Book post a day challenge for NZ Book Month


A reminder that tomorrow is the first day of New Zealand Book Month.

Deborah at In A Strange Land and Rob at Rob’s Blockhead Blog  have accepted the challenge to write a post a day on a New Zealand book for the month. 

If you want to join in on your blog leave a comment and I’ll link to your posts.

If you don’t have a blog you’re welcome to do a comment a day instead.


book month

Radio NZ staff prizeless


That’s not a typo in the heading, although some are indeed priceless, but they are also going to be prizeless this year

Kiwiblog has a copy of an email sent to staff :

This is to advise you that due to budgetary constraints Radio New Zealand has – reluctantly – withdrawn from this year’s New Zealand Radio Awards. . .

 Passing quickly over the pedant’s observation that it should be owing to rather than due to, and get to the point which is: this is a shame, not just for the people who won’t have a chance to compete, but for the awards as well.

Some of the victories will be hollow if RadioNZ staff and programmes aren’t competing.

Maybe we should have a Bloggers’ Award for RadioNZ.

I’ll start by nominating Jim Mora for broadcaster of the year – and not just because he mentioned Homepaddock yesterday :).

Afternoons and Country Life  are my nominations for best programme.

UPDATE: If there’s enough nominations to make it worthwhile I’ll set up a poll to choose the winners (and do my best not to delete it as I did with the daylight saving one) – and donate a gift box of Whitestone Cheese to the winner.

Still only 9/10


Missed one question in the Dominion Post’s political quiz again.

I didn’t know the name of Roger Douglas’s book.

Kiwiblog got another 10/10.

Ben & Mark Boys of the High Country


A generation ago most people who weren’t from farms had friends or family who were.

That is no longer the case and to many city kids, rural New Zealand might as well be another country.

A newly released book, by Christine Fernyhough and John Bougen aims to change that.

Ben & Mark, Boys of the High Country, is the story of the real day to day lives of Ben and Mark Smith of Mount White Station in Canterbury.

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Damming the creek, catching tadpoles and cockabullies, mustering on foot and horse back, helping in the shearing shed or stock yards, and pig hunting are common place for nine year old Ben and eight year old Mark.

Christine’s words and John’s photos portray these and other aspects of high country life for city kids who’ve never been off a tar sealed road.

Christine chooses simple terms to describe Ben and Mark’s activities and the station which is their 40,000 hectare home –  she explains is nearly as big as 60,000 rugby fields put together.

John uses his knowledge of the people and places to good effect in capturing the day to day life and seasonal routines. While the book is about the boys, the photos also highlight the beauty of the land. The blurb on the cover says the photos are stunning, and they are.

Although the book is aimed at children  it will appeal to adults too, whether it’s read from cover to cover or left on the coffee table to be dipped in to.

Ben & Mark Boys of the High Country by Christine Fernyhough and John Bougen. Published by Random House. $36.99.

Let there be light


Do hotels and motels provide intimate lighting to promote romance; are they saving power by cutting down on lighting or is it just poor design?

I’ve found myself blundering round in inadequate lighting, peering into semi darkness in every room  I’ve stayed in recently.

None of them had a single light which provided sufficient illumination by itself. The problem is exacerbated when there is no central control for all the lights so each has to be turned on and off individually.

The worst was a hotel in Wellington. The room had a small wall light in the entrance, a lamp either side of the bed, another lamp in the corner, a light in the tea & coffee cubby hole, another over the desk and one in the wardrobe. When I turned all of them on I still couldn’t see to read easily.

It’s possible that low lighting has always been the norm for hotels and motels and I”m just noticing it more now that my eyes require better light for reading than they used to.

There are no doubt times intimate lighting is desirable when you’re staying away from home, but it would be better if that could be a matter of choice and not the default setting.

Malfalda on power – international & domestic


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Mafalda, pick up that sweater you left on the floor.

I don’t have to obey, Mama! I’m the president.

And I’m the world Bank and the International Monetary Fund!

That was Clever.



When you live in a drought-porne  prone region you don’t tempt fate by saying you’ve had too much rain.

But we’ve had enough for now.

It started raining late last week, stayed grey with drizzle over the weekend, poured on Monday and finally cleared up yesterday afternoon.

The temperature dropped with the rain but there haven’t been any reports of heavy lamb losses.

We turned the irrigation off on Thursday and after 60mms of rain should be able to leave it off for a while.

KiwiRail must pay its way


Transport Minister Steven Joyce told Q&A that if the decision to buy KiwiRail had been his he would never have bought it.

It was one of the more costly legacies of the previous adminsitration:

KiwiRail is projecting a deficit of almost 50 million dollars next year, rising to more than 300 million in 2012.

“It’s cost New Zealand around $900 million already in terms of the purchase price, plus the loans we took over when we purchased it back. It has very high fixed costs,” says Joyce.

It’s not difficult to think of many other areas where that $900 million could have done something good; and the opportunity cost of $50 million next year rising to more than $300 million in 2012 which is being wasted on the railways is eye watering.

Joyce said the government isn’t prepared to keep paying for KiwiRail and is trying to get it to a form where it can be self-sustaining.

“(So) it can at least, to use the term, wash its own face. And that is going to be a challenge, don’t underestimate the size of that challenge,” he says.

“We can’t just keep tipping tax payers money in the back of it.”

Phil Goff didn’t say sorry for this profligate expensditure of taxpayers’ money when he was doing his mea culpa. Does that mean Labour still thinks it was a good idea?

September 30 in history


On September 30:

1791The first performance of  The Magic Flute, the last opera composed by Mozart, took place.

1901 Hubert Cecil Booth patentsed the vacuum cleaner.

1921 Scottish actress Deborah Kerr was born.

1924 US author Truman Capote was born.

1935 US singer Johnny Mathis was born.

1957 US actress Fran Drescher was born.

1962 Sir Guy Powles became New Zealand’s first Ombudsman.

1966 Botswana  proclaimed its independence.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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