Word of the day


Fantod  – a state of irritability, tension uneasiness or unreasonableness; the fidgets, the willies.

Creedence Clearwater Revisited


If you wanted perfect acoustics and a top quality musical experience you wouldn’t bother with a concert in a paddock.

But if your aim was to have fun with friends and enjoy some of the music which provided the background to your youth, then the Gibbston Valley was fine.

We were among the 15,000 people who spent Saturday afternoon at Gibbston Valley Winery listening to Dr Hook and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

The sun shone, the musicians sang the songs we knew and the audience sang along with them.

Age hasn’t improved the voices of the stars but they still had enthusiasm and the ability to get us on our feet. Given the average age was well over 50 and New Zealanders aren’t particularly keen on dancing in daylight, was no mean feat.

Robbie inspires the UCVA


Robbie Deans has written an inspirational message to the Volunteer Army;

To the Student Army,

 One of the best pieces of encouragement I have been able to impart to sportsmen such as Andrew Mehrtens, Richie McCaw, Daniel Carter and more latterly to the likes of David Pocock and James O’Connor; is to strive to be the player that everyone else in the team can rely on, the individual everyone wants to play alongside.

To achieve that status in the sporting sphere requires dedication, a willingness to go beyond what is expected and, most importantly, a consideration of, and commitment to, your team-mates.

While the words ‘hero’ and ‘champion’ are used too freely in modern day society, without many of the users really boasting a proper appreciation as to the qualities required for such status; the players mentioned above; either have or are, in my judgement, well on the way to attaining that recognition.

The same qualities required to achieve this distinction in sport also hold true for life in general.

This is particularly so in time of crisis, which is why my admiration for you all is so strong.

Your tireless and totally selfless efforts since the calamity which struck Christchurch so suddenly on Tuesday February 22 have been an outstanding example, both to the rest of the country and the watching world.

It reflects magnificently on the people you represent: your families and the wider Christchurch and Canterbury community.

Most importantly, it reflects on you as individuals.

Be proud of your efforts, of the contribution you have made, and the support you have provided to the wider community at a time of great hardship.

As tragic as this last period has been, I’ve no doubt that the experiences you have had since the earthquake struck, the friendships you have made and the comfort you have offered, more often than not to strangers, will live with you forever.

As I have often said to the players I mentioned above, after a starring on-field performance, so I say to you all now – in a time of great challenge, you have, and continue to be, a key point of difference.

Keep up the good work and I hope to get an opportunity to work alongside you soon.


Robbie Deans


These young people and their recruits are doing a wonderful job.

Friends who joined the Farmy Army also tell me that while the farmers had the brawn and machines the students rang rings round them when it came to technology. The VA made much better use of computers to  recruit helpers and co-ordinate activities and supplies.

Some gains don’t cancel out overall loss


South Island schools outside Christchurch are reporting increased rolls with pupils transferring from the city.

Demand for accommodation has risen and people with houses or office space to lease see opportunities as people relocate, at least temporarily.

Some businesses also see opportunities either producing goods which are needed to help with the earthquake recovery or which can  no longer be made in Christchurch because of the quake damage.

But nobody should fool themselves that these businesses gains cancel out the overall loss the quake will impose on New Zealand’s economy.

Christchurch is the South Island’s biggest, and the country’s second biggest, city. It has about 10% 50% 35 -40% of the Mainland’s population and contributes more than 10% to the national economy.

It is also the gateway to the South Island and while some tourists who would have gone to Christchurch will now spend more time in other parts of the South, others won’t come at all.

Finance Minister Bill English says:

Treasury estimates the total financial cost of damage  from the earthquake at between $10 billion and $15 billion – two to three times the estimated $5 billion cost of the first earthquake last September. This will be shared between central government, insurers, local government and businesses.

In addition, the wider economic impact of the earthquake, combined with already slower economic growth than forecast in the Half Year Update in December, could leave nominal GDP a cumulative $15 billion lower over the five years to 2015. That is equivalent to about 1.5 per cent of the total value of GDP over this period.

“We’re still working through the potential impacts of the earthquake on GDP and the flow-through to tax revenue,” Mr English says. “But based on these early assumptions, the total loss of tax revenue from all of these factors could be in a range of $3 billion to $5 billion over the five years.

“This is manageable in the context of the Government’s revenue base of about $330 billion over the five years.

“It’s clear that the earthquake will have an impact on the Government’s finances – through both increased costs and reduced tax revenue.

“We will work through those issues carefully as we prepare for the Budget over coming months,” Mr English says.

That is the financial cost, there is also the human cost – the people who died or who’ve been injured; the many more who are living in damaged houses without power, water and sewerage; the ones who have lost businesses or jobs.

Even those who weren’t caught up in the most badly damaged areas have been affected. Christchurch friends stayed with us in Wanaka on Friday and even there, well away from the aftershocks, they had a broken night’s sleep.

Christchurch will never be the same again and nor will  its people.

There are opportunities for people and businesses in and outside the city but any gains from that won’t compensate for the losses from the earthquake and the cost of the recovery in both financial and human terms.

Engineers explain the earthquake


The Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand has a fact sheet on the Christchurch earthquake.

