Argentina 25 – NZ 15


Rugby history was made in Sydney tonight – Los Pumas beat the All Blacks for the first time.

We were in Japan last year when England beat New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final and it looked much the same – the ABs didn’t seem to have a plan for when the game didn’t go their way. When the pressure went on they just kept doing the same things that hadn’t worked before and they kept making errors.

This is the first time the ABs have lost two games in a row since 2011.

That isn’t good for them but it is good for Argentina and it is good for rugby.

Rural round-up


Landpro director gets time away – Sally Rae:

Otago’s Solis Norton and Kate Scott were recently named among the latest crop of Nuffield scholars. They talk to agribusiness reporter Sally Rae about their work and the adventure that lies ahead.

Kate Scott quips that Landpro — the Central Otago-based planning and surveying company she jointly founded a decade ago — is “taking over the world, one small regional town at a time”.

From a staff of one to about 30 now, the business expanded  incrementally as its reputation grew, with more people and disciplines added, and there were long-term goals to maintain that growth.

An office was established in Cromwell 10 years ago and there were now also offices in Gore and New Plymouth. . . 

Passionate about energy – Sally Rae:

“It will be an adventure.”

So says Solis Norton, of Port Chalmers, who has been named a 2018 Nuffield scholar, along with Simon Cook (Te Puke), Andy Elliot (Nelson), Turi McFarlane (Banks Peninsula) and Kate Scott (Central Otago).

He expected it would be a  very busy time but  was looking forward to making the most of the opportunity.

Dr Norton grew up in Dunedin’s Northeast Valley and went to Massey University, where he completed a bachelor in agricultural science degree in 1996, a masters degree in applied science and then a PhD in the epidemiology of Johne’s disease in New Zealand dairy herds. . . 

North Island leaders up for Australasian agri-business award:

Three diverse and inspirational young agribusiness leaders have been selected from across Australasia as finalists for the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award.
The award, regarded as a prestigious badge of honour for the industry, recognises agriculture’s most innovative young professionals from both sides of the Tasman.

Lisa Kendall, 25, hails from Auckland, and is owner/operator of Nuture Farming Ltd, a business she established to provide agricultural services to people in and around her home city. She was a Grand Finalist in the 2017 FMG Young Farmer of the Year, and took out the People’s Choice Award, the AgriGrowth Challenge and the Community Footprint Award. Kendall plays an active role in schools, encouraging urban students to consider the career opportunities in agriculture. She is also vice-chair of the Franklin Young Farmers Club. . . 

Joint efforts on water quality – Rebecca Nadge:

The Otago Regional Council is working with Central Otago farmers in a bid to monitor and improve water quality in the area.

At a meeting in Omakau last week, local farmers discussed the strategy with ORC environmental resource scientist Rachel Ozanne and environmental officer Melanie Heather.

The plan involves ongoing testing of water at Thompson’s Creek in a cross-section of three tributaries, as well as regular monitoring in Waipiata and Bannockburn.
Ms Ozanne said the project would continue until May, with testing carried out on a fortnightly basis. . . 

Strong interest shown for Future Farm programme:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s search for a “Future Farm” is in its final stages and farmers are being urged to get in touch if they’re interested in being part of this unique programme.

B+LNZ is seeking to lease a hill country sheep and beef property with around 6,000 stock units for the Future Farm, which will trial new technologies and farm systems. . .

TPP agreement safeguards New Zealand’s export sector:

Federated Farmers congratulates Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the coalition government for recognising the importance of free trade to New Zealand.

Following a frenetic few days of negotiations at the APEC summit in Vietnam, the New Zealand Trade delegation has succeeded in brokering agreement with 11 countries from the Asia-Pacific region- to move the deal forward.

Federated Farmers thanks all the Ministers and officials involved for their dedication and resolve. . . 

CPTPP important to maintain competitiveness:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is welcoming the progress made towards realisation of a TPP agreement (now referred to as CPTPP).

“Timely implementation of the CPTPP market access arrangements is necessary to ensure New Zealand exporters do not end up at a tariff disadvantage into one of our largest dairy markets” says DCANZ Executive Director Kimberly Crewther

The trade dynamic for dairy in the trans-pacific region has evolved in recent months with the European Union and Japan concluding negotiation of an FTA agreement which delivers market access gains to European dairy exporters similar to those agreed for New Zealand under TPP.  . . 

Cultivate With Care After Big Wet – Bala Tikkisetty

Following the wettest winter on record, farmers are currently cultivating their paddocks for pasture or crop rotation.

