her decades of service to New Zealand and New Zealanders, which included personal help given to my family as well. Helen would also be pleased to know she rubbed shoulders with somebody of the calibre of Peter Lorimer too!

Peter Petterson

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Underdog Kiwis whipped champion Aussie Kangaroos in Rugby League World Cup...

Underdog Kiwis whipped the Kangaroos in Rugby League World Cup final...

New Zealand are undoubted kings of rugby union, despite world cup setbacks, but as the underdogs our Kiwis whipped the Aussie Kangaroos 34-20 for the first time ever in this year's Rugby League World Cup finals in front of a crowd of 50,000 at Suncorp Stadium at Brisbane, Australia during the weekend. They had been soundly thrashed in the preliminary round a month ago. NZ had also lost its previous 13 games against Australia; so the turnaround in fortunes was huge.

For those familiar with any sporting code, if you put the opposition under real pressure they are liable to make mistakes at crucial times in a match; that is actually what happened on Saturday night.

It was the New Zealand 'Kiwis' first Rugby League World Cup finals success in 54 years, despite twice being runners up, and their first win against Australia since the Tri Nations win in 2005 in England.

It will be something they can cherish and enjoy the bragging rights for the next five years. Oh yes! And how the poor Aussie fans are feeling their tragic loss?

The Cup final

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Zealand moves to the political right - Labour-led Government loses general elections...

New Zealand moves to the political right - Labour-led Government loses general elections...

New Zealand politics moves to the right - left of centre Labour -led Government loses the general elections in New Zealand.The right wing John Key- led National Party set to govern NZ for the next three years.
Arguably one of the best ever prime ministers of New Zealand, Helen Clark came to power in 1999 and was twice re-elected. She had hoped to be the first New Zealand prime minister to be elected to four terms. This wasn't to be, an apparently bored electorate wanted change; but change to what?

Labour has been a good and effective government with some great social policies and economicly progressive policies which have greatly helped families and those lower socio-economic groups in society, working together with its coalition partners to support superannuants and the socially challenged in NZ society. It drew a lot of criticism from some sectors of society for a number of its social reform policies.

It slashed unemployment and reformed a number of employment related policies, created a new state bank - Kiwibank; became the major shareholder in Air New Zealand; later renationalised state rail - Kiwirail; instituted a compulsory savings scheme - Kiwisaver; and invested state superannuation internationally.

It received widespread support for most of its economic policies at the time, but has recently been criticised as the global economic situaion has begun to bite.

It has recently renewed its defence relationship with the US; signed a Free Trade Agreement with China; and commenced trade talks with US which could lead to a later FTA with the US as well. It is to be hoped the new National Government will continue with Labour's policies in defence, trade and in other areas as well.

As a result of Labour's election defeat, Helen Clark and her deputy, Michael Cullen both resigned their leadership of the Labour Party. Labour has subsequently selected Phil Goff and Annette King as their new leader and deputy leader.

National's John Key has formed a new government, and appointed his first cabinet with support of Act NZ's Rodney Hide; United Future's Peter Dunne and the Maori Party's co-leaders, Pita Sharples and tariana Turia. All non-National cabinet ministers are outside of Cabinet itself, something started by former labour PM Helen Clark.

As it has previously been said before - they will be back!

And so it begins!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marmite to be relabelled as Mo-mite in support of prostate cancer week in NZ...

Sanitarium brand Marmite is to be relabelled as Mo-mite next month in support of Movember - the campaign to increase awareness of prostate cancer - the male equivalent of breast cancer that kills millions.

This campaign is to raise money for the Cancer Society and the NZ Mental Health Foundation in New Zealand.

For every jar of Marmite or Mo-mite bought in November 2008, Sanitarium will donate 15 cents to the Movember Foundation in New Zealand.

Are there similar promotions in your country to create awareness in prostate cancer there?

Momite prostate cancer promotion

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Monday,October 27 2008, is Labour Day in New Zealand...

This Monday, October 27 2008, is Labour Day here in New Zealand...

This Monday is Labour Day here in NZ and most workers wouldn't know the history behind it. Oh yeah, its something to do with a holiday for workers, some would say!

I know you celebrate Labour Day in the US too. I'll tell you a little about ours.

It's 165 years since an English carpenter, Samuel Parnell, arrived at Wellington's Port Nicholson in 1840 determined that life would not be a continuation of the work-slavery he and his fellows had previously endured back in the England of those days. After all what would be the point of travelling 12,000 miles down to New Zealand if conditions were to be the same?

On his arrival, a fellow passenger reportedly asked Parnell if he would set up a store for him. He agreed, but as a condition he made his famous and historical statement that is the ethos behind Labour Day here in NZ: He would work only eight hours a day, because his philosophy was that in any 24 hours,eight were for work, eight for sleep and eight for recreation.

Parnell knew he couldn't change things on his own; he needed a movement for change behind him. So he made it a mission to meet incoming ships to the new British colony here and explain to tradesmen just how things were and should be in New Zealand.

According to a workers meeting was held in October 1840 on Lambton Quay in Wellington at which workers resolved that any tradesman breaking the eight hour rule would be thrown in the drink - would get a dunking in the harbour!

Oh how times have changed, so much for the ethos behind Labour Day, now just a holiday reminding us all of the intestinal fortitude of one Samuel Parnell who started a movement for change in the interests of workers rights, long before there were established trade unions(labor unions)or any inclination for establishing any.

