Sir Brian Lochore tribute and farewell service

August 9, 2019

Sir Brian Lochore was farewelled yesterday.

You can listen to and watch the service here (it begins at about 1:05)

The tribute below is from the All Blacks.

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Sir Brian Lochore 3.9.40 – 3.8.19

August 4, 2019

All Black, captain, selector, coach, farmer, community stalwart and good man, Sir Brian Lochore has died.

Lochore, All Black #637, represented New Zealand in the black jersey on 68 occasions, including 25 Tests. He was the All Blacks Captain in 1966 and went on to lead the team in 18 Tests.

In 1985-87 Lochore become the All Blacks coach, with his crowning achievement winning the 1987 inaugural Rugby World Cup.

He was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sport and the community and also inducted to the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 1999. On Waitangi Day in 2007, he received the country’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said Sir Brian passed away surrounded by family.

“It is with great sadness and grief that we announce that Sir Brian succumbed to his battle with cancer, earlier today. We have lost a genuine legend of our country, an unwavering figure on the field, and a highly respected figure off it. His family has lost a devoted husband, father and grandfather and for many of us, a great friend.

“It is not over-stating the facts to say that Sir Brian Lochore, was the saviour of New Zealand rugby on several occasions and many of us have lost a great mate. Our hearts go out to Pam and their children.”

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “It’s with great sadness that we have heard that one of New Zealand’s tallest kauri has fallen.

“Sir Brian Lochore is one of of the most respected men in New Zealand, not only in rugby but all facets of New Zealand life, as well as being hugely respected and held in high regard around the world. . . 

Lochore’s standing in the community, not only in rugby but also in farming, saw him involved in many committees while he also served a term as chairman of the national sports funding organisation, the Hillary Commission and his contribution to New Zealand across all fields was acknowledged in 1999 when he was knighted and he received the country’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand in 2007. His contribution to New Zealand Rugby was acknowledged when he received the Steinlager Salver for distinguished service in 2003, an award repeated on the international stage when he received the International Rugby Board’s (World Rugby) Vernon Pugh Award for distinguished services in 2006.

He was also a trustee of the New Zealand Rural Games Trust which I chaired for a couple of years.

Working with him was a pleasure and a privilege.

His death leaves a big hole, not least among his family and friends to whom I offer sincere sympathy.


How old’s old enough?

August 1, 2019

Coroner Tim Scott said that a six year-old should not have been walking to and from school by herself:

Carla Neems was five weeks’ shy of her seventh birthday when she was fatally struck by a rubbish truck outside her Gisborne home on May 2, 2017.

In findings released on Wednesday, Coroner Tim Scott said it was “unacceptable” for Carla’s parents to allow her to walk to and from school with her older siblings, and children her age should be accompanied by an adult. . . 

Coroners have a job to do which includes making recommendations that might prevent future fatalities but there is no such thing as completely safe and blaming her parents for Carla’s death is heartless and wrong.

If six, nearly seven is too young, how old id old enough for children to walk a few hundred metres without an adult in tow?

This was a tragic accident which Carla’s family, their friends and the truck driver will carry for the rest of their lives but it should not be used to further curtail children’s incidental exercise and freedom.

If children can’t walk safely to school, address what makes it dangerous, don’t blame parents and provide yet more reasons for children to be mollycoddled.


Dangers for the vulnerable

June 25, 2019

Serious question: how do people who believe in minimising the power of the state reconcile that view with support for giving the state the power over the life and death of vulnerable people?

The Bill that seeks to legalise euthanasia would restrict its availability to people with terminal illnesses with less than six months to live.

Doctors can predict how long someone might survive, but they can be wrong.

A year ago a friend was told he had five months to live.

He has just bought a neighbouring farm and is about to launch a newly built boat.

He still has cancer but he is on a drug which has not only kept him alive but is allowing him to live a good life.

