Peter Green 29.10.46 – 25.7.20

July 26, 2020

Peter Green who co-founded Fleetwood Mac has died.

Peter Green, who has died aged 73, was one of the greatest Blues guitarists Britain ever produced.

His shape-shifting riffs and long, improvisational excursions made Fleetwood Mac one of the most exciting live bands of the 1960s Blues explosion.

He first picked up a hand-me-down guitar at the age of 10 and, like many of his peers, began to devour the import vinyl that trickled into the UK from the States. He studied the greats – Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and BB King – combining their tensely coiled playing style with the shimmering vibrato of The Shadows’ Hank Marvin.

But he actually started his professional career as a bassist, until an encounter with Eric Clapton persuaded him to ditch the instrument.

“I decided to go back on lead guitar after seeing him with the Bluesbreakers. He had a Les Paul, his fingers were marvellous. The guy knew how to do a bit of evil, I guess.”

He later had the seemingly impossible task of taking over from Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Fans were unconvinced at first, but after a handful of incendiary performances, he won them over, earning the nickname “The Green God”.

The musician was humble about his skills, however. “I didn’t really know what I was doing on the guitar,” he later told Guitarist Magazine. “I was very lucky to get anything remotely any good. I used to dash around on stepping stones, that’s what I used to call it.”

Mick Fleetwood on the early Fleetwood Mac

In 1967 he poached Fleetwood and bass player John McVie from Mayall and formed Fleetwood Mac – naming the group after its rhythm section.

It was here that his compositional skills came to the fore – creating songs that were tender and truthful, but often with an undercurrent of menace. Black Magic Woman incorporated Latin blues and two exquisite solos, while Oh Well’s pounding riffs inspired a thousand metal bands. . .


Average deaths per day

July 14, 2020

From Information is Beautiful:


Are You Bogged Mate?

July 7, 2020

Warning: this video has references to suicide.

The stigma around talking about mental health is proving deadly in rural australia – particularly with young men.

Mary O’Brien is the powerhouse behind Are you bogged mate?, and she’s making change where it matters. 

If you need help in New Zealand:

Rural Support Trust : Contact us any time. Call 0800 RURAL HELP

Contacts for local Rural Support Trusts are here.

More information and other contacts:

For counselling and support

For children and young people

For help with specific issues

For families, whānau, friends and supporters

  • Skylight – 0800 299 100
    (for support through trauma, loss and grief; 9 am to 5 pm weekdays)
  • Supporting Families In Mental Illness – 0800 732 825
    (for families and whānau supporting a loved one who has a mental illness)
  • Common Ground – a central hub providing parents, family, whānau and friends with access to information, tools and support to help a young person who’s struggling
  • Mental Health Foundation – for more information about supporting someone in distress, looking after your mental health and working towards recovery

 


Officer down

June 19, 2020

A police officer has been killed while on duty:

Statement from Commissioner Andrew Coster 

It is with a heavy heart that I confirm that one of our colleagues injured in the incident in Massey, West Auckland, today has died.

This is devastating news and absolutely the worst thing for us to deal with. We have lost a colleague and friend in our Police whānau.

Our thoughts are with the officer’s family and loved ones, and with the other officer and member of the public who were injured in the same incident and their loved ones.

From the information we have this was a routine traffic stop and is the type of work our officers do every day to keep the public safe. At this stage there is nothing to indicate that the job was going to be anything out of the ordinary.

At around 10.30am, a police unit has performed a routine traffic stop on Reynella Drive.

The attending officers were shot and a member of the public has also been hit by the vehicle.

The second officer and the member of the public are in hospital where they are being treated for their injuries. The member of the public has minor injuries and the officer has serious injuries.

The alleged offender has fled the scene and enquiries are ongoing to locate them.

While efforts to locate the offender are ongoing staff in Tāmaki Makaurau will be armed.

Our priority is to support our officers and to locate this alleged offender as soon as possible.

This incident points to the real risks our officers face on the streets, doing their jobs, every day.

