Thursday, August 30, 2012

Police are not treating the death of a 16 yr old boy on the banks of the Hutt River as being suspicious...



Police aren't treating the death of a 16-year-old boy whose body was found on the banks of the Hutt River in Lower Hutt as suspicious
Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Thornton says a post-mortem examination has been carried out on the body of Michael Lafou, of Naenae, on Thursday morning.

"A preliminary cause of death is yet to be established at this stage and further tests will be carried out in due course, however, Michael's death is not being treated as suspicious," he said.

Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding Michael's death.

A member of the public reported finding his body near a riverside car park on Wednesday morning.
Police want to hear from anyone who was near the car park on Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning.

There has been much speculation about the boy's death during the last couple of days. He is believed to have lived in Naenae.

Acknowledgements: Hutt City News Subscribe to NZCity's Law and Order articles

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kiwis allegedly behind super trawler fishing off Australian coast...

New Zealanders Peter and Donna Simunovich are majority owners of a company which has been granted a quota allowing a super trawler to fish off Australia..

New Zealand fishing industry siblings are majority owners of a firm behind a controversial super trawler wanting to fish 18,000 tonnes of fish off the coast of Australia.
Peter and Donna Simunovich own most of Seafish Tasmania, which has controlling interest in a joint venture using the trawler Margiris - the second largest of its kind in the world - which arrived at a South Australian port on Thursday.
Seafish Tasmania intends to use Margiris to fish for 18,000 tonnes of redbait and mackerel, a quota the company says has been backed by a group of eminent marine scientists.
However, Greenpeace has been calling on the Australian government to refuse to grant a fishing license to the ship as it has the potential to "decimate" fish stocks and kill other marine life, including seals and dolphins.
New Zealand Greenpeace spokesman Steve Abel says the Simunovich's are "bringing shame on New Zealand" by funding the super trawler which he calls a "death ship".
Speaking through an employee at Simunovich Fishing Company in Auckland, Mr Simunovich told NZ Newswire he did not want to comment.
Spokesman for Seafish Tasmania, Mike Lester, told NZ Newswire he thought it was "despicable" that Greenpeace would attack someone personally over an issue.
He says the quota the company has been granted has been backed by a group of eminent marine scientists, although issues over by-catch have been raised in some studies.
Greenpeace is calling on the Australian and New Zealand governments to ban the use of super trawlers and members of the group have been trying to stop Margiris from entering Australian waters.
A complaint by Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie about the fishing quota granted to Seafish Tasmania has resulted in a Commonwealth Ombudsman's investigation

Acknowledgements: NZN

Kiwi born Aussie soldier loses legs in Afghanistan bomb blast...

  • 7575470
    Kiwi born Aussie soldier loses lower legs in Afghanistan bomb blast...
    A former Queenstown man serving in the Australian Army in Afghanistan is lucky to be alive after an improvised explosive device blew up, injuring him and three other soldiers.
    Ex-Wakatipu High School student Curtis McGrath, 24, is believed to have lost both his legs in the explosion, which occurred in the Uruzgan province during operations with the Afghan National Security Force last week.
    The Sydney Morning Herald reported that four Australian soldiers had been wounded, one seriously. The soldier who was seriously wounded was flown to Kandahar, before being transferred to a hospital in Germany.
    The Southland Times understands that soldier is Mr McGrath, a combat engineer, who grew up in Queenstown before moving to Australia and joining the army.
    A friend of Mr McGrath told The Southland Times Mr McGrath's Brisbane-based family had flown to Germany to be with him and hoped to be able to bring him back to Australia this weekend. "It's a miracle he is alive.
    "He is in good spirits, well and truly alive, and will be transferred to Brisbane this weekend all going well."
    A Wakatipu High School spokesperson confirmed the school had been informed of the incident involving Mr McGrath but did not comment further.
    Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the soldiers would receive the best medical care possible. "The medical care they get, based on what I've observed, will be the very best their families could hope for," he said
    The Australian Defence Department declined to comment on the incident and would not disclose any personal details of soldiers wounded during operations, citing privacy.
    'In another incident in Afghanistan, three Australian soldiers were killed by a rogue element in the Afghan forces.'
    Acknowledgements: © Fairfax NZ News

Monday, August 27, 2012

Educating readers to the Marmite shortage crisis...


