December 31 in history

31/12/2014

400  Vandals, Alans and Suebians crossed the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

1229  James I of Aragon the Conqueror entered Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma) consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca.

1491 – Jacques Cartier, French explorer, was born (d. 1557)

1599  The British East India Company was chartered.

1687– The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1695 A window tax was imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

1720 Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the British throne, was born  (d. 1788).

1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing Guinness.

1853 Sir George Grey left New Zealand after finishing his first  term as Governor.

Grey leaves NZ after first term as Governor
1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, as the capital of Canada.
1869 Henri Matisse, French painter, was born (d. 1954).
1878  Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, was born (d. 1966).

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time.

1904 The first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York.

1908  Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Holocaust survivor, was born (d. 2005).

1909  Manhattan Bridge opened.

1923 The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor, was born.

1941 – Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish football manager, was born.

1943 John Denver, American singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1997).

1943 Sir Ben Kingsley, English actor was born.

1943  Pete Quaife, English bassist (The Kinks) was born.

1946 President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.

1955  The General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

1960 The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963  The Central African Federation officially collapsed and split into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1965  Nicholas Sparks, American author, was born.

1980 – Richie McCaw, All Black captain, was born.

Richie McCaw 2011.jpg

1983 – The AT&T Bell System was broken up by the United States Government.

1991  All official Soviet Union institutions ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

1992 Czechoslovakia was dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1998  The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and established the value of the euro currency.

1999  Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

1999 – The United States Government handed control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

2004  The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).

2007 –  Bocaue Fire: Seven people were injured when a fire resulted in the explosion of several fireworks stores in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines.

2009 – Both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occurred.

2011 – NASA succeeded in putting the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the moon.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


December 31 in history

31/12/2013

400  Vandals, Alans and Suebians crossed the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

1229  James I of Aragon the Conqueror entered Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma) consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca.

1491 – Jacques Cartier, French explorer, was born (d. 1557)

1599  The British East India Company was chartered.

1687– The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1695 A window tax was imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

1720 Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the British throne, was born  (d. 1788).

1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing Guinness.

1853 Sir George Grey left New Zealand after finishing his first  term as Governor.

Grey leaves NZ after first term as Governor
1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, as the capital of Canada.
1869 Henri Matisse, French painter, was born (d. 1954).
1878  Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, was born (d. 1966).

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time.

1904 The first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York.

1908  Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Holocaust survivor, was born (d. 2005).

1909  Manhattan Bridge opened.

1923 The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor, was born.

1941 – Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish football manager, was born.

1943 John Denver, American singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1997).

1943 Sir Ben Kingsley, English actor was born.

1943  Pete Quaife, English bassist (The Kinks) was born.

1946 President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.

1955  The General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

1960 The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963  The Central African Federation officially collapsed and split into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1965  Nicholas Sparks, American author, was born.

1980 – Richie McCaw, All Black captain, was born.

Richie McCaw 2011.jpg

1983 – The AT&T Bell System was broken up by the United States Government.

1991  All official Soviet Union institutions ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

1992 Czechoslovakia was dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1998  The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and established the value of the euro currency.

1999  Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

1999 – The United States Government handed control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

2004  The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).

2007 –  Bocaue Fire: Seven people were injured when a fire resulted in the explosion of several fireworks stores in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines.

2009 – Both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occurred.

2011 – NASA succeeded in putting the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the moon.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Not in front of the children

22/10/2013

Len Brown cancelled a scheduled visit to Three Kings Primary School for its first delivery under Fonterra’s Milk in Schools programme yesterday.

Fonterra ambassador Richie McCaw and MP Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga managed fine without him.

Photo: This morning I attended the official launch of the Fonterra Milk for Schools program in my electorate at Three Kings School.  The aim is to give all New Zealand primary-aged children the opportunity of drinking nutritious milk every school day.   Good nutrition is the cornerstone to healthy living and this program aims to give kids the best start to their school lives.  I am shown below with Richie McCaw, All Blacks Captain who is Fonterra's brand ambassador.  He is an excellent role model for kids to aspire to both on and off the field!   Over 1,300 schools are part of the scheme and if your school is not part of the scheme I encourage you to please express an interest at www.fonterramilkforschools.com.

Brown made his first post-affair public appearance at the opening of a compact show home later in the day.

