Sunday, December 27, 2009

Helen clark spending her holiday in NZ...

Helen Clark spending holiday in NZ...

Former prime minister Helen Clark is spending her holiday back home in New Zealand.

She says she is enjoying time out from her busy job as head of the United Nations Development Programme.

Helen Clark will spend time at the beach and in the countryside, and hopes to do some hiking as well before returning to New York City in the new year.

Come back Helen - your country needs you!

Acknowledgements:- NEWSTALK ZB

Friday, December 25, 2009

Blogger Whaleoil to be prosecuted...

"The man who writes Whaleoil, one of the country's best known blogs, is being prosecuted for what police say is breach of court suppression orders.

Cameron Slater is the first New Zealand blogger to be taken to court instead of just warned.

He has removed the items from his website after advice that if he didn't, he could be fined $5000 a day.

It is a tricky name and shame campaign which has landed the right wing blogger, known as Whaleoil, in hot water with the law.

Slater says he is being prosecuted for naming two celebrities on his blog.

“I've allegedly named two celebrities or so called celebrities on my blog - that’s what the police have alleged,” he says.

But it wasn't words that Slater posted on his blog; it was a series of pictures which the police say reveals the identities of two high profile people with name suppression for separate sexual offences.

“They've got form - they've got history - ones been in the slammer before so I couldn't see a reason why they should have name suppression,” he says.

Slater says he hasn't named anyone - just posted a series of random pictures, but media expert Martin Hirst believes that is enough to get him busted.

“Perhaps he was thinking that this was a clever way to get around the whole legal problem he's now facing, obviously the prosecutors had a different idea,” he says.

Posting the pictures was a protest by Slater at the way suppression orders are granted.

Although the internet has become a popular place for publishing suppressed material this is the first time a blogger will be brought before the courts.

Slater will be appearing at the Auckland District Court on January 5, he says he will fight any charges and that pictures will form part of his defence."

So what does this mean for other bloggers? Well, in my opinion there are two issues here. Whaleoil has broken a specific suppression order and law: Firstly,he released informed suppressed by the courts. He hasn't been denied the opportunity to release general information in his blog. New Zealand is not Fiji, China, Iran or Zimbabwe in this respect. Secondly, his opinion about the suppression law is a different issue, and I'm inclined to support him to some degree: Some people have their names suppressed during court trials for pretty flimsy reasons at times. So for the latter: Go for it Whaleoil!

Acknowledgements: Rebecca Wright, 3 News

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Astronomical Knowledge of the Maori, Genuine and Emperical Origin of the heavenly Bodies...

The Astronomical Knowledge of the Maori, Genuine and Empirical
Origin of the Heavenly Bodies:

Origin of the Heavenly Bodies:

The mythopoetical Maori, when explaining the origin of the heavenly bodies, put his ideas on the subject into the form of an allegory. He derived them from certain mythical beings, many of whom appear to be personifications of some form of light. Thus the Awa folk of the Bay of Plenty explain that Tangotango and Wainui, two of the offspring of the Sky Parent and the Earth Mother, produced the sun, moon, and stars. Wainui is the personified form of the ocean. This myth is given in the form of a genealogical table:—

This Tangotango is said to have been the origin of day and night, the alternation of light and darkness. Among some tribes he is termed Tongatonga, and another of his names was Turangi. Some East Coast authorities say that Turangi mated with Moe-ahuru, and that they produced Tama-nui-te-ra and the Marama-i-whanake. The former is the personified form of the sun, and the latter a honorific name for the moon. After these they produced the stars, who are spoken of as the younger members of the family. Another version makes Rona (the woman in the moon) a member of this family. Turangi and his wife Moe-ahuru are said to have dwelt on Maunga-nui, their abode being known as Mairehau, while that of the sun on the same mountain was called Mairekura, an exceedingly tapu place. Rona dwelt with her parents in Mairehau, as also did the moon. They were ever on the move and kept roaming about, their plaza being known as Te One i Oroku (The Strand at Oroku). Here the Children of Light (sun, page break moon, stars) and Rona were found by Tongatonga and Te Heremaro, who placed them under shelter. The saying of te pukai mata kirikiri a Turangi (the small-eyed assembly of Turangi) is applied to the Shining Ones.

The female being, Moe-te-ahuru, mother of the Whanau Marama, also appears as Hine-te-ahuru. Thus we have in one version—

In this version the male parent of the heavenly bodies appears as the offspring of Darkness, and Te Ikaroa (The Milky Way) is not included among the Star Children, but is said to have been a younger brother of Whiro, and that is why the Galaxy was placed in charge of the stars. One version seems to show that Te Ikaroa and Te Ikanui were the parents of the stars, but does not explain who or what Te Ikanui was.

Another version endows Uru-te-ngangana with two wives, Hine-te-ahuru and Hine-turama, the former being the mother of the sun and moon, and the latter the origin of stars. This Uru-te-ngangana (Uru the Red, or Gleaming One) was one of the offspring of the primal parents Heaven and Earth, and seems to personify some form of light. Hine-turama may be rendered as the “Light-giving Maid.”

These are honorific names for the sun and moon.

Nepia Pohuhu, a Wairarapa adept, who gave the above version, stated that Matariki (the Pleiades) was a young brother of Tongatonga, and that Matariki was conveyed to the Paeroa o Whanui (another name for the Milky Way) to take care of the whanau punga (stars), lest they be jostled by their elders and so caused to fall. This peculiar name for the Milky Way is not clear. Whanui is the star Vega, and paeroa means “a range”; but why should the Galaxy be termed “the Range of Vega”?

Here we may refer to an explanation made by the learned man Te Matorohanga, who said that Turangi was an ordinary or unimportant name of Uru-te-ngangana, and that Moe-ahuru and Te Ahuru are names applied to the one being. This name Turangi might be rendered as meaning “sky standing,” or “placed in the sky,” or “set in the sky.” There are two statements in John White's works to the effect that Turangi was the owner or caretaker of the moon, or that it originated with him. They are as follows: “Na Turangi te marama,” and “I a Turangi te marama, i a Tunuku te ra.” We now see that Uru-te-ngangana, page break Turangi, Tangotango, and Tongatonga are all names for one being, evidently a personification, and that he mated with Moeahuru, or Hine-te-Ahuru, to produce the heavenly bodies. The peculiar names of the “mother of stars,” or mother of the Whanau Marama, denote “sheltered sleep” or “comfort, as of a haven,” and the “Shelter Maid” or “Haven Maid.” The calm haven in which reposes the unborn child is termed the ahuru mowai, and it bears that meaning. Thus Uru the Gleaming One, the Sky Stander, looks very much like the personified form of one of the heavenly bodies. As Tangotango he changes day into night and night into day. He was the first-born of the godlike offspring of the Sky Father and Earth Mother. He first abode with Whiro (Darkness), then joined Tane (Light); his offspring are the Whanau Marama, the Children of Light. As his name may be rendered as “the gleaming west,” it night be thought that he represents the setting sun, were not other evidence against it. In a list of star-names given by Hamiora Pio, of Te Teko, Tangotango is mentioned. Elsewhere he remarks, “Tangotango is the object seen stretched across the heavens at night, surrounded by his star children.” This looks like the Milky Way, the position of which was the sign of approaching dawn to the Maori; and Tangotango is said to turn night into day. In Babylonia Uruk was the moon, and was deemed of greater importance than the sun, and existed before the latter.

An uncorroborated version from a Takitumu source makes one Ahu-matonga the progenitor of the heavenly bodies. He is said to have been the child of Roiho, who was one of the offspring of the primal parents. It was Roiho who gave warning of the coming of Light, in these words: “Light is coming in the form of Tama-nui-te-ra (sun) and the Marama-taiahoaho.” This last name denotes the full moon.

In his Maori Religion and Mythology Shortland gives an old myth that makes Kohu (mist) take Te Ikaroa (Milky Way) and produce the stars.

Another singular concept is the following:—

Here Raro, who seems to personify the underworld, or the earth, takes Summer to wife, and begets Rigel, Sirius, and the Pleiades. This does not bear the aspect of what we may term the higher Maori teaching, but looks like one of the many popular unorthodox myths so common among the natives.

A collective name for the heavenly bodies is Te Apa Whatu a Te Ahuru, apparently denoting the “eye-like company of Te Ahuru,” for they appear like a number of eyes in the heavens, and stars are said, in popular myth, to consist of eyes only—they have no bodies. Te Ahuru is the Hine-te-Ahuru already referred to, the Star Mother. The term whanau atua, or “supernatural family or offspring,” is also applied to the heavenly bodies.

page break
Te Ikaroa (Milky Way) and Tama-rereti were both placed in charge of the ra ririki (little suns = stars), or whanau riki, as they were also called. Even so, some wilful younger members of the family sometimes stray away among their elders, and are struck by them and so fall. These stricken ones are termed mata-kokiri, “the Darting Ones” (meteors).

