Word of the day


Limbeck – to rack the brain in serach of a new idea.

Biography of My Skin


When Biography of My Skin started with Miranda Harcourt addressing us from a screen I was disappointed – I’d thought it was going to be a live production.

But that was a fleeting thought because I was immediately engrossed in what she was saying and within minutes she called out from the auditorium, strode on to the stage and started chatting to us in person.

It was an innovative start to a unique play which held me spellbound throughout.

Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, often thought-provoking, this is the story of a remarkable woman, her family, relationships and life, written by her husband Stuart McKenzie who also appears, first on screen then in person.

Quite how much dramatic licence has been applied to the stories and performance is difficult to tell, but that’s part of the play’s appeal.

It takes great skill from both scriptwriter and actors to tell a story which is both intensely intimate and personal yet also universal. Biography of My Skin did it superbly. Nearly 24 hours after seeing the play I am still thinking about it and pondering some of the questions it raised, among which is: “how can I be a good mother if I’m not a good daughter?

Men were in a minority in the audience but those I spoke to afterwards enjoyed it just as much as the women.

Biography of My Skin has been touring the country. Last night’s was its only appearance in the Oamaru Opera House.

The tour concludes with shows in Christchurch this Friday and Saturday. If I was going to be anywhere near the city, I’d put it on my not-to-be-missed list.

Jon Morgan wins Rural Women ag journalism award


Jon Morgan from the Dominion Post has won Rural Women New Zealand’s 2010 award for  journalists who highlight acheivements of rural women.

He was commended for writing stories which shine a spotlight on rural issues for a largely urban readership.

The Runner-up for the award was Liz Brook, who writes for Central Districts Farmer.

“We set up the award with the Guild two years ago to encourage greater balance in rural journalism,” says Rural Women New Zealand National President, Liz Evans. 

 “It is rewarding to see more articles being written about women in rural communities achieving extraordinary things, both in farming and in the general rural environment. 

Morgan’s winning stories were: Sweet smell of lambing success and Unlocking women’s rural skills .

Brooks winning stories were: Beefing up the meat industry and Staying true to the land and to God.

These awards were announced at the Guild of Agricultural Journalist’s annual dinner. Other winners were:

BNZ Partners’ Rongo Award recognising excellence in agricultural journalism: Richard Rennie,  for a portfolio of articles which appeared in NZ Farmers Weekly and NZ Dairy Exporter, focussing on issues around the possible sale of the Crafar farms to overseas interests.

Runner-up: the team from NZX Agri’s Country-Wide monthly newspaper, for a series of 12 articles entitled Prime Movers, largely the work of journalist Sandra Taylor.

 BNZ Partners ‘ Farm Business Writing Award: Sandra Taylor, for two articles in the Prime Mover’s series which appeared in Country-Wide.

 AgResearch Science Writers Award, established to enhance standards of science writing, especially about pastoral agriculture: Jon Morgan.

 Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award, set up last year to recognise excellence in agricultural journalism focussing on New Zealand’s horticulture industry: Jon Morgan. 

 AGMARDT Agribusiness Award, which recognises high quality information about and effective analysis of national, global and other agribusiness: Herald On Sunday journalist, Maria Slade.

Federated Farmers Rural Photography Award, for a single photo that illustrates a rural event or activity – agricultural, horticultural, industry, human interest, on farm / off farm, or any activity reflecting life or work in rural New Zealand: NZX Agri journalist and photographer, Marie Taylor.

The Guild’s own award, designed to encourage and recognise excellence among journalists with three or fewer years reporting on agricultural issues, The Agricultural Journalism Encouragement Award: Blair Ensor of the Marlborough Express.



Oh dear, the NZ History Online quiz isn’t getting any easier – just 5/10.

It would have been 6 if I’d followed my instinct on the Cobb & Co question.

A tale of two students


Their parents agreed to pay for their accommodation and fees when they went to university.

Both chose to also borrow the maximum available under the student loan scheme.

She finished her first year with nothing left over. He finished his first year with * several thousand dollars in the bank.

This post was prompted by A lifetime of debt? at Kiwiblog.

When student politicians complain about fees and other costs of tertiary education and the burden of student loans, they always assume that everybody has to borrow the maximum amount available to enable them to study.

They don’t. Some get parental help, some win scholarships, some get additional allowances from the state.

Most have the choice of working before they start study, during holidays and at least part time while they’re studying to reduce the amount they have to borrow.

The example I’ve given also shows they have some choice over how much they spend.

* I’ve said “several thousand dollars” because I can’t remember the exact number but it was definitely more than a couple.