The massive earthquakes and aftershocks in Christchurch have severely damaged the Sanatarium Health Food Company’s factory. Marmite production ceased and supplies of the rich black yeast spread finally ran out. Marmite lovers like myself who have eaten the product all our lives have had to survive on memories of the black gold.
I have tried the Australian Vegemite but this is an anaemic substitute. I actually used some a little while ago and was forced to sit down at my laptop and introduce Petes Place readers to the crisis.
Sanatarium who make a variety of food products, many in Auckland as well, are rebuilding the Marmite plant and should have supplies ready in a few months. By Christmas please, Sanatarium!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

A government announcement is to be made on the future of NZ's four residential special schools

Red Alert

Residential special schools

Posted by on August 26th, 2012
I understand the Minister of Education is going to be making an announcement this week on the future of the country’s four residential special schools. Over the past few months the Ministry has been consulting on a new ‘wrap around’ service that their official consultation document suggests will cost about a third of the cost of accommodating a pupil at one of the residential schools (but of course, this isn’t about cost saving…)
From the outside, it very much looks like the whole consultation has been skewed towards a pre-determined outcome, the closure of the schools. Having visited all four schools, spoken with some of the kids, the principals, teachers, parents, boards of trustees and many others with an interest in this process, I can firmly say that I think closure is the wrong option.
I believe in an inclusive education system. I don’t think kids with special needs should be shunted out or ‘institutionalised’. But that’s not what residential special schools do. In effect, they’re the most intensive ‘wrap around’ service out there. Kids don’t stay there forever, usually no more than 18 months to two years. In that time they often make huge progress, and a lot of effort is put into ensuring that their reintegration back into their original school and home life is as smooth as possible.
At one of the schools I spoke to a kid who’d come from a pretty unfortunate background. Drugs, crime, and dysfunction were all a constant feature of his life. Taken away from all of that, he was allowed to be a kid again. He was catching up on a lot of the education he’d missed out on, and plans had been put in place to ensure that the environment he returned to wasn’t the one he’d come from. Quite frankly it was inspiring.
Far from closing them, if anything, we need to look at increasing the number of special residential schools, and make them ‘centres of excellence’ that can provide advice, expertise and assistance to other schools so that we end up with fewer kids needing the highest level interventions in the first place.
Before Hekia Parata signs off on any final decision, I would urge her to take the time to visit these schools and see first hand what she is doing. It would be wrong for her to simply sign-off on the recommendations of her officials without taking the time to develop her own understanding of the issues.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The fallen kiwi soldiers return home from Afghanistan..


The bodies of three soldiers killed in Afghanistan have touched down in Christchurch.
Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, were killed when a 20kg roadside bomb destroyed their Humvee in northeast Bamiyan Province on Sunday.
A ramp ceremony was held for the trio when they touched down in a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules this afternoon. Families of the fallen soldiers were taken on board to be reunited with them.
The caskets were draped in New Zealand flags and senior military brass paid their respects, while army personnel decorated the soldiers’ caskets.
A haka was performed as the three were carried across the tarmac to a waiting hearse.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Three more Kiwi troops killed in Afghanistan...


Taita man drowned in fishing mishap in Wellington harbour


Dead fisherman wasn't wearing life jacket

Police have identified the fisherman who died in Wellington Harbour after his dinghy capsized and sank as 49-year-old Leon Grant Scurrah.

A fisherman who died after the dinghy he was in capsized and sank in Wellington Harbour was not wearing a life jacket, even though there was one on board the boat, police say.
Leon Grant Scurrah, 49, of Lower Hutt, was fishing with a friend when the boat they were in capsized and quickly sank on Saturday afternoon about 75 metres offshore from Hutt Road, near Horokiwi.
Both men tried to swim to shore but Mr Scurrah did not make it.
His friend raised the alarm and a search began.
About two hours later Mr Scurrah's body was found by members of the Police National Dive Squad.
A police statement released on Sunday evening said neither of the men was wearing a life jacket, despite these being stowed on the boat.
The dinghy was recovered on Sunday by divers.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Problems with CTV building in CHCH known for 20 yrs...

