Word of the day


Dog domesticated carnivorous mammal; any of various carnivorous mammals of the family Canidae, such as the dingo; a worthless or contemptible person; any of various usually simple mechanical devices for holding, gripping, or fastening that consist of a spike, bar, or hook; uncharacteristic or affected stylishness or dignity; one inferior of its kind; an investment not worth its price; : an undesirable piece of merchandise; an unattractive person; spurious; to hunt, track, or follow like a hound; to worry as if by pursuit with dogs; to bother or pester persistently; totally; completely.

Hmm, so many negative meanings seem unfair when a dog makes such a loyal pet.

Rural round-up


Farmers need to agree what they want – Allan Barber:

The recent meeting in Gore, organised by the Meat Industry Excellence Committee and attended by about 1000 farmers, gave an overwhelming mandate for change to the present condition of the meat industry.

Key aspects of the Excellence Committee’s plan are one company controlling 80% of processing and marketing, a change in farmer supply culture, procurement equality and transparency, farmers to fund the restructure with assistance from the banks, and government backing.

This wish list may sound completely logical and comparatively simple, but it contains a number of assumptions, all of them very hard to achieve and some pretty unrealistic. In the first flush of optimism after the meeting Gerry Eckhoff suggested the new structure could be in place by the start of next season in October. That is patently ridiculous because a wish list doesn’t equate to a workable strategy and business plan. . .

Drought saves gold kiwifruit harvest in north:

The drought that has plagued Northland this summer has brought an unexpected reprieve for kiwifruit growers battling the PSA virus.

The dry weather has stopped the spread of the disease and, against all expectation, Northland’s gold kiwifruit harvest is shaping up to be a good one.

Fruitgrowers Federation Northland director Rick Curtis says growers feared the worst when the virulent strain of PSA was reported in several orchards in and around Kerikeri last spring. . .

Federated Farmers promotes Commerce Commission swaps investigation:

Having written to the Commerce Commission last November, Federated Farmers welcomes the Commerce Commission’s update on its investigation into the promotion and sale of interest rate swaps marketed by various banks.

“If farmers have concerns about the mis-selling of swaps then now is the time to raise them with the Commerce Commission,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Having broken the $50 billion barrier the rural debt market is large and some of the debt instruments are complicated. There has also been a lot of discussion about swaps so the Commerce Commission is best placed to properly investigate them.

“The Commission is rightly looking at swaps from the perspective of the Fair Trading Act 1986. This includes misleading and deceptive conduct in trade such as false and misleading representations. . .

Forest owners vote yes:

The Forest Voice referendum will deliver a clear yes vote in favour of a commodity levy when final results are released in a few days.

The levy, which will be used to fund activities that benefit all forest owners, was the subject of a referendum that ran from 1-29 March. . .

Campaign for Wool — Wool House in Design Spotlight:

International enthusiasm and accolades endorsed wool in London recently at a Campaign for Wool showcase, Wool House.

Over 15,000 people visted Wool House, a two-week event hosted in Somerset House Wool House presented wool as a modern, versatile, lifestyle fibre. It featured a showcase of interiors, fashion and the world of artisan and craft making, along with a hi-tech educational suite.

Wool House invited leading interior designers to offer their vision and seven individual rooms to show how the design community uses wool extensively within their work. Exclusive room sets from designers Donna Wilson, Ashley Hicks, Josephine Ryan, Anne Kyyro Quinn, Mary Fox Linton of Fox Linton Associates and Kit Kemp featured alongside a wool art installation commissioned by the Campaign from Dutch tapestry artist Claudy Jongstra. . .

Coopers Creek Vineyard joins the fight to save our kauri forests:

The Kauri Dieback (KDB) Programme has formed a marketing alliance with New Zealand vineyard Coopers Creek, in an effort to slow the spread of kauri dieback disease.

Relationship Manager for the KDB Programme, Ian Mitchell says, “We are really excited and pleased to welcome Coopers Creek into the ‘save our kauri forests whānau’. Kauri dieback is a devastating disease. Hundreds of our majestic kauri trees have died and we need all the help we can get to prevent it spreading.

Coopers Creek winery is close to Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges where many patches of the forest have been decimated. “We’re acutely aware of the kauri dieback problem”, says Coopers Creek General Manager, David Nicholas. . .

