Anthems shouldn’t be dirges


Memo to whoever is responsible for the singing of national anthems before sport matches: they’re supposed to be enthusiastic and uplifting.

I’ve just listened to God Defend New Zealand and Advance Australia Fair being sung in Tokyo where the All Blacks are playing the Wallabies.

Both sounded like dirges.

North Otago wins Lochore Cup


North Otago won the Lochore Cup in a match against West Coast today.

Also celebrating his local team is Inventory 2 who makes a brief return at Keeping Stock to record that Wanganui won the Meads Cup.

Apropos of sport, all the best to those dedicated souls (and soles) participating in the Auckland marathon tomorrow.

Saturday’s smiles


An Aussie truckie walks into  an outback cafe with a full-grown emu behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders.

The truckie says, ‘A hamburger, chips and  a coke,’ and turns to the emu,  ‘What’s yours?’

‘I’ll have the  same,’ says the emu.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order ‘That will be $9.40  please.’ He reaches into  his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the man and the emu come again and he says, ‘A  hamburger,  chips and a coke.’ The emu says, ‘I’ll have the same.’

Again the truckie reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes routine until the two enter again. ‘The usual?’ asks the  waitress.

‘No, it’s Friday night, so I’ll have a steak, baked  potato and a salad,’ says the man. ‘Same,’ says the emu.  

Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, ‘That will be  $32.62.’

Once again the man pulls the exact change out  of his pocket and places it on the table.

The waitress can’thold back her curiosity any longer. ‘Excuse me, mate, how do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?’  

‘Well, love’ says  the  truckie, ‘A few years ago, I was cleaning out the back shed, and found  an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything,  I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money  would always be there.’

‘That’s  brilliant!’ says the  waitress. ‘Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!’  

‘That’s right. Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,’ says the man.

The waitress asks, ‘What’s with the bloody emu?’  

The truckie sighs, pauses, and answers, ‘My second wish was for a tall chick with a big arse and  long legs, who agrees with everything I say.’  

Honey Co tops Deloitte fast 50


New Zealand Honey Co, the country’s single largest producer of specialty honey, topped the 2009 Deloitte Fast 50 list.

Matt McKendry, Deloitte’s Fast 50 leader, said New Zealand Honey Co. was an example of a company developing high-value niche products from an indigenous Kiwi source, and exploiting their “massive value-add potential”.

He said the Deloitte Fast 50 had made a habit of identifying emerging industries and honey was another great example. “New Zealand Honey Co. follows in the footsteps of last year’s fastest growing company, Masterton-based Watson and Son. Based on the performance of these two companies, there is no reason to think honey cannot become a much larger industry than its current $100m size, and become a major industry for New Zealand.

Honey provides opportunities for businesses using it as both a food and a farmaceutical.

McKendry said that none of the companies which made the list had done anything outrageous to cope with the recession, if anything they had succeeded by concentrating on the basics.

“All the discussions and interviews we have done this year across New Zealand indicate to us that Fast 50 companies navigated their way through the difficult economic times by making sure they have the fundamental elements of their business right. The key elements are retaining a great team, nailing a product or service niche, having a thorough understanding of their markets and being active with their customers. Great performers in a recessionary environment are doing all the same things that great performers do in economically rosy times.”

Fourteen companies in this year’s list have been in revious Fast 50s. They are:

NextWindow, Torpedo7 (4 times); Digital Island, RimuHosting, Triodent, Working In, Observatory Crest (3 times); Catch, Enztec, Futrix, Mobile Mentor, Seales, Synlait, (2 times).

NZ Book Month


Today is the last day of NZ Book Month and the post a day challenge.

It’s been fun and the challenge for me was not what to include but which books to leave out.

Deborah kept up with the calendar. In doing so reminded me of some old favourites and added several books to my must-read list.

Family, work, life and other more important things got in the way of Rob’s good intention to post each day, but what he lacked in quantity was more than compensated for by quality. 

 He didn’t get round to Bollard and Buckle’s “Economic Liberalisation in New Zealand’  which he reckoned is a real page turner; nor Malcolm McKinnon History of the NZ Treasury which he promised would have you on the edge of your seat.

Maybe next year. 🙂


Deborah has posted on a month of books and in doing so reminded me that Karen Healey became a late entry to the challenge and posts here on Margaret Mahy; and that Oswald Bastable also did some book month posts, although none on his own.

Beak of the Moon


Not long after I started my first job on a newspaper the chief reporter told me an author was coming and I was to interview him.

The author was Philip Temple who was on a promotional tour for his newly published novel, Beak of the Moon.

It must have been one of those interviews authors dread because I hadn’t read the book. However,  I had heard of the author and was an admirer of his pictorial books like Mantle of the Skies, with its amazing photos of the bush and mountains.

He gave me a copy of Beak of the Moon which I read and then reviewed enthusiastically.

It’s an anthropomorphic story, giving a kea’s eye view of the arrival of people in the high country. The plot is absorbing and the story reflects the author’s knowledge and love of the high country.

