Word of the day


Hogmanay -the eve of New Year’s Day; a present requested or given on this day.

Sunshine in the south


People in Tuaranga, Wellington and Nelson and other damp spots might not appreciate this but West Coast and  southern South Island are bathed in sunshine.

Wherever you are and how ever you’re celebrating the end to 2011 I hope you do it well and that 2012 treats you kindly.

Satruday’s smiles


A farmer’s wife, who was rather stingy with her whisky, was giving her shepherd a drink.

As she handed him his glass, she said it was extra good whisky, being fourteen years old.

“Weel, mistress,” said the shepherd regarding his glass sorrowfully, “It’s very small for its age.”

Friday’s answers on Saturday


Thursday’s questions on Friday were:

1. Am I the only one who finds it hard to keep track of the days this week?

2. What was your most interesting Christmas present (not necessarily this year).

3. It’s vacances in French,  vacanza in Italian, vacación in Spanish and haratei in Maori, what is it in English?

4. If you could choose anywhere in the world to have a summer holiday where would it be?

5. Have you had time to read this week and if so what?

Points for answers:

In the spirit of the season and because there were no wrong answers for four of the five questions, everyone gets an electronic bag of shortbread for Hogmanay.

(And yes thank you, Deborah, I’m having a wonderful week combining enough exercise to feel virtuous and sufficient reading to relax with fun with family and friends.)


Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re making New Year resolutions . . .


. . . Regrets of the dying might help you decide what to resolve to do and not do:

After working in palliative care Bronnie Ware came up with five things many people who were dying wished:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

As Barking Up the Wrong Tree says: To them, these were regrets. For us, maybe the above can be a checklist of what not to do.

And for advice on how to make resolutions you’re more likely to keep, I read on a website I can no longer find * that it’s better to resolve to be better than to be good.

From memory, the theory behind this was that even a tiny, wee bit better is still an improvement and therefore something to celebrate whereas being good is more an absolute which is much harder to achieve.

* Don’t you hate it when that happens? Memo to self, resolve to keep record of useful websites so can find them again.

Citizens stepping forward – updated


Artist Ralph Hotere has been appointed to the Order of New Zealand, the country’s top honour.

“I am very pleased to accept this honour and I was particularly moved by the letter that I received from the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Mr John Key.   

 “He spoke of our nation . . . relying on citizens from all walks of life stepping forward, helping others, seeking new ways of doing things, and reaching for their dreams. He also spoke of enriching the lives of others. I am deeply moved,”  Hotere said.  

That captures exactly what the honours are for, recognising the people who step forward.

One of those is Malcolm Farry who has been awarded a Companion of the Order of Merit for his work as chair of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust and many years of service in other areas including chair of the fundraising committee for the Orokonui Ecosanctuary and:

. . . his decade as chairman of the Otago Youth Wellness Trust, from 1996 to 2006. The trust is a free, community-based service that supports 11- to 18-year-olds      with social workers, mentoring, educational support and health services liaison and information.   

The “wrap-around” service was one of the first to achieve a “high-trust” contract with the Government, heralding a new way of working with the community sector. 

Max Smith has been awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing.

Smith, of Waipara, North Canterbury, was Ministry of Works project manager in Twizel, and pushed to retain the Mackenzie Country town and created Lake Ruataniwha at the completion of the Upper Waitaki power scheme.

It is not just tthe sport, but the town which owes so much to him. Twizel might well have died had it not been for Lake Ruataniwha.

Ian Taylor will be  a Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to business and television.

Among others in the list announced today were:

Dr Ralph Allen, who led the work to establish the Orokonui Ecosanctuary has been awarded a Queens Service Medal for services to conservation, and Struan Munro who earned his QSM for service to local body affairs and the community.

Struan was a long-serving Waitaki District Councillor and has given years of service in community activities and farming in the Waitaki Valley.

Graham Henry has been knighted not just for coaching the All blacks to World Cup victory but for his contribution to the sport over many years.

Suzie Moncrieff, who founded World of Wearable Art, and business woman Rosanne Meo will be Dames.


The full list is here.