Dr. Shortland, in his Maori Religion and Mythology, has yet another version of the origin of the heavenly luminaries. Rangi took one Hine-ahupapa to wife, her offspring being Tunuku, Turangi, Tama-i-Koropau, and Haronga. Haronga took Tangotango, their offspring being the sun and moon. Kohu (mist) and the Milky Way produced the stars.

A version recorded by Taylor puts it that Rangi (the sky) took to wife the Glowing Dawn, and begat the moon. Again he took to wife Rays, or Radiance, and begat the sun, and so light came into the world.

In yet another Takitumu version Uru-te-ngangana takes one Iriiri-pua to wife, and their offspring are Te Au-matangi, Tongatonga, and Tama-rereti. The last-named we shall hear more of anon, but Te Au-matangi is not explained. The name probably represents a personification. Tongatonga was also known as Rama-whiti-tua, which name conveys the sense of light radiating to a distance. One version makes her the daughter of Whiro, who represents darkness. We are told that Uru sojourned a while with Whiro, and then joined Tane, who represents light. A change of sex is noted in different versions of this myth, as in the case of Tangotango or Tongatonga.

In Tahitian myth Atea (space) was taken to wife by one Ruatupua-nui, and produced the sun, moon, stars, and comets.

Acknowledgements: © 2008 Victoria University of Wellington

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My 14 year old grandson signed up by the Melbourne Storm NRL...

My 14 year old grandson signed up by the Melbourne Storm NRL...

We just heard some fantastic news; our 14 year old grandson, Pride, who featured in an earlier post after being nominated for an athletic award here in Wellington, and just this week awarded the top athlete and sportsman of the year for his secondary school in Upper Hutt (Upper Hutt College), here in the Hutt Valley, has been signed up after a boot-camp by the champion NRL club in Australian rugby league, the Melbourne Storm, and will be flown over for a trial with the club in April,2010. He was among the three final selections after 125 were trialled here. Two of the players, including Pride, play for the same Upper Hutt Tigers club.

Pride Petterson-Robati has always been a rugby league prodigy, making Wellington representative teams from an early age.

We all had high hopes for the boy, but not as early as this, at 14 years of age. If he is succesful at the trial he could be offered a scholarship which would probably include schooling in Melbourne, Australia, and selection in a junior side. He played against boys three or four years older than he in his school side which recently won the rugby league championship in Wellington.

His genetic abilities come from a great grandfather who was a NZ Maori rugby union representative, and his pakeha great grandmother, a champion runner in her teens who missed out on selection to the Empire Games through injury.

Melbourne Storm NRL

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Factory dairy farming proposal in NZ condemned by the Greens...

Factory dairy farming proposal in New Zealand condemned by the Greens...

From THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment:

New Zealand is on the brink of introducing factory farming of dairy cows, the NZ Green Party said today: The party condemns the proposal.

Consent applications were recently lodged with Environment Canterbury for factory-style dairy farms in the Mackenzie Basin.

Three companies plan to establish 16 new farms with nearly 18,000 cows in the area. According to the applications, all 18,000 cows will be housed in 'cubicle stables' 24 hours a day for eight months of the year, and 12 hours a day for the remaining four months.

"This is factory farming, pure and simple," Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said.

"Proposals to keep cows in cubicles that they don't leave for eight months of the year are a radical departure from our tradition of farming stock outside and on pasture, and could do immense harm to our clean, green international brand and image.

"Once word gets out to overseas consumers that New Zealand butter comes from factory farms, there goes our competitive advantage.

"Fonterra counters 'food-miles' arguments from our European competitors by saying that our milk products are more environmentally friendly than factory-farmed milk. This proposal flies in the face of that strategy.

"It's also a chilling prospect from an animal welfare perspective."

However the proposals are still being considered and are not necessarily a faite accompli.

Read more

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Two black specks in a pie told a tale on him...

Two black specks in a pie told a tale on him...

Two black specks in a pie led to a $500.00 fine for a Wellington takeaway bar - $250.00 for each speck of mouse dropping baked into the bottom of one of his pies.

Nearly a year after the rodent infestation shut down his lunch bar for two days, owner Guang Liu from China is quite happy at the outcome.

At the Wellington district Court this week he said "it was a good lesson for us to keep our eyes open." He's right, and an expensive reminder to do so. He was actually found guilty of selling a pie with mouse droppings in it.

However, if I am in the Rongotai Road area of Wellington City, I know where I will never buy a pie in the future!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Aussies on ice...

Aussies on ice...

A group of Aussies are planning to take a helicopter ride to one of the icebergs now off the southern New Zealand coast, and carve out an ice-bar, stage a party, and with a DJ produce a music track. Oh those Aussies!

Thirty eight year old Sydney builder, Reynold Bierman, good Aussie name this, will check the berg out for safety. There are now a number of icebergs drifting out of Antarctic waters to southern New Zealand waters. Some have probably broken off a larger berg and could come close to shore in about ten days or so.

During the 2006 drift of icebergs, many helicopter rides and sight-seeing flights were made, often from tourists from Australia and other places. There is a buck in it for somebody!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A thought for the day...

Copied this from the noticeboard at the Hutt Hospital MH Unit::

The past is history,

The future is a mystery,

Today is a gift,

That why they call it the present.

And somebody wrote on the bottom: Just Like Christmas?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Its not NASA and the Kennedy Space Centre, but Kiwi aerospace company ROCKET LAB...

You may have read it on Twitter - now you can read it here:

Its not Nasa and the Kennedy Space Centre, but the Kiwi aerospace company Rocket Lab. They are counting down for their historic launch of a spacebound rocket from Great Barrier island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

The launch from a private island off the Coromandel Peninsula in about two weeks time, will be the first time a private company in the southern hemisphere has launched a space rocket.

The 'Rocket Lab' company CEO, Peter Beck, said the rocket, named Atea-1, had a 2 kg payload capacity, and expected interest from commercial interests keen to send products or services into space, or even people wanting to send personal mementoes. This project will give the scientific community its first practical alternative to conventional rockets at a significant saving in costs as it will carry minature scientific equipment.

This coming launch will be the first in a series where the primary payload will be instrumentation measuring the machine's performance.

But the highlight of this small rocket will be its use of a new low-emission hybrid fuel technology; conventional rockets use solid fuel technology. The small rocket will travel at Mach 5 to an altitude of 120 kilometers.

Perhaps the big boys will have more competition from smaller ventures in the future, as minaturised equipment becomes more popular.

Rocket Lab will be holding online auctions both for premium viewing spots on the island and for payload space on the rocket.

Rocket Lab News

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New two wheeled vehicles in NZ - Segways...

New two wheeled police vehicles in NZ - Segways...

New two wheeled police vehicles being used in Taupo in the North Island of New Zealand - Segways...

Taupo police are trialling two 'Segway' scooters as additions to their crime-fighting armoury.

Taupo police area commander Inspector Steve Bullock said the community policing unit would use the scooters, which have a top speed of 20km/h, in public parks and along the lake front.

The first deployment would be during the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge on November 28, he told The Dominion Post.

"They will never replace police on the beat or in cars, but they will give us greater flexibility and access during big events," Mr Bullock said.

The scooters have been lent to police by the Taupo Safer Community Trust.

Segways can only be used for off-road use, not on roads or footpaths.


Trans-Tasman police crackdown on violent drinkers in early Dec...

Kiwi and Aussie cops to cooperate on police action against violent drinkers...

Trans-Tasman crackdown on drinking:

Thousands of extra police on both sides of the Tasman including riot squad officers will crack down on binge drinking and violence

New Zealand and Australian police are cooperating on an unprecedented attack on binge drinking and violence.

They are focusing on two days of action, on December 11 and 12.

The plan was due to be announced this afternoon, but New Zealand police have confirmed a report in a Sydney newspaper on the issue. However, they will not reveal details of the plan of action in New Zealand until later in the day.

The Daily Telegraph says thousands of extra police including riot squad officers will flood the streets of Sydney and regional towns in New South Wales to declare war on hooligans.

Don't quite understand this story yet. Is this a joint action or will there be action on both sides of the Tasman at the same time for publicity reasons?

Acknowledgements: NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Erebus crash families receive only $100,000 and sworn to secrecy for thirty years...

Erebus crash families received only $100,000 compensation and sworn to secrecy for 30 yrs...