Staff safety and welfare are our absolute priority and our whole organisation is in a state of shock after these horrific events.

Further information will be released as it becomes available.

This is a tragedy for the officer’s family, friends and colleagues.

Such killings are rare but this is a reminder of the danger police face every day and night.


Dame Vera Lynn 20.3.17 – 18.6.20

June 18, 2020

Dame Vera Lynn has died:

Dame Vera Lynn, who has died at the age of 103, was Britain’s wartime Forces’ Sweetheart, and remained one of the country’s most potent symbols of resilience and hope.

With songs such as We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover, she inspired both troops abroad and civilians at home during World War Two.

As Britain’s cities came under attack, her wistful songs, with their messages of yearning and optimism, were heard in millions of British homes.

And 75 years later, the country turned to her once again as it faced another stern test.

She was born Vera Margaret Welch on 20 March 1917 in the London suburb of East Ham, the daughter of a plumber.

She discovered her talent for singing at an early age and was performing in local clubs when she was seven. By the time she was 11, she had abandoned school for a full-time career as a dancer and singer in a touring music hall revue.

She had also adopted a new stage name, Vera Lynn, borrowing her grandmother’s maiden name. . . 


$50m wasted on politicising grief

June 11, 2020

Andrew Little, says it is “just impractical” to expect the remains of all of the fallen miners to be recovered from the Pike River mine:

Instead, the re-entry efforts are now essentially solely focused on gathering evidence in the “homicide of 29 men”, Little told a select committee hearing this morning. . .

Re-entry originally had a $23 million budget but the Government has already spent roughly $35m and that that could reach as high as $50m.

But that, according to Little, is the absolute funding limit.

“There is always a limit to these things – I have no plan or intention of returning to Cabinet for any further additional resources.” . . 

The limit was reached a decade ago when the then-National government made the only sensible and ethical decision that lives would not be risked to rescue the dead.

That decision was criticised by Labour, NZ First and the Green Party all of whom are guilty of politicising the grief of the families who believed them.

Mike Hosking says the fiasco has been exposed:

. . .The retrieval of bodies is no longer practical. The simple truth, a decade on, is that the retrieval of remains was never practical.

Little perpetrates the con a little further by suggesting that the main reason they are still there, apart from perceived political gain, is to gather evidence for the crime committed.

If it needs to be stated, let me state it again, there is no evidence, there will be no evidence, and there will be no charges. . . 

Families who are angry, and rightly so, who want vengeance, justice, or a bit of both, all have good arguments and much emotion behind the cause. But that does not a case or charges make, or indeed anywhere close.

The Labour Party should be ashamed of themselves. They took a tragedy, saw a political gap, and leapt on it.

Not just Labour, New Zealand First and the Green Party leapt on it too.

The previous National government did what any logical, sensible, and adult government would have done, all they could. Short of making up stories and promising false hope like the current lot have.

They consulted experts, the experts said it was too dangerous and too big a risk. The Labour Party promised the world. Winston Peters chimed in equally as opportunistically and promised to be one of the first down the shaft.

Millions has been spent, budgets have been blown – and now the cold hard truth. There will be no bodies. The families asked for and were granted by the Labour Party their loved ones back, but it won’t be happening.

But the con is, it never was. The families were used for political gain, and cheap violin string headlines.

Most of them won’t admit it, I don’t think because they all seem enamoured with the Labour Party. This was as much about being against the last government as it was about a rescue. . . 

If they really wanted to know what went wrong they could have saved their time and our money and spent just $40.00 for Rebecca MacFie’s book Tragedy at Pike River.

As is often the case in major failures, there were multiple faults that led to the tragedy and at least some of those should have been known by the union which Little headed at the time.

The chances of investigations uncovering anything that isn’t already known about the compounding failings in design and operation are tiny.

The three governing parties have already done far too much harm, stringing along the grieving families with promises that should never have been made.

They have wasted $35m and finally admitted that they’re not, as they foolishly promised, going to be able to bring the men back.

There is nothing to be gained by wasting another $15m in hopeless pursuit of answers that almost certainly won’t be there.

