Rural round-up


Access barrier for farmer mental health

A new initiative has been launched to improve access to counselling for farmers.

However, the founder of the charity behind it says accessibility is one of the main barriers for farmers seeking mental health assistance.

The Will to Live Charitable Trust’s ‘Rural- Change’ initiative will see farmers jump the sometimes eight-week queue to access three free private counselling sessions.

The initiative was launched in early September and Will to Live founder Elle Perriam told Rural News that they’d already had 15 farmers sign up. . . 

SWAG focused on the long game – Annette Scott:

The group tasked with lifting New Zealand’s strong wool sector out of the doldrums is on track to deliver.

With a 12-month contract and a $3.5 million dollar budget, the Strong Wool Action Group (SWAG) is working on leaving a legacy of a more connected and coordinated forward-looking, consumer-focused wool sector, embracing its place within the natural world.

The group is scheduled to sign-off at the end of this year and chair Rob Hewett is confident it is on track to deliver.

“We will make the grade, it’s a long game, but we are positioning sound opportunities to realise and commercialise several projects and who we are going to do this with,” Hewett said. . . 

Double-muscled sheep breed offers meaty gains -Country Life:

Beltex ram lambs are making farmers around the country lick their chops. Known for its heavy hindquarters and excellent kill weights, the breed is the sheep industry’s new kid on the butcher’s block.

A cross of Belgian and Texel sheep, the Beltex is used primarily for mating with ewes to produce lambs for meat.

Blair Gallagher and his son Hamish run New Zealand’s first Beltex stud at the family’s breeding and finishing property near Mount Somers.

Currently lambing’s in full swing on the scenic hill country farm. . . 

New Zealand red meat sector welcomes Chinese Taipei’s CPTPP membership application:

The Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ) welcome Chinese Taipei’s formal application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb NZ said the CPTPP was founded with a vision for regional agreement that provided for the accession of new members. Chinese Taipei’s application demonstrates the value of the agreement and its relevance to economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Chinese Taipei has been a longstanding and valuable market for New Zealand red meat products. Trade with Chinese Taipei was worth over $314 million in 2020, with trade in beef products worth over $170 million alone. This means that trade has almost doubled since the signing of the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC) in 2013.

“Like all other economies wishing to accede to the CPTPP, Chinese Taipei will need to demonstrate its commitment to the high standards contained in the CPTPP, and with a high-quality deal already in place with New Zealand, Chinese Taipei has demonstrated its commitment to trade liberalisation. . . 

Homegrown talent to tackle pesky pests :

Six of New Zealand’s young minds are setting out to revolutionise pest management, helping efforts to eradicate pests, possums, stoats and rats from New Zealand by 2050.

Supported by Predator Free 2050 Limited (PF2050 Ltd) and $2.4 million in Jobs for Nature funding, the post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers from University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, and University of Otago will be researching topics as diverse as genetics, biocontrol, audio lures, and social licence.

“Our work is certainly ambitious, but is a critical step to secure New Zealand’s biodiversity. Despite decades of valuable and dedicated conservation efforts, step-changes are needed to achieve our goals. And to achieve those step-changes, New Zealand needs new science talent to drive the cutting edge research needed,” says PF2050 Ltd science director Dan Tompkins.

Tompkins says the programme has garnered international attention with regards to whether its goal can be achieved. . .

The future of Fonterra in Australia – Marian Macdonald:

Australian milk might be some of the best in the world but, Fonterra Australia’s managing director says, it’s not New Zealand milk.

The result is that a chunk of the local business is being put up for sale, with strings attached.

In statements this morning, the giant NZ cooperative announced that it was placing “a greater focus on our New Zealand milk”.

Asked what that meant, Fonterra Australia managing director René Dedoncker said Fonterra had made clear choices around New Zealand milk and would be directing capital towards leveraging its provenance. . . 


365 days of gratitude


There was a time when the Ranfurly Shield stayed stubbornly with one team.

Auckland had held it for ages when they challenged North Otago and for a few glorious minutes the score line was North Otago 5 – Auckland – 0.

The former scored no more points and Auckland added 359 by the time the final whistle blew.

Then Canterbury won the shield and staved off multiple challenges.

But in recent years challengers have managed to win and the shield has had several different homes.

Today, for the second time in recent years, it has come back to Otago.

Last time the team held it for little more than a week.

This time it will stay on the right side of the Waitaki River for at least the summer, and fingers crossed, maybe a bit longer.

