Word of the day


Cortege – a procession, especially a ceremonial one; a funeral procession; a train of attendants, as of a distinguished person; a retinue.

34/50 wins a corgi


34/50 in Stuff’s Royal Jubilee quiz – which wins a corgi.

What would a better score win?



10/10 in the Herald’s Question Time.

Honours southern & rural


Southern and rural people among the many recognised in today’s Queens Birthday Honours include:

Order of New Zealand:

Dame Malvina Lorraine Major, GNZM, DBE, of Hamilton. For services to New Zealand. The recognisition would be for her services to music but she was a diary farmer.


Ms Beverley Anne Wakem, CBE, of Porirua. For services to the State.

Beverley was Chief Executive of Radio NZ when I worked for Radio Waitaki. She called into the stuido one day and made a very good impression on us all. She was later General Manager of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs for what was then Wrightson Limited.


Owen Marshall Jones, ONZM, of Timaru. For services to literature.

Professor Peter Donald Graham Skegg, of Dunedin. For services to medical law.


Mrs Robyn Denise Broughton, MNZM, of Invercargill. For services to netball.

Ms Fiona Farrell, of Akaroa. For services to literature.

Fiona grew up in

Dr Ronald George Gibson, of Morrinsville. For services to veterinary science.

Mr Brian Martin Hight, of Auckland. For services to agricultural publishing.

Mr Clive Paton, of Martinborough. For services to viticulture and conservation.

Mr Alister Douglas Malcolm Brown, of Wellington. For services as a chef. (Neither southern nor rual, but he’s a grat advocate for meat).

Ms Fiona Louise Campbell, of Wanaka. For services to art philanthropy.

Mr Ross Alexander Corrigan, JP, of Hawera. For services to farming and the community.

Mr Lindsay Galloway, of Christchurch. For services to Chatham Islands agriculture.

Mr James Millton, of Gisborne. For services to the wine industry.

Mr Alfred James Wakefield, of Rangiora. For services to harness racing.


Mrs Dorothy Rosemary Acland, of Peel Forest. For services to the community.

Mrs Shona Joyce Beck, of Kaitangata. For services to the community.

Mr Colin Edward Heslop, of Culverden. For services to the community.

Mrs Yeverley Kristine McCarthy, of Wanaka. For services to the community.

Mr James Harding Crosby Morris, of Omarama. For services to the community.

Dr David Henry Mossman, of Havelock North. For services to veterinary science.

Mrs Verna Elizabeth Stevens, of Gore. For services to the RSA and the community.

Mr John Dougal Stevenson, of Dunedin. For services to broadcasting.

Dougal was a regular participant in celebrity debates to raise money for IHC.  Fellow debater Pinky Agnew once caused him to blush by describing him as the thinking woman’s crumpet.

Among others honoured I was pleased to see that Rod Deane received a KNZM for services to business and the community. Included in the latter would be many years of service to IHC.

John Kirwan also received a KNZM for services to mental health and rugby. While his All Black career was notable it his his more recent work in helping people with mental health problems that makes him worthy of this honour.

Michael Cullen will also be a knight. My political bias gets in the way of understanding why he deserves it.

Background notes on all those honoured are here.

Sir Brian Talboys 1921 -2012


Sir Brian Talboys, eight-term National MP for Wallace, former Cabinet Minister and Deputy Prime Minister has died.

Sir Brian, who represented the Southland electorate of Wallace for eight elections from 1957, served as a Minister in the National Governments of Sir Keith Holyoake and Sir Robert Muldoon. He was Deputy Prime Minister under Muldoon from 1975 to 1981. 

    Born in Whanganui in 1921, Sir Brian served in the air force during World War II. After the war, he settled in Southland as a farmer and entered politics, winning the Wallace seat in 1957. 

    He was agriculture minister, science minister and then education minister under Holyoake, before becoming deputy leader of the National Party in Opposition in 1974, under Muldoon. 

