Word of the day

10/04/2013

Allocution – formal speech, especially one of an authoritative, incontrovertible or hortatory nature; the formal inquiry by a judge of an accused person, convicted of a crime, as to whether the person has any legal cause to show why judgment should not be pronounced against him or her or as to whether the person has anything to say to the court before being sentenced; a pronouncement delivered by the pope to a secret consistory, especially on a matter of policy or of general importance.


Worst Packaging award prompts change

10/04/2013

Foodstuff received the Unpackit Awards’ Worst Packaging title last year and it has prompted change.

“The Unpackit Awards are decided by public vote, and the message was given loudly and clearly to Foodstuffs when they won the Worst Packaging Award in 2012 that some of their packaging was frustrating customers.

“It’s to their credit that instead of getting defensive and hunkering down to protect the status quo, Foodstuffs have taken action to improve their packaging.”

Foodstuffs won the 2012 Unpackit Worst Packaging Award for a commonly-used practice of putting fruit and vegetables on polystyrene meat-trays and wrapping them in plastic.

I didn’t know about the awards but have often chosen not to buy fruit or vegetables which are packaged unnecessarily.

Why they need to wrap a lot of  fresh produce is beyond me.

Most fruit and vegetables are displayed in a way which allows the customer to take as much or as little as they want and for goods like a bunch of bananas of heads of broccoli there’s no need for bags or other packaging.

The Unpackit Packaging Awards are run by Wanaka Wastebusters to encourage New Zealanders to choose smart packaging and raise awareness about the issue of packaging waste.

Nominations for this year’s awards have opened.


Enterprising rural women

10/04/2013

Even in the 21st century, some women who fall for farmers have to choose between their careers and their men.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities outside town boundaries and there’s no better illustration of that than the 20 finalists in Rural Women New Zealand’s Enterprising Rural Women Awards.

MAKING IT IN RURAL ENTRANTS

Saskia Missaar
Aotea Embrace
Saskia’s business is based on the remote Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf.  With little local employment and just 852 people living on the island, Saskia began the business in 2009 making soaps, massage oils, calendula balm and lip balms.  She now also makes a range of body lotions, hand cream and face moisturizers, made with essential oils and home grown ingredients such as manuka honey, herbs, flowers, native plants and clay, giving her products the ‘Barrier’ touch.  Her market is the gift market and those with sensitive or dry skin and she keeps her prices affordable.  Starting the business was a real challenge with no banks on the island, limited water and limited transport to the mainland.

 

Angela Payne
Agri-Lab Co-Products Ltd
www.agri-lab.com

Angela’s business is based in Waipukurau, where she has become a successful exporter of animal products, achieving consistent growth even in the face of the world economic downturn.  The business specialises in supplying ingredients for the medical, pharmaceutical and dietary supplements markets, including placenta, glands, membranes, tendons, eyes, brains, blood products and glandular.  90% of the products are exported to countries such as Japan, USA, Korea, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea and Australia.  Angela, who has taken the business from conception through to the internationally recognised company it is today, says her location is a significant competitive advantage in the export and pharmaceutical and biomaterial market, with NZ being a BSE free country, and having good access to freezing works, farms and essential services, as well as easy transport on SH2.

 

Lee Lamb
Lee Lamb Publishing

Facebook:  On the farm books

Lee’s business is based at Waikaia, Southland, where she is an author and illustrator of children’s picture books about NZ farming practices.  She lives with her husband and two young sons on a sheep and beef station and has to date written and illustrated four books in the ‘On the Farm’ series.  Keeping the stories true to life, they are educational as well as entertaining for children.  She was an entrant in the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and the Storylines Book Awards.

