Before The Next Teardrop Falls


Freddy Fender was born 73 years ago today.

Perhaps this should come with a shmaltz warning.

Price rises work


“It’s nearly afternoon tea time and we’re still okay,” one of the women behind the counter said to her co-worker.

“Why shouldn’t you be okay?” I asked.

“Three of us have given up smoking,” she said. “When the price went up again we decided we couldn’t afford it any more.”

Stolen computer case closed


The bloke who stole my laptop in February has done diversion.

I was careless while paying for parking at Christchurch airport, put my case and computer down beside me when I was getting my wallet out of my bag and picked up only the case when I walked off.

When I realised this moments later and ran back, the computer had gone.

I reported it to the police and the officer went through the video footage, spotted the bloke picking up the computer and paying for his parking. The officer worked out from that what time the bloke had entered the car park, went through the video footage at the entry and from that got a registration number.

That gave him a name and address but the address was that of an ex-girlfriend who said she hadn’t seen him for a couple of years but did have an employer’s name. That turned out to be an ex-employer who gave the name of another employer but the bloke had moved on from there too.

The policeman persevered though, caught up with the bloke and invited him in for a chat.

He then asked me if I wanted him charged, saying that if so, he’d almost certainly be offered diversion. When I blogged on this, comments confirmed my view that he ought to be charged.  Keeping Stock and commenters at  Kiwiblog who picked up the story agreed.

By this time I’d got the computer back and discovered the thief had got past the password and been using it so I was even less charitable about his actions.  

The police prosecution team made the decision to charge him and offer diversion. He accepted, had to write a letter of apology (which I haven’t seen yet) and donate $500 to Women’s Refuge.

It was an expensive lesson about the need to take care of my belongings. The computer was insured and I’d replaced it but the claim hadn’t been processed when the laptop was returned so I’ve ended up with a spare – and unused – notebook.

My confidence in people’s honesty has been knocked but by appreciation of the police has grown.

Had it not been for the officer’s perseverance the thief would have got away with his actions. Thanks to good detective work the bloke who stole the computer has paid for his dishonesty and a deserving charity is $500 better off .

Case closed.

CPW consent may be appealed


Central Plains Water gained 31 consents for its modified irrigation scheme but there is already talk of appealing the decision in the Environment Court.

I don’t know a lot about the specifics of the scheme, which has been contentious, but I am passionate about the need for irrigation to reduce the economic, social and environmental costs of recurring droughts.

Unlike Australia where water shortages mean farmers are facing cuts of up to 65% in irrigation in the Murrumbidgee Valley and 35% cuts in the Murray Valley, there is no lack of water in Canterbury.

The region has plenty of water, the problem is most of it goes out to sea.



Some lucky guesses combined with a little knowledge to give me 7/1o in this week’s NZ History Online’s this week in history quiz.

Another question about farm ownership


The question of whether or not foreigners should be able to buy farmland and if so what conditions might be imposed on them is exercising many minds.

But there is another question which is at least as important: why can’t New Zealanders afford the prices that people from overseas can pay for our farms?

June 4 in history


On June 4:

781 BC – The first historic solar eclipse was recorded in China.

1039  Henry III became Holy Roman Emperor.

1584  Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English colony on Roanoke Island, old Virginia (now North Carolina).

1615  Siege of Osaka: Forces under the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu took Osaka Castle.

The Siege of Osaka Castle.jpg

1738  King George III was born  (d. 1820).

Full-length portrait in oils of a clean-shaven young man in eighteenth century dress: gold jacket and breeches, ermine cloak, powdered wig, white stockings, and buckled shoes.

1760  Great Upheaval: New England planters arrived to claim land in Nova Scotia taken from the Acadians.

1769  A transit of Venus was followed five hours later by a total solar eclipse, the shortest such interval in history.

1783  The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrated their montgolfière (hot air balloon).

1792  Captain George Vancouver claimed Puget Sound for  Great Britain.

1794  British troops captured  Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

1802 Grieving over the death of his wife, Marie Clotilde of France, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia abdicated in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel.

