365 days of gratitude

May 1, 2018

The most wasted of days is one without laughter. – e.e. Cummings

Today wasn’t wasted and I’m very grateful for that.


Word of the day

May 1, 2018

Neophyte – a person who is new to a subject or activity; a convert to a belief or religion; a proselyte.


Alas poor Fortune I knew it well

May 1, 2018

One of Dunedin’s cultural gems, the Fortune Theatre, has announced its immediate closure:

Employees were told at 9am the theatre company would close today, with no further shows to be performed there.

Fortune Board of Trustees chairwoman Haley van Leeuwen said the board had been through an exhaustive process of reviews, and had closed the theatre because it was no longer financially viable.

According to its website it employed 11 permanent staff.

“We would like to acknowledge our staff during this difficult time who have worked hard towards the goal of securing the future of the theatre.”

“We have looked at many different avenues to avert closure, however theatres and their audiences have changed over the years, and we must now take stock, with the goal of keeping the tradition of local professional theatre alive in Dunedin.”

“Whatever future development arises it will be in a new format that represents the future model of theatre in New Zealand.

Fortune Theatre is New Zealand’s southernmost professional theatre and was established in 1974 at the Athenaeum in the Octagon.

It moved to its present location at the Trinity Methodist Church in 1978. . . 

 This is very sad for those directly affected, the arts community, the city and wider Otago.

The first play I saw at the Fortune was Roger Hall’s Glide Time (which later spawned the popular and long-running TV series Gliding On).

It was the first live play I had seen at a professional theatre and the first New Zealand play I’d seen performed.

I was a student then and continued going to the theatre until I finished university.

When I moved back to North Otago a few years later I began going down to Dunedin for plays when I could.

I returned to university about 10 years ago and for the next couple of years two friends and I would have a quick meal before going to Tuesday’s 6pm performance.

Those early evening performances worked well when I was back home, enabling a car load of us to see a play without being too late home.

But alas, in the last few years I wasn’t a regular theatre-goer and the Fortune’s fortunes show that too few others were too.

I am very sorry to read of its closure and hope that efforts to resurrect it are successful.


Rural round-up

May 1, 2018

Dr Terry Heiler’s prestigous career in water recognised with award:

One of New Zealand’s foremost experts in water management and irrigation has been recognised with an award from IrrigationNZ.

Dr Terry Heiler’s career has spanned 50 years and has seen him working in over twenty countries, and picking up two previous prestigious awards. Dr Heiler is now retired and lives near West Melton.

Dr Heiler was born Australia and gained a Civil Engineering Degree with the University of New South Wales. In 1967 he arrived in New Zealand. He initially worked for the NZ Agricultural Engineering Institute where he built a team of soil and water researchers. In 1982 he was appointed Director of the Institute. It worked to introduce new irrigation technology to New Zealand like drip irrigation, and pioneer new computer based design methods for storing flood runoff for irrigation. . . 

New hope for wool – Neal Wallace:

A new yarn made from strong crossbred wool and plant material is being developed by global giant DuPont Biomaterials for use in clothes, upholstery and carpets.

It is in the final stages and DuPont plans to use it at scale aiming at the mid to upper price bracket, global marketing director Renee Henze said on a visit to New Zealand supplier farms.

“The scale of opportunity for the NZ wool industry is massive,” Wools of NZ chairman Mark Shadbolt said though neither party is yet talking dollars or wool volumes. . . 

It’s a good time to be a banker – Hugh Stringleman:

New Zealand agriculture and horticulture and their support industries are enjoying sustained good returns in almost all products, newly appointed Rabobank NZ chief executive Todd Charteris says.

“It is a very good time to come back to NZ and lead the team to guide the clients of Rabobank in their banking needs,” he said.

The short to medium-term outlook for 2018 is for continued profitability onfarm and in the service sector, including good levels of conserved feed for next dairy season. . . 

New Zealand’s apple reputation on the line – Pam Tipa:

Maintaining New Zealand’s reputation for best quality will be tougher with a worker shortage, says Horticulture NZ president Julian Raine.

Optimum quality means picking at the right time so every tree gets picked three or four times, Raine told Rural News, in response to the Ministry of Social Development declaring a seasonal labour shortage across the Tasman region and its earlier declaration in Hawkes Bay.

Nelson-based Raine says seasonal fluctuations happen from time to time where more people are needed to pick fruit than are available. . . 

A tasty tiki tour for tourists:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand have commissioned a giant lamb chop to celebrate National Lamb Day – which takes place on Thursday 24 May. The giant chop set off this morning from Beef + Lamb HQ in Auckland on the maiden voyage of the ‘Lamb and Three Veg Tiki Tour’ which will go via some of the ‘tastier’ attractions across Aotearoa.

Starting at the giant kumara in Dargaville, the chop will pioneer a new tour route for tourists to follow, travelling via the iconic L&P bottle in Paeroa, the big carrot in Ohakune and onto the Wattie’s Pea Factory in Christchurch. . . 

The Search is on for New Zealand’s next top butcher:

Knives are being sharpened as the search begins for the best butchers in New Zealand, with entries for the 2018 Alto Butcher and ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year competition now open.

