RIP Shrek


The merino wether Shrek which went from hermit to hero died today.

Shrek was found by Ann Scanlan in a cave on Bendigo Station during a muster. His immediate fame was due to the marketing nous of station owner John Perriam and this photo taken by Stepehn Jacquiery a phototgrapher with the Otago Daily Times who was holidaying near by:

In his book Dust to Gold * John explains how the photo was a happy accident:

Stephen took a few photos . . .

‘That’s about all I can do,’ he said as he started to put his camera away. Then Digger (who Cage had nicknamed Jack Russell, because he is small) said, ‘I bet you can’t carry that thing over your shoulders, Cage.’

Cage gave him a look of disdain then, taking up the challenge, reached down and picked up Shrek, pulling him over his shoulders. Few men have the strength to carry a 46 kg sheep, and Cage beamed down at Jack Russell as he walked across to the trailer . . .  Meanwhile Stephen, seeing the photo opportunity, had desperately pulled out his camera again, just in time to get the shot that would go to every corner of the globe. . .

The ODT and other major papers in New Zealand published the photo on their front pages. Then Reuters picked it up and within 24 hours Shrek and Cage were gracing papers and websites all around the world.

This resulted in publicity for Shrek, merino wool, and high country farming which money couldn’t buy. John and his late wife Heather also realised there was a fundraising opportunity. It started with the live-filming of the shearing of Shrek’s 27 kg fleece. Other publicity and fundraising appearances followed, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Shrek’s chosen charity, Cure Kids.

* Dust To Gold, the inspiring story of Bendigo Station, home of Shrek, by John Perriam, published by Random House 2009. All royalties from this book and Shrek the story of a Kiwi icon go to Cure Kids.

Word of the day


Gastrolater – glutton; worshipper of food.

Baacodes link producers to purchasers


We’d just come back from a week visiting farms including one which supplies Icebreaker when I bought a t-shirt.

Hoping to find it was made with the wool from our friends’ farm I checked the baacode . This links producers to purchasers by enabling buyers to find where the raw material for Icebreaker clothes was grown and introduces them to the people who grow it.

The merino wool in my t-shirt wasn’t from Middlehurst Station which we’d visited but it did come Mt Nicholas Station which is run by other friends who featured on Country Calendar a couple of weeks ago.

The programme and the baacode clips are wonderful advertisements for high country farming and farmers.

Economic literacy


My decision to study what was then called Stage I Economics at university was not made for the best of reasons.

Lecutres were at 11am and the other subjects I was considering all had 9am lectures.

I took the later start and managed a B- in the final exam by choosing to answer questions which required the use of words rather than numbers.

Either I took in and retained more than I thought or luck was on my side when I got 12/13 in an economic literacy test (missed one by not reading answers carefully).

If I scored that well the questions can’t be very difficult but the average score in a poll commissioned by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis was only 45%.

Hat tip: Anti-Dismal

Much more than 1%


A sobering thought from Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers president:

There were 45,000 full-time farmers but they made up only 1 per cent of the population battling against 99 per cent of the population who, “don’t quite see it our way,” he said.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say we’re battling the 99% of people who aren’t farmers. You don’t have to be a farmer to know and appreciate that farmings’ contribution to the country is much more than 1%.

But MMP has made it harder for the rural voice to be heard.

At least when National is in power we know the government understands farming and its importance to the country. It  has several farmers in its ranks and holds all but one provincial seat so its MPs are well aware of the issues and concerns of people in rural and provincial  New Zealand.

Labour has only one seat outside the four main centres (Palmerston North) and its pronouncements show it has little understanding of or sympathy for farming.

Its leader Phil Goff has a lifestyle block. But the only farmer (now former?) in its ranks is Damien O’Connor and  the paddy he had about his party’s list ranking outcome shows he doesn’t have much influence.

