My Three Sons


Fred MacMurray would have been 102 today.

Word of the day


Ultracrepidarian – One who speaks above his/her level of knowledge, experience or expertise

Monday’s quiz


1.What breed of cattle is this?

2. Who said: “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”?

3. Whose third Law of Motion states: “That for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”?

4. In Spanish it’s estrella ; in French it’s étoile, in Italian it’s in Maori it’s whetu – what is it in English?

5. Which poet won the poetry section of this year’s NZ Post Book Awards (announced on Friday) for the book Just This?

Bark Up opens eyes to ag


A few decades ago most people who didn’t live on farms knew people who did.

That meant young people who might be interested in careers  on farms or in farm support had little difficulty in investigating opportunities.

It’s very different now. New Zealand is much more urbanised and a lot of children grow up with little or no idea about career opportunities in agriculture.

Enter the Haka Bark Up which Sally Rae reports introduced 120 year 10 – 13 pupils to agriculture and supporting industries.

Among the pupils Geraldine High School agriculture teacher Margaret Walker took to last year’s Omarama Bark Up was a teenager “with very little focus on life”.

But when he saw the shearing module, his eyes “lit up with a passion”, and now, 12 months down the track, he is about to start an apprenticeship.

That teenager, who would have otherwise dropped out of school, now has introductory qualifications through Tectra.

“Now he’s just waiting to sign on the dotted line for his apprenticeship. You couldn’t ask for a better story. From a kid who was just going to drop out, to a kid with a passion.”

When the ag-sag of the 80s hit job opportunities were lost on farms and in farm support. For a couple of decades agriculture hasn’t been on the radar for a most young people when they’re considering what they want to do when they leave school.

But changes in farming fortunes in recent years, especially but not only in dairying, have led to more employment opportunities.

Initiatives like the Bark Up are good for both young people whose eyes are opened to opportunities in agriculture and the people who could employ them.

Loitering without intent


One of the sorry images which has stayed with me after our return from Australia’s Top End  is the large number of Aborigine people wandering round without purpose, sitting in gutters or on the grass of parks, many waiting for the pubs and bottle stores to open at 2pm, all apparently with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

What does it say about their homes that they’d rather be loitering without intent in town than in their own places doing something constructive?

What does it say about a system which allows them to exist on benefits, leaving them with nothing constructive to do and nowhere else to go?

We saw art work produced by Arorigines and heard of tourist operations run by them but in the 12 days we were there saw only two working – one as a shop assistant, another as a guide.

We were told it wasn’t always as bad as this, many used to work in return for board, keep and some money. But when minimum wages were introduced the employers couldn’t afford to keep many of them because they didn’t do enough to justify what they’d have to be paid.

This should serve as a warning to us – the numbers of young Maori who are unemployed has risen considerably since youth rates were introduced.

Surely it’s better to be working and being paid what you’re worth than on a benefit because you don’t work well enough to earn a minimum wage?

August 30 in history


On August 30:

1363 Beginning date of the Battle of Lake Poyang; the forces of two Chinese rebel leaders— Chen Youliang and Zhu Yuanzhang—were pitted against each other in what is one of the largest naval battles in history, during the last decade of the ailing, Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty.


1574  Guru Ram Das became the Fourth Sikh Guru/Master.


1590  Tokugawa Ieyasu entered Edo Castle.


1720 Samuel Whitbread, English brewer, was born (d. 1796).


1791 HMS Pandora sank after running aground on a reef the previous day.


1797 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, English writer, was born (d. 1851).

Half-length portrait of a woman wearing a black dress sitting on a red sofa. Her dress is off the shoulder, exposing her shoulders. The brush strokes are broad. 

1799 Capture of the entire Dutch fleet by British forces under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby and Admiral Sir Charles Mitchell during the Second Coalition of the French Revolutionary Wars.

1800 Gabriel Prosser led a slave rebellion in Richmond, Virginia.

North american slave revolts.png

1813  Battle of Kulm: French forces defeated by Austrian-Prussian-Russian alliance.

 Battle of Kulm by Kotsebu.jpg

1813  Creek War: Creek Red Sticks carried out the Fort Mims Massacre.

Massacre at Fort Mims.jpg

1835 Melbourne was founded.


1836 The city of Houston was founded by Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen.

1862  American Civil War: Battle of Richmond: Confederates under Edmund Kirby Smith routed a Union army under General Horatio Wright.

1862 – American Civil War: Union forces were defeated in Second Battle of Bull Run.

1871 Ernest Rutherford, New Zealand-born Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate, was born(d. 1937).

1873Austrian explorers Julius von Payer and Karl Weyprecht discover the archipelago of Franz Joseph Land in the Arctic Sea.

1903 Guide Joseph Warbrick and three tourists were killed instantly when Roturua’s Waimangu geyser erupted unexpectedly.

Four killed by Rotorua geyser

1908 Fred MacMurray, American actor, was born (d. 1991).

1909  Burgess Shale fossils discovered by Charles Doolittle Walcott.

Marrella, the most abundant Burgess Shale organism.

1912 Nancy Wake AC GM, New Zealand-born World War II secret agent, was born.

Nancy Wake (1945).jpg

1914  Battle of Tannenberg.

Russian prisoners tannenberg.jpg

1918  Fanny Kaplan shot and seriously injured Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.


1922 Battle of Dumlupinar, final battle in Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922).


1930 Warren Buffett, American entrepreneur, was born.


1935 John Phillips, American singer/songwriter (The Mamas & the Papas), was born (d. 2001).

1942  World War II: Battle of Alam Halfa began.


1943 Jean-Claude Killy, French skier, was born.

1945 Hong Kong was liberated from Japan by British Armed Forces.

1945 – Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Douglas MacArthur landed at Atsugi Air Force Base.

1946 Peggy Lipton, American actress, was born.

1951 Dana, Irish singer and politician, was born.

Dana - All Kinds of Everything.jpg

1956 Lake Pontchartrain Causeway opened.


1962  Japan conducted a test of the NAMC YS-11, its first aircraft since the war and its only successful commercial aircraft.


1963 Hotline between the leaders of the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union went into operation.

1967  Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first African American Justice of the United States Supreme Court.


1972  Cameron Diaz, American actress, was born.

1974  A BelgradeDortmund express train derailed at the main train station in Zagreb killing 153 passengers.

1974 – A powerful bomb exploded at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries headquarters in Marunouchi, Tokyo – 8 killed, 378 injured.

1984   The Space Shuttle Discovery took off on its maiden voyage.

Space Shuttle Discovery

1995NATO launches Operation Deliberate Force against Bosnian Serb forces.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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