However, long it’s in the hands of the blue and gold team, we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Tonight I’m grateful to be on the winning side.

We remember


Six years ago at 12:51 Christchurch and the Canterbury hinterland were struck by an earthquake.

It’s easy for those of us who don’t live there to underestimate the on-going impact of it.

Friends are still arguing with their insurance company, the centre of the city is only very slowly coming back to life and the physical, emotional, and financial impacts are still being felt.

Today we remember Christchurch, Canterbury, the 185 people who died, their family and friends, the people who helped, and those who are still helping.

Kia Kaha.

Red and black


For Canterbury:

(Ribbon borrowed from Scrubone at Something Should Go Here Maybe Later)

A tale of two headlines


The Press: Southland lift Ranfurly Shield – last minute drop goal steals shield

Southland Times: Southland’s shield again – late drop-goal gets Stags up

Still shaking


A 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Canterbury at 5.39 this morning was felt throughout the South Island.

Reference Number 3550173 [View event in Google Maps][View Felt Reports in Google Maps]
Universal Time July 21 2011 at 17:39
NZ Standard Time Friday, July 22 2011 at 5:39 am
Latitude, Longitude 43.64°S, 172.20°E
Focal Depth 12 km
Richter magnitude 5.1
Region Canterbury
  • 20 km north-west of Leeston
  • 20 km north-east of Rakaia
  • 40 km west of Christchurch

The Press says there’s been no reports of injuries or property damage but that might change when people inspect buildings in daylight.

The Paper also reports on the probabilityof future quakes:

. . . for the 12 months to July 15 next year there is:

a nearly one in two chance of a magnitude-5.5 to 5.9 aftershock

a one in seven or eight chance of a magnitude-6.0 to 6.4 quake

a one in 15 chance of a magnitude-6.5 to 6.9 shake, and

a one in 50 probability of a quake of magnitude 7.0 or higher.

In monthly terms, those figures translate to:

a one in 10 chance of a magnitude 5.5 to 5.9

a one in 25 chance of a magnitude 6.0 to 6.4

a one in 100 chance of a magnitude 6.5 to 6.9, and

a less than 1 per cent probability of a magnitude 7.0 or more.

Based on the same calculations, there could be up to five magnitude-5.0 to 5.4 aftershocks in the next 12 months, with a one in three chance of one in the next month.

I presume this story was written before this morning’s quake so that’s one of the probabl 5.0 – 5.4 quakes down.


North Otago won – now it’s Southland’s turn


North Otago leads the Heartland rugby race for the Meads Cup after a 21-16 win against W(h)anganui in Oamaru this afternoon.

Pleased as I am about that, I won’t be celebrating until the end of the Ranfurly Shield challenge tonight.

I’d back Canterbury against any team from the north but my first allegiance is with teams from the right side of the Waitaki River so I’m hoping Southland holds tight to the shield tonight.

UPDATE: 26-16. Ah well, at least the shield is still on the Mainland.

Two cities two codes?


Two weeks ago a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Canterbury and no-one was killed.

One of the reasons given for that was building codes which made homes, hotels and other buildings safer.

Two days ago the roof of Stadium Southland collapsed under the weight of the snow and again no-one was killed.

Is this a tale of two building codes?

If not, how can regulations which make buildings strong enough to withstand an earthquake in Canterbury not make a roof strong enough to withstand a snowfall in Southland?

That which doesn’t kill you . . .


Months after our second son died I was feeling awful.

I took myself to my GP with a long list of symptoms, convinced I had at least one very serious illness.

He listened to me carefully, examined me thoroughly then said, “The only thing I can rule out 100% is prostate cancer, but I can see no signs of any physical problem. I think you’re suffering from grief.”

He asked me if I remembered feeling like this after the death of our first son, and I said no. But later that day I thought about it and realised I had. The pain of losing our baby had become physical the first time but it hadn’t immunised me and I was feeling similar symptoms the second time.

There is no instant cure for grief, it’s not so much an illness you get over as a process you go through and we all go through it differently.

When people find out about our children a lot say, “I couldn’t cope.”

Most of them are wrong because most of us can and do cope when life throws us from the bowl of cherries into the pits.

We may not always cope well, but we cope as best we can and most of the time we cope well enough with our own resources and the love and support of family and friends.

Most isn’t everyone though, some people don’t cope and need professional help.

That’s the reasoning behind sending counsellors to Canterbury to help people deal with the psychological aftermath of the earthquake.