There is something to be gained if they learned from their mistakes and in future followed National’s good example with the Christchurch massacre and White Island tragedy, in not politicising tragedy.


Importing indignation

June 11, 2020

The murder of George Floyd was heinous and the protests in his home state and home country are understandable.

But do those protesting understand what Theodore Dalrymple calls those pesky statistics?:

To the citizens of most Western countries, the numbers of people killed by the American police are rather surprising, to say the least, but so are the numbers of police killed.

Roughly speaking, a policeman in the United States is about fifty times more likely to be killed than to kill, and this is without taking into consideration that the majority of the killings by the police are at least prima facie justified by self-defense or the interruption or prevention of a serious crime. Let us exclude only half of those killings on these grounds (probably a gross underestimate): This means that a policeman is 100 times more likely to be killed than to kill.

Let us also suppose that the police are killed by black and white in the same proportion as blacks and whites commit homicide in general (again, a generous, that is to say a conservative, assumption). This means that a policeman is about fifteen times more likely to be killed by a black man than to kill a black man, and again this is not to take into account the fact that many of the police killings would be at least prima facie justified.

A black man is about thirty times more likely to be killed by another black man than to be killed by a policeman (and some of the police are themselves black, of course). A white man is only fifteen times more likely to be killed by someone of any race than to be killed by a policeman. Are the police biased against whites? . . 

None of this alters the individual responsibility of the policeman who must surely have caused the death of George Floyd. (Would the latter have died anyway, even if not under arrest and treated in the way he was treated?) Nor does it alter the responsibility of the accessories before the fact. But it does cast a strange light on the rioters, and even on the peaceful demonstrators, most of whom seem to have expressed little concern, much less moral outrage, at the much more frequent murder of blacks by other blacks, or at the comparatively high rate of the murder of policemen. (The general homicide rate in the U.S. is about five per 100,000, that of policemen fifteen per 100,000.).

Now, it might be argued that an unjustified killing by an agent of the state is far worse than any other kind of killing, so raw statistics do not apply. I can see that this argument has a certain force. On the other hand, the killing of an agent of law and order also has a special seriousness, for it undermines law and order itself. And egalitarians who uphold the sanctity of (or at least the inalienable right to) human life are ill-placed to claim that one killing is worse than another. . . 

Black lives matter, all lives matter.

So why no marches for the persecution of Christians ‘at near genocide levels’?

Why no protests against all sorts of atrocities in many different countries?

Is there something about the USA that makes this crime much, much worse than many others committed in many other countries?

And why are we importing indignation anyway? Don’t we have more than enough to be protesting about here?

How about the death of one year-old Sofia Taueki-Jackson a couple of weeks ago?

Or the four year old Flaxmere boy who has been discharged from hospital where he was being treated for permanent and severe brain damage?

Perhaps it’s too soon to be indignant about the unexplained death of a young child in Palmerston North. It might have been the result of illness or accident.

Or it might have been yet another to add to the sorry toll of babies and children maltreated and killed far closer to home than Minneapolis.

Anna Leask wrote of the 61 little names on New Zealand’s roll of dishonour:

A child is killed every five weeks, putting us high on list of world’s worst offenders.

Sixty-one. It’s the number of children who have died as a result of non-accidental injuries in New Zealand in the last 10 years.

Their names are scars on a shameful landscape of child abuse – Chris and Cru Kahui who would have turned 10 today, Nia Glassie, JJ Ruhe-Lawrence, Jyniah Te Awa.

Thirty-one of those young ones were violently assaulted. They were kicked, punched, thrown, stomped or bashed to the point of death.

New Zealand has the fifth worst child abuse record out of 31 OECD countries and on average a child is killed here every five weeks. . . 

That was written four years ago. How many more little names have been added to that roll of dishonour since then?

The Child Matters website says:

Between 1 January 2019 and 30 November 2019, 11 children and young people have died as a result of homicide in New Zealand.

