North Otago Legends – Adair Craik


This week’s North Otago Legend is Adair Craik:

Heart of gold is how I would describe Adair Craik. Adair is a multi talented sports women and business leader in North Otago. She is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get things done. A big part of her business is focused on non-profit organizations and a big part of her spare time is helping the next generation of athletics have all the opportunities available to them.

John Grenell 19.7.44 – 26.7.22


Country music singer John Grenell (formerly Hore) has died.

. . . Grenell, who was born in Ranfurly, had a number one hit single in the 1990s with the Jim Reeves song, Welcome To Our World.

The song was heavily featured nationally in a Toyota vehicle TV advertising campaign.

He also had a big hit with the song I’ve been everywhere which was adapted to feature many place names in Aotearoa.

He performed in several countries and won multiple country music awards. . .

North Otago legends – Jock Webster


Jock Webster is another North Otago legend:

Scientist, farmer, director, trustee and QSM, Jock Webster is a busy man in our community. In today’s podcast we talk about the many benefits that irrigation has brought to North Otago and the humble sunflower that has helped create a successful business. Jock is a family man and has passed onto his children a legacy that continues to bless the community.

Jock’s son and nephew featured on Country Calendar a few weeks ago, you can watch the episode here.

North Otago Legends – Derek Beveridge


Derek Beveridge is a North Otago Legend

It’s Sergeant Beveridge. Many young people have uttered the words ‘It’s Sergeant Beveridge’ over the last 36 years, some because they were on the wrong side of the law and others because it was Derek who believed in them and was there when they needed someone they could trust. Derek has helped more teenagers than he cares to remember, and North Otago is glad he did. Thanks Derek. 

North Otago Legends – Al Bell


Al Bell is a North Otago Legend:

Ko te joker e pai ana ki te ora (The joker who enjoys life) He calls himself the class clown or joker but in truth Al Bell just loves life and doesn’t take it too seriously.

Today’s podcast was a laugh and if Mr Bell taught you over the years you’ll know why. Al shares about teaching in the district and opens up about his art and why it’s a passion.  


North Otago Legends – Kristy Jennings


Kristy Jennings is a North Otago Legend:

From ‘Beauty Queen’ to ‘Godzone’  Kristy Jennings (Wilson) shares with us where life can take you when you say yes. A truly remarkable story of opportunities and persistence, overcoming fears and pushing yourself to the limit. Kristy is humble in her achievements and still a proud North Otago girl.

North Otago Legends – Win Stephens


Win Stephens is a North Otago Legend.

Four rowers, one cox and an exceptional coach put North Otago on the map in 1962. Win Stephens and his crew had the support of the entire district as he chased Gold at the Commonwealth Games.

North Otago Legends – Logan Docherty


Logan Docherty is chasing an Olympic rowing dream and an up and coming North Otago Legend:

How far can you push your body, what is a normal heart rate for a competing athlete? On todays podcast we chat with Logan Docherty a young man chasing an Olympic dream.

North Otago Legends – Barry Wilson


Barry Wilson is a businessman, a hunter, a practical environmentalist and a North Otago Legend:

A Businessman, hunter, and good bloke. Today we set out to chat with Barry Wilson about hunting in North Otago but got so much more. Barry shares some history of the district when recounting his first job and we found out what it takes to create a wetland for the community to enjoy. 

North Otago Legends Sally Ann Donnelly


Sally Ann Donnelly is a buisnesswoman,  a philanthropist and a North Otago Legend:

Every town needs a Sally Ann Donnelly. Someone who is hard working, a visionary and generous. Sal is unique and always puts others 1st, she has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity and gives freely of her own time to see the community blessed. Sal, North Otago loves you.                  

North Otago Legends – Kelli Williams


From accounts clerk to District Councillor, via an Air Froce helicopter pilot, Kelli Williams is a North Otago legend:

Dr. Seuss said it best when he said: “Kid, you’ll move mountains!” “Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.” “Oh the places you’ll go! – We think this sums up Kelli Williams, and after listening to her podcast you’ll see why.