With the ability to put New Zealand’s butchers on the world stage, this prestigious competition is the Oscars of the meat industry.

The competition has been running for three decades now with the titles being highly sought after by competitors. . . 

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Wrong priorities

May 1, 2018

Labour can’t afford its campaign promise of cheaper GP fees :

. . . Health Minister David Clark said the Government would meet all its promises over the course of the term, but its GP policy would have to be phased in. 

“We are not going to release details of Budget announcements today, but I think the public understands that we do need to prioritise policies. . . 

The government doesn’t need to subsidise GP fees for the wealthy but ensuring primary health care is affordable for lower income people ought to be one of its top priorities.

It not only helps with quality of life it can prevent the development of more serious, and more costly, health conditions.

Having to back-track on this election promise shows it’s got it’s priorities wrong.

What’s more important – fee-free tertiary education for all, $1 billion for projects in the regions which may or may not be worthwhile or more affordable health care for those in most need?


He tangata

May 1, 2018

National Party leader Simon Bridges delivered his first speech on the economy yesterday:
 . . Now sometimes people can think the economy equals boring, or that we’re focused on balance sheets rather than people.

But when I talk about the economy, I’m talking about jobs for our children.

About wages for our families.

About the local sparky as much as the big corporation in the CBD.

About the opportunities we can give those kids from Rutherford College to move into work and follow their passion.

He tangata – it is people. The economy is the what and how, people is the why.

We need a strong and growing economy to look after people – to provide the services and infrastructure they need.

We also need a strong economy to enable businesses to succeed, to provide jobs and produce goods and services that we need to export in order to afford the imports that keep us in the first world.

All of this flows from a strong economy.

But those opportunities aren’t created by accident.

They’re built on the hard work of people who get up early in the morning to go to work, or who stay up late the night before to make the school lunches.

They’re built on the entrepreneurs who take a risk and hire their first staff member, or their hundredth, and the workers who produce world-class exports. 

They’re built on a nation of innovative, passionate Kiwis who back themselves to succeed – the farmers just out of town, the butchers down the road, and scientists and teachers and IT whizzes.

There is, however, one group of people who don’t directly create those jobs – and that’s politicians.

Of course we have some part to play. Our role should be to get the settings right and then get out of the way – making good, consistent, sensible policy choices that give businesses the confidence to do business. . . 

The government has made a lot of fuss about regional development and has given one minister $1 billion to play with.

The best and most important thing any government can do for the regions and the cities is to get the settings and policies right then and get of the way of people and businesses.

Confident businesses invest and take the risks that enable them to produce more and create more jobs.

They make a bigger contribution to the economy and that enables them and the government to do more for people.


Quote of the day

May 1, 2018

 People have always tut-tutted about actors stepping out of line politically. And I can sort of see it because what you’ve got your fame for is not being someone who can influence things, so it’s cheating.  – Joanna Lumley who celebrates her 72nd birthday today.


May 1 in history

May 1, 2018

305  Diocletian and Maximian retired from the office of Roman Emperor.

880 The Nea Ekklesia was inaugurated in Constantinople setting the model for all later cross-in-square Orthodox churches.

1328  Wars of Scottish Independence ended: Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton – the Kingdom of England recognised the Kingdom of Scotland as an independent state.

1576 Stefan Batory, the reigning Prince of Transylvania, married Anna Jagiellon and they became the co-rulers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

1707 The Act of Union joined the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1751 The first cricket match was played in America.

1753 Publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus, and the formal start date of plant taxonomy adopted by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

1759 Josiah Wedgwood founded the Wedgwood pottery company in Great Britain.

1776 Establishment of the Illuminati in Ingolstadt (Upper Bavaria), by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt.

1778 American Revolution: The Battle of Crooked Billet began in Hatboro, Pennsylvania.

1785  Kamehameha, the king of Hawaiʻi defeated Kalanikupule and established the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.

1786  Opening night of the opera The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Vienna.

1831 Emily Stowe, Canadian physician and suffragist, was born (d. 1903).

1834  The British colonies abolished slavery.

1840  The Penny Black, the first official adhesive postage stamp, was issued in the United Kingdom.

1846  The few remaining Mormons left in Nauvoo, Illinois, formally dedicated the Nauvoo Temple.

1848 The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta was founded at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

1851 Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition in London.

1852 Calamity Jane, American Wild West performer, was born (d. 1903).

1852 The Philippine peso was introduced into circulation.

1863  American Civil War: The Battle of Chancellorsville began.

1865 The Empire of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay signed the Treaty of the Triple Alliance.

1869 The Folies Bergère opened in Paris.

1875 Alexandra Palace reopened after the 1873 fire burnt it down.

1884  Proclamation of the demand for eight-hour workday in the United States.

1884 Moses Fleetwood Walker became the first black person to play in a professional baseball game in the United States.

1885 Ralph Stackpole, American sculptor, painter, was born  (d. 1973).

1886 Rallies, that ended in the Haymarket affair, were held throughout the United States demanding the eight-hour work day.