The Homicide Report

Released 13 May 2019

  • Every 8th homicide victim in New Zealand from 2004 to 31 March 2019 was a child
  • More than two thirds of the victims were aged 2 or under
  • Of the cases where the killer’s relationship to the victim was known, 27% were mothers, 24% were fathers, and 17% were de facto partners.

We don’t need to import indignation, there’s far too much here that ought to be raising anger and sorrow.

So why have the protests in the wake of Floyd’s death spread here?

Is it because it’s far easier to borrow another country’s ire than address the problems in our own?

Or is the murder just an excuse for protests that are really about thinly veiled anti-Americanism?


Nat’s launch petition vs inhumane funeral & tangi rules

May 13, 2020

Which is the party of compassion?

The National Party has today launched a petition to allow up to a hundred people at funerals, weddings and places of worship, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.

“It’s not fair that you can have 30 people on a rugby field playing close contact sport but you can’t have more than ten people at a funeral so they can grieve together.

“Our team has been inundated with heart-breaking messages from people who are grieving. Most extended families have more than ten people and that’s before you get to friends and other loved ones.

“Some people held off having funerals during Level 3 because Jacinda Ardern led them to believe they would be able to have more loved ones around them from tomorrow. They feel hurt and let down.

“As well as funerals and tangi, we want people to be able to attend religious services with the appropriate social distancing. If you can have a hundred people in a restaurant, why can’t you have a hundred a people in a church, mosque, temple or synagogue? 

“It’s not too late for Jacinda Ardern and her Government to be compassionate.”

The government went from too much trust of people to self isolate after arriving from overseas to too little trust of businesses that could operate safely under Level 4 to do so.

And now it has far too little trust in the bereaved and the funeral directors and/or celebrants in charge or proceedings to safely farewell their dead.

The petition is here.


That’s no way to say goodbye

May 13, 2020

National is threatening to fight Level 2 enforcement law if the rule on tangi and funerals isn’t changed:

Under level 2, only 10 people can attend a tangi or church service at any given time. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she, like other world leaders, struggled with the decision, but had to play it safe. . . 

But what’s safe and what’s not doesn’t seem to be consistent.

National Leader Simon Bridges said the public had been writing to him raising the point that people could still go to a restaurant or movies with 100 people at the venue.

Yet at one of the most tragic defining points of life, at a funeral, direct family members cannot attend them under those rules. That’s not just unkind, it’s inhumane, and I think we can do better than that,” he said.

One of the doctors who looked after our son and was there when when he died told us that it was very important to say goodbye properly.

We didn’t know much about funerals and others said it would be best to keep it private.

Tom was only 20 weeks old, had spent almost a third of his life in hospital and few outside the family and hospital staff had met him so we followed that advice.

It was a mistake. We had afternoon tea after the service then our parents and siblings went home leaving us alone with our young daughter and our grief.

We learned from that and when our second son died we had a public service.

It was so much better. Some people left after the service, others stayed to talk, to listen, to comfort us.

That’s how saying goodbye  should be, a service about the one who has died to for the ones who are left, and for most that needs more than 10 people.

Anger and upset over this is made worse by inconsistencies:

Grieving families are distraught over inconsistencies with the COVID-19 alert level 2 rules, baffled that the Government will trust people to go to the movies, gyms and malls but not to farewell friends and whānau. 

Kiwis will be privy to a whole lot of new freedoms on Thursday when the level 2 rules come into play, but it won’t bring satisfaction to the family of Southland man Maurice Skinner, who passed away last week, three months before his 90th birthday. 

A former jockey and racing trainer, Maurice Skinner was a well-known Southland figure, and a funeral could’ve drawn hundreds. But his family just wanted a small private service – 21 people – so they delayed until alert level 2. 

But holding off has left them disappointed because the level 2 rules don’t allow it. 

“We can’t even do that now, so we’re absolutely devastated,” his daughter told Newshub. “One of the worst things you can stop people doing is being able to farewell their loved ones.”