The families of those who died when Air New Zealand Flight 901 plunged into Mt Erebus, in Antarctica, received an average pay-out of only $100,000 - and they have been sworn to secrecy all these years.

The same year, an Auckland woman who was badly burned in a Pan American crash was awarded much more by a US court.

Compensation for the 200 New Zealand passengers on the doomed 1979 Antarctic flight totalled about $21 million, according to calculations based on new disclosures.

About a third of the compensation ($6.9m) was paid by the Government after Civil Aviation was named in a class action brought by a passenger consortium. That amount showed up in the 1982 Budget.

In addition to the $21m, a further $4m was paid out to the families of 24 Japanese passengers on the flight.

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman would not confirm the amounts, saying the Erebus settlements were confidential between the airline and the families.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Three Army LAVS heading for Afghanistan...

Three of the army's light armoured vehicles and their crews are being sent to Afghanistan to support the Special Air Service (SAS) troops in operations there.

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said the deployment would be for as long as necessary.

"They will provide increased protected mobility for our personnel, particularly from improvised explosive devices. These are one of the greatest threats to coalition forces in Afghanistan," Dr Mapp said.

In early October Prime Minister John Key confirmed New Zealand SAS troops were in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The location of New Zealand's secretive SAS troops was revealed by Norway's defence chief, who said the New Zealanders were replacing their Norwegian equivalents.

The New Zealand Government had a policy not to publicly divulge their whereabouts.

The Norwegians had been involved in the arrest of several wanted insurgent leaders responsible for planning and running suicide attacks against targets in the Kabul region.

Insurgent activity has been increasing recently and another New Zealand military deployment in Afghanistan came under fire last month.

A patrol, comprising Hiluxes and Hummers, was returning from the northeastern area of Bamyan province, when it came under fire from insurgents armed with small arms and rocket propelled grenades.

New Zealand has about 140 defence force personnel running a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Bamyan.

A couple of the patrol's vehicles suffered minor damage but there were no injuries in the last exchange.

In June a home made bomb exploded in front of a New Zealand patrol. No one was injured.

Acknowledgements: NZPA

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

If the Aussie don't want us the Yanks do...

If the Aussies don't want us the Yanks do...

In light of the call by an Australian Government member of parliament to restrict New Zealanders automatic entry to Australia, the United States has a pilot scheme to fastrack the entry of my fellow Kiwis to that country.

Kiwis can fill out a form for entry online on the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. Previously travellers were required to fill out forms both electronically before leaving, and on a hard copy on arrival.

The pilot scheme will run for thirty days and cover travellers on Air New Zealand flight NZ6. If successful it could be expanded. Yankee Doodle Dandy

No automatic entry and the beginning of the end of Anzac...

No automatic entry and the beginning of the end of Anzac...

"Automatic entry for Kiwis moving to Australia would be a thing of the past if an Australian Labour MP gets his way.

The outspoken MP has released a 14 point plan to reduce Australia's population and number six on the list is limiting the number of New Zealanders who cross the Tasman to live permanently.

"To reach a net overseas annual migration target of 70,000, the number of automatic places available for New Zealanders needs to be restricted to the number of departures from Australia over and above 25,000," Mr Thompson said.

He said the Trans-Tasman Travel arrangement would have to be "re-negotiated" in order to cut the number of New Zealanders settling in Australia.

Mr Thompson said New Zealanders should be competing for skilled migrant places along with people of other nationalities.

He said 47,780 Kiwis have migrated to Australia in 2008-09 - up from 16,364 in 2002-03.

"This open-ended, uncapped program makes it impossible for Australia or New Zealand to implement a population policy and it needs to be reformed," Mr Thompson said.
He said Australia needs to get New Zealand to look at their population capacity "rather than simply acting as an overflow for surplus population".

Mr Thompson also proposed limiting the overall numbers of people arriving as skilled migrants, and as part of the family reunion scheme. He also proposed increasing the refugee quota.

He said Australia needed to stabilise its population at 26 million and this would be achieved by cutting migration to 70,000 people a year.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has previously opposed limiting immigration numbers, saying he supports a "big Australia".

"I make no apology for that. I actually think it's good news that our population is growing. I think it's good ... for our national security long term, it's good in terms of what we can sustain as a nation," the Daily Telegraph in Australia reported."

And that at a time when the two countries are moving together like never before. The plans to make the two countries a single market would probably benefit Australia more than New Zealand. Take the half a million Kiwi born Aussies out of the equation and there would be huge economic problems for Australia. Don't concern yourselves with a few ratbags around the place, but those Kiwis who have helped to build Australia since the war.

There are also plans for a closer hands-on military alliance too; if the above came to reality NZ would be seeking a direct alliance with the US, despite the David and Goliath scenario

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I was hit with a deep, almost melancholic feeling of sadness the other evening - the memory of brother Bob...

I was hit with a deep, almost melancholic sadness half an hour ago - the memory of brother Bob...

I was hit with a deep almost melancholic sense of sadness half an hour ago. My second from eldest brother died of an illness in Bangkok late last year. He married a Thai woman many years ago and was still with her when he finally succumbed to his illness, most likely pneumonia. He had been busy out in the tropical heat and went to sleep in his hotel room, cooled down and caught a chill.

He had been out of work for some time, a former oil-rig driller and sixty eight years old. No social welfare in Thailand or any asian country; you rely on your family when times get tough. He had worked as a supervisor building roads in the Bangkok area for some time, but lost his job. Even Europeans come to the end of their working life some time, even a popular Kiwi. He had then had to rely on help and assistance from his brother-in-law. Pride sent him looking for work again, but when they realised he was actually ill, he wasn't wanted.

Doctors are so expensive in Thailand, and locals resort to getting pharmaceutical help - cheaper to buy some medicine or drugs. But with so many imitation drugs and medicine out there from China, it is hard to know if you actually have the real McCoy. Maybe my brother didn't?

So late in 2008 my brother Bob, Robert Lindsay Petterson, succumbed to his illness and died in his sleep.

Back in Christchurch, New Zealand, my younger brother Richard received a garbled message from our aging Aunt Mary. Our older brother, Dave, a former oil rig service vessel skipper for many years in the Southeast Asia area, and somewhat of a recluse since he returned from Thailand a widower, had received a message from Bob's wife in Bangkok to say Bob had died. It was a massive shock to all of us here in New Zealand.

Just who was this character, Robert Lindsay Petterson, one of my big brothers? He left school at fifteen years, neither an academic or sportsman, but had a love of animals. He started working for the owner of a large sheep station in north Canterbury in the South Island. He stayed there for anumber of years learning his trade as a shepherd and musterer, learned how to train and use sheepdogs, and eventually bought his own. He later moved on to the high country and worked for the largest government owned sheep and cattle station in NZ, for a number of years.

Like many a young Kiwi lad before and after him, the lure of Australia proved too much. He ended up working for a Texan owned sheep and cattle ranch in New South Wales, as a boundary rider. Bob had become a more than capable horseman during his years as a musterer in New Zealand. His new job as a boundary rider for the King Ranch, took a fornight at a time to circumvent this huge property in NSW.

He moved on and changed jobs in a variety of places over a number of years, but ended up in Broken Hill as a supervisor in an open cast mine there.

Somewhere or other he became involved in drilling, firstly for water and then for oil. He obviously became expert as an oil driller on land, and then on an oil-rig off Indonesia somewhere. On one trip he ran into the skipper of a small service vessel which serviced his rig - our eldest brother, Dave.

Bob began a life as a driller and like Dave, married a Thai woman and bought a home in Bangkok, which became his base for whereever he worked in Southeast Asia over many years.

During the 1970's Bob returned to New Zealand regularly, and invested in small farm outside of Christchurch, which our younger brother Richard lived in and developed to Bob's instructions. But they were not good partners and became alienated after a few years; Bob maintained that the farm wasn't being run to his satisfaction. In the end he had to sell it for what he could get for it.

During Bob's visits home to NZ, he always called in to see us in Lower Hutt, ten miles outside of New Zealand's capital city of Wellington. My wife would cook him a great meal and we would indulge in a few browns and natter (and sometimes argue) to the wee small hours.

I last saw my brother in 1978, and I miss him greatly. He always had great ideas that he wanted to explore, but unfortunately others always picked his brains and used his ideas as their own. Bob was actually the first person to come up with the idea to freeze bull semen for artificial insemination. He went to one of the big companies in NZ looking for sponsorship to start his enterprise off. They declined, but picked his brains and ended up doing it themselves.

That was one of my big brothers, a generous and kind person who ended up alienated by distance and circumstances thousands of miles from his extended family. We all miss and remember you Bob Petterson.