 

Christina Perriam
Christina Perriam Fashion Design Ltd

www.christinaperriam.co.nz; www.surpinobambino.co.nz

Christina’s business is based at Tarras in Central Otago.  Her passion for merino wool and fashion has grown out of her upbringing on Bendigo Station, where she was influenced by her father’s entrepreneurial spirit and her mother’s love for merino.  As a qualified fashion designer, she took over her mother’s business in 2010, after her mother passed away and is focused on completing her mother’s dream and vision of making the small village a ‘must visit’ destination.  Christina Perriam manufactures and retails affordable luxury merino wool products that are proudly NZ made, targeting the woman, baby and child market.  The designs are aimed at 30-70 year old discerning women and have a classical and elegant element.  The emphasis is on sustainability, quality and affordable luxury.  The range includes clothing, accessories, sleepwear and home wears.  Suprino Bambino is Christina’s new child and baby clothing range, which is making a big splash and increasing sales month on month.

 

Jules Smith
WashBar Limited

www.washbar.co.nz

WashBar is based in Whangarei, and specialises in NZ made natural pet care products.  Jules targets the equine and canine market, producing animal coat care products.  The products evolved from a soap making hobby, when dog lovers approached Jules to make soaps for dogs with skin problems.  Allergies in dogs primarily manifest as itchy skin, and Jules’ market research revealed a market opportunity, which led to producing her specialist soaps in commercial volumes.  She now focuses on wholesale supplies to pet stores and vets and has continued to expand the range of products.  She now has 349 retailers across NZ and is exporting to Australia.  From dog soap, Jules has gone on to develop horse soap and natural flea repellent for dogs.  She recently developed a range of spritzers for dogs to freshen their coats, producing what she believes to be the first 100% natural, alcohol-free spritzer commercially available.

 

Jan Shoemark
Bell Cottage Crafts Limited

www.janshoemarkglassartist.co.nz

Jan Shoemark  is a glass artist based in Waitoa, Waikato.  Her work is all exclusive, and is characterised by her distinctive style of cutting glass, shaping it as desired.  She produces a wide range of products from memorial stones to plaques and signs, giftware and artwork.  She has won a bronze award at the Auckland Ellerslie flower show and best site at the National Fieldays.  Working with rural themes, all the timber and glass she uses is recycled.

 

LOVE OF THE LAND

Heather Wilkins
The Vege Shed

www.atholvalleymeats.co.nz

Heather Wilkins’ fresh produce and gourmet foods business is based on the family farm in Athol in Southland, where a 100 year old disused woolshed was converted first into The Vege Shed, and then selling Athol Valley lamb and venison sourced from the farm.  Athol Valley Meat is couriered throughout NZ into restaurants and this year the company was placed fourth in the NZ Beef+Lamb Golden Glammies in the retail sector.  The Vege Shed is on SH6 in Athol, an hour south of Queenstown en route for Milford Sound.  The vintage shop frontage has been maintained as an authentic 100 year old woolshed.  Heather’s aim is to give customers the chance to step back in time and slow down, enjoying genuine Kiwi hospitality, the opportunity to try NZ lamb and venison, local produce, preserves, sauces and gifts.

 

Diana Baird
Fairview Enterprises Ltd

www.dianasfruit.co.nz
www.kvw.co.nz

Diversity is the key to Diana Baird’s business Fairview, based in the Kawhatau Valley in the Rangitikei, where she and her husband run a sheep and beef farm, orchard, farm forestry and cereal cropping operation.  Summer fruit production includes traditional style peacharines, plums and quinces, (there is no other commercial fruit production for 100km). They also have a Drysdale sheep stud and promote and market specialist carpet wool.  The farm has two-tier forestry, with trees and grazing beneath, as well as multi-species forestry and amenity tree planting.  They have a walking route for private tours (Kawhatau Valley Walks), run on-farm research (current interests include bumble bees, Ume, succession and aquaculture), and are involved in Massey University case studies and tutoring.  They have previously been successful in the NZ Balance Farm Environment Horizons Awards.

 

Heidi Rosewarne
Blueberry Corner

www.blueberrycorner.co.nz

Heidi and her husband purchased a small blueberry orchard just outside Whakatane in 2002, knowing nothing of horticulture or blueberries, having previously been Taranaki livestock farmers.  It was a steep learning curve to develop a business from ‘honesty box’ roadside sales to the business that now supplies a range of blueberry products direct to the public, as well as internationally and domestically.  Each year new specialty blueberry lines are introduced, and now include james, relishes, juices, chocolate, soap, tea and blueberry honey.  Increasing to three growing properties, the retail business is now open for six months a year.  30 percent of the harvest is exported, 30 percent is sold on the domestic NZ market, and 40 percent is sold at the shop.