Engineers knew the Canterbury Television building's design was flawed more than 20 years ago, the royal commission into the building's collapse has heard.
Holmes Consulting Group engineer John Hare examined the building for a potential buyer in 1990 and quickly found the connections between the building's key support wall and its floors did not meet building standards.
"The building would effectively separate from the shear walls well before the shear walls themselves reached their full design strength," he told the commission on Friday, quoting from his 22-year-old report.
He had told the building's designers, Alan Reay Consultants, about his concerns and drew up strengthening plans for the remedial work, which was estimated to cost $14,000.
But after the potential buyer, Canterbury Regional Council, pulled out of the sale, Holmes Consulting Group was told to stop its remedial work, Fairfax reports.
Dr Alan Reay gave evidence for the fifth time on Friday, telling the commission he became aware of issues with the building's structure in 1991, just five years after its construction was completed.
Drag bars were installed to strengthen the building, but Dr Reay maintained that to this day, he would not have called for a total building inspection, despite weaknesses that both he and Mr Hare had identified, Radio New Zealand reported.
The alterations were later found to not comply with the building code.
Meanwhile, the inquest into the 115 deaths in the building in its collapse during the February 22, 2011, quake will resume in October.
Coroner Gordon Matenga will conduct the inquest with a focus on six victims who survived the building's initial collapse but could not be rescued.
The hearing was adjourned in September last year, pending further investigations into the circumstances around the deaths.

Acknowledgements: NZN,tst

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Any coup against David Shearer would backfire on Labour...


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Any coup against David Shearer would backfire on Labour - kick arse David...

The next prime minister of New Zealand, David Shearer. Will see John Key off at the airport.
If it is true that there are members of the Labour caucus in Parliament contemplating a coup against Labour leader David Shearer, they would be advised to sit down and think about things for a while.
If David Cunliffe is the centre of a conspiracy, his supporters should remember that he failed to give former leader Phil Goff the support needed to win the last elections. Just a few seats would have enabled Phil Goff to become prime minister, and send John Key off to Hawaii and retirement; he has no wish to become leader of the Opposition again.
If the alleged plotters were successful, they would never be elected to office anyway. They wouldn't get my vote - it would go to a new socialist party that would spring up. - the NZ Social Democrats.
:)) laughing

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hero Willie Apiata VC quits defence force - like 900 others - no goodbyes from big brass either...

Maybe Apiata's departure relates to pay and conditions - the rest of the Armed Forces are certainly complaining

Maybe Apiata's departure relates to pay and conditions - the rest of the Armed Forces are certainly complaining

Opinion by Political Reporter Patrick Gower
There could hardly be a worse advertisement for the New Zealand Defence Force right now.
Willie Apiata, VC, quits - and doesn't even get so much as a goodbye from the top brass.
Yes, the Army's poster boy just walked on out - like over 900 other servicemen and women have in the past two years.
It goes like this - morale is in the doldrums, there's a pay freeze and the Government's cost-cutting reforms have really hurt.
All this adds up to people just not wanting to work for the armed forces as much as they used to.
And now the departed includes none other than Willie Apiata - just how symbolic is that?
His departure from the SAS was broken to the public by a muttering Defence Minister on the way to Parliament yesterday.
The Defence Force then rushed out a bland statement - I strongly suspect they did not know what to say.
And finally it put something out on behalf of Apiata himself.
It was all very disorganised - there was certainly no military-style precision.
It all points to there being some deeper issue to Apiata's departure.
As the rumour mill has it, he's been arguing over getting some extra leave to be with his family (denied by the Government).
And then there are rumours about discipline issues and the like (also denied by the Government) that always circulate when there's a rushed departure like this.
The nature of the release does nothing to quell those - and when they are not true it's simply not fair on Apiata.
Or maybe Apiata's departure relates to pay and conditions - the rest of the Armed Forces are certainly complaining.
Are our SAS and the associated special forces’ soldiers remunerated properly?
Do the SAS have the right numbers to ward off attrition issues?
Are there the right pathways for experienced career soldiers like Apiata to stay in the services?
I'm really surprised there was no exit strategy for Apiata.
There's no special role designated for him, no matter how small to keep him attached to the forces - for want of a better description, some sort of "cushy retirement number".