As they do so, it’s important to be aware of and manage the associated environmental risks.

Sediment and nutrients from farming operations, along with erosion generally, are some of the most important causes of reduced water quality and cultivation increases the potential for problems. . . 

Argentina is saying hello to the world again – Pedro

We’re saying hello to the world again.

That’s the simplest way to understand last month’s elections in Argentina, in which the party of reform-minded President Mauricio Macri made important legislative gains, picking up seats in both chambers of our Congress.


As a farmer in Argentina, I’m pleased by this political victory—but I’m even more encouraged by what it means for my country’s general direction.

For too long, we’ve faced inward rather than outward. Although Argentina grows a huge amount of food and depends on global trade for its prosperity, we have behaved as if none of this mattered. The previous government slapped huge export taxes on farm products and didn’t consider the consequences. We stepped away from the world market.

This wasn’t my decision, but rather the decision of former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the head of the Peronist Party. When she took office a decade ago, export taxes were already high—and she worked to raise them even more.

The American President Ronald Reagan once made a wise observation: “If you want less of something, tax it.” . .

Vietnamese farmers flourish in the Northern Territory to become Top End’s top growers – Kirsty O’Brien:

Michael Quatch arrived in Australia as a refugee of the Vietnam War. Now he is one of the most successful growers in the Northern Territory.

During picking season, work starts well before sunrise and does not end, but Mr Quatch is not complaining — he snags a few hours of rest here and there as he works hard to get the fresh produce from his farm at Lake Bennet in the Top End onto supermarket shelves.

The 45-year-old is the biggest hydroponic farmer in the Northern Territory, running 16 hectares of shaded cropping mainly producing tomatoes and cucumbers.

But Mr Quatch had to overcome obstacles difficult to fathom when you first meet this jovial, optimistic farmer. . . 


Argentina 0 – Netherlands 0


At the end of extra time Argentina and the Netherlands are locked 0 – 0.

This, the second World Cup semi final, will now be decided by a penalty shoot-out.

I know almost nothing about football but I’m on the edge of my seat.

Strengthening links to the east


We are reaping the benefits from strengthening links with countries to our west, in particular China.

Prime Minister John Key’s trip to Latin America signalled we’re also taking links with countries to our east more seriously.

There is good potential for business relationships, trade and also links through education:

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced that seven 15 and 16 year-old Spanish language students from New Zealand will travel to Santiago later this year as part of a new exchange programme.

The “Flying Kiwis” programme has been developed in response to the highly-successful Chilean government-sponsored “Penguins without Borders” programme, which was piloted in New Zealand this year, and saw forty Chilean students come to New Zealand to live and study for two terms in the first half of the year.

The New Zealand students will go to school in Santiago and stay with the families of the Chilean students who participated in the “Penguins without Borders” programme.

Ms Parata made the announcement today during her meeting with Chile’s Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Felix de Vicente in Santiago.

“The “Flying Kiwis” programme is an exciting opportunity for our students. It will enable them to see and experience life in Chile and immerse themselves in the Spanish language,’’ says Ms Parata.

“It was an honour for New Zealand to be chosen to host the pilot of the “Penguins without Borders” programme and a great pleasure for our schools and communities to host the first group of Chilean students. I know that the schools and families in Santiago will welcome and look after our students in true Chilean style.’’

The New Zealand students will be chosen from those learning the Spanish language at schools currently hosting the Chilean students in New Zealand.  Their travel will be sponsored by Education New Zealand, the government’s agency for international education.

“Education exchange is a wonderful opportunity that brings a new world of experience for all involved.  Scholarship and exchange programmes such as “Flying Kiwis” and “Penguins without Borders” create lifelong connections for both the Chilean and New Zealand students taking part. We look forward to continued involvement in such programmes.”

Earlier today Ms Parata met with Chile’s Minister of Education, Carolina Schmidt, and invited Chile to the International Summit on the Teaching Profession which New Zealand will host in March 2014.

Ms Parata is in Chile to reinforce the bilateral relationship, in which education is a key strand, between Chile and New Zealand, following on from Prime Minster John Key’s visit to Chile earlier in the year.

There’s a huge element of luck in exchanges. We got the jackpot when we hosted a teenager from Argentina for a year through AFS and his family is now ours.

The Chilean exchanges are shorter, just a few weeks, but that is time for those involved to learn a lot and establish relationships which could endure.

The programme might lead to longer exchanges and other educational opportunities.

Year-long exchanges between countries in the southern hemisphere, like Chile and Argentina,  make it easier for students because the educational calendar is similar whereas those going to or from the northern hemisphere countries like Japan or China have to come or leave part way through a school-year.