Global Glassware Masters to Create Wine Glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir:

The Austrian director of the esteemed Riedel Glass Company, Georg J. Riedel has travelled to Queenstown to develop a specialty wine glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir in consultation with a group of New Zealand’s leading wine experts.

More than 20 wine producers and writers, including Master of Wine Bob Campbell, took part in a blind glassware taste test with Georg at Jacks Point, Queenstown on Tuesday 19 March to help Riedel create the perfect glass shape for Central Otago Pinot Noir.

Georg is a 10th generation member of the Riedel dynasty, which is renowned for producing high-quality, wine-friendly stemware which delivers the bouquet, taste, balance and finish of a wine to the senses. . .

Unlocking $8b potential in Maori land


A report commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries has shown there’s $8 billion potential held in over one million hectares of Maori freehold land.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says:

The report Growing the Productive Base of Māori Freehold Land estimates that lifting productivity to average industry benchmarks could result in an additional $8 billion in gross output and 3,600 new jobs for the primary sector. To achieve the estimated gains an investment in the land of just under $3 billion would be required.

“The potential for Maori freehold land represents an opportunity for Maori, the wider primary sector and New Zealand as a whole,” says Mr Guy.

“The report confirms that some iwi are well organised and have their asset base generating good returns, while others haven’t realised their true potential yet.

“It is ultimately up to Maori to work out how to realise that potential, but Government has an important role partnering with Māori as leaders in driving a change.

“The proposed reforms to the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act announced by Minister for Treaty Settlements Chris Finlayson and Minister of Māori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples today will be an important step towards unlocking this potential,” says Mr Guy.

Late last year the Ministry for Primary Industries provided close to $3 million in funding for initiatives to promote sustainability and innovation amongst Maori agribusinesses.

The Ministry is also working with education agencies, training providers and other stakeholders to identify the opportunities to provide targeted training to Maori agribusinesses.

The Maori collective asset base is estimated at $37 billion. Approximately 30 per cent ($10.6 billion) is estimated to be in the primary sectors.

The full report is here.

This is a huge untapped resource which could benefit the landowners, their local communities and the wider economy.

Releasing it requires some changes to the complex rules governing Maori land.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples and Associate Minister Chris Finlayson have released a discussion document on how to improve the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act, and Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

The purpose of the document is to seek views on how best to ensure that Te Ture Whenua Māori Act unlocks the economic potential of Māori land while preserving its cultural significance for future generations.

There are over 27,137 blocks of Māori land under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act, comprising 1.42 million hectares, or around 5% of the total land in New Zealand. It has been estimated up to 80% of Māori land is under-performing for its owners.

“The proposals of the expert review group will contribute to building a more productive and competitive economy as part of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda,” Mr Finlayson said. “There is huge potential in Māori land that has been held back by flawed legislation and complex regulation.”

“The propositions seek to provide the appropriate legislative framework for the retention of Māori land while at the same time making it easier for engaged owners to use and develop the land for the benefit of whānau, hapū and iwi,” he said. “The benefits for Māori and the country as a whole are potentially very significant.”

The Minister of Māori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples said that this process will contribute to He kai kei aku ringa: the Crown-Māori Economic Growth Partnership Strategy and Action Plan, by looking at how government can support Maori development of this cultural, and economic resource.

“Whenua is a cornerstone of our Māori identity,” Dr Sharples said. “Maori land owners should be supported to develop or retain their resource, in line with the aspirations they have for their own development.”

“There are many Maori land blocks that remain unutilised; that represents a huge potential for economic, social and cultural development for tangata whenua.”

The discussion document looks at on-going challenges, such as effectively providing for the use and management of Māori land in the face of continuing fragmentation of land interests, and the result that 80% of Māori land remains underdeveloped.

The expert review panel’s propositions are:

  • Utilisation of Māori land should be able to be determined by a majority of engaged owners;
  • All Māori land should be capable of utilisation and effective administration;
  • Māori land should have effective, fit for purpose, governance;
  • There should be an enabling institutional framework to support owners of Māori land to make decisions and resolve any disputes;
  • Excessive fragmentation of Māori land should be discouraged.