But Christchurch doctors are warning that hyping up natural fear and distress may do more harm than good.

Pegasus Health chairman Martin Seers said staff had been in touch with international experts who said “medicalising” people’s responses after a natural disaster could be harmful.

“We’re increasingly worried about the hyping up of people’s natural distress and think that will start creating mental illness instead of solving it,” he said. . .

. . . Canterbury psychological health earthquake response team spokeswoman Dee Mangin said most people were experiencing some psychological and physical symptoms of stress.

Mangin, who is also Pegasus’ mental health spokeswoman, said GPs wanted to put a clear message out that this was normal and healthy and did not mean people needed professional help.

Talk of PTSD was premature and unhelpful. “We know that most people will not require help or counselling to recover from what is a normal and healthy stress reaction to an extraordinary event,” she said. “Inappropriate intervention can do more harm than good for these people.”

This doesn’t mean no-one will need help and what the doctors are saying shouldn’t be interpreted to mean those who need help shouldn’t get it.

It doesn’t mean everyone won’t feel a range of strong, negative emotions including anger and despair. These are normal reactions to abnormal stress.

But most will be able to cope with what they’ve been through, the on-going difficulty of getting back to normal and the feelings associated with all that.

 Friedrich Nietzsche said, that which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. 

He could have added that most of us don’t know how strong we are until we’re tested.

Thank you Canterbury


People sell papers.

That was the advice the first editor I worked for kept telling reporters to keep us focussed on the human side of an issue.

There have been lots of people-focussed stories in the wake of last Saturday’s earthquake and almost all of them have been good.

There’s the dairy owner who gave away stock to customers on Saturday morning, the army of student-helpers who mobilised via Facebook.

There have been a few stories of people behaving badly. There was a bit of opportunistic looting before the police and army arrived;  a break-in and theft of equipment from a special-needs school and a few acts of stupidity which ended up in court.

But almost all the stories are about people behaving well in spite of what they are going through as the after-shocks continue.

The people of Canterbury have expressed gratitude to the rest of New Zealand and people further afield for support.

The rest of the country should be grateful to Cantabrians for showing that when nature misbehaves people don’t have to.

John Key said:

The scale of the destruction in the city I grew up in is hard to grasp until you see the amount of damage and talk to people about what they have been through.

But what strikes me – more than anything else – is how well people are coping. Some families have lost almost everything. They are scared and worried. And they don’t know how long the aftershocks will continue. But they are picking themselves up, helping out their neighbours and their friends, and soldiering on in some really tough circumstances.

 Thank you Canterbury.

And still they come


The aftershocks to Saturday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake are still reaching North Otago. But what we’re feeling is very minor when compared with what’s happening in Canterbury. 

Chris McDowall   and Paul Nicholls have animations of the Canterbury earthquakes.

GeoNet’s list of the 30 most recent earthquakes starts at 10:03 yesterday morning:

Map of New Zealand showing earthquake location.

Quake makes point in neurosurgery debate


The debate on the future of South Island neurosurgery services has been overshadowed by the Canterbury earthquakes.

But a correspondent to the print edition of the ODT seized the opportunity to make a point:

Another 7.1 reasons why there should be neurosurgeons in both Dunedin and Christchurch. – F Hughes, Dalmore.

Normal isn’t normal anymore


Anyone can get through a crisis, it’s the day to day life which gets you down.

I don’t know to whom I should credit that aphorism, but it has more than a grain of truth in it.

When a crisis strikes, adrenalin kicks in, you put aside your feelings and do what has to be done.

But when the worst is over, you have to deal with the aftermath and cope with the realisation that normal isn’t normal anymore.

Amy Adams’ describes the terror of Saturday morning’s earthquake which destroyed her family’s home and says:

Now as the days wear on the euphoria of being alive is waning and the scale of the disaster is weighing on us heavily. No-one is sleeping much as aftershocks rattle our frayed nerves and exhausted, hollowed eyed faces are everywhere.  It will be some time yet before we know the full extent of what this has cost us financially & emotionally.

Tens of thousands of people are going through something similar as they come to terms with the knowledge that they have lost their treasures, their homes and their workplaces.

The financial and emotional cost of that is immense and that’s why John Key made the right decision to cancel his trip to Britain and Europe.

Mr Speaker, the thoughts and sympathy of the New Zealand Government are with the people of Canterbury in the aftermath of this earthquake.

As the frightening aftershocks continue, we stand alongside them, committed to helping them rebuild their lives.