 

Diane Coleman
Treeline Native Nursery

www.treelinenursery.co.nz

Diane Coleman’s business is based 20km north of Rotorua in the small community of Kaharoa.  Treeline Native Nursery grows and supplies native trees, shrubs and grasses for revegetation and ornamental purposes.  Established in 1996, in its first 12 years of operation production grew from 10,000 trees to 300,000 trees produced and sold.  An essential part of the nursery production is seed collection, and eco-sourcing seed has become a major factor in customer requirements.  Diane travels through BoP and Waikato, contacting farmers for this task.  The nursery’s location at 419m above sea level ensures plants are hardy and relatively pest free. An interesting development over the last three years has been joining a bio-dynamic group and exploring planting by the moon, using an old Allied Farmers Co-op lunar calendar, which has streamlined the company’s propagation with surprisingly good results.  Plants are supplied in bulk to councils, farmers, landscapers, developers and the home gardener.

 

Stephanie Lynch
Sweetree Honey

www.sweetreehoney.co.nz

Stephanie Lynch’s business is based in Horsham Downs, near Hamilton.  The business involves every aspect of honey production, from caring for bees in 150 beehives, harvesting, packaging and direct selling at farmers markets, as well as through retail shops and the company website.  The bees have access to a wide range of flowering plants, and honeys from different areas are not blended with each other, meaning customers can choose a honey based on the location shown on the jar, such as Horsham Downs, Marokopa, Four Brothers Reserve and Hakarimata, with each having its own special characteristics.  The company also produces bee pollen.

 

HELP I NEED SOMEBODY

Lesley Armstrong-Jennings
Shopenzed.com

www.shopenzed.com

Lesley’s business is an online customer-driven Kiwiana gift store which has evolved since 2000 when she began supplying Kiwi goods to overseas customers on eBay.  Shopenzed.com is now one of the largest online retailers of New Zealand-inspired gifts and collectables.  The business caters for tens of thousands of customers worldwide, carrying over 3000 items, with more being added every week.  All purchases carry a 365 day money back guarantee.  The customers are often ex-pat Kiwis, or people who want to travel of live in New Zealand or who have holidayed here.  90 percent of orders are shipped overseas, with Australia a growing market.  Products include sheepskin boots, slippers, possum merino knitwear, NZ jewellery, rugby gear, souvenirs, books, cosmetics, food and more. Customer service is key to the business’ success, with ‘mad dashes’ to the nearest courier depot (a 50km round trip) to deliver a last minute order the norm.  Free gift wrapping in exquisite wrapping paper adds that special touch.

 


Lynne Johnston
Herd About Hair & Beauty

www.herdabouthairbeauty.co.nz

Lynne Johnston’s hair and beauty salon business is based at Riversdale in Southland.  It began in 2008 when she realised the need to diversify the family’s reliance on dairy share milking income after the downturn.  She first re-opened a hair salon in Riversdale that had ceased trading a year and a half earlier, growing the business to employ staff to work alongside her.  In response to the success of the hair salon she rented a second shop next door and employed a beauty therapist, offering a range of beauty treatments in addition to hair dressing.   Both the hair and beauty salons are now open six days a week.  In the meantime, Lynne has grown her own family, with a fourth child born in February 2011.  She is also still involved on the farm, rearing calves through the spring.  The success of Herd About Hair is based on offering rural people everything a city salon could offer, with exceptional service, with the mission statement ‘a little bit of luxury close to home’.

 

Jill Hollingum
Occsafe Services Ltd

Jill’s business is based near Picton, and involves workplace health and safety services, training and education.  She has put her background as a registered nurse to good use, and takes her occupational health services to the client base which has grown to almost 60 regular clients.  These include factories, vineyards, aquaculture, wood mills, engineering, construction sites and aviation.  She works with clients to help them build and maintain a healthy and safe work environment, to achieve legislative compliance, reduce employee down time, and cost effectiveness.  Services include health monitoring, such as workplace hearing tests, lung function tests, blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and vision screening; pre-employment work fitness assessments; workplace drug and alcohol testing, rehabilitation programmes; ergonomic workstation office assessments; noise and hygiene surveys and pre-audits for ACC audits.