Since the arrival and establishment of Labour Day, and the changes made to workers rights with the advent of the Employment Contracts Act here by the previous right wing National government in 1991, many workers now work in excess of 50 hours a week, and many are paid minimal overtime rates or none at all, levels exceeded only by South Korea.

There was a time in NZ when our trade unions were strong enough to ensure we had at least minimal rights and we considered unions overseas including the US with a little derision, and even more with stronger advocacy from the more militant unions here. So much has been lost during the last 17 years that we need another Samuel Parnell to make some determined decisions. Well lets enjoy Labour Day at least, while we still have it!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Zealand Government approves clinical trials to transfer pig cells into humans...

NZ Government approves pig cell research trials...
Chronic obesity in adults and children is leading towards an epidemic in Type-TWO Diabetes throughout the western world, but a new study suggests type 1 and type 2 are the one and same; governments have become extremely concerned with the future health of their citizens.

Diabetics around the world are now pinning their hopes on a controversial new experiment that was approved by the New Zealand Government this week, which will allow the transfer of pig cells into the bodies of human beings. Previous trials in Russia and other countries have not yet been successful.

New Zealand is the first country to officially allow clinical trials to hopefully transform the lives of people living with Type-One diabetes. These people have up to now had to live with multiple daily insulin injections, the constant monitoring of their blood and consideration of an exercise regime. Type- One diabetes reportedly shaves off one third of their expected lifespan!

The government approved trials in Southland in the South Island of New Zealand; the actual location is top secret at present, will involve the transfer of live cells from the pancreas of piglets into the patients abdomen to produce insulin on demand.

The pigs that will be used in the trials come from a group of unique pigs from the Auckland Islands a few hundred miles off the coast from the New Zealand mainland, who have been totally isolated for two hundred years and are free of any retroviruses.

The scientists concerned are presently selecting suitable diabetic patients for the trials.

I have reproduced part of a scientific report to explain the reasons and necessity behind the decision to hold these forthcoming trials in New Zealand:

The transportation of embryonic pig pancreatic tissue as a source of insulin has been suggested for some time now as a cure for diabetes. Previous limited trials failed in their attempts to treat diabetic patients by the transportation of advanced gestational age porcinc embryonic pancreas.The present study examined the growth potential, functionality and immunogencity of pig embryonic tissue harvested at different gestational ages. I hope this is all clear to readers?

Xeno transplantation.

Public Library of Science (PLoS)

Embryonic Pig Pancreatic Tissue

Transplantation for the Treatment of Diabetics


Friday, October 3, 2008

New Zealand could legalise the medicinal use of cannabis...

New Zealand could legalise the medicinal use of cannabis...

First published at Qassia:

The New Zealand government could soon legalise the medicinal use of cannabis products such as sprays, after an application by the leading British manufacturer of "Sativex".

Medsafe is considering whether to allow the marketing and sale of cannabis sprays for severe pain relief in this country.

Cannabis is a class C drug, and cannabis preparations are class B drugs in New Zealand. But the NZ Medicines Act allows the drug to be used with ministerial approval.

It comes at a time when the country faces a parliamentary election in a matter of weeks, and mounting pressure from patients and scientists to legalise the use only foraccident victims, cancer patients and some multiple sclerosis patients.

There is bound to be opposition from certain quarters who do not support any use of drugs such as cannabis and would consider it to be the short end of the stick. This will be a major change in policy for New Zealand society who have indicated their disapproval in the past for any relaxing of the drug laws, even for medicinal use.

The medicinal cannabis use lobby have spent many years putting forward their case for using cannabis for severe pain relief.

Read here

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Stories in nature - human in nature...

Stories in nature - human in nature...

First published at Qassia:

A beige coloured penguin was taunted and ostracised by its fellows down in Antarctica.It lacked its normal pigmentation of a trademark 'black dinner' jacket colouring.

Scientists down there in Antarctica were trying to come up with ideas to help the unfortunate penguin - perhaps dye it black and white or something else. Aussie researchers restoring the historic Mawsons Huts felt sorry for the 'poor little bugger'.

So it proves that not only humans are discriminated against by their fellows. Anything different or standing out could be in danger of discrimination.

Read here

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chinese mistrust NZ milk products - what a hypocritical cheek...

More than half of Chinese consumers say they mistrust New Zealand milk food products after the melamine milk contamination. What a bloody cheek - the contaminated milk powder was Chinese not New Zealand!

It was Chinese babies who suffered from kidney stones, not NZ babies. Get it right!

The connection between NZ and the melamine contaminated milk was the fact that NZ dairy giant, Fonterra, owns 43% of Sanlu, the company company involved. No NZ milk, I repeat no NZ milk was ever involved.

A consumers survey came up with a rather confusing set of comments, because NZ still comes out with a rating second behind the European Union and head of the US,Canada, Australia, Japan and China in that order.

Guilt by association undoubtably caused the result of the survey. NZ is involved with one of companies proven to have sold melamine contaminated milk.

Incidently melamine contaminated food products have found their way down to the South Pacific and the NZ market. They have been tested, taken off the shelves and the exporters involved has been informed of the decision.

There is no acceptable level ever of melamine in foodstuffs - it is an industrial chemical only!

Read more here

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

From the archives of HuttRiver - a woolly story...