Let principals and boards do what they do best


Quote of the day:

Principals and boards already have a mass of responsibilities so why do they also need to manage property portfolios that must, at some schools, be worth a fortune? It would not get schools out of the chore of fundraising, of course, but it would mean professional property managers could do what they do best, while the principals and boards focus on the role of teaching kids. Joanne Black discussing private-public partnerships in the Listener (not yet on-line).

December 31 in history


400  Vandals, Alans and Suebians crossed the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

1229  James I of Aragon the Conqueror entered Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma) consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca.

1491 – Jacques Cartier, French explorer, was born (d. 1557)

1599  The British East India Company was chartered.

1687– The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1695 A window tax was imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

1720 Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the British throne, was born  (d. 1788).

1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing Guinness.

1853 Sir George Grey left New Zealand after finishing his first  term as Governor.

Grey leaves NZ after first term as Governor
1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, as the capital of Canada.
1869 Henri Matisse, French painter, was born (d. 1954).
1878  Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, was born (d. 1966).

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time.

1904 The first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York.

1908  Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Holocaust survivor, was born (d. 2005).

1909  Manhattan Bridge opened.

1923 The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor, was born.

1941 – Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish football manager, was born.

1943 John Denver, American singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1997).

1943 Sir Ben Kingsley, English actor was born.

1943  Pete Quaife, English bassist (The Kinks) was born.

1946 President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.

1955  The General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

1960 The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963  The Central African Federation officially collapsed and split into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1965  Nicholas Sparks, American author, was born.

1980 – Richie McCaw, All Black captain, was born.

Richie McCaw 2011.jpg

1983 – The AT&T Bell System was broken up by the United States Government.

1991  All official Soviet Union institutions ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

1992 Czechoslovakia was dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1998  The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and established the value of the euro currency.

1999  Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

1999 – The United States Government handed control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

2004  The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).

2007 –  Bocaue Fire: Seven people were injured when a fire resulted in the explosion of several fireworks stores in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

Word of the day


Aby –  to pay the penalty for; make ammends, expiate, atone for; suffer, endure.



Her restaurant is called Fleurs Place (without an apostrophe) and it is Fleur who makes it special.

We’ve never had a bad meal there but the ones when she is there are better. Her personality makes it more than just a very good restaurant with wonderful food and good service.

That personality shines through in her autobiography, Fleur, the life and times of pioneering restaurateur Fleur Sullivan.

She was a woman ahead of her time in her appreciation of the importance of history and heritage; her enthusiasm for good local food and the part it plays in tourism; and also in setting up and running businesses while bringing up her children.

The book chronicles her adventures and ventures in business and life neither of which have been without their challenges.

It is a fascinating and inspiring read generously supplemented with photographs, including many recent ones by Aaron McLean.


Fleur, the life and times of pioneering restaurateur Fleur Sullivan,  with Nathlaie Brown, published by Random House.

Thursday’s quiz on Friday


1. Am I the only one who finds it hard to keep track of the days this week?

2. What was your most interesting Christmas present (not necessarily this year).

3. It’s vacances in French,  vacanza in Italian, vacación in Spanish and haratei in Maori, what is it in English?

4. If you could choose anywhere in the world to have a summer holiday where would it be?

5. Have you had time to read this week and if so what?

Lost faith, lost values


Mark Loper, the detective in charge of the case against the youth charged with the vicious attack on a five year-old girl said: “New Zealand society needs to have another good look at itself if we have juveniles of this age committing these kinds of offences.”

Could one of the factors be that too many have neither faith nor the values that went with it?

You don’t have to have  a religious faith to believe in and adhere to the values which under-pin our legal system and used to under-pin society – responsiblity for yourself and your actions and respect for other people, their property and the law.

The attack on this child might have been a random act of evil but child abuse is not isolated.

This case was different because the victim was a tourist on holiday but the statistics on children abused in their own homes is shameful and might not be unrelated to this case.

Chances are the accused was, and might still be, a victim of abuse himself and that he was brought up without the values which used to be regarded as normal.

Someone to whom abuse is normal is far more likely to abuse. Someone brought up without values doesn’t know right from wrong.

That wouldn’t excuse the crime but it would help explain it.

I agree with the frustration Detective Loper is expressing, but it’s long past time for society to look at itself. It’s time for action and that action must include a return to the values which keep everyone safe.

