Word of the day


Tikanga – correct procedure, custom, habit, lore, method, manner, rule, way, code, meaning, plan, practice, convention.

Blog post of the day


Adversity – Forging Steel Under Great Heat at Look Up at the Sky.

I’m not going to give you an extract, it wouldn’t do it justice.

But I will give a recommendation: read it.

What really matters?


In a story about celebrity weddings this paragraph caught my eye:

Barbara Williams and fiance Fakaanga Mapa, both 23, decided to delay their nuptials because they could not afford to make the day as special as they had dreamed. They had saved $15,000, but decided they wanted to invite more guests and provide better catering.

It reminded me of the true story of a vicar who was approached by a couple who had asked him to officiate at their marriage.

They wanted to postpone it because they couldn’t afford to do it.

He listened to them then said, “What really matters?”

The answer was their commitment to each other and celebrating that with family and friends.

They were married on the date originally scheduled with their family and friends present and had a party afterwards in the church hall. The church did the catering as a fundraiser and guests brought their instruments to form a band for the dancing.

The possibilities for spending money on weddings are vast but it doesn’t have to be that way and the expensive things are not what really matters.

No party line on conscience votes


New New Zealand First MP Tracey Martin explains why she entered politics:

Martin’s decision to enter politics came out of frustration with her local representation. “Our MP was Lockwood Smith, and a number of policies came in which I disagreed with: prostitution reform and the lowering of the drinking age. The community asked him to take a stand and he followed the party line.”

Both those issues were conscience ones not party ones.

That might be a distinction without a difference in some parties, but Smith is a National Party MP  and there was no party line for him to follow on either of those issues.



When coming to terms with the short lives and early deaths of our sons it helped that their problems were almost certainly genetic.

Even if they weren’t, no-one had caused their brain disorders and there was no-one to find fault with or blame for them.

It would have been harder had their profound disabilities been the result of a deliberate act or even an accident. Then we would have had to forgive the person responsible.

It would have been harder still if one of us had been responsible because then we would have had to forgive ourselves.

Whaleoil writes movingly about how difficult that is, showing we are often far harder on ourselves than on others.

As for forgiveness, I think Catherine Ponder has a point when she says:

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.

However, that is much easier in theory than practice and who could blame anyone who was the victim of an act of evil if they couldn’t forgive the perpetrator?

Apropos of that I am in awe at the generosity of spirit shown by the family of the wee girl who was attacked so viciously in Turangi.

This afternoon, the girl’s family announced they had donated $20,000 to go toward buying equipment for a new children’s’ playground in Turangi, paediatric surgical instruments and items for the Waikids Ward 26 at Waikato Hospital and support for ECPAT Child Alert NZ Ltd and Victim Support Hamilton.

“We were amazed at New Zealanders’ generosity. We in no way blame the Turangi community for what happened and so we wanted to give something tangible back,” the girls’ parents said in a statement released on their behalf by Waikato District Health Board. . .

. . . One day we want to return to New Zealand with our family – we want our son and daughter to see what a beautiful country this is and realise how much love, care and attention your country gave us.

It would have been understandable had the family been put off the whole country and its people and wanted to keep as far away from here as possible.

The compassion and open-heartedness they’ve shown by this gesture auger well for their daughter’s healing in which a loving and supportive family will play a very important part.

The other David Shearer interview


Live radio doesn’t always go as planned and on Wednesday Jamie Mackay couldn’t get hold of two of his interviewees.

One was me. I was at a meeting in Wellington, turned  on my phone at the start of the lunch break but forgot it was on silent and missed Jamie’s call.

The second was  Labour leader David Shearer. When Jamie couldn’t get hold of him he invited West Coast dairy farmer and National’s West Coast-Tasman electorate chair to take off his right-wing hat and put a red cloth cap on instead.

You can hear Andy as himself and as David Shearer here.

Highlights from the latter include an attempt to explain Labour’s policy on no land sales to foreigners:

“We think the Chinese are left, a little bit red like us so I think we’ll be able to sit down and explain this to them. I think they’ll understand our position nicely I mean we’re all on the left hand side of the fence here so I don’t think there’s any problem with that, Jamie . . . “

And in answer to Jamie’s question about media training:

“. . . but I think the best media training I could probably get would be Trevor Mallard, definitely.”

If you want to hear Jamie’s interview with the real Shearer, he caught up with him on Thursday and the interview is here.

February 5 in history


1649 The claimant King Charles II of England and Scotland was declared King of Scotland.

1725 James Otis, American lawyer and patriot, was born (d. 1783).

1778  South Carolina was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

1782 Spanish defeat British forces and capture Minorca.

1783 In Calabria, Italy, a sequence of strong earthquakes started.

1788 Robert Peel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1850).

1818 Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte ascended to the thrones of Sweden and Norway.

1840 John Boyd Dunlop, Scottish inventor, was born (d. 1921).

1840 Hiram Stevens Maxim, American inventor (Maxim gun), was born (d. 1916).

1859 – Wallachia and Moldavia were united under Alexander John Cuza as the United Principalities.

1878 André Citroën, French automobile pioneer, was born  (d. 1935).

1885 – King Léopold II of Belgium established the Congo as a personal possession.

1867 New Zealand’s third public railway, the 27-kilometre line between Invercargill and the port at Bluff, built by the Southland Provincial Council, opened.

Opening of railway from Invercargill to Bluff

1900 The United States and the United Kingdom signed a treaty for the Panama Canal.

1908 – Daisy and Violet Hilton, British conjoined twins, were born  (d. 1969).

1917 The current constitution of Mexico was adopted, establishing a federal republic with powers separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

1917 – The Congress of the United States passed the Immigration Act of 1917 over President Woodrow Wilson‘s veto. Also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, it forbade immigration from nearly all of south and southeast Asia.

1918 Stephen W. Thompson shot down a German airplane, the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.

1919 Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith launched United Artists.

1920  Frank Muir, British comedian, was born (d. 1998).

1924 The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the “BBC pips”.

1942 Cory Wells, American singer (Three Dog Night), was born.

1946 The Chondoist Chongu Party was founded in North Korea.

1958 Gamel Abdel Nasser was nominated to be the first president of the United Arab Republic.

1958 – A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb was lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.

1962 President Charles De Gaulle called for Algeria to be granted independence.

1964 Duff McKagan, American musician (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1972 Bob Douglas became the first African American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

1972 Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, was born.

1994  More than 60 people were killed and some 200 wounded when a mortar shell hit a downtown marketplace in Sarajevo.

1997 – The “Big Three”  banks in Switzerland announced the creation of a $71 million fund to aid Holocaust survivors and their families.

2004 Twenty-three Chinese people drowned when a group of 35 cockle-pickers was trapped by rising tides in Morecambe Bay, England. .

2004 – Rebels from the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front captured the city of Gonaïves, starting the 2004 Haiti rebellion.

2008 – A major tornado outbreak across the Southern United States left 57 dead.

2009 The United States Navy guided missile cruiser Port Royal ran aground off Oahu, Hawaii, damaging the ship and a coral reef.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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