From the archives of HuttRiver - a woolly story!

It was during the 1980's that one of the largest carpet manufacturer's in New Zealand received two major orders for pure woollen carpets.

The first was from the White House in Washington DC, for Shagpile carpet for President and Mrs Reagan.

The second was from Buckingham Palace in London, England, for Virgin wool carpet for Prince Charles and his new bride, Princess Dianna.

The two orders were speedily expedited, and delivered post haste.However during delivery the carpet factory's despatch department noted an error: The Shagpile was sent to London, and the Virgin wool to Washington.

The First Lady and a Princess share a secret!

A woolly joke, perhaps? All the way from New Zealand!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The banker and the 'lady' from the boutique agency...

The banker and the 'lady' from the boutique agency...

An exclusive Wellington, New Zealand, brothel is taking a businessman to court, accusing him of failing to pay it for services rendered.

District Court documents obtained by the local daily newspaper revealed that the compay who owns the brothel has sued the man, a high-flier in the banking industry.

The brothel - which markets itself as a "boutique agency for a select clientele", and won't be named obviously, alleges the man has refused to pay for an hour and a half 'sexual services'.

The brothel claims $800 for the first hour - $200 for the next half hour, and an extra $300 because the escort was delayed from returning to work because of the man's conduct, which cost her another appointment.

On its website the brothel says it 'aims to provide a tasteful and discreet haven for gentleman to enjoy the attentions of elegant, beautifully groomed and intelligent women'. Perhaps it failed to deliver on that occasion?

Read story here

Sunday, September 14, 2008

NZ All Blacks win the silverware - won pulsating match against Australian Wallabies...

NZ All Blacks rugby union team win pulsating match against Australian Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia...

The New Zealand All Blacks rugby union test side stared defeat in the face but refused to blink at what was described as a seething Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, last night.But they unleashed a withering and dramatic second half effort, after being down 7-17, to storm back to a scintilating 28-24 win over the Australian Wallabies.
The All Blacks have taken their fourth consecutive Tri-Nations title with that pulsating victory over the Wallabies in front of a sell-out 52,328 at Suncorp Stadium. Both teams had beaten each other at home earlier, and had also won and lost against the South African Springboks, who had been knocked out of the competition. The All Blacks also retained the Bledisloe Cup against Australia. The fourth game to played before the end of season tour of Britain and Ireland at the neutral venue of Hong Kong will be irrelevant as the competition is now a dead rubber.

Both teams crashed out of the Rugby World Cup quarter -finals last year, but are clearly the top two sides overall in world rugby. If there was a world championship in rugby, this would have been it last night. Both teams played some awesome rugby, but the All Blacks lived up to their reputation as the best team and brand in world rugby.

Ironically the coach of the Australian Wallabies is New Zealander, Robbie Deans,who coached the Canterbury Crusaders to four of their seven Super Rugby titles. Many of the Crusaders players are in the current All Blacks side. Robbie Deans failed to get the coaching position with the All Blacks when the encumbent, Graham Henry was c controversally retained.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Zealand's Marineland loses last dolphin...

New Zealand's Marineland loses last dolphin...

The last captive dolphin at Napier's Marineland has died. Napier is in the Hawkes Bay, on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.

Kelly, who was aged 38- year- old had been battling illness over the last week, but Marineland manager, Gary Macdonald says he did not expect her to pass away so quickly. He says staff are devastated, but relieved she did not suffer.

"Obviously everyone is extremely sad. This is an animal that myself and my staff have worked with for many, many years. She'll leave a huge gap. It's just like losing a member of the family."

Marineland is now closed until the Napier City Council and the public decide on its future. The issue is open for public consultation. Keeping dolphins in captivity is no longer a politically correct practice.

Shona, Marineland's other dolphin, died in April 2006, sparking debate on whether wild dolphins should be kept in captivity. A petition held at the time and signed by thousands of people called on the Government to allow the importation of dolphins.

Kelly and Shona arrived at Marineland in 1974 and delighted thousands of children and adults for three decades or more. The dolphins will be missed and a great loss to Napier City. Marineland was a great tourist attraction, and the only captive dolphin enclosure in New Zealand.

A bit of history here

Monday, September 8, 2008

Didn't need a passport in 1944...

An old New Zealand gentleman aged 83 years was holding up the customs queue at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. He couldn't find his passport, and was agitating the customs officer.

"Have you been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked impatiently.

As he continued to rummage in his bag, he admitted to having come to France previously.

"Then you should have had your passport ready!" the customs officer retorted, rather rudely.

The old Kiwi said he didn't need it last time he came to France.

"Impossible!" the customs officer exclaimed. "Everybody must show their passports when they come to France."

As the old man finally found his passport and handed it over to the rude customs officer, he gave the Frenchman a long hard look and quietly said,"Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach with the American Army on D-Day in 1944 to liberate your country, I couldn't find anybody to give my passport to. He took his passport and walked through.

Read more stories here

Kiwi champion driver Scott Dixon won his second Indy Car series...

Kiwi champion driver Scott Dixon won his second Indy Car racing series title this morning.

He was second in the last race by a record barest of margins of about one thousandth of a second. He needed to finish only in the top eight to win the series.

Dixon won the Indy 500 race earlier in the season. He won a US$1 million for his efforts.