 

Stephanie Evans
Oasis Beauty NZ Ltd

www.oasisbeauty.co.nz

Stephanie’s business is based at Oxford in Canterbury, where over the last 14 years she has developed a range of products for sensitive skin and sun protection.  Beginning by making products in her own kitchen, they are now manufactured in a factory in Christchurch.  This financial year the business has grown by almost 60 percent, and employs four women from the rural community who help look after the office and customer orders.  Stephanie’s story shows how one enterprising rural woman with very few resources can build a successful business in a very competitive market and provide long term rewarding jobs for other rural women in the community.

 

Jan Harper
Bluespur Butchery and Deli

Jan’s business is based at Lawrence in Otago.  When the deli opened in 2009 it was a ‘dream come true’ for Jan, who’s been in the butchery trade since she left school.  Jan sells meat to the public, but the main focus is on processing meat for farmers and hungers.  Lambs, pigs and venison are butchered and made into sausages, saveloys, burgers etc.  A popular service is gourmet lamb, where Jan creates barbequed cuts, marinated kebabs, mint glased lamb cutlets and ‘legendary’ burgers.

 

 

STAY, PLAY, RURAL

Deborah Hambly
Astronomy Adventures

www.skydome.org.nz

Deborah runs her business from Baylys Beach, Northland where she takes people on tours of the night sky with NZ’s largest hands-on telescope open nightly to the public.  With a passion for astronomy, Deborah arrived in NZ in 2005 with a plan of offering astronomy facilities for tourists and astronomers.  Acquiring her first second-hand giant telescope and dome, she set up on her front lawn, and has since acquired five more telescopes and caters for groups of up to 40.  The Skydome Observatory was fully operational by early 2006.  The telescope to guest ratio is kept at no higher than 1 to 4, so visitors observe at leisure.  Added to this Deborah tells stories and adds fun facts, myths and legends to the experience.

 

Linda Morrison
Tairoa Lodge

www.tairoa-lodge.co.nz

Linda runs boutique accommodation company Tairoa Lodge, which includes a Victorian villa built in 1875 in Hawera, Taranaki.  She and husband Steve bought the old homestead on four acres in 2000, which has Historic Places Trust rating, but was in need of renovation.  Over four years they worked on the property creating three luxury guest rooms, each with private ensuite, and decorated with a mix of antiques and country-style furniture.  In 2003 they relocated Tairoa Cottage to the grounds to offer self-contained accommodation for guests, and in 2007 purchased an adjacent property, The Gatehouse, to cater for the corporate market.  To compliment the business the couple added a secluded retreat, Kingfisher Cottage, in a rural farm setting, to their portfolio.  Finally they purchased Tairoa Church Hall, previously the Gospel Church, with stained glass and matai floors, which is used as an exclusive venue for private functions.  Tairoa Lodge has Qualmark accreditation 4star plus, and Linda’s mission is to provide exceptional customer service.  The business has seen robust growth though Linda says it has been ‘hard won’ and they have had to respond to shifts in the market by offering different accommodation options.  The catering and functions business has grown strongly, based on its reputation and a very strong client focus.

 

Tina Masters
Pure Cruise

www.purecruise.co.nz

Tina’s business, Pure Cruise, operates with a vision to be the foremost sailing product in the central North Island.  It offers a superior sailing experience on Lake Rotoiti, with high end sailing charters on board the 53 foot catamaran Tiua (run with the wind) to travellers, corporate and other groups.

