366 days of gratitude

February 18, 2016

Hero – someone who is who is admired for her/his courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

Role model – someone who serves as an example through her/his values, attitudes, and behaviors.

Heroes and role models are people to whom we look up and who we can strive to emulate.

Some are well-known, others are closer to home.

They are the people who make the world a better place in big ways and small.

Today I’m grateful for heroes and role models.


Word of the day

February 18, 2016

Amarulence – bitterness; spite.


Rural round-up

February 18, 2016

Landcorp forecasts bigger loss this year, no dividend – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Landcorp Farming, the state-owned farmer, won’t pay a dividend to the government for a second consecutive year as low milk prices erode earnings from its dairy business.

The company expects to post a net operating loss of between $8 million and $9 million in its current financial year ending June 30, chief financial officer Steve McJorrow told parliament’s primary production select committee in Wellington. That’s a bigger loss than the $1 million to $6 million it forecast in December, and compares with a net operating profit of $4.9 million last year. The projected loss means Landcorp won’t pay a dividend for the year, McJorrow told BusinessDesk after the select committee meeting. . . 

Drought relief in the pipeline for North Otago – Rob Tipa:

Farmers in the North Otago downlands between Duntroon, Enfield and Herbert will be happy to leave behind the stresses of desperately dry summers when the taps are opened on an expanded irrigation scheme covering an extra 25,000 hectares next spring.

In December, this region was shaping up for a summer from hell as farmers were forced to destock quickly with predictions of an El Nino long, hot summer drought.

The North Otago Irrigation Company, which currently supplies about 100 shareholders with irrigation water from the Waitaki River, was running at full capacity in November and December to cope with demand. . . 

North dairy farms lift collective environmental record:

Northland’s dairy farms are collectively lifting their environmental compliance performance with record numbers achieving full compliance last season.

Joe Carr, chairman of the Northland Regional Council’s Environmental Management Committee, says 65 percent of the more than 900 farms inspected over four months from mid-August last year had achieved full compliance, the highest rate ever recorded.

Councillor Carr, an Okaihau-based beef farmer and forest owner who represents the council’s Hokianga-Kaikohe constituency, says 944 farms were visited by the council or its contractor last season. . . 

Wall to wall sky – it’s a big country – Kate Taylor:

Most travellers drive around the South Island looking up at the picturesque high country. Kate Taylor jumped at the opportunity to experience the views up close with four-wheel-drive company NZ Adventures.

Asking how four-wheel-drive a four-wheel-drive trip will be is probably not a good start for my 1250-kilometre high country safari down the South Island.

Usually I would class myself as a good vehicle passenger – chatty, happy and with not an ounce of carsickness. But I think my hosts receive the occasional message about my state of mind… a tight grip on the door handle, mouth firmly shut and eyes to the upward view.

The trip caters for people with their own 4WD vehicles and preferably drivers with 4WD experience. Certainly, some of the places driven in the tour are not for the fainthearted, with sheer drops on the side of the tracks or long, steep inclines up to spectacular views and back down again. . . 

Journey to the top of the world – Kate Taylor:

Kate Taylor concludes her three-part series about a 4WD high country safari from Blenheim to Cardrona. The final days of the six-day journey are more familiar territory for the Otago farmer’s daughter.

Standing beside the monstrous Leaning Rock high above the Cromwell Gorge, I assume the tour guide is joking when he says I can see the Blue Mountains where I grew up.

After all, we had already been on top of one Blue Mountain in North Canterbury and driven through part of Blue Mountain Station in Mid Canterbury.

But there they are – no bird’s eye view of West Otago but undoubtedly the Blue Mountains in the distance. . .

I couldn’t find part 2 of this series, if you come across it please post the link in comments.

 

Is Fonterra’ strategy outdate – Jacqueline Rowarth:

More developments in dairy processing operations, this time in Northland, are yet another nail in what must not be allowed to become Fonterra’s coffin.

The dairy farmers in the region will, potentially, have a choice of which company to supply. The dilemma for them is whether they continue to support their co-operative or move to a new company promising good returns.

The promise is based on the demand in China for UHT milk and ice cream: China is now believed to be the biggest ice cream market globally. Chinese spending on ice-cream increased over 50% between 2009 and 2014. Furthermore, consumption is still under a quarter of that consumed by Americans, giving plenty of room for further increases. The new company should be onto a winner. . . 

Canterbury farmer unofficially tops world crop record – Monique Steele:

A Canterbury farmer with a wheat crop yielding above the world record missed out on glory because it was never officially recorded.

Leeston farmer David Birkett harvested 16.7 tonnes a hectare from his feed-wheat crop which would have topped the existing record of 16.519t/ha held in the United Kingdom.

He suspected he was heading for a personal best, but decided against bringing in officials to verify a Guinness world record attempt. . . 

Southern Dairy Hub site found:

Southern Dairy Hub (SDH) chair Maurice Hardie says the vision of a southern research and development dairying centre is much closer to being realised with a conditional agreement on two properties now having been reached pending the satisfaction of a number of minimum requirements for both parties.

“This is an important milestone in our plan to build a facility that is a partnership between local farmers, DairyNZ and AgResearch; the new farm will enable local dairy farming issues to be researched on southern soils in southern conditions,” he says. . .


Much more than rugby

February 18, 2016

Richie McCaw was named the New Zealander of the Year last night.

. . .Presenting the award, Prime Minister John Key said: “One end of the country to the other we’re jam-packed with people who do incredible things.

“Kids always ask: ‘What’s the coolest thing about being Prime Minister? The free things – the people.

“Richie McCaw, who is the greatest All Black New Zealand has ever produced – an amazing New Zealander.

“Louise Nicholas who has done more for sexual violence and sexual abuse than any other New Zealander.

“Rob Fenwick who has a real passion… For the environment that we as New Zealanders treasure and enjoy so much.”

McCaw played a record 148 tests for the All Blacks, 111 of them as captain. . . 

He won for more than rugby, more than sport.

He is a great sportsman but he also does a lot of work with charity and it’s not just what he does but the way he does it – drive, the passion, the dedication, the humility.

McCaw said he was “hugely humbled” to be in the company of such great people.

“I’m the sort of guy who wants to give everything a crack.

“When you’re an old man sitting back and reflecting… Whether you achieved it or not, at least you gave it a crack, and that’s what I want to be thinking.”

McCaw received a standing ovation when his name was read out as winner of the New Zealander of the Year award.

He was then draped with a traditional Maori cloak, and said:

“For 15 years I was lucky enough to do something I loved.

“All I did was play sport really…

“I got more joy really from seeing those around me achieve… And the impact you can have on other people is truly a privilege.

“Representing a country on the world stage… Being the little country going up against the big ones and winning, that’s when you’re proud to wear the silver fern on you chest.

“Travelling round the world and being able to say you’re a Kiwi… That’s what it’s all about.

“Being able to give time to kids and the sport I love so much… And hopefully in the years going forward I’m able to do much more.

“It’s pretty cool.” . . .

McCaw was a record-winning All Black captain and his leadership showed not just on the field but in the way the team behaved off the field.

He stands out as a sportsman, a giver, a leader a man of character and a great New Zealander.

Paul Henry interviewed him here.

Kathryn Ryan interviewed him here.

 

 

 


Thursday’s quiz

February 18, 2016

While I’m blogging lighter you’re welcome to pose the questions.

There’s no need to follow the five-question formula I used.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual case of nectarines.


New flag has champions

February 18, 2016

On my walk this morning I was thinking about the flag referendum and concluded that the alternative one needs some champions.

I got home and found it has several:

All Blacks’ great Dan Carter is just one of a number of high profile New Zealanders to have joined a campaign to support changing the New Zealand flag.

The 112-Test veteran appears in a short video along with other sports, business, cultural and civic leaders. Other kiwis stepping up to vote for change include Silver Fern Maria Tutaia, New Zealander of the year finalist Rob Fenwick, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, former Mayor Sir Bob Parker, business leader Rob Fyfe and playwright Roger Hall to name just a few.

There’s another champion not in the video.

New Zealander of the Year Richie McCaw has just told Kathryn Ryan he favours the new flag.

Back to the media release:

These leaders come from a wide variety of backgrounds and political persuasions, and more leaders are expected to join the campaign. The video also features members of the public advocating for change.

New Zealand is the only country in the world to vote on its flag and the campaign encourages kiwis to take the once in a lifetime chance to change it.

Campaign Chairman Lewis Holden says he was struck by the passion of the high profile New Zealanders who have joined the campaign.

“Though the polls show we’re the underdogs, we’ve got a great team that’s prepared to advocate for change and explain why having a new flag makes sense economically, culturally and internationally.”

Mr Holden says a recent poll of 1000 people by Curia Research showed support for the new flag was growing, while support for the old flag had dropped to just 56% from a high of 69% last September.

“The trend suggests it could be much closer than people think and we believe that momentum is swinging towards change. I think New Zealand is ready for a new flag after 114 years of the old one.”

Mr Holden said the video would be highly visible on social media, with more than half a million views expected over the coming weeks.

“I think people will engage with this campaign and would like to hear the arguments for change from some of our most successful New Zealanders.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to vote for change and get a flag that represents New Zealand and New Zealanders in the 21st Century.” 

Some people genuinely don’t want change and some are open to it but are not enthusiastic about the alternative to vote for it.

There are also people who want change and will vote for it.

Then there are the people who want change but have let politics and what they see as an opportunity to knock Prime Minister John Key trump that.

It would disappointing and a waste of both money and opportunity if those political tragics held sway.

It is good to see people across the political spectrum and with no overt political preferences in the video because this shouldn’t be about political partisanship.

The first country in the world to give women the vote is the first to offer its citizens a choice about its flag.

We should celebrate that and vote for change or not because that’s what we want and not waste the vote on petty politics.


Quote of the day

February 18, 2016

Beauty can’t amuse you, but brainwork – reading, writing, thinking – can. – Helen Gurley Brown who was born on this day in 1922.


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