Word of the day


Dolent  – sorrowful, doleful, mourning.

Thursday’s quiz


1. What is Metrosideros excelsa?

2. Who said: “Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.”? *

3. It’s ordenador in Spanish, ordinateur  in French and  rorohiko in Maori – what is it in English?

4. Who won the 2010 Rutherford Medal?

5. Name three of the five MPs who’ve just completed 20 years in parliament.

* There will be a bonus electronic posy for anyone who answers #2 correctly because I think it’s a tough question.

Saying goodbye properly


The morning our son died one of the doctors who’d looked after him said to us, “We all make a fuss about saying hello, it’s at least as important to say goodbye properly.”

Since then we have taken that advice when arranging funerals for both our sons, my mother in-law and my parents.  The services celebrated the lives of the people we were honouring  and comforted us. Knowing we farewelled them properly helped with the grieving process.

The families and friends of the men who died in the Pike River mine can’t say goodbye yet. That won’t happen until the outcome of the recovery operation is known.

But the memorial service today will help. It will honour the people they loved and they will gain comfort and strength from the knowledge that thousands of others, in Greymouth and much further afield, will be paying tribute to them too.

The service, which starts at 2pm, will be broadcast on RadioNZ National and TV1 and will also be available on TVNZ on demand.

Milk price up 1.6%


The trade weighted price of milk increased 1.6% in Fonterra’s latest globalDairy Trade auction.

The price paid for anhydrous milk fat increased .3%; butter milk powder decreased 2.7%;  skim milk powder went up .5% and whole milk powder increased 2.6%.

Will you pay more for pork?


The use of sow stalls is to be phased out by the end of 2015.

The Animal Welfare (Pigs) Code of Welfare 2010 which was released by Agriculture Minister David Carter yesterday limits the practice of sow stalls to four weeks after mating in 2012, and prohibits it altogether by the end of 2015.

A five-year time frame on phasing out sow stalls will allow New Zealand farmers to change their production systems and train staff in new management skills so that the long-term sustainability of our pig industry is not put at risk.

The new code also places new limits on the use of farrowing crates.

While the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee believes that the use of farrowing crates should also be phased out, it recognises this can only happen when alternative management systems are in place.

These must take the welfare of sows and piglets into account, and must also allow our pork producers to remain competitive.

Remaining competitive is important for both the industry and animal welfare.

Nothing will be gained for animals and a lot will be lost from the economy if New Zealand producers go out of business and locally produced pork products are replaced by imports from countries which still allow crates.

Phil Clarke posts on  predictions of pork shortages in Britain from the National Pig Association:

A survey of member states suggests production will fall by 4-5% a year to 2013 as producers battle against problems including low prices, high feed costs, the European stalls ban, currency volatility and nervousness of banks.

At least a third of European producers will have difficulty converting from stalls to loose-housing by 2012; something that typically costs over £400 per sow place, the NPA says. It says the 1999 stalls ban in the UK caused the national herd to almost halve during the following ten years.

Public opposition is one of the reason for the phasing out of stalls.

If this method of raising pigs is cruel then the public is right. I hope they are prepared for the drop in supply and increase in price which will almost certainly follow the change in production methods.

December 2 in history


On December 2:

1409 – The University of Leipzig opened.

1755 – The second Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed by fire.


1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in the United States.

Touro external.png

1775 – The USS Alfred became the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag (the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag is hoisted by John Paul Jones.

USS Alfred

1804 – At Notre Dame Cathedral Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French, the first French Emperor in a thousand years.


1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Austerlitz – French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte defeated a joint Russo-Austrian force.

Colored painting showing Napoleon on a white horse and General Rapp galloping towards Napoleon to present the captured Austrian standards.

1823 – Monroe Doctrine: US President James Monroe delivered a speech establishing American neutrality in future European conflicts.

1845 – Manifest Destiny: US President James K. Polk announced to Congress that the United States should aggressively expnd into the West.

1848 – Franz Josef I becomes Emperor of Austria.

1851 – French President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte overthrew the Second Republic.

1852 – Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte becomes Emperor of the French (Napoleon III).

1859 – Georges Seurat, French painter was born (d. 1891).

1859 – Militant abolitionist leader John Brown was hanged for his October 16th raid on Harper’s Ferry.

1867 – At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gave his first public reading in the United States.

1884 – Sir Erima Harvey Northcroft, New Zealand lawyer and judge, was born (d. 1953).

1899 – Philippine-American War: The Battle of Tirad Pass, termed “The Filipino Thermopylae”, was fought.

1908 – Child Emperor Pu Yi ascended the Chinese throne at the age of two.

1917 – Six p.m. closing of pubs was introduced in New Zealand as a ‘temporary’ wartime measure. It ushered in what became know as the ‘six o’clock swill’, as patrons aimed to get their fill before closing time.

'Six o'clock swill' begins

1917 – An armistice was signed between Russia and the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk and peace talks leading to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk began.


1920 – Following more than a month of Turkish-Armenian War, the Turkish dictated Treaty of Alexandropol is concluded.


1924 – Alexander Haig, American soldier and politician, was born (d. 2010).

1927 – Following 19 years of Ford Model T production, the Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Model A .

1931 Model A Deluxe Tudor Sedan

1930 – Great Depression: US President Herbert Hoover went before the United States Congress and asked for a US$150 million public works programme to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy.

1939 – New York City’s La Guardia Airport opened.

1942 – Manhattan Project: A team led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

Trinity shot color.jpg

1943 – A Luftwaffe bombing raid on the harbour of Bari, Italy, sinks numerous cargo and transport ships, including an American Liberty ship, the John Harvey, with a stockpile of World War I-era mustard gas.

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-363-2258-11, Flugzeug Junkers Ju 88.jpg

1946 – The British Government invited four Indian leaders, Nehru, Baldev Singh, Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan to obtain the participation of all parties in the Constituent Assembly.

1947 – Jerusalem Riots of 1947: Riots broke out in Jerusalem in response to the approval of the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

1954 – Red Scare: The United States Senate voted 65 to 22 to condemn Joseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute”.

1954 – The Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, between the United States and China, was signed in Washington, D.C..

1956 – The Granma yacht reached the shores of Cuba’s Oriente province and Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution.

The yacht Granma.

1961 – In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared that he was a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba was going to adopt Communism.

1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency began operations.

Environmental Protection Agency logo.svg

1971 – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm Al Quwain formed the United Arab Emirates.


1972 – Gough Whitlam became the first Labor Prime Minister of Australia for 23 years.


1975 – Pathet Lao seized power in Laos, and establishes the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

1976 – Fidel Castro became President of Cuba replacing Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.

1977 – The first World Series Cricket “supertest” match played between Australia and West Indies.


1980 – Four U.S. nuns and churchwomen, Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, and Dorothy Kazel, were murdered by a death squad in El Salvador.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.

1990 – A coalition led by Chancellor Helmut Kohl won the first free all-German elections since 1932.

1993 – Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was shot and killed in Medellín.

1993 – STS-61 – NASA launched the Space Shuttle Endeavour on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

Space Shuttle Endeavour

1999 – Glenbrook rail accident near Sydney.

1999 – The United Kingdom devolved political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.


2001 – Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Enron logo, designed by Paul Rand

2008 – Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resigned after the 2008 Thailand political crisis.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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