 

Kylie Stewart
Rangitikei Farmstay

www.rangitikeifarmstay.co.nz

Kylie’s business, Rangitikei Farmstay, offers accommodation for up to 19 guests and a range of activities on and off the 1560 acre sheep and beef farm at Pukawa, Lake Taupo.  Kylie and her husband Andrew moved on to the farm in 2005, surrounded by beautiful landscape and scattered, largely unused buildings filled with ‘treasures’ – saws, stencils, pack saddles, and a push mower to name a few, used by the Stewart family on the farm for the past three generations.  The couple began renovating the old buildings and first opened up a bunkhouse and farm museum.  They have since converted three other buildings and have developed their farmstay and catering business with farm tours, shearing and mustering demonstrations, horse riding, farm walks, clay bird shooting and hole in one golf.  They now have school groups, birthday parties, and overseas guests.  Continuing to develop, the couple are presently building a lake to begin water activities on the property.

The winners will be announced at Rural Women’s national conference in Christchurch on May 23rd.


Making politics personal

10/04/2013

The internet showed its nasty side yesterday.

The news of Margaret Thatcher’s death spawned vitriolic outpourings and exhortations to celebrate.

She was a divisive figure and there is no doubt the policies she implemented to drag Britain out of the mire in which it was stuck came at a high cost for some people.

But criticism of policies and politics can be accomplished without getting poisonously personal.

Like her or loathe her, and it’s obvious that many on the left were in the latter camp, she was Britain’s first and only female premier.

I have not come across anything from anyone who calls herself a feminist recognising this achievement. That doesn’t mean there is nothing, but it does confirm my view that for some, feminism is at least as much a vehicle to advance left-wing causes as it is to promote women’s issues.

That Thatcher was a pioneering woman in what was very much a man’s world gets no recognition from these people who are so opposed to her politics and policies.

Nor do they recognise her achievements.

She came to power in 1979 when Britain was in economic chaos, hostage to militant unions, over taxed and weighed down by the burden of the state.

Radical change was required and she delivered it.

There might have been other ways of implementing the changes but it would be difficult to argue that strong measures weren’t required.

You don’t have to agree with what she did and how she did it to at least acknowledge what she accomplished, and it ought to be possible to debate the politics and policies without the personal attacks.

However, it is possible that she would regard the loathing with which the left still regard her as an achievement in itself.


Risk good reason for sale

10/04/2013

Opponents of the government’s programme for the partial sale of a few state owned assets are seizing on the risks to investors.

They purport to be worried that people who buy shares in Mighty River Power might lose money.

Their concern is no more than crocodile tears because they also complain that only the wealthy will be able to afford the shares.

But in raising fears of potential losses, they appear not to understand that if no shares are sold the government carries all that risk.

The risk of investment in non-core assets is not a reason for continued state ownership. It’s a very good reason the state should divest itself of them.

The government ought to ensure every cent of public money is put to best use.

There is potential gain in any business but there is also a potential for loss and that’s not a risk the state should be taking when there are far better uses for its very scarce resources.

While we’re on the subject of risk, Landcorp has told Shanghai Pengxin, which took over the former Crafar farms from receivers, that its investment will make a loss this year.

Chief executive Chris Kelly said the drought has had significant affect on revenue. Extra capital expenditure by Shanghai Pengxin has also been required.

People opposing land sales to foreigners are concerned about profits going overseas. At least this year, the owners will be losing money.

The risk the state takes in owning non-core assets is also illustrated by Landcorp’s half-year report:

At the time this report went to the printer, an operating result of around$6 million to $8 million for the full year 2012/13 was expected. Since then,Landcorp has experienced the worst widespread drought in many years. As a result, it is unlikely that the Company will report an operating profit for the year and consequently it is not likely to pay a full year dividend.
Around $1.6 billion in assets and no dividend. There are far better, and less risky, uses for public money than that.

 


Has Xtra been breached again?

10/04/2013

Has Xtra’s email been breached again?

We’ve had several messages in the last couple of days from Xtra addresses with nothing but a link to a website.

They’ve all come from people we know but we haven’t risked clicking on the links.


Mellow fruitfulness

10/04/2013

“Do you think Keats would have waxed lyrical about the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness if he’d had to harvest and preserve the fruit?” she asked.

“I’ve always found anything that raises a sweat more suited to prose than poetry, ” he said.