It would have been difficult to do that from the other side of the world.

Cancelling the trip means giving up a rare opportunity to be the guest of the Queen at Balmoral. 

It may be a symbolic gesture but it shows Canterbury, and the rest of the country,  that he really is prepared to do all he can to help not only in the heat of the crisis but in the return to every day life when normal isn’t normal anymore..

Fonterra donates $1m to Canterbury


Fonterra has announced a $1 million donation towards recovery efforts in Christchurch and the wider Canterbury area which was struck by an earthquake yesterday. 

The donation will go to the Mayoral Relief Fund.

Chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said:

“We are very concerned for people in the region, especially those coping with significant damage to their homes.  We know the donation will be put to good and immediate use as people try to cope with the very difficult conditions. We encourage other companies to do the same.

“There is a massive job to be done.  We are grateful that our local farmers and our sites have come through relatively unscathed as this means we can put our resources into the community where help is needed most.”

Fonterra would also continue to provide practical help through local staff and equipment.

Fonterra CEO Andrew Ferrier said four Fonterra tankers had been stationed at local emergency centres and were delivering water to the community.

In addition, Fonterra was working with the civil defence team to provide food and milk for the public via emergency centres.

Fonterra service centres and Area Managers were contacting all local dairy farmers.  An estimated 20 percent of farms in the area were still without power.

“We are helping to source generators for these farmers or arranging for them to milk at neighbours’ properties,” said Mr Ferrier.  “Fonterra is continuing to collect all milk from local farmers.”

On Q&A this morning Prime Minister John Key talked about the likely costs involved:

. . . a lot of homeowners will over time find damage that they’re not expecting at the moment. There’ll be problems that can’t present themselves visibly underground and there’s a major rebuild job here in Christchurch. . .

But when you go to that financial issue, an what we’re hearing from EQC is they expect claims from at least 100,000 homes, potentially more. They’re saying a bill of a billion dollars, maybe more. This is the single biggest claim on EQC since the scheme was established. So it is a major impact on both that scheme, but ultimately there’s all the other costs, those that are uninsured, costs on the central government, costs on local government, costs on businesses.

He said the total cost may amount to a couple of billion dollars.

He also mentioned the silver lining. There will be employment opportunities in Christchurch and the hinterland as people clean up and rebuild.

UPDATE: Kiwiblog reports another silver lining – Jim Anderton told CTV on Friday it would take an earthquake for him to lose the mayoral election.

After the initial shock


Yesterday’s earthquake in Canterbury struck about the time farm workers were getting  herds in for milking.

An email from Fonterra says there have been no reports of injuries on farms and all the company’s staff are safe.

There was minimal damage to the Plains manufacturing site but no impact on production and some racking damage at the NZ Brands Halswell Junction Distribution centre.

Fonterra was able to pick up milk from farms although some herds couldn’t be milked because of no power and there were reports that some rotary sheds were badly damaged.

The company had four tankers loaded with water at Clandeboye ready to go to community if needed.

While farms need power for milking in many other ways it may be easier to cope without important basic services  in the country than towns.

Water from troughs or streams can be boiled for drinking and if plumbing fails it would be easier to dig a long drop on a farm than in a city section.

One common reaction from both town and country is that it could have been much worse and it’s fortunate there were few serious injuries to people.

Things are only things and not as important as people, but as the shock and relief wears off, the impact of loss and damage to  property will sink in.

CPW consent may be appealed


Central Plains Water gained 31 consents for its modified irrigation scheme but there is already talk of appealing the decision in the Environment Court.

I don’t know a lot about the specifics of the scheme, which has been contentious, but I am passionate about the need for irrigation to reduce the economic, social and environmental costs of recurring droughts.

Unlike Australia where water shortages mean farmers are facing cuts of up to 65% in irrigation in the Murrumbidgee Valley and 35% cuts in the Murray Valley, there is no lack of water in Canterbury.

The region has plenty of water, the problem is most of it goes out to sea.

December 16 in history


On December 16:

1431  Henry VI of Englandwas crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris.

1485  Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England, was born.

1497  Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, the point where Bartolomeu Dias had previously turned back to Portugal.


1653  Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

1707  Last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan.


1770  Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer was born.

 Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820

1773  Boston Tea Party – Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawks dump crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.