This raises a few questions:

  • If it’s not appropriate for him to appear in front of children now, when will it be?
  • Which other audiences will and won’t be appropriate?
  • Who decides?
  • Will those on the latter list affect his ability to do his job properly?

Rural round-up

28/05/2013

Alliance eyes Indian market:

The Alliance Group says the Indian market provides the group with a potentially lucrative export market.

Management from the meat company have just been visiting the country to get a better idea of the market and trading opportunities for the company’s Pure South lamb.

The company says it will be aiming its product at the five-star food service market in top hotels and restaurants. . .

Record returns delivered to New Zealand kiwifruit growers in the shadow of Psa:

Zespri’s annual results for 2012/13 show the highest-ever average Orchard Gate Return (OGR) returns of $51,153 delivered to New Zealand kiwifruit growers. However, the record result comes as the impact of Psa on individual orchards continues to be felt across the industry.

A highlight of the year’s returns was the performance of the Zespri Green category, which accounts for around 70 percent of Zespri’s exported volume. Average per-tray Green returns increased by 21 percent from 2011/12 to $4.62, their highest level since 2003/04. This strong result flowed through to Zespri’s highest-ever average returns per hectare for Green growers of $37,959. . .

Deer industry ponders name change for  venison in Europe:

The deer industry is considering whether to have another go at marketing New Zealand venison in Europe under the name Cervena.

It’s looking for a new approach to counter falling sales in its biggest export market, Germany, where New Zealand venison is under pressure from cheaper European venison coming from countries like Spain and Poland.

Cervena is an appellation for New Zealand farmed venison, developed about 20 years ago.

It’s been used successfully in the United States, as well as New Zealand and Australia. . .

Cardona sale marks first step in Singapore refocus

Vealls Ltd has named its preferred bidder for Cardrona Alpine Resort, the first step in a strategy to refocus on Singapore that is opposed by shareholder Elevation Capital Management.

Te Anau-based tourism company Real Journeys, whose businesses include the TSS Earnslaw and Milford Sound cruises, will make its first foray into skifields if the acquisition meets due diligence and gets shareholder approval.

Cardrona’s operating assets were valued at $A40.9 million, according to Vealls’ first-half accounts, and the skifield was the biggest source of earnings, at $A5.7 million, while the Australian company’s biggest asset, some $A57 million held on deposit with banks, generated just $A509,000, reflecting low interest rates. . .

Richie McCaw lends a hand to support launch Fonterra milk for schools in Christchurch:

Home-town hero Richie McCaw knows the milk being delivered to Christchurch’s Burnside Primary School children as part of Fonterra Milk for Schools will be top-notch. That’s because the rugby legend understands the value of dairy nutrition as part of a balanced diet.

“Throughout my career, my nutritionists have made sure that dairy is a big part of my diet. The message I’ve always got from them is that when it comes to keeping my body in top shape, a few daily serves of dairy should always be on the menu.”  
 
Richie says it is great to know that kids from his home town will directly benefit from having milk every school day with the help of Fonterra farmers, the commitment of local schools and the support of the Christchurch community.  . .

 

Double GOLD for Cirro at 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards:

Cirro is on ‘cloud nine’ after recently being awarded two Gold medals in the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards for their 2012 Marlborough Sauvignon blanc and 2010 Marlborough Pinot noir.

Cirro wines are grown and produced in Marlborough, New Zealand. Winemakers David Tyney and Richard Green released their first vintage in 2009 after deciding to ‘join forces’ and combine their extensive winemaking experience. “From the beginning we wanted to create wines that epitomise the best of Marlborough, classic regional wines that over deliver on flavour and intensity” says David. . .


December 31 in history

31/12/2012

400  Vandals, Alans and Suebians crossed the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

1229  James I of Aragon the Conqueror entered Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma) consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca.

1491 – Jacques Cartier, French explorer, was born (d. 1557)

1599  The British East India Company was chartered.

1687– The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1695 A window tax was imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

1720 Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the British throne, was born  (d. 1788).

1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing Guinness.

1853 Sir George Grey left New Zealand after finishing his first  term as Governor.

Grey leaves NZ after first term as Governor
1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, as the capital of Canada.
1869 Henri Matisse, French painter, was born (d. 1954).
1878  Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, was born (d. 1966).

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time.

1904 The first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York.

1908  Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Holocaust survivor, was born (d. 2005).

