Word of the day

February 9, 2015

Intertesselation – complex or complicated interrelationship.


Rural round-up

February 9, 2015

Rural sports take centre stage – Paul Taylor:

Shearer David Fagan cemented his status as a true great of the sport with a thrilling victory yesterday.

Fagan (53) beat the 10 best shearers in the country to take the inaugural NZ Speed Shear Championship title, at the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games in Queenstown.

The 16 time NZ Golden Shears and five time world champion faced rival Dion King (40) in the final.

Fagan sheared two sheep in 42.26sec, ahead of King’s 44.48sec. . .

Safer farms launched today:

A six year safety programme aimed at reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on farms is being launched today.

The programme, Safer Farms, is being launched by Work Safe New Zealand at Lincoln University today. . .

Best young farmer in the South – Paul Taylor:

Winton sharemilker Steve Henderson is the best young farmer in Otago and Southland.

Mr Henderson (28) won the regional final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest after an exhausting day competing in the Queenstown sunshine on Saturday.

He will now represent the region at the nationals in Taupo on July 6.

”She was a pretty big day against good competition, so it feels good to go through,” Mr Henderson said. . .

Ewes wouldn’t say ‘running’ – Guy Williams:

It was billed as the Running of the Wools, but ”running” doesn’t quite sum up this sheep yarn.

Slideshow here

It had less of the stampeding and goring of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, and more of the barking, eye-balling and milling around of television’s A Dog’s Show. . .

The problem of food: Scientist puts spotlight on crisis:

“Food safety and security is one of the most significant challenges humanity has ever faced. We are entering a global crisis, and the complexity of the problem demands urgent measures.”

That’s according to Lincoln University Senior Lecturer in Food Microbiology, Dr Malik Hussain, whose comments come as part of an editorial in a special edition of the journal Advances in Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences.

At the heart of the challenge lie the pressing issues of a large, rapidly growing population, deteriorating agricultural soils, falling water tables, and the need to rapidly modify production methods based on climate change.

According to Dr Hussain, while food safety and security issues are nothing new, it’s the scale and interconnectedness of the problem that makes the situation more serious now. . .

Winton entrant wins top awards – Sally Rae:

Winton deer farmer Dave Lawrence, from the Tikana stud, won the champion of champions title at the Elk and Wapiti Society of New Zealand’s annual velvet and antler competition in Wanaka.

Mr Lawrence, who enjoyed considerable success in the competition, which attracted 63 entries, won the five year section, before claiming the top award. . .

Women’s programme receives support:

A programme to help upskill women on sheep and beef farms has just received significant new backing.

The programme, Understanding Your Farming Business, is run by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust with funding from the Government and industry collaboration, the Red Meat Profit Partnership.

The trust’s executive director Lindy Nelson said it helped women to gain a better understanding of what drives a farming business and how to measure on-farm performance. . .

Charity bike ride for rural mental health issues – Dave Goosselink:

The taboo subjects of depression and suicide in the farming community are behind a South Island charity bike ride.

Twenty-seven riders are cycling from Picton to Bluff to raise awareness of mental health issues, and for Southland farmer John Dowdle, it’s a very personal issue.

As well as getting up early to bring in the cows, Mr Dowdle has been busy training for a charity ride. He’ll spend the next nine days cycling down the West Coast along with 26 other riders, raising awareness for an issue that’s not often discussed. . .

New Zealand wine goes head-to-head with Australia and England to celebrate the Cricket World Cup:

The cricket pitch is not the only place New Zealand will be competing with the two sporting behemoths, Australia and England, during the upcoming Cricket World Cup. New Zealand wine is battling it out with Australian and English wine in a series of cricket-themed blind tastings this month to celebrate the start of the competition.

To kick-off the celebrations, New Zealand sparkling wine will compete with English sparkling wine in the “Battle of the Bubbles” on 19 February in Wellington. 12 wines from each country will be tasted blind by two teams, each headed by one Wine Captain. Jane Skilton MW will captain New Zealand with moral support from cricketing legend Stephen Fleming. Wine super-star Oz Clarke will lead the English team. . .

 


Abbott survives 61 – 39

February 9, 2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot has survived the spill vote on his leadership with 61 votes to 39.

That is not a convincing win.

Unless he can win back the confidence of those unhappy with his leadership this will be seen as the first battle in an on-going war.

That won’t be good for the government, the Liberal Party or Australia.

 


Hard to hang on when cracks appear

February 9, 2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing a leadership vote this morning.

If he wins it, his victory is likely to be temporary. It is very hard to hang on to the leadership once cracks appear in a caucus.

He benefitted from that as Labor went through a prolonged leadership uncertainty with Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard then Rudd again.

We’ve seen it in New Zealand with members of the Labour caucus undermining successive leaders.

One of the reasons John Key’s leadership and the National Party have been so successful is because the caucus has been disciplined and united.

No doubt there are some robust conversations behind closed doors, which is healthy. But there has been none of the disunity or disloyalty that signal a caucus in turmoil and a leadership in trouble.

It is, of course, much easier to be united when your leader and party are popular.

But whether disunity and disloyalty precipitate a poll plunge or follow it, one builds on and encourages the other.

Party leaders come and go, and an unhappy and leaking caucus is a strong sign that the going is likely to be sooner rather than later.


On moderation again

February 9, 2015

Robert, your comments have been released from moderation but this is your last chance.

Should any of your comments breach my rules I will ban you.

Keep in mind that some people subscribe to comments which means they read them in the order they are written not by individual topic.

That means that they could draw conclusions about links between comments even if they are left on two different posts.


Rural Games to be annual event

February 9, 2015

Take a man with vision and the determination to showcase the sports that built a nation; add the Topp Twins, three former All Blacks and hundreds of elite rural sportspeople, mix them in a variety of competitive endeavours in Queenstown under blue skies and sunshine and what do you get?

The inaugural New Zealand Rural Games which were so successful it is to be an annual event:

Organisers of the first ever Hilux New Zealand Rural Games confirmed it will become an annual event after attracting more than 7,500 spectators to Queenstown over the Waitangi holiday weekend.

An estimated crowd of 5,000 people lined the downtown streets on Waitangi Day to watch around 400 locally-bred merino sheep pass by in the Running of the Wools. The free event, co-sponsored by the Otago Daily Times and clothing and gift retailer, Global Culture, proved the perfect curtain raiser for the next two days of traditional sports and live entertainment staged on Queenstown Recreation Ground.

Snow on the mountains around Lake Wakatipu after storms earlier in the week quickly melted as the sun ensured a warm and sunny atmosphere for competitors and spectators alike.

Billed as a showcase for ‘sports that built the nation’, nearly 200 competitors took part in 13 national and trans-Tasman championships including sheep dog trials, coal shovelling, wood chopping, speed shearing, speed fencing and gumboot throwing plus the Wild Buck Challenge taking place in the beer tent.

Spectators were entertained on both days by roving MCs, musical comedy duo the Topp Twins, plus three former All Blacks in Jeff Wilson, Justin Marshall and Toyota ambassador, Marc Ellis who competed with and against each other in several events over the weekend.

Day one highlights included the North Island taking out the NZ Inter-Island Challenge Sheep Dog Trials in association with Ngai Tahu Farming while former NZ strongman champion and national Highland Games number two, Reuben de Jong winning the NZ Rural Highland Games ‘Heavies’ trophy. The overall title of this new addition to the NZ Highland Games calendar, presented in association with PlaceMakers, was decided over the four traditional events of caber toss, stones lift, farmer’s walk and heavy stone toss.

The ANZAXE Trans Tasman Wood Chopping Championship pitched the four top-ranked Aussies – Jamie Head, Laurence O’Toole, Brent Rees and Brayden Myer – against New Zealand’s reigning world champion team of Shane Jordan, Jason Wynyard, Adam Lowe and Kyle Lemon.

Queenslander, Jamie Head took the overall trophy from Kiwis Shane Jordan (second) and Jason Wynyard (third), while the home team won the team event.

Australia had more individual success in the New Zealand championships for coal shovelling on Saturday and cherry stone spitting on Sunday. The reigning Australian champions in each sport, Stuart Turner from New South Wales and Clint Thompson from WA respectively, will take the titles back across the Ditch with them.

Elsewhere on Sunday, the NZ Wine Barrel Racing Championship attracted a global field including entrants from North America, Europe and Asia as well as home grown talent. Eventual men’s winner, Csaba Szondi was visiting from Hungary.

In the throwing events, 10-year-old Adam Stevens from Invercargill won the Bill Tapley Trophy for cow pat tossing held as part of Jetstar Kids ‘n Country, a series of fun events for the under-12s.

Interviewed after his victory he revealed the secret of his success: “I chose a nice tight turd and threw it as far as I could.”

After speed competitions for hand milking in association with Fonterra (featuring a pair of specially adapted fibreglass cows), tree climbing, fencing (in association with Line 7) and gold panning there was victory for five-time world shearing champion, David Fagan in the NZ Speed Shear Championship in association with Toyota Hilux. The veteran from Te Kuiti will retire from competition in April at the end of the current New Zealand season.

In the Games’ penultimate event, an excited crowd witnessed a new national record for egg throwing and catching of 61.7m recorded by Justin Marshall (throwing) and Jeff Wilson (catching). Then the first NZ Gumboot Throwing Championship, in association with Skellerup, saw both men and women’s North Island teams (selected during last year’s Taihape Gumboot Day) win against South Island teams that qualified through Saturday’s regional champs.

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games founder and trustee, Steve Hollander was delighted with how the event turned out.

“What a weekend! We’re all taken aback by the New Zealand public’s enthusiasm for rural sports some of which have all but died out as spectator events. That’s our vision – to preserve the legacy of traditional sports for future generations, bringing them to the attention of the wider population and ensuring this country’s rural spirit is celebrated for many years to come,” he said.

“Huge thanks for everyone who competed and came along to make the event such a success, as well as our amazing volunteers and event crew. We’re already planning for next year so see you in Queenstown on Waitangi weekend 2016.”

Sky Sports will be showing an hour-long highlights programme of the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games at 6.30pm on Friday 13 February.

TV3’s coverage of the Games is here.

TV1’s coverage is here.

Steve Hollander has been working on the concept for about five years.

I became chair of the Games Trust late last year after most of the hard work had been done.

The last three days were a very good reflection on Steve’s drive and determination and the work he and his team had put in to dotting is and crossing ts.

Competition was fierce and competitors and spectators were treated to a weekend of excitement and entertainment.


February 9 in history

February 9, 2015

474 Zeno was crowned as co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

1555 Bishop of Gloucester John Hooper was burned at the stake.

1621 Gregory XV became Pope, the last Pope elected by acclamation.

1770 Captain Cook completed his circumnavigation of the North Island.

Cook completes circumnavigation of North Island

1773 William Henry Harrison, 9th President of the United States, was born (d. 1841).

1789 Franz Xaver Gabelsberger, German inventor of the stenography, was born (d. 1849).

1825 After no presidential candidate received a majority of electoral votes, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams President.

1849 New Roman Republic was established.

1865 Mrs. Patrick Campbell, British actress (b0rn Beatrice Stella Tanner), was born (d. 1940).

1870 – The U.S. Weather Bureau was established.

1874 Amy Lowell, American poet, was born (d. 1925).

1885 The first Japanese government-approved immigrants arrived in Hawaii.

1889 The United States Department of Agriculture was established as a Cabinet-level agency.

1891 Ronald Colman, English actor, was born (d. 1958).

1895 William G. Morgan created a game called Mintonette, which was soon referred to as volleyball.

1897 – Charles Kingsford Smith, Australian pilot, was born  (d. 1935).

1900 Wanganui Opera House opened.

1900 The Davis Cup competition was established.

1920 Under the terms of the Spitsbergen Treaty, international diplomacy recognised Norwegian sovereignty over Arctic archipelago Svalbard, and designated it as demilitarized.

1926 Garret FitzGerald, 7th Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, was born.

1934 The Balkan Entente is formed.

1936 Stompin’ Tom Connors, Canadian country singer, was born.

1940  Brian Bennett, British musician (The Shadows), was born.

1940 – J. M. Coetzee, South African author, Nobel laureate, was born.

1942 – Year-round Daylight saving time was re-instated in the United States as a wartime measure to help conserve energy resources.

1942 Carole King, American singer, was born.

1943 World War II: Allied authorities declare Guadalcanal secure after Imperial Japan evacuates its remaining forces from the island, ending the Battle of Guadalcanal.

1944  Alice Walker, American writer, was born.

1945 Mia Farrow, American actress, was born.

1945 The Battle of the Atlantic – HMS Venturer sank U-864 off the coast of Fedje, Norway, in a rare instance of submarine-to-submarine combat.

1947 Carla Del Ponte, Swiss UN prosecutor, was born.

1950 Second Red Scare: Senator Joseph McCarthy accused the United States Department of State of being filled with Communists.

1955 Charles Shaughnessy, British actor, was born.
1960 Joanne Woodward received the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1960 Holly Johnson, British singer (Frankie Goes to Hollywood), was born.

1962 Jamaica became independent.

1964 The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing before a “record-busting” audience of 73 million viewers.

1965 The first United States combat troops were sent to South Vietnam.

1969 First test flight of the Boeing 747.

1970 Glenn McGrath, Australian cricketer, was born.

1971 The 6.4 Richter Scale Sylmar earthquake hits the San Fernando Valley area of California.

1971  Satchel Paige became the first Negro League player to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1971 Apollo 14 returned to Earth after the third manned moon landing.

1975 The Soyuz 17 Soviet spacecraft returned to Earth.

1991 Voters in Lithuania voted for independence.

1994 Vance-Owen peace plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina was announced.

1995 Space Shuttle astronauts Bernard A. Harris, Jr. and Michael Foale became the first African American and first Briton, respectively, to perform spacewalks.

1996 The Irish Republican Army declared the end of its 18 month ceasefire shortly followed by the explosion of a large bomb in London’s Canary Wharf.

2001 The submarine USS Greeneville (SSN-772) accidentally struck and sunk the Ehime-Maru, a Japanese training vessel.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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