 This iconic 1846 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier was entitled “The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor

1775 Jane Austen, English writer, was born.

 A watercolour and pencil sketch of Jane Austen, believed to be drawn from life by her sister Cassandra (c. 1810)[A]

1787  – Mary Russell Mitford, English writer, was born.

1790  King Léopold I of Belgium, was born.

1850 The Charlotte-Jane and the Randolph brought the firs tsettlres to Lyttelton, New Zealand.

1882   Sir Jack Hobbs, English cricketer, was born.

 Jack Hobbs (left) walks out to the SCG with his opening partner Herbert Sutcliffe.

1883 Max Linder, French pioneer of silent film, was born.

Max Linder

1888  King Alexander I of Yugoslavia, was born.


1893  Antonín Dvořák‘s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, “From The New World” was given its world première at Carnegie Hall.

1899  Sir Noel Coward, English playwright, actor and composer, was born.

Noël Coward, c. 1920s

 1905  Piet Hein, Danish mathematician and inventor

Piet Hein (Kumbel) in front of the H.C. Andersen statue in Copenhagen

1905 A great rugby rivalry was born when a last-minute try to All Black Bob Deans was disallowed, handing the Welsh victory.

All Black's 'non-try' hands Wales historic win

1907 The Great White Fleet (US Naval Battle fleet) began its circumnavigation of the world.

 Map of the Great White Fleet’s voyage.

1915  – Turk Murphy, American trombonist, was born.

1917  Sir Arthur C. Clarke, English writer, was born.

1920 The Haiyuan earthquake, magnitude 8.5, in  Gansu province in China, killed an estimated 200,000.

1938  Adolf Hitler institutd the Cross of Honor of the German Mother.


1943 Tony Hicks, English guitarist (The Hollies), was born.


1944 The Battle of the Bulge began with the surprise offensive of three German armies through the Ardennes forest.

1946 Benny Andersson, Swedish musician, singer and songwriter (ABBA), was born.

1947 Ben Cross, English actor, was born.

1947  William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain built the first practical point-contact transistor.

1949 Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, later knons as SAAB, was founded in Sweden.

Saab logo.svg

1952 Joel Garner, Barbadian West Indies cricketer, was born.

1955 – Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este, was born.

1960  1960 New York air disaster: While approaching New York’s Idlewild Airport, a United Airlines Douglas DC-8 collided with a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation in a blinding snowstorm over Staten Island, killing 134.

  • 1971  Bangladesh War of Independence and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: The surrender of the Pakistan army brings an end to both conflicts.
  • 1971 – Independence Day of the State of Bahrain from British Protectorate Status.

    1972  Angela Bloomfield, New Zealand actress, was born.

    1991 Independence of The Republic of Kazakhstan.

    1997  Dennō Senshi Porygonan episode of Pokémon, was aired in Japan, inducing seizures in hundreds of Japanese children.

    2003  President George W. Bush signed the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 into law. The law established the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail.

    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

    Reporter leaves geographical tracks


    The headline says: Train leaves track leaving major line closed in Southland.

    The story says:

    A train left its tracks between Canterbury and Otago last night, flipping five of its carriages onto their sides.

    Kiwirail engineers are working to right nine freight cars which derailed last night, closing the main line between Christchurch and Dunedin.

    I don’t think it’s possible for a train to leave its tracks between Canterbury and Otago because they border each other at the Waitaki River.

    The derailment must have happened in one province or the other and whichever it was the part of the line between Christchurch or Dunedin it happened on is well north of Southland.

    Don’t reporters know New Zealand geogrpahy?

    Aren’t subs supposed to correct these things?

    Southland wins Ranfurly Shield – updated x2



    Southland 9 Canterbury 3.


    Someone who knows more about rugby may correct me but I think this is the first time the Ranfurly Shield’s been held on the right side of the Waitaki River since Otago lost it in 1957.

    Update 2:

    The Southland Times says it’s 50 years since Southland had the shield.

    Then they held it for just one match. This time it’s theirs for at least the summer.

    August 28 in history


    On August 28th:

    1749: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born.


    1828 Russioan author Leo Tolstoy was born.

    Only color photograph of the novelist, shot at his Yasnaya Polyana estate in 1908 by Prokudin-Gorskii, a pioneer of color photography

    1906: English poet John Betjeman was born.

    Statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras station.

    1924 NZ author Janet Frame was born.


    1930: English actor Windsor Davies was born.

    1965: Canadian singer Shania Twain was born.

    1992: Canterbury was blanketed by snow after the biggest fall in 30 years.

    SOurced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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