1909  Manhattan Bridge opened.

1923 The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor, was born.

1941 – Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish football manager, was born.

1943 John Denver, American singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1997).

1943 Sir Ben Kingsley, English actor was born.

1943  Pete Quaife, English bassist (The Kinks) was born.

1946 President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.

1955  The General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

1960 The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963  The Central African Federation officially collapsed and split into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1965  Nicholas Sparks, American author, was born.

1980 – Richie McCaw, All Black captain, was born.

Richie McCaw 2011.jpg

1983 – The AT&T Bell System was broken up by the United States Government.

1991  All official Soviet Union institutions ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

1992 Czechoslovakia was dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1998  The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and established the value of the euro currency.

1999  Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

1999 – The United States Government handed control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

2004  The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).

2007 –  Bocaue Fire: Seven people were injured when a fire resulted in the explosion of several fireworks stores in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Fonterra’s milk in schools going nation wide

14/12/2012

Fonterra’s trial of free milk in schools has been declared a success and will go nationwide next year.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said that after trialling the school milk programme in Northland, Fonterra had decided to roll out the programme to all 2000 primary schools throughout the country from next year. 

“We are totally committed to Fonterra Milk for Schools because we believe it will make a lasting difference to the health of New Zealand’s children. We want Kiwis to grow up drinking milk because it’s good for them and we are proud that this programme will give every primary school kid the chance to enjoy this nutritious product,” he said.
 
“New Zealand is the largest exporter of dairy products in the world, but at home, we’re not drinking as much milk as we used to. We want to be the dairy nutrition capital of the world and this starts with our kids.”

Research conducted by the University of Auckland has shown that children’s milk consumption in the Northland community, both at school and at home, has significantly increased since the pilot began.

“We know that getting Kiwis drinking more milk is not an overnight job but we are committed to helping improve the health of our kids,” said Mr Spierings.

The Co-operative made the announcement at an event co-hosted by its farmer shareholders and Hillpark Primary School in Manurewa. Mr Spierings said the success of this year’s Northland pilot had informed the decision to roll out nationally.

“The Northland pilot allowed us to test our systems. We learnt some valuable lessons and got great feedback from schools in the area. We can now move forward with confidence the programme is a winner.

“That said, this is a huge undertaking and we’ll be rolling out town by town.  We will continue with Northland, and launch in Southland in the first term next year, moving through the country during the year. We expect to have all schools who wish to take part on board by Term 1 2014.”

Manaia Health Chief Executive Chris Farrelly said the Northland community was privileged to trial the programme and was pleased that all schools would now get the opportunity.
 
“This move by New Zealand’s largest company to make this wonderful product available to our children is a significant game changer,” said Mr Farrelly.

“This is not just looking out for our kids today, but for the future. If we get it right for them now, then we’re going to get it right for our country.”

Principal of Hillpark Primary and New Zealand Principals’ Federation executive member, Gavin Beere, said the Federation fully supports Fonterra’s generous move.

“Schools play a key role in shaping children’s lifestyles. This includes their diets and attitudes towards nutrition, so it’s incredible to be able to offer this healthy product every school day.”

Fonterra Ambassador Richie McCaw said: “Over this past year I have been blown away by the passion of Fonterra’s people and the importance of the Co-operative’s farmer roots in everything it does.

“As a country, we should be extremely proud of this long-term commitment our New Zealand dairy farmers are making.”

Mr Spierings said the cost of the programme would depend on the number of schools participating – and this would not be known until the end of next year. 

“While we don’t know the exact number, we believe this is the largest single community investment by a New Zealand company and we are very proud to be making this investment in the health of our future generations.”

This is an opt-in scheme.

Schools which don’t want to have the milk won’t get it.

And while it’s being called free milk that means the schools and pupils don’t pay for it but Fonterra and ultimately its shareholders do.

However, if it improves the health and education of children and increases demand for milk then the social and financial dividends which more than justify the cost.


Jock Hobbs

13/03/2012

One of the most moving moments of the Rugby World Cup was Jock Hobbs presenting Richie McCaw with his 100th test cap.

It was obvious then that Hobbs was very ill and it is testament to his strong will that he not only watched the All Blacks win their second World Cup but was on the stage for the presentation.

Today, far too soon, the final whistle blew for him.

