Quote of the day

October 5, 2015

Everyone’s told us that we’ve got this weak pool, so that’s how we manufacture something that allows us to practice stuff that we’re going to get later on.

If we brought our whole game straight away, everybody gets to see what we’ve got and that hasn’t worked for us in the past.

We’re trying a different tack, and we know we’ve got to get better but we’ve got a plan and we’re comfortable with that plan. – Steve Hansen

Wins not victories

October 3, 2015

The All Blacks have beaten Georgia 43 – 10.

Like its other pool games, it was a win but not a victory.

The All Blacks have been expected not only to win but to win well and they haven’t yet.

This means either:

a) The gap between the top tier, the up and comers and the minnows is narrowing.

b) It’s a cunning plot by the All Blacks to appear weaker than they are by not playing their best in pool games.

c) The chances of the All Blacks making the final, let alone winning it aren’t nearly as high as many of us hoped.

NZ 58 – Namibia 14

September 25, 2015

The scoreboard showed the All Blacks won but given the difference between the teams, Namibia who were very much expected to be the underdogs, didn’t lose.

The 58 – 14 score gives the All Blacks a bonus. But it wasn’t the walk-over many had expected and will also give them lots to work on.

It’s good for rugby, and the World Cup competition, that some of the lower-ranked teams are more competitive, although Japan didn’t manage to follow up from its win over South Africa with a second upset yesterday.

While a little bit of me was backing the Cherry Blossoms, my tartan genes were happy when Scotland won 45 – 10.



How well do you know rugby rules?

September 21, 2015

How well do you know the rules of rugby?


80 minute game

September 21, 2015

A friend sent a message from Argentina as this morning’s Rugby World Cup match finished saying the Pumas can’t play at that level for 80 minutes and the All Blacks can.

I happened to wake up early and watched the game live and agree with that statement.

The Pumas played well and won the first half. But the team seemed to run out of steam towards the end while the All Blacks went up another gear and won in the end 26 – 16.



Game by game

September 20, 2015

The All Blacks’ World Cup campaign begins tomorrow morning (NZ time) with a match against the Pumas.

Our team is number one in the world and among the favourites to win the Cup but championships have to be taken game by game.

The Highlanders’ win over the Hurricanes in this year’s Super Rugby final is a recent reminder that an underdog can beat a favourite and this mornings Pool B match reinforced that.

Who would have thought that Japan’s Cherry Blossoms would beat South Africa’s Springboks  at all, let alone 34 – 32? Georgia’s 17 – 10 win against Tonga was also a surprise.

And wasn’t it an unexpected win by Argentina against the French hosts in a previous Cup opener which led to the French meeting, and beating, the All Blacks in the quarter-final?

All my fingers and toes are crossed for the All Blacks because in spite of all they’ve done to prepare, their fitness, tactics and skill, luck will play a part in which team makes it to the final and which wins the Cup.

Rural round-up

September 12, 2015

Meat returns to rise over next year – Alan Royal:

A lower New Zealand currency will do much of the running for sheep meat and beef returns to farmers over the next year.

Beef + Lamb NZ expected slight increases in product values but they were likely to be outweighed by lower volumes, especially for lamb.

B+LNZ forecast an average lamb price of $5.47/kg for the export year ending September 30, 2016, a 4% lift on the provisional figure for the year finishing in a couple of weeks. . .

Few animal welfare issues in dry North Canterbury:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has complimented farmers on how they have managed animal welfare through the prolonged North Canterbury drought.

Canterbury-based MPI Animal Welfare Manager Peter Hyde says there have had been very few animal welfare issues to deal with in North Canterbury.

“Sheep are a bit lighter than ideal but not to the extent where they are below the minimum standard that breaches of the Animal Welfare Act.”

Mr Hyde says farmers have adopted different management strategies to maintain the condition of their animals. . . 

Finalists in the NZ Innovators Awards:

Finalists in the New Zealand Innovators Awards 2015 demonstrate that Kiwi innovation is thriving, with a 24 per cent increase in entries that are of world class standard.

Announced today are the finalists who represent game changing innovation from every corner of the country, with new products and services from a broad range of industries and business disciplines. Included in the finalists are an exciting range of entries, from electric farm bikes, dairy free cheese, anti-cancer treatments and free school lunches. Spoilt for choice with this year’s entries – these are ordinary Kiwi’s doing extra-ordinary things.

New Zealand Innovation Council CEO Louise Webster says the 2015 entrants give a real sense that Kiwi innovation is moving into the main stream, demonstrating world leading approaches to innovation with many businesses going global from day one. . . 

Wool Jumps:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Malcolm Ching reports that a weakening New Zealand dollar and steady off-shore buying interest saw all wool types improve for the South Island offering of 9,300 bales with 87 percent selling.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currency came down 1.29 percent compared to the last sale on 3rd September.