Apiata is going to work for the High Wire Trust - it works with troubled youth.
But the Government/Army has its own programme - the so-called "boot camps". Wouldn't Apiata have been the ideal man for this?
A roving role up and down the country - he could have been put in a "civilianised role" and paid a decent wedge.
Clearly the Army had no plan for dealing with Apiata - its been a shambles.
And the very least, they should have given him some sort of send-off where he could extol the virtues of a career as a soldier.
Maybe the Defence Force muzzled him because they didn't want media asking about morale and pay issues?
It's clear that Apiata still loves the SAS - he's staying on as a reserve.
Maybe he didn't want a big send-off - but that doesn't stop something a little more organised than yesterday.
And what about the amount the Defence Force has pumped into the marketing and PR "brand Willie"? On those grounds alone it's a loss to the balance sheet.
The clumsy goodbye to Apiata is not a good look.
Put it this way: I can't see the NZRFU acting like this when Richie McCaw finally calls it a day.
Whatever the reasons behind this, Apiata's final salute from the top brass was not befitting of the great man's deeds.
Response from Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones:
Patrick, I can assure you and the public of New Zealand that Corporal Apiata, V.C. will get the send-off from the Defence Force that HE wants.
I think if the New Zealand public has learnt anything about Willie since he rose to prominence for his remarkable act of gallantry, it is that Willie is an incredibly humble man who has never sought the spotlight for himself.
Where he has made public appearances and supported causes, these have been where he sensed he could make a difference to his community and New Zealand.
So too it is in the way he wishes to leave the Defence Force. As Defence Force leaders we will first and foremost be guided by Willie’s own wishes to make the transition to his new role beyond the Defence Force in his own quiet and deliberate way.
As Chief of Defence Force, I believe he has earned that right. As to the “rushed” way you claim the NZ Defence Force handled this issue, our statement was of course in response to imminent news media stories we became aware of.
It was not the Defence Force that sought to initiate a story but your own brethren. Again, our statement was in accordance with Willie’s wishes.
With regard to the other innuendo and gossip you speculate about in your “opinion piece”, all I can do is refer you again to the statement that Corporal Apiata, V.C. made through the Defence Force yesterday afternoon.
As regularly voted one of New Zealand’s “most trusted New Zealanders”, I hope Patrick that you will take Willie’s word on this matter - if not my own - that he left his fulltime military role under good terms, and will continue his long association with the Defence Force as a Reserve Force member:
“This has been a decision that I have not taken lightly and it is one that has taken me many months to make. I am leaving to pursue my goals and to grow with my family. I am very proud of my service with the NZDF and I am very grateful for all of the support I have received from the NZSAS and the NZDF.”

Read more:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Labour has welcomed proposals to amend MMP...

Labour welcomes MMP proposals

Labour welcomes the proposals set out in the review of MMP by the Electoral Commission, says Labour’s Associate Justice spokesperson Lianne Dalziel.
“The Electoral Commission must be congratulated for what has been a very robust process of public engagement. The proposals are well-considered and will benefit from the final round of public input.
“The public has spoken loudly and clearly about the ‘coat-tails’ clause, which has allowed parties to win seats even though the party doesn’t have sufficient support to get over the five per cent threshold.
“Everyone wants to see an end to political stitch-ups and canning this clause will stop dodgy ‘tea party’ deals. Lowering the threshold to four per cent will mean a fairer system for everyone.
“National’s campaign for John Banks and Peter Dunne to win their constituency seats paid off when they delivered the two crucial votes they needed to pass the asset sales law.
“People voted to retain MMP because they don’t want a return to the old two-party system and want a genuine check on the absolute majorities that FPP used to bring. The diversity of representation has also been highly valued. Parliament had only one Pacifica MP before MMP and not one Asian MP. We couldn’t imagine a Parliament like that today.
“Removing the coat-tailing loophole while lowering the threshold and removing the overhang will ensure we have a well-represented and balanced Parliament that reflects New Zealand’s diversity.
“The Commission says only small changes need to be made to MMP and Labour agrees. These proposals will lead to a stronger MMP and a greater faith in democracy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lisa Carrington: The new golden queen of NZ sport...

Lisa Carrington: The new golden queen of NZ sport...