His death is a loss for New Zealand and for rugby and even more so for his family and friends to whom my sympathy goes.

Keeping Stock writes an eloquent tribute here.


Richie McCaw NZer of the Year

10/12/2011

Richie McCaw is the Herald’s New Zealander of the Year.

He was born in Oamaru, raised in the Hakataramea Valley and began his education in Kurow which could almost be qualification enough for the title 🙂 but there’s more.

I met him at a wedding last month and in congratulating him on the World Cup win, mentioned the sacrifice I’d made to help with that – my pledge made towards the end of the final game to give up chocolate for the rest of the year if we won.

He had the good manners to say thank you and look as if he meant it.

He’s a talented and dedicated sportsman who led the All Blacks to victory – finally – in the Rugby World cup. But it’s not just what he does, it’s the way he does it. He’s a fine young man of outstanding character.

He has mana.

For that we can credit his family, his country upbringing and the man himself.

The Herald’s business leader of the year is Mainfreight managing director Don Braid.


McCaw Country

23/10/2011

The IRB was promised a stadium of 4 million and the country has answered the call.

The way so many people and communities have got behind the Rugby World Cup, turning it into a nationwide celebration has been great.

Flags on vehicles, I even saw a Scottish one flying from the window of the driver’s wagon of a train, fences and buildings; sheep painted in team colours; the giant concrete rugby ball , 40 hours in the making, outside the vets in Oamaru which caught John Key’s eye on Friday . . .

It would be hard to beat this W(h)anganui house for individual effort, and it would be difficult to top Kurow for community contribution to the collective celebration.

This  was Richie McCaw’s home town. He was born in Oamaru, grew up on the family farm in the Hakataramea Valley but it was Kurow where he went to primary school and played his first games of rugby.

The town museum is full of Richie memorabilia, cut-outs of sheep painted black and numbered 1 to 15 line the main street and on the green where the Hay family spend summer, is this tribute to the World Cup and the All Black captain:

For rugby trivia enthusiasts, Richie is Kurow’s second All Black. The first was the late Phil Gard.

The Waitaki Valley has produced another All Black, Ian Hurst, who played for New Zealand in the 1970s.

North Otago’s fourth All Black, Jefff Matheson also played in the early 1970s.


Quote of the day

23/10/2011

Leadership is clear in some areas of New Zealand. Richie McCaw is a great example. He is intelligent, he trains, he practises, he listens and he gets on and does  it – he is scanning the field for opportunities and aware of the placing of his team mates. He has an over-arching goal and works with the coaches to reach it. –  Jacqueline Rowarth inwhat rugby can teach business.


And then there were two

22/10/2011

Australia claimed the bronze with a 20-18 win over Wales in this Rugby World Cup’s second last match last night.

I’m pleased the Southern Hemisphere team won and I’ll be even happier if the south beats the north tomorrow.

Twenty teams started the tournament six weeks ago, now there are just two left, the All Blacks and Les Bleus, who will play in the final.

On paper the All Blacks are the stronger team but the French are unpredictable.

They’ve beaten us before and could do it again so I’m pleased to read that Rich McCaw and his team understand there are no guarantees for the All Blacks.

While the All Blacks captain knows exactly what rugby’s greatest prize looks like, he has never laid a hand on it.

“I don’t think you should touch it until you’ve earned it,” he said.

On the eve of the big match against France, that may well change for the 30-year-old.

For McCaw, however, Sunday night’s clash at Eden Park is all about the men who wear the All Blacks jersey with him.

“It’s not about personal stuff,” he said. “It’s about this team having an opportunity and not wasting it. Going out and performing, playing the best game we’ve ever played in a World Cup final. That’s the opportunity that’s there and from our point of view we don’t want to let that slip by.”

They’ve got preparation and determination, we’ve all got optimism and hope but there will be no certainty until the final whistle blows.

 


PM without the politics

30/09/2011

John Key introduced his Prime Minister’s hour on RadioLIVE by saying it would be a politics-free zone.

He interviewed All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, film director Sir Peter Jackson, a rugby league player (I think it was a Warrior, but I missed his name) and finished with a chat to Paul Henry as he passed the microphone over to him.

And how did he do?

Interviewing well is an art and given he’s used to being on the other side of the mic I think he did very well.

I would say that of course, but so too did other listeners:

Comment From cherylcheryl: ] John Key is doing very well 🙂

Comment From PatPat: ] I’m impressed with Jk’s easy style. No wonder NZ loves him.

