Southland wins Ranfurly Shield – updated x2



Southland 9 Canterbury 3.


Someone who knows more about rugby may correct me but I think this is the first time the Ranfurly Shield’s been held on the right side of the Waitaki River since Otago lost it in 1957.

Update 2:

The Southland Times says it’s 50 years since Southland had the shield.

Then they held it for just one match. This time it’s theirs for at least the summer.

1 new 2 returned in DairyNZ election


Sitting directors Alistair Body and Barbara Kuriger have been returned in elections for the industry good body DairyNZ’s board.

Kevin Ferris, a Te Awamutu dairy farmer, who also owns a farm in Southland and he is a Fonterra Shareholders Councillor, took the seat created by the retirement of long-serving board member Jim van der Poel.

Got a secret recipe?


If you’ve got a secret recipe you don’t mind sharing, Hansells is celebrating 75 years in kiwi kitchens with a competition.

There are weekly and daily prizes and the overall winner will receive a $3,500 Sunbeam appliance package.

Sheep & Beef outlook variable


Sheep and beef farmers had a 10 fold increase in profit last year but MAF’s latest farm monitoring reports suggest the outlook for this year is less positive.

MAF’s Christchurch Natural Resources Team Leader John Greer says the sheep and beef reports released today showed better prices for lamb, sheep and cattle boosted income in the 2008/09 season. However, production was below usual in many parts of the country due to this year’s drought or carryover effects from last year’s.

“Sheep and beef numbers continued to fall last season and the average stocking rate is now nearly one stock unit per hectare lower than it was two years ago,” he says.

“This could be due to changing land use or the series of droughts some farmers have experienced.”

Last season’s better returns were a long time coming, most farms had experienced several years of deficits. Although last season’s income improved most farmers kept a tight rein on spending. Fertiliser was one item reduced in a lot of budgets and this is now well below maintenance levels on most farms. 

“In the coming year, production is expected to recover from the effects of the previous year’s drought; however, farm gate prices are predicted to fall for all products due to the rising exchange rate and reduced demand in some markets.

“As a result, sheep and beef farmers are budgeting to make a cash loss of $18,000 for the 2009/10 season.  This will be challenging for many farmers as farm costs and interest rates recover over the year.

“More positively, improved cash surpluses in the 2008/09 season combined with lower interest rates in 2009/10 could see farmers reduce debt levels and expenditure on interest,” he says.

Demand for lamb in Britain is still high but the weakness of the pound will reduce returns.

Lambing in the South Island has been pretty good but early indications of likely prices aren’t encouraging.

Silver Fern Farms released its Backbone contracts last week offering $3.60 a kilo. Last year we were getting around $4.70 a kilo.

That will mean a decrease of $20 or so per lamb compared with last season which will put a strain on farm budgets.

One of the Family


One of the Family  was the first of Mary Scott’s books I read and it hooked me.

I read every other book of hers I could get my hands on in libraries and when I had the where with all, started buying them. I still comb second hand shops in the hope I can add the few titles not yet in my collection.

This, likes all of Scott’s books, is set in the North Island back blocks.

Theo and her daughter Judy are trying their best to run a run-down farm with too little money, the help of  Terry – who’s on probation – and a series of hopeless managers. Into this comes Theo’s uncle, who is also their mortgagee, a retired English teacher.

The story’s got romance, revenge, crime, tension and humour. The characters are believable, the plot engaging.

It’s another on my annual read-it-again list.


dairy 10007

Post 22 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

Deborah at In A Strange Land has Eating Plums in Bed, by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Jenna Packer.

Oswald Bastable has Requiem for a Gasworks by John S. Pollard.


book month logo green

Lonely Planet on Kindle


The idea of reading books on screen hasn’t appealed to me.

There’s something about the way a book looks and feels and a connection with the printed page which a computer can’t emulate.

But the news that Lonely Planet is going to be available on Kindle might make me change my mind.

We use Lonely Planet guides a lot when we travel but their size and weight means they’re not very portable.

Being able to download  relevant chapters or whole books as you go would be much better than carting heavy tomes around.

One of my travel nightmares is being somewhere with nothing to read. I’ve learned to pack light when it comes to clothes but not with books. Kindle might solve that problem for me too.

Après le déluge


The immediate crisis is over and attention has shifted from the tsunami which devastated our Pacific neighbours.

But the rebuilding has only just begun and the people still need help.

Roarprawn is involved with Project Heal & Protect and has asked me to spread the word about this appeal:

Kiwi Telco kicks off Project Heal and Protect

Poloketi Toe Fa’alelei ma Puipuia

A Wellington based Telco support company has kicked off a project to rebuild part of one of villages worst hit by the recent tsunami and to construct a new tsunami warning system for the whole of Samoa.

Project Heal and Protect (Polokei Toe Fa’alelei ma Puipuia) was put together by Oceanic Group after senior staff saw the devastation caused by the September 29 tsunami.

Oceanic Group provides support services for a number of telco companies across the South Pacific, including to Digicel in Samoa.

Oceanic Group Director, Locky Mulholland, said they usually prefer to work behind the scenes, but he felt compelled to do something after seeing the aftermath of the natural disaster.

“We are a community focussed company and we struggled to comprehend what had happened to our colleagues and friends in Samoa and that set us to thinking about what we could do to help,” Mr Mulholland said.

Mr Mulholland said the result is the Project Heal and Protect (Poloketi Toe Fa’alelei ma Puipuia) Charitable Trust.

The Heal part of the project refers to a plan to build a new community centre for the village of Poutasi; which being right on the beach bore the full brunt of the Tsunami.