1893 The World’s Columbian Exposition opened in Chicago.

1893 Richard Seddon became Premier of New Zealand.

Richard Seddon becomes premier

1894 Coxey’s Army, the first significant American protest march, arrived in Washington, D.C.

1898  Spanish-American War: The Battle of Manila Bay – the United States Navy destroyed the Spanish Pacific fleet in the first battle of the war.

1900 The Scofield mine disaster killed more than 200 men in Scofield, Utah.

1901 The Pan-American Exposition opened in Buffalo, New York.

1910 Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Astronomer/Astro-physicist. Noted UFO investigator, was born  (d. 1986).

1915  The RMS Lusitania departed from New York City on her two hundred and second, and final, crossing of the North Atlantic.

1925 The All-China Federation of Trade Unions was officially founded.

1926 New Zealand Railways magazine was launched.

NZ Railways Magazine launched

1927 The first cooked meals on a scheduled flight were introduced on anImperial Airways flight from London to Paris.

1927  The Union Labor Life Insurance Company was founded by the American Federation of Labor.

1930 The dwarf planet Pluto was officially named.

1931 The Empire State Building was dedicated in New York City.

1937  Una Stubbs, English actress, was born.

1939 Judy Collins, American folk singer, was born.

1940 The 1940 Summer Olympics were cancelled owing to war.

1941 – World War II: German forces launch a major attack on Tobruk.

1945 World War II: A German newsreader officially announced that Adolf Hitler had “fallen at his command post in the Reich Chancellery fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany”.

1945  Yougoslav partisans freed Trieste.

1945  Rita Coolidge, American singer, was born.

1946  Joanna Lumley, English actress, was born.

1946 Start of 3 year Pilbara strike of Indigenous Australians.

1946 The Paris Peace Conference concluded that the islands of theDodecanese should be returned to Greece by Italy.

1947 Portella della Ginestra massacre against May Day celebrations in Sicily by the bandit and separatist leader Salvatore Giuliano; 11 people were killed and 33 wounded.

1948 The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) was established, with Kim Il-sung as president.

1950  Guam was organized as a United States commonwealth.

1955 – Flight Lieutenant Stuart McIntyre, led the RNZAF’s first combat strike since the conclusion of the Second World War.

1956  The polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk was made available to the public.

1956  A doctor in Japan reported an “epidemic of an unknown disease of the central nervous system”, marking the official discovery of Minamata disease.

1960 Formation of the western Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

1960  Cold War: U-2 incident – Francis Gary Powers, in a Lockheed U-2 spyplane, iwa shot down over the Soviet Union, sparking a diplomatic crisis.

1961 The Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro, proclaimed Cuba a socialist nation and abolishes elections.

1965 Battle of Dong-Yin, a naval conflict between ROC and PRC, took place.

1970  Protests erupted in Seattle, Washington, following the announcement by U.S. President Richard Nixon that U.S. Forces in Vietnam would pursue enemy troops into Cambodia, a neutral country.

1971 Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) was formed to take over U.S. passenger rail service.

1977 36 people were killed in Taksim Square, Istanbul, during the Labour Day celebrations.

1978 Japan’s Naomi Uemura, travelling by dog sled, became the first person to reach the North Pole alone.

1982 The 1982 World’s Fair opened in Knoxville, Tennessee.

1982 Operation Black Buck: The Royal Air Force attacked the Argentine Air Force during Falklands War.

1983 Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

1987 Pope John Paul II beatified Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

1989 Disney-MGM Studios opened at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida.

1990 The former Philippine Episcopal Church (supervised by the Episcopal Church of the United States of America) was granted full autonomy and raised to the states of an Autocephalous Anglican Province and renamed the Episcopal Church of the Philippines.

1992 On the third day of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, African-American activist, criminal, and victim of police beating Rodney King appeared in public before television news cameras to appeal for calm and plead for peace, asking, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”.

1994  Three-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna was killed in an accident during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

1995 Croatian forces launch Operation Flash during the Croatian War of Independence.

1997  Tasmania became the last state in Australia to decriminalize homosexuality.

2001 Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared the existence of “a state of rebellion”, hours after thousands of supporters of her arrested predecessor, Joseph Estrada, stormed towards the presidential palace at the height of the EDSA III rebellion.

2003 2003 invasion of Iraq: In the “Mission Accomplished” speech, on board the USS Abraham Lincoln (off the coast of California), U.S. President George W. Bush declared that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended”.

2004 Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined the European Union, celebrated at the residence of the Irish President in Dublin.

2006  The Puerto Rican government closed the Department of Education and 42 other government agencies owing to significant shortages in cash flow.

2007  the Los Angeles May Day mêlée occurred, in which the Los Angeles Police Department’s response to a May Day pro-immigration rally become a matter of controversy.

2008 The London Agreement on translation of European patents, concluded in 2000, entered into force in 14 of the 34 Contracting States to theEuropean Patent Convention.

2009 Same-sex marriage was legalised in Sweden.

2010 – attempted car bombing of Times Square.

2011 – Pope John Paul II was beatified by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

2011 – Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks was killed by United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

2016 – A wildfire started in Fort McMurray, Alberta, causing a mandatory evacuation and a provincial state of emergency..

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.


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