Romeo and Juliet


Happy birthday Leonard Whiting, 60 today.

Lonesome Loser


Happy birthday Glenn Shorrock, 66 today.

What does “in the presence of” mean?


Towards the end of each year registered marriage celebrants get a letter from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, inviting them to apply to continue in the role.

Appointments are made the following March and in recent years the letters informing us we’ve been reappointed have included warnings about sharing duties with non-registered celebrants.

Anyone can officiate at a funeral, but if a couple wish to be legally married (or civilly unioned) they need a registered celebrant to officiate. The letter from the Registrar says that means more than just being there and signing the paper work while someone else does takes the service.

Now a court case in Christchurch has raised a question over exactly what the Marriage Act requires:

The wording of the Marriage Act will be put to the test in an unusual trial that started today in Christchurch District Court, where a marriage celebrant and his trainee deny performing an unlawful wedding.

Defence counsel James Rapley told the court legal discussion would be needed later about the Act’s requirement for a marriage to be “solemnised in the presence” of a marriage celebrant.

Being a celebrant used to be regarded as a community service but many now treat it as a career and that’s mostly why the problem over non-registered celebrants has arisen.

I do only a handful of services a year and don’t charge but have no problem with others who do. Agreeing to officiate usually requires making a commitment to a date months in advance and good celebrants put a lot of time and effort into their preparation. Although a civil service doesn’t take long, a celebrant has to arrive well before it starts and can easily tie up a couple of hours or more on the day. There’s nothing wrong with asking to be paid for all that.

However, not everyone who wants to be a celebrant is able to. The number of celebrants is restricted and not everyone who applies to be registered is accepted. Some people have set up business anyway, done the preparation, taken the service and had a registered celebrant on hand to do the paper work.

The registrar has been telling us that’s not acceptable. I’ve never been asked to share officiating duties with anyone else but it was discussed at a celebrants’ conference and wasn’t unusual in cities.

 If the case before the court confirms that “in the presence of” means more than just being there and signing the register a whole lot of people who thought they were married may find they’re not.

Whatever the outcome of the case it’s also an opportunity to discuss whether there should be a change so that anyone who meets the requirements to be a celebrant ought to be able to be one.

There are good reasons for needing to safeguard the quality of celebrants but I’m not convinced there’s any need to restrict the quantity.

Fonterra vote on share trading today


On-line voting on whether or not Fonterra shares can be traded among suppliers closed on Monday, shareholders have a last chance to vote, in person, at meetings being held this morning.

I’ll be surprised if the vote isn’t in favour of the proposal.

Allowing shareholders to trade shares amongst themselves rather than through the company makes sense. It reduces the redemption risk the company now has in having to buy shares from suppliers who leave the co-operative.

Another part of the proposal is for a Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund which would issue units to the public to buy share rights from farmers. They would get benefits from distributions and changes in market value, but wouldn’t get voting and milk payment rights.

This would give the company an injection of capital without any loss of control by suppliers.

Some might wonder why anyone would want shares without the right to vote. But if voting records in most public companies is a guide, a whole lot of people own shares in lots of enterprises now without ever exercising their right to vote.

Vet struck off, doctor still practising


A vet, who placed bets on dogs for which he had responsibility, has been found to have breached the Veterinary Council of New Zealand’s code of professional conduct.

A GP found guilty of disgraceful conduct for having sex with a teenage patient hasn’t been named and is still practising.

The doctor could be struck off by the Medical Council and banned from practising, but hasn’t been yet and has name suppression. The vet who was found guilty of a less serious offence has been named and already been struck off.

It may just be an unfortunate coincidence that these two cases are in the news at the same time and it may not be fair to compare them. They are different people, found guilty of different offences by different professional bodies at different times.

But it appears the Vet who was found guilty of a lesser offence has received a tougher penalty, at least so far, than the GP found guilty of a more serious offence.

