Reminders good and bad

15/08/2011

My grandfather was nominally a Presbyterian. However, although he rarely attended church he wouldn’t attend the marriage of one of his sons because he was marrying a Catholic.

Last night’s Sunday Theatre Tangiwai was a reminder of the religious bigotry that was common in the 1950s.

The story of Nerissa Love and her fiancée New Zealand cricketer Bob Blair was a moving portrayal of one of our country’s greatest tragedies and it was also a reminder of how good television can be.

If you didn’t see the film last night, the link above will take you to it.

Jacqueline Smith tells the story behind the film here.

The Tangiwai blog is collecting personal stories of the disaster.

NZ History tells the story of the Boxing Day cricket test.


Return of The Troubles or an isolated act?

10/03/2009

News of terrorist attacks in what was called The Troubles in Northern Ireland was regular until a few years ago and the trouble wasn’t confined to Ireland.

I was in London in 1982 when an IRA bomb killed 11 people and seven horses, just one tragic incident in a long list of terrorist acts.

In recent years the war has been confined to words and both sides of the debate on whether Northern Ireland remains part of Britian have spurned violence – until yesterday when two British soldiers were  killed by suspected IRA dissidents . These were the first politically motivated deaths of soldiers in the province for 12 years.

Irish leaders have been quick to condemn the attack:

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, whose IRA-linked party represents most Catholics in Northern Ireland, criticized the dissidents.

“There is no popular support for these actions,” Adams told BBC Radio 4 Monday morning.

Leaders of the territory’s Catholic-Protestant administration warned that Irish Republican Army dissidents were trying to tear apart their young coalition and drag Northern Ireland back to its bloody past.

This appears to be an isolated act by dissidents but it does show that the peace is still fragile which is understandable after generations of division over The Troubles.

I saw a tiny example of the strength of feeling when one of our staff, the son of a protestant minister from Northern Ireland, met an English visitor. Something came up in conversation which made him realise she was Catholic and the atmosphere cooled, though thankfully only momentarily.

Zen Tiger has a related psot.


Saturday smiles

09/08/2008

Friday is poetry day at Homepaddock and now, because the joke in the weekly Ag Letter* is too good not to share, I’m starting Saturday Smiles.

A young monk arrives at the monastery and is assigned to helping the other monks who are copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.

He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, he goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up and that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

The head monk, says, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.”

He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn’t been opened for hundreds of years.

Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot. So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him.

He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing, “We missed the “R”!, we missed the “R” !”

His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably.

The young monk asks the old abbot, “What’s wrong, father?”

With a choking voice, the old abbot replies, “The word was…CELEBRATE!!!”

 

This reminds me of a true story about a local vicar who was talking about the other clergy in town.

 

“The priest is a good bloke, he enjoys a whisky but of course he’s Catholic so he’s celibate. Then there’s the Minister, he’s a good bloke too, got a lovely wife and several children but he’s Presbyterian and doesn’t drink,” the vicar said. Then he added with a smile, “I’m an Anglican.”

*(The Ag Letter is an email newsletter published by Baker & Associates which provides management and marketing information for sheep, beef and dairy farmers. You can view a recent issue and subscribe to it here.)


Nikken Seil Dream Over

24/06/2008

Dr Hirotomi Ochi  bought Teschmakers, a former Catholic girls’ boarding school, and 500 hectares of land in 2001 to set up an international centre in North Otago for health sciences and the growing and processing of organic foods.

But he died nearly three years ago. Now his company, Nikken Seil is selling the 22ha it bought north of Oamaru to establish a business park and the sale of the school and surrounding land is expected to follow.

Nikken’s principal shareholder Dr Hirotomo Ochi, who died in October 2005, bought Teschemakers for about $500,000 in 2000, and from that sprang the idea of the business park and the purchase of about 500ha of farmland to produce organic foods for processing.

Dr Ochi was also the principal shareholder in food company Nikken Foods, but since his death the projects – which could have created hundreds of jobs – have languished.

Former Waitaki mayor Alan McLay yesterday said the business park land was still “a huge opportunity long term”.

“Nothing has changed, except the possibility of having Japanese enterprises and industries. It’s given us the opportunity for a much-needed industrial area for the town,” he said.

The international college was a big dream and the company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars restoring the old school buildings, including an historic homestead which was destroyed by fire part way through the restoration, and rebuilt.

 

 The school ought to be worth a lot more than its $500,000 purchase price now the buildings have been restored  – if someone with a new dream can be found to buy it.

 

 Waitaki Mayor  Alex Familton agrees with his predecssor that there is still potential for a business park.

 


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