Temple is one of New Zealand’s most prolific writers and has won several prizes including the Prime Minister’s Literary Award.

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Post 31 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge

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Over at In A Strange Land Deborah’s final post for the challenge is The Best Loved Bear by Diana Noonan, illustrated by Elizabeth Fuller.

Farmaceutical ice cream could counter chemo side effects


Ice cream developed by the University of Auckland and Fonterra may be successful in reducing the side effects of chemotherapy.

The ice cream, known as ReCharge, has started Phase 2 clinical trials in New Zealand to assess its effectiveness against Chemotherapy Induced Diarrhoea (CID) and anaemia, but the ‘dessert with a difference’ could also reduce weight loss and damage to the immune system during chemotherapy.

Oncology Centres at Whangarei, Auckland, Waikato, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill are taking part in the trial. Around 10 patients are already signed up for a daily regime that includes eating a 100 gram tub of strawberry ice cream containing two active dairy ingredients that combine to address the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy. Cancer Trials New Zealand (CTNZ) is currently seeking 190 additional volunteers for the trial.

If trials are successful it will be great news for cancer patients.

It could also bring benefits for farmers. 

There is huge potential in the development of “farmaceuticals” . These medicines using farm produce could provide opportunities for diversification and added value for producers.

October 31 in history


On October 31:

1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

1795  John Keats, British poet, was born.

1960  Juliette Low American founder of the Girl Scouts was born.

1863  British forces in New Zealand led by General Duncan Cameron began their Invasion of the Waikato.

1887 Chiang Kai-shek, Nationalist Chinese leader, former Republic of China president, was born.

 1908 – Muriel Duckworth, Canadian activist, was born.

1913 Dedication of the Lincoln Highway, the first automobile road across United States.


1917 The Battle of Beersheba took place, the “last successful cavalry charge in history”.

Charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade
A photograph of a re-enactment of the Charge on Beersheba taken in early February 1918.

1920  Dick Francis, Welsh born jockey & author, was born.

1923 The first of 160 consecutive days of 100 degrees (37.6 C) at Marble Bar, Australia.

1931 Dan Rather, American television journalist, was born.


1984  Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh security guards.

1985 Keri Hulme’s book The Bone People  won the Booker Prize.

1999  Yachtsman Jesse Martin returns to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigatingthe world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.



Bogor the little woodsman and the pot-smoking hedgehog added wisdom and humour to the pages of the Listener for years.

Bogor was a philosopher and a conservationist way back when green was just a colour and not a political persuasion.

Every now and then the cartoons by Burton Silver were collected into books like this one.


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Post 30 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge

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Over at In A Strange Land Deborah posts on Maddigan’s Quest by Margaret Mahy.

Sport talk


* Since rugby became professional Southland has lost many of its stars to other provinces. The grapevine tells me that  the Ranfurly Shield win may result in at least one or two of them coming home.

* Garrick Tremain’s cartoon in today’s ODT shows a reporter and camera man at the reception desk of the NZ Cricket Council.

The reporter says: We’d like to do interviews with the captain, the coach, the selector, psychologist, nutritionist, trainer and the coach driver pelase.

The receptionist is on the phone and says: Daniel . . . couple of gentlemen to see you.

* There’s a rugby match in Tokyo tomorrow.

* What’s up with netball?

If you have anything to say on these or other sporting matters this is your chance to do so.

Does this take the biscuit?


Last year a tourist took offence at Eskimo lollies here, now people on the other side of the Tasman are complaining about creole creams.

There’s a huge gulf  between ignorance and racism on one-side and hypo-sensitivity which takes offence where none is intended on the other.

Where do these biscuits fit? Is it just a name or is it a racial slur?

And if creole creams aren’t acceptable are coconut roughs and if they’re not is coconut by itself?


 How far along the highway to linguistic sterility do we go and where do we stop?

Shows I have slept through


1. Jesus Christ Super Star at the Regent Theatre in Dunedin.

One of the characters sang, Close your eyes, close your eyes . . .  and I did. We had young children at the time and sleep deprivation triumphed over the excitement of a night out.

2. ENZO (Or was it ENSO?) – Otago Museum. The NZ Symphony Orchestra and NZ Ballet playing & dancing to the music of Split Enz. 

The bits I was awake for were amazing but again the need for sleep was greater than the desire to watch the entertainment.

3. Evita at the Regent Theatre in Dunedin.

Another wonderful performance but I still couldn’t resist the temptation to have some very long blinks.

4. Cats at the Regent Theatre in Dunedin.

As for 3.

5.  Mama Mia at the TSB Arena in Wellington last night.

It’s been one of those fortnights this week and when the lights dimmed gravity pulled my eyelids down. That shouldn’t be regarded as a reflection on the show. I was wide awake for the second half and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Quote of the day


It is manifestly obvious that a bad organisation can still produce good work, at least temporarily. Otherwise nothing good would ever come of government –  Macdoctor.

