Word of the day


Whizzer -extraordinary or  wonderful person or thing;  someone/something that whizzes; a centrifugal machine for drying grain, sugar, clothes etc; an arm lock trapping one’s arms against the opponent’s body from behind.



Even random clicking couldn’t save me in the Herald’s quiz on Nirvana – a red-faced 1/10.



6/10 in the Herald’s travel quiz.

Another good bloke


Richie McCaw is playing his 100th test this evening, the first All Black to reach this milestone.

He was brought up in the Hakatarmea valley which is on the other side of the Waitaki River but learned to play rugby in Kurow, where he went to primary school before heading south to Otago Boys’ for his secondary education.

Whether it’s his genes, his rural upbringing or just him, friends who know him well say  he’s a really good bloke who hasn’t let his role as All Black captain go to his head.

Tonight’s game against France would be a big one even if it wasn’t the one in which he’ll earn his 100th test cap. All fingers and toes are crossed for him and the team.

Inventory 2 who knows more about rugby than I ever will pays tribute to Richie here.

TV3 has a video tribute here.

Last night the Wallabies beat the Eagles 67 – 5.

This evening England play Romania in Dunedin then attention will focus on Eden Park when the All Blacks play Les Bleus.



Why do I bother when I know I know nothing about rugby history? Just 3/10 in the Herald’s All Black-France rugby quiz. All were guesses.

A good bloke


I first met John Key in 2005 when he’d been an MP for a couple of years and I was National’s Otago electorate chair.

He was relaxed, personable and genuinely interested in the people he was meeting.

I was at a dinner with him in Christchurch on Thursday evening – just him, a couple of hundred others and me – and he was just the way he’d been six years ago.

As he went round each table, chatting to everyone, it was like watching a movie star except with him it’s not for show. He is a really good bloke, genuinely interested in people, relaxed with them and likes them and they respond to that.

One of the friends at my table commented how rare it would be in most countries for a political leader to be interacting with people like that and it must make life difficult for his security people especially in a less formal setting than a dinner.

To their credit the security staff cope really well, although yesterday one got a little more than he bargained for.

Canterbury engineering students hung a sign out a window saying “John, mate, come up for a yarn with your country’s future engineers” and he did.

It’s about 4 minutes into the clip before John sees the sign.

There was a bit of banter between John and the students and one asked if one of the security men would challenge the students’ arm wrestling champion.

The story and video have gone round the world giving publicity money can’t buy and reinforcing again just how difficult it will be for the opposition to counter him.

When was the last time a group of students cheered any Prime Minister, let alone a National one?

Offsetting Behaviour loves the informality of New Zealand politics  and reckons a National win is underpriced at  95% likely to win the next election on iPredict.

Keeping Stock says: If John Key’s personal popularity translates into electoral support, National may yet be able to do the MMP unthinkable after November.

I can dream, but  know that getting more than 50% was very rare under First Past the Post and hasn’t been done at all since we’ve had MMP.

Desperate Act


If I was a member of Act I’d be looking hard for a saboteur inside the upper echelons of the party.

There is no other rational explanation for the board’s decision to have Don Brash contest the North Shore electorate.

What on earth can he, or the party he’s leading, have to gain in the way of party votes by putting him head to head against Maggie Barry?

She is number 58 on National’s list which means she will have to win the seat to become an MP.

Like every other National candidate she’s campaigning for the party votes which are needed to ensure National stays in government. But she will be running a two-tick campaign to ensure she gets in to parliament too.

Where will that leave Brash?

Saying, “don’t vote for me but vote for my party and get me anyway”?

He’d make far more impact saying that without complicating the issue by being a Clayton’s candidate in an electorate.

It looks like a desperate act and a desperate Act.

Brash gained the party’s leadership by unorthodox means, losing another constituency contest – which is what he’s aiming to do by seeking only, or mainly, party votes, will do nothing for his credibility or that of his party.