Under level 2 there’s a cap on gatherings – no more than 10 people. And yet, up to 100 people could be in a gym, a restaurant or the movies, as long as they’re socially-distanced. 

In the normal course of events, people would be much closer than two metres and part of comforting the bereaved would be hongi and hugs. But funeral directors and celebrants, as required under health and safety legislation, could make sure that social distancing was maintained.

We know this is causing pain but we equally have tried to be really consistent,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday. 

But it doesn’t feel consistent for grieving families. 

“The Government is telling us we need to be kind but where on earth is the kindness in that? It’s actually inhumane,” Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker told Newshub.  . .

Those in mourning want the Government to trust them. 

The woman Newshub spoke to anonymously is from a family of medical professionals including a COVID-19 nurse, and they know full-well how to manage the risks. 

“We can be responsible with our loved ones and the people that are around us – just give us the benefit of the doubt,” she said.  . . 

Ten is a very small number for most families. We had 11 adults and six children at Tom’s private service.

It is possible for far more than 10 to join via electronic communication but that is a very poor second to being there, with the people you care about, albeit two metres apart.

If there was widespread community transmission of Covid-19 the insistence on no more than 10 people at a funeral would be more easily understood.

But there is not.

Yesterday’s ODT reported no new cases of the disease in the Southern District Health Board area for 16 days and the Waitaki District, like several others has recorded no cases at all.

It defies logic that the government trusts casinos, bars and movie theatres to have up to 100 people but no more than 10 at a funeral.

Preventing people from saying goodbye properly is the antithesis of the kindness we’re all exhorted to show.

It’s inhumane and the rule must be relaxed to allow families and whanau to farewell the dead and comfort the living.


Where’s kindness and empathy when it’s needed?

May 6, 2020

Heather du Plessis-Allan writes of a woman stuck in quarantine as her mother dies :

. . . She thought they were about to say yes today because she heard the PM yesterday say 18 people had been given permission. She thought that meant she was probably going to get a yes too.

Our producer had to tell her the PM was wrong, no one’s been given permission. She started crying on the phone.

Let’s be honest: she might not ever see her mum alive again.

The Ministry of Health is reviewing all 24 requests that they’ve declined, but that review will take most of the week. By then, this woman’s quarantine will probably be finished as she’s allowed out this weekend. But her mum might not make it to the weekend.

And the review doesn’t bode well for anyone else in quarantine hoping to say goodbye to loved ones.  The review’s being by the ministry’s legal team. Does that feel like the very people you’d send in to try to find a way to avoid having to change the decisions?

I don’t know how we’ve ended up with a health ministry so heartless and a Director-General of Health who isn’t sorry that this is happening.

He says his team are empathetic, but they’re not.  They’ve declined all the requests for exemptions. 

I read the judgement last night in the case of Oliver Christiansen and it’s obvious the Ministry of Health doesn’t want to say yes. Either that or we’ve found a collection of the stupidest public servants in the country.

Every time Oliver asked for an exemption on the grounds of ‘exceptional circumstances’, they told him that he didn’t qualify for a medical transfer.

Of course he didn’t qualify for a medical transfer. He wasn’t sick. He wasn’t even asking for that, but they made it sound like that was the only grounds for an exemption, and it wasn’t.

So they’re either stupid or deliberately frustrating people who want to say goodbye to their parents. . .

How heartbreaking it must be to be so near yet so far away from a dying family member; to be stuck in limbo between home and the loved one’s death bed; to be prevented from spending those precious last days or even hours together.

The government has gone from being too slow to close the border and quarantine new arrivals to overseeing a Ministry which is being pig-headed in its refusal to let a few people through on compassionate grounds.

Covid-19 came from overseas and we can’t afford to have the good done by the lockdown undone by slackness at the border again.

But it must be possible to follow protocols to reduce the risk, such as those the court ordered Oliver Christiansen to follow in overturning the MOH’s refusal to allow him to visit his dying father:

. . .The judge said, in her assessment, overall justice “demands an effective and swift response”.

“I have in mind here particularly the imminence of Mr Christiansen’s father’s passing and the very material factor that visitation is only at a private home and not in a public space.”

