Witchcraft 101


Massey University is offering an extramural paper in witchcraft.

Senior classics lecturer Gina Salapata said the 120 students enrolled in the paper studied the use of sorcery in the classical world, medieval and early modern times and in colonial Maori culture.

The idea for the programme grew out of her background in classics, she said.

“I had thought it would be good to have a paper on magic and witchcraft in my programme,” said Dr Salapata.

For the first assignment students had to create a magical curse tablet or erotic charm.

However, the fanciful assignments had to be backed up with research, she said.

Would you have to work to pass this, or could you get through with a twtich of your nose and a wave of your wand?

If you were late with an assignment would you be excused if you said you were taking a spell?

And do they have student exchanges with Hogwarts?

The Knowledge Wave explained


Remember the Knowledge Wave?

Conway Powell, National’s Dunedin South  candidate said at his campaign launch today he’s worked out what it means: waving goodbye to our knowledgable graduates as they leave New Zealand for better opportunities overseas.

Nearly but not quite a bronze


Oh dear, Moss Burmester was second at the last turn but touched the end in fourth place in the 200m butterfly at the Olympics today.

But Mary Wilson  won gold in silly questions for asking, “What went wrong?”

When you do a personal best and break your own Commonwealth record in doing so, it’s not a matter of what went wrong. It’s just that sometimes in sport as in life your best isn’t good enough because other people are better.

And TVNZ, as Keeping Stock, points out didn’t even dive off the starting block because a switching failure meant most of the country couldn’t watch the race.

Questions on nil returns


What might you expect to show on a political party’s annual return to the Companies Office for the structure through which the party exists?

Some of the things I’d expect to see are membership, donations and fund raising coming in and rent or rates, wages, stationery, postage, advertising, power and GST going out.

But as Keeping Stock points out an article in this week’s Listener by David Fisher explains New Zealand First Incorporated has been filing nil returns for 15 years.

I read the whole story in the magazine which is not yet on line and was left wondering:

1) Does the party have another vehicle which does have income and expenditure?

2) If so who knows about it?

3) If not how are the party’s operations funded?

4) Do party officials know anything about the running of NZ First?

5) If not who does?

Cost of dying too high


Otago Community Hospice  has received offers of fundraising help since it announced on Monday the deficit it was facing would force it to reduce services.

But Chief Executive Ginny Green said inadequatre Government funding would continue to be a problem.

Several offers of support followed an announcement on Monday the hospice would be closing four beds and day respite care services, as it faces a $300,000 deficit going into the next financial year.

Government funding, given through the Otago District Health Board, had not kept pace with increasing wage costs and rising patient numbers at the hospice, and the shortfall raised by the community was already more than $1 million, Ms Green said.

If the community did rally to raise the $300,000 deficit, the board would have to carefully consider the next step, as the following year it would likely be in the same situation with a $500,000 deficit, she said.

“The fundamental issue is that government is not funding us appropriately and the community has already contributed so much.”

There will never be enough money for health and hospices don’t expect all their costs to be covered by public funding. But when the gap between that funding and costs is so big it threatens the invaluable services they provide for terminally ill people and their families the solution requires more than philanthropy.

Will we keep 100% reliability for irrigation?


The ODT reports that farmers are hopeful a deal can be reached with Meridian Energy to safeguard the 100% reliability of water from the Waitaki River for irrigation.

Several irrigation schemes use Waitaki water, including North Otago Irrigation Company’s which we use to irrigate 400 hectares and which was launched a couple of years ago.

It pumps water from the river to the top of a hill then pipes it from there so it gets to farm gates under pressure which means most farmers don’t have to do additional pumping. It is not cheap, but at the moment, like water from other schemes which use the Waitaki, it’s 100% reliable.

That’s very important because farmers base their operations on the knowledge they can get enough water when they need it and any restirctions would come just when the water was needed most.

What was he really singing?


If your morning needs a smile you might get several from this explanation over at Distractions of what Joe Cocker was really singing.

Hat Tip: NZBC

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