Comment From MaggieMaggie: ] The coolest Prime Minister on the planet! John Key is a natural! Take confidence to pull this off as a Rookie Radio D.J.

I wouldn’t want him to give up his day job, but his performance this afternoon shows he has options should he decide to have a career change.

Loving that roof

25/09/2011

It was raining steadily when we got to Dunedin late yesterday afternoon and we were more than a little damp by the time we got to the stadium.

Bu once inside, out of the rain and the wind, we were able to enjoy the pre-match entertainment from the Army Band and the fun of being part of a near-capacity crowd at an international fixture without being distracted by the wet and cold.

The Forsyth Barr stadium was a controversial project and some are still concerned about its cost. But it is a wonderful facility and there is no doubt that putting a roof on it has made it much more comfortable for spectators and players.

Whoever is in charge of building whatever will replace the Christchurch stadium should be consulting the people behind Dunedin’s and going for a roof too.

And the rugby? To my admittedly inexpert eyes, England never even approached top gear and the 67-3 score said more about Romania being mis-matched than the English team performing well.

They struggled against Argentina in their first match, last week the score in the game against Georgia flattered them and last night they showed little if any flair.

The question is, is that it or will they be able to go up several notches when they’re really tested in the quarter finals?

A couple of young Scots were sitting behind us. We asked why they weren’t in Wellington to support their own team. They said they’d had tickets for Christchurch, built their itinerary round that and it was too expensive to fly from Queenstown to Wellington so they were making the most of the Rugby World Cup experience.

We didn’t tell them our nephew and his Argentinean wife got cheap seats to fly up from Dunedin and will be at the Cake Tin today cheering on Los Pumas.

We’d booked a table at Filadelfio’s to enable us to combine dinner with watching the All Blacks vs France.

It’s too soon to relax, there are a lot of important games to go  yet. But last night’s 37-17 win  was a wonderful way for Richie McCaw to celebrate his 100th match for the All Blacks.

Like Inventory 2, I was moved to watch an obviously ill Jock Hobbs present Richie with the silver test cap.

P.S. – We noticed a photographer with a big lens on the catwalk high above the ground. It wasn’t us he was looking for though, it was Zara Philliips and he found her.

P.P.S. – The curtain raiser was a few hours before the main game. The Nude Blacks met the Romanian Vampires (with fangs and cloaks but sans clothes) in a match at Larnach Castle earlier in the day. (Don’t click the link if you’re offended by nudity).

Full credit to whoever saw the marketing opportunity – the Nude Blacks were sponsored by grabaseat and Bottom Bus.


Another good bloke

24/09/2011

Richie McCaw is playing his 100th test this evening, the first All Black to reach this milestone.

He was brought up in the Hakatarmea valley which is on the other side of the Waitaki River but learned to play rugby in Kurow, where he went to primary school before heading south to Otago Boys’ for his secondary education.

Whether it’s his genes, his rural upbringing or just him, friends who know him well say  he’s a really good bloke who hasn’t let his role as All Black captain go to his head.

Tonight’s game against France would be a big one even if it wasn’t the one in which he’ll earn his 100th test cap. All fingers and toes are crossed for him and the team.

Inventory 2 who knows more about rugby than I ever will pays tribute to Richie here.

TV3 has a video tribute here.

Last night the Wallabies beat the Eagles 67 – 5.

This evening England play Romania in Dunedin then attention will focus on Eden Park when the All Blacks play Les Bleus.


December 31 in history

31/12/2010

On December 31:

400  Vandals, Alans and Suebians crossed the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

1229  James I of Aragon the Conqueror entered Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma) consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca.

1491 – Jacques Cartier, French explorer, was born (d. 1557)

1599  The British East India Company was chartered.

The Company flag, after 1707

1687– The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1695 A window tax was imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

1720 Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the British throne, was born  (d. 1788).

1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing Guinness.

1853 Sir George Grey left New Zealand after finishing hisfirst  term as Governor.

Grey leaves NZ after first term as Governor
1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, as the capital of Canada.
                           
1869 Henri Matisse, French painter, was born (d. 1954).
1878  Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, was born (d. 1966).

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time.

1904 The first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York.

1908  Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Holocaust survivor, was born (d. 2005).