He will need it having got married this year. LOL

Who said Kiwis can't fly...around racetracks so fast?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Was this a spirit, an angel or coincidence - my old black cat and number five...

My lucky old black cat. My ghost, spirit, angel or coincidence? The paranormal? Who really knows…

Many years ago during my youth I lived for a short time in Hamilton, in the North Island of New Zealand.

I lived in a boarding house and one summer’s evening I decided to walk down to the local shopping centre (in the days preceding shopping malls in my country) to look around and buy a snack for supper.

I walked down the street engrossed in thought,probably thinking of home in the South Island, and suddenly there was a flash of movement in the corner of my eye - an adult black cat jumped off the stone wall I was passing,rubbed itself against my leg and purred softly!

I reached down, spoke to the cat and stroked its back softly. It purred again, and as quickly as it appeared, leapt up onto the stone wall and disappeared! I looked for it again, but there was no sight of it.

I continued down the street to the shops; outside one there was a numbered raffle wheel. I bought a ticket in a prize for a box of miscellaneous goods, worth quite a few dollars. I took my usual number five, my lucky number in raffles. The raffler spun the wheel… and up came number five… the winner!

I collected my winning prize and did some window shopping, bought a soft drink ( a soda in American )and began walking home. As I passed the stone wall I saw the black cat standing silently looking at me; he suddenly jumped and disappeared again!

But a feeling came over me,something I have never been able to explain. I know, also, that if the cat had not delayed me for that moment or two, I would never have bought that winning raffle ticket? My little ghost, spirit, angel or…just a coincidence? Who knows? History suggests black cats are unlucky, but not for me!

Read about Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The father of 'Little Pumpkin' has his day in court for murder...

The father of "Little Pumpkin" the little New Zealand girl abandoned on a Melbourne, Australia, train station last year, who became a world celebrity when the depth of her father's monsterous acts were revealed, is now having his day in court and the opportunity to justify his actions. The following is a news report of the commencement and first day of his deposition hearing to establish whether he has a case to answer, which in my opinion he surely does:

The prosecution claims Nai Yin Xue strangled his wife Anan Liu to death with a necktie.

The depositions hearing for murder accused Nai Yin Xue is underway at the Auckland District Court.

Xue is charged with murdering Ms Liu between September 11 and 13 last year. Crown Solicitor Brian Dickie says Ms Liu was strangled to death with a yellow necktie, which was owned by Xue. The prosecutor believes she was killed either late in the evening of September 11, or early in the morning of September 12.

Mr Dickie told the court of a violent relationship. He said on one occasion Xue tried to use an axe to force his way into a house Ms Liu was staying at in Wellington.

The 54-year-old was arrested in America in February, ending a five month manhunt. Xue was deported to New Zealand in early March to face the charge.

Police believe Xue left the country just after killing his wife. The couple's four-year-old daughter Qian Xun Xue is being cared for by her maternal grandparents in China, after being abandoned at a Melbourne railway station.

Earlier there were lengthy discussions in court over who would translate for Xue. It has been decided legal instructions will be translated by Owen Martell, a legal partner of his lawyer Chris Comeskey. The rest of the proceedings will be translated by a court appointed translator.

It came after Xue told the interpreter he was not happy with Mr Martell translating all of the proceedings, as his Mandarin was not good enough.

Proceedings had previously been held up by around 40 minutes while media set up to cover the two day hearing.

The hearing continues:

Read the full story here

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The ant and the elephant are now good mates...

The ant and the elephant are now good mates...

When did New Zealand gain independence from Britain... I was recently asked when did New Zealand gain full independemce from Britain?

Lets read a bit of background material and history about New Zealand, the small dual island nation in the South Pacific,about 1200 miles or 2,000 km from Australia. I say dual island because the two main islands are still known as the South Island and the North Island. The south is the larger of the two, but the North has about two thirds of the population, with the capital city being Wellington, at the bottom of the North Island.

The population today has a majority of caucasians with Maori and Pacific Islanders making up the two largest population minorities. The Maori are not indigenous to New Zealand despite claims to the contary, perpetuated no doubt because of longstanding land claims.

Until the late 13th century NZ was uninhabited, apart from the odd island-hopping visitors from other Pacific Islands in previus times. There have been recorded visits to Aotearoa by the legendary Kupe and his waka(ocean-going canoes)in the late 9th century. That is another historical story within modern day New Zealand history.

In the 15th century Dutch explorer Abel Tasman visited NZ during his voyages here and around Australia, naming New Zealand after the town of Zeeland in Holland.

In the late 18th century British explorer Captain James Cook made about three voyages of discovery and mapped NZ.

Whalers and sealers set up their posts around NZ in the early 19th century. Missionaries arrived in the country to save the natives from their pagan ways, and also to get their hands on land.Settlers arrived to purchase land too, with the organised colonising of NZ.

In 1835 a number of Maori tribes signed a so-called Declaration of Independence with the Crown. But this was ignored and not recognised by those seeking to colonise NZ and get their hands on as much land as possible. Then the French began to make their presence felt too around present day Banks Peninsula, which is now part of modern Christchurch City, the largest city in the South Island.

As a consequence to the above the British Governor arranged a treaty to be signed by a majority of maori tribes throughout NZ - known as the 'Treaty of Waitangi', this was done in 1840 and the British flag was raised on NZ to keep the French out of NZ.