Kiwi sports fans were as devastated as big Val Adams when she almost failed to get entered in the Womens’ Shot-put competition at the London Olympic Games 2012, along with a number of other Kiwi  competitors. The NZ Government  has come in on the act too – Minister of Sport Murray McCully will be asking the big question when the New Zealand Olympic team arrives back here in a couple of days. As he rightfully reminded everybody concerned, significant amounts of tax-payers money is paid out in sponsorship of sport in New Zealand –  including the Olympic team.
It is very hard to assess just what the real impact of the stress generated by the controversy on Val Adams performance was, but it had to be significant. It was she, herself, who discovered the error of  her omission from her event and the hours it took to rectify the error obviously impacted on her performance. Sadly the magnificent performance of the eventual gold-medalist from Belarus was overlooked. Val got nowhere close to her distances on the day. Val Adams the reigning Olympic champion from Beijing, and three-times world champion, may not have been good enough on the day anyway. As Val said, she could only control her own performance, not that of her rival on the day.
New Zealand sports fans can be very fickle. They can one day be completely critical of opposition performances, and on another completely reap New Zealand’s own ‘tall poppies’  if they can’t measure up to public expectations. Nick Willis’ failure in the 1500m final, after a fine semi-final performance, is a classic example  of fickle Kiwi  fans. Nick may have just given it all in the semi-final and had no gas left in the tank. Sure his performance was extremely disappointing – but Nick is human and not comparable to the gods of yesteryear – the immortal Jack Lovelock at Berlin in 1936 (in front of Hitler and the Nazi regime), the arguably greatest Kiwi Olympian of all time, Peter Snell at Rome in 1960 in the 800m, and at Tokyo four years later in 1964, winning both the  800m for the second time, and becoming the successor to Lovelock by winning the 1500m as well. In 1974 the smooth running John Walker became the third leg of the triple by winning the 1500m as well. Walker was one of the greatest sub-four minute milers in history, running a hundred over the distance. How can we fault poor Nick Willis because he is a mere mortal and failed to measure up to those super-stars who set the standards for later champions over the distance in succeeding years.
New Zealand competitors won five gold medals during the games in rowing, sailing and yesterday in kayaking. Lisa Carrington’s magnificent  k1 200 victory yesterday was the changing of the guard, the handing over of the baton, the coronation of a new Queen Of New Zealand sport. Other athletes won three silver medals and five bronze – equally the 12 record haul in any Olympics.
New Zealand has to be proud of all its competitors across the wide range of sports at the marvellous London 2012 Olympic Games.

Kiwirail's future decisions will be made commercially...

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KiwiRail mulls Gisborne line, Clifford Bay

KiwiRail says its decision on the Gisborne regional line will be a commercial one and any decision about Clifford Bay is one for "NZ I.  Kiwirail would be advised to give due care and attention to its decisions - a future Labour-Greens government may differ, and force changes on the state enterprise. Kiwirail is also a significant employer.


KiwiRail's decision on the future of the regional line to Gisborne will be made on a commercial basis, chief executive Jim Quinn says.
Mr Quinn told TVNZ's Q+A programme on Sunday that the company was a linehaul operator and it was working through a decision on the regional line to Gisborne.
The line from Wairoa to Gisborne was closed after it was damaged by storms in March. State-owned KiwiRail has been assessing options for its future.
"We're working with agencies around us and we expect to be able to announce what the answer will be on that.
"Our responsibility is to look at the commercial aspects of the challenge. Our job is then to work with our shareholder and the agencies around them for them to cast the political or social lense over that."
Mr Quinn said KiwiRail had increased its market share in linehaul, having "grown the business 25 per cent".
"There is no doubt that getting the freight business right is what will create the sustainable railroad," he said.
"There is no other business that has the potential to put the margins in that we need."
The company had reduced the travel time between Auckland and Christchurch for freight by an hour.
He said a new ferry terminal at Clifford Bay at the top of the South Island, which would reduce travel time more, was a "NZ Inc-level" project and "somebody is working through what the business case would be".
Both road and rail freight operators would benefit if ferries between the North Island and South Island went to Clifford Bay rather than the current location of Picton.
KiwiRail has announced plans to axe 181 jobs and cut investment in its track network by $200 million during the next three years.

Acknowledgements: NZN

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Port Hills residents plead with Christchurch City Council...

Port Hills residents have pleaded with the Christchurch City Council to manage rock fall rather than demolish their home. Check it out with the Tsar first!

Port Hills residents have pleaded with the Christchurch City Council to manage rock fall rather than demolish their homes.

Close to 160 houses are still white zoned, and will find out their fate next Friday.

The group hope the council will use their power in the decision making process to turn them green.

At this morning's council meeting, group spokesman Simon Langer says the comparison of costs should also be considered, and suggests buying all the properties would be unnecessarily step.

