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

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