I’d rather have a vet who’d done something he shouldn’t have at dog races still being able to treat animals than a doctor found guilty of having sex with a teenager still being able to treat people.



An easier quiz or a luckier try – 9/10 in this week’s Dominion Post political trivia quiz.

June 30 in history


On June 30:

350 Roman usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, was defeated and killed by troops of the usurper Magnentius.

Centenionalis-Nepotianus-rome RIC 200.2.jpgDouble Centenionalis Magnentius-XR-s4017.jpg

1422  Battle of Arbedo between the duke of Milan and the Swiss cantons.

Bellinzona Tschachtlan.jpg

1520  The Spaniards were expelled from Tenochtitlan.


1559  King Henry II of France was seriously injured in a jousting match against Gabriel de Montgomery.


1651 The Deluge: Khmelnytsky Uprising – the Battle of Beresteczko ended with a Polish victory.

Battle of Beresteczko 1651.jpg

1688  The Immortal Seven issued the Invitation to William, continuing the struggle for English independence from Rome.

1758  Seven Years’ War: The Battle of Domstadtl.

Battle of Domstadtl memorial.jpg

1794 Native American forces under Blue Jacket attacked Fort Recovery.


1859  French acrobat Charles Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope.


1860  The 1860 Oxford evolution debate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.


1864 U.S. President Abraham Lincoln granted Yosemite Valley to California for “public use, resort and recreation”.

1882  Charles J. Guiteau was hanged for the assassination of President James Garfield.


1886 The first transcontinental train trip across Canada departs from Montreal.

1905 Albert Einstein published the article “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”, in which he introduced special relativity.

1906  The United States Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act.
1908 Winston Graham, British writer, was born (d. 2003).
Marnie book cover.jpg

1908  The Tunguska explosion in SIberia – commonly believed to have been caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5–10 kilometres (3.1–6.2 mi) above the Earth’s surface.


1912  The Regina Cyclone hit Regina, Saskatchewan, killing 28.


1917  Susan Hayward, American actress, was born (d. 1975).


1917 – Lena Horne, American singer and actress (d. 2010)


1934  The Night of the Long Knives, Adolf Hitler’s violent purge of his political rivals took place.


1935  The Senegalese Socialist Party held its first congress.

1936  Emperor Haile Selassie of Abbysinia appealled for aid to the League of Nations against Mussolini’s invasion of his country.


1939 The first edition of the New Zealand Listener was published. 

First issue of NZ Listener published

1941  World War II: Operation Barbarossa – Germany captured Lviv, Ukraine.

Original German plan

1943  Florence Ballard, American singer (The Supremes). was born (d. 1976).

1944 Glenn Shorrock, Australian singer-songwriter (Little River Band) was born.

1944  World War II: The Battle of Cherbourg ended with the fall of the strategically valuable port to American forces.

Cherbourg1944-Combat avParis.jpg

1950 Leonard Whiting, British actor, was born.

1953 Hal Lindes, British-American musician (Dire Straits) was born.

1953  The first Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan.


1956  A TWA Super Constellation and a United Airlines DC-7 (Flight 718) collided above the Grand Canyon killing all 128 on board the two planes.

1959  A United States Air Force F-100 Super Sabre from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, crashed into a nearby elementary school, killing 11 students plus six residents from the local neighborhood.

1960 Murray Cook, Australian singer (The Wiggles) was born.

1960  Congo gained independence from Belgium.

1962 Julianne Regan, British singer and musician (All About Eve), was born.

1963  Ciaculli massacre: A car bomb, intended for Mafia boss Salvatore Greco “Ciaschiteddu”, killed seven police and military officers near Palermo.

1966  Mike Tyson, American boxer, was born.

Mike Tyson festival de Cannes.jpg

1966  Marton Csokas, New Zealand actor, was born.


1968  Credo of the People of God by Pope Paul VI.


1969  Nigeria banned Red Cross aid to Biafra.


1971  The crew of the Soviet Soyuz 11 spacecraft were killed when their air supply escaped through a faulty valve.


1971 – Ohio ratified the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, lowering the voting age to 18, thereby putting the amendment into effect.