Taking clinics to the patients


Southern papers have had several stories about the closure of school dental clinics.

Teachers complained that children would be out of class for longer if they had to travel to get to a central clinic.

Parents complained about the difficulty of getting children to the clinics during work hours.

Both problems could be solved by mobile dental clinics which are being built for district health boards.

Taking the clinic to the children rather than having to take children to the clinic sounds like a good idea.

It’s a similar idea to the mobile surgical bus.

It’s been operating – in both senses of the word – throughout New Zealand for several years. It enables people in towns whose hospitals no longer have operating theatres to get surgery close to home.

The ‘bus’ is a 20-metre long, 39 tonne mobile operating theatre built in Rotorua. It cost $5.2 million and was privately funded. The ‘bus’ carries $1 million worth of video communications equipment.

It treated its 10,000 patient while on a scheduled stop in Oamaru on May 27 this year.

Sawmill cuts out


The loss of 45 jobs isn’t good news wherever it happens.

But it’s worse in a small town like Tapanui where Blue Mountain Lumber is closing for good.

It’s not just the people affected and their families. That many jobs gone from a small, rural community leaves a hole which will be very difficult to fill.

Some may be able to find work near by but many will look further afield and that will in turn affect those who remain. Businesses and services will lose customers and schools will lose pupils and this may lead to more job losses and business failures.

If there is one good thing about the closure it’s that at this time of year there may be seasonal employers may be able to provide work for some of those who’ve lost their jobs, at least in the short term.

October 30 in history


On October 30:

1485 King Henry VII of England was crowned.

1865 The Native Land Court was established.

1885 Ezra Pound, American poet, was born.

1893 Charles Atlas, Italian-born bodybuilder, was born.

1894 Domenico Melegatti obtained a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially.


1918 A petition with more than 240,000 signatures was presented to parliametn demanding an end to the sale and maufacture of alcohol in New Zealand.

1922 Benito Mussolini was made Prime Minister of Italy.

1925  John Logie Baird created Britain’s first television transmitter.


The first known photograph of a moving image produced by Baird’s “televisor”, circa 1926 (The subject is Baird’s business partner Oliver Hutchinson)
1938  Orson Welles broadcast his radio play of H. G. Wells‘s The War of the Worlds.
1944  Anne Frank and sister Margot Frank were deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
1945 Henry Winkler, American actor, was born.
1947 The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the foundation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), was founded.
1960 – Diego Maradona, Argentine footballer, was born.
Diego Maradona.jpg
1960  Michael Woodruff performed the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
1973 The Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey is completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus for the first time.
1974 The Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place in Kinshasa, Zaire.
1975  Prince Juan Carlos became Spain‘s acting head of state, taking over for the country’s ailing dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.
Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

Tuning in to fun


Anyone who’s had anything to do with children knows that your chances of getting them to do something are greater if they think it’s fun.

It works with adults too.

Making it fun is much more likely to get people to do the right thing than regulations and sermons.

You can preach about behavioural changes or follow Volkswagon and get a serious message across with fun as it has through its website:   The Fun Theory where it says:

This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.

I especially liked this idea of tuning in to fun for health’s sake:

Hat Tip: Motella

Turner receives PM’s Literary Award


Central Otago poet Brian Turner  is one of three recipients of the 2009 Prme Minister’s Literary Achievement Awards.

The other two awards went to  C. K. Stead for fiction writing and Dr Ranginui Walker for nonfiction.

Although he is probably best known for his poetry, and was the 2003 Te Mata Estate poet Laureate, he is also a much-published essayist and biographer.

Many of his poems are set in or about the South Island, particularly Central Otago. Many are also philosophical, like Home Hills Road, from his most recent collection  Taking Off.  It finishes:

Let art do us more good than harm/is my prayer for those who would apprehend/and make it staunch, a lifelong friend.

Alison Holst’s Complete Cooking Class


Several of the 60 or so recipe books which crowd the shelf in my kitchen are Alison Holst’s.

From the small paper back one for using food processors – a birthday gift nearly three decades ago when kitchen whizzes were new – to the large, hard back Ultimate Collection.

Then there’s her Complete Cooking Class. It’s full of reliable, easy to follow recipes with ingredients which are usually on hand or easy to find.

The tatty cover is testament to the amount of use it gets.

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Over at In A Strange Land Deborah posts on Kaitangata Twitch by Margaret Mahy.

Post 29 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge

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Shoot the lot


Dear Lord Stern,

Re your suggestion that the whole world should go vegetarian to save the planet.

Why don’t you just shoot all the people?

It would be kinder than letting millions die of starvation which is what would happen if we took your idea seriously.

Yours sincerely



If you don’t like my suggestion you may be interested in:

Inquiring Mind where Adam Smith posts on how Coppenhagen could threaten NZ’s very future.

Farmgirllive who says it’s time to get serious about countering this silliness.

Liberty Scott who says Lord Stern loses the plot some more.

and Fairfacts Media who urges Go on have that extra steak.

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