Blues can be green but Greens unlikely to go blue


The Green Party decision on its post-election options is no surprise:

The Green Party confirmed its post-election political position today, stating it was an independent party that could support a Labour-led Government in the right circumstances but support for National was‘highly unlikely.’

“We’re more likely to support Labour on confidence and supply, and think it is highly unlikely that we could support a National Government on confidence and supply, but it is on the table,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“It’s more likely we could work project-by-project with National like we do now on home insulation, tourism infrastructure and toxic site management.”

What was surprising was that the party was even considering supporting a National-led government.

National has its Bluegreen and like any responsible party is concerned about protecting and enhancing the environment. But the Greens have always been red-green rather than blue.

Leaving the door open would have provided the party with a little bit of leverage over Labour. It might also have broadened the voting base because a good number of people who are moderate on economic and social policy are still attracted to the Green’s environmental stance.

But those extra votes would have come at the cost of upsetting their own members. Supporting National would be a step too far for many Greens who have positioned the party to the left of Labour rather than in the centre.

That the party was even considering a closer relationship with National is another blow to Labour. When a party to the left of them is looking to the centre-right it means they don’t rate Labour’s chances of leading the next government very highly.




June 6 in history


1508 Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, was defeated in Friulia by Venetian forces.

1513  Italian Wars: Battle of Novara. Swiss troops defeated the French under Louis de la Tremoille, forcing the French to abandon Milan. Duke Massimiliano Sforza was restored.

Schlacht bei Novara 1513.jpg

1523 Gustav Vasa was elected King of Sweden, marking the end of the Kalmar Union.

1644  The Qing Dynasty Manchu forces led by the Shunzhi Emperor captured Beijing during the collapse of the Ming Dynasty.

1654  Charles X succeeded his abdicated cousin Queen Christina to the Swedish throne.

1674  Shivaji, founder of the Maratha empire was crowned.

1683  The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford opened as the world’s first university museum.

1752 A  fire destroyed one-third of Moscow, including 18,000 homes.

1799 Alexander Pushkin, Russian poet, was born  (d. 1837).

1808 Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte was crowned King of Spain.


1809  Sweden promulgated a new Constitution, which restores political power to the Riksdag of the Estates after 20 years of Enlightened absolutism.

1813  War of 1812: Battle of Stoney Creek – A British force of 700 under John Vincent defeated an American force three times its size under William Winder and John Chandler.

1823 Samuel Leigh and William White established Wesleydale, a Wesleyan (Methodist) mission station at Kaeo, near Whangaroa Harbour.

Wesleyan mission established

1832  The June Rebellion of Paris was put down by the National Guard.

1833 U.S. President Andrew Jackson became the first President to ride a train.

1844 The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded in London.


1857  Sophia of Nassau married the future King Oscar II of Sweden-Norway.

1859 Queensland was established as a separate colony from New South Wales (Queensland Day).

Flag of  Queensland Coat of arms of  Queensland

1862  American Civil War: Battle of Memphis – Union forces captured Memphi, from the Confederates.

Battle of Memphis I.png

1868 Robert Falcon Scott, English explorer was born (d. 1912).

Man with receding hairline, looking left, wearing naval uniform with medals, polished buttons and heavy shoulder decorations

1882  More than 100,000 inhabitants of Bombay were killed when a cyclone in the Arabian Sea pushed huge waves into the harbour.

1882  The Shewan forces of Menelik defeated the Gojjame army in the Battle of Embabo. The Shewans capture Negus Tekle Haymanot of Gojjam, and heir victory leads to a Shewan hegemony over the territories south of the Abay River.

1889  The Great Seattle Fire destroyed downtown Seattle, Washington.

1892 Chicago El began operation.

Chicago L Map.svg

1894  Governor Davis H. Waite orders the Colorado state militia to protect and support the miners engaged in the Cripple Creek miners’ strike.