"Costs will be in the vicinity of $100 million. Investigations suggest the rock fall risk could be mitigated for around 10 percent of that total."

Val Adams badly treated at the Olympics...

  • It was a great Olympics in London. The only real controversy was our World Champion and Beijing shot-put gold medalist, Val Adams, nearly missing out all together in being entered in her event. She actually found out herself and it was difficult to get her entered in the end; must have affected her because she didn't throw that well and had to settle for silver behind the gold medalist from Belarus

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Taleban ambush kills two and wounds six Kiwi soldiers in Afghanistan...

John key
SAD DAY: Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones and Prime Minister John Key at Whenuapai Air Base.

SlideshowBamiyan Province, Afghanistan

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What is the Provincial Reconstruction Team?Kiwi troops face new enemy in AfghanistanNZ military deaths in Afghanistan


Prime Minister John Key says the deaths of two NZ soldiers in Afghanistan will not change plans to withdraw the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) late next year.
The pair died after a battle in Bamiyan province, in which six other Kiwis soldiers were wounded.
Two Afghan members of the special police were also killed, and 11 injured in the firefight in the north-east of the region.
Speaking to media at the Defence Force base at Whenuapai, Key said the deaths of the two soldiers was a great tragedy for the country.
"It's a day of great tragedy where we lose two of our soldiers and obviously they join the other five before them," he said.
"For New Zealand, a small country, losing seven of our men is an enormous price to pay."
Key confirmed that the loss of life and injury toll was the worst for New Zealand since it went into Afghanistan - but said that was only in terms of physical numbers.
"Each and every one of the fatalities that we've suffered brings with it its own story, its own family and a huge sense of grief."
The tragedy would not affect the withdrawal date from Afghanistan, he said.
The Government announced in May that the PRT would leave the area late next year, one year earlier than the planned September 2014 return.
Key said: "I don't think the terrible loss we've suffered overnight means we should leave earlier. We should continue on track," he said.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

A golden hour repeated - Rome 1960 and London 2012...

New Zealand rowing gold medallists Hamish Bond, Mahe Drysdale and Eric Murray. Photo / Brett Phibbs

New Zealand rowing gold medallists Hamish Bond, Mahe Drysdale and Eric Murray. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Double gold, double delight … New Zealand’s rowers last night turned the Olympic course at Eton Dorney into their personal playground.
Coxless pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond smashed through their final frontier, winning the only prize to have eluded them in the past four years.
Forty minutes later, single sculler Mahe Drysdale captured the gold that illness so cruelly denied him at Beijing four years ago.
Drysdale’s gold is New Zealand’s 20th Olympic rowing medal – including nine golds – and the third at this regatta, after Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan’s victory in the double scull 24 hours earlier.
While Murray and Bond streeted the field, maintaining their 100 per cent winning record over the four-year Olympic cycle, Drysdale had to work desperately hard to hold off his fiercest rival, Czech Republic sculler Ondrej Synek.
Across the finish line, he raised his arm, slapped the water and clutched his head.
Emotion washed over the 33-year-old and he collapsed on the pontoon. It was four minutes before he was able to get to his feet.
Read more:    Video

In Rome in 1960 New Zealand’s first golden hour occurred. Peter Snell, arguably one of New Zealand’s greatest Olympians, won his first 800m gold (the second four years later with the 1500m gold as well) and followed by Murray Halberg’s 5,000m gold lesss then an hour later. Last night it was Eric Murray and Hamish Bond in the Men’s Pair, and less than an hour later Mahe Drysdale scored his gold in the Men’s Single Scull - Kiwis remember the terrible sight four years ago in Beijing as an extremely ill Mahi struggled to win bronze. Great karma for a great sculler who has also won five World Championships in his career, and now Olympic Champion. A cycling bronze finished the evening off for the NZ Olympic team.
For just a while NZ will be ahead of both the Aussies and Brits, who have larger teams than New Zealand. We anticipate more medals during the next week. Nick Willis, the successor to the legendary 1500m Olympic Champions and gold medal winners, Jack Lovelock, 1936; Peter Snell, 1964; and John Walker, 1974; won his heat yesterday, and was silver medalist in Beijing, 2008.
Superstar Valerie Vili, defending Women’s Shotput champion from Beijing, is the favourite for London 2012. There are always unexpected successes that can increase New Zealand’s medal total. We all wait in anticipation!

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