The Happiest Man On Earth – Eddie Jaku


Eddie Jaku was a proud German but he and his family were also Jewish and when Hitler came to power their lives changed for the worse, and for ever.

HIs autobiography tells of a happy childhood, harrowing young adulthood, several years of which were spent in concentration camps, and life afterwards where he moved to the other side of the world and his work was rewarded with the Order of Australia.

It is testament to the worst and best of humanity, the power of friendship and love, and how good can triumph over evil.

It also shows the truth of the words of another holocaust survivor, VIktor Frankl: Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

The Happiest Man On Earth by Eddie Jaku.

Published by Pan Macmillan

Sir Robin Gray 2.7.31 – 2.4.21


A tartan totara has fallen – former Speaker and true gentleman Sir Robin Gray has died.

I first met Sir Robin at my first meeting as a trustee of the Otago Community Trust. I introduced myself, calling him Sir Robin, and he immediately said, “Just call me Robin”.

That was typical of the man who never stood on ceremony but earned respect by treating everyone equally and well.

I was writing columns for the ODT at the time and had written one about getting TB in our dairy herd. At the next meeting, Sir Robin pulled me aside and told me about the devastation his family faced when he was a child and the whole herd had to be killed when TB struck the herd.

Sir Robin’s wife died during an election campaign. His opponent (whose name escapes me) respectfully stopped campaigning until Sir Robin was able to resume his work.

He opened the National Party Mainland conference when I was regional chair and spoke with his customary wit and wisdom.

Sir Robin was born in Scotland and never lost his accent. He immigrated to New Zealand and farmed at Waitahuna.

He served six terms as the National Party MP for Clutha from 1978 to 1996, retiring before his electorate was swallowed by the enlarged boundaries forced by the introduction of MMP.

He served as both junior and senior Whip before becoming speaker in 1990. National had only a one seat majority after the 1993 election The Speaker can’t vote, so he couldn’t continue as speaker. Labour MP Peter Tapsell (later Sir) took that role and Sir Robin became Minister of State and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Sir Robin was a gentle man and a gentleman who more than paid his rent on earth with his good work and good works.



But what can I do?


Robert Fulghum wonders what he can do about Ukraine and starts with the story of the cellist of  Sarajevo:

To make a long and very complicated story short, the breakup of the state of Yugoslavia resulted in a bitter conflict that became known as the Bosnian War. This was 1992.
A horrible time – many war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing, rape.
At the heart of the conflict was the siege of Sarajevo, which was the longest siege of a major city in modern history.

Enter Vedran Smailovic into the history of that place and time.

Here’s what I wrote about him in my book of essays, Maybe, Maybe Not published in 1993:

“Middle-aged, longish hair, great bushy mustache. He is pictured in formal evening clothes. Sitting in a café chair in the middle of a street. In front of a bakery where mortar fire struck a breadline in late May, killing twenty-two people waiting for food.

He is playing his cello. As a member of the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra, there is nothing he can do about hate and war. Even so, every day for twenty-two days he has braved sniper and artillery fire to sit and play Albinoni’s profoundly moving Adagio in G Minor.
Every day. For 22 days. . . .

You’ll find the rest of the story and Fulghum’s answer to but what can I do by clicking on the link above.

The journal posts stay up for a limited time.

Sir Wira Gardiner 1945 – 17.3.22


Sir Wira Gardiner, soldier, public servant and founding member of the Waitangi Tribunal,  has died:

. . . Sir Wira Gardiner was of Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Pikiao, Whakatōhea and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui descent.

He had a long career as a senior public servant. He was the first director of the Waitangi Tribunal, the first Chief Executive of the Ministry of Māori Development (Te Puni Kōkiri) and the first Māori to be appointed as the National Director of Civil Defence.

Sir Wira served in the Vietnam war and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, the highest ranking Māori officer at the time.

He gained degrees from Canterbury University and Kings College at the University of London, and wrote extensively on a range of subjects such as kapa haka, the Māori Battalion and a biography on the life of former Minister of Māori Affairs, Parekura Horomia.

Building Māori-Crown relationships was his specialty especially in Treaty of Waitangi settlements, fisheries, broadcasting, local and regional government and tertiary education. . .