Horse riders

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A massive iceberg heading for New Zealand...

A massive iceberg spotted southwest of New Zealand could be moving closer.

The iceberg was seen by Australian scientists working on Macquarie Island, who estimated it to be 500m wide and 50m high.

NIWA oceanographer Mike Williams said it was unusual to see icebergs in that part of the Southern Ocean.

"The only precedent for icebergs being seen that far north is the one that came through in November 2006," he said.

The 2006 iceberg, which broke off the Ronne Ice Shelf, came within 90km of the Otago coast. Sightseeing flights were arranged to view the iceberg.

Williams said, depending on ocean currents, the new iceberg could be pushed south to the Campbell plateau, southeast of New Zealand.

"But if it's far enough north, it'll come into the current that feeds up into the Auckland Islands and New Zealand."

Moving at 2km/h to 3km/h, the iceberg could take two weeks to come within sight.

Williams said it wasn't clear whether climate change was to blame.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mental health foundation appalled by patient's detention...

Mental Health Foundation appalled by patient's detention...

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is "shocked and appalled" after hearing a patient was kept restrained in solitary confinement for nearly six years.

That case, and several others, came to light during a year-long investigation of detention facilities by the Ombudsmen's Office and was reported today in the New Zealand Herald.

Chief Ombudsman Beverley Wakem said the mentally ill patient at an unnamed district health board was often held in restraints in a bare room.

It was one of several disturbing cases of possibly inhumane treatment in facilities stretching from youth facilities to prisons in the Ombudsmen's annual report.

MHF chief executive Judi Clements said the foundation had long argued for an end to seclusion in mental health units.

"There is nothing that entrenches a sense of rejection and degradation more than being forcibly removed and isolated from other people. It is the very opposite to being valued and included."

She said cases like this showed the tendency for abuse to occur when vulnerable people were placed in certain environments.

"With resources only allowing for focused investigation of 15 mental health sites over the last year, we need to ask how many more cases like this are yet to be uncovered."

The health board in question had claimed the patient was secured because he was a danger to staff and other patients, but since the Ombudsmen's Office became involved he had been moved to somewhere more suitable.

"Why nobody thought to look at that and make that assessment before we arrived on the scene is a cause for concern," Ms Wakem said.

Health Ministry director of mental health David Chaplow said he was concerned to learn about the cases last night and would order an urgent report.

Dr Chaplow said there was now a "sinking lid" policy on seclusion, but it had a place in mental health care.

The report also outlined concerns about a lack of ventilation in some prison cells and said excessive temperatures could amount to "cruel" or "inhumane" treatment.

Monday, November 2, 2009

An award for a rising sportsman...

An award for a rising sportsman...

First published at Qondio: Awards writing challenge

I read this mornings Dominion Post newspaper here in Lower Hutt, Wellington.

There was a pull-out supplement for local regional secondary school elite sports achievers in the various summer and winter code categories.

I was sitting in the waiting room at the local tyre shop waiting for a replacement tyre to be put on our car to get a new warrant of fitness. I was thumbing through the paper at the shop when I came to the athletics section and surprisingly saw one of my grandsons nominated for the awards.

If he is successful it would be a great achievement considering he is only 14 years old and competes against older boys.

He competed this summer in javelin and shot-putting; winning the former event against older boys in the Under 16 years grade. His nomination is a feather in his cap even if he fails to be selected this year. An award is waiting around the corner if he sticks with his sports. A champion in the making if he persists in his chosen field.

Two kiwi men ordered to pay $150,000 for sending spam emails...

Two Christchurch, NZ, men have been ordered to pay $150,000 between them after sending two million spam emails

Two Christchurch men must pay substantial fines after admitting being part of a major international spamming operation.

A High Court judge has ordered Shane Atkinson pay $100,000 and Ronald Smits $50,000.

The men were part of a Christchurch business which sent over two million unsolicited emails over four months in 2007, to New Zealand addresses marketing Herbal King branded pharmaceuticals manufactured in India.

Internal Affairs says the New Zealanders were part of the largest pharmaceutical spamming operation in the history of the internet.

Atkinson's brother Lance, who lives in Queensland, has also had to pay $100,000 and is facing court action in the United States.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New age Destiny Church in NZ facing further criticism...

The new age Christian fundamentalist Destiny Church is facing further criticism, after hundreds of men pledged to honour its leader - self-appointed Bishop Brian Tamaki and his church.

At the church's annual conference in Auckland at Labour weekend, about 700 men swore a "covenant oath" of loyalty and obedience to Bishop Tamaki.

But some say the oath goes too far, stifling freedom of speech, with church members ordered to speak of Mr Tamaki in a favourable light.

However, Destiny Church spokesman and oath author Richard Lewis says that is not the case.

"We can't make people do anything, the members of Destiny Church are here because they want to be - there is no obligation for them to stay," he says.

"We have seen a lot of people come into this movement who have, under the influence of Bishop Tamaki, turned their lives around, and done great things."

Under the oath members must also fully support what Bishop Tamaki promotes.

Acknowledgements: Radio LIVE

Destiny church

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bosses to get the right to decide when and if workers can have a break...

Bosses will be able to axe workers’ mandatory breaks and compensate them with pay or time off in lieu if a new government bill is passed.

National's proposed law will include “compensatory measures” which include being able to start work late or leave early, and provision for employees to trade accumulated missed breaks for a day off, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Compensatory measures can include staff pay.

Employers will be give the final say over when and how long breaks will be if an agreement cannot be reached through "good faith bargaining" between bosses and employees, according to the bill.

Labour's employment spokesman Trevor Mallard told the New Zealand Herald the bill posed downsides for vulnerable workers whose breaks weren't protected in collective contracts.

"The idea you could be pushed into taking no breaks at all and pushed into having them outside work hours is not a good idea," Mr Mallard said.

"It means the break is worth nothing if it can be replaced with 'time off' at the whim of their employer."

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has said the changes were aimed at assisting businesses by increasing flexibility for employers.

National's bill would dissolve the law passed by Labour last year which gave workers two 10-minute breaks and a half-hour lunch break each day.

Interested parties, including Business NZ and the Council of Trade Unions, have not been consulted about the changes.

Would you be happy to give up your lunch break if you could leave early?

Is this the short end of the stick and a return to an ECA Part 2? Is this part of the pay-off to those who supported the National Party in getting back into power? Whats next - attacks on the Holidays Act?

OSH has already determined that workers should have regular breaks in the interest of health and safety.

Acknowledgements: MSN NZ

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lest I forget - coincidence, happenstance, and a blinking miracle

Lest I forget - coincidence, happenstance and a blinking miracle...

I recalled my grandson's disappearance and reappearance on another site this afternoon.

My grandson’s disappearance on Sunday, May 19 2009, and reappearance this morning suggests too many coincidences.

There is absolutely no comparison to how I felt at 6 am and 7-15 am this morning.

At 6 am I felt deeply concerned and beginning to think of the worst possible scenario in relation to my grandson’s disappearance. I’m not a deeply religious person, but I don’t discount the power of prayer either. I believe a number of prayers were made across the Pacific Ocean to seek a higher power to bring Kellie home to us.

Do you believe in coincidences? How many can possibly go together? Once is a coincidence, twice is a happenstance and thrice is a blinking miracle!

What made Kellie’s grandmother’s niece’s husband decide to go to work this morning after making a decision not to earlier? He became the right person at the right time to drive through that particular roundabout just after 7 am this morning. As he drove through young Kellie was walking through in the other direction. Coincidence? Kellie had apparently been walking back from Wellington City about ten miles away at that time of the morning. Coincidence?

We had all believed that Kellie had gone bush on Sunday afternoon, and was in the eastern hills above Taita, Lower Hutt. Kellie had actually gone into Wellington City on his own for the first time on Sunday and spent the next night and day there, returning to the Hutt Valley early this morning. We don’t know who he met or saw there. He had some money and probably bought something to eat and some Coca Cola, his favourite, to drink. He had also been under cover from the elements somewhere - his clothing was dry but his shoes damp from walking beside the rail line. Another coincidence?

At 7-15 am this more I was a much happier man and grandfather after learning he was on his way home in a police patrol car. The local daily newspaper, the Dominion Post, who will be writing a story about Kellie’s disappearance and reappearance tomorrow, sent a camera-man to take a few shots for tomorrow’s issue. Lance, the niece’s husband is the hero of the hour and was photographed with Kellie and his grandmother. Grandfather stayed in the background because getting photographed for newspapers is not his scene.

Coincidence, happenstance and a blinking miracle

Friday, October 23, 2009

Air New Zealand apologises to victims families 30 years after Erebus air crash in the Antarctic...