Eighteen months ago a friend emailed to say she was on the way to look after her grandchildren because their other grandmother was in the very last stages of life with hours or at best days to live. At the 11th hour she was given a new drug and she now has no signs of the cancer that was killing her.

These are true stories, Jacqui Dean who sat on Parliament’s Health Select Committee, which launched an inquiry in response to a petition calling for a law change to permit medically assisted dying in the event of terminal illness. heard more:

. . . I am opposed to euthanasia, with my resolve only strengthened after sitting on that committee and hearing the heartfelt testimony of hundreds of people who bravely faced death and the families who lost loved ones.

I heard some wonderful stories of love and tenderness, sad stories of heartbreak and loss, stories of great courage and inner strength, and through it all I had the utmost admiration for those who came before us to share their deepest fears and their greatest joys.

The Samoan grandmother who talked of the death of her father – a beautiful and moving family experience which she told us was gentle and loving and filled with prayer.

The woman whose husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 28, but who outlived three fatal prognoses and didn’t actually pass away for fourteen years.

This woman pointed out that no-one can predict the final outcome of a terminal illness, and she and her daughter were grateful that they never gave up and that the family got to share those extra years together.

And the blind man who had fought against adversity all of his life and wanted to encourage people to live in hope and not give in to despair.

There were stories of courage and strength, which reflected the best of the human spirit.

Stories from those who made it their life’s work to support the dying through palliative care, and submissions from groups motivated by strong beliefs around death and dying.

We also heard from those approaching the end of their lives.

This included a man, in his 40s who was dying of prostate cancer, who spoke with anger about his life being robbed. And others who said they feared death and wanted to take the pain away as quickly as possible when their time came.

There’s no doubt decisions made at the end of life are emotionally charged, highly personal and reflect circumstances and timing that vary from individual to individual.

The care that people get at this time can make a fundamental difference to people’s experiences.

For that reason, I support the power of good that hospice and palliative care services provide.

Dedicated and diligent guidance from these providers can assist terminally ill people to die peacefully and with dignity.

They believe that if people can come to a place where they can accept their end of life, it can have a huge impact on them and a lasting positive effect on their families.

I was deeply affected by the impassioned testimony the committee also heard from groups representing the disabled, elderly and the mentally ill.

Many of these people genuinely fear for the future if they become a physical or a financial burden on their families. They also questioned whether there could be circumstances where they may be manipulated or pressured into ending their lives.

This worries me deeply. If we legislate for the right to die, the negative impact on vulnerable groups will be huge.

In my heart I simply cannot accept that a law can be developed which will completely protect the vulnerable.

One of the most moving moments of the select committee process came when we heard from a Wellington man who said in the past he had been suicidal.

He recognised the grave consequences if euthanasia was made legal in this country. The option of taking one’s life would become much more normalised and he believed vulnerable people might make a decision that could never be reversed.

Our suicide rates are already too high – we don’t need death by choice as another signal that ending one’s life is OK.  . . 

The Select Committee that dealt with the Bill said it was unworkable. the doctors in the Care Alliance agree with them.:

. . . The Care Alliance, a charity which opposes physician-assisted euthanasia, has taken out a full-page ad in the New Zealand Herald.

The signatories endorse the views of the World Medical Association and New Zealand Medical Association, that euthanasia is unethical, even if made legal.

The letter says it supports effective pain relief and palliative care, and the right for patients to decline treatment if they wish.

But it says crossing the line to assist a person to die would weaken the doctor-patient relationship.

Dr Sinead Donnelly, who organised the letter, said the bill is unworkable.

“The message is that as doctors we don’t want to be part of it. You’re going to, in our view, destroy the profession of medicine by drawing us in to ending the life of our patients and two, the risk to the vulnerable is much too great.”

The letter has been signed by 1061 doctors, of the 17,000 registered doctors in New Zealand. . . 

The NZMA opposes the Bill:

It’s current chair, Kate Baddock said that had not changed and would not. 