1909  Manhattan Bridge opened.

1923 The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor, was born.

1941 – Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish football manager, was born.

Sir Alex Ferguson

1943 John Denver, American singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1997).

1943 Sir Ben Kingsley, English actor was born.

1943  Pete Quaife, English bassist (The Kinks) was born.

Four smiling young men leaning over the back of a green park bench, a row of three-story-tall residential buildings behind them. The man on the left wears a brown sports jacket and white turtleneck; the man to his right wears a black-and-white-striped pullover shirt; the man to his right (standing straighter, just behind the other three) wears a black suit and tie; the man on the far right wears a black sports jacket and white shirt.Original lineup in 1965. From left: Pete Quaife, Dave Davies, Ray Davies, Mick Avory.

1946 President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.

1955  The General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

General Motors.svg

1960 The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963  The Central African Federation officially collapsed and split into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1965  Nicholas Sparks, American author, was born.

1980 – Richie McCaw, All Black captain, was born.

Richie McCaw

1983 – The AT&T Bell System was broken up by the United States Government.

1991  All official Soviet Union institutions ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

1992 Czechoslovakia was dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

1998  The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and established the value of the euro currency.

 Banknotes

 

 

 Coins

1999  Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

1999 – The United States Government handed control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

2004  The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).

Taipei101.portrait.altonthompson.jpg

2007 –  Bocaue Fire: Seven people were injured when a fire resulted in the explosion of several fireworks stores in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


December 31 in history

31/12/2009

On December 31:

400  Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

1229  James I of Aragon the Conqueror entered Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma, Spain)  consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca.

1599  The British East India Company was chartered.

The Company flag, after 1707

1687– The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1695 A window tax was imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

1729 Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the British throne, was born.

1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing Guinness.

1853 Sir George Grey left New Zealand after finishing hisfirst  term as Governor.

Grey leaves NZ after first term as Governor
1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, Ontario, as the capital of Canada.
                           
1869 Henri Matisse, French painter, was born.
1878  Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, was born.

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time.

1904 The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York.

1908  Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Holocaust survivor, was born.

1909  Manhattan Bridge opened.

1923 The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor, was born.

1943 John Denver, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1943 Sir Ben Kingsley, English actor was born.

1943  Pete Quaife, English bassist (The Kinks) was born.

Four smiling young men leaning over the back of a green park bench, a row of three-story-tall residential buildings behind them. The man on the left wears a brown sports jacket and white turtleneck; the man to his right wears a black-and-white-striped pullover shirt; the man to his right (standing straighter, just behind the other three) wears a black suit and tie; the man on the far right wears a black sports jacket and white shirt.Original lineup in 1965. From left: Pete Quaife, Dave Davies, Ray Davies, Mick Avory.

1946 President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.[1]

1955  The General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

General Motors.svg

1960 The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963  The Central African Federation officially collapsed and split into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1965  Nicholas Sparks, American author, was born.

1980 – Richie McCaw, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

Richie McCaw

1983 – The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government.

1991  All official Soviet Union institutions ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

1992 Czechoslovakia was dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

 

 

      

 

 

1998  The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and established the value of the euro currency.

 Banknotes

 

 Coins

1999  Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

1999 – The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

2004  The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).

Taipei101.portrait.altonthompson.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


What’s in it for us?

23/08/2009

North and South editor Virginia Larson tells us in this month’s editorial she requested an interview with All Black captain Richie McCaw.

I wanted to find out what makes a leader out of a young man; what people and places shaped him in his childhood; how he bears the hopes and expectation of thousands every time he leads his team into the arena.

After some exchange of emails with McCaw’s agent, a final phone call came to this: “What’s in it for us?” said the agent. Well, there was no money, of course, and on the spot I couldn’t guarantee a cover . . . But didn’t he value a thoughtful, in-depth profile to be read by close to 3000,000 people . . .

Clearly, he didn’t. Access denied.

If the All Blacks, want to gain back the place they once had in New Zealanders’ hearts, the question isn’t what’s in it for them but what’s in it for us, the public.

My father and brothers weren’t interested in rugby, they preferred sailing. But radio commentaries provided a background to my childhood Saturday afternoons because my mother often listened to them, especially when her nephew was playing for University or Otago.

I didn’t watch a game until I was 17 when the prefects from Waitaki Girls’ were invited to watch inter-school matches at Waitaki Boys’. It didn’t really matter what was on, it was an excuse for an afternoon out of class and with boys.