Air New Zealand apologises to victims families thirty years after 257 passengers and crew died after Mt Erebus aircraft crash in the Antarctic...

Air New Zealand "undoubtedly let down" those affected by the Mt Erebus crash, the airline's chief executive said in the first apology to families of the dead today.

The apology comes nearly 30 years after an Air New Zealand jet slammed into Mt Erebus in Antarctica, killing all 257 on board.

The Air New Zealand DC-10 was on a sightseeing flight when it hit the mountain November 28, 1979.

Chief executive Rob Fyfe made the apology at the unveiling of a sculpture commemorating the disaster at the airline's head office in Auckland this morning.

"Air New Zealand inevitably made mistakes and undoubtedly let down people directly affected by the tragedy," Mr Fyfe said.

"I can't turn the clock back, I can't undo what has been done but as I look forward I'd like to start the next step of that journey by saying sorry.

"Sorry to all of those who suffered the loss of a loved one or were affected by the Erebus tragedy and did not receive the support and compassion that they should have from Air New Zealand."

Mr Fyfe said he hoped that the airline's response to the Airbus crash in Perpignan last year showed that the airline had learned lessons from Erebus.

Prime Minister John Key said the Erebus tragedy brought "shock, disbelief and mourning to our country".

Mr Key said he was 18 at the time of the crash and everyone "knew someone who knew someone who was on board".

"We cannot bring them back but we can honour these brave and true people and we can learn from our past."

The Erebus memorial sculpture - named 'Momentum' - is by Christchurch sculptor Phil Price. It was blessed by the Very Reverend Peter Beck from Christchurch Cathedral.

A seating area was set aside for the family members of those that died in the Erebus and Perpignan crashes for today's memorial.

Kathryn Carter, whose father Captain Jim Collins piloted the doomed plane, said Air New Zealand handled the situation very badly after the crash.

"It has been a hard 30 years for us. It was a culture of blame back then," she said.

"The crew were blamed for the accident, which wouldn't happen today.

"The sculpture represents forward thinking and moving on in a positive way."

The airline earlier said today's apology would take care of some of the "many of the gaps and failings that occurred in the days, months and years after November 28, 1979".

There was a controversial enquiry during which the Judge claimed there was a litany of lies emanating from Air NZ. He was strongly censured for his comments. Pilot error was the original verdict, but the truth won out eventually. The actual cause of the accident was what is called a "whiteout" where the ground is indistinguishable from the mountain itself.

Acknowledgements: NZPA - Msn NZ

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hundreds of mourners attend Aisling Symes' funeral - "little cutie" laid to rest...

Hundreds of mourners at Aisling Symes' funeral today heard she was a "cutie" with a "loving heart" who loved food, funny noises and raspberries being blown on her stomach.

A large crowd gathered outside Ranui Baptist Church, in west Auckland, as Aisling's close-knit family made their final farewells.

Alan and Angela Symes took Aisling's's flag-draped casket from the church to the waiting white hearse as the hymn Amazing Grace was played on a whistle.

The parents of the two year-old clung to each other as a Kuia farewelled their daughter with a karakia.

Family members released white doves and embraced each other before the hearse drove to a private cremation.

Police found Aisling's body in a stormwater pipe close to her deceased grandparents' home in Longburn Road, Henderson, on Monday night. The discovery followed a week-long search by police, family and members of the public.

Eternal significance

Leading the funeral service, Pastor Russell Watts told mourners of a prayer meeting that was happening at the time Aisling's body was found.

"As we were praying, the truth came to light," Mr Watts said.

He said it was a sign from God.

"A level of compassion is coming into the hearts that was not there before," Mr Watts said.

He said neighbours were talking to neighbours and people are working together. He said these were good things that should continue.

"Don't you dare think that effort was not for nothing," Mr Watts said.

He said what the community did meant something and had "eternal significance".

He thanked the community who "stood up while our hearts bled" as well as police and local politicians. "Life is so fragile and is so full of change".

Mr Watts led a prayer in which he said "accidents happen, Lord."

He said the prayers from the community and family came too late because she was "already enjoying heaven".

"For us left back here and the family, it hurts, there is a big hole left here," Mr Watts said.

He said people were "hurting in ways they can't describe".

The Symes family embraced each other as the congregation sang: Be Thou My Vision.

Mr Watts told the congregation that he was told by Aisling's Irish father, Alan, that the hymn was always sung at Irish funerals

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Child's body in drain confirmed as Aisling Symes...

Child's body in drain confirmed as Aisling Symes...

Auck police describe thorough search of drain where Aisling Symes' body found; "deeply saddened"; famly request privacy

West Auckland police say they did everything they could to find Aisling Symes on the night the toddler went missing and are deeply saddened about the discovery of her body.

Inquiry head Inspector Gary Davey has confirmed the body found in a drain on a property just a few metres away from the Henderson home where Aisling went missing is that of the two-year-old.

Police removed the body early this morning and a post mortem examination is being carried out.

Mr Davey says police carried out a thorough investigation of the drain shortly after being called to Longburn Rd on Monday last week, when Aisling was reported missing.

He says after speaking briefly to a neighbour, two officers searched 5 Longburn Rd shortly before 6pm that night. One of the officers looked in the manhole immediately on arrival at the scene. Mr Davey says it was daylight and the officer saw that nobody was in the drain.

The officer was then asked to search the stream and within 15 minutes returned to the manhole. The officer borrowed a torch, climbed into the manhole, which was about two metres deep and used his torch to examine the drain. Mr Davey says the officer believed he could see five metres into the drain. He called Aisling's name but could hear nothing but running water.

Mr Davey says drain was searched later in the night by search and rescue members and Aisling's father.

He says with the assistance of Watercare Services, a decision was made to use special search techniques in the drain. Cameras which could search metres into the drain failed to locate Aisling at that stage.

Yesterday, a decision was made to dig up the drain because of blockage issues. A digger and concrete cutters were used and the exercise took five hours.

"Unfortunately once we did open the drain, we were able to see Aisling."

Mr Davey says the family is extremely upset and he asked the media to give them some privacy

"My heart goes out to them for losing their little girl and I know it's going to be a very tough few days. It is small solace to know that at least one small thing is that they can grieve and move on and that they have their little girl home.

"I'm extremely proud of my investigation team. They showed tenacity and commitment to finding Aisling."

Mr Davey says at this stage he believes the case is one of misadventure but says police are keeping an open mind.

Mr Davey says police have identified the Asian woman who was the last person seen with Aisling and are trying to track her down.

It has been reported there has been four complaints lodged about drains in the area. This will be revealed in a later enquiry.

Aisling can be returned to her parents and family once any autopsy is performed. At this stage Aisling has died of misadventure.

Only yesterday, Lord Ashroft, the British businessman who put up a $50,000 reward for the missing military medals stolen from the Army Museum in the Waiuru Military camp a few years ago, offered a similar reward of $50,000.

Acknowledgements: 2009 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The global rise in breast cancer due to 'western lifestyles'...

The global rise in breast cancer due to 'Western lifestyles'...

Of all the exports from our modern world, breast cancer ranks as among the most dubious. Once thought to be a disease of the rich, it is now a global epidemic.

The rise of the cancer in Europe and America – cases have jumped 80 per cent in the UK since the 1970s – is being mirrored across the world. And scientists say increasing prosperity and the "Westernisation" of traditional lifestyles is to blame.

A richer diet, smaller families, delayed childbearing and reduced breast-feeding have driven the increase in the West, together with rising obesity and increased alcohol consumption, specialists say. Now these trends are being seen everywhere – with a growing burden of malignant disease in their wake.

An estimated 1.3 million new cases were diagnosed around the world last year. It is the commonest cancer in the UK and across Europe, even though it affects almost only one gender. In 2006, it outranked lung cancer, which affects both sexes, for the first time.

NZ Breast cancer news

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Farewell to New Zealand's clean and green image - very likely "green activists" claim

Farewell to New Zealand's clean and green image - very likely "green activists" claim

A cash starved National Government considers allowing mining in Department of Conservation Estates in both North and South Island national parks. Will it be farewell to New Zealand's clean and green image? Opponents claim it could; the Green Party has actually produced a list of likely sites for potential exploitation. Mining and conservation are not great bedmates. Read further:

Green campaigners are not buying the Government line that there is nothing to fear in mining Department of Conservation (DOC) land.

The Green Party has produced a list of sites at threat of possible exploitation, while Greenpeace says the countryside is under attack, and it too is preparing for battle.

The Waituna Lagoon in Southland, the Aspiring National Park and Paparoa National Park on the West Coast, Kahurangi National Park at the top of the South Island and the whole of the Coromandel are all under threat.

