4/5 in the NBR’s Biz Quiz.

SVA Anzac of Year


The Student Volunteer Army has been named RSA Anzac of the Year in recognition of its significant contribution to the Christchurch community in the wake of the earthquakes.

It is the first time the award, which recognises the efforts of New Zealanders who exemplify the Anzac qualities of comradeship, compassion, courage and commitment, has been given to non-military personnel or to more than one person. . .

. . . The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association Anzac of the Year Award was established in 2010 to recognise the spirit of Anzac evident in New Zealanders today and is awarded for a single act or for significant service to New Zealanders or the international community.

The spirit of Anzac is embodied in the 1915 story of New Zealand Gallipoli hero Private Richard Henderson and the donkey where the qualities of comradeship, compassion, courage and commitment were exemplified in his service.

The aim of the Award is to recognise the efforts and achievements of an outstanding New Zealander, or New Zealanders, who have given service in a positive, selfless and compassionate manner.

How fitting the award is going not to an individual but a group and that the people in the group are the age that many of those who served in the armed forces during the wars would have been.



Technology’s march & language


Links for today’s chat with Jim Mora on Critical Mass:

The 100 year march of technology at The Atlantic.

The graph showing the adoption of technology is fascinating, not least because it shows that households were slower to adopt things like washing machines which made domestic chores easier than those which entertained, like radios.

Three must-have travel languages at Daisann McLean’s Real travel.

She chose Cantonese:

. . . Harder and more beautiful and complex than Mandarin, full of sass and splendor. It’s got everything you want in a language. Great food culture. Terrific vocabulary of insults. And the best thing of all: no hierarchy of class or gender built into the grammar.

The vocabulary of insults probably isn’t the best reason for choosing a language. But it can be fun to deliver an insult in another language in such a way that the listener thinks you’re delivering a compliment – though it pays to be quite sure they don’t understand what you’re saying.

My rusty Spanish has only a couple of insults – one of which is pajero which shows why people who name vehicles ought to check with speakers of other languages.

It’s the cause that counts


A charity which spent more than it needed to on a token which shows people have donated to it would be criticised for getting its priorities wrong.

But when the RSA decided to get its Anzac poppies made in Australia from Chinese materials because it was cheaper than the ones it had been getting from a workshop staffed by people with disabilities in Christchurch, people objected.

Some are still objecting:

RSA Queenstown president and Vietnam War veteran David Geddes said yesterday RSA members “were surprised at the depth of  feeling” about Chinese poppies, which are identical to those  made in New Zealand.   

      “Some collectors were abused … and we find that quite sad.   

      “People were saying they shouldn’t be touching stuff from China. I find it quite offensive to the Chinese people who live and work here.   

      “We found it very disappointing because people are losing sight about what the poppy is about – remembrance.”   

Money raised from the sale of poppies goes to provide for war veterans and their families, it is not to subsidise New Zealand jobs no matter how worthy they are.

But at least some of this appalling behaviour appears, like some of the opposition to the Crafar farms sale, not to the poppies being made elsewhere but specifically to them being made in China.

One of the things those we remember on Anzac Day fought and died for was tolerance. How sad that too many forget.


First mouse of autumn


Our house is supposed to be mouse-proof but it isn’t.

A neighbour’s advice to lay poison outside (where birds, cats, dogs and children can’t reach it) does help to reduce the rodent population but I can still hear mice – and sometimes something bigger – in the walls and every now and then come across evidence that at least one is inside.

It happens more often at this time of year as the weather cools and yesterday I came across the first mouse of autumn on the laundry floor.

It was far from healthy, probably because it had been poisoned, but was definitely still alive.

Had my farmer been near by I’d have declared dispatching it to be a blue job and left him to it, but he wasn’t and much as I dislike mice I couldn’t let it suffer.

How then to kill it quickly without having to touch it?

I swept it on to a shovel and dropped it into a bucket of water. But a dying mouse still floats so I had to push it under with the shovel.

Every creature might have its place in the cosmos but the mouse’s isn’t inside mine.

Today’s list of things-to-do includes relaying poison and lacing traps with fresh peanut butter.

The other side of the palm oil debate


Palm oil has been the target of environmental groups for some time.

Palmhugger has been  set up to put the other side of the story:

Our vision is to work with and promote key palm oil businesses to develop eco-friendly communities that embrace the geological, geographical, historical, cultural, and biological dimensions of the environment, using eco-friendly principles in support of a sustainable system that is passed to future generations.

I know nothing more about the group than what I’ve read on their website but was interested to find that people are getting organised to put the counter arguments to those opposed to the palm oil industry.


Oppositon in La La land


Labour and the Green party are in La La Land.

That’s Prime Minister John Key’s reaction to their calls for the government to intervene to reduce the value of the dollar.