Mr Ching advises that compared to the last time sold on 27th August, Merino Fleece 21.5 micron and finer were 5 to 10 percent dearer with 22 to 23.5 microns 1 to 2 percent firmer. . . 

Ballance Farm Environment Awards Showcase Sustainable Farming Success:

Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards is a great way for farmers to show they care about the environment, say Waikato dairy farmers Susan O’Regan and John Hayward.

The couple entered the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards for the first time last year and were thrilled to win two category awards, including the LIC Dairy Farm Award.

“Waikato Regional Council has been working with us on a planting programme on the farm for several years and they encouraged us to enter,” Susan says.

“We went in to the competition pretty cold and didn’t really know what to expect. We didn’t do any window dressing on the farm and we were fairly relaxed when the judges showed up and started asking us questions.” . . .

PGP delivering much needed support to rural communities:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says a further 400 rural professionals will be trained in 20 workshops delivered over the next month to support farming families and rural communities.

“These workshops are about creating a culture of mental health awareness and training within service organisations, a key outcome from ‘Transforming the Dairy Value Chain’, a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries, DairyNZ and Fonterra.

“This adds to the more than 400 rural professionals already trained in mental health awareness by the programme.

“While the economic benefits of PGP are well known as the Government’s flagship research and development programme for the primary sector, it’s great to see it is also supporting the wellbeing of dairy farmers in what is a difficult year for some. . . 

$345,000 for wilding conifers in War on Weeds:

Five groups tackling the major problem of wilding conifers have received $345,000 from the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund as part of the War on Weeds, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

“Wilding conifers cover more than 1.7 million hectares of land, and are advancing at an estimated rate of 5 per cent a year,” Ms Barry says.

“They alter entire landscapes and are notoriously difficult to clear once established, representing a major threat to our unique New Zealand ecosystems, land and farms.” . . .

Sharp Blacks ‘meat’ victory for third time:

New Zealand’s national butchery team the Pure South Sharp Blacks have carved their way to victory for the third time, during last night’s Tri-Nations Butchers’ Challenge.

The team of butchers have been reigning champions for three years now, and last night they once again showed their world-class form at Auckland’s Shed 10.

Going up against the best-of-the-best from Australia and England, the Sharp Blacks endured three hours of intense competition, turning a side of beef, pork and whole lamb into art based on a Kiwiana theme. . . 

PEP agrees to buy Manuka Honey for undisclosed sum – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Pacific Equity Partners, the biggest private equity firm in Australia and New Zealand, has agreed to buy Manuka Health, the functional food and dietary supplement company, for an undisclosed amount, subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

The Te Awamutu-based honey firm currently has 37 shareholders, according to records on the Companies Office, with Watermann Capital a cornerstone owner. Founder Kerry Paul owns 7.3 percent, while Milford Asset Management owns 6.3 percent. The New Zealand Herald has reported the purchase price was $110 million.

Manuka Health was founded in 2006 and exports 90-plus products based on propolis, royal jelly, bee pollen, and manuka honey to 45 countries. It has annual turnover of more than $50 million. . . 

More biosecurity detector dog power for Christchurch:

Two new biosecurity detector dog teams have started at Christchurch airport to sniff out risk goods carried by international travellers, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Anna Howie and Alice McKay started work on Monday. They finished their detector dog handler training in Auckland last week, along with 9 other new MPI handlers who have since started at Auckland and Wellington.

Anna will work detector dog Frank (labrador), originally sourced from an Australian customs breeding programme. Alice will work with Pip, a brand new labrador detector dog purchased from a private home in Hastings. . . 

Dairy goat industry gets $3.6 million research boost:

A research grant of $3.63 million from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is set to boost dairy goat productivity in the near future.

The three year study is led by Professor Russell Snell and Associate Professor Klaus Lehnert from the Faculty of Science at the University of Auckland.

The research is aimed at accelerating sustainable productivity gain within the Dairy Goat Co-Operative (NZ) Ltd (DGC) with the primary product target of high value infant formula. . . 

Cadrona Extend Opening Hours & On Track to Break Snowfall Record:

Cardrona is set to have the best season it’s had in 20 years – just 15cm off beating its own record of 333cm total snowfall in a season. The resort is experiencing one of the best seasons in regards to snowfall and snow conditions that it has seen in the past two decades, and with the longest season in the South Island, there are still 4 weeks to break the record.

Spring has officially kicked off with a few early September snowfalls gifting Cardrona guests ideal snow conditions to start the spring season. Currently even Cardrona’s lowest lift, the Valley View Quad, still boasts superb conditions both off and on-piste. . . 


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