She ordered the ministry to permit Christiansen to leave managed isolation to visit his father.

But he could only do so if he traveled unaccompanied by car to his dad’s home and remained there until his father died.

Christiansen was also told to maintain physical separation from other family members at the home and to return on his own within 24-hours of his father’s passing in the same car to the isolation facility for the remainder of the 14-day period. . .

If necessary family members could be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the time they had any contact with the traveller as a precaution to further reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

The border with Australia will be closed for weeks to months and visitors from other countries will be required to stay in quarantine for a fortnight for much longer. There will be many more people coming to New Zealand to be with dying family members in that time. Protocols must be worked out to allow them to do so safely.

And it’s not just the people in quarantine. Back to Heather:

This has been happening for seven weeks. For the entire duration of Level 4 Lockdown, people were forced to die alone in their hospital beds without any family or friends with them.

The Ministry of Health has lost perspective. In the battle against a disease, it has condemned families to a sorrow that will sit with them for the rest of their lives.

I am not proud of them. I want them to show compassion. I want them to take a dose of their own medicine.

Remember what their boss Ashley Bloomfield and the PM keep telling us? Be kind. They should try a bit of kindness themselves.

Keeping people apart at the end of life is inhumane.

The way the dying and their families have been, and are continuing to be, treated shows a complete lack of  the kindness and empathy we are all being enjoined to demonstrate.

Both must be applied in designing a way to allow families to be together when one of them is dying without risking the spread of Covid-19.


Kenny Rogers 21.8.38 – 20. 3.20

March 21, 2020

Country music singer Kenny Rogers has died.

. . .Rogers was one of the progenitors of country-pop crossover at the superstar level. “I came into country music not trying to change country music but trying to survive,” he said in a 2016 interview with CMT.com. “And so I did songs that were not country but were more pop. Nowadays they’re not doing country songs at all. What they’re doing is creating their own genre of country music. But I told somebody the other day, country music is what country people will buy. If the country audience doesn’t buy it, they’ll kick it out. And if they do, then it becomes country music. It’s just era of country music we’re in.”

After establishing himself commercially via rock- and pop-oriented singles with his group the First Edition, the bearded, prematurely gray Rogers was launched into the top rank of crossover country artists with a string of singles for United Artists Records. . . 

The first live concert I went to was Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, in the Oamaru Opera House.

 


Jeanette Fitzsimons 17.1.45 – 5.3.20

March 6, 2020

Former Green Party co-leader and MP Jeanette Fitzsimons has died.

Fitzsimons, 75, was the co-leader of the Green Party from 1995 to 2009, and was an MP from 1996 to 2010.

While I didn’t share her political views, I admired her principled approach.

That extended to her willingness to speak out against her party when it went against its principles in supporting the wake jumping legislation.

UPDATE: RNZ has comments from her husband, Harry Parke, here.


Living under cancer sword

February 13, 2020

When you’re pregnant you have  hopes and dreams for your babies and their futures, dreams you probably aren’t fully aware of unless you lose them.

Some of our dreams were dashed when our sons were diagnosed with degenerative brain disorders and died young, Tom aged 20 weeks, and Dan 10 days after his fifth birthday.

Life with the boys who had multiple disabilities and passed none of the developmental milestones wasn’t easy, nor was coming to terms with their deaths.

Many people who learn about Tom and Dan say they couldn’t cope if that happened to their children. I’d probably have thought the same until I had to. Then, the only alternative to coping was not coping and through necessity, I coped.

That doesn’t mean I always did it well. There were some very long nights and some very dark days; nights when I fell into bed exhausted by grief but couldn’t sleep, days when it felt like I was stuffed full of dark clouds and was ready to burst. But even at the very worst of times I had the love and support of my husband, wider family and friends, shining light against the darkness of despair.