1825  French-American Revolutionary War: General Lafayette spoke at what would become Lafayette Square, Buffalo  during his United States visit.

1859  Italian Independence wars: In the Battle of Magenta, the French army, under Louis-Napoleon, defeated the Austrian army.

The Italian camp at the Battle of Magenta

1862  American Civil War:  Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee.

1876  The Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco,  via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.

1878  Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire ceded Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retained nominal title.

1879 Mabel Lucie Attwell, English children’s author and illustrator, was born (d. 1964).

1907 Patience Strong, English poet and journalist was born (d. 1990).

1912  Massachusetts becomes the first state of the United States to set a minimum wage.

1913 Emily Davison, a suffragette, ran out in front of King George V’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby.

1917  The first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall received the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receivesd the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope received the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.

1919  The U.S. Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed suffrage to women, and sent it to the U.S. states for ratification.

1920  Hungary loset  71% of its territory and 63% of its population when the Treaty of Trianon was signed in Paris.

Treaty of trianon negotiations.jpg

1923  Elizabeth Jolley, Australian writer, was born (d. 2007).

1924 Tofilau Eti Alesana, Prime Minister of Samoa, was born (d. 1999).

1927 Geoffrey Palmer, English actor, was born.

1928  Ruth Westheimer, German-born American sex therapist and author, was born.

1928 Chinese president  Zhang Zuolin was assassinated by Japanese agents.

1932  Maurice Shadbolt, New Zealand writer, was born( d 2004).

1937 Freddy Fender, American musician, was born (d. 2006).

1937  Robert Fulghum, American author, was born.

1939 Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, was denied permission to land in Florida,  after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later died in Nazi concentration camps.

1940 World War II: The Dunkirk evacuation ended– British forces completed evacuation of 300,000 troops.

1940 – World War II: Nazi forces entered  Paris, they finished taking control of the city 10 days later. (June 14, 1940)

1941 Kenneth G. Ross, Australian playwright and screenwriter, was born.

1942  World War II: The Battle of Midway began – Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo ordered a strike on Midway Island by much of the Imperial Japanese navy.

SBDs approach the burning Mikuma (Center).

1943 the Cromwell-Dunedin express, travelling at speed, was derailed while rounding a curve near Hyde in Central Otago. Twenty-one passengers were killed and 47 injured in what was at the time New Zealand’s worst-ever rail accident.

Rail tragedy at Hyde

1943  A military coup in Argentina ousted Ramón Castillo.

1944 Michelle Phillips, American singer (The Mamas & the Papas) and actress, was born.

1944 World War II: A hunter-killer group of the United States Navy captured the German submarine U-505 – the first time a U.S. Navy vessel had captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.


1944 – World War II: Rome fell to the Allies, the first Axis capital to fall.

1945 Gordon Waller, Scottish musician (Peter and Gordon), was born.

1961  Ferenc Gyurcsány, 6th Prime Minister of Hungary, was born.

1967 Stockport Air Disaster: British Midland flight G-ALHG crashed in Hopes Carr, Stockport, killing 72 passengers and crew.

1970  Tonga gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1973 A patent for the ATM was granted to Donald Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain.

1979 Daniel Vickerman, Australian rugby union player, was born.

1979  Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings took power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo was overthrown.

1986  Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.

1989  Ali Khamenei was elected the new Supreme Leader  of Iran by the Assembly of Experts after the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

1989 – The Tiananmen Square protests were violently ended by the People’s Liberation Army.


1989  Solidarity‘s victory in the first (somewhat) free parliamentary elections in post-war Poland sparked off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, led to the creation of the  Contract Sejm and began the Autumn of Nations.

1989  Ufa train disaster: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia, killed 575 as two trains passing each other threw sparks near a leaky pipeline.

1991 The United Kingdom’s Conservative government announced that some British regiments would disappear or be merged into others — the largest armed forces cuts in almost twenty years.

1996  The first flight of Ariane 5 exploded after roughly 20 seconds.

Ariane 5 mock-up (Photo taken at Cité de l'espace)

2001 Gyanendra, the last King of Nepal, ascended to the throne after the massacre in the Royal Palace.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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