1906  Paris Métro Line 5 was inaugurated with a first section from Place d’Italie to the Gare d’Orléans.

Metro-M.svg Paris m 5 jms.svg

1912  The eruption of Novarupta in Alaska began.

1918  World War I: Battle of Belleau Wood – The U.S. Marine Corps suffered its worst single day’s casualties while attempting to recapture the wood at Chateau-Thierry.

Scott Belleau Wood.jpg

1919 The Republic of Prekmurje ended.

1921  The Southwark Bridge in London, was opened for traffic by King George V and Queen Mary.

1923 V. C. Andrews, American author, was born  (d. 1986).

Original cover of Dawn

1925  The Chrysler Corporation was founded by Walter Percy Chrysler.

Chrysler LLC logo.svg

1932  The Revenue Act of 1932 was enacted, creating the first gas tax in the United States, at a rate of 1 cent per US gallon (1/4 ¢/L) sold.

1933 The first drive-in theater opened, in Camden, New Jersey.

1934 King Albert II of Belgium, was born.

1934 New Deal: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Securities Act of 1933 into law, establishing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


1936 Levi Stubbs, American musician (The Four Tops), was born  (d. 2008).

1939  Adolf Hitler gave a public address to returning German volunteers who fought as Legion Kondor during the Spanish Civil War.

1942  Battle of Midway. U.S. Navy dive bombers sank the Japanese cruiser Mikuma and four Japanese carriers.

1944   Battle of Normandy began. D-Day, code named Operation Overlord, commenced with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy. 


1944   Alaska Airlines commenced operations.

1946  The Basketball Association of America was formed in New York City.

1956  Björn Borg, Swedish tennis player, was born.

1964  Under a temporary order, the rocket launches at Cuxhaven, Germany, were terminated.

1966  James Meredith, civil rights activist, was shot while trying to march across Mississippi.

1968  Senator Robert F. Kennedy died from his wounds after he was shot the previous night.


1971  Soyuz 11 launched.


1971 A midair collision between a Hughes Airwest Douglas DC-9 jetliner and a United States Marine Corps McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II jet fighter near Duarte, California claimed 50 lives.


1971  Vietnam War: The Battle of Long Khanh between Australian and Vietnamese communist forces began.

Australian Centurion Operation Overlord 1971 (AWM FOD710305VN).jpg

1974 Sweden became a parliamentary monarchy.

1981  A passenger train travelling between Mansi and Saharsa, India, jumped the tracks at a bridge crossing the Bagmati river.

1982 1982 Lebanon War began.  Forces under Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon invaded southern Lebanon in their “Operation Peace for the Galilee“.

Troepen idf.jpg

1963 1983 –  Joe Rokocoko, Fijian rugby player, was born.

Joe Rokocoko.jpg

1984  The Indian Army attacked the Golden Temple in Amritsar following an order from Indira Gandhi.

1985  The grave of “Wolfgang Gerhard” was exhumed in Embu, Brazil; the remains found were later proven to be those of Josef Mengele, Auschwitz’s “Angel of Death”.


1986 – Gin Wigmore, New Zealand singer/songwriter, was born.

1990  U.S. District court judge Jose Gonzales rules that the rap album As Nasty As They Wanna Be by 2 Live Crew violated Florida’s obscenity law; he declared that the predominant subject matter of the record is “directed to the ‘dirty’ thoughts and the loins, not to the intellect and the mind.”

1993  Mongolia held its first direct presidential elections.

1999  In Australian Rules Football, Tony Lockett broke the record for career goals, previously 1299 by Gordon Coventry which had stood since 1937.


2002  A near-Earth asteroid estimated at 10 metres diameter exploded over the Mediterranean Sea between Greece and Libya. The resulting explosion was estimated to have a force of 26 kilotons, slightly more powerful than the Nagasaki atomic bomb.

2004 Tamil was established as a Classical language by the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in a joint sitting of the two houses of the Indian Parliament.

2005  The United States Supreme Court upheld a federal law banning cannabis, including medical marijuana, in Gonzales v. Raich.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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