The panel will hold a series of regional hui during April and May in areas with high concentrations of Māori land and/or Māori land owners.

The discussion document is here.

Crisis or opportunity


The loss of jobs if the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter closes would be devastating for those affected and have an impact on the Southland and wider economy.

However, in crisis there is almost always opportunity and energy consultant Wayne Cartwright sees one in the excess power that would be available.

An energy consultant says if the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is closed and the Manapouri hydro lake is made available it would be a huge boon for the country.

The plant is under threat of closure because its owners say the price they pay for electricity is too high and the operation is not economic.

Wayne Cartwright says worldwide demand for energy will rise substantially over the next few years and with some investment from the Government, power from Manapouri could be siphoned to the national grid.

He says if that happens the price of energy won’t soar as much in New Zealand as it could around the world.

“We’re looking at a substantial rise in global prices of energy, particularly oil and gas, and if the substitution of hydro electricity for those requirements in New Zealand that need at the present time oil-based energy … can be made then this will be a great advantage to New Zealand because of the lower cost. . .

Most of the excess power would be in the south of the South Island which isn’t necessarily where the demand would be but upgrading the transmission lines to cope with the excess supply would be expensive. Instead of shifting the power north, it would be cheaper and could be more attractive for some businesses to move south.

The mnemonic love many fat royal people today has kept the six factors which determine the location of industry in my memory since 6th form geography – labour, market, finance, raw materials, power and transport.

If the smelter closes there will be excess labour and power in Southland. Finance is mobile, there’s a good port and reasonable roads in Southland. If whatever is produced is exported, nowhere in New Zealand will be much further from the market than anywhere else.

The possible closure of the smelter could be regarded as a crisis but it also has the potential opportunity for new businesses which could be better for Southland and New Zealand.

Pepper 1997 – 2013


Like many farmers, mine wasn’t particularly keen on the idea of a playing dog.

However, our office manager brought two puppies her dog had produced to work one day because someone near-by was going to choose between them.

My farmer told her she must make sure the pups were gone before our daughter and I got home but he was silly enough to tell us about them.

There was something in his voice during the telling which suggested that he could be persuaded to change his view on playing dogs. It didn’t take much and the pup came back to stay next day.

His mother was a golden labrador, we presume his father was a sheep dog because Pepper was black with a flash of white under his chin.

Like most pups he was mischievous, stealing footwear from the back door, playing with the sheets on the clothesline and chewing the bark of a newly planted flowering cherry.

He grew out of those tricks but not out of a propensity to take other people’s food. A painter who was working here left his lunch in a bag by the door, Pepper got there first and by lunchtime all that was left in the bag was the paper the sandwiches had been wrapped in.

Another day one of our staff called to drop something off on her way home from grocery shopping. She left the car door open and by the time she got back to it the cooked chicken she’d bought had gone.

His few misdemeanours were more than compensated for by his friendship and loyalty. He’d look at us with big, sad eyes whenever we drove out the gate and welcome us back with wagging tail when we returned. He’d greet each of our staff when they arrived in the morning, go to check anyone who was in the workshop and always accompanied me on my morning walks.

He was also musical. When anyone played a violin or bagpipes, Pepper would sit up straight and howl in time, if not in tune.

He was always a thousand acre dog. He wouldn’t go into his kennel voluntarily, preferring to sleep in a sheltered spot under a window or roam the garden and the home paddocks where he buried his bones.


For the last few months we’ve been keeping a careful eye on him as he slowed down and showed his age. His nose was still shiny and coat glossy but there was a growth by one eye and he had become very deaf.

It was the deafness and his propensity for sleeping where we parked which worried us and yesterday what we feared might happen, did.

Pepper lay down behind a car and one of our staff backed over him.

She was distraught but we don’t in any way blame her, we’d all had near misses and any of us could have done it.

My farmer took Pepper into the vet who said at nearly 16 he was already three years past his normal life expectancy.

An x-ray showed a broken spine and we took the vet’s advice that the humane thing to do for the old dog was to put him down.

My head accepts that this was the right course of action, but my heart is sad and as I type there’s a big space outside the door where Pepper used to be.

Stuck words


“I knew what I was feeling and I wanted to express that in a way that helped but the words got stuck,” he said.