Great Seal of the United States

1972  The first leap second was added to the UTC time system.

 Deviation of day length from SI based day, 1962–2009

1985 Thirty-nine American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held for 17 days.

1986  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.

1987 The Royal Canadian Mint introduced the $1 coin, known as the Loonie.



1990 East and West Germany merged their economies.

1991 32 miners were killed when a coal mine fire in the Donbass region of the Ukraine released toxic gas.

1992 Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joined the House of Lords as Baroness Thatcher.

A professional photograph of a lady with ginger-blonde hair, sitting in a traditional style and wearing jewellery.

1997  The United Kingdom transferred sovereignty over Hong Kong to China.

A flag with a white 5-petalled flower design on solid red background A red circular emblem, with a white 5-petalled flower design in the centre, and surrounded by the words "Hong Kong" and "中華人民共和國香港特別行政區"

2007 A car crashed into Glasgow International Airport in an attempted terrorist attack.

2009 Yemenia Flight 626 crashed off the coast of Moroni, Comoros killing 152 people and leaving 1 survivor.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia



Nelson Eddy would have been 109 today.



Little Eva would have been 67 today.

Tuesday’s answers -updated


Monday’s questions were:

1. Who uses these phrases and what do they stand for:  Dirty Gerttie, Tweak of the Thumb and Red Raw?

2. Name six members of the G8?

3. It’s farfalla in Italian, mariposa in Spanish and papillon in French – what is it in English?

4. Who said: “If you want something said, ask a man . . . if you want something done, ask a woman.” 

5. The first four lines of our National Anthem in Maori are: E Ihowa Atua/O nga iwi matou ra/Ata whakarongona;
/Me aroha noa .
What are the next four lines?

Gravedodger gets the electronic bunch of flowers with 4 right.

Paul got 2 1/2 right  (they are numbers used by housie callers but you forgot to say which numbers they refer to) with a bonus for good try for # 3 and accuracy and humour for #5.

Adam got 2 right. I’m not familiar with Lilo Lil but he can have a 1/2 for her too and a bonus for humour for #4.

PDM got two right, 1/2 for being close and making me smile for #1 and 1/2 for #4 because he may be right.

The answers follow the break:

UPDATE: Bearhunter answered after I’d done the marking this morning and scored 4 1/2 which earns an electronic bunch of flowers too.

Read the rest of this entry »



The cold is always colder for the person who stays in a room than it is for the person who comes in or goes out and leaves the door open.

Selling IP bigger concern than selling land


If people weren’t happy when a Chinese company, Agria, bought a 19% share of PGG Wrightson last year, it didn’t make the headlines yet the thought of selling land to Chinese causes an uproar.

Wrightson isn’t just a stock and station firm it does a lot of plant breeding.

In gaining a share of the company the new owners would have gained rights to intellectual property in grass species developed by Wrightson.

No-one can pick up land and take it with them but it’s very easy to take IP and use it somewhere else.

Is smoking a right?


When Labour was trying to sell legislation making bars smoke-free it made the mistake of promoting it as a measure to reduce smoking.

I agreed it would and had no argument with the policy. But it would have been much easier to sell, and been less likely to be criticised as a nanny-state measure if it had been promoted as protecting the health of staff.

That’s what Corrections Minister Judith Collins has done with the plan to ban smoking by prisoners.

While tobacco is legal, people have the right to smoke it but that right is trumped by other people’s right to breathe smoke-free air.

I’ve never been tempted to try smoking and can’t understand why anyone would, but I do understand that once you have and are addicted it is very difficult to stop.

But anyone addicted to alcohol or illegal drugs has to go cold-turkey if they go to prison. Would it be any harder for smokers than it is for other addicts?