During the next few decades there were wars with some Maori tribes, much land was confiscated by the British Crown, and the country was colonised. The causasian population increased until they were the majority, and the Maori population decreased drastically through disease and other reasons.

In 1901 New Zealand had been invited to become part of the amalgamation of colonies to form the Commonwealth Of Australasia, but NZ declined mainly through transport distance and lack of easy means of communication with Australia; it took days to sail to Australia. The Commonwealth Of Australia was formed instead, and New Zealand went on its own.

In 1907 the Dominion of New Zealand was formed - an independent self-governing overseas territory of Great Britain as it was known then.

Full independence was not given to NZ until 1931, but it did not ratify this until 1947, when the WW2 was over and the mood of "where Britain goes, NZ goes" was long gone.

So 107 years after the signing, the Treaty of Waitangi is still fully recognised as a founding document of this country, and probably one of the few treaties in the world to survive, NZ become its own man, so to speak. Less than 20 years later NZ would in point of fact be discarded by Britain's entry to the European commonmarket, which is now the European political Union.

NZ lost its guaranteed markets to Britain and had to find its own way in the world. NZ would also establish its own foreign policy and became alienated from the US because of its anti-nuclear policies and stance, something still in force today. The US considered NZ a friend, but no longer an ally and denied NZ military training and security information.However there are signs of the two countries becoming locked in embrace again. The US and NZ have actually been friends and allies for many, many years.

The ant and the elephant are good mates and cobbers once again!

I hope you enjoyed this little look at NZ history today.

Read here

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The longest place name in the English speaking world in New Zealand...

The name "Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaurehaeaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu" has 92 letters, and has been entered into the Guinness Book of Records as the longest officially recognized place name in an English-speaking country. It is the second longest place name in the world. In comparison, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's longest place name is Bangkok's full ceremonial name given by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, and later edited by King Mongkut, nearly doubles that and is called "Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit."

A longer version,Taumata-whakatangihanga-koauau-a-Tamatea-haumai-tawhiti-ure-haea-turi-pukaka-piki-maunga-horo-nuku-pokai-whenua-ki-tana-tahu, has 105 letters and means The hill of the flute playing by Tamatea — who was blown hither from afar, had a circumcised penis, grazed his knees climbing mountains, fell on the earth, and encircled the land — to his beloved.

Tamatea, explorer of the land:

Taumata sign, March 2007Tamatea-pōkai-whenua (Tamatea the explorer of the land) was the father of Kahungunu, ancestor of the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi.Mention of Tamatea's explorations of the land occur not only in Ngāti Kahungunu legends, but also in the traditions of iwi from Northland, where he is said to have explored the Hokianga and Kaipara harbours. In traditions from the Bay of Plenty region, he left a son, Ranginui, who is the ancestor of Ngāti Ranginui of Tauranga. Legends from the East Coast of the North Island tell of his explorations in Tūranga-nui (Gisborne), Māhia, Wairoa, Ahuriri (Napier), Heretaunga (near Hastings) and Pōrangahau. He travelled via the Mangakopikopiko River, over the Tītī-o-kura saddle via Pohokura to Lake Taupo. The Ōtamatea River and swamp is named after him. Tamatea is also the name of a place in Napier. Early South Island legends say that Tamatea sailed down the east coast. His canoe was wrecked in the far south, and transformed into Tākitimu mountain range. Tamatea then returned to the North Island, and travelled via the Whanganui River.

Read here

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tom is now the new chairman of the board - wins New Zealands third and final Olympic gold medal...

Tom is now the new chairman of the board - wins New Zealands third and final Olympic gold medal...

Tom Ashley from Auckland won New Zealand's third and final gold medal in the RS.X Board Sailing. Tom is also the reigning world champion for this event.

The Olympics are over for the NZ team who added the 4000m Cycling Team Pursuit bronze medal to their tally: 25 year old Lower Hutt born and raised Nick Willis, reigning Commonwealth Games Gold medalist for that distance, added the Olympic Gold medal for the distance with a withering late run; and Aucklander Brian Docherty added the Bronze for the Triathlon to the team tally as well.

There was every indication early in the week that New Zealand athletes would win a few more medals for their country, if not gold at least more silver and bronze. But it wasn't to be. There was some creditable performances, but many disappointing results. Results are important in the Olympic Games, not just the participation. New Zealand has finished somewhere about 20th in the list. Still very good for a small nation of 4 million people.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Couldn't handle kindergarten rock...

Would you believe this? A noise control officer was called out to a kindergarten disco in Auckland, New Zealand, recently.

He closed down the annual disco which had been running for one and a half hours of the planned two hour late afternoon session. Why?

A neighbour couldn't handle the loud rendition of "Bob the Builder", so he rang the local council's noise control officer, who arrived rather sheepishly at 6-13pm to inform the parent organisers that they had to close the kindergarten aged disco down immediately. A parent present claimed the music couldn't be heard two doors away. There are plans for another disco and "Bob the Buider" again next year.

You read about it here first!

Hear audio here

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wait until your number is called, love...

Wait until your number is called, love! I really liked that one, friends...

One Friday night many years ago in a crowded downtown Wellington hotel bar, a very large, and florid faced man sat down beside me and started banging the bar with his fist.

A very busy and flustered barmaid with three pints of beer in each hand said she would be right back to serve him.

But the extremely impatient customer started banging the bar again with his fist for service.