October 21 in history


On October 21:

1096 People’s Crusade: The Turkish army annihilated the People’s Army of the West.


1520  Ferdinand Magellan discoversed the strait which was named after him.

1600 Tokugawa Ieyasu defeatedthe leaders of rival Japanese clans in the Battle of Sekigahara, which marked the beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled Japan until the mid-nineteenth century.


1772 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, British poet, was born (d. 1834).

1797  In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution was launched.

A painting of a ship with all sails up and a pursuing squadron behind it. In the foreground are small boats. 

1805 Battle of Trafalgar: A British fleet led by Vice Admiral Lord Nelson defeatd a combined French and Spanish fleet off the coast of Spain under Admiral Villeneuve.

Turner, The Battle of Trafalgar (1806).jpg

1805 Austrian General Mack surrendered his army to the Grand Army of Napoleon at the Battle of Ulm.

Charles Thévenin - Reddition de la ville d'Ulm.jpg

1816 The Penang Free School was founded in George Town, Penang, by the Rev Hutchings. It is the oldest English-language school in Southeast Asia.

1824  Joseph Aspdin patented Portland cement.

1833  Alfred Nobel, Swedish inventor and founder of the Nobel Prize, was born(d. 1896).

1854 Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses were sent to the Crimean War.

Florence Nightingale.png

1861 American Civil War: Battle of Ball’s Bluff – Union forces under Colonel Edward Baker were defeated by Confederate troops.

Battle of Ball's Bluff.png

1867  Manifest Destiny: Medicine Lodge Treaty – Near Medicine Lodge, Kansas a landmark treaty was signed by southern Great Plains Indian leaders. The treaty required Native American Plains tribes to relocate a reservation in western Oklahoma.

1879 Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tested the first practical electric incandescent light bulb.


1892 Opening ceremonies for the World’s Columbian Exposition were held in Chicago, though because construction was behind schedule, the exposition did not open until May 1, 1893.


1895 The Republic of Formosa collapsed as Japanese forces invaded.

1902 In the United States, a five month strike by United Mine Workers ended.

1917  Dizzy Gillespie, American musician, was born (d. 1993).

1921 Sir Malcolm Arnold, British composer, was born (d. 2006).


1921 President Warren G. Harding delivered the first speech by a sitting President against lynching in the deep south.


1921 George Melford’s silent film, The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino, premiered.


1929 Ursula K. Le Guin, American author was born.

1931 Vivian Pickles, English actress, was born.

1940  Geoff Boycott, English cricketer, was born.


1940  Manfred Mann, English musician, was born.

1942 Judy Sheindlin, American judge (“Judge Judy”), was born.

1944 The first kamikaze attack: A Japanese plane carrying a 200 kilograms (440 lb) bomb attacked HMAS Australia off Leyte Island, as the Battle of Leyte Gulf began.

1945 Women’s suffrage: Women were allowed to vote in France for the first time.

1945 Juan Perón married Evita.


1952 Trevor Chappell, Australian cricketer, was born.


1953  Peter Mandelson, British politician, was born.

1956 Carrie Fisher, American actress and writer, was born.

1959 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened to the public.

1964 Peter Snell won a second gold at the Toky Olympics.

Peter Snell wins second gold in Tokyo

1965  Comet Ikeya-Seki approached perihelion, passing 450,000 kilometers from the sun.

Comet C 1965 S1 Ikeya-Seki.jpg

1966  Aberfan disaster: A slag heap collapsed on the village of Aberfan, killing 144 people, mostly schoolchildren. 

 1967 Vietnam War: More than 100,000 war protesters gathered in Washington, D.C..  Similar demonstrations occurred simultaneously in Japan and Western Europe.

1969 A coup d’état in Somalia brought Siad Barre to power.


1973 John Paul Getty III‘s ear was cut off by his kidnappers and sent to a newspaper in Rome.  

1978 Australian pilot Frederick Valentich vanished in a Cessna 182 over the Bass Strait, after reporting contact with an unidentified aircraft.

1979  Moshe Dayan resigned from the Israeli government because of strong disagreements with Prime Minister Menachem Begin over policy towards the Arabs.

Moshe Dayan.jpg

1983  The metre was defined at the seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.

1986  In Lebanon, pro-Iranian kidnappers claimed to have abducted American writer Edward Tracy.

1987 Jaffna hospital massacre by Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka killing 70.

1994 North Korea and the United States signed an agreement that requires North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program and agree to inspections.

1994  In Seoul, 32 people were killed when the Seongsu Bridge collapsed.

2003  Images of the dwarf planet Eris were taken and subsequently used in its discovery by the team of Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz.

Eris (centre) and Dysnomia (left of centre), taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipeda

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