    After National’s victory in the 1975 election, he became deputy prime minister and served in that role for the first two terms of the Muldoon Government, retiring in 1981. 

Credo Quia Absurdum Est notes that Sir Brian wrote to the NZRFU urging them to reconsider their invitation for South Africa to tour in 1980; and that he was named as a Companion of the Order Of Australia for his work on trans-Tasman relations..


Prime Minister John Key paid tribute to Sir Brian:

“I was saddened to learn of Sir Brian’s death and my thoughts are with his family at this time,” Mr Key says.

Sir Brian was a member of Parliament from 1957 to 1981 and served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1975 to 1981. He served as a minister across a range of portfolios, including agriculture, science, foreign affairs and trade.

“Sir Brian was a gracious and articulate politician who was always looking for solutions. He represented the best of the pragmatic tradition of the National Party.

“He had a truly international view of New Zealand’s place in the world and was a strong advocate of our trade interests in a time of profound change.

“He was heavily involved in the creation of CER and represented New Zealand’s interests when the UK joined the European common market.

“Sir Brian will be remembered for his wide and distinguished contribution to New Zealand politics,” Mr Key says.

A loyal toast


AT the first wedding I went to, in the early 1970s, the first toast was the loyal (or was it Loyal?) one to the Queen, after which is was permissible to smoke.

Those were the days when we also stood for the National Anthem at the movies and people like my mother who had never been to Britain called it Home.

How things have changed since then, and as Statistics NZ shows, throughout the 60 years of Elizabeth II’s reign:

Deputy Government Statistician Dallas Welch says New Zealand’s population has changed markedly.

“Back in 1952, New Zealand broke through the 2 million population barrier and 60 years on, that’s more than doubled to 4.4 million. Coincidentally, the number of dairy cows has also more than doubled from less than 3 million, to over 6 million.”

Mrs Welch said immigration patterns have also changed.

“When the Queen first took the throne, more than half of our immigrants came from the United Kingdom.

Today that’s more like 17 percent, although in the past year, more people still moved here from the UK than from any other place.

“In trade, the Old Country used to contribute about two-thirds of our export earnings. Last year, 3 percent of our export earnings came from the UK.”

 And as for making a nice cup of tea, in 1952 an electric kettle cost 59 shillings and 6 pence (about $164 in today’s terms) and a lb (500g) pack of tea was 6 shillings and 4 pence (about $16.60). Today a kettle costs about $44 on average, and a box of 100 teabags (about 200g of tea) costs about $4.46.

This weekend Britain has been celebrating the Queen’s jubilee in style.

Celebrations here will be a lot more low-key and I suspect most people will spend little if any time contemplating the reason for today’s holiday.

The distance between New Zealand and Britain has increased in the last 60 years and the attachment to royalty has weakened.

But whatever we might think about the monarchy as an institution, the woman currently wearing the crown can not be criticised for her dedication to duty in the 60 years since she was precipitously thrust into the role of Queen following the sudden death of her father.

In light of that, I raise an electronic glass and offer a toast to Her Majesty.

June 4 in history


1039 Henry III became Holy Roman Emperor.


1584 Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English colony on Roanoke Island, old Virginia (now North Carolina).


1615 Siege of Osaka: Forces under the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu took Osaka Castle.


1738 King George III was born (d. 1820).


1760 Great Upheaval: New England planters arrived to claim land in Nova Scotia taken from the Acadians.


1769 A transit of Venus was followed five hours later by a total solar eclipse, the shortest such interval in history.

1783 The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrated their montgolfière (hot air balloon).


1792 Captain George Vancouver claimed Puget Sound for Great Britain.


1794 British troops captured Port-au-Prince in Haiti.

1802 Grieving over the death of his wife, Marie Clotilde of France, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia abdicated in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel.

1825 French-American Revolutionary War: General Lafayette spoke at what would become Lafayette Square, Buffalo during his United States visit.


1859 Italian Independence wars: In the Battle of Magenta, the French army, under Louis-Napoleon, defeated the Austrian army.