A few excursions to Carisbrook when I was a student followed and there were also some late/night early morning parties when we crowded round a black and white television to watch a test from overseas. But the attraction was not so much what was happening on the field as the opportunity for fun with friends.

The next memory I have of rugby was 1981 and the Springbok tour. While some people a little older than I am feel it was a defining issue, I didn’t. I was in my first job as a journalist and reported on local reactions, and happened to be in Christchurch with friends when there was a test somewhere which we watched on TV, but it was not a major concern or interest for me.

I was overseas the following year, returned home to be married and have vague memories of gatherings with friends at our home or theirs to watch the odd test in the next few years.

It wasn’t until 1995 when we hosted an AFS student from Argentina who played rugby that I watched a live game. That was a World Cup year and the All Blacks toured New Zealand, stopping in provincial towns to meet their fans. I took our student who could speak only a little English, to meet them. His excitement at exchanging a few words in Spanish with Eric Rush and shaking hands with Sean Fitzpatrick brought home to me the strength of their influence and international reputation.

The Super 12 competition started the following year and we travelled down to Dunedin and Christchurch to watch several games. We watched a few NPC games  at Lancaster Park and Carisbrook too, including the one when Otago didn’t win the Ranfurly Shield and one when they did win the NPC competition.

Then what happened? The season got longer, the competition didn’t have the same attraction and frustration at the way rugby interfered with other functions grew. I’ve watched a few North Otago games but last year went to Dunedin only once for an NPC game, this year I half-watched a Super 14 game on TV and haven’t yet watched a test.

I know just enough about the game to sit through a match, but I need an emotional connection to enjoy it. I might have that with Valley which is our local team and North Otago, but I no longer have it with any teams higher up. I’d be hard pressed to name any Highlander or Otago players and couldn’t name more than a handful of All Blacks.

Part of the reason for that might lie in a comment from Graham Henry which caught Alf Grumble’s attention:

“. . . I guess the product’s not too great and that’s disappointing.”

When I read that I begin to wonder if Karl du Fresne really had been in the All Black dressing room when he wrote:

The meeting opened with a team official launching a withering attack on player A, who had been seen in a Durban bar wearing a non-approved hair gel. The player’s excuse – that he had a new executive assistant who had packed the wrong makeup kit – was contemptuously brushed aside.

Next, player B was fined for having turned up late at a promotional appearance to launch the ABs’ new personal fragrance range, evocatively named Scrum. . .

It didn’t used to be a product. The players were heroes but not plastic celebrities. They were real, grounded people connected to and respectful of the public who admired them.

At least some of the current All Blacks might still be like that. From what I know of Richie McCaw, who grew up in the HakaValley not far from here, he definitely is. But his agent has let him down and has also let rugby down.

When the agent had to ask, “what’s in it for us?”  and the coach talks about the product they’ve both lost sight of what’s important.

It’s not a product it’s a game. The All Blacks aren’t royalty who command attention, they’re players who need to connect with the public if they want to win back fans.

I’m writing this on Saturday evening. The All Blacks will be playing the Wallabies soon. I might turn the TV on to watch the national anthems and the haka and to see if I can catch sight of some people I know in the crowd because they happened to have important business in Sydney this weekend.

But I won’t stay awake for the game and while I’ll hope that New Zealand will win, that’s no more than I’d want if it was the national tiddlywinks team playing the Australians.

I’m over rugby which isn’t of any great concern if it’s only me. But it’s not. A lot of people, especially women, share my lack of interest and that ought to be of great concern for the Rugby Union who wants us all to get behind the World Cup.

They haven’t got long to get us enthusiastic again. They could start by realising that unless they can persuade us there’s something in it for us, there isn’t anything in it for them. A good first step would be for that agent to phone North and South to arrange a time that suits the journalist for an interview with Richie.


Kurow’s Hay family

19/01/2009

Kurow is a wee town on the right side of the Waitaki River in both senses of the word ie the right bank and the Otago side of the river which separates the blue and gold province from the red and black of Canterbury.

It’s major claim to fame at the moment is that All Black captain Richie McCaw, who was brought up in the neighbouring Hakataramea Valley, played his first rugby there.

But every summer it’s also home to the Hay family:

wanakawaitaki-023


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