Word of the day


Utepils (Norwegian) – a beer that is enjoyed outside on a sunny day, especially the first hot day of summer; outdoor lager.

Saturday’s smiles


Helium walks into a bar,
The bar tender says “We don’t serve noble gasses in here.”
Helium doesn’t react.

Silver walks up to Gold in a bar and says, “AU, get outta here!”

Two chemists go into a restaurant.
The first one says “I think I’ll have an H2O.”
The second one says “I think I’ll have an H2O too” — and he died.

What did the scientist say when he found 2 isotopes of helium?

A proton and a neutron are walking down the street.
The proton says, “Wait, I dropped an electron help me look for it.”
The neutron says “Are you sure?” The proton replies “I’m positive.”

Online money has recently been discovered to be a not-yet-identified super heavy element.
The proposed name is: Un-obtainium.

The optimist sees the glass half full.
The pessimist sees the glass half empty.
The chemist see the glass completely full, half in the liquid state and half in the vapor state.

 What do chemists call a benzene ring with iron atoms replacing the carbon atoms?
A ferrous wheel.

If H2O is the formula for water, what is the formula for ice?
H2O cubed.

Rural round-up


Fruit early but shortage of workers – Yvonne O’Harra:

Cromwell and Roxburgh orchardists are intending to start harvesting cherries this week, which is up to 10 days earlier than usual.
However, there is also a shortage of workers.

Orchardists spoken to by Southern Rural Life said at this early stage of the season, the region’s crops of cherries and apricots were shaping up as some of the best there had been for a few years, thanks to the milder spring.

Cromwell orchardist Mark Jackson, of Jacksons’ Orchard, said everyone he had talked to was ”pretty happy” with the season so far and with the way the crops looked. . .

The new post-quake normal for south Marlborough – NZ’s biggest cul de sac – Oliver Lewis:

In a pair of towns straddling a major highway, the sound of engine noise at night has become a curiosity.

People prick up their ears from inside earthquake-damaged homes, wondering about a noise that until a year ago was a near-constant hum in the background.

Any road big enough to matter is called arterial, but for the south Marlborough towns of Seddon and Ward the description is particularly apt for State Highway 1.

Winding its way through the surrounding vineyards and gold-coloured rolling hills, the highway pumped through a steady stream of travellers and trade – lifeblood for businesses in the area. . .

Mustering courage – Alex Cook:

Stretching along both sides of the Clarence River and straddling the Clarence Fault, which runs between the seaward and inward Kaikōura Ranges, is Muzzle Station.

It’s New Zealand’s most isolated high country station, and when the Kaikōura earthquake struck, its most precariously placed.

No time to read? Listen here now

It’s also the home of managers Fiona and Guy Redfern, and when the 7.8 quake hit just past midnight on 14 November, the couple could hear the horrific sound of rock walls around the house tumbling down, and the house cracking with the movement. . . .

Gardner makes it a double – Tim Fulton:

Mid Canterbury Texel breeder Paul Gardner is a second-time winner of the Canterbury A&P Mint Lamb competition.

Gardner, farming at Mayfield, won the supreme prize in 2014 and has previously headlined other categories.

The competition was open to all breeds and celebrated the quality and variety of lamb available in New Zealand. . .

Dr Dirt gets due reward:

Dr Ants Roberts has been awarded the Ray Brougham Trophy for his outstanding contribution to pastoral farming.

Nicknamed Dr Dirt by his colleagues, Roberts is a soil scientist and Ravensdown’s chief scientific officer.

“I’m deeply humbled to be recognised amongst my peers in this way for effectively doing something that I love and am passionate about. . . .

Denise Lee’s maiden speech


Denise Lee’s maiden speech has been widely praised for good reason.

I think it is worth reading in full, but have bolded the part where she describes the sudden death of her son, the aftermath and how that influenced her.

Tena koutou katoa

E tau nei tetahi pirere no Tikapa Moana.

Na ka kopangia maitia e te aroha o Maungakiekie, Maungarei hoki

Ka irihia ki a wai a Tamaki Herenga Waka

Ka irihia ki a wai a te Manukanuka Hoturoa

Na ka ungia nei ahau, hei mangai, hei taringa, hei kanohi mo te hunga ra,

No reira

Aroha ki a ratou kei te Tupou o te Tini

Ka mihia ki a tatou

Kia ora mai tatou katoa

Greetings to you all

A bird (fledgling) from the Coromandel has alighted here

Enfolded by the mana of Maungakiekie & Maungarei

Christened with the sacred water of Tamaki

Christened with the sacred water of Manukau

Sent here as the mouthpiece, the ears & the eyes for the people there.


I acknowledge those who have gone before

I mihi to us

Mr Speaker, greetings to us all. And congratulations on your new role; you are one of seven members here in the 52nd parliament who sat with my father back in the 80s & 90s.

Many of us have had family precede us here, fathers, grandfathers, cousins, but unusually two of my colleague’s fathers taught me in primary school, one of them moving on to become an MP, the other, my favourite teacher of all time. Well, now he happens to be in the building because his son is about to deliver a maiden speech.

No matter where you are in NZ, we are all somehow connected, somehow local, we inevitably know each other.

I drove into the local petrol station after the election to return yet another hired trailer used for signs. The station attendant approached me and remarked “hey are you that lady from the signs, the one that won? I’ve been watching you. If you know how to back a trailer like that you deserved to win!” I laughed, introduced myself to Lester and he told me he was a regular middle New Zealander working hard to make a living, and now that I was elected, “Miss lady from the signs” he said, “please don’t forget about us.”

Pressing a little further about what he meant, I discovered it meant he felt okay about working hard as long as he had enough to take his family on a holiday. He didn’t want law makers to take away that opportunity. It wasn’t complicated. He was outgoing and optimistic and felt strongly that he wanted to keep more of what he earned so he could choose how to spend it.

Lester is indicative of many others in my electorate of Maungakiekie. I’m honoured to have been the Auckland city councillor for the hard-working area, and now their member of Parliament and I thank them for the faith they have placed in me to continue as an elected representative.

May I acknowledge the immediate and highly-regarded past member of Parliament the Honourable Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga who joins me here in support today. Faafetai lava Sam.

I have learnt a few things about Maungakiekie along the way.

When we’re told the Manukau harbour is the poor cousin to the Waitemata, we don’t accept it. We straddle both.

When we know we’ve got NZ’s largest regeneration project because some of our social indicators are poor, we embrace it. We stick together to face change.

When we’ve got the nation’s largest industrial area contributing to GDP, we value it. We punch above our weight.

We’re highly diverse in age, culture, and income. The level of investment and activity in our part of New Zealand is unprecedented. Between the scale of Housing NZ’s build in Oranga to Tamaki Redevelopment Company, to the AMETI transport project and the huge and long-planned for yet controversial East West Link, we are a very busy part of New Zealand.

Maungakiekie contains much life-blood of our nation.

While the scale of these projects value into the billions, the true value of any electorate is always back at the local level. Panmure, Ellerslie and Onehunga, the three main village centres (Mt Wellington let’s work on one), have a distinct community feel that is hard to find in a fast-paced busy city.

Intent on keeping and fostering that village feel, before I ran for office, among other things I co-created a charitable trust which brokered local residents and business owners to pull off social projects for good, a far cry from another former role I had working with high net worth clients at Morgan Stanley in Philadelphia.

We were highly motivated to model to our own city-kids the importance of service. Town clean-ups, small business make-overs, teen mum support, community gardens, we did it all.

We were organic, responsive, innovative and frugal, everything the local government-employed community staff weren’t and a big reason why I am thoroughly committed to the principle of allowing community to produce the answers.

When I was awarded a NZer of the Year local hero award, I had someone approach me after the medal ceremony and ask me “do you get this from your Dad?”

I come from a long line of civic duty family commitment. It appears there really is something in the blood. Grandad lied about his age to serve in World War 1 as a 16 year old alongside his five older brothers. He came back after being gassed in the trenches, built much of Paeroa, and became the Mayor.

His son, (my father) became the Mayor after him.

Provincial life was unhurried and at times quaint. I recall our girl’s Brownie pack having to parade past Dad standing in front of the council chambers, dressed in his mayoral chains as part of annual town commemorations.

Each year we were taught to acknowledge the Mayor with the usual two finger Brownie salute. I figure there’s no better time than my maiden speech in parliament to finally let Dad know, a mere 40 or so years later, that one parade my younger sister Angela and I decided, in jest, to momentarily turn the fingers around.

Lucky for us your dubious eyesight didn’t catch our slight of hand Dad. Even more lucky, our 75yr old head Brown Owl, well known for her paralysing death stare, didn’t either.

I was 11 when Dad went to parliament as the MP for Coromandel. I was fascinated right from the start, in a large part due to the interesting people politics attracted. Unlike today it was often the biggest, most dynamic membership-based show in town. Ross Miller, a long-term electorate Chairman for Dad, and an unfailing advocate for my own journey, is here today and will recall with clarity a certain Miss Elsie Wylde. This woman deserves to be immortalized in Hansard.

At the tender age of 80 she would fill every room with her presence, boom out interjections, always be right with political predictions and should anyone dare to object, she would loudly and publicly remind them she taught both them and their children at school, recalling their lack of academic abilities.

I’d like to say it was her political discourse that grabbed my attention most but in all honesty it was hard to go past the time she ate beetroot at a pot luck event and without knowing it, the beetroot juice slipped from the corners of her mouth and down her deeply ingrained wrinkles, producing a tributary stream effect. Thoroughly memorable.

Although I had observed and participated in politics, studied it, sat at the feet of political icons like Rob Eady and enjoyed party membership life, at some point it needed to become my own journey. And that it did, in the form of the unexpected, the inexplicable and as official records still record today, the unexplainable.

One night I awoke as a young parent and decided to check on my two year old son Riley only to discover he had died in his sleep.

What ensued was a series of random interactions with a cold-hearted function-driven system. The failure of police inquest officers, pathologists and coroners to sensitively inform and communicate their process to two shell-shocked parents still mystifies me today.

Loss comes in all forms, not just death, but loss of careers, loss of confidence, loss of relationships and marriage, my own succumbing to the high percentage of those that end upon the death of a child.

With all our collective legislative wisdom, there shouldn’t also have to be loss of faith in a system supposedly designed to protect those that need it at precisely the time when they most need it.

Trying to keep up with where Riley’s body had gone, what they were doing to it, what they were retaining from it, receiving an abruptly-worded police letter informing us of our Coroner’s court hearing date, it was all too much.

No explanations, no ‘frequently asked questions’ brochure, just a summons. You’ll understand I thought we were being put on trial for the death of our son.

Walking through the valley of the shadow of death, trying to understand the legalities and desperately wanting to just stay away from the world to get on with grieving, my sense of indignance grew. I was the one who asked to meet with the police, the pathologists and others to get a handle on who else may have to face what we did.

This indignance formed a seed that merged into a big part of the driving force that sees me standing here today. I’m subsequently relieved the coronial system has improved for people, the 2006 Coroners Act and later reviews better protect the interest of grieving families.

Politics really did become personal for me then. A flick of the pen, wording of an amendment, an exchange in the debating chamber – parliament’s processes affect everyday lives.

I’ve had the pleasure of being in Auckland Council’s cabinet as Deputy Chair for Planning, covering Auckland’s housing, transport, and infrastructure. $45 billion dollars of assets to make the eyes water, but what is reality for residents? Fixing the broken curb so car tyres don’t get scraped, speeding up consents so the house extension can just get built, and going to the park expecting to see the lawns have been mowed.

The settings are wider here, but however you measure it, the expectation is that we will make a difference in the everyday lives of New Zealanders. We will foster the right economy for jobs and income, which in turn fosters hope and the fruition of dreams.

I am immensely proud to stand with the National party who have overseen substantial growth in their recent term of government, despite international trends to the contrary. 10,000 new jobs each month for the last 18 months is extraordinary.

I am surrounded by a host of incredible supporters who appear to have decided I am a good investment of their time, energy, and unfailing commitment.

I can only hope I return the favour. To the National party, thank you for backing me to back Lester and backing people to choose their own future.

What I most appreciate about you and our leader the Rt Hon Bill English, is the relentless commitment to the politics of hope. It should always outweigh the politics of fear, even when the latter sells more media space.

To my core local volunteer team, you’re everything I would wish for. As chance would have it, we’re dominated by females.

Dr Lee Mathias, how you have the time to run boards, a business and back women like me, I do not know. Sue White, politics is obviously in your blood too, but for all the right reasons. Your friendship and that of your talented daughter Ainsley I hold dear.

Louise Millar, my Chair, our kids went to school together, you always say yes, and no one can sport a pair of red bands in the city like you do. Josh Beddell, the lone male voice, we all know you love it.

To my personal friends outside of politics, let’s keep it that way. You don’t like the policy detail and I like the escape. You also remind me this place is a bubble, so if I ever get out of touch, pop me.

And to my funny, often irreverent, and close-knit family, I adore you. My two sisters Rochelle and Angela and your clans, we have many more adventures ahead and I am proud of our strong and fun-filled bond.

Remember the time we ran around the Beehive as teenagers and I fell on Robert Muldoon when he opened his secret private elevator door? It’s time for the next generation of kids to let loose on parliamentary security.

Mum and Dad your rock solid presence and commitment to our family is a very large reason I am here today. In an age of transience and relativity you have been present for us and stuck to your convictions, the greatest and most admirable of which is that you love and serve others before yourself.

When we’ve hit hard times as a family, and there’s been plenty, you have adapted. I cannot thank you enough for the way in which your character has forged our family destiny and that you have supported me in the pursuit of mine.

And finally to my own precious children, my son Riley who as the good book says ‘lives beyond the veil’, you are a gift.

My daughters Sydnee and Makenna, your world is not the one I grew up in. I spent weekends rat shooting at the Paeroa dump, you navigate the virtual world, streaming mass international content 24/7 under the watchful eye of the Google and Facebook empires.

It is your world that will rapidly change what we do here in these halls and I am proud to have two incredibly talented young women to guide me in how to think ahead. I love you.

In closing, I wish us all well Mr Speaker, God-speed to the 52nd Parliament of the world’s most attractive nation.

Saturday soapbox


Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Image result for margaret atwood quotes images

A word after a word, after a word is power. – Margaret Atwood.

November 18 in history


326 – Old St. Peter’s Basilica was consecrated.

1105 – Maginulf elected the Antipope Sylvester the IV.

1210 – Pope Innocent III excommunicated Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV.

1302 – Pope Boniface VIII issued the Papal bull Unam sanctam (One Faith).

1307 – William Tell shot an apple off of his son’s head.

1421 – A seawall at the Zuiderzee dike broke, flooding 72 villages and killing about 10,000 people.

1477 – William Caxton produced Dictes or Sayengis of the Philosophres, the first book printed on a printing press in England.

1493 – Christopher Columbus first sighted Puerto Rico.

1626 – St. Peter’s Basilica was consecrated.

1686 – Charles Francois Felix operated on King Louis XIV’s anal fistula after practicing the surgery on several peasants.

1730 – Frederick II (Frederick the Great), King of Prussia, was granted a royal pardon and released from confinement.

1785 David Wilkie, British artist, was born (d. 1841).

1793 – The Louvre was officially opened.

1803 – The Battle of Vertières, the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Haiti, the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere.

1809 – In a naval action during the Napoleonic Wars, French frigates defeated British East Indiamen in the Bay of Bengal.
1836 Sir William S. Gilbert, British dramatist, was born (d. 1911).
1861 – Dorothy Dix, American journalist, was born (d. 1951).

1863 – King Christian IX of Denmark decided to sign the November constitution that declared Schleswig to be part of Denmark.

1865 – Mark Twain’s story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County was published in the New York Saturday Press.

1874 – En route to Auckland with immigrants, the Cospatrick caught fire and sank off South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.

Cospatrick fire kills 470

1883 – American and Canadian railroads instituted five standard continental time zones, ending the confusion of thousands of local times.

1903 – The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed by the United States and Panama, giving the United States exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.

1904 – General Esteban Huertas step down after the government of Panama fears he wants to stage a coup.

1905 – Prince Carl of Denmark became King Haakon VII of Norway.

1909 – Two United States warships were sent to Nicaragua after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) were executed by order of José Santos Zelaya.

1916 – World War I: First Battle of the Somme ended– British Expeditionary Force commander Douglas Haig called off the battle.

1918 – Latvia declared its independence from Russia.

1926 – George Bernard Shaw refused to accept the money for his Nobel Prize, saying, “I can forgive Alfred Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.”

1928 – Release of the animated short Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, featuring the third appearances of cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

1929 – 1929 Grand Banks earthquake: a Richter magnitude 7.2 submarine earthquake, centered on Grand Banks, broke 12 submarine transatlantic telegraph cables and triggered a tsunami that destroyed many south coast communities in the Burin Peninsula.

1930 – Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai, a Buddhist association later renamed Soka Gakkai, was founded by Japanese educators Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda.

1938 – Trade union members elected John L. Lewis as the first president of the Congress of Industrial Organisations.

1939 Margaret Atwood, Canadian writer, was born.

1940 – World War II: German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano met to discuss Benito Mussolini’s disastrous invasion of Greece.

1940 – New York City’s Mad Bomber placed his first bomb at a Manhattan office building used by Consolidated Edison.

1942 – Susan Sullivan, American actress, was born.

1943 – World War II: Battle of Berlin: 440 Royal Air Force planes bombed Berlin causing only light damage and killing 131. The RAF lost nine aircraft and 53 air crew.

1947 – The Ballantyne’s Department Store fire in Christchurch killed 41.

1949 – The Iva Valley Shootin after the coal miners of Enugu, Nigeria struck over withheld wages; 21 miners were shot dead and 51 wounded by police under the supervision of the British colonial administration of Nigeria.

1961 – United States President John F. Kennedy sent 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.

1963 – The first push-button telephone went into service.

1967 – The United Kingdom government devalued the Pound sterlingfrom $2.80 to £2.40.

1970 – U.S. President Richard Nixon asked the U.S. Congress for $155 million USD in supplemental aid for the Cambodian government.

1978 – Jim Jones led his Peoples Temple cult to a mass murder-suicide that claimed 918 lives in all, 909 of them in Jonestown itself, including over 270 children. Congressman Leo J. Ryan was murdered by members of the Peoples Temple hours earlier.

1983 Jon Johansen, Norwegian software developer, was born.

1987 – Iran-Contra Affair: The U.S. Congress issued its final report on the Iran-Contra Affair.

1987 – King’s Cross fire: 31 people died in a fire at the city’s busiest underground station at King’s Cross St Pancras.

1988 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law allowing the death penalty for drug traffickers.

1991 – Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon released Anglican Church envoys Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland.

1991 – The Croatian city of Vukovar capitulates to the besieging Yugoslav People’s Army and allied Serb paramilitary forces.

1993 – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was ratified by the USA House of Representatives.

1993 – In South Africa 21 political parties approved a new constitution.

1999 – In College Station, Texas, 12 were killed and 27 injured at Texas A&M University when the 59-foot-tall (18 m) Aggie Bonfire, under construction for the annual football game against the University of Texas, collapsed at 2:42am.

2002 – Iraq disarmament crisis: United Nations weapons inspectors led byHans Blix arrived in Iraq.

2003 – In the United Kingdom, the Local Government Act 2003, repealing controversial anti-gay amendment Section 28, became effective.

2003 – In a 50-page, 4–3 decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state may not “deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry.”

2004 – The Clinton Presidential Centre was opened in Little Rock, Arkansas, containing 2 million photographs and 80 million documents.

2012  – Nintendo released the Wii U.

2013 – NASA launched the MAVEN probe to Mars.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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