December 30 in history


39  Titus, Roman emperor was born  (d. 81).

1066 Granada massacre: A Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada, crucified Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred most of the Jewish population of the city.

1460  Wars of the Roses: Battle of Wakefield.

1835 Charles Darwin left New Zealand after a nine day visit.

Charles Darwin leaves NZ after 9-day visitThis red gurnard was collected by Charles Darwin when the Beagle visited the Bay of Islands.

1865 – Rudyard Kipling, English writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1936).

1916 The last coronation in Hungary was performed for King Charles IV and Queen Zita.

1919 – Lincoln’s Inn in London admitted its first female bar student.

1922  Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed.

1924 Edwin Hubble announced the existence of other galaxies.

1927  The Ginza Line, the first subway line in Asia, opened in Tokyo, Japan.

1928 – Bo Diddley, American singer and musician, was born (d. 2008).

1931  Skeeter Davis, American singer, was born  (d. 2004) .

1937 Noel Paul Stookey, American folk singer (Peter, Paul & Mary), was born.

1940 California opened its first freeway the Arroyo Seco Parkway.

1942 – Michael Nesmith, American singer and musician (The Monkees) was born.

1944 King George II of Greece declared a regency, leaving the throne vacant.

1945  Davy Jones, English singer (The Monkees), was born.

1947 King Michael of Romania was forced to abdicate by the Soviet-backed Communist government of Romania.

1947 Jeff Lynne, English musician (ELO), was born.

1948  The Cole Porter Broadway musical, Kiss Me, Kate (1,077 performances), opened at the New Century Theatre and was the first show to win the Best Musical Tony Award.

1950 Bjarne Stroustrup, Danish computer scientist, creator of C++, was born.

1953 The first ever NTSC colour television sets went on sale for about USD at $1,175 each from RCA.

1959 Tracey Ullman, English actress and singer, was born.

1961 – Bill English, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister, was born.

1965  Ferdinand Marcos became President of the Philippines.

1975 Tiger Woods, American golfer, was born.

1993  Israel and the Vatican established diplomatic relations.

2004 A fire in the República Cromagnon nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina killed 194.

2005  Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the open Atlantic Ocean.

2006  Madrid’s Barajas International Airport was bombed.

2006 Deposed President of Iraq Saddam Hussein, convicted of the executions of 148 Iraqi Shiites, was executed.

2009 – The last roll of Kodachrome film was developed by Dwayne’s Photo, the only remaining Kodachrome processor at the time, concluding the film’s 74-year run as a photography icon.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

Word of the day


Depravity – moral corruption or degradation;  a corrupt or immoral act or practice.

Not all hearts at home here


Whenever I travel I return home thinking I live in the best place in the world.

That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy other countries. I’ve been fortunate to have visited some amazing places and met some wonderful people.

I’ve also learned how we could do some things better.

I lived in England for 11 months and Spain for three and a half, enjoyed it while I was away but was also very happy to come back here.

New Zealand is home and it’s where my heart is.

You don’t have to be born here to feel that way. My father was a Scot and while he retained a love of his homeland and in some ways became more Scottish as he aged, New Zealand became home to him.

We have a couple working here who came from the other side of the world – he from Belgium, she from England. It takes a lot of courage to come so far, leaving friends and family behind but they have seen opportunities they can’t get at home and are making the most of them.

We have Uruguayan friends who became New Zealand citizens this year. Adapting to a new country, culture and language wasn’t easy for them but they too have found a better way of life here.

Romanian friends are doing their best to get residency, certain that this is home for them and their children.

Not everyone feels that way. Expat Exposed is a website set up by people who have found immigrating to New Zealand didn’t live up to their expectations.

Expat Exposed was created by several frustrated migrants to New Zealand as a refuge, and as a resource. It is a one-stop resource for all prospective migrants to NZ who want to know the downsides of life in this country. It is also a refuge for migrants who are already here and struggling, and feeling very much alone.

Praemonitus Praemunitus. Forewarned is forearmed. We hope the information and the network you find here will reduce the number of rude surprises for expats who are determined to give NZ a try. We hope people who are suffering here can find some comfort in a community that does not lecture or ostracise, and possibly practical help for getting out. And finally, we hope that Expat Exposed can help people who are ill-matched to NZ avoid a costly mistake.

