Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Christmas to you all...

Looking into the Hutt Valley in New Zealand.
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The home jersey of the Melbourne Storm.
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Satellite photo of the Wellington conurbation:...
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Image by jarek69 & evelyn via Flickr
It is just a few days to Christmas here in New Zealand. We are hoping for a fine Christmas as many of us here eat outdoors, whether its an outdoor dinner or barbeque. We are having the former, though I expect the latter will come into use later. I'm a traditionalist and still like my roasts, vegetables and trappings, and puddings and things. A few drinks later when my food has settled down.

We expect most of the family to be here in Taita, Lower Hutt, though one of our younger members, 16 year old grandson, Pride will be back in Melbourne, Australia, as he is a recruit for the Melbourne Storm NRL club's Under 18 squad in the SG Ball competion. I'm not sure exactly where he is having his Christmas; somewhere in Victoria or NSW I'm sure. He'll be back in the Hutt Valley late in January. But everybody else should be here. Our four grown up children, partners, and the other eleven grandchildren, and some other family members. But I believe most of the hard work will be taken away from me this year; my sons taking over after I have organised things for 40 odd years. So it should be a great day for our family on Sunday.

We hope you have a great day too and enjoy the time with family and friends. Merry Christmas from the  Hutt Valley, Wellington,  New Zealand.
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Richie McCaw to receive honorary doctorate to honour his leadership qualities...

English: New Zeland rugby union player Richie ...
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RWC winning All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will receive an honorary doctorate from Lincoln University in Canterbury, New Zealand, despite having only three years completion in an agricultural science degree he started back as an 18 year old. He has had to fit his studies around his professional rugby career.He will receive his honorary doctorate next April.

Richie turned down a knighthood during the last week, claiming it was not yet the right time while he was still playing rugby for New Zealand.He is still only 30 yrs old and has a couple of years left for NZ and perhaps three more with the Crusaders super 15 franchise in Canterbury.
He actually holds a glider pilot's licence and is a grandson of a former WW2 Kiwi fighter ace Jim McCaw.

Lincoln University has stated the honorary doctorate is to recognise his hugely impressive leadership of the All Blacks over many years, and the recent Rugby World Cup a couple of months ago.He will undoubtably finish his degree once he has retired from his rugby career.
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Friday, December 9, 2011

Kiwi yachting legend Sir Peter Blake the best there was...


    Kiwi yachting legend Sir Peter Blake the best there was...

  • Round the world race boss Knut Frostad has paid tribute to Kiwi yachting legend Sir Peter Blake as the latest fleet gets ready for the second leg to start from Cape Town this weekend.
    Frostad chose to speak on the 10th anniversary of Sir Peter's tragic death at the hands of pirates in the Amazon on December 6, 2001.
    Frostad labelled Sir Peter "the best there was in terms of seamanship".
    Sir Peter was a major figure in blue water sailing contesting the first five round the world races and winning aboard Steinlager 2 in 1989-90. Blake's success on Steinlager 2 was total - winning all six legs on both handicap and line honours.
    He then went on to help mastermind New Zealand's America's Cup success and work at environmental awareness.
    "He was an inspiration to me personally and to so many other sailors who have taken part in this race," said Knut Frostad, the Volvo Ocean Race CEO, in Cape Town.
    "He had incredible determination and was such a remarkable leader. It was not just the fact that he won so much, it was the way he did it. In terms of seamanship, he was the best there was, and he was a real gentleman."
    Sir Peter's widow Lady Pippa Blake was named as an ambassador for the first Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta this year and the main trophy was named in his honour.
    "I was privileged to spend time with Lady Pippa Blake during the Legends Regatta," said Frostad. "Peter was fondly remembered by the many sailors and friends who gathered in Alicante for what was a celebration of a race history he played such a big part in.
    "As well as being one of the true greats of our sport, he was also a terrific ambassador and campaigner for the preservation of the oceans, which is something that is close to our hearts too.
    "I am pleased that we are returning to Peter's home turf of Auckland in this race. It seems fitting to be going back there as we remember him now."
    Camper, the Team New Zealand entry in the latest race, is second after the opening leg.
    The small fleet leaves Cape Town on Sunday to contest the second leg to Abu Dhabi over 5,430 nautical miles away.

  • Acknowledgements:


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    A golden mystery for New Zealand...