Going to the cash register, the barmaid wrote the number 567 on a piece of paper and laid it in front of him. "Wait until I call your number, love!" she said to him.

Then turning to the bar she said," Now who has number one?"

I think that impatient customer learned a valuable lesson that night. And I had a most peaceful evening from then on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Zealand 1500 metre Olympic medal legacy continues...

New Zealand has returned to the podium in the Olympic 1500 metres for the first time in 32 years with Lower Hutt born and raised Nick Willis collecting bronze. The legacy continues!

Nick Willis has joined Jack Lovelock, Peter Snell, John Davies, Rod Dixon and John Walker to have won medals in the event, running three minutes 34.16 for a bronze.

He says it feels great to live up to expectations and he owes a lot to the support of everyone who helped him to do it. His brother Steve had taken a year off work along with his family to help achieve the task as mentor, with University of Michigan coach Ron Warhurst. Steve says it was a big ask to win a medal but Nick has done it. Willis was near the rear but improved and ran on into third short of the line.

His bronze medal brought the NZ medal tally to eight. Two gold, one silver and five bronze.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Super Golden Saturday - New Zealand's greatest day in Olympic history...

First pubished at Qassia:

Super Golden Saturday - New Zealand's greatest day in Olympic history...

Super Golden Saturday - New Zealand's most successful day in Olympic history...
New Zealand has won more than one gold medal in a day in an Olympic Games before - Peter Snell and Murray Halberg achieved this on the track in Rome within an hour in 1960, but have never won five medals in one day before.

New Zealand had five boats through to the finals in rowing:

Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell, the twin sisters, repeated their achievement in Athens four years ago by winning the gold medal for the women's double scull, by one 1/hundredth of a second, a sensational performance in getting up to win after their trials and tribulations of the last year or two, sickness, loss of form and failure in the world championships. We have a saying in New Zealand: The cream always rises to the top!

Hayden Roulston, almost an unknown before the games, rode off for first and second place in the men's Individual Pursuit track cycling at the Velodrome. He achieved silver against the seasoned world champion.

The valiant sick and dehydrated Mahe Drysdale, three times world champion struggled through to finals by the barest margin, swept through to the lead in the men's single scull, before collapsing - but managed third and the bronze medal. He needed medical and ambulance assistance, but still made it to the podium to receive his bronze medal. Not a winner, but a real champion to be proud of.

Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater, so brave and consistent through to the Men's Pairs rowing final and the bronze medal for third place.

And V stands for Victory and our VALERIE VILI, former youth, junior and world champion, and Commonwealth Games champion in the Women's Shot Put - Gold from her first throw in the finals. The rest of the field failed to reach her mark of 20.56 metres. All of her races were in excess of 20 metres.

Valerie made a victory lap round the stadium with a New Zealand flag draped around her shoulders, putting security into a mild panic. She wanted to honour those who supported her, her fellow New Zealand team members and other athletes. She is a new champion and super star in her specialist event - the Shot Put. The reigning Olympic Champion from Athens in 2004 could only manage second place and silver this time round.

Five medals in a day, and hopefully more to come. Some Kiwis were getting paranoid that NZ had not won any medals in the first six days, but our athletes have traditionally done better in the secon week of Olympic competitions.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Two days to the Olympics opening ceremony...

Two days to the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing,China...

Our New Zealand athletes wait in positive anticipation. For a small country we do well on the international stage; we have a definate chance of winning and placing in a number of events. Three to four gold medals are a distinct possibility, with a number of silver or bronze also excellent prospects.

A big throw from our Valerie and some fast rowing from Mahe would consolidate their world championship form. If a number of others also compete at their WC form we can expect a successful Olympics. See you all on the rostrum!

Monday, July 28, 2008

When did the New Zealand Maori reach Aotearoa/ New Zealand...

When did the New Zealand Maori reach and settle Aotearoa/ New Zealand? The people who settled here were migratory tribes of East Polynesians from most likely the Society Islands, the southern Cook Islands and the Austral Islands(now part of French Polynesia), and were not called "Maori" - this description came later to differentiate those who lived in New Zealand at the time. The pale skinned newcomers who came in what were called tall canoes - their sailing ships - were called "Pakehas". Whatever this term meant at the time, it has come to mean European non-Maori. So the ancient Maori came here in their ocean-going waka, the Pakeha in their sailing ships, and modern West Polynesians and others in aeroplanes.

Out of Africa:

Around 100,000 years ago humans left Africa, where they originated, and gradually spread north and east into Europe and Asia. Between 50,000 and 25,000 BC, using simple rafts, people gradually dispersed through the large islands of South-East Asia. Eventually they reached Australia and New Guinea, which were then connected by land.

About 3,200 years ago people sailed south-east from the Solomon Islands into the Pacific Ocean, and settled the islands of Melanesia. Between 1200 and 1000 BC they spread rapidly from Melanesia to Fiji and West Polynesia, including Tonga and Samoa.

The last Pacific migrations were to the distant points of Polynesia – Hawaii (600 AD), Easter Island (700 AD) and New Zealand (1250–1300 AD). They had probably reached South America by 1000 AD at the latest.

While this sequence seems rather straightforward, the exact dates and the order of settlement are debated. Experts often disagree, and there are competing theories. The date for the arrival of people in New Zealand is no exception.