There’s a wide range of opinions on the merits of this policy. At one end of the spectrum it’s been described as an abuse of human rights, at the other people are saying prison isn’t supposed to be fun and if a smoking ban makes it harder that’s a good thing.

Corrections Association president Beven Hanlon wasn’t opposed to the idea although he did raise concerns about safety if prisoners got angry.

The biggest selling point for me is that it might reduce the rate of imprisonment:

A smoking ban at a prison on Britain’s Isle of Man had become a deterrent for reforming criminals who couldn’t face prison terms without smoking, Mr Semenoff said.

The drop in crime has been reported by British media, including the Telegraph, which said the crime rate on the island had fallen by 14 per cent and burglary by 35 per cent.

“It’s a standing joke now that when we nick someone we remind them that if they get sent down they’ll have to come off the cigarettes – their faces are a picture,” a police source told the newspaper in December.

“It’s like they are more scared about giving up smoking than a criminal record and some time in the nick.”

If not being able to smoke in prison deterred people from committing crimes which would send them there  it’s worth a try because nothing else seems to be working.

June 29 in history


On June 29:

1149 Raymond of Antioch was defeated and killed at the Battle of Inab by Nur ad-Din Zangi.


1194  Sverre was crowned King of Norway.

Sverrir by Arbo.jpg

1444 Skanderbeg defeated an Ottoman invasion force at Torvioll.

Skanderbeg woodcut.jpg

1534  Jacques Cartier made the European discovery of Prince Edward Island.

1613 The Globe Theatre in London  burned to the ground.

1644 Charles I defeated a Parliamentarian detachment at the Battle of Cropredy Bridge, the last battle won by an English King on English soil.

1659  Battle of Konotop: Ukrainian armies of Ivan Vyhovsky defeatedthe Russians, led by Prince Trubetskoy.


1749  New Governor Charles de la Ralière Des Herbiers arrives at Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island).

1786  Alexander Macdonell and omore than five hundred Roman Catholic highlanders left Scotland to settle in Glengarry County, Ontario.


1850  Coal was discovered on Vancouver Island.

1850   Autocephaly officially granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to the Church of Greece.

1861 William James Mayo, American physician, was born (d. 1939).

1864  Ninety-nine people were killed in Canada’s worst railway disaster near St-Hilaire, Quebec.

1874  Greek politician Charilaos Trikoupis published a manifesto in the Athens daily Kairoi entitled “Who’s to Blame?” in which he laid out his complaints against King George.


1880  France annexed Tahiti.

1891  Street railway in Ottawa commenced operation.

1895  Doukhobors burned their weapons as a protest against conscription by the Tsarist Russian government.

1900 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer, was born (d. 1944).

1901 Nelson Eddy, American singer and actor, was born (d. 1967).


1914  Jina Guseva attempted to assassinate Grigori Rasputin.

1916  Sir Roger Casement, Irish Nationalist and British diplomat was sentenced to death for his part in the Easter Rising.

Roger Casement.jpg

1922  France granted 1 km² at Vimy Ridge “freely, and for all time, to the Government of Canada, the free use of the land exempt from all taxes.”


1925 Canada House opened in London.

1926  Arthur Meighen returned to office as Prime Minister of Canada.


1927  First test of Wallace Turnbull’s Controllable pitch propeller.


1928 The Outerbridge Crossing and Goethals Bridge in Staten Island, New York opened.

1937  Joseph-Armand Bombardier of Canada received a patent for sprocket and track traction system used in snow vehicles.


1943 Little Eva, American singer, was born  (d. 2003).

1945  Carpathian Ruthenia was annexed by Soviet Union.


1972  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty could constitute “cruel and unusual punishment”.

1974  Isabel Perón was sworn in as the first female President of Argentina.

1976 Bret McKenzie, New Zealand musician, (Flight of the Conchords) was born.

1976  The Seychelles became independent from the United Kingdom.

1990 Dr Penny Jamieson became the first woman in the world to be appointed an Anglican bishop.

World's first female Anglican bishop appointed

1995  Space Shuttle program: STS-71 Mission Atlantis docks with the Russian space station Mir for the first time.


1995  The Sampoong Department Store collapsed in Seoul, killing 501 and injuring 937.

2002  Naval clashes between South Korea and North Korea led to the death of six South Korean sailors and sinking of a North Korean vessel.

