366 days of gratitude

August 12, 2016

Fiji didn’t just win gold today, it showed us how sport can unite a country and inspire people much further afield:

Fijians live and breathe rugby sevens and the historic nature of this Olympic game literally stopped the nation.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific sent this note around, suspending classes. The Pacific foreign ministers, including New Zealand’s Murray McCully, meeting in Suva, stopped to watch the game.

Victoria Parade near the markets in the capital, Suva, was temporarily closed. So were banks, with signs asking them to come back later.

Crowds had gathered at the National Stadium in Suva to watch and cheer on their boys, with bells ringing and tears flowing after the game.

This is how much it means to the small Pacific nation. School children in elation, partying in the streets.

People were literally standing in the middle of traffic, as they knew they could get away with it today.

They were literally dancing on the rooftops. . . 

It seems a lot of people don’t know about Fiji – Google tweeted that Fiji was the number one trending search in the world after the win.

What they will find out in their searches is that the nation honours its players and the players in turn honour their maker. There’s a growing trend of Christian rugby players turning to prayer on the pitch. We saw it recently with the Lions following their defeat in the Super Rugby final to the Hurricanes. But it started with these Pacific nations.

And it’s not a show for the cameras. . . 

The players received their gold medals from Princess Anne getting on their knees – some saying it was because they were too tall for her, others saying it was an act of respect.

If there’s another thing Fiji can teach us about sport, it’s how to win with honour and humility. . . .

Passion, faith, fun, respect, honour and humility – I’m grateful for all of that.


Word of the day

August 12, 2016

Gold –  a yellow malleable ductile metallic element that occurs chiefly free or in a few minerals, with the chemical element of atomic number 79; and is used especially in coins, jewellery, and dentures  and to guarantee the value of currencies; a monetary standard based on this metal; something likened to this metal in brightness, preciousness or superiority; a deep lustrous yellow or yellow-brown colour; a quantity of gold coins; money, wealth, riches; a medal awarded as the first prize in a competition; consisting of, like or pertaining to gold; indicating the fiftieth event of a series, as a wedding anniversary; (of a record, CD, or cassette) having sold a minimum of 500,000copies.


Rural round-up

August 12, 2016

Kiwi world leader in precision farming – Nigel Malthus:

Mid-Canterbury farmer and businessman Craige Mackenzie was recently named the international Precision Farmer of the Year for 2016.

He is travelling to St Louis, Missouri, in early August to receive the award from the US-based PrecisionAg Institute. Nigel Malthus caught up with him before he left.

The award recognises “outstanding people, programmes and organisations making a difference in the precision ag industry”. It is a high honour for a man who was first invited to present a paper at an international conference in 2008 – but who did not then consider himself a precision farmer. . . 

$34-$35 Million FY16 reported earnings forecast for Synlait:

Synlait Milk’s reported net profit after tax (NPAT) for FY16 is forecast to be in the range of $34 – $35 million.

Underlying NPAT for FY16 is forecast to be in the range of $32 – $33 million.

Earnings guidance for the financial year ending 31 July 2016 (FY16) has been provided to clarify market expectations around FY16 performance.

“Our IPO growth projects added the capability and capacity to execute our strategy of making more from milk,” said Graeme Milne, Chairman. . . 

Collaborative group to improve nature protection:

A new collaborative group involving environmental and landowner organisations has come together to improve national policy on protecting nature on private land, Environment Minister Nick Smith announced today at the Environmental Defence Society’s ‘Wild Places’ conference in Auckland.

“New Zealand is globally recognised as a hotspot environmentally for the loss of unique species. One of the most challenging issues for councils and communities is improving the protection of our native species on private land while respecting the reasonable rights of owners to use their land for farming, forestry and other economic activities. This initiative is about bringing environmental groups and landowners together to develop clearer national policy on protecting the plants and animals that make New Zealand special.” . . 

Feds welcome biodiversity forum:

Federated Farmers welcomes the new national biodiversity forum announced by Minister Nick Smith at the Environmental Defence Society conference today.

Federated Farmers spokesperson for biodiversity Chris Allen says we now have the opportunity to come to a common understanding of the pressures and priorities for biodiversity, on land and in water.

“From here we chart a way forward. Part of this will be agreeing on a national policy statement. . . 

Threatened wildlife the winner if National Policy Statement on Biodiversity succeeds:

Forest & Bird is cautiously optimistic that the development of a National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity will help New Zealand’s struggling native wildlife, and streamline the process of protecting the environment.

Minister for the Environment Nick Smith announced today that core stakeholders have been invited to meet over the next 18 months and collaboratively work on a National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity.

A National Policy Statement (NPS) is a statutory document that guides and directs the contents of regional and district plans. All regional and district plans must give effect to the policy. . . 

Entries open for the 2016 Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award:

Rural Women New Zealand is offering the Journalism Award in a partnership with the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators.

The Award recognises the important contribution women make in the rural community, either through their role in the farming sector or to the general rural environment.

The Award encourages journalists to report on the achievements of women living and working in rural communities. The award recipient will demonstrate excellent understanding of issues and effectively communicate women’s responses to farming, family and business challenges, in a way which inspires and informs the audience. . . 

Changes to kiwifruit regulations:

The Government is updating kiwifruit regulations to ensure the industry is best structured for future growth, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

“New amendments to the Kiwifruit Export Regulations will allow Zespri shareholders to consider setting rules around maximum shareholding and eligibility for dividend payments. 

“This will give Zespri more options for managing its shareholding available to any other company operating under the Companies Act, and will ensure that the interests of all shareholders are recognised in any decision affecting them. . . 

Zespri welcomes changes to Kiwifruit Export Regulations:

Zespri welcomes the Government’s announcement that Cabinet has approved amendments to the Kiwifruit Export Regulations.

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride explains these regulatory changes represent the first major review of the regulations since they were put in place 17 years ago.

“The Kiwifruit Regulations have served the industry very well and extensive industry consultation showed more than 97 percent of growers support the industry structure, with minor changes identified to position the industry for the strong growth ahead. . . 

NZKGI welcomes amendments to Kiwifruit Export Regulations:

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) welcomes today’s announcement by the Government to approve amendments to the Kiwifruit Export Regulations.

These changes will ensure a regulatory structure that supports the sustainable, long-term growth of the New Zealand kiwifruit industry into the future.

The announcement today reflects considerable effort and investment by growers into ensuring the industry has the foundations to sustain its future in good and adverse times. . . 

Pahiatua Farmers Enjoy Participating In Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Wairarapa sheep and beef farmers Tim and Nicola Hewitt are proud of the environmental work on their family’s 724ha (640ha effective) property south of Pahiatua. While they were initially reluctant to enter the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards, they are glad they finally gave it a go.

“We didn’t want to be seen as blowing our own trumpet,” says Tim.

“But ultimately I think farmers have a responsibility to our industry to show that we are trying to do a good job when it comes to the environment.” . . 

New agri-food research centre in Palmerston North:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has today announced that AgResearch and Massey University will jointly build New Zealand’s largest agri-food research centre in the Food HQ Precinct on the Massey University campus in Palmerston North.

As part of AgResearch’s Future Footprint Programme, AgResearch and Massey University are investing $39 million in the Food Science Research Centre and the design for the new buildings is well underway.

“The research conducted at the Centre will span the agriculture sector from farm to consumer, with a focus on dairy and red meat research,” Mr Joyce says. . . 

Association backs ‘thorough’ maunka honey verification – Alexa Cook:

The Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association says it can now classify what is genuine manuka honey, which it believes is a world first.

John Rawcliffe, from UMF Honey Association, said clarification around what constituted genuine manuka honey would help protect the brand and identify legitimate honey.

“Everyone who puts the word ‘manuka’ on a bottle is required to ensure that it is, so from any export honey the requirement is to show that you are labelling correctly that it is manuka.

“There have been question marks on how to go about it, and today under the UMF quality mark at least we can say ‘this is manuka’.” . . 

Rodent eradication lies in directed vitamin dose:

Rats die of a heart attack within 48 hours of being sprayed with a new chemical formulation invented by a New Zealand – United Kingdom joint venture.

The formula includes Cholecalciferol, better known as vitamin D3 and used as a health supplement in humans.

But Peter Signal, a director of New Zealand company Advanced Animal Technologies (AAT), says it’s the combination of the chemical formula with a specially designed delivery system, called PiedPiper, that has been shown to deliver outstanding results in trials in the UK, Europe and Kenya. . . 

 


Friday’s answers

August 12, 2016

Gravedodger gets my thanks for posing the questions yesterday.

Looks like you’ve stumped us all so you can claim a virtual pot of Spanish Fish Stew by leaving the answers below.


Fiji

August 12, 2016

Fiji won its first Olympic medal today – and it’s gold.

They won the sevens by beating Great Britain 43 – 7 and have well and truly earned the right to be champions.


Shunning science shameful

August 12, 2016

A nurse has been given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to recklessly causing grievous bodily harm and failing to provide for a child.

A Sydney mother who put her baby in danger of starvation by breastfeeding while on a raw food diet has been handed a 14-month suspended sentence.

The 33-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, was last year trying to treat her six-month-old son’s severe eczema and sought the advice of a naturopath who allegedly first put her on the diet and later convinced her to consume only water.

The woman’s son nearly died of starvation and dehydration as a result.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) lawyer, Alex Brown, told the Campbelltown Local Court that the woman “was a nurse who decided to blindly follow a naturopath she had only just met” and that her child came within days of death. . . 

Severe eczema is horrific and difficult to treat.

When you’re sleep deprived, desperate to help your baby and conventional medical solutions don’t help it’s not unusual to seek unconventional solutions.

But it’s difficult to understand how a nurse could shun science and her own training by following such dangerous advice and fail to recognise her baby’s failing health.

News reports don’t mention the baby’s father or other family. Perhaps the mother had no other support and no-one else to help her or who would have observed the baby’s deteriorating health.

The naturopath has pleaded not guilty to the charges. How on earth can she defend the indefensible?

Alternative practices sometimes do no harm and some alternative advice might work.

I use Lavish Soap’s goats milk and flax seed oil cream for eczema. It can’t be advertised as a treatment because it hasn’t gone through the necessary scientific research but it stops the itching and even if it didn’t it wouldn’t kill me.

But some alternative practitioners let their own unfounded beliefs blind them and they’re particularly dangerous when giving advice to new parents and those expecting babies.

Earlier this year, Waitemata DHB had to investigate a staff member who handed out “dangerous” advice to pregnant women.

. . . Lesson handouts advised women to take castor oil or acupuncture to bring on labour and compared medical induction to forcing a butterfly out of its cocoon early. “A ‘helped out’ butterfly may never fly,” it reads. . . 

Shunning science when it could endanger lives is shameful.


4th silver

August 12, 2016

New Zealand’s men’s sprint cyclists won silver by .12 of a second.

The world champion New Zealand team of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins rode a quick 42.542 seconds in the gold medal ride but it wasn’t quite enough as Great Britain flew around the three laps in 42.440 to lower the Olympic record once more. . . 

That’s now one gold and four silvers and we’re still in 17th place in the medals table.


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