Reaching New Zealand:
New Zealand was one of the last habitable land masses to be settled. Migrants sailed in double-hulled canoes from East Polynesia – the last voyages in the exploration and settlement of the Pacific Islands.

Many methods have been used to determine the date when they first arrived, and when they settled. Although no single method is foolproof, all show remarkable agreement that permanent Polynesian settlement was established around 1300.

Recent research:
The most recent research shows that one of the oldest questions in New Zealand history is still one of the most relevant. The remarkable research findings of the past decade suggest that the story does not end here.

Most researchers agree that human arrival occurred between 1250 and 1300. But recently some researchers have dated first arrivals to as early as 50–150; these first arrivals would have either died out or sailed away.

History of settlement

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New Zealand's youngest ever convicted killer, Bailey Junior Kurariki, jailed for breach of parole

Bailey Junior Kurariki is back in jail after allegedly breaching his parole conditions by using drugs. Authorities taking a hard line on breaches of parole.

The country's youngest convicted killer – he was 13 when he was jailed for manslaughter over the death of Michael Choy in 2001 – was arrested at 7.30pm on Friday and charged with breaching parole the Herald on Sunday resported.

He was released only three months ago on conditions including he not use or possess "alcohol and/or illicit drugs".

He was also under electronic monitoring and had to attend weekly counselling sessions.

His arrest came after his probation officer lodged a complaint with the Parole Board.

Kurariki was taken Mt Eden Prison and the Parole Board would meet over the issue tomorrow.

Mr Choy's mother, Rita Croskery, told the Herald she was not surprised by Kurariki's arrest.

"I would have hoped, though, that he would have tried to turn things around, especially given the fact he was being monitored so closely," she said.

Its actually a good sign of the authorities taking a hard line on breaches of parole.

Compliments: NZPA

Another story

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

She thought she was a Mrs - but was a Miss...

She thought she was a Mrs - but was a Miss...

When a Wellington, New Zealand, couple decided to divorce, they received the shock of their lives - their marriage had never been recorded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Births, Deaths and Marriages Department in the city.

In April 2008 the "husband" applied for a copy of his marriage certificate to enable him to initiate divorce proceedings. Instead of a written record, he received a letter that stated that no record of the marriage existed. He forwarded the letter to his "wife", who was stunned by the revelation, despite having the original copy from the celebrant.

A weeek later she was contacted by Internal Affairs who stated it had never received a copy of particulars of the marriage from the celebrant.

She is now taking legal advice to see if she can get the marriage annulled.

But under New Zealand law at least,non-registeration did not affect the actual validity of the marriage - the document had been signed by the celebrant and witnesses.

In point of law she should be able to prove the validity of the marriage and proceed to divorce proceedings. But for a short period of time she was concerned that she had never been legally "married".

Read Here

Friday, July 11, 2008

The 1984 Wellington Trades Hall bombing - victim Ernie Abbott 'in the wrong place at the wrong time'...

There have been two unsolved murders in New Zealand during the last fifty years or so that have both interested and intrigued me. The first was the 1962 parcel bombing of barrister, James Patrick Ward, in Dunedin which I have posted about previously, and that of poor old Ernie Abbott the cleaner who was 'in the wrong place at the wrong time' when the bomb went off in the Wellington Trades Hall on March 27 1984.

1984 was of course the end of Robert David Muldoon, better or infamously known, depending on your political point of view, as Rob Muldoon - New Zealand prime minister and would be despot, who unwisely called an early election after a bout on the booze. That was his greatest achievement; subsequently he and his government were trounced in a landside by David Lange and his new government. That was another story!

Rob Muldoon was an anti - trade unionist and as I claimed earlier, a would be despot. His methods are now history and were enshrined by the next National Party government in 1990, led by his Labour Minister, Jim Bolger. The Employment Contracts Act of 1991 owed much to the thought processes of Robert Muldoon.

On the evening of March 27 1984 I recall there was a meeting of the old Federation of Labour, led at that time by veteran trade union leader, Jim Knox. There were a number of controversial figures in the FOL at that time, people despised by Rob Muldoon. Storemen and Packers Union leader, Phil Mansor recalled as much in his ensuing interviews.

Read the following press story:

On March 27, 1984 a green, ragged suitcase loaded with about a kilogram of an unknown explosive blew up, taking the life of cleaner Ernie Abbott.

The suitcase had sat untouched for seven hours in the foyer before it exploded, detonated by a mercury switch when it was moved.

Storemen and Packers Union secretary Phil Mansor recalled the explosion, when talking to the Dominion Post in 2004.

"It sounded like a clap of thunder hit the building.

"The whole building seemed to jump," he said.

The late Pat Kelly, close friend and Trades Council president at the time, described Mr Abbott as a real Vivian Street character when talking to the Dominion newspaper the day after the bombing.

"He liked everybody.

"He loved a pint and would chat to the young ladies around Trades Hall."

Intense speculation ensued about the bomber's motive for the attack.

The most popular theory at the time was that the bomb was directed against a particular union, activist or activists, or the union movement in general, although scant evidence was ever found.

Speaking at the time, then Wellington Coroner Andrew McGregor said that the bombing appeared to have political overtones, and that was "utterly abhorrent" to all New Zealanders.

"Another fact that makes it so appalling is that Mr Abbott was an innocent victim," he said.