Among the observations are:

. . . Earthquake records show that some buildings may have experienced shaking more than two times more intense than a new building would be currently designed for, but perhaps for a lesser duration than envisaged by the loadings code (NZS 1170.5). The intensity of shaking appears to have died out rapidly as it travelled westwards from the fault. . .

. . . Non-residential buildings designed before 1976 were not explicitly required to have ductility incorporated in them. In the early 1980s, the design standard for reinforced concrete was revised significantly to ensure nonbrittle behaviour under design-level earthquake loadings, and the strong-columns/weak beams philosophy was introduced so that life safety could be achieved under design-level earthquake shaking. . .

. . . Buildings are not designed to be earthquake-proof. Two design levels are considered. A building of ordinary importance is designed for a level of shaking that has a 10 % probability of being exceeded in its design life of  50 years. The design standards are formulated to ensure that life safety is achieved during that shaking, but the building might be an economic write-off because of the damage. It must not collapse at this level. . .

. . . This Serviceability Level is set to correspond with shaking that has a 10% probability of being exceeded in one year. To put it another way, The Life Safety design level can be expected to be exceeded on average (over a very long period of time) once every 500 years, and the Serviceability Level once every 20 years.

Note that no mention has been made of earthquake (Richter) Magnitude, as the building responds the same way to shaking that comes from a small close earthquake or a large distant one. . .

. . .  The two buildings which have catastrophically collapsed (the Pyne Gould Corproration and CTV buildings), while described by the press as modern, are understood to have been constructed in about 1963 and 1986 respectively. Many buildings designed before the early 1980s may have experienced earthquake loads significantly above that for which they were designed. Nevertheless, many of them have experienced no or minimal structural damage. A number of experienced structural engineers have observed that buildings with well-conceived and simple structural systems with minimal irregularities have exhibited superior performance to those which may have only nominally or theoretically met codified requirements. . .

. . . The propensity for buried services to be disrupted and uplifted by the buoyancy of the liquefied material is well-known from the experiences of other earthquakes around the world, but the scale of the damage experienced in Christchurch may be the greatest ever recorded anywhere in a modern city. . .

March 7 in history


On March 7:

321  Roman Emperor Constantine I decreed that the dies Solis Invicti (sun-day) was the day of rest in the Empire.


1277 Stephen Tempier, bishop of Paris, condemned 219 philosophical and theological theses.

1671 Robert Roy MacGregor, Scottish folk hero, was born (d1734).


1799 – Napoleon Bonaparte captured Jaffa in Palestine and his troops killed more than 2,000 Albanian captives.

1814 Napoleon I of France won the Battle of Craonne.

Hurtebise monument1814.jpg

1827 – Brazil marines unsuccessfully attacked the temporary naval base of Carmen de Patagones, Argentina.

1827 – Shrigley Abduction: Ellen Turner was abducted by Edward Gibbon Wakefield a future politician in colonial New Zealand.

1842 The first official execution in New Zealand took place when Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Nga Puhi chief Ruhe of Waimate, was hanged for killing five people.

First official  execution in NZ

1850 Senator Daniel Webster gave his “Seventh of March” speech endorsing the Compromise of 1850 in order to prevent a possible civil war.

Daniel Webster

1875 Maurice Ravel, French composer, was born(d. 1937).


1876 Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent forthe telephone beating Antonio Meucci by just 4 hours.

 Bell speaking into prototype model of the telephone

1887  North Carolina State University was founded.

1912 Roald Amundsen announced that his expedition had reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911.

1914 Prince William of Wied arrived in Albania to begin his reign.

1925  Rene Gagnon, American Marine shown in photograph of the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, was born (d. 1979).

Rene Gagnon.jpg

1930 Antony Armstrong-Jones, British photographer, Lord Snowdon, former husband of Princess Margaret .

1936  In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland.

1944 Sir Ranulph Fiennes, British soldier and explorer, was born.

1946  Matthew Fisher, British musician (Procol Harum), was born.

1945 American troops seized the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine River at Remagen.

1951 Korean War: Operation Ripper – United Nations troops led by General Matthew Ridgeway began an assault against Chinese forces.


1952 Viv Richards, Antiguan West Indies cricketer, was born.

Vivian richards crop.jpg

1958 Rik Mayall, British actor, was born.

Young ones s2 dvd.jpg

1965 Bloody Sunday: A group of 600 civil rights marchers were forcefully broken up in Selma, Alabama.


1971  Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered his historic “This time the struggle is for our freedom” speech at Ramna Race Course, calling upon the Bengali people to prepare for the freedom struggle ahead.

1973 Sébastien Izambard, operatic pop singer (Il Divo), was born.

1986 Challenger Disaster: Divers from the USS Preserver located the crew cabin of Challenger on the ocean floor.

 Space Shuttle Challenger’s smoke plume after in-flight breakup that killed all seven STS-51-L crew members.

1989 Iran and the United Kingdom broke diplomatic relations after a row over Salman Rushdie and his controversial novel.

1994 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that parodies of an original work are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use.

2007 – British House of Commons voted to make the upper chamber, the House of Lords, 100% elected.

Red crowned portcullis.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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