Fair enough. Immigration isn’t easy. Even if you find work you enjoy in a place you like, it still takes months, maybe even a year or two to adjust to a new way of life and really feel at home.

Some people never will for a variety of reasons.

Settling in and feeling at home is easier if you are open to new experiences and accepting of differences, treating them as such rather than matters of right or wrong.

It helps if you’ve done your research and are realistic about the challenges and rewards of living in another country.

But even people with the right attitude and realistic expectations might find that they and the country aren’t a good match and their hearts will never be at home here.

It might be the best place in the world for some of us but it won’t be like that for all.



7/10 in the Hearld’s changing world quiz.

Maybe not best use


After all the helpful suggestions for dealing with surplus egg yolks I can’t say this is the best use of those left over from making Christmas Day’s pavlova.

But it was probably the most appreciated.

Prompt arrest for “random act of evil”


The parents of the young girl viciously attacked in Turangi have described the crime as a “random act of evil”.

It was and it reflects well on the police that just a week after the horrific attack they have arrested a 16-year-old and charged him.

Being charged is only the first step in the process which might lead to a conviction. But what would possess anyone, let alone someone so young, to do something so awful?

In Praise of Holidays:


Quote of the day:

Everyone has their own perspective of course, but I can’t help but think that sometimes we worry about stuff that doesn’t really matter. We spend too much time anxious and don’t give ourselves enough space to think, innovate and create. We create burdens and anxieties that we don’t need, cant change and that actually don’t matter. Perhaps we need to chill out, relax, take time to think, and back ourselves. Holidays are a good thing! Connor English (not yet on-line).

December 29 in history


1170  Thomas Becket: Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II; he subsequently becomes a saint and martyr in the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

13th-century manuscript illumination, an early depiction of Becket’s assassination.

1721  Madame de Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV of France, was born (d. 1764).

Madame de Pompadour, portrait by François Boucher.

1800 Charles Goodyear, American inventor, was born (d. 1860).

1809 William Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born  (d. 1898).

1835  The Treaty of New Echota was signed, ceding all the lands of the Cherokee east of the Mississippi River to the United States.

1876 The Ashtabula River Railroad bridge disaster left 64 injured and 92 dead at Ashtabula, Ohio.

1880 Tuhiata, or Tuhi, was hanged in Wellington for the murder of the artist Mary Dobie at Te Namu Bay, Opunake. Tuhi wrote to the Governor days before his execution asking that ‘my bad companions, your children, beer, rum and other spirits die with me’.

 Tuhiata hanged for murder of Mary Dobie

1890 United States soldiers kill more than 200 Oglala Lakota men, women, and children with 4 Hotchkiss guns in the Wounded Knee Massacre.

1911  Sun Yat-sen became the provisional President of the Republic of China.

1911  Mongolia gained independence from the Qing dynasty.

1930  Sir Muhammad Iqbal‘s presidential address in Allahabad introduced the Two-Nation Theory and outlines a vision for the creation of Pakistan.

1936  Mary Tyler Moore, American actress was born.

1937  The Irish Free State was replaced by a new state called Ireland with the adoption of a new constitution.

1939 First flight of the Consolidated B-24.

1940  In The Second Great Fire of London, the Luftwaffe firebombed the city, killing almost 200 civilians.
1941 Birth of Ray Thomas, British musician (The Moody Blues).
1946 Marianne Faithfull, British singer, was born.
1949 KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut became the first Ultra high frequency (UHF) television station to operate a daily schedule.
1953 Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, was born.

1972 An Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 (a Lockheed Tristar) crashed on approach to Miami International Airport killing 101.

1975 A bomb exploded at La Guardia Airport in New York City, killing 11 people and injuring 74.

1889 1989 Václav Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia – the first non-Communist to attain the post in more than four decades.

1996  Guatemala and leaders of Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union signed a peace accord ending a 36-year civil war.

1997 – Hong Kong began to kill all the nation’s 1.25 million chickens to stop the spread of a potentially deadly influenza strain.

1998 Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologised for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed over 1 million.

2003 The last known speaker of Akkala Sami – died, rendering the language that was spoken in the Sami villages of A´kkel and Ču´kksuâl, in the inland parts of the Kola Peninsula in Russia extinct.

Sourced from NZ HIstory Online & Wikipedia.

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