A $25,000 reward - then the largest ever put up in New Zealand - was offered for information that led to the capture of those responsible for the bombing. This was doubled to $50,000 in 1985.

The case remains unsolved.

Ernie Abbott rest in peace. What goes around comes around!

The unsolved Dunedin parcel bomb murder - February 1962...


There have been two unsolved crimes in New Zealand in the last 50 years that have interested and intrigued me. The 'Wellington Trades Hall bombing' in the 1980's, and the 'Parcel Bomb murder' of Dunedin barrister James Patrick Ward in 1962 (below). Mr Ward's office was, rather ironicly, in the Security Building in the CBD area of Dunedin. Police were mystified about markings on a piece of wood used to make the box that contained the bomb. By memory, I recall newspaper reports suggesting they could have been part of a black stencil marking on that particular piece of wood. But what was it? It could provide the answer towards discovering his killer.

I lived in Dunedin briefly from 1964-65. There was definately an active criminal underworld in that city, which included New Zealand's most well known after -hours liquor trading, considering New Zealand still had six o'clock closing of hotel bars at that time. I still remember a number of infamous hotels and well known celebrities connected with boxing in Dunedin at the time. But how was Mr Ward connected with the Dunedin criminal fraternity to the point of losing his life? Was Mr Ward actually too successful in defending the city's lawbreakers?

The Ward Parcel-bomb Murder, 1962:

At 9 a.m. on 5 February 1962 James Patrick Ward a well-known Dunedin barrister, received a parcel in his office. A few minutes later the building was shaken by an explosion. Ward was rushed to the Dominican Tertiary Hospital, where he died six hours later. Although the police, in the course of their investigations, established the method by which death was inflicted, they were unable to discover any motive for the crime or to gather sufficient evidence to justify an arrest. From an examination of the debris in Ward's office, the police found that the parcel had been posted in Dunedin during the preceding weekend. It contained a roughly made wooden box in which were two torch batteries, a pull-through switch, an electric detonator, a quantity of explosive, electrical wiring, and pieces of tin. Apparently the opening of the parcel completed an electrical circuit which detonated the explosive.

An incident similar to the Ward case occurred in 1937 when a bomb was thrown at R. A. Singer, an Auckland lawyer. The Singer case has never been solved.

by Ronald Jones, Journalist and Script Writer, New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, Wellington.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tony Veitch suspended by Radio Sport for alleged assault on former partner..

Television and Radio Sport presenter, Tony Veitch, has been suspended from Radio Sport because of his public revelations that he attacked and assaulted his former partner and put her in a wheelchair for months.

Veitch made the revelation and apology on television news yesterday. Police and ACC will be making their seperate investigations as well. Veitch also made a $100,000 payout to his former partner as well. Time is running out for Tony Veitch!

News story

Monday, June 23, 2008

Arrest over missing Korean backpacker's murder...

Arrest over missing Korean backpacker's murder...

An arrest has been made over the murder of Korean backpacker Jae Hyeon Kim, who went missing in 2003.

Kim was visiting New Zealand for a year's travel and adventure when he disappeared. Earlier this month police re-opened the case after tip-off led police to resume a search for him in scrubland just south of Westport.

A 28-year-old Nelson fisherman will appear in the Nelson District Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Police are seeking other people and further charges could be laid. They are also speaking with a 31-year-old former Westport man in relation to the inquiry.

Inquiry Head, Detective Inspector John Winter says although Kim's body hasn't been found, further searches could be carried out to find it.

Police believe he died between September 29 and October 22, 2003.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Birthdays, birthdays...

Birthdays, birthdays...

When you get to my age birthdays come a little too quickly. One closer to the last, perhaps?

I used to go out and celebrate, then later it was a family occasion to be shared with my wife and children.

Now its usually my favourite dish and the anticipated visit from some of my grandchildren, though one of our grandchildren has lived with us for many years, himself.

Even birthdays celebrations for the grandchildren have had to be re-organised as they have continued to increase - eleven with another well on the way.

The Green Blog

Monday, June 16, 2008

The new ECO light bulbs contain mercury - they cannot be safe

Which are safer, the old or the new light bulbs? The Government wants to ban the old ones, but it has just been reported that the new ECO bulbs contain mercury and should be handled carefully if broken. Wear gloves and don't vacuum up the pieces - use cellotape or a damp cloth to collect the pieces and put them in a box and dispose of them at a recycling centre.

I have been down to the supermarket and bought more of the old bulbs and disposed of the new ECO bulbs. Safety comes before electricity savings!

International environmentalists cannot decide - there are new concerns over mercury hazards which have split green activists on the switch to CFL's.

There is now a battle mounting: "Fluorescent v Incadescent" - Who will be the winner?

Read story here

Friday, June 6, 2008

Matariki. What is Matariki in New Zealand...

Matariki. What is Matariki in New Zealand?

Matariki is a Maori (or originally East polynesian) name for a group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster of the Seven sisters; and what is referred to as the traditional Maori New Year.

When is the Maori New Year? It is marked by the rise of Matariki and the sighting of the next new moon. The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year,and the new moon rising in early June - this year (2008) it falls on 5 June.This marked the time for traditional planting of food.

With the renaissance of Maori culture there is now added interest in traditional and historical events in Maori culture such as Matariki, which is after all the southern hemisphere new year.

Like to read more?

About Matariki
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