Geoff Keey from Greenpeace is not buying the claim high value conservation land is not at risk - saying the country is under attack.

Greenpeace is concerned the DOC estate will be stripped.

"The very things we use to promote our clean green image - our national parks, our wildlife refuges, all the really important things, are under attack,” Mr Keey says.

Read further

Sunday, October 4, 2009

This week in 1769 - Captain James Cook's ship's boy sights land In NZ...

This week in 1769 - Captain James Cook's "Endeavour" ship's boy sights land - now known as Young Nick's Head in Poverty Bay..

This week in 1769 Young Nick sights land. Ship's boy Nicholas Young received a gallon of rum and had Young Nick's Head named in his honour for being the first aboard the Endeavour to spot land. One hundred and twenty-seven years had passed since Abel Tasman's Dutch expedition had made the first recorded European sighting of New Zealand.

Captain James Cook noted that ‘at 2 p.m. saw land from the masthead bearing W by N, which we stood directly for, and could but just see it of the deck at sun set.’ When leaving Poverty Bay on 11 October 1769, he confirmed in his journal that the ‘south west point of Poverty Bay … I have named Young Nicks head after the boy who first saw this land.’ Research suggests that the land that young Nick sighted was most likely the mountains to the south of Poverty Bay and not the prominent landmark with which he was famously linked. Little is known of Nicholas Young. He was about 12 years old and was the personal servant of the Endeavour’s surgeon, William Brougham Monkhouse. After this voyage he became the servant of the botanist Joseph Banks, who had also accompanied Cook on his first voyage to New Zealand. In 1772 Young joined Banks on an expedition to Iceland, but no more is known of his later life.

Captain James Cook

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Former contender David Tua proves too much for NZ heavy weight boxing champ last night...

Former contender David Tua proves too much for NZ heavy- weight boxing champ last night...

Former No 1 contender for the world heavyweight boxing crown, Samoan born Kiwi, the "Tuaman" David Tua, returned to the ring last night and ko'd the NZ champion, Kiwi born Shane Cameron, early in the second round. Tua has been involved in legal matters outside of the ring in recent years.

David Tua has been largely forgotten in the boxing world in recent years, but the former No. 1 heavyweight contender returned to the ring after a two-year layoff last night, and he appeared to be in fighting shape as he easily defeated an overmatched Shane Cameron by second-round TKO.

Fighting in his adopted New Zealand for just the fourth time in his professional career, Tua knocked Cameron down quickly and totally overwhelmed him in the first round. After the second knockdown Tua was dangerously close to being disqualified for landing a punch while Cameron was on the ground, but the referee allowed the fight to continue, and Tua finished Cameron off in the second.

"I know I've lost a lot of weight and I think a lot of people have said I lost my speed. Now I believe I have just started my career, if anything," Tua said afterward. "So it was important for me to win this fight and win it well."

It was the proverbial mismatch, but the gallant Cameron proved no real challenge to one of the hardest punchers in the heavy weight ranks.

Tua improved his professional record to 50-3-1, with 43 wins by knockout.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Latest news in Samoa - Saturday 3 October...

Latest news in Samoa: Saturday 3 October

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has arrived in Samoa for a day-long trip touring the tsunami damaged areas.

He is to first visit the village of Poutasi, where he is to have a private meeting with a family friend who has lost people in the tsunami.

He will then head to the are worst affected by the tsumamis generated by Wednesday's magnitude 8.3 earthquake, Lalomanu, where he is to visit the New Zealand Red Cross team assisting in disaster recovery.

Later in the day he will meet his Samoan counterpart, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, before heading home tonight.

Mr Malielegaoi today said many Samoans say they will abandon their seaside homes and build inland.

Eight to nine bodies, mostly children, have so far been recovered today, Radio New Zealand reported.

Fourteen injured New Zealanders arrived home on an Air Force plane this morning as the death toll from the Samoan tsunami mounts.


An Otara grandmother, an Auckland toddler and two Waikato sisters are feared to be among the dead.

As searchers continue the grim task of finding bodies four days after a magnitude 8.3 earthquake and four waves hit the country, hopes are fading for a two-year-old boy swept out to sea and Matamata sisters Petria and Rebecca Martin, missing since Wednesday.

The family of Tauaavaga Tupuola – grandmother of Kiwis rugby league star Matt Utai – are now preparing to bring their matriarch home.

The 84-year-old was swept to her death along with her daughter Bula Okei, 28, and three-year-old granddaughter Sima.

Mrs Tupuola was visiting family at the isolated southern Samoan beach of Aganoa when she died. She had surprised family with her first visit to her homeland since emigrating to New Zealand more than 30 years ago.

Her son-in-law Tautua Eteuati showed The Dominion Post the hollow where the wave wrenched Mrs Tupuola from his grasp.

"We were rolling in the water and I lost her," he said, pointing out the spot behind a tin dinghy where Mrs Tupuola's body was found.

When the earthquake struck, Mr Eteuati yelled at his son and daughter-in-law to take the two children and run to higher ground. He stayed behind to lift his mother-in-law, who could not walk.

They were hit by the wave and he somehow managed to hold on to Mrs Tupuola.

"I had swallowed a lot of salt water. I thought I would die. I opened my eyes and put my hand up and touched a tree branch."

Ad Feedback He told his mother-in-law to "just keep breathing" but another tower of water bore down on them and he could no longer hold on to her.

Utai, who played four tests for the Kiwis and is a winger with NRL team Canterbury Bulldogs, will fly to Samoa on Tuesday to be with his family.

"He's very emotional about it," said his manager, Mark Rowan. "He was very close to his grandmother."

Three New Zealanders are now confirmed dead, including Raglan woman Mary Ann White.

The total death toll last night stood at 189 – 149 in Samoa, 31 in American Samoa and nine in Tonga, but was expected to rise further.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed last night that the toddler – who had been on a beach on the island of Upolu and was carried away while his parents managed to swim to safety – was missing presumed drowned.

Foreign Affairs also had grave fears for the two Matamata sisters, whose parents Kerry and Lynne flew to Samoa early this morning to help in the search for their two middle daughters

Mr Martin admitted hope was dwindling.

"We're going to go and see for ourselves and try and make some sense of it, and we're pretty hopeful that we'll find answers up there," he said. "Our chance of a good story isn't looking too good."

The sisters' family yesterday provided DNA to police.

Rebecca Martin, 24, teaches at Rototuna Primary School and Petria, 22, is team leader at Matamata's sports centre. Their friends Jodi McGlashan and Olivia Loeffen survived the tsunami, Ms Loeffen requiring surgery.

Foreign Affairs today said 18 Kiwis were known to be injured in the tsunami.

The high commission in Apia is still trying to locate 239 New Zealanders who are being urged to come forward.

"I'm hoping that all the unaccounted people are just people who haven't yet shown up," said Acting Prime Minister Bill English. "We can't know for sure."

Foreign Affairs today revised its travel advisory for Samoa, lowering the risk from "high risk" and advising against tourist and non-essential travel to "some risk" in parts of Samoa due to the tsunami.

The Queen last night sent condolences to the Samoan people. "I was saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life," she said.

Many bodies were pulled from the wreckage of Samoa's worst-hit southeastern corner, including five children.

Earth-moving machinery was helping to clear smashed timber and roofing iron stacked at the water's edge.

Acknowledgements: Dominion Post, Waikato Times,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spring has sprung in New Zealand...

Spring has sprung in New Zealand...

Forget global warming, climate change and the carbon footprint - it is springtime in New Zealand. Whether its those spring flowers in Hagley Park, Christchurch or the natives in the bush - spring has sprung in New Zealand!

New Zealand gardeners often bemoan the 'greenness' of our native flora. The showy wildflowers of North America, the tropics and elsewhere are not for us. But we have some true gems amongst our natives, valued highly in other countries, even if they are sometimes passed over in their own country.

Flowers abound, though; it's simply a case of knowing when, and where, to look for them. Spring is one of the most spectacular times in the calendar with kowhai, clematis and Chatham Island Forget-Me-Nots all producing dazzling displays.

Flowering Trees
Spring is peak flowering time for native trees and most of our showiest trees, apart from the Christmas blooms of the pohutukawa, flower in spring.

Kowhais are one of the first signs of spring in New Zealand, the bright yellow flowers appearing even from late winter. Loved by nectar seeking native birds and gardeners alike, every New Zealand garden should include at least one kowhai.

There are several species and a number of forms available from the slower growing and slower to flower South Island kowhai (S. microphylla), the faster developing North Island kowhai (S. tetraptera) to the dumpy, delightful hybrids such as 'Dragon's Gold' that flowers even before winter ends. And more:

The Green Planet

Monday, September 21, 2009

American research would support the retention of New Zealand's so-called anti-smacking legislation...