“The community centre and its sports fields was a vital part of daily life in the village and it stood out as an obvious choice to us.

“It will be rebuilt on higher ground so it can be a safe haven for residents of the village during a natural disaster,” Mr Mulholland said.

The Protect part of the project will be the purchase and installation of tsunami warning sirens across Samoa.

These will be erected on Digicel cellphone towers and will be linked back to the new civil defence headquarters which is to be built by Digicel itself.

Mr Mulholland said the response to the project has been incredible with a number of companies giving time and services for nothing to support the project and the list is growing by the day.

“We have architects, builders, Telco companies, All Blacks, radio stations, lawyers, engineers, project managers, league players, public relations consultants, building supplies companies all supporting us.”

The Project Heal and Protect Charitable Trust has been lodged with the Charities Commission, independent trustees have been appointed and a trust bank account has been set up.

Words of support from HE Asi Tuiataga JF Blakelock, Samoa High Commissioner to New Zealand.
“Samoa has been drastically affected by the earthquake and tsunami; however our people remain hopeful and determined to rebuild our island nation. I am truly grateful and applaud Oceanic Holdings (International) Ltd for initiating ‘Project Heal & Protect.’

It is aid such as this, that reminds us Samoans not to lose hope and to continue to unite to restore Samoa to what it was before September 29.

In addition to restoring infrastructure, the National Evacuation Siren System to be implemented by Oceanic thru Digicel, will hopefully improve Samoa’s preparations for any future natural disasters.

On behalf of the government and people of Samoa, I convey our appreciation for their invaluable generosity. I would also like to personally thank Mr Locky Mulholland (Director) and partners for their genuine concern and tremendous efforts to bring hope and comfort to Samoa in this time of crisis.”


Account details for Donations

Account Name: Heal and Protect
Account Number: 030502 0416719 00
Swift Code: WPACNZ2W
For more information about Project Heal and Protect (Poloketi Toe Fa’alelei ma Puipuia) you can ring us on +64 4 384 7266 or email us at

For further information contact:
Chris Wikaira +64 27 45 22 472
Tina Nixon +64 27 22 32 789

Headline of the week


From The Press:

Doctors welcome health cutback

That may be the first time that headline has ever been used and it’s a wee bit more positive than the headlines Macdoctor spotted in the axeman cometh.

Right prescription


The health system has been ailing.

Labour’s prescription was to change the system and increase the budget.

National’s priority is front line services – better, sooner more convenient care, as the pre-election policy promised.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has made a good start with an announcement of changes to backroom functions which should free hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent on frontline services over the next five years.

“Cabinet has agreed to a number of proposals from the Ministerial Review Group’s report ‘Meeting the Challenge’ that will greatly improve national and regional cooperation and reduce duplication of back office functions, ” the Minister said.

As a package, the changes will move up to an estimated $700 million in savings over five years to frontline services. That would buy about 16,000 heart bypass operations or build two large city hospitals.  The changes are also expected to reduce the health system bureaucracy by up to 500 administration jobs. These would be managed as much as possible through attrition and voluntary redundancy.

“The National Government inherited a public health system that wasn’t well placed to cope with the significant financial and clinical challenges facing it. There is too much duplication that has led to poor regional and national performance and a track to financial crisis.”

 The loss of 500 jobs is not insignificant, especially if they can’t all be handled through attrition and voluntary redundancy, and backroom functions are important. But each of the 21 health boards doesn’t need to perform all of their own individually and money saved in the backroom will be available to do more for front line services.

“The Government wants better coordination between District Health Boards (DHBs) and the Ministry of Health, and we want neighbouring DHBs working better together to improve services. Clinical networks will be a big part of this cooperation.”

The major changes include setting up a new National Health Board (NHB) within the Ministry of Health. The NHB will focus on supervising the $9.7 billion of public health funding the 21 DHBs spend on hospitals and primary health care.

The new NHB will manage national planning and funding of all IT, workforce planning and capital investment. It will also take national responsibility for vulnerable health services such as paediatric oncology.

Work will also start on consolidating the 21 DHBs’ back office administrative functions such as payroll and bill payments.

The Otago and Southland DHBs are consulting the public now on a possible merger and there has been little public opposition.  

Other boards may not be ready for that yet, but co-operation and handing over of services which can be handled centrally will be a good place to start in reducing duplicate costs in 21 separate health kingdoms.

October 22 in history


On October 22:

1734 Daniel Boone, American pioneer and hunter, was born.

1797 André-Jacques Garnerin made the first recorded parachute jump 1,000 meters (3,200 feet) above Paris.

Garnerin releases the balloon and descends with the help of a parachute, 1797. Illustration from the late 19th century.

1811 – Franz Liszt, Hungarian pianist and composer was born.

1836 Sam Houston wss inaugurated as the first President of the Republic of Texas.

1877 The Blantyre mining disaster in Scotland killed 207 miners.

1883 The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City opened with a performance of Gounod’s Faust.

1919 – Doris Lessing, British writer, Nobel Prize laureate, was born.

Doris Lessing at 2006

1924 Toastmasters International was founded.

1946 Deepak Chopra, Indian-American physician and writer was born.

1953 Laos gained its independence from France.


1960 Mali  gained its indepndence from France.

1964 Jean-Paul Sartre  was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, but turned down the honor.

1966 The Supremes became the first all-female music group to have a No. 1 selling album (The Supremes A’ Go-Go).

The Supremes: Diana Ross (left), Mary Wilson (center), Florence Ballard (right) circa 1965

1972 James K. Baxter died.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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