Word of the day


Yare –  characterised by speed and agility, nimble, lively;  handy, ready; brisk; maneuverable.



9/10 in the NZ Herald’s Question Time.

Saturday smile


A city lawyer was representing KiwiRail in a lawsuit filed by an old farmer. The farmer’s prize bull had gone missing when the railway which passed through his property was being repaired.

The case was scheduled to be heard but the lawyer approached the farmer the day before in an attempt to get the matter settled out of court.

 The lawyer had practised her speech and did her best selling job, talking flat out. Each time she paused for breath the farmer tried to say something but she just carried on trying to persuade him to do a deal. When, she finally got to the end of her pitch the farmer just nodded and agreed to take half of what he’d been seeking.

A few days after the farmer signed the release and had the money safely in the bank he ran into the lawyer again.

She couldn’t resist gloating a little over her success.

“You know, I hate to tell you this but you should have gone for the full price for the bull. I couldn’t have won the case. The KiwiRail staff were clearly negligent, they’d left your gate open and were clearly responsible for the loss of your bull.”

The farmer just smiled and said, “Well, I’ll tell you, young lady, I was a little worried about winning that case myself, because the bull came home back the morning you called. I was going to tell you but you were talking so fast I couldn’t get a word in.”



9/10 with a few lucky guesses in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.

Hopkins hanging up mic after 21 years as voice of Young Farmer Contest


The grand final of the National Bank Young Farmer contest tonight will be the last one for Jim Hopkins who’s been the voice of the contest for 21 years.

If you only ever watch the show on television you would have only got a glimpse of or a few words from Jim who commentates the practical day. It’s quite a challenge, requiring good knowledge of the contestants and what they’re doing as well as a sense of humour and quick wit.

Jim’s had to show a more serious side compeering the regional finals and he’s needed all his skills to warm up the audience before the filming of the grand final and keep them warmed up during sometimes long pauses in filming.

Jim’s left big gumboots to fill and the man tasked with filling them is Craig Wiggins  who has been  attending Regional Finals.

“I’m really looking forward to stepping into the role; it’s going to be great watching the Contestants improve over the years and to see our youth being further educated in agriculture.”

Craig, a former mechanic by trade, brings a long history of announcing to the role; he’s the main announcer for New Zealand Rodeo and travels the country announcing around 35 rodeos a year. Craig has also been a jet sprints commentator and has acted as Master of Ceremonies at many different events during his announcing career. He has television and radio experience as a result of his career too.

Originally off a 300 hectare sheep and beef unit in Raetihi, Craig now lives near Ashburton in Mid Canterbury on a 28 hectare horse training and dairy grazing property. Craig’s background in agriculture meant he jumped at the chance to be a part of the iconic Contest.

“I’ve always been an avid follower of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest, my farming background means it’s something that has always appealed to me.”

Hopkins fans will still be able to tune into his regular Monday chats with Jamie Mackay on the Farming Show.

The grand final is being held in Masterton. RivettingKate Taylor has progress reports here,  here and here.

July 2 in history


626 In fear of assassination, Li Shimin ambushed and kills his rival brothers Li Yuanji and Li Jiancheng in the Incident at Xuanwu Gate.


706 Emperor Zhongzong of Tang had the remains of Emperor Gaozong of Tang, his wife and recently-deceased ruling empress Wu Zetian, her son Li Xian, her grandson Li Chongrun, and granddaughter Li Xianhui interred in a new tomb complex, the Qianling Mausoleum, located on Mount Liang.


963  The imperial army proclaimed Nicephorus Phocas to be Emperor of the Romans.

Nikiphoros Phokas.jpg

1298  The Battle of Göllheim between Albert I of Habsburg and Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg.

Tod Adolf von Nassau.jpg

1489  Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, was born  (d. 1556).

1494  The Treaty of Tordesillas was ratified by Spain.

Front page of the Treaty

1555  Turgut Reis sacked Paola.

Turgut Reis Admiral.JPG

1561 Menas, Emperor of Ethiopia, defeated a revolt in Emfraz.

1582  Battle of Yamazaki: Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeated Akechi Mitsuhide.

1613 The first English expedition from Massachusetts against Acadia led by Samuel Argall.

Location of Acadia

1644 English Civil War: the Battle of Marston Moor.

Battle of Marston Moor, 1644.png

1679  Europeans first visited Minnesota and saw headwaters of Mississippi in an expedition led by Daniel Greysolon de Du Luth.

1698  Thomas Savery patented the first steam engine.


1776  The Continental Congress adopted a resolution severing ties with Great Britain.


1777 Vermont became the first American territory to abolish slavery.

1823  Bahia Independence Day: the end of Portuguese rule in Brazil, with the final defeat of the Portuguese crown loyalists in the province of Bahia.

1839 – 53 rebelling African slaves led by Joseph Cinque took over the slave ship Amistad.

1871  Victor Emmanuel II  entered Rome after its conquest from the Papal States.


1877  Hermann Hesse, German-born writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1962).


1881 Charles J. Guiteau shot and fatally wounded U.S. President James Garfield.


1897 Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi obtained patent for radio in London.


1900 The first zeppelin flight took place.


1903   Alec Douglas-Home, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born. (d. 1995).

1903  King Olav V of Norway, was born (d. 1991).

1917 Murry Wilson, American musician and producer (The Beach Boys), was born (d. 1973).

1917  The East St. Louis Riots ended.

 Political cartoon about the East St. Louis massacres of 1917. The caption reads, “Mr. President, why not make America safe for democracy?”

1929 Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, was born.


1930 Carlos Menem, former President of Argentina, was born.

1934 Tom Springfield, British singer and songwriter (The Springfields), was born.

1934  The Night of the Long Knives ended with the death of Ernst Röhm.

1937  Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan awee last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.


1938  The electrified rail line between central Wellington and the northern suburb of Johnsonville was officially opened by Minister of Railways Dan Sullivan and Wellington Mayor Thomas Hislop.

Electric trains come to Wellington

1939 Paul Williams, American singer (The Temptations), was born (d. 1973).

1940  Indian independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose was arrested and detained in Calcutta.


1950  The Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto burned down.


1953 Mark Hart, American musician (Crowded House and Supertramp), was born.

1954 Pete Briquette, Irish musician (The Boomtown Rats), was born.

1956 Jerry Hall, American actress and model, was born.

1962  The first Wal-Mart store opened for business in Rogers, Arkansas.

1966  French military explodeed a nuclear test bomb codenamed Aldébaran in Mururoa, their first nuclear test in the Pacific.

1976  North and South Vietnam, divided since 1954, reunited to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

1985 Andrei Gromyko was appointed the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.


1987  Nilde Iotti was named as the first female President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

1993 – 37 participants in an Alevi cultural and literary festival were killed when a mob of demonstrators set fire to their hotel in Sivas during a protest.

2000 Vicente Fox Quesada was elected the first President of México from an opposition party, the Partido Acción Nacional, after more than 70 years of continuous rule by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.


2001  The AbioCor self contained artificial heart was first implanted.

2002 Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.

2003  Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy, insulted German MP Martin Schulz by calling him a “kapo” during a session of the European Parliament.

2004  ASEAN Regional Forum accepted Pakistan as its 24th member.¨


2005 – Live 8 took place in London’s Hyde Park and other locations around the world.


2008  Ingrid Betancourt, and 14 other hostages held by FARC guerrillas, are rescued by the Colombian armed forces.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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