2006  Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that President George W. Bush’s plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law.

2007  Two car bombs were found in the heart of London at Picadilly Circus.

2009  Coalition forces in Iraq left Baghdad.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia



Giselle premierred on June 28, 1841.

Silent Movie


Happy birthday Mel Brooks –  84 today.

Silent Movie was very funny in 1976 (maybe ’77)  when I took a break from end of year exam preparation to go the the pictures. I haven’t had a chance to watch it again to see if it’s still funny.

Monday’s Quiz


1. Who uses these phrases and what do they stand for:  Dirty Gerttie, Tweak of the Thumb and Red Raw?

2. Which countries are members of the G8?

3. It’s farfalla in Italian, mariposa in Spanish and papillon in French – what is it in English?

4. Who said: “If you want something said, ask a man . . . if you want something done, ask a woman.” 

5. The first four lines of our National anthem in Maori are: E Ihowa Atua/O nga iwi matou ra/Ata whakarongona;
/Me aroha noa .
What are the next four lines?

Right where it hurts


The billboard was hard to miss as we walked past the Custom House in Wellington last week:

 The big print says: It’s kicking the country right where it hurts.

The smaller print says that Kiwifruit regulations are sstrangling innovation and export earnings.

It’s part of a campaign by Turners and Growers which wants to export independently of Zespri.

Political corpse stirs


The vital signs  have been hard to distinguish for months, but the corpse of the Progressive Party has stirred again.

It’s re-registered as a political party even though its leader told members to join the Labour Party.

Is there any reason for doing so apart from allowing Jim Anderton to get the extra funding as a party leader while he campaigns to be Chrsitchurch mayor?

That it’s managed to come up with the 500 members required for registration is evidence the bar is set far too low.

If the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association has 39,700 members, surely it’s not expecting too much to require a group which might end up in parliament to have at least a couple of thousand members?

June 28 in history


On June 28:

1098  Fighters of the First Crusade defeated Kerbogha of Mosul.


1389  Ottomans defeated Serbian army in the bloody Battle of Kosovo, opening the way for the Ottoman conquest of Southeastern Europe.

Battle of Kosovo 1389.PNG

1491 Henry VIII  was born  (d. 1547).


1519  Charles V elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

1577 Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish painter, was born (d. 1640).


1635 Guadeloupe became a French colony.

1651  Battle of Beresteczko between Poles and Ukrainians started.

Bohun k.jpg

 1703 John Wesley, English founder of Methodism, was born (d. 1791).


1712 Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Swiss philosopher, was born (d. 1778).

1776  American Revolutionary War: Carolina Day – commemorates the defense of Fort Moultrie during the Battle of Sullivan’s Island.


1776  American Revolutionary War: Thomas Hickey, Continental Army private and bodyguard to General George Washington, was hanged for mutiny and sedition.

1778  American Revolutionary War: Battle of Monmouth fought between the American Continental Army under George Washington and the British Army led by Sir Henry Clinton.


1807  Second British invasion of the Río de la Plata; John Whitelock landed at Ensenada on an attempt to recapture Buenos Aires and was defeated by the fierce resistance of the locals.

Invasiones Inglesas.jpg

1838  The coronation of Queen Victoria.

A painting of a richly dressed young woman gazing at the painter. 

1841 The Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique in Paris premiered the ballet Giselle.

Giselle -Carlotta Grisi -1841 -2.jpg

1859  First conformation dog show is held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

1865  The Army of the Potomac was disbanded.

Potomac Staff.jpg

1880  Ned Kelly the Australian bushranger was  captured at Glenrowan.

Head of a young man with a long, untrimmed beard, and with hair cropped above the ears, but longer and slicked strikingly up and back on the top. His mustache and beard are so long that his mouth and shirt front can barely be seen. His eyes look over the viewer's right shoulder .

