Word of the day


Sesquipedalian –   given to or characterised by the use of long words; long and ponderous; a long word, polysyllabic.

If it sounds too good to be true . . .


. . . it probably is:

Chocolate ‘may help keep people slim’

If only.



6/10 in NZ History Online’s quiz.

If only the xenophobes could see what we saw


Last week we were in the back blocks beyond Gisborne with the Pastoral management Group.

There’s 24 couples in the group and each year we do a study tour on members’ farms in different regions.

This was all new territory for me and unfortunately the weather – more than half North Otago’s annual rainfall in a couple of days – obscured many of the views.

It also gave us a good idea of the challenges of farming in this area.

Among the properties we visited were farms owned by an overseas company.

They were text-book examples of the good that foreign investment can do.

The farms been run down when bought but local expertise and hard work plus foreign money had brought them up to a very high standard in a short time. Huge paddocks had been subdivided, lanes built, buildings upgraded and tracks constructed. Stock were healthy, staff obviously enjoyed their work, took pride in it and were passionate about it. Profits were ploughed back into the farms to improve them.

One farm had recently converted to organics.

It would be difficult for a smaller operation to do what they’re doing. But with another farm in the group near by to take any stock which has to  be drenched, ensuring their welfare without compromising the farm’s organic status, this one has a better chance of success.

There was a fair amount of scepticism from the group about the experiment, but if anyone could make it work it’s this company which is prepared to take a few years of losses in order to let the management and staff give organic farming their best shot.

If only the xenophobes who are opposed to foreign ownership could see the good this company is doing on the farms, for the community through sponsorship and for research with their organic venture, they might realise that it’s not where buyers come from but what they do with the land they buy which matters.

Why all the fuss?


When proposed changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act were announced Fonterra’s strong and very negative  reaction was unexpected.

The company and many of its shareholders made submissions during the consultation period and it appears most of the issues which had caused concern have been addressed in the bill which was tabled yesterday.

Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden said in a newsletter to shareholders that the company is broadly comfortable with the changes though will be seeking some technical changes.

It makes me wonder why they made such a fuss in the beginning.

The bill details proposals to oversee Fonterra’s farm gate milk price setting and ensure a more transparent and efficient dairy market. Changes to raw milk regulations are still being considered.

Primary Industry Minister David Carter’s media release on the bill is here.

More details on the bill are here.

March 28 in history


37  Roman Emperor Caligula accepted the titles of the Principate, entitled to him by the Senate.

193 – Roman Emperor Pertinax was assassinated by Praetorian Guards, who then soldthe throne in an auction to Didius Julianus.

364 Roman Emperor Valentinian I appointed his brother Flavius Valens co-emperor.

845 Paris was sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collected a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.

1472 Fra Bartolommeo, Italian artist, was born  (d. 1517).

1515 Saint Teresa of Avila, Spanish Carmelite nun, was born (d. 1582).
1750 Francisco de Miranda, Venezuelan revolutionary, was born  (d. 1816).
1760 Thomas Clarkson, British abolitionist, was born  (d. 1846).

1795 Partitions of Poland: The Duchy of Courland, a northern fief of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, ceased to exist and became part of Imperial Russia.

1802 Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus Olbers discovered 2 Pallas, the second asteroid known to man.

1809 Peninsular War: France defeated Spain in the Battle of Medelin.

1834 The United States Senate censuresd President Andrew Jackson for his actions in de-funding the Second Bank of the United States.

1860 First Taranaki War: The Battle of Waireka started.

1862 Battle of Glorieta Pass – Union forces stopped the Confederate invasion of New Mexico territory.

1871 The Paris Commune was formally establised.

1889 The Yngsjö murder  took place in Sweden – Anna Månsdotter and her son were arrested.

1910 Henri Fabre was the first person to fly a seaplane, the Fabre Hydravion, after taking off from a water runway near Martigues, France.

1920 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak in the Great Lakes region and Deep South states.

1921 Dirk Bogarde, English actor, was born  (d. 1999).

1930 Constantinople and Angora changed their names to Istanbul and Ankara.

1935 Michael Parkinson, English broadcaster, was born.

1936 Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian author and politician, was born.

1939 Spanish Civil War: Generalissimo Francisco Franco conquered Madrid.

1941 Battle of Cape Matapan –  British Admiral Andrew Browne Cunningham led the Royal Navy in the destruction of three major Italian heavy cruisers and two destroyers.

1942 Neil Kinnock, British politician, was born.

1946 The United States State Department released the Acheson-Lilienthal Report, outlining a plan for the international control of nuclear power.

1946 Alejandro Toledo, former President of Peru, was born,

1948 John Evan, British musician (Jethro Tull), was born.

1948 – Milan Williams, American musician (The Commodores) was born (d. 2006).

1948 – Matthew Corbett, English retired actor, was born.

1955  New Zealand cricket experienced its darkest day, when its 11 batsman could muster only 26 runs against England at Eden Park.

NZ cricketers skittled for 26

1968 Brazilian high school student Edson Luís de Lima Souto was shot by the police in a protest for cheaper meals at a restaurant for low-income students.

1969 Greek poet and Nobel Prize laureate Giorgos Seferis made a statement on the BBC World Service opposing the junta in Greece.

1969 – The McGill français movement protest –  the second largest protest in Montreal’s history with 10,000 trade unionists, leftist activists, CEGEP some McGill students at McGill’s Roddick Gates.

1978 –  The US Supreme Court handed down a 5-3 decision in Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, a controversial case involving involuntary sterilization and judicial immunity.

1979 –  Operators failed to recognise that a relief valve was stuck open in the primary coolant system of Three Mile Island’s Unit 2 nuclear reactor following an unexpected shutdown. As a result, enough coolant drained out of the system to allow the core to overheat and partially melt down.

1979 – The British House of Commons passed a vote of no confidence against James Callaghan’s government, precipitating a general election.

1983 The Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA), better known as CER, was signed. It was New Zealand’s first comprehensive bilateral trade agreement – and one of the first agreements of this kind in the world.

Signing of CER strengthens Tasman trade ties

1990 President George H. W. Bush posthumously awarded Jesse Owens the Congressional Gold Medal.

1994  Zulus and African National Congress supporters battled in central Johannesburg, resulting in 18 deaths.

1994  12-year-old schoolgirl Nikki Conroy was stabbed to death at Hall Garth School in Middlesbrough after a man walked into her maths classroom and attacked pupils with a knife.

1999 – Kosovo War: Serb paramilitary and military forces killed 146 Kosovo Albanians in the Izbica massacre.

2000 A Murray County, Georgia, school bus was hit by a CSX freight train which killed three children.

2003  In a “friendly fire” incident, two A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft from the Idaho Air National Guard’s 190th Fighter Squadron attacked British tanks participating in the  invasion of Iraq, killing British soldier Matty Hull.

2005  The 2005 Sumatran earthquake rocked Indonesia, and at magnitude 8.7 was the second strongest earthquake since 1965.

2006 At least 1 million union members, students and unemployed took to the streets in France in protest at the government’s proposed First Employment Contract law.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

%d bloggers like this: