365 days of gratitude


Today and every day I’m grateful for the topsoil and rain.

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Despite all our accomplishments we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact it rains.

Word of the day


Ombre – a trick-taking card game for three people using a pack of forty cards, popular in Europe in the 17th–18th centuries; having colours or tones that shade into each other —used especially of fabrics in which the colour is graduated from light to dark; the gradual blending of one colour hue to another, usually moving tints and shades from light to dark.

Rural round-up


Fonterra High Court gagging action triggers ‘Streisand effect’ :

Fonterra’s high court injunction is causing “the Streisand effect”, with Fonterra’s farmer-shareholders now anxious to know what is being kept from them, says Federated Farmers.

National dairy chairman Chris Lewis said his phone has rung constantly with inquiries since Fonterra late on Friday secured an injunction gagging former director Leonie Guiney and preventing a weekly publication publishing or using any “confidential” information it received from her.

The injunction also prevents other unnamed media, including the New Zealand Herald, from spreading any “confidential” information it may have received from Guiney. . .

 Industry commits $11.2m towards Mycoplasma operating costs _ Gerard Hutching:

DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ and the Meat Industry Association will pay $11.2 million towards the costs of combating the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

The details of the financial contribution are yet to be worked out.

Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity Damien O’Connor said in funding of $85m for operational and compensation costs for the outbreak response, from July 1 last year to the end of the current financial year, was approved by Cabinet on Monday. In December last year, $10m was approved. . . 

M. bovis threat causes heifer competition cancellation –  Brittany Pickett:

Organisers have made the tough decision to drop a commercial dairy heifer competition to avoid the risk of spreading Mycoplasma bovis.

The Royal Agricultural Society-run dairy heifer competitions for Southland, Otago and Canterbury, as well as the South Island competition, which are run yearly through March and April, will not be held this year.

South Island competition convenor Merv Livingstone said the southern district of the agricultural society had made the tough call to cancel the competition because of the possible risk of further spreading the cow disease. . . 

M. bovis fears surround upcoming Gypsy Day – Alexa Cook:

 A Southland vet says farmers in the region are worried about the spread of the cattle disease when dairy herds are moved around on the upcoming Gypsy Day.

Gypsy Day is officially the first of June, and VetSouth director Mark Bryan said almost all the dairy cows in Southland, Otago, and Canterbury will be shifted to new properties for winter grazing or new sharemilking contracts. . .

Cardboard creativity pays dividends for Fonterra:

Fonterra has claimed an industry first with the launch of its ingenious packaging solution for high-quality milk fats, known as AMF. The solution is the first of its kind in the dairy industry.

Challenging the industry norm for storing the light-shy product in giant drums or in frozen packs, Fonterra has developed small 15L cardboard packs that are easily stackable and manoeuvrable and can be stored at room temperature. A butter alternative, AMF is an ingredient in many foods such as ice cream, confectionary and bakery goods. . . 

Rat traps set to save ‘modern day dinosaur’ frogs – Andrew McRae:

A network of self-resetting rat traps are being laid out in the Whareorino Forest in western King Country to help protect the Archey’s frog.

It is estimated that between 20 and 25,000 of the native frogs remain.

The Archey’s frog can only be found in the Whareorino Forest, Pureora Forest and on Coromandel Peninsular . .


Pākehā not broad enough


Another complaint about this year’s census is the stir over the options for ethnicity:

An Auckland man is pushing for the term Pākehā to be included as an ethnicity option in the census form.

Piha resident Peter Hosking was part of a Call me Pākehā online campaign, calling for the return of the term Pākehā in the census.

It was last featured in the 1996 census when it was bracketed next to New Zealand European, but was removed from the next census. . .

I don’t have a problem with calling myself a Pākehā but I won’t accept the ethnic category European New Zealander.

Ethnicity has several definitions including the fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition; a social group that shares a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, or the like; shared cultural practices, perspectives, and distinctions that set apart one group of people from another.

By none of those definitions would I claim to be European which is defined as relating to or characteristic of Europe or its inhabitants.

It can also be someone of European descent and that could indicate the colour of my skin but it doesn’t apply to a common national or cultural tradition to which I have any connection.

All of the antecedents I can trace were Scottish or New Zealanders of Scottish descent. All those born there all either died, or left, Scotland long before it became part of the European Union. I am sure none of them would claim European ethnicity.

It is possible that many centuries ago the ancestors of those ancestors I know about came from a European country, but Europe is a group of  different countries with different languages and cultures and I doubt if anyone from any of those many and varied countries would put European as their ethnicity.