1881 Secret treaty between Austria and Serbia.

1882  Anglo-French Convention of 1882 signed marking territorial boundaries between Guinea and Sierra Leone.

1895  El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua formed the Central American Union.


1896  An explosion in the Newton Coal Company’s Twin Shaft Mine in Pittston City, resulted in a massive cave-in that killed 58 miners.

1902 Richard Rodgers, American composer, was born (d. 1979).

1902  The U.S. Congress passed the Spooner Act, authorising President Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal.

1904  The SS Norge ran aground and sank.

SS Norge

1909 Eric Ambler, English writer, was born (d. 1998).

Ambler - Passage of Arms.jpg

1914  Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo by young Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip, the casus belli of World War I.


1919  The Treaty of Versailles was signed in Paris, formally ending World War I between Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, the United States and allies on the one side and Germany and Austria Hungary on the other side.

Treaty of Versailles, English version.jpg

1922  The Irish Civil War began with the shelling of the Four Courts in Dublin by Free State forces.

1926 Mel Brooks, American filmmaker, was born.


1928  Harold Evans, English journalist and writer; editor of The Sunday Times, was born.

Sir Harold Evans 6 Shankbone 2009 NYC.jpg

1936  The Japanese puppet state of Mengjiang was formed in northern China.

1940 Romania ceded Bessarabia (current-day Moldova) to the Soviet Union.

1948  Cominform circulated the “Resolution on the situation in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia”; Yugoslavia was expelled from the Communist bloc.

1948  Boxer Dick Turpin beat Vince Hawkins to become the first black British boxing champion in the modern era.

1950  Seoul was captured by troops from North Korea.

1954  A. A. Gill, British writer and columnist, was born.

1956  Protests and demonstrations in Poznań.

Poznan 1956.jpg

1964  Malcom X formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity.


1967  Israel annexed East Jerusalem.

1969  Stonewall riots began in New York City.

A black and white photograph showing the backs of three uniformed police officers and a man with short-cropped hair in a suit pushing back a crowd of young men with longer hair dressed in jeans and contemporary clothing for the late 1960s, arguing and defying the police; other people in the background on a stoop are watching 

1971 Louise Bagshawe, British novelist and politician, was born.

1973 HMNZS Otago sailed for the Mururoa nuclear test zone.

HMNZS <em>Otago</em> sails for Mururoa test zone

1973  Elections were held for the Northern Ireland Assembly, which led to power-sharing between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland for the first time.

1976  The Angolan court sentenced US and UK mercenaries to death sentences and prison terms in the Luanda Trial.

1978  The United States Supreme Court, in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke barred quota systems in college admissions.

1981  A powerful bomb exploded in Tehran, killing 73 officials of Islamic Republic Party.

1983  The Mianus River Bridge collapsed killing 3 drivers in their vehicles.

1986  ¡A Luchar! held its first congress in Bogotá.

1990  Paperback Software International Ltd. found guilty by a U.S. court of copyright violation for copying the appearance and menu system of Lotus 1-2-3 in its competing spreadsheet program.

1992  The Constitution of Estonia was signed into law.

1994  Members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult released sarin gas attack at Matsumoto, 7 persons killed, 660 injured.

1996  The Constitution of Ukraine was signed into law.

1997 Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield II – Tyson was disqualified in the 3rd round for biting a piece from Holyfield’s ear.

Mike Tyson festival de Cannes.jpgEvander Holyfield.jpg

2004  Sovereign power was handed to the interim government of Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority, ending the U.S.-led rule of that nation.

2005 War in Afghanistan: Three U.S. Navy SEALs and 16 American Special Operations Forces soldiers were killed during Operation Red Wing, a failed counter-insurgent mission in Kunar province.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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