He was also an active, and valued, member of the National Party and a man who earned the tribute kua hinga te tōtara o Te Waonui a Tāne’ (the tōtara in the great forest of Tāne has fallen)..

The message from his whanau announcing his death is here.

Gail Seymour Halvorsen – 10.10.20 – 16.2.22


Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen, the Candy Bomber of the Berlin Airlift has died:

Halvorsen grew up in Utah and earned a private pilot’s license at the age of 21, when he joined the Civil Air Patrol. Following the outbreak of WWII, Halvorsen joined the Army Air Forces and flew ferry flights of C-46s and C-47s in the South Atlantic theater of operations.

He stayed in the Air Force after the war and in July 1948 was assigned as one of the pilots in the Berlin Airlift, flying C-54s and C-47s into Tempelhof Airport with crucial sustenance for the citizens of divided Berlin, who were cut off from land resupply by a Soviet blockade. On a sightseeing tour of Berlin during time off, he saw children watching the cargo aircraft operation. Talking to them, he was touched by their appreciation for the airlift and one’s comment that “when the weather gets bad, don’t worry about us. We can get by on little food, but if we lose our freedom, we may never get it back.” He offered them a few sticks of gum, which 30 children shared eagerly but politely. He resolved to do more, and promised to drop candy to them from his plane the next day. He would “wiggle” his wings to let them know which plane to watch for.

Starting with candy rations pooled with friends, Halvorsen devised small parachutes made from handkerchiefs, so the falling candy parcels wouldn’t hurt the children waiting below. For three weeks, he made candy drops once a week. As the weeks passed, the number of children waiting below grew.

The commander of “Operation Vittles,” as the Berlin Airlift was called, was Lt. Gen. William H. Tunner. When he found out about Halvorsen’s unauthorized airdrops, he approved and ordered them expanded as Operation “Little Vittles.” Soon Halvorsen’s whole squadron was buying candy and gum and assembling the parcels with small parachutes. As word reached the U.S. of the mini-airlift, American schoolchildren and confectionary companies donated candy, and soon many other pilots were making candy drops as well. Halvorsen became known as “Uncle Wiggly Wings” or “The Chocolate Flier,” among other names, by the children of Berlin, and the “Candy Bomber” in the U.S.

“Little Vittles” continued from September 1948 through May 1949, when the Soviet Union lifted its blockade and the larger airlift ended. Halvorsen had rotated home in January 1949, but the operation was taken up by his squadron mate, Capt. Lawrence Caskey. “Little Vittles” had dropped an estimated 46,000 pounds of candy tied with more than 250,000 parachutes, and Halvorsen received international attention for his efforts. In his autobiography, Halvorsen recalled that a Berlin child told him the candy was not just chocolate, “it was hope.” . . 

You can read more at Kiwiblog

P.J. O’Rourke 14.1..47 – 15.2.22


P.J. (Patrick Jake) O’Rourke, journalist, satirist and writer, has died:

P.J. O’Rourke, the conservative satirist and political commentator who was unafraid to skewer Democrats and Republicans alike in best-selling books like “Parliament of Whores,” in articles for a wide range of magazines and newspapers, and on television and radio talk shows, died on Tuesday at his home in Sharon, N.H. He was 74.

The cause was complications of lung cancer, said Deb Seager, the director of publicity at Grove/Atlantic, Mr. O’Rourke’s publisher.

Mr. O’Rourke’s political writing was in the caustic tradition of H.L. Mencken. As writers and commentators go, he was something of a celebrity, welcome on talk shows of almost any political bent and known for appearances on NPR’s comedy quiz show “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me.”

He was a proud conservative Republican — one of his books was called “Republican Party Reptile: The Confessions, Adventures, Essays and (Other) Outrages of P.J. O’Rourke” — but he was widely admired by readers of many stripes because of his fearless style and his willingness to mock just about anyone who deserved it, including himself. In “Republican Party Reptile” he recalled his youthful flirtation with Mao Zedong.