“I find the best way to deal with those sort of stuck words is to close your mouth, open your arms and let a hug say it all for you,”she said.

April 4 in history


1081 Alexios I Komnenos was crowned Byzantine emperor at Constantinople, beginning the Komnenian dynasty.

1581 Francis Drake was knighted for completing a circumnavigation of the world.

1655 The the Infant of Prague statue was solemnly crowned by command of Cardinal Harrach.

1660 Declaration of Breda by King Charles II of England.

1721  Sir Robert Walpole became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom under King George I.

1802 Dorothea Dix, American social activist, was born (d. 1887).

1812  U.S. President James Madison enacted a ninety-day embargo on trade with the United Kingdom.

1814 Napoleon abdicated for the first time.

1818 The United States Congress adopted the flag of the United States with 13 red and white stripes and one star for each state (then 20).

1841 William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia becoming the first President of the United States to die in office and the one with the shortest term served.

1850 The Great Fire of Cottenham, a large part of the Cambridgeshire village was burnt to the ground under suspicious circumstances.

1850 – Los Angeles was incorporated as a city.

1859 Bryant’s Minstrels debuted “Dixie” in New York City in the finale of a blackface minstrel show.

1866 Alexander II of Russia narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.

1873 The Kennel Club was founded, the oldest and first official registry of purebred dogs in the world.

1887 Argonia, Kansas elected Susanna M. Salter as the first female mayor in the United States.

1905 The Kangra earthquake killed 20,000, and destroyed most buildings in Kangra, Mcleodganj and Dharamshala.

1913 The Greek aviator Emmanuel Argyropoulos becomes the first pilot victim of the Hellenic Air Force when his plane crashed.

1918 – World War I: Second Battle of the Somme ended.

1930 The Communist Party of Panama was founded.

1939 Faisal II became King of Iraq.

1944 World War II: First bombardment of Bucharest by Anglo-American forces killed 3000 civilians.

1945 World War II: American troops liberated Ohrdruf forced labour camp in Germany.

1945 – World War II: Soviet Army took control of Hungary.

1946 Dave Hill, English guitarist (Slade), was born.

1949  Twelve nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

1949 Junior Braithwaite, Jamaican singer (The Wailers), was born  (d. 1999).

1951 Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, was born.

1952 Gary Moore, Irish guitarist (Thin Lizzy), was born  (d. 2011).

1958 The CND Peace Symbol displayed in public for the first time in London.

1960 Senegal independence day.

1963 Graham Norton, Irish talk show host, was born.

1964 The Beatles occupied the top five positions on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.

1965 The first model of the new Saab Viggen fighter aircraftplane was unveiled.

1967  Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” speech in New York City’s Riverside Church.

1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray.

1968 – Apollo programme: NASA launched Apollo 6.

1968 – AEK Athens BC became the first Greek team to win the European Basketball Cup.

1969 Dr. Denton Cooley implanted the first temporary artificial heart.

1973 The World Trade Center in New York was officially dedicated.

1975 Microsoft was founded as a partnership between Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

1975 Vietnam War:  Operation Baby Lift – A United States Air Force C-5A Galaxy crashed near Saigon shortly after takeoff, transporting orphans – 172 died.

1976 Prince Norodom Sihanouk resignws as leader of Cambodia and was placed under house arrest.

1979 Heath Ledger, Australian actor, was born  (d. 2008).

1979  Jessica Napier, New Zealand actress, was born.

1979 President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan was executed.

1983 Space Shuttle Challenger made its maiden voyage into space (STS-6).

1984 President Ronald Reagan called for an international ban on chemical weapons.

1991 Senator John Heinz and six others were killed when a helicopter collided with their plane over an elementary school in Merion, Pennsylvania.

1994 Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark found Netscape Communications Corporation under the name “Mosaic Communications Corporation”.

2001 Dame Silvia Cartwright became Governor General of New Zealand.

Silvia Cartwright becomes Governor General

2002 The Angolan government and UNITA rebels signed a peace treaty ending the Angolan Civil War.

2007 15 British Royal Navy personnel held in Iran were released by the Iranian President.

2008 – In a raid on the FLDS’s YFZ Ranch in Texas, 401 children and 133 women were taken into state custody.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

%d bloggers like this: