Word of the day


Autothaumaturgist – one who pretends to be mystical or mysterious.

Rural round-up


More to farming than money‘ – Kate Taylor:

Central Hawke’s Bay farmer Mark Toulmin says winning the Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year title opened a lot of doors for his family’s farming operation. Entries for this year’s competition close on February 13.

“I would encourage anyone to give it a go,” he says. “It’s worth it. It introduced us to new people and new ideas, financial opportunities . . . and people trust your opinion.

“Put your business out there, especially if you’re doing something different or thinking outside the square, that helps if you’re not just doing the same as everyone else.”

Toulmin says it’s not all about finances, either. . .

Kiwi grower sets new oilseed rape yield record of 6.31t/ha – Andrew Swallow:

Virgin land, the ideal climate and good weed control are the key components of a New Zealand grower’s record-breaking crop of oilseed rape.

Chris Dennison harvested a moisture-corrected 64.37t off 10.2ha on 23 January, a yield of 6.31t/ha. This beats the 6.14t/ha record set by Tim Lamyman, of Worlaby Farms, Lincolnshire, last July.

Mr Dennison, a former world record wheat yield holder from near Oamaru, on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, says reading about Mr Lamyman’s feat in Farmers Weekly spurred him to “have a crack” at the OSR record. . .

Death of top Jersey Bull a huge loss:

The late Manzello

CRV Ambreed’s highest ranked Jersey bull passed away over the weekend which his breeder said is a huge loss to New Zealand’s dairy industry.

Pukeroa TGM Manzello’s breeders, Alan and Vivian Lockwood-Geck, said they were saddened to hear their star sire had passed away while still in his prime. . .

 LIC team to visit Southland farms:

Farmer-owned co-operative LIC has a team of more than 140 meeting in Invercargill next week, to check out the local dairy scene and connect with Southland farmers for its biannual sales conference.

The three-day event, which includes a number of visits to farms in the area, brings LIC’s nationwide team of farm solutions managers together to learn more about what’s happening on-farm, the challenges farmers are facing this season and solutions the co-op can provide.

Chief executive Wayne McNee says it is the first time the conference has been held in the South Island. . .

LIC forms strategic partnership with SCR world-leading cow intelligence provider:

Farmer-owned co-operative LIC (NZX:LIC) has secured a new strategic partnership with the world-leading cow monitoring and milking intelligence solutions company, SCR.

The partnership includes a distribution agreement whereby SCR, recently acquired by Allflex Group, will distribute the co-op’s DAL milking sensors internationally and LIC will become a New Zealand distributor for SCR’s cow reproduction and health monitoring system, Heatime®.

LIC chief executive Wayne McNee says the partnership is part of the co-op’s strategy to grow the business overseas and provide New Zealand dairy farmers with more choice.

“SCR is a world-leading provider of cow intelligence systems with a strong history of delivering solutions to improve farm efficiency worldwide. This agreement aligns with our vision to improve the prosperity and productivity of our farmers, and our focus on key international markets that will add value for shareholders in New Zealand. . .

At a time when we need our forests to remove carbon from the air, why push for farming methods that demand more and more land be used for agriculture because it cannot produce as much food as non-organic farms? (Image: Pico van Houtryve (CC))

Celebrate National Lamb Day


Kiwis are invited to celebrate National Lamb Day:

Sunday February 15 is to be National Lamb Day, with this year marking the 133rd anniversary of one of the most significant milestones in New Zealand’s sheep meat industry.

On this day in 1882, William Davidson and Thomas Brydone achieved the remarkable, by launching the first shipment of frozen sheep meat from Port Chalmers in Otago on the Dunedin, bound for London.

The industry hope Kiwis here and around the world will recognise this incredible feat and celebrate it by enjoying lamb for dinner on February 15.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Rod Slater says this day also gives New Zealanders an opportunity to recognise the hard work of our farmers and as a nation, a reason to be proud.

“So let us here in New Zealand celebrate with some delicious New Zealand lamb,” says Mr Slater.

“Not only are we celebrating the pioneers of the past 133 years, but also the direction our current agricultural industry is heading. We’re 100% behind all those in the industry.”

This first voyage was an important step in establishing our sheep and beef industry which now contributes $8.5 billion a year to the New Zealand economy.

The 5,000 sheep carcasses arrived in London 98 days later, in excellent condition (although not without incident, with all the challenges of refrigeration in those days) highlighting the size of the accomplishment. Prior to this, New Zealand mainly sold wool overseas as no one believed it possible to have a thriving meat export business.


The sheep on that first shipment were killed at Totara Estate a few kilometres south of Oamaru.

The Historic Places Trust (now called Heritage New Zealand) refurbished the buildings. It’s well worth a visit to learn about this important part of our history and get a sense of what life on the estate was like 133 years ago.

You can read more at NZ History Online.

If you’re wondering how to celebrate the day, here’s some inspiration from Australia’s lambassador, Sam Kekovich, :


Doing a lot or doing little


Prime Minister John Key presented his statement to parliament yesterday.

