35 – 17

June 28, 2015

It was worth staying up late to watch the Highlanders play the Waratahs and win 35 – 17.

The Hurricanes beat the Brumbies earlier and will host the final next week.


Saturday’s smiles

June 6, 2015

Hours after the end of the world, a border dispute emerged between heaven and hell. Saint Peter invited the devil for a meeting to find a way to resolve the dispute.

The devil suggested a football game between teams with a team of players from heaven against one with players from hell.

Peter, who was honour-bound to be fair, said, “The heat must be affecting your brain, the game would be so one-sided you wouldn’t have a chance. Don’t you know all the good players come to us in heaven?”

The devil, responded with his trademark evil grin, Yeah, but we’ve got all the officials and referees.”

Off with the head

June 3, 2015

Freshly re-elected FIFA president Sepp Blatter has stood down saying, in what must be a contender for understatement of the year:

“Although the members of FIFA gave me a new mandate, this mandate does not seem to be supported by everyone in the world.”

When an organisation is facing such serious allegations of corruption as FIFA is he had no choice.

The buck stops at the head of an organsiation and when it’s riddled with corruption as FIFA is alleged to be, one of the measures to clean it up has to be off with the head and on with a new one.

Recognising service

June 1, 2015

Among those recognised in the Queens Birth Honours today Is Dave Hill of Oamaru for his many years of service to paralympic sport and health:

In 1973 Mr Hill was a founding member of the North Otago Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Association (now Paralympics New Zealand) and helped fundraise for the North Otago Clubrooms in Oamaru. He arranged the building of a hot mix track for wheelchair sprint and slalom race training and organised competitive wheelchair games. He managed the 1978 National Games in Oamaru at Waitaki Boys’ College. He chaired the Paralympics New Zealand National Sports Technical Committee and provided support for the New Zealand team at the 1980 Paralympics. He spearheaded fundraising initiatives for wheelchair racers to participate in the 1981 Japan Wheelchair Marathon, the 1984 and 1992 Paralympics and formed New Zealand Road Wheelers for half and marathon events. He was team manager or Chef de Mission for several international Paralympic events including the 1987 World Championships, Assistant Chef de Mission in Seoul in 1988, the 1992 Paralympics and the 1990 Commonwealth Games where he originated the Wheelchair Race demo for male and female racers. He was involved with the Salvation Army’s Oamaru district until retiring in 2004 due to Superficial Siderosis. Mr Hill has since created a newsletter and run a plain language website for the illness allowing sufferers of Superficial Siderosis to establish a global information and support network.

Sally Rae profiled Dave, his work and his health battles in this story cruel twist slows, not stops Hill.

The full Honours List is here.

1951 Wellington-Lyttelton yacht race TV1 tonight

May 20, 2015

The Peninsula Cruising Club’s Canterbury centennial race from Wellington to Lyttelton is the subject of Descent from Disaster, on TV1 at 8:30 this evening.

Only one of the 20 starters finished the race and two yachts, Argo and Husky, were lost with all their crew.

Another race entrant, Astral, was dismasted. A trawler, Tawera, took the yacht in tow but as the weather worsened the tow rope chafed through.

My father was one of the crew on the Caplin. A newspaper report in his journal records the account of the trawler skipper, George Brasell:

A newspaper report in Dad’s journal records the account of the trawler skipper, George Brasell:

“Astral was carrying a light and all we could do was to stand by alongside her and keep her in view. This was a tremendous task as it was blowing a full gale and a light was only visible when she topped the seas. My crew were tried to their utmost that night and did a wonderful job i n trying to keep the Astral in sight. Visibility was very bad. We only picked up land once after leaving Lyttelton.

“About midnight on Friday the crew of the Astral signalled us to put oil on the water. We did as requested until daylight when we started to take the crew off by means of a line dragging each member through the water. Luckily the rescue was carried out successfully. I felt proud of my crew. The rescue was carried out at the height of the gale. . . “

 I posted on the race on its anniversary. Several people with memories of it or connections to it left comments.

Good news x 2

April 20, 2015

Annual inflation is close to zero:

Cheap petrol has driven down the cost of living in the first three months of the year, pushing the annual inflation rate to a 15-year low.

The Consumers Price Index, a measure of inflation, declined by 0.3 per cent in the March quarter, Statistics New Zealand figures show. . .

Inflation erodes the real value of investments, the only good inflation is low inflation.

And another piece of good news Team New Zealand won’t receive any more public funding:

. . . Prime Minister John Key told TV ONE’s Breakfast this morning “I think it means the end of the road for any more government funding”.

“Realistically for us to get value there needed to be exposure for the America’s Cup team, there will be some obviously in Bermuda, but we think in our assessments it’s significantly reduced if the event is not hosted, in some way, in New Zealand.”

He said it would be “very difficult” to get the public to favour more tax payer dollars being sunk into Team New Zealand. . . .

More than  difficult, it would be  all but impossible to convince people that funding what most regard as a rich man’s sport and a team which appears to be dysfunctional would be good news of public funds.

Quote of the day

March 31, 2015

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith. – Billy Graham

This choice was inspired by:

Brendan Malone’s  Son, your character is more important than legal action:

. . . I love my son more than life itself, but, if years from now, when he is in high school, he should ring me one day and tell me that he is being sent home from a very important school sports trip because he has made a bad decision and broken the law, I will not take legal action to help him avoid the consequences of what he has done.

I will undoubtedly feel greatly disappointed for him, and probably very angry about any personal time or financial investment that is about to be lost by my wife and I as a result of him being sent home from the competition.

But I would also be keenly aware that there is something far more important than just money, time or sporting accolades at stake here, and that I, as his father, need to help him to understand that honour matters, and that sacrificing your integrity to compete in a sporting competition (even if you win) does not make you a winner – it makes you a man without character. . .


Jonny Gilling’s Open letter to the Black Caps: I can point to you and say to my sons, ‘live like that’ :

. . The simple reality is that fame is a cheating lover. Give it a generation or two and very few people will recall your names or your achievements.

Perhaps the cricket die-hards will, there will no doubt be a plaque or two somewhere acknowledging what you have achieved. But the world is too small a place to remember the sporting deeds of many and each generation moves on to its own heroes.

What will live on is character passed from parent to child, honour imparted and stewarded into maturity by a community to a young one. What will live on are the qualities that can exist in a human heart that steward the very life of humanity.

And so I say thank you.

Thank you for taking your global stage and as a unified team, displaying something more valuable than holding aloft a trophy.

To New Zealand cricket, keep walking the path that you have started on. While you did not win the game, where honour and integrity are evident, you can never fail. I believe if you continue on in this manner, the trophies will come.

I know that given the hopes you had as a team, a letter from an unknown nobody will probably mean very little right now. However, life has a funny way of taking what we once thought was an incredible achievement, and with expanded and matured sight, life proves what we thought to be incredible is actually fairly insignificant.

It is for that reason that I hope each of you go forward to live the kind of lives where one day, perhaps months, years or decades from now, you read this letter again and recognise how invaluable it is to display honour, humility, character and compassion for the world to see.

As a father seeking to reveal to them the beauty of his sons, thank you.



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