John Mills’ Moving memories


Sir John Mills was born 102 years ago today.

Moving Memories was a film of his life, based on his own home movie footage.

You might also enjoy him as Gus in Cats.

Men catching up on life expectancy but birth rate barely at maintenance


New Zealanders are living fractionally longer but the birth rate is barely holding its own according to Statistics analysis of births and deaths between 2006 and 2008.

Life expectancy at birth increased by .2 years for both men and women.

A baby girl can expect to live, on average, 82.4 years and a baby boy 78.4 years, based on mortality rates experienced in 2007–09. The latest life expectancy figures are included in the abridged period life table for 2007–09.

“Life expectancy for women is still higher than it is for men, but the gap has narrowed from more than six years in 1975–77 to four years in 2007–09,” Population Statistics manager Denise McGregor said. “Since 1975–77, life expectancy at birth has increased by 6.9 years for females and 9.4 years for males,” Mrs McGregor said. 

For years life expectancy has been one area where women have had an advantage over men. Women’s life expectancy is still growing but men’s life expectancy has grown faster, I wonder why?

Other points of interest from today’s release are:

  • in the first decade of the new millennium there were more than half a million (588,500) live births in New Zealand
  • there were 62,540 live births registered in New Zealand in the December 2009 year, down from 64,340 in 2008
  • the birth rate was 2.1 births per woman in 2009, down from 2.2 in 2008
  • deaths registered in 2009 totalled 28,960, down slightly from 29,190 in 2008. 

These figures reflect the declining birth rate and ageing population which is typical of most developed countries.

The birth rate has to exceed 2% to maintain the population to take account of early deaths, so at best 2.1% is barely maintenance.

It’s become much easier for women to make their way in what used to be considered men’s roles but not nearly as much progress in making what were traditionally seen  as women’s roles more attractive for men.

Career demands on both men and women are not conducive to having and raising a family and a sorry flipside to the rise of women in the workforce has been a devaluing of the role of parenting.

Where women of my generation tended to assume that we’d marry and have children, neither of those options are necessarily natural considerations for young women now. A few more men are taking time out of the paid workforce to take on the primary care role in family but they’re still a minority.

It’s women who have the babies and it’s still largely women who do more parenting and I can understand why these days they might be choosing to delay having children, have fewer or end up not having any at all.

Monday’s quiz


1. Who is the patron saint of tax collectors?

2. What is a mast year?

3. Who wrote, ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know and in which poem?

4. What is a windrow?

5. Who said/wrote: A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.?

Attacks on police attacks on society


What a dreadful weekend for police – an Oamaru officer was taken to hospital after being assaulted. That follows two other unrelated attacks on police – an off duty officer was beaten  unconscious in South Auckland and in Whangarei an officer’s lip was bitten off.

Drugs and alcohol are part of the problem – biting off someone’s lip is deranged behaviour – but a lack of respect for police and the law are also contributing factors.

Police Minister Judith Collins said she would consider a law change to better protect police officers, but rebuilding respect for the law should be the first step.

“What I’ve asked to find out is whether or not the law is being properly applied, that’s one side of it. But actually we’d rather stop the attacks in the first place, and I think it’s extremely important that we start to rebuild the respect and fear for the law that we expect,” she told Radio New Zealand.

These attacks on police are attacks on society, if they’re not safe we aren’t either.

Polls show public accept reality?


The government is open to a rise in tobacco tax; there may be fewer government departments at the end of this parliamentary term;  the requirement for a 9% return on equity from Crown Research Institutes will be relaxed; Cabinet is considering more oil exploration; Bill English is disappointed with DOC and RadioNZ playing politics; long term economic restructuring is more important than short term jobs; and falling business confidence is a dose of reality.

A media release from TVNZ highlighted these points from the Guyon Espiner’s interview with Finance Minister Bill English on Q&A yesterday.

The most important of these is that government focus on long term economic restructuring rather than short term jobs.

It takes courage from a government to do what’s right in the long term when they’ll be judged at the ballot box in the short term.

The last administration bought lots of votes and we’re paying for it now. This one is facing criticism from the left for being too tough and the right for not being tough enough.

In spite of that and the need for strong medicine the polls are holding up for National. Perhaps that shows that the public realise this and have also accepted the  dose of realism which businesses are facing up to.

February 22 in history


On February 22:

1495 King Charles VIII of France entered Naples to claim the city’s throne.

1632 Galileo‘s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems was published.


1732 George Washington, First President of the United States, was born.

1744 War of the Austrian Succession: The Battle of Toulon started.

Action off toulon 4.jpg

1797 The Last Invasion of Britain started near Fishguard, Wales.

1819 James Russell Lowell, American poet and essayist (, was born.

1819 By the Adams-Onís Treaty, Spain sold Florida to the United States for $US5m.


1847 Mexican-American War: The Battle of Buena Vista – 5,000 American troops drive off 15,000 Mexicans.

Battle of Buena Vista Nebel.jpg

1855 Pennsylvania State University was founded as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania State University seal.svg

1856 The Republican Party opened its first national meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"Republican Party Elephant" logo

1857 Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, English founder of the Scout movement (, was born.

Robert Baden-Powell

1862 Jefferson Davis was officially inaugurated for a six-year term as the President of the Confederate States of America in Richmond, Virginia.

1879 Frank Woolworth opened the first of many of 5 and 10-cent Woolworth stores.

1882 The Serbian kingdom was refounded.

1889 Olave Baden-Powell, English founder of the Girl Guide, was born.

1902 The Kelburn cable car opened.

Kelburn cable car opens

1904 The United Kingdom sold  a meteorological station on the South Orkney Islands to Argentina.


1908  Sir John Mills, English actor, was born.

1915 Germany instituted unrestricted submarine warfare.

1918 Robert Wadlow, American tallest ever-human, was born.

Robert Wadlow compared to his father, Harold Franklin Wadlow

1922 Britain unilaterally declared the independence of Egypt.

1924 U.S. President Calvin Coolidge was the first President to deliver a radio broadcast from the White House.

1926 Kenneth Williams, English actor, was born.

1943  Members of White Rose were executed in Nazi Germany.

 Members of the White Rose, Munich 1942. From left: Hans Scholl, his sister Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst. Courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

1928 Bruce Forsyth, British entertainer, was born.

1944 American aircraft bombard the Dutch towns of Nijmegen, Arnhem, Enschede and Deventer by mistake, resulting in 800 dead in Nijmegen alone.

1948 Communist coup in Czechoslovakia.

1950  Julie Walters, English actress, was born.

1958 Egypt and Syria joined to form the United Arab Republic.

1959 Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500.


1962  Steve Irwin, Australian herpetologist, was born.

197 An  Irish Republican Army car bomb was detonated at Aldershot barracks, killing seven and injuring nineteen others.

1974 Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit conference started in Lahore.

1979 Independence of Saint Lucia from the United Kingdom.

1980 Miracle on Ice: the United States hockey team defeated the Soviet Union hockey team 4-3, in what is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history.


1983 The Broadway flop Moose Murders opened and closed on the same night at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.


1986 Start of the People Power Revolution in the Philippines.


1994 Aldrich Ames and his wife Maria del Rosario Casas Dupuy, were charged by the United States Department of Justice with spying for the Soviet Union.

1995 The Corona reconnaissance satellite program, was declassified.


1997 Scottish scientists announced that an adult sheep named Dolly had been successfully cloned.


2002 Angolan political and rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was killed in a military ambush.


2006 At least six men staged Britain’s biggest robbery ever, stealing £53m (about $92.5 million or 78€ million) from a Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent.

 Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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