“It would be impossible to craft a law that would completely protect people from sublte coercion and it’s also impossible to craft a law that means that people are totally competent,” she said.

“Therefore there should be no law, there should be no euthanasia.”

She is backed up by the Secretary General of the World Medical Association, doctor Otmar Kloiber.

“We have a huge and overwhelming majority that says no, this is not for us, and doctors should not be involved in killing patients,” he said.

“That is a very clear and very broad view which we have.”

Australian ethicist doctor Margaret Somerville spent 40 years in Canada and has nine doctorates, and said it was not over the top to use the word “killing”.

“This is a momentous decision, to say that you will allow intentional killing,” she said.

“You’ve got to be clear about what we really are authorising. This voluntary assisted dying – we all want assistance in dying. And then you give it to the medical profession, the healers in our society, it’s a radical change in our most fundamental values.” . . 

Lawyers have concerns too:

. . .Public lawyer Grant Illingworth QC said it was a very serious issue and mistakes about death and dying could not be undone.

“That’s why we abolished the death penalty in this country,” he said.

“The kind of legislation currently before parliament must contain safeguards that are so clear and so comprehensive, that any possibility of dying by mistake is excluded beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The statute proposed by David Seymour fails to meet that standard by a very wide margin in my opinion.” . . 

Life is terminal, but who can say when it will terminate?

It’s impossible to be precise about how long even very ill people might live and there are very real dangers in giving the state the power over life and death of vulnerable people.


Doris Day – 3.4.22 – 13.5.19

May 14, 2019

Singer and actress Doris Day has died.

The singer turned actress starred in films such as Calamity Jane and Pillow Talk and had a hit in 1956 with Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).

Her screen partnership with Rock Hudson is one of the best-known in the history of romantic movies. . . 

Born Doris Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff in April 1922, Day originally wanted to be a dancer but had to abandon her dream after breaking her right leg in a car accident.

Instead she began her singing career at the age of 15. Her first hit, Sentimental Journey, would become a signature tune.

Her films, which included Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much and That Touch of Mink, made her known around the world.

But she never won an Oscar and was nominated only once, in 1960, for Pillow Talk, the first of her three romantic comedies with Hudson.

Honours she did receive included the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2008.

Her last release, the compilation album My Heart, went to number one in the UK in 2011. . . 

 


Can it ever be safe enough?

May 3, 2019

The re-entry to Pike River won’t go ahead today as planned:

Andrew Little announced on Thursday there has been a set back with the Pike River Mine re-entry due to elevated oxygen levels at the far end of the drift.

The minister described the elevated levels as “unpredicted and unexplained,” and because of this, the mine will not be entered, although there will still be an event for families.

“If you can’t explain it, you stop what you’re doing until you can,” he said.

The shift in oxygen levels means the atmosphere in the drift has changed and the air is no longer breathable. . . .

Calling off the re-entry is the right decision.

But it raises questions: can there be any guarantee that there wouldn’t be “unpredicted and unexplained” elevation in oxygen levels while people were in the drift and what would happen if there was?

That leads to another question: can it ever be safe enough?


Lest we forget

April 25, 2019

Lest we forget, we say solemnly.

Lest we forget the sacrifice of those who served in war zones.

Lest we forget that many paid with their lives, many with their health, and that none could return untouched by the horrors they experienced.

My maternal grandfather served with the New Zealand Army in World War I. My mother said he never talked about it and buried his medals in the garden.

My father served with the New Zealand Army’s 20th Battalion. He too didn’t ever say much about his experiences, though did show us the photo of he and the four other men who were the only survivors of the company of 120 after the Battle of Ruweisat Ridge.

When I hear lest we forget I think of that and give thanks I don’t have to live with the memories of what it was like to be there.

No matter what we’ve read, listened to and watched, none of us who have never served in a war zone can understand what it was like.

The Veteran at No Minister, has written a post that reminds us the impact that fighting a war had not just on those who served and not just while they served.

Lest we forget.

 

 


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