April 10 in history

10/04/2013

879  Louis III became King of the Western Franks.

1407 The lama Deshin Shekpa visited the Ming Dynasty capital at Nanjing where he was awarded with the title Great Treasure Prince of Dharma.

1500 Ludovico Sforza was captured by the Swiss troops at Novara and handed over to the French.

1606 The Charter of the Virginia Company of London was established by royal charter by James I with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.

1710 The first law regulating copyright was issued in Great Britain.

1741 War of the Austrian Succession: Prussia defeated Austria in the Battle of Mollwitz.

1794 Matthew C. Perry, American commodore, was born  (d. 1858).

1815 The Mount Tambora volcano begins its peak eruption period that lasted until July 15.

1816 The United States Government approved the creation of the Second Bank of the United States.

1821 Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople was hanged by the Turks from the main gate of the Patriarchate and his body was thrown into the Bosphorus.

1826 The 10,500 inhabitants of the Greek town Messolonghi start leaving the town after a year’s siege by Turkish forces. Very few of them survive.

1829 William Booth, English founder of the Salvation Army, was born (d. 1912).

1847 Joseph Pulitzer, American journalist and publisher, was born  (d. 1911).

1858  The original Big Ben, a 14.5 tonne bell for the Palace of Westminster was cast in Stockton-on-Tees by Warner’s of Cripplegate. It cracked during testing and was recast into the 13.76 tonne bell by Whitechapel Bell Foundry and is still in use to date.

1864 Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg was elected emperor of Mexico.

1865 American Civil War: A day after his surrender to Union forces, Confederate General Robert E. Lee addressed his troops for the last time.

1866 The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) wass founded in New York City by Henry Bergh.

1868 At Arogee in Abyssinia, British and Indian forces defeated an army of Emperor Theodore. While 700 Ethiopians were killed and many more injured, only two of the British/Indian troops died.

1874 The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska.

1887 On Easter Sunday, Pope Leo XIII authorised the establishment of The Catholic University of America.

1912 The RMS Titanic left port in Southampton for her first and only voyage.

1916 The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was created in New York City.

1919  Mexican Revolution leader Emiliano Zapata was ambushed and shot dead by government forces in Morelos.

1925  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published in New York City, by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

1932 Omar Sharif, Egyptian actor, was born.

1933  New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps was created.

1941 Paul Theroux, American author, was born.

1941 World War II: The Axis Powers in Europe established the Independent State of Croatia from occupied Yugoslavia with Ante Pavelić‘s Ustaše fascist insurgents in power.

1944  Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escaped from the Birkenau death camp.

1947 Bunny Wailer, Jamaican musician, was born.

1953 Warner Brothers premiered the first 3-D film, entitled House of Wax.

1959 Akihito, future Emperor of Japan, married Michiko.

1963 129 people died when the submarine USS Thresher sank at sea.

1968 The ferry Wahine sank with the loss of 52 lives (plus a 53rd victim who died in 1990 from injuries sustained in the wreck), this was New Zealand’s worst modern maritime disaster..

Sinking of the <em>Wahine</em>

1971 Ping Pong Diplomacy: In an attempt to thaw relations with the United States, the People’s Republic of China hosted the U.S. table tennis team for a weeklong visit.

1972  Oberdan Sallustro was executed by communist guerrillas 20 days after he was kidnapped in Buenos Aires.

1973 – The NZ government postponed a Spingbok tour.

1973 A British Vanguard turboprop crashed during a snowstorm at Basel, Switzerland killing 104.

1979 Red River Valley Tornado Outbreak: A tornado landed in Wichita Falls, Texas killing 42 people.

1987 Hayley Westenra, New Zealand soprano, was born.

1991 Italian ferry Moby Prince collided with an oil tanker in dense fog off Livorno, Italy killing 140.

1991 – A rare tropical storm developed in the Southern Hemisphere near Angola; the first to be documented by satellites.

1998 The Belfast Agreement was signed.

2007 Abortion was legalised in Portugal.

2010 – Polish Air Force Tu-154M crashed near Smolensk, Russia, killing all 96 people on board including President Lech Kaczyński.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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