And our sons, who could do so little, taught us so much: how blessed we are to have that support; that people are people regardless of what they can or cannot do and that ability isn’t a right it’s a privilege

Our response has also been governed by the knowledge that it would only compound the tragedy of our son’s difficult lives and early deaths if being bitter and twisted and focusing on what we’d lost stopped us appreciating and enjoying all we still had and could have.

And we still had their older sister who gave us the joys and challenges children provide.

None of those challenges were major until nearly three years ago when she was diagnosed with low grade serous carcinoma (LGSC), a type of ovarian cancer that is frequently incurable.  Jane, at just 32 years old, was told with current treatments her life expectancy was likely to be only five to 15 years.

Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cause of female cancer death in New Zealand. Yet we  knew almost nothing about the symptoms. For two years Jane was told by doctors her symptoms were not serious, right up until she required emergency surgery from cancer complications. You can read more about the symptoms here:

Not letting what we’ve lost with the lives and deaths of our sons, blind us to what we still have is, of course, easier in theory than practice and it has been harder still to focus positively in the wake of Jane’s diagnosis.

There’s been a lot of tears, a lot of prayers and a lot of swears. There are nights of restless sleep when I wake to find the nightmare is real, and days when I cry easily and often. But again we’ve got wonderful support from family and friends, and just as she gave me a reason to not just survive but live a full life when her brothers died all those years ago, Jane’s example is providing an inspiration for me now.

18 months after diagnosis and 8 weeks after breaking her leg skiing.

If it’s hard for me as a mother, how much harder must it be for her,  a young woman living under the cancer sword, facing what it’s already cut from her life, the pain of that and the knowledge that it could take so much more?

She could have sunk into depression and stayed there. She could have chosen to focus only on herself. Instead she is doing much, much more.

She is fighting not just for herself but for all the other women around the world who share her cancer, many of whom are young like her.

What will determine whether women like our daughter live or die is research. Rare cancers like Jane’s, account for almost half of all cancer deaths yet receive just 13.5% of research funding.  The limiting factor isn’t science, it’s the money for the scientists to study it that’s lacking.

When Jane was diagnosed there wasn’t any way to donate directly to her cancer anywhere in the world. She knew that had to change if she and other women were to survive. She liaised with doctors,  researchers and charities around the world and founded Cure Our Ovarian Cancer – a registered charitable trust, that facilitates donations for low-grade serous cancer research both in New Zealand, and internationally.

Jane spends most of her days connecting with women and researchers around the world, fundraising for research into her cancer. Through Cure Our Ovarian Cancer and it’s partner charities, she’s helped raise more than $200 000 in less than two years. And aside from a small payment fee, 100% of every dollar raised goes to research.

She’s humbled by the public’s generosity, but also overwhelmed by how far is left to go. Tens of millions are needed if change is to happen in time for her. But as Jane says, “How can I do nothing? Knowing that in 10, 20, 30 years time, women will continue to die in droves without research. You just have to try.”

We’re in awe of everything Jane is doing while living with this awful cancer. It’s heartbreaking but her example pushes us to do better every day.

As a family we are committed to helping in every way we can. We’ve funded three research projects in the US and NZ and continue to do what we can. But this problem is too big for one family to solve without help.

This is why we’re going public. Because our daughter,  and all the other women with this dreadful disease,  need your support.

Our message to you is simple. Please donate, please fundraise and please tell everyone you know about our incredible girl and this horrible cancer. Women’s lives are on the line.

Learn more: cureourovariancancer.org

Follow Cure Our Ovarian Cancer on Facebook and  Twitte and Instagram.

Jane’s personal blog is janehascancer.com


Mike Moore 28.1.49 – 2.2.20

February 2, 2020

Mike Moore ONZ AO PC has died.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Mike Moore has died. He was 71.

Moore served as prime minister with Labour from September to November in 1990, at the age of 41, installed by caucus just weeks before the 1990 general election, replacing Sir Geoffrey Palmer.

At the time he was New Zealand’s third prime minister in 13 months, and lasted 59 days until Labour lost the general election.  . . 

In 1999, Moore secured the job of director-general of the World Trade Organisation, a job he kept until 2002. . . 

