Oamaru Dame’s dream holiday destination

August 25, 2013

How’s this for a recommendation?

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa featured on Sunday this evening.

Miriama Kamo interviewed her and as she wrapped up said she’d asked the Dame what her dream holiday destination was.

The answer?

Oamaru.


Word of the day

August 25, 2013

Anfractuosity – having many twists and turns; a winding, circuitous, or intricate channel, crevice, passage, surface or process.


There’s honey, manuka honey and manuka honey with UMF

August 25, 2013

Manuka honey attracts a premium price but not all honey that claims to be manuka honey is and not all that is has the Unique Manuka factor (UMF).

Britain’s Food Standards Agency has issued a nationwide warning about misleading and illegal claims made on the labels of manuka honey jars,, in a worrying blow to the fast-growing Kiwi industry.

New Zealand manuka honey commands prices 10 to 20 times higher than other types of honey because of its unique and much-vaunted anti-bacterial properties. . . .

But tests by reputable UK, Chinese and Singaporean laboratories reveal many manuka honey products have none of the claimed active properties – some of the honey is not even manuka – prompting industry leaders to demand a crackdown on “potentially huge fraud”.

Some of the companies selling mislabelled honey are New Zealand producers and some are foreign. But even the most reputable New Zealand honey producers now face heightened surveillance in the UK. . .

Comvita, New Zealand’s biggest manuka honey producer with a market capitalisation of nearly $150 million, is demanding the industry be cleared of cowboys.

Chief operating officer Scott Coulter said pots of manuka honey labelled with meaningless numbers and certifications were designed to confuse customers who thought they were getting UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) accredited food and nutriceuticals with measurable health benefits. “You can put a number on any honey, and that is damaging to Comvita,” Coulter told the Herald on Sunday. “They can buy a 20+ honey thinking it is manuka and it is not. People will use it and not get any benefits and that damages the reputation of the product and the industry.”

John Rawcliffe, head of the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, which represents 38 licensed manuka honey companies, acknowledged the UK crackdown was due.

“There is potentially huge fraud. There are higher and ever-increasing volumes of honey labelled as manuka which are not manuka,” he said. . .

In New Zealand, beekeepers are not waiting for authorities to clean up the industry. . . 

There’s honey, manuka honey and manuka honey with the active properties which give it the UMF.

Having hives in or near maunka isn’t a guarantee that the honey the bees produce will have the certifiable levels of  UMF.

If there’s gorse, clover or anything else bees prefer within flying distance they’ll ignore the manuka.

Even if manuka honey is produced it might not have the UMF.

False claims – accidental or deliberate – threaten a potentially lucrative industry.


Rural round-up

August 25, 2013

Rabo back US dairy as Fonterra reveals milk hitch – Agrimoney:

Rabobank highlighted the potential for the US to grow dairy exports as New Zealand-based Fonterra. investigating the botulism scare which prompted product recalls, revealed a milk powder withdrawal.

Tim Hunt, US-based global dairy strategist at Rabobank, said that the US “could emerge as a significant competitor” in dairy exports, thanks to a slowdown in domestic demand at a time of elevated international prices.

Already prices of some US dairy exports are showing significant growth, with milk powder exports rising from some 300,000 tonnes in 2007 to 500,000 tonnes last year, and cheese shipments rising from 100,000 to 250,000 tonnes over the same period. . .

Kiwi-run Chinese dairy farm far cry from home

As Fonterra works to rebuild its reputation in China, it will face competition from other dairy companies trying to grow their share of the market.

One is popular brand Wondermilk, which is produced by a Taiwanese-American company, but the farm manager is a Kiwi.

An hour’s drive northeast of Beijing, past scenes of dramatic urban development, is a small piece of modern agricultural China. And New Zealander Berwick Settle leads us to “Red Star”, the newest of three facilities he manages for Hua Xia Dairy Farm. . .

Restructure losses may be huge – Annette Scott:

The loss of experience and knowledge to the agricultural industry could be huge under the proposed AgResearch restructure, agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth says.

AgResearch announced this month 180 jobs at Ruakura and 85 from AgResearch’s Invermay site near Dunedin would be lost to its Lincoln campus in a $100 million proposal to create large campuses at Grasslands, in Palmerston North, and at Lincoln.

“History tells us globally that only 10% (of scientists) will go (to the new site) and that’s a huge loss of capability,” Rowarth said.

“When Wallaceville in Upper Hutt and Hurley Pasture Research Centre in the UK closed, 90% of people, for a variety of reasons, did not relocate. . .

Biofuels plants key to UK wheat price outlook – Agrimoney:

Success in efforts to bring two major biofuel plants onstream may have an undue impact on UK wheat values, in determining the level of supplies needed to be priced to compete on export markets.

Wheat futures for November touched £151.00 a tonne in London last week, the lowest for a spot contract in 19 months, in a slump attributed to growing harvest hopes leaving the country with hefty supplies to sell abroad.

Harvest estimates, some of which fell below 11.5m tonnes after a cold spring followed an unusually wet autumn and winter, have risen substantially after early harvest results showed far better yields than had been expected. . .

Forests to help create fresh air:

A Hawke’s Bay couple have just launched a Fresh Air Forests service to let people like travellers, businesses and landowners measure and counteract the effects of transport, travel and accommodation.

People taking part buy trees to create native forests.

Fresh Air Forests has growing sites at Lake Waikopiro and on Mount Kahuranaki on retired and protected land in Hawke’s Bay for generations ahead to enjoy.

“We are serious about making a difference, now and in the future so the idea of pledging trees to create a native forest made a lot of sense,” director Colin Pirie, who runs the venture with wife Wendy, said. . .