It included a list of the government’s achievements to date and plans for the next three years.

The PM doesn’t have to stick to that script in the House:

Prime Minister John Key kicked off the debate by taking aim at Labour leader Andrew Little. He had counted his calendar and discovered Mr Little had now been leader for 84 days. “In 1873, Jules Verne thought he could get around the world in 80 days. Well, in 84 days, Andrew Little hasn’t even got around his caucus. He hasn’t even got around the four people who voted for him.” He announced Mr Little had had the grand total of two ideas in that time: Maori sovereignty and the Future of Work Commission. “He’s going to hold a workshop about what a job is. That is a novel concept for a Labour MP, I’m prepared to admit that.”

“He isn’t Andrew Little. He’s Dr Do-Little,” Key crowed, clearly quite stoked with his own wit. . .

That’s the difficulty an Opposition faces.

The government can put its plan and put its plan into action. The Opposition can plan lots but do little and most of what it does do is negative – opposing what the government’s doing.

So while Labour and the others on the opposition benches carp about house prices, will they support the government’s plans to reform the RMA to reduce the time and cost of building new dwellings?

Of course not.

While the government is acting, the opposition is left doing little.
Today I challenged the opposition to stop simply talking about housing affordability and to support the Government as we do something about it.

February 11 in history


660 BC – Traditional date for the foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu.

1531 Henry VIII was recognised as supreme head of the Church of England.

1752  Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital in the United States, opened.

1790 Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, petitioned U.S. Congress for abolition of slavery.

1794 First session of United States Senate open to the public.

1808 Anthracite coal was first burned as a fuel, experimentally.

1809 Robert Fulton filed a patent for improvements to steamboat navigation.

1812 Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerrygerrymandered” for the first time.

1814 Norway‘s independence was proclaimed, marking the ultimate end of the Kalmar Union.

1826 University College London was founded under the name University of London.

1826 Swaminarayan wrote the Shikshapatri, an important test within the Swaminarayan faith.

1840 Gaetano Donizetti‘s opera La Fille du Régiment received its first performance in Paris.

1843 Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera I Lombardi received its first performance in Milan.

1847 Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor, was born (d. 1931).

1855 Kassa Hailu was crowned Tewodros II, Emperor of Ethiopia, by Abuna Salama III.

1861 United States House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state.

1864 Charles Heaphy was recommended for a VC for rescuing a soldier while under fire.

Charles Heaphy recommended for VC

1873 King Amadeus I of Spain abdicated.

1904 Sir Keith Holyoake, Prime Minister and Governor General of New Zealand, was born  (d. 1983).

1905 Pope Pius X published the encyclical Vehementer nos.

1916 Emma Goldman was arrested for lecturing on birth control.

1917 Sidney Sheldon, American author, was born  (d. 2007).

1919 Eva Gabor, Hungarian-born actress, was born (d. 1995).

1919 Friedrich Ebert (SPD), was elected President of Germany.

1920 King Farouk I of Egypt, was born  (d. 1965).

1929 Italy and the Vatican signed the Lateran Treaty.

1934 Mary Quant, English fashion designer, was born.

1936 Burt Reynolds, American actor, was born.

1938 BBC Television produced the world’s first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of  the Karel Capek play R.U.R., which coined the term “robot“.

1938 Bevan Congdon, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1939 – Bryan Gould, New Zealand-English politician

1939 A Lockheed XP-38 flew from California to New York in 7 hours 2 minutes.

1941 The first gold record was presented to Glenn Miller for “Chattanooga Choo Choo“.

1943 General Dwight Eisenhower was selected to command the allied armies in Europe.

1948 John Costello succeeded Éamon de Valera as Taoiseach of Ireland.

1963 Julia Child‘s show The French Chef premiered.

1964 Sarah Palin, 11th Governor of Alaska, was born.

1969 Jennifer Aniston, American actress, was born.

1971 Eighty-seven countries signed the Seabed Treaty outlawing nuclear weapons in international waters.

1973 First release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam took place.

1978  China lifted a ban on works by Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dickens.

1979 Islamic revolution of Iran achieved victory under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

1987 Philippines constitution went into effect.

1990 Nelson Mandela, a political prisoner for 27 years, was released from Victor Verster Prison.

1991 UNPO, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, formed in The Hague.

1997 Space Shuttle Discovery was launched on a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

2006 Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney accidentally shot Harry Whittington in the face, neck, and upper torso while hunting quail.

2008 – Rebel East Timorese soldiers seriously wounded President José Ramos-Horta. Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed in the attack.

2011 – The first wave of the Egyptian revolution culminated in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak and the transfer of power to the Supreme Military Council after 18 days of protests.

2013 – Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papacy, the first pontiff to resign in more than half a millennium.

2014 – A military transport plane crashed in a mountainous area of Oum El Bouaghi Province in eastern Algeria, killing 77 people.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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