Connie Lawn 1944 – 2018

April 3, 2018

Connie Lawn, whose voice would be familiar to RNZ listeners has died.

Ms Lawn was the longest-serving White House correspondent, having spent nearly 50 years covering successive US presidents.

Ms Lawn was born in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1944 and was a familiar voice on Radio New Zealand for more than 20 years, covering a range of topics including politics, scandals, wars, tragedies and arts and culture.

She has also promoted New Zealand tourism and skiing through many articles written for the US market.

She was awarded an Honorary New Zealand Order of Merit title in recognition of her services to New Zealand/United States Relations in 2012.

She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Press Club of NZ, and was also proud of having a champion local race horse named after her.  . .


Stephen Hawking 8.1.42 – 14.3.18

March 14, 2018

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died.

Stephen Hawking – who died aged 76 – battled motor neurone disease to become one of the most respected and best-known scientists of his age.

A man of great humour, he became a popular ambassador for science and was always careful to ensure that the general public had ready access to his work.

His book A Brief History of Time became an unlikely best-seller although it is unclear how many people actually managed to get to the end of it. . . 

365 days of gratitude

March 6, 2018

The bereaved parents’ club is one none of us choose to join.

Tonight five of the six of us at dinner were unwilling members.

The statistics for the survival of marriages for couples who’ve lost children are depressing but all five of us are still married.

There are many reasons that marriages of couples who have lost children fail. But one factor the five us whose marriages have survived have in common is that we haven’t lost the good things we have to bitterness over what we lost.

Fresh from the therapeutic benefit of sharing our experiences this evening I’m grateful for that.


365 days of gratitude

March 6, 2018

The bereaved parents club is one no-one chooses to join.

This evening we were in a group of six for dinner, five of whom were unwilling members of that club.

The statistics for marriages which survive such trauma aren’t high but all of us in that group are still married.

There might be many different reasons why some marriages survive and some don’t. One thing the five of us had in common was that we didn’t lose sight of the good of what we still have through bitterness at what we’ve lost.

Tonight, with the therapeutic value of sharing our experiences still fresh, I’m grateful for that.


365 days of gratitude

February 25, 2018

If you’d asked me who Emma Chambers was I couldn’t have told you.

She’d made me laugh as she played Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibley and Honey Thacker in Notting Hill, but I knew nothing of the actress behind the character.

Only now she’s died, aged just 53, have I learned her name.

Can you be sad about the death of someone you never knew?

Yes, at the very least in sympathy, and even empathy, for those who did know and lover her.

And I can be grateful too for her comedic talent and the gift of laughter.


Emma Chambers – 11.3.64 – 24.2.18

February 25, 2018

Emma Chambers, the actress who played the delightfully ditzy Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibbly has died.

Known for playing Alice Tinker in The Vicar of Dibley, Doncaster-born Chambers also had roles in Notting Hill and a Martin Chuzzlewit adaptation.

Chambers died from natural causes on Wednesday evening and would be “greatly missed”, her agent John Grant said.

“Emma created a wealth of characters and an immense body of work,” he added. . . 

In 1998, she won the British Comedy Award for best TV actress for her performance.

Jon Plowman, executive producer of the series and former head of comedy at the BBC, described Chambers as “bright and clever”.

He said: “Emma was a gifted comic actress who made any part she played – no matter how ditzy or other worldly – look easy.” . . 

Pat Booth OBE

January 31, 2018

Pat Booth, one of New Zealand’s great investigative journalists, has died.

Booth spent nearly 40 years at the now defunct Auckland Star, becoming editor, and is most renowned for his tireless work on the Arthur Allan Thomas miscarriage of justice case and the Mr Asia Crime syndicate.

The stories were scandalous and horrifying and were reported by Booth and a team of his reporters in a depth rarely achieved.

As part of the campaign for a pardon for Thomas, Booth wrote a book, Trial by Ambush. . . 

Booth’s eight-year crusade resulted in Thomas, wrongly jailed for double murder, receiving a full royal pardon.

Booth also helped reveal an international drug ring during the notorious Mr Asia investigations. He wrote a book on the international drug smuggling ring, The Mr Asia File: The Life and Death of Marty Johnstone. . . 

The Mr Asia File was compulsory reading at Canterbury University’s journalism school. The author was one whose example we were urged to emulate.

Journalism has lost a star and the loss will be even greater for his family and friends to whom I offer my sympathy.

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