Their website is www.freshairforests.co.nz.

Farm tree planting together is fun – Pasture to Profit:
Planting farm trees is best when you plant with community friends. I had a great day tree planting in a wetland area on farm with 30 new friends. It was really fun! So much fun that I will continue to invite the community rather than using contractors.
 
The environment and protecting the quality of our rivers & streams is a community responsibility. Farms need to engage their local communities in helping to plant trees,  Trees that are aesthetically beautiful, trees that are ECO-Sourced, trees for bees, trees that reduce N leaching. . .

Labour doesn’t need enemies

August 25, 2013

Quote of the day:

There is rarely any danger of overestimating Labour Party stupidity. Having described myself recently as ‘a sentimental socialist’, I’m inclined to think that sentiment may be the main, and possibly the only reason for my ongoing belief in an organism genetically predisposed to push the self-destruct button when faced with the slightest glimmer of electoral success. . .   Brian Edwards.

Labour doesn’t need enemies, its members and friends are more than capable of highlighting its failings.


6th generation heads H&Js

August 25, 2013

The sixth generation of the Smith family is taking over the reins of H & J Smith.

One of the South Island’s most prominent businessmen is ‘handing over the mantle’ of the family business after 31 years at the helm.

H&J Smith Holdings Ltd Chairman John Ward, on behalf of the board of directors, has announced that Managing Director Acton Smith has stepped down and his eldest son Jason Smith will take over the role.

Acton Smith, 66, said he and Jason had spent the past few years working on a succession plan and that he was “extremely proud” to hand over to his son, confident in the ability of the next generation to meet new challenges with the support of key people in the company.

Jason, 43, will be the sixth-generation Smith family member to take over the reins since the first store was opened in Dee Street, Invercargill, by brother-and-sister team Helen and John William Smith at the turn of the last century.

Helen, the store’s first manager, doubled the business and opened another store in Gore in 1905. She was succeeded by John after she died in the flu epidemic of 1919 and John went on to take the business successfully through the depression.

John’s son Jock became Managing Director in 1960. Jock retired in 1982 when Acton took over the role.

More than 110 years on and the H&J Smith brand is a Southland success story, a family business that employs more than 400 people with five H&J Smith and two Mitre 10 branches across Southland and Queenstown.

 Acton Smith said he was fortunate to have had 10 years’ preparation and close involvement working with Jason as his father had done before him, so felt confident handing over the family business, wishing him the same rewards, successes and support that he had enjoyed.

“Since he built and ran the ‘element’ sports store in Queenstown on behalf of the family and went on to develop our Mitre 10 and Mitre 10 Mega programme, Jason has become more and more involved with the ownership and direction of the family business and comes to the Managing Director position with the confidence and goodwill of the directors and family,” said Mr Smith.

“The last 30 years have been extremely challenging.

“I pride myself in the fact that the company has been nimble enough to outlast the great rural meltdown that occurred as a result of Rogernomics, 1987’s share market crash, the collapse of the Asian business market and of course the global financial crisis of 2008.

“But now new challenges, regulations and technology require a new set of management techniques and a willingness to explore and try new options.”

While Acton Smith said he and Jason had been planning for the handover for some time, it was a serious bout of pneumonia on a recent holiday in Fiji that finally made up his mind.

“That was the cue card for me to exit stage right, hand over the day-to-day running of the business to Jason, dedicate my time to finishing off the big Stadium Southland project, and smell the roses.”

The move was approved by the H&J Smith Holdings board on August 15. Acton Smith will remain a lifetime director of the company.

Jason Smith described his father as a colleague, coach and mentor, whose numerous achievements he was extremely proud of.

“Acton has unselfishly committed over 40 years to H&J Smith Limited, the Southland Building Society, Mitre 10 (NZ) Limited, and the Stadium Southland Trust as well as to the Southland and wider New Zealand business community,” he said.

“He’s been an excellent role model who has provided me with sound advice, clear guidance as required, and has supported my development throughout these years.”

Jason said he was thrilled to lead the company into a new era, with the same unwavering commitment and enthusiasm that his father brought to the role.

Major projects underway include pursuing resource consent applications to build a MEGA Store in Queenstown, and introduce new POS and merchandising systems into H&J Smith and Outdoor World. In Invercargill, the company is developing the old Mitre 10 Store to relocate the Invercargill Outdoor World Store into a new large store and is redeveloping the third floor of the original H&J Smith store.

The company operates five H&J Smith stores in Invercargill, Gore, Remarkables Park, Balclutha and Te Anau, two H&J’s Outdoor World stores in Invercargill and Remarkables Park, two Mitre 10 Stores including Mitre 10 MEGA Invercargill and Remarkables Park Mitre 10 (franchised) as well as Paper Plus Invercargill (Franchise) inside the Invercargill store, Take Note (Franchise) inside the Gore store and H&J’s Electrical Limited.

In a message to staff Acton Smith paid tribute to all those he had worked with over the years for “sharing his dreams and aspirations.”

“I’ve been privileged over my time to have worked with a group of outstanding people who brought to this organisation commitment, hard work, strong ethical behaviour and an absolute willingness to go the extra mile during the challenges we faced.

“Together we have left an organisation that is stronger and better placed than from the day I joined it.”

H & J’s is a Southland institution. It’s longevity owes a lot to the values and leadership of successive generations of the Smith family.


Dark way

August 25, 2013

Open large picture

I’m not sure if the world’s all that serious, she said, or if it just has a really dark way of having a good time.

Story People by Brian Andreas.

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