Why then is is applied to people on the other side of the world, almost as far away as it’s possible to get from the European continent?

To add to the absurdity in the other category on the census form, Dutch is given as an example of ethnicity. If people from the Netherlands are Dutch rather than European surely New Zealanders should be New Zealanders rather than European.

That takes me back to Pākehā. While I don’t mind being classified as one, if I understand its meaning correctly I couldn’t categorise myself as one if my ancestors weren’t Scottish but were, for example Indian, Japanese, Iranian or Kenyan.

Or what if I was of Maori descent? The census allows you to tick more than one ethnicity box but would anyone who ticks Maori also tick Pākehā which can mean foreigner or not Maori?

We might well have lots of these people who consider themselves to be of New Zealand ethnicity but wouldn’t be comfortable claiming to be Pākehā.

If we were in Australia those of us who shared the cultural practices, perspectives, and distinctions that set us apart as New Zealanders could tick New Zealander as our ethnicity.

It is high time we could do it at home.

Quote of the day


What is honour? Honour is what no man can give ya. And none can take away. Honour is man’s gift to himself. – Rob Roy MacGregor who was born on this day in 1671.

March 7 in history


321  Roman Emperor Constantine I decreed that the dies Solis Invicti(sun-day) was the day of rest in the Empire.

1277 Stephen Tempier, bishop of Paris, condemned 219 philosophical and theological theses.

1671 Rob Roy MacGregor, Scottish folk hero, was born (d. 1734).

1799 – Napoleon Bonaparte captured Jaffa in Palestine and his troops killed more than 2,000 Albanian captives.

1814 Napoleon I of France won the Battle of Craonne.

1827 – Brazil marines unsuccessfully attacked the temporary naval base of Carmen de Patagones, Argentina.

1827 – Shrigley Abduction: Ellen Turner was abducted by Edward Gibbon Wakefield a future politician in colonial New Zealand.

1842 The first official execution in New Zealand took place when Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Nga Puhi chief Ruhe of Waimate, was hanged for killing five people.

First official execution in NZ

1850 Senator Daniel Webster gave his “Seventh of March” speech endorsing the Compromise of 1850 in order to prevent a possible civil war.

1875 Maurice Ravel, French composer, was born(d. 1937).

1876 Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the telephonebeating Antonio Meucci by just 4 hours.

1887  North Carolina State University was founded.

1895 – Dorothy de Rothschild, English philanthropist and activist, was born (d. 1988).

1912 Roald Amundsen announced that his expedition had reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911.

1914 Prince William of Wied arrived in Albania to begin his reign.

1925  Rene Gagnon, American Marine shown in photograph of the Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, was born (d. 1979).

1930 Antony Armstrong-Jones, British photographer, Lord Snowdon, former husband of Princess Margaret, was born.

1936  In violation of the Locarno Pact and the Treaty of Versailles, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland.

1941 – New Zealand troops arrived in Greece.

New Zealand troops arrive in Greece

1944 Sir Ranulph Fiennes, British soldier and explorer, was born.

1946  Matthew Fisher, British musician (Procol Harum), was born.

1945 American troops seized the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine River at Remagen.

1951 Korean War: Operation Ripper – United Nations troops led by General Matthew Ridgeway began an assault against Chinese forces.

1952 Viv Richards, Antiguan West Indies cricketer, was born.

1958 Rik Mayall, British actor, was born.

1963 – – E. L. James, English author was born.

1965 Bloody Sunday: A group of 600 civil rights marchers were forcefully broken up in Selma, Alabama.

1971  Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered his historic “This time the struggle is for our freedom” speech at Ramna Race Course, calling upon the Bengali people to prepare for the freedom struggle ahead.

1973 Sébastien Izambard, operatic pop singer (Il Divo), was born.

1986 Challenger Disaster: Divers from the USS Preserver located the crew cabin of Challenger on the ocean floor.

1988 – Cyclone Bola struck Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne–East Cape region.

Cyclone Bola strikes

1989 Iran and the United Kingdom broke diplomatic relations after a row over Salman Rushdie and his controversial novel.

1994 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that parodies of an original work are generally covered by the doctrine of fair use.

2007 – British House of Commons voted to make the upper chamber, theHouse of Lords, 100% elected.

2009– The Real Irish Republican Army killed two British soldiers and two civilians, the first British military deaths in Northern Ireland since The Troubles.

2009 – The Kepler space observatory, designed to discover Earth-like planetso orbiting other stars, was launched.

2014 – The opening ceremony for the Winter Paralympics took place in Sochi, Russia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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