Falklands vs Malvinas


The people who live there call them the Falklands.

To the people of Argentina they’re Las malvinas and  they say the cold, wind swept islands in the South Atlantic are theirs.

The islanders have voted overwhelmingly to remain an overseas British territory.

Of 1,517 votes cast in the two-day referendum – on a turnout of more than 90% – 1,513 were in favour, while just three votes were against.

It follows pressure from Argentina over its claims to the islands, 31 years after the Falklands War with the UK.

The UK government welcomed the result and urged “all countries” to accept it and respect the islanders’ wishes.

The referendum had asked: “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?” . . .

Argentina still isn’t convinced.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has maintained that the Falkland islanders’ wishes are not relevant in what is a territorial issue.

Most Argentines regard the islands, which they call Las Malvinas, as Argentine and their recovery is enshrined in the national constitution.

Journalist Celina Andreassi, of the Argentina Independent, said: “The majority of people here agree with the official position that the issue is not about self-determination and it is not about whether the islanders consider themselves British or not – because obviously everyone knows that they do and that they are British.

“The issue for most people here is whether the territory is Argentine or British, not the people themselves.”

But the issue for the people who live there is that this is their home and has been for generations.

A hundred trillion reasons . . .


. . . why increasing the money supply is not a good idea:

(picture borrowed from Facebook).
We were in Argentina last week.
People there prefer United States dollars to the peso because inflation devalues their own currency so quickly.
Green co-leader Russel Norman appears to be oblivious to the dangers of printing more money.  What do his potential coalition partners think?

Less crime, more freedom


Each time we’ve been to Argentina our friends there warn us to be careful of pickpockets and petty thieves.

In light of that I always wear a money belt and carry only a little cash and no cards in my wallet and have never had any problems.

Several members of the Air New Zealand All Black entourage weren’t so lucky when they were in Buenos Aires last week.

One man was robbed twice, losing all the money he had with him and his credit cards.

Several others were the victims of pickpockets and one woman had the back of her handbag had been slashed though nothing was lost.

It could happen anywhere in the world but the chances of it happening here are a lot less than in many other countries.

We can still walk down the street with our bags swinging from our shoulders and wallets in pockets without the constant fear we could lose them or their contents.

We can live in houses without bars on the windows and – at least in this part of the country – without elaborate security systems.

This gives us a freedom and security we shouldn’t take for granted, although we can be grateful that the crime rate is falling.

Police Minister Anne Tolley says the increased focus on frontline policing and crime prevention will continue, following another drop in recorded crimes.

Recorded offences were down by 5.2 per cent, with 21,802 fewer crimes in the fiscal year to 30 June 2012. The crime rate per head of population fell by 5.9 per cent.

It follows a seven per cent reduction in crime per head of population in the previous fiscal year, and a 5.6 per cent decrease in the 2011 calendar year.

“The figures reflect the excellent work of the Police in making our communities safer and I want to thank them for their efforts,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Police are spending more time and are more visible in their communities through Neighbourhood Policing Teams, while mobile technology is also allowing officers to stay out on the front line, instead of having to return to their desks.

“This new way of working will continue – to proactively prevent crime rather than react after an offence has been committed, and that leads to fewer victims of crime.

“So there will be no let up for criminals. The Police are well on their way to reaching our target of an overall reduction in crime of 15 per cent by 2017.

Less crime means fewer victims, greater security and more freedom for all of us.

Feliz día de independencia Argentina


Happy Independence Day, Argentina.

The 9th of July is permanently commemorated in Buenos Aires by Avenida 9 de julio, which is about a kilometre long and up to 14 lanes wide.

Argentina days 2 & 3


Argentineans are practitioners of slow cooking.

The fire was lit in the mud oven soon after we arrived on Saturday afternoon, it took several hours to get it to the desired temperature then a few more to cook the pollo (chicken) and sweet potato.

As is the norm, it was well after 10 before we ate, but it was worth the wait.

Next day was a lazy Sunday, with our hosts, extended family and friends beside – or in – the swimming pool, talking, reading, snoozing and/or horse riding.

Lunch was beef, slow-cooked on the parrilla.

It was served with bread and salad, acompanied by beer or wine and followed by fresh fruit and alfajores – biscuit sandwiches filled with dulce de leche (caramel) and covered in chocolate.

To Argentina with love


Our visit to Argentina the week before last was a flying one – just seven days.

The weather was hot, the people warm, the meat and the hugs were plentiful.

