Word of the day


Nugacity – trifling talk or behaviour; triviality,futility, drollery.

Snow good for the holidays


The ski season started late but so did the school holidays and the two week delay has delivered much better snow  on Central Otago ski fields than there was a fortnight earlier.

The Ministry of Education’s decision to move state school    holidays back two weeks this year for the Rugby World Cup    proved to be a blessing in disguise for Queenstown and Wanaka    skifields, which enjoyed their busiest days of the season so    far at the weekend.

Usually, the school holidays would have fallen earlier this      month, when the district’s skifields were battling to open      because of a lack of snow. While the district suffered from      visitor cancellations during the Australian school holidays      over the past fortnight, last week’s heavy snowfalls came      just in time for the New Zealand school break.   

Wanaka was very, very quiet in June and early July.

Good snow for the school holidays will be welcomed not just by the ski fields but by other businesses in the town which benefit from the presence of skiers.

Just wondering . . .


. . . if any child ever says, when I grow up, I’m going to be a parking warden?

Biographer vs Banks


Paul Goldsmith, a former Auckland City Councillor who wrote John Banks’ boigraphy, has been selected as National’s candidate for Epsom.

Banks is Act’s candidate in that seat and unless the party’s dire polling improves in the next four months he will have to win the electorate to keep Act in parliament.

Once more the voters in Epsom will have a big say in Act’s future, the make up of the next parliament and possibly the next government.

Owner-operator farming would decrease with CGT


When I was studying Spanish in Spain the class usually had some new students each Monday and we’d all have to introduce ourselves.

As part of my introduction I’d say my husband es granjero – is a farmer.

One day my teacher corrected me and said, no, pienso es estanciero. (No, I think he’s a rancher/station owner).

The difference between farmer and rancher or station owner in New Zealand is usually just one of scale but in many other countries it is the difference between the person who farms the land and the one who owns it.

Most New Zealand farms are owner-operated. That has shaped not only how we farm but the culture of farming.

If Labour’s proposal to impose a capital gains tax on farmland is enacted that will change.

Families will be less likely to sell farms, they’ll lease them instead. Owner operated farms will decline in number to be replaced by absentee-owners who lease the land or employ others to farm it.

That will reduce the amount of CGT Labour expects to collect. It will also change our farming culture and I don’t think it will be a change for the better.

July 19 in history


711 Battle of Guadalete: Umayyad forces under Tariq ibn Ziyad defeated the Visigoths led by their king Roderic.

1333  Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Halidon Hill – The English won a decisive victory over the Scots.

1544 Italian War of 1542: The Siege of Boulogne began.

1545 The Tudor warship Mary Rose sank off Portsmouth.

A highly ornamented ship with four masts and bristling with guns sailing over a mild swell towards the right of the picture, towing a small boat

1553 Lady Jane Grey was replaced by Mary I of England as Queen of England after  just nine days.


1588 Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – The Spanish Armada sighted in the English Channel.

1692  Salem Witch Trials: Five women were hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.

1759 Seraphim of Sarov, Russian Orthodox Saint, was born (d. 1833).

1832 The British Medical Association was founded as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association by Sir Charles Hastings at a meeting in the Board Room of the Worcester Infirmary.


1800 Juan José Flores, first President of Ecuador, was born (d. 1864).


1814 Samuel Colt, American firearms inventor, was born (d. 1862).

1827  Mangal Pandey, Indian freedom fighter, was born (d. 1857).

1834 Edgar Degas, French painter (d. 1917)

1843  Brunel’s steamship the SS Great Britain was launched, becoming the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull or screw propeller and also the largest vessel afloat in the world.

1848 The two day Women’s Rights Convention opened in Seneca Falls, New York and the “Bloomers” were introduced.

 Lucretia Mott was described as “the moving spirit of the occasion”.

1863 American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid – General John Hunt Morgan’s raid into the north was mostly thwarted when a large group of his men were captured while trying to escape across the Ohio River.

Morganmap.jpgMap of Morgan’s route

1864 Third Battle of Nanking:the Qing Dynasty  defeated the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

1865 Charles Horace Mayo, American surgeon and founder of the Mayo Clinic, was born (d. 1939).

1870 Franco-Prussian War: France declared war on Prussia.


1879 Doc Holliday killed for the first time after a man shot up his New Mexico saloon.

1896 A. J. Cronin, Scottish writer, was born (d. 1981).

1912 A meteorite with an estimated mass of 190 kg exploded over the town of Holbrook, Arizona causing approximately 16,000 pieces of debris to rain down on the town.

1916 Battle of Fromelles: British and Australian troops attacked German trenches in a prelude to the Battle of the Somme.

Australian 53rd Bn Fromelles 19 July 1916.jpg

1919  Following Peace Day celebrations marking the end of World War I, ex-servicemen rioted and burnt down Luton Town Hall.

1937 George Hamilton IV, American country singer, was born.

1940  World War II: Battle of Cape Spada – The Royal Navy and the Regia Marina clashed; the Italian light cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni sank, with 121 casualties.

Bartolomeo Colleoni under attack.JPG

1940 World War II: Army order 112 formed the Intelligence Corps of the British Army.

Flag of the British Army.svg

1942  World War II: Battle of the Atlantic – German Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz ordered the last U-boats to withdraw from their United States Atlantic coast positions in response to the effective American convoy system.

1946 Alan Gorrie, Scottish musician (Average White Band), was born.

1947 Brian May, English musician (Queen), was born.

1947 Prime minister of shadow Burma government, Bogyoke Aung San, 6 of his cabinet and 2 non-cabinet members were assassinated by Galon U Saw.

Myanmar-Yangon-Aung San Statue.jpg

1963  Joe Walker flew a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 106,010 metres (347,800 feet) on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 km, this flight qualifies as a human spaceflight under international convention.

1964 Vietnam War: At a rally in Saigon, South Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Khanh called for expanding the war into North Vietnam.

1971 Urs Bühler, Swiss tenor (Il Divo), was born.

1976  Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal was created.

1979 Sandinista rebels overthrew the government of the Somoza family in Nicaragua.

1982 The Privy Council granted New Zealand citizenship to Western Samoans born after 1924. The government challenged this ruling, leading to accusations of betrayal and racism.

Privy Council rules on Samoan citizenship

1983 The first three-dimensional reconstruction of a human head in a CT was published.

1985  The Val di Stava Dam collapsed killing 268 people in Val di Stava, Italy.

1989  United Airlines flight 232 crashed in Sioux City, Iowa killing 112 of the 296 passengers.

1992  Anti-Mafia Judge Paolo Borsellino  and  five police officers were killed by a Mafia car bomb in Palermo.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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