“But I couldn’t stay a Maoist forever,” he wrote. “I got too fat to wear bell-bottoms. And I realized that communism meant giving my golf clubs to a family in Zaire.”

In 2010, The New York Times invited him and assorted other prominent people to define “Republican” and “Democrat.” He offered this:

“The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer and remove the crab grass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then get elected and prove it.”

Mr. O’Rourke was prolific. In addition to some 20 books, he wrote a column for The Daily Beast for a time and appeared regularly in The Atlantic, The American Spectator, Rolling Stone and The Weekly Standard, where he was a contributing editor. He was the conservative side of a point-counterpoint segment on “60 Minutes” in the mid-1990s, opposite Molly Ivins, and a guest on “Real Time With Bill Maher,” “The Daily Show,” “Charlie Rose” and other talk shows.

Mr. O’Rourke was most often identified as a political satirist, but his subjects ranged well beyond the political. His first book, published in 1983 (and reissued in 1989), was called “Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People.”

“Good manners can replace intellect by providing a set of memorized responses to almost every situation in life,” he wrote. “Memorized responses eliminate the need for thought. Thought is not a very worthwhile pastime anyway. Thinking allows the brain, an inert and mushy organ, to exert unfair domination over more sturdy and active body parts.” . . 

He was renowned for his pithy quotes which include:

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

You can’t get rid of poverty by giving people money.

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

To mistrust science and deny the validity of scientific method is to resign your job as a human. You’d better go look for work as a plant or wild animal.

Think what evil creeps liberals would be if their plans to enfeeble the individual, exhaust the economy, impede the rule of law, and cripple national defense were guided by a coherent ideology instead of smug ignorance.

Fiscal conservatism is just an easy way to express something that is a bit more difficult, which is that the size and scope of government, and really the size and scope of politics in our lives, has grown uncomfortable, unwieldy, intrusive and inefficient.

The idea of capitalism is not just success but also the failure that allows success to happen.

When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.


Sir Eion Edgar 30.1.45 – 14.6.21


Sir Eion Edgar wanted to make the world a better place and he succeeded.

Dunedin was where he was born and raised, studied at University, conducted  his business, and contributed to many community organisations before settling in Queenstown where he continued his good works.

He was a businessman, a philanthropist who was generous with his talents, his money and his time, and a devoted family man., While he is justifiably remembered for many significant financial contributions, his service was also marked by the mentoring and inspiration he provided to other people.

Sir Eion man who led by his example to and encouragement of others, leaves the world far better for what he did and how he lived, and all who knew him so very sad at his death.

Captain Sir Tom Moore – 30.4.20 – 2.2.21


The centenarian who inspired the world with his fundraising efforts for the UK’s National Health Service,  Captain Sir Tom Moore,  has died.

Captain Sir Tom Moore has died with coronavirus.

The 100-year-old, who raised almost £33m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden, was admitted to Bedford Hospital on Sunday.

The Queen led tributes to Capt Sir Tom, “recognising the inspiration he provided for the whole nation and others across the world”.

His daughters said they “shared laughter and tears” with their father in their final few hours together.

Announcing his death, Hannah Ingram-Moore and Lucy Teixeira said the last year of their father’s life had been “nothing short of remarkable”

The Army veteran won the nation’s hearts by walking 100 laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire last year during the first lockdown, raising money for NHS Charities Together.

He was credited with lifting the nation’s spirits and his saying “Tomorrow will be a good day” trended on social media. . . . 

The story behind the billboard


The Spinoff’s profile of Sean Topham and Ben Guerin, the principals of the very successful digital marketing company that carries their names, mentions work on ovarian cancer awareness on the biggest billboard in Times Square.

Newshub tells the story behind that billboard:

A Dunedin woman has scored a huge win to promote her cancer charity in New York.

Jane Ludemann, 32, has secured a free billboard in Times Square to mark World Ovarian Cancer Day. The giant advert is longer than a football field and calls for more funding and research for the disease. . . 

Kiwi creative agency Topham Guerin also helped out, designing an advert with a simple message alongside calls for more funding and research. . . 

The ODT also covered the story.

If you missed my post on Jane and living under the cancer sword you’ll find it here.

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