Prime Minister Key said the government was doing what it can to support monetary policy by running a tight fiscal policy, which removes pressure from the Reserve Bank. . .

. . . Key said: “I don’t believe in intervention –never have and frankly never will. I spent my professional life looking at it and it fails.

“Dreaming that we can somehow get the exchange rate down through intervention is la la land stuff.”

The dollar is high for a variety of reasons, most of which are outside our control including the weakness of the $US.

It does make our exports more expensive but it also makes imports – among which are fuel, machinery, vehicles, a lot of medical supplies and some food – cheaper.

A fall in the dollar wouldn’t be all good. It would increase inflation which would impact on interest rates. A lower valued dollar would also make it much more expensive to service and repay foreign debt, of which we have far too much.

April 24 in history


1479 BC – Thutmose III ascended to the throne of Egypt, although power effectively shifted to Hatshepsut.

1184 BC – The Greeks entered Troy using the Trojan Horse (traditional date).

1533 William I of Orange was born (d. 1584), .

1558 Mary, Queen of Scots, married the Dauphin of France, François, at Notre Dame de Paris.

1581 Vincent de Paul, French saint was born  (d. 1660),

1620  John Graunt, English statistician and founder of the science of demography, was born  (d. 1674), .

1704 The first regular newspaper in the United States, the News-Letter, was published.

1800 The United States Library of Congress was established when President John Adams signed legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress”.

1815 Anthony Trollope, English novelist was born (d. 1882), .

1862 American Civil War: A flotilla commanded by Union Admiral David Farragut passed two Confederate forts on the Mississippi River on its way to capture New Orleans.

1877  Russo-Turkish War: Russia declared war on Ottoman Empire.

1898 The Spanish-American War: The United States declared war on Spain.

1904 The Lithuanian press ban was lifted after almost 40 years.

1907 Hersheypark, founded by Milton S. Hershey for the exclusive use of his employees, was opened.

1913 The Woolworth Building skyscraper in New York was opened.

1915  The Armenian Genocide began when Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople.:

1916 Easter Rising: The Irish Republican Brotherhood led by nationalists Patrick Pearse, James Connolly, and Joseph Plunkett started a rebellion.

1916 Ernest Shackleton and five men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition launched a lifeboat from uninhabited Elephant Island to organise a rescue for the ice-trapped ship Endurance.

 Men with digging tools removing ice surrounding the ship's hull, creating an icy pool of water

1918 First tank-to-tank combat, at Villers-Bretonneux, when three British Mark IVs met three German A7Vs.

1922 New Zealand’s first Poppy Day.

New Zealand's first poppy day

1926 The Treaty of Berlin was signed. Germany and the Soviet Union each pledged neutrality in the event of an attack on the other by a third party for the next five years.

1932 Benny Rothman led the Mass trespass of Kinder Scout, leading to substantial legal reforms in the United Kingdom.

1953 Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

1955 – The Bandung Conference ended Twenty-nine non-aligned nations of Asia and Africa finished a meeting that condemned colonialism, racism, and the Cold War.

1957 Suez Crisis: The Suez Canal was reopened following the introduction of UNEF peacekeepers to the region.

1960 A severe earthquake shook Lar in Fars province, Iran, killing more than 200 people.

1961 The 17th century Swedish ship Vasa was salvaged.

1963 Marriage of Princess Alexandra of Kent to Angus Ogilvy at Westminster Abbey.

1965 Civil war broke out in the Dominican Republic when Colonel Francisco Caamaño, overthrew the triumvirate that had been in power.

1967 Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov died in Soyuz 1 when its parachute failed to open. He was the first human to die during a space mission.

1967 – Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland said in a news conference that the enemy had “gained support in the United States that gave him hope that he could win politically that which he cannot win militarily.”

1970 The first Chinese satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, was launched.

1970 – The Gambia became a republic with Dawda Jawara as the first President.

1971 Soyuz 10 docked with Salyut 1.

1980 Eight U.S. servicemen died in Operation Eagle Claw as they attempted to end the Iran hostage crisis.

1990 STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope was launched by the Space Shuttle Discovery.

1990 – Gruinard Island, Scotland, was officially declared free of the anthrax disease after 48 years of quarantine.

1993 – An IRA bomb devastated the Bishopsgate area of London.

1996  In the United States, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 was introduced.

2004 The United States lifted economic sanctions imposed on Libya 18 years previously, as a reward for its cooperation in eliminating weapons of mass destruction.

200 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was inaugurated as the 265th Pope taking the name Pope Benedict XVI.

2005  Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog was born in South Korea.

2006  King Gyanendra of Nepal gave into the demands of protesters and restored the parliament that he dissolved in 2002.

2007 Iceland announced that Norway would shoulder the defense of Iceland during peacetime.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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