Our affection for the country and its people began in 1995 when we hosted an AFS student from Pergamino, a city on the pampa about three hours west of Buenos Aires.

There’s a huge element of luck in exchanges and we struck the jackpot – a lovely young man whose family is now our family.

He’s returned to stay with us twice, his brother lived with us for six months and came back for a few weeks on a second visit, his sister has had a couple of visits, her husband spent a few weeks with us, their parents have also visited us and last week’s trip was our sixth to their country.

The aim of this brief visit was to meet our Argentinean grandbaby, our exchangee’s six month old daughter, who is of course gorgeous.

We left New Zealand on Thursday evening and after an 11 1/2 hour flight arrived in Buenos Aires four hours earlier because of the time difference.

We were staying in San Nicolas, a city nor-west of Buenos Aires.

On Friday we lunched at Estrella Federal , an historic estancia.

Estrella Federal is on the banks of the Paraná River, the second longest river in South America.

It is wide and deep enough to be navigable by ocean-going ships.

There are several islands in the river. The one we went is about 16,000 hectares in area. It runs 8,000 cattle and boasted New Zealand-made stock yards.

The island can disappear under water during floods but the length of the river means the owner gets a couple of months notice of rising water which gives him time to sell or find grazing for the stock.

When it floods the island can be covered in water for weeks or months. There is an upside though – when the flood recedes the farm has been well and truly irrigated and the island has received free soil, fertiliser and seed.


Why didn’t I write post about the trip while we were there? We have very good security at home and the chances of anyone with malicious intent reading this blog are slight but it still seemed sensible not to tell the world we were out of the country.


How did I manage to blog more as less as normal while away? I’d done some posts ahead and our hosts were working while we were there so it suited them for us to occupy ourselves some of the time which enabled me  to write some more.

Air NZ looking east?


Asia is the flavour of the moment as New Zealand moves from traditional markets and destinations for trade and tourism.

It’s called the east but that’s from a European perspective, Asia is really to our west unless you go the long way round the world.

The nearest major land block to our east is South America and there are also opportunities for business and holidays there too.

Fonterra is already involved in dairy farming in Chile.

PGG Wrightson’s investment in Uruguay wasn’t successful but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still opportunities there and in other parts of South America.

One of the obstacles is the shortage of flights and I hope speculation that Air New Zealand is exploring markets in South America is true.

It would add a much-needed additional option for would-be travellers.

Only Lan Chile and Aerolineas Argentina fly direct between Auckland and South America – to and from Santiago and Buenos Aires respectively.

You have to fly to Sydney to go with Qantas. Emirates has recently entered the South American market but you not only have to take the long way via Dubai you have to stay there for at least a night.

The only options with Star Alliance partners are with indirect and much longer routes via the United States or Europe.

The World Cup brought more tourists here from Argentina. Now that the tri-nations competition has been expanded to include the Pumas in what will be the Rugby Championship,  there will be more interest from people wanting to come here and go there. That will lead to an increase in interest in Argentina and further afield in South America with the potential for more tourism and trade opportunities.

We’ve been to Argentina five times. It’s an amazing country and in spite of the cultural and language differences we’ve found the people are like us in many ways.

Visiting there would be even better if we could fly with Air New Zealand.

Upsets good and bad


Last night’s upset win by Tonga against the French was a good upset.

Unless you happen to be French or a Francophile.

Scotland’s loss to England after a good start will have upset some.

Unless you’re one of those who weren’t hoping that Sctoland would go against the odds, win with a bonus point and so progress ot the quarter finals.

The Wallabies 68 -22 win over Russia wasn’t an upset but what’s described as a tournament-threatening injury to wing Drew Mitchell, on top of serious injuries to other players could be upsetting.

Unless you’re one of those who’s not wanting Australia to do very well.

This afternoon it looked like Georgia might upset Argentina until  Los Pumas took charge of the game which ensures them a spot in the quarter finals.

That would have upset Argentina’s supporters but pelased the Scots who would then have secured a place in the next round.

Like Adam Smith I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s heartbreaking that Dan Carter is out of the Rugby World Cup altogether though I acknowledge that will be upsetting to many.

Although not those in or supporting one of the teams hoping to beat the All Blacks.

But let’s keep it in perspective, a team is made up of 15 players plus reserves. They will all be doing their best to ensure there’s no upsets for them and their supporters, especially in today’s match against Canada.

This afternoon I’m backing Fiji against Wales and will take the underdog in the match between Ireland and Italy.