At a time when the ultra rightwing Act Party New Zealand is seeking to overturn and revoke the so-called "anti-smacking legislation" in New Zealand, new research has emerged from the United States that the smacking of young children by their low income minority group mothers has set off a few explosions within American society.

The research from Duke University which has been published in the journal of CHILD DEVELOPMENT revealed the study of 2573 toddlers and has found that for poor children, early and frequent smacking by the age of one year, is not only common, but made these children more aggressive by the age of two years, and by the age of three years their socio- emotional development had slowed dramatically.

They also found that low socio-economic mothers are more likely to have started smacking a fussy and irritable baby by the age of one year if the mothers are depressed. Boys were yelled at and smacked more often than girls, and the poorer the family, the greater the likelyhood children would be punished at an earlier age.

The collective results suggest that the causes and effects of smacking are bound tightly together, making it very difficult to interpret the particular influences of poverty, genetics, gender differences and culteral expectations.

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends against corporal punishment.

This research put into a New Zealand perspective would suggest the so-called anti-smacking legislation in this country should not in any circumstance be revoked or even amended. It has also been reported that very few so-called good parents have been prosecuted. So why would you want to break something that is actually working?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

NZ rugby boss, Jock Hobbs, battling leukemia...

New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Jock Hobbs is battling leukaemia.

The former All Black, 49, who is credited with bringing the Rugby World Cup 2011 to New Zealand, confirmed yesterday that he had cancer.

"Yes, I have been diagnosed with leukaemia but it's in a chronic form, not acute," he told The Dominion Post. "It's being monitored and I feel fine."

Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow and is characterised by a buildup of blood cells usually white cells. Though acute leukaemia requires immediate treatment, chronic forms are sometimes monitored and left untreated for a time to ensure the most effective therapy. The disease can take months or years to progress. Hobbs was diagnosed about four years ago.

He has attended some of the All Blacks' training sessions in past weeks and took part in one earlier this year.

A characteristically private man, he was an All Black flanker from 1983 to 1986, playing 21 tests, and became captain at 24, including on three overseas tours.

Hobbs studied law and, aged 23, was admitted to the bar. He was tipped to captain the 1987 World Cup team but was ruled out after too many concussions. He became a member of the NZRU council in 1995, was removed in 1996 and reinstated as chairman in 2002. He is also credited with saving the NZ game when rugby went professional in 1990's - but that is another story!

He is credited with persuading prime minister Helen Clark to fly to Dublin to pledge the Government's support for the 2011 World Cup bid.

In 2006 he was made a companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work, but told The Dominion Post at the time: "In some ways I feel as though I've been singled out. I was just one of a number of people involved in the bid."

Hobbs is married to Nicky, sister of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

They have four children and live in Wellington.

Acknowledgements: Dompost

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wellington earthquake risk overestimated for years...

Wellington earthquake risk has been over-estimated for years...

The Wellington, New Zealand, earthquake risk is less than previously thought. The experts have been telling us for years that the next big one is just round the corner. But now our fears have been alleviated just a little.

GNS Science says the likelihood of a major quake on the Wellington fault line in the next century is fifty percent less than thought.

The risk of a big earthquake flattening Wellington may have been overestimated for years.

The study from GNS Science has found that the likelihood of a major rupture on the Wellington fault line during the next 100 years is fifty percent less than previously thought.

GNS scientist Russ Van Dissen says the study could provide some relief for Wellingtonians.

"Big one might be less likely but smaller or more distant earthquakes can still have a significant impact on the city. And the extra good news is those smaller or more localised impacting events are the ones that we can do the most about."

Mr Van Dissen says should a big one strike, Wellington's hospital could be damaged, the water system could go down and roads out of the city could be blocked. He says this could alter the basis on which Wellingtonians make business and investment decisions.

Fred McCoy from the Wellington City Council says despite the lowered risk, residents should remain prepared.

"Frankly that's what worries me - that people will say that they no longer need to be as prepared so they stop being vigilant about keeping water and food and having a plan and knowing what they're going to do."

Mr McCoy says the risks still exist and the council will not be changing its earthquake response. The bang just may not be as big as expected - but how big is big?

Acknowledgements: 2009 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Read here

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hutt Valley DHB mental health reorganisation...

Re the Hutt News article concerning the reorganisation of HVH Maori Mental Health:

The Maori and Pacifica mental health unit will be disbanded through the reorganisation of mental health at the Hutt Valley Health Board.

We have had a family member being treated there for over 18 months now. We had him transfered when we became disillusioned with the mainstream Mental Health Unit at Hutt Valley DHB. Actually we have been considering having him transfered back again because we have not been happy with his treatment at the Maori Mental Health Unit.

Claims that this decision by HVDHB is rascist and an attempt at assimilation is wrong, insulting and rather stupid in my opinion. I don't believe the Maori Mental health Unit has been successful in recent times at servicing the needs of Maori and Pacifica patients; and they are patients not clients. I think it has been through overwork and staff shortages, not through any lack of ability. Some of the doctors and staff have been quite brilliant at what they do, when they are able to do so!

Lets face it, mental health has been the poor relation in the health sector for a few decades now. To give them more money is philosophically seen as taking money away from mainstream health. Which in itself is totally stupid. The National Party is probably worse than the Labour Party who has been bad enough. To be fair National closes units and department down and Labour doesn't know how to respond!

The general philosophy is these days that all patients should be out in the community - but this is as wrong as sending them all off to Porirua Hospital, and filling them up with strong medication and electric shock treatment.

There is a need for a balance because patients can get into a psychiatric unit at a public hospital only if they are considered as a danger to themselves or others! It can take weeks sometimes to get somebody admitted to the unit at Hutt Hospital - we know because we have been in that situation with our family member. Going up the wall and barking like a dog is not necessarily a good reason for getting admitted. Yeah right!

Hopefully the reorganisation of mental health at the Hutt Valley DHB will be in the best interests of all patients regardless or ethnicity. Those who claim racism, should pull their heads in. If we are not happyat the changes, we can again criticise those responsible. Quite frankly there should be reform at a national level. Can you see it? Yeah right!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Is this a shocking indictment of the American health system...


Is this a shocking indictment of the American health system, and perhaps of American society as well? Please read on:

A recent "20-20" television program in New Zealand exposed the problems existing in the American health system. The story starts in Idaho Falls, USA. An American woman named 'Heather' required a full hip replacement. The basic cost in America was US$60,000 exclusive of all other costs involved.

But like 45 million other families, 'Heather'and her family do not have, and cannot afford health insurance. Neither does she qualify for any form of government assistance, reserved for the very poor or those with identifiable needs. Sadly for her president Obama's proposed health scheme, if passed into law, will be too late for 'Heather'. She needs a full hip replacement now, or she will spend the rest of her life in a wheel-chair!

After some extensive online research, 'Heather' discovered she could get her hip-replacement offshore, not in Mexico for example, but in an English- speaking First World country down in the Pacific - New Zealand.

The total cost for 'Heather', inclusive of all associated medical costs, hotel bills and food for both her and a companion(her mother)would be US$23,000 all up!

'Heather' was able to find a foundation within the US who were prepared to pay half of her costs, and family and friends raised the other half.Then it was off to Auckland, New Zealand.

After flying to NZ and settling her mother into her hotel room, 'Heather' went to meet the surgeon responsible for her operation. She was interviewed and met the medical staff at the private hospital where the full hip operation was to be performed.

A new hip is guaranteed for about ten years, though some last indefinately.

She had her operation at a top private hospital in Auckland. They had the latest navigation system available to line-up her new hip.

Her operation was a complete success, and recovery took four weeks, during which time she was given an exercise regime, including walking. She was then passed fit enough to return home to the US for her rehabilition - with its market driven health system, which President Barack Obama is trying to overhaul. His opposition is coming from self-interest groups in the American health system, including the vast health insurance lobby.

So far there has really only been a trickle of clients such as 'Heather' seeking treatment outside the US. This has become known as "medical tourism".

How will this affect medical treatment for local Kiwis in the future? If this trickle becomes the flood that is anticipated it could well affect costs here in New Zealand. NZ could handle 2000-5000 clients a year, but if a tsunami of 20,000 clients hit NZ annually there could well be ramifications for the NZ health system - availabilty for operations could be compromised and costs could soar, affecting the state system as well.