Yawn, mutter, mumble


Oh no – this time tomorrow it will feel like an hour earlier than the clocks say it is.

Yawn, mutter, mumble.

Whose silly idea was it to introduce daylight saving this soon?

The spring equinox was only yesterday. We’re getting just 12 horus of daylight and in the south it still feel more like winter than summer.

We’re having sunny days but we’re also still getting frosts and cool temperatures.

Down here the sun won’t be rising until after 7.15 tomorrow. the extra light we get in the evening when sunset is delayed until about 7. 30 won’t compensate for losing that precious hour of daylight in the morning.

Yawn, mutter, mumble.

Why can’t daylight saving wait a few weeks until it’s lighter for longer and warmer?

Yawn, mutter, mumble.

September 24 in history


622 Prophet Muhammad completed his hijra from Mecca to Medina. 

1180 Manuel I Komnenos, last Emperor of the Komnenian restoration died after which the Byzantine Empire slipped into terminal decline.


1625 Johan de Witt, Dutch politician, was born (d. 1672).

1645  Battle of Rowton Heath, Parliamentarian victory over a Royalist army commanded in person by King Charles. 

1664 The Dutch Republic surrendered New Amsterdam to England. 

1674  Second Tantrik Coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

1717 Horace Walpole, British novelist and politician, was born (d. 1797).

1725 Sir Arthur Guinness, Irish brewer, was born (d. 1803).

1841  The Sultan of Brunei ceded Sarawak to Britain.

1852  The first airship powered by (a steam) engine, created by Henri Giffard, travelled 17 miles (27 km) from Paris to Trappes. 

1869 “Black Friday“: Gold prices plummetted after Ulysses S. Grant ordered the Treasury to sell large quantities of gold after Jay Gould and James Fisk plotted to control the market.

1871 Lottie Dod, English athlete, was born (d. 1960)

1877  Battle of Shiroyama, decisive victory of the Imperial Japanese Army over the Satsuma Rebellion.

1890 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially renounced polygamy.

1896 F. Scott Fitzgerald, American novelist, was born (d. 1940).

1905 Lionel Terry killed Joe Kum Yung to draw attention to his crusade to rid New Zealand of Chinese people.

Race killing in Haining St, Wellington

1906  U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower in Wyoming as the nation’s first National Monument.

1914 Sir John Kerr, 18th Governor-General of Australia, was born (d. 1991).

1935  Earl Bascom and Weldon Bascom produced the first rodeo ever held outdoors under electric lights at Columbia, Mississippi.

1936 Jim Henson, American puppeteer, was born (d. 1990).


1941 Linda McCartney, American singer, fashion designer and photographer, was born (d. 1998).

1942 Gerry Marsden, English singer (Gerry & The Pacemakers), was born.


1946  Cathay Pacific Airways was founded in Hong Kong.


1947 The Majestic 12 committee was allegedly established by secret executive order of President Harry Truman. 

1948  The Honda Motor Company was founded.


1950  Forest fires blacked out the sun over portions of Canada and New England. A Blue moon (in the astronomical sense) was seen as far away as Europe.

1957  Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe, was opened in Barcelona.

1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent 101st Airborne Division troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce desegregation.

1962  United States court of appeals ordered the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith.


1968  60 Minutes debuted on CBS.


1973  Guinea-Bissau declared its independence from Portugal.

1979  Compu-Serve launched the first consumer internet service, which features the first public electronic mail service.


1990  Periodic Great White Spot observed on Saturn. 

1994  National League for Democracy was formed by Aung San Suu Kyi and various others to help fight against dictatorship in Myanmar. 

1996  U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the United Nations.


2005  Hurricane Rita made landfall in the United States, devastating Beaumont, Texas and portions of southwestern Louisiana. 

2008  The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago was topped off at 1,389 feet (423 m), at the time becoming the world’s highest residence above ground-level.


Sourced fron NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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