His enthusiasm for trade was unbounded, although it took nearly 30 years before his idea of lamb burgers was taken up.

New Zealand owes him gratitude for his work for free trade while leading the WTO and when he was New Zealand’s ambassador to the United States.


Terry Jones 1.2.42 – 20.1.20

January 23, 2020

Monty Python star Terry Jones has died.

… Jones was born in Colwyn Bay and went on to study at Oxford University, where he met his future Python pal Palin in the Oxford Revue – a student comedy group.

Alongside Palin, Idle and the likes of David Jason, he appeared in the BBC children’s satirical sketch show Do Not Adjust Your Set, which would set the template for their work to come with Python.

He wrote and starred in Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV show and the comedy collective’s films, as a range of much-loved characters. These included Arthur “Two Sheds” Jackson, Cardinal Biggles of the Spanish Inquisition and Mr Creosote.

He also directed their film The Holy Grail in 1975, with fellow Python Terry Gilliam, and took sole directorial charge of 1979’s Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life in 1983. . . 

 


Derek Fowlds 2.9.37 – 17.1.20

January 18, 2020

Actor Derek Fowlds has died:

Actor Derek Fowlds, known to millions for playing Bernard Woolley in Yes Minister, has died at the age of 82.

He also played sergeant-turned-publican Oscar Blaketon in ITV police drama Heartbeat for 18 years, and was “Mr Derek” on the Basil Brush show in the 70s. . .

Fowlds released his autobiography, A Part Worth Playing, in 2015 in which he recalled how he started to act “just for kicks”.

“Growing up the thought of acting as a living never crossed my mind. I wanted to be a footballer or sportsman,” he said, adding he started acting in school plays.

“I enjoyed mucking about the stage,” he wrote.

He told the tale of how in his first play a child, he got his sword stuck up another actor’s skirt and “I heard the sound of audience laughter for the first time in my life, and I was just knocked out”. . .

He brought a lot of laughter to a lot of people.

 


Grief

December 10, 2019

 


Whakaari / White Island tragedy

December 10, 2019

This picture tells only a very small part of the unfolding story on Whakaari / White Island.

 

From that distance, we can’t see the terror that must have struck, the efforts to rescue the visitors and the heroism of the rescuers.

The whole story of this eruption will add another tragic chapter to New Zealand’s history.


Clive James 7.10.39 – 24.11.19

November 28, 2019

Clive James, worsmith and broadcaster has died.

Broadcaster, critic, poet, TV presenter and prolific author – Clive James cheerfully criss-crossed the boundaries between high and lowbrow.

He was as much at home hosting a Shakespeare documentary as he was at fronting a programme showing people suffering indignities on Japanese TV.

His sardonic tones graced a host of TV documentaries in which he brought his own acute observations to bear on a wide variety of subjects.

A journalist on The Sydney Morning Herald once wrote: “His gift and lasting contribution has been to recognise that mass appeal does not translate into lack of substance.” . . 

Roger Franklin pays tribute to him at Quadrant:

. .  . As New Republic put it in 2010, attempting to explain Clive’s significance to American readers:

But try, if you will, to imagine that David Letterman also wrote long, charming critical essays for The New York Review, published more than 30 books, issued memoirs that moved readers the way Frank McCourt’s do, knew seven or eight foreign languages, and composed poems that were printed in The New Yorker, and you are getting close.

When England loses Clive James, it will be as if a plane had crashed with five or six of its best writers on board.

A devoted, dear and longtime friend of Quadrant, Clive’s wit and insight pepper our archives. Below, a sampling of the many reasons the world is today so much poorer for his passing. But first, as a reminder that five decades’ residence in England had not in the least thinned or in any way diminished the Australia that was in his blood, an expat’s memory . . 

 

 

His writing survives him at clivejames.com


Robert Ross ‘Blue Jeans’ McMillan 1929 – 2019

November 19, 2019

Naseby farmer and bush poet Ross ‘Blue Jeans’ McMillan has died.

The ODT profiled him here a couple of years ago.


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