There is no doubt that the estimated 15 million or so Americans will be going somewhere offshore from America in future years, and NZ will become a desirable destination and will get its share of an industry that could be equivalent to its present multimillion dollar wine industry. But what sort of "strain" could be put on the NZ health system? Could there be just a little temptation to sqeeze in some foreign clients into the NZ public health system too?
Posted by Kiwi Riverman's Blogesphere at 5:40 PM 0 comments My other blogs

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Green lady for Wellington traffic lights...

Traffic lights around Parliament could feature a green woman instead of a green man as part of a new proposal to make Wellington more recognisable as New Zealand's capital city.

Prime Minister John Key and Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast have launched the "Capital City Initiative - Our Extraordinary Democracy" which aims to improve the area around Parliament in preparation for the city's 150th anniversary in 2015. The area will be rebranded Capital Centre.

Cr Gerald Blunt from the Wellington City Council says the idea of changing the little green man on the traffic lights around Parliament to a little green woman is a reference to votes for women.

Mr Blunt says plans are also in place to build a visitor information centre.

Green lady

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kiwi involved in tragic sea mystery - skipper fell overboard...

Kiwi involved in tragic sea mystery - skipper fell overboard to his death...

David Parkinson, whose adventures inspired the film Proof of Life, was lost at sea between Niue and Tonga.

Doc David Parkinson's final voyage (PDF)

A New Zealand man was left adrift and helpless on a yacht in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for three days after his skipper mysteriously fell overboard to be lost at sea.

Alexander McDonald, 65, found he was alone on the 40-foot sloop Santana somewhere between Niue and Tonga after he awoke about 6pm on August 20.

British yacht-owner David Parkinson, a former British Royal Marine whose adventures inspired a Hollywood film, is missing, presumed dead.

Tonga police commander Chris Kelley said McDonald was unable to sail the yacht alone but still tried to search for Parkinson.

"He effectively went around in ever decreasing circles for at least three days. He attempted to recover him, but he's been unsuccessful and he [Parkinson] was lost at sea."

McDonald told Kelley he did not know how to operate the communications equipment and was unable to call for help.

After three days adrift, he managed to activate the rescue beacon, which was picked up in the United Kingdom.

British authorities alerted New Zealand that help was needed in the Pacific, and a Tongan Navy rescue boat was sent to save an increasingly worried McDonald.

An aerial search found no sign of the missing skipper.

Parkinson's brother Chris, who lives in the United States, said in an email: "No body and I doubt there'll be one. God knows, I hope his passing was quick and painless - though I doubt it was peaceful."

He believed McDonald had weathered a storm since becoming adrift, having received a message from officials saying: "The engine was broken and the sails were broken."

It was an amazing round-the-world attempt that should never have been possible. The British skipper suffered from Parkinson's disease - yet set off after an experimental operation. Surgeons implanted a pacemaker in Parkinson's chest which sent electrical impulses to electrodes in his brain.

Friend of 20 years Michael Lewis, a photographer based in the United States, had recently sailed with Parkinson. "Having sailed a fair amount I can't imagine anything that is more horrific than being in the ocean and watching the boat leave you behind."

He said Parkinson was "well aware" of his physical limitations. He needed a volunteer crew to help him with sailing - and had given up going in the water.

"He wasn't going in at all. He was afraid he would have a seizure, he was being very cautious. David was really concerned about his ability to function properly outside the cockpit."

Lewis said his friend sought solace in the sea. "He comes alive when he is at the helm ... He was obviously an adventurous soul. He was bound and determined to complete his around the world journey despite the limitations that the disease was having on him."

Lewis said Parkinson had left the military to work for a company called Control Risks in London as a hostage negotiator. He worked often in Colombia, where one of his cases was made into the film Proof of Life with Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan. He recalled Parkinson saying: "We didn't really go in with guns blazing. That only happens in Hollywood."

Parkinson and Spanish crewman Magi Bacardi arrived in Rarotonga from Bora Bora on May 28. Bacardi left to join another yacht, and Parkinson began to search for another crew member.

He met McDonald, and Cook Island officials said the pair left for Niue on August 6. A spokesman for Niue Customs said Santana never arrived.

McDonald had been spoken to "at length" by Tongan police and was now free to leave the island, police chief Kelley said. The Santana would remain under guard at Nuku'alofa harbour until the police investigation was complete.

A spokesman for the Tongan Defence Services, which rescued McDonald, said the Kiwi seemed in good health.

Acknowledgements: MSN NZ

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Three All Blacks stars to play for Canterbury in Ranfurly Shield/Air NZ Cup match against Wellington on Sat. night...

Canterbury will start their three All Blacks stars in the Air NZ Cup/Ranfurly Shield rugby challenge against Wellington on Saturday.

Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Brad Thorn have all been confirmed in the starting 15 for the match in Wellington, with All Blacks skipper McCaw today named to play at No 8.

His customary role at openside flanker is filled by George Whitelock, who retains the captaincy after leading Canterbury in McCaw's absence this winter.

The match marks the first time McCaw has played in a shield challenge.

Carter has recovered from a slight calf strain which he picked up in the Tri-Nations test win over Australia in Sydney last Saturday.

Also back in Canterbury's ranks is loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett, who was involved with the All Blacks during the build-up to the Bledisloe Cup test but wasn't used in the playing 22.

Another international, loose forward Kieran Read, has not recovered sufficiently from knee injury to take his place in the Canterbury side.

Canterbury coach Rob Penney welcomed the availability of his All Blacks.

"It's great to have these guys available for us and keen to play and that enthusiasm is the key. They are obviously quality players and are extremely excited about playing in this match.

Carter comes in for Stephen Brett, who played well in Canterbury's 25-21 victory over Tasman last weekend and will be on the reserves bench.

Thorn replaces Luke Romano and McCaw comes in for Mike Coman, who is expected to be sidelined for three weeks with an ankle sprain.

In other changes, second five-eighth Ryan Crotty replaces Tim Bateman, who moves out one spot to centre, with Adam Whitelock named on the reserves bench.

James Paterson comes on to the left wing for Tu Umaga-Marshall.

Colin Slade, Sean Maitland, Tim Bateman, Ryan Crotty, James Paterson, Dan Carter, Tyson Keats, Richie McCaw, George Whitelock (captain), Michael Paterson, Brad Thorn, James Broadhurst, Peter Borlase, Ti'i Paulo, Wyatt Crockett.

Reserves: Corey Flynn, Andrew Olorenshaw, Sam Whitelock, Matt Todd, Andy Ellis, Stephen Brett, Adam Whitelock.

Acknowledgements: NZPA

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Auckland super city brews up a storm - political hide and seek...

Auckland super city brews up a storm - political hide and seek...

Hide denies threatening Govt over Maori super city seats

Hide denies threatening Govt over Maori super city seats
Audrey Young: Hide's Maori seats threat - principle or strategy?
Act leader Rodney Hide has told Prime Minister John Key he will resign as Local Government Minister if National agrees to Maori representation on the Auckland Super City council.

Government stability would not be threatened, however, because Act's five votes would still support National on confidence and money supply votes, Mr Hide said.

The issue has been reignited after it was revealed that National MP Tau Henare sent his colleagues an email on Tuesday trying to convince them to support Maori seats in the Super City bill that will be returned to Parliament soon.

But Act's refusal to budge means that a compromise on the Maori seats that Mr Key had previously hinted at looks impossible.

Mr Hide is responsible for steering the Super City restructuring bill through Parliament. He told the Herald last night that he had made it clear to Mr Key that he could not remain as minister if the legislation included Maori seats on the council.

"But it wasn't by way of a threat," he said.

Mr Hide said he told Mr Key: "Just to be absolutely clear, you have got our support for supply and confidence but as a minister, as the Act leader, I couldn't be responsible for introducing to the House a bill that would have reserve seats in it."

Auckland-based Mr Henare is on the committee considering the bill.

His email, obtained by TV3, asks National MPs to consider a free vote on the issue of the Maori seats.

"I believe the issue is too far-reaching and too important for a party presently sitting on 1 per cent in the polls to decide alone."

The email said Mr Hide had threatened to end Act's relationship with National if Maori seats were allowed.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said last night that she was disappointed at Mr Hide's position but her party's support for the Government would not change. "We always knew when we went into this arrangement with National that there would be issues that would take us right to the wire and this is one of them.

"But we have no intentions of withdrawing support for the Government and we have no intention of withdrawing our ministerial roles. That's not what we went into the relationship for."

Meanwhile, a private member's bill promoted by Auckland-based Labour list MP Phil Twyford that would have required a referendum before any Super City assets were sold or privatised was defeated in Parliament last night at its first reading.

But seriously, are we seeing the Key administration de-threading itself? Will it see out its full term? But of course, is there an alternative prime minister?

Come back Helen Clark all is forgiven!
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