      B)Mystery over huge gold imports: Two massive shipments of gold coins, worth up to $64 million in total, have been imported into New Zealand from Canada in recent months, but the owner or owners remain a mystery. The shipments came to light in the September trade figures, which showed imports from Canada were up $64m, led by gold coins. Imports of collector pieces and antiques were up $67m, also mainly because of gold coins. After querying the shipments with Customs, Statistics NZ put the coins into the "collectable" rather than investment category. However, well-known Otaki antiques dealer John Mowbray says it is highly unlikely that any collector would have imported such a valuable cache. "If you said to me on a year's basis, I would say yeah, that sounds probable. But for one month? "In my mind it's not conceivable that a collection of coins for collectors would be coming into the country at that value."
      The Reserve Bank said it did not import gold, but the country's two biggest traders of commemorative gold coins do. However, John Hunter of NZ Gold Merchants said he had heard nothing about a very large amount of gold coin being brought in for minting purposes. He agreed the coins were almost certainly destined for investors. "If it's come from the Canadian mint, it's unlikely it's collectable, it's a bullion coin," he said. Mike O'Kane of New Zealand Mint suggested it could be an overseas buyer storing their gold in this country. "We are seeing a lot of offshore clients wanting to store here in New Zealand because we've got a nice stable government . . . "You've got to pay to get it shipped here, which does add a very large margin to most buyers. But if you're looking to buy and hold a large amount, then we do tick a lot of boxes." An answer may lie with the Customs Department. Although officials have been unable to supply an answer so far, it is understood that the shipments have highlighted a rare discrepancy between Customs and Statistics NZ as to how gold coins should be categorised, and further research is under way. Sources said "pure" or investment-grade gold did not incur duty when it came into the country and generally was treated as a financial transaction by Statistics NZ. Coins such as gold sovereigns, which were less than 99.5 per cent pure, did incur GST and in this case, showed up in the trade figures.

    • Acknowledgements: The Dominion Post
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    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Do we have to do this AGAIN - protest to stop mining on the conservation estate...

    copy and paste below from the Forest and Bird website:

    Ask John Key to keep his government’s promise about mining our conservation land

    This week the new government signalled that mining on public conservation land is again on its agenda. It has broken the promise made last year to give all New Zealanders a say about significant mining projects on conservation land.
    On Monday, Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson sent a letter to Forest & Bird saying the government will not publicly notify the access arrangement for a planned 160-hectare open-cast coal mine on the Denniston Plateau. This would allow all New Zealanders to have a say on whether the mine should go ahead.
    The Denniston Plateau is an extraordinary and wild part of New Zealand, with a unique ecosystem that is home to great spotted kiwi, kaka, West Coast geckos, giant land snails, bonsai rata and many other special plants and animals.
    For more information, see here.
    You can help. Please send this e-card to Prime Minister John Key today to ask him to keep his government’s promise. Thank you very much from Forest & Bird.
    Photos: Top, 50,000 Kiwis marching in Queen Street last year against mining national parks; left, the Denniston Plateau; right, neighbouring Stockton mine/Craig Potton
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    Friday, December 2, 2011

    When A City Falls - official trailer of a new documentary film about Christchurch earthquakes

    When A City Falls - official trailer about a new documentary movie about Christchurch earthquakes being shown in cinemas now.From the streets of Christchurch(The People Story).
    When I was watching this video...we had a short sharp earthquake in Wellington.

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    Death of a village...

    :(Death of a village...
    This article was written by Tony Wall and originally featured in the Sunday Star Times on Sunday, November 27th, 2011.

    • The death notices arrived by special delivery.
      November 17 – doomsday for residents of Brooklands, the sleepy fishing and lifestyle village 10 minutes north of Christchurch – had begun ordinarily enough, although there was an odd interlude that morning. A bus had pulled up outside the community centre and out hopped Christchurch mayor Bob Parker and some of his senior staff and councillors.
      They spoke to residents about their concerns, ate morning tea, then went on a tour of some of the earthquake damage. It all seemed quite jovial – someone even mentioned locals could apply to the mayor’s fund for repairs. There was certainly no mention of any bad news. People were told they could expect a decision on land zoning for Brooklands “very, very soon”.
      That afternoon the radio began broadcasting startling news: Brooklands was to be zoned red, meaning the whole village would be condemned. The news spread like wildfire but was met with disbelief by many, especially those whose homes were virtually untouched.

    Read more:

    • Just a few weeks ago a number of my family members and I drove through Brooklands to the beach there, to scatter the ashes of my late brother. I noticed some of the signs relating to the earthquake damage that has condemned this little village for ever. For somebody born and raised in Christchurch this sort of thing pulls at my heartstrings. 
    • Peter Petterson
    • Lower Hutt
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