More than Irish eyes smiling


The upset win by Ireland over Australia last night will have more than Irish eyes smiling.

Rugby World Tournament organisers will be delighted that the competition, which was warming up anyway, has been well and truly set alight.

Blue and white ruled in Invercargill where Argentina won 43 – 8 against Romania and the Springboks beat Fiji 49 – 3.

The Welsh players will no doubt be thinking of the death of four men after a flood in a coal mine near Swansea on Friday when they meet Samoa this afternoon.

I’m backing Samoa in that game, Canada against France and for what might be the only time in the tournament I’ll be siding with England when the team meets Georgia in Dunedin.


What didn’t happen


Dunedin was buzzing when we got down there late yesterday afternoon and the city’s first rugby World Cup game was a success.

No-one got stuck on trains.

No-one we saw did anything they ought not have done.

None of the RWC volunteers, security people and police was anything but, friendly, polite and helpful.

The Otago Stadium didn’t disappoint the capacity crowd.

There were no long queues at the women’s loos (although the men did have a bit of a wait).

The crowd didn’t have any trouble dispersing when the game ended.

Argentina didn’t win.

I didn’t say bugger (but only because I don’t know how to in Spanish).

In other sports news, the Nude Blacks didn’t win their game agaisnt the Spanish Senoritas (warning nudity).

The Spanish team had won a video competition for the right to challenge the Nude Blacks.

Blue and white not black today


Dear England,

White has always seemed to be a particularly inappropriate colour for a rugby team to wear when the game is one in which most players get dirty.

It reminds me of stock agents who wear light coloured trousers in sheep pens.

Your decision to choose black as your away strip must be a relief to the people charged with cleaning the shirts and shorts but it’s put me in a bit of a quandary.

You see today I’m supporting blue and white – first Scotland and then Argentina – but my wardrobe, like that of many New Zealanders is full of black.

Should you look around the Forsyth Barr stadium today and see a sea of black, don’t think it means we’re all supporting you.

It’s just our Presbyterian heritage showing up. No matter that we’re backing blue and white today, many of us will be wearing black, in spite of  rather than because of you.

It doesn’t mean we’re supporting your team, it’s just that we’re not going to the expense of changing our wardrobes.

Yours in blue (and black),


NZ wins World Cup


We’ve won!

Well not the World Cup but a World Cup – New Zealand has won the Parliamentary World Cup.

The New Zealand team made up of MPs, political advisers and guest players including an ex-All Black made a strong start and won “about 40-nil” in the final played in Auckland according to captain and National MP for Napier Chris Tremain.

They were playing Argentina and while I’m delighted New Zealand won that game, I’ll be backing the blue and white team in the first RWC game at Dunedin’s new stadium tomorrow. (But, shhh,  don’t tell my English sister-in-law).

¡Vamos Argentina!

Feliz día de independencia Argentina


It’s Argentina’s Independence Day, the 195th anniversary of the country’s independence from Spain.

The date is easy to recall because it’s the name of the world’s widest avenue – Avenida 9 de julio in Buenos Aires, one of the must-see sites in the city.

El 9 de julio


It’s Independence Day in Argentina – the anniversary of the declaration of independence in 1816.

That date is commemorated in many ways. Several cities have named streets after the date – 9 de julio – including Argentina’s, and the world’s, widest avenue, in Buenos Aires.

Like all countries with Latin heritage, Argentina knows how to celebrate. The clip below is of part of the celebrations for the bicentennial of the country’s May Revolution.

Hat tip for the video: Mama in Macondo

Día de la Revolución de Mayo,


Feliz cumpleañon Argentina.

It’s May Revolution Day in Argentina  and today’s celebrations will be extra special because it’s the bicentennial of the original one which led to the fight for independence from Spain.

Feliz Navidad


This time last year we were in Argentina and Christmas was sandwiched in between two weddings.

We celebrated with dinner for extended family on Christmas Eve. At midnight Papa Noel arrived with a large sack containing one present for each child.

Christmas Day was spent with extended family again, relaxing round the pool, chatting and dining on leftovers.

The run up to this Christmas has been a wee bit more frenetic but now the gifts have been wrapped and the last two of nine Christmas cakes are in the oven. All that remains to be done today is to make a chocolate Christmas tree and a pavlova.

Tonight we’ll go to the candle light carol service in the wee church near by and tomorrow we’ll have a relaxed lunch at home with extended family.

Wherever you and whoever you’re with, may your Christmas be relaxed and happy and may 2010 treat you and yours well.

Feliz navidad, espero tengas un año nuevo felicidad.

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