1862 American Civil War: Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee.

1876 The Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco, via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after leaving New York City.

1878 Cyprus Convention: The Ottoman Empire ceded Cyprus to the United Kingdom but retained nominal title.

1879 Mabel Lucie Attwell, English children’s author and illustrator, was born (d. 1964).


1907 Patience Strong, English poet and journalist was born (d. 1990).

1912 Massachusetts became the first state of the United States to set a minimum wage.

1913 Emily Davison, a suffragette, ran out in front of King George V’s horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby.


1917 The first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall received the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receivesd the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope received the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.


1919 The U.S. Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed suffrage to women, and sent it to the U.S. states for ratification.


1920 Hungary loset 71% of its territory and 63% of its population when the Treaty of Trianon was signed in Paris.


1923 Elizabeth Jolley, Australian writer, was born (d. 2007).


1924 Tofilau Eti Alesana, Prime Minister of Samoa, was born (d. 1999).

1927 Geoffrey Palmer, English actor, was born.


1928 Ruth Westheimer, German-born American sex therapist and author, was born.


1928 Chinese president Zhang Zuolin was assassinated by Japanese agents.

1932 Maurice Shadbolt, New Zealand writer, was born( d 2004).

1937 Freddy Fender, American musician, was born (d. 2006).


1937 Robert Fulghum, American author, was born.


1939 Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, was denied permission to land in Florida, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later died in Nazi concentration camps.


1940 World War II: The Dunkirk evacuation ended– British forces completed evacuation of 300,000 troops.


1940 – World War II: Nazi forces entered Paris, they finished taking control of the city 10 days later. (June 14, 1940)

1941 Kenneth G. Ross, Australian playwright and screenwriter, was born.


1942 World War II: The Battle of Midway began – Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo ordered a strike on Midway Island by much of the Imperial Japanese navy.


1943 the Cromwell-Dunedin express, travelling at speed, was derailed while rounding a curve near Hyde in Central Otago. Twenty-one passengers were killed and 47 injured in what was at the time New Zealand’s worst-ever rail accident.

Rail tragedy at Hyde

1943 A military coup in Argentina ousted Ramón Castillo.


1944 Michelle Phillips, American singer (The Mamas & the Papas) and actress, was born.


1944 World War II: A hunter-killer group of the United States Navy captured the German submarine U-505 – the first time a U.S. Navy vessel had captured an enemy vessel at sea since the 19th century.


1944 – World War II: Rome fell to the Allies, the first Axis capital to fall.

1945 Gordon Waller, Scottish musician (Peter and Gordon), was born.


1961 Ferenc Gyurcsány, 6th Prime Minister of Hungary, was born.

1967 Stockport Air Disaster: British Midland flight G-ALHG crashed in Hopes Carr, Stockport, killing 72 passengers and crew.


1970 Tonga gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1973 A patent for the ATM was granted to Donald Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain.

1979 Daniel Vickerman, Australian rugby union player, was born.

1979 Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings took power in Ghana after a military coup in which General Fred Akuffo was overthrown.

1986 Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.


1989 Ali Khamenei was elected the new Supreme Leader of Iran by the Assembly of Experts after the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.


1989 – The Tiananmen Square protests were violently ended by the People’s Liberation Army.


1989 Solidarity‘s victory in the first (somewhat) free parliamentary elections in post-war Poland sparked off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, led to the creation of the Contract Sejm and began the Autumn of Nations.

1989 Ufa train disaster: A natural gas explosion near Ufa, Russia, killed 575 as two trains passing each other threw sparks near a leaky pipeline.

1991 The United Kingdom’s Conservative government announced that some British regiments would disappear or be merged into others — the largest armed forces cuts in almost twenty years.

1996 The first flight of Ariane 5 exploded after roughly 20 seconds.


2001 Gyanendra, the last King of Nepal, ascended to the throne after the massacre in the Royal Palace.

2010 – Falcon 9 Flight 1  – maiden flightof the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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