Why didn’t they learn from last year?


The unofficial Undie 500 resulted in similar mayhem  in Dunedin to last year’s with multiple arrests after a confrontation between police and students in Castle Street.

Maybe none of those involved are students of history – or perhaps they are but as Aldous Huxley quipped, the most important thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.

Painting ishfully outside my comfort zone


I hesitate to put myself in the same sentence as Pablo Picasso and art, but today I learned the truth in his words: One never knows what one is going to do. One starts a painting and then it becomes something quite different.

The lesson came in a two hour class under the guidance of Invercargill artist Karen Pringle . She supplied the would-be artists with a black canvas and a pencil and told us to draw the stones in a photo. She then showed us how to make them appear three dimensional using colour to produce light and shade.

If Henry Beecher Ward was correct when he said, Every artist dips his brush into his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures, then the 10 of us in the class have very different natures because although we started with the same materials and followed the same instructions, a couple of hours later we’d produced 10 very different paintings. There was an avalanche, a birds-eye view and a cross section; the stones in one glistened as if under water, in another they seemed to be suspended; one artist had used colour and texture so her stones were like shist, another’s had shell-like spirals; a couple had stones tumbling over the whole canvas, one had contained hers in a small square.

Until today I would have applied Eyeore’s philosophy to painting and me: We can’t all and some of us don’t. Thanks to Karen’s guidence, I now think I can because I did – not brilliantly, but at least adequately and in spite of my fears, because anything requiring fine motor skills is well outside my comfort zone, I thorougly enjoyed doing it.

Perhaps it was because as Edgar Degas said,  Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do. Or maybe it’s because I’ve learned from Peter H Reynolds, the author of Dot  and Ish. *

The first book shows that if we allow ourselves to try we can all make our own mark; the latter tells us that what we do doesn’t always have to be just right; and that allows me to take pleasure in my painting even if  what it depicts is more “stoneish” than stone.

* Dot and Ish, are written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds and published by Walker Books.

Sunday social


I’m still in Southland for the second day of our annual  girls’ trip.

Yesterday’s itinerary concentrated on food and flora – lunch at Le Potager, a cafe and gift shop near Wyndam; a wander round Maple Glen, the 25 acre garden, nursery, aviary, woodland and wetland created and lovingly tended by Bob and Muriel Davison and their son Rob; then back to Woodstock Loft at Dacre for a demonstration by floral designer Rachael Reed who showed us how to work magic with flowers, producing eight different but equally delightful creations whcih were both simple and stunning.

We finish our gathering this morning with an art workshop.

Too many trusts to trust


This morning’s Herald  raises more questions over Winston Peters’ legal bills because New Zealand First papers have exposed another trust.

The documents firstly confirm the existence of the Winston Peters Fighting Fund Trust.

This was established in February 1993 specifically to pay legal costs associated with Peters’ legal battles – such as the high-profile defamation action taken against him by businessman Selwyn Cushing.

This trust, of which Peters is listed in the documents as one of three trustees, is separate to the secretive Spencer Trust, which Peters has said he had no knowledge of.

Minutes from a September 1993 meeting of the fighting fund trust confirm an “account for payment” for $4500 to Henry, money that former trustee Suzanne Edmonds says was owed for legal ser-vices carried out on behalf of Peters.

At the next monthly meeting of the trust, the issue of the payment to Henry comes up again and it is agreed arrangements will be made by the trust to pay Henry within the following fortnight.

Henry did not respond to Herald on Sunday questions regarding the $4500 “account for payment”, but did tell the privileges committee last week that since 1991 he had not issued Peters with an invoice for legal work.

Edmonds, however, said under the strict practices of the trust, payments were not made unless an invoice had been submitted.

If a payment of $4500 was to have been made to Henry there would have been an invoice from Henry, or at the very least from his instructing solicitor, for that amount, she said.

“…that trust was run very well and we certainly paid on our invoice [basis]. That is the manner in which we ran the trust.”

Edmonds also claimed other payments were made by the trust to Henry through his instructing solicitor.

… Edmonds, who is no longer with NZ First, said she did not wish to disclose the reasons why she parted company with the party.

However, she hoped all matters relating to party donations were “investigated properly so the truth comes out”.

Anyone interested in New Zealand’s reputation for its lack of corruption will share her hopes and until the truth comes out we’re left with too many trusts and too little about which we can trust Peters and the unusual workings of his party.

Gold in hypocricy


The annual girls’ artistic tour has distracted me from the news over the last couple of days.

In that time the EPMU has joined Winston Peters in the race for the gold in hypocricy by suspending Shawn Tan as organiser of their call centre because he’s been selected as a list candidate for Act. Keeping Stock points out the EPMU website lists various grounds on which workers can lodge compliants on discrimination.

Just imagine the uproar if a worker was suspended for standing for the Labour Party.

Union theory often seems to be based on the premise all employers are bad employers, out to take advantage of, exploit, and/or mistreat their employees. This action by the EPMU suggests that this prejudice against employers is because unions judge them by their own low standards.

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