Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. What is  litotes?

2. What does Puketapu mean?

3. Who said: “New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand million sheep, three million of whom think they are human.”?

4. What are  the capitals of Paraguay and Uruguay?

5. What does the Scoville scale measure?

Andrei got three.

Gravedodger also got three right and a bonus for extra info for #2.

Paul got four plus a bonus for humour and inventiveness.

Mr Gronk got 1 1/2 – it was sacred.

Ray got two and a bonus for extra info – I knew the Palmerston hill was Puketapu but not why.

PDM got one right and I’ll give him 1/2 for # 2 & 3 plus a bonus for wit.

Bearhunter won the electronic boquet with a perfect score.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

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Monday’s quiz


1. What is  litotes?

2. What does Puketapu mean?

3. Who said: “New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand million sheep, three million of whom think they are human.”?

4. What are  the capitals of Paraguay and Uruguay?

5. What does the Scoville scale measure?

Tuesday’s Answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Who adopted Anne Shirley?

2. Who said, “People who life in New Zealand by choice as distinct from an accident of birth, and who are committed to this land and its people and steeped in their knowledge of both, are no less ‘indigenous’ than Maori.”?

3. Where is Colonia del Sacramento, (if there’s more than one, I’m looking for the World Heritage site).

4. What is a haugh?

5. How many teeth does a hogget have?

Paul Tremewan retains the winner’s crown, although loses a half point for getting the surname in 1 wrong (she married Gilbert). He gets a bonus for an alternative answer to 4.

Kismet gets a bonus for being first to answer anything.

Ray gets a bonus for his answer to 4 and for the full answer for 5.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

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August 25 in history


On August 25:

1609 Galileo Gallei demonstrated his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers.

Portrait of Galileo Galilei by Giusto Sustermans


1724 English painter George Stubbs was born.

A self portrait by George Stubbs

1768 Captain James Cook began his first voyage.

James Cook, portrait by Nathaniel Dance, c. 1775, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
1825 Uruguay  declared its independence from Brazil.


1949 English writer Martin Amis was born.

1958 a tornado killed three people and injured more than 80 when it struck Frankton.

1961 US singer and actor Billy Ray Cyrus was born.

1991 Belarus declared its independence from the Soviet Union.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

July 30 in history


On July 30:

762 Baghdad was founded.

1818 Emily Bronte was born.

Portrait by Branwell Brontë

 1930 Uruguay won the first Football World Cup.

1979 carless days were enforced on New Zealand motorists.

1980 Vanuatu gained Independence.


 Sourced from Wikipedia and NZ History Online.

SFF & PGW no longer good friends?


Silver Fern Farms is not impressed by the offer of $10 million from PGG Wrightson in compensation for failing to complete a partnership deal last year.

PGG Wrightson (PGGW) yesterday issued a statement offering mediation and $10 million in compensation to Silver Fern Farms.

Silver Fern chief executive Keith Cooper was caught unaware by PGGW’s press release, a tactic he said was antagonistic.

“It is particularly antagonistic to start playing negotiations via the media with something that appears to be heading towards the courts.”

When two parties start communicating via media release it’s a sure sign their relationship is deteriorating.

PGW’s half year report is due out next week and it’s unlikely to be very pretty.

The company’s offer to take a 50% stake in SFF upset a lot of its clients. It didn’t go down well with a lot of its staff either, some of whom have left the company and set up in opposition to it.

On top of that drought and other problems in Uruguay combined with the fall in the international price for milk will be hurting its dairying venutres there.

First bbq of the season


It’s very pleasant to pass a Friday evening with good friends, a glass or two of wine (Charles Wiffen sauvignon blanc) and the first barbeque of the season.

However, just a wee quibble, having been to Argentina,  no food from a gas barbeque – not even fresh asapragus – can match that from an asado like this. . .

. . . which was cooked by an Argentinean friend for a party at our place in February.

Or this in Argentina:

Or this in Uruguay:

Fonterra learning the hard way


Fonterra has learned a very expensive lesson in China, one of which is about trust in a culture where corruption is rife and saving face comes before safety.

As chief executive Andrew Ferrier said, the company will never know  if it was mis-led by officials over the poisoned milk scandal.

Defending Fonterra against claims that it should have gone public earlier, Mr Ferrier said the company thought government officials at all levels were aware of the problem in August. “When our people in China met with the New Zealand embassy we thought the Chinese central government was aware.

“It could have been that people were fooling us at the local government level. We’ll never know.”

A senior Chinese government official is now saying that the problem is under control. But can we believe that?

This will not be the end of Fonterra’s investment in China but as company chair Henry van der Hayden says:

“The lesson for us here is about having absolute control over our supply chain,” Mr van der Heyden said. “We have to make certain that we learn from this.”

That is what they do in New Zealand and our reputation for safe milk on which consumers rely is built on that. That is what must happen in other countries and with other ocmpanies. PGG Wrightson which has dairy investments in Uruguay and Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group which are talking about sourcing lambs from South America, must be equally rigorous.

 Macdoctor  says:

Future investors must learn Fonterra’s lesson well. When you are dealing with an authoritarian society where face-saving is the norm, you must expect that mistakes and bad news will always be covered up. This is not to say that the Chinese are dishonest, far from it, they just have away of handling failure that confuses us. The type of transparency that you see in New Zealand, where even the Leader of the Opposition fronts up and apologises, is one that is unique to the West. Trade with China is certainly possible. Participation in joint ventures will require some work on both of our parts.

When Ferrier was interviewd on Wednesday he said that he didn’t think it would be possible for the San Lu brand to recover. Inquiring Mind reports here  and here that San Lu is close to bankruptcy and that Sanyuan Foods which wasn’t hit by the poisoned milk is likely to acquire it.

In a related story experts are struggling to work out safe levels of melamine in food in New Zealand.

Winter’s white


It’s been a long time coming but winter is finally here – we had a cold weekend and a hard frost yesterday. Although it was sunny all day the ground was still frozen in the shady areas by late afternoon.

We woke up to a starry sky this morning and we’ve got another good frost. However, touch wood, the water is still running in the house taps and again there’s not a cloud in the sky so it looks like we’re in for another sunny day.

In Uruguay winter doesn’t officially begin until the mid-June solstice. Seasons don’t fit neatly into a calendar – we can get warm days in winter and cold days in summer, but it’s not unusual for us to get our coldest temperatures from July – and of course there is almost always a storm in time for lambing and calving in August.

Fruit Rots for Want of Pickers


Australia is borrowing our ideas to help solve their problems with a shortage of seasonal workers:

FRED Tassone is one of scores of operators of orchards, market gardens and vineyards across the country who cannot find enough workers to pick their produce.

Despite more than 460,000 people being officially unemployed in Australia, the chronic labour shortage in the horticulture industry has reached the point where fruit has been left rotting on trees, and vegetables are left in the ground.

The federal Government is evaluating a recently completed trial of a seasonal workers program in New Zealand, generally regarded as successful by government and industry alike. Soon the sight of Pacific Islanders in fields across Australia may be commonplace.

A decision on a pilot of a program allowing Pacific Islanders short-term visas of up to six months is expected in the next few weeks. Pacific leaders have long advocated the freer movement of labour.

The use of Pacific workers helped orchardists in Central Otago last summer, and also added vibrancy to the community. A group of workers, with beautiful voices, used to busk at Wanaka’s Sunday market.

The mining boom in Western Australia has attracted many people who might once have been prepared to do the hard physical work in the orchards and vineyards.

“It doesn’t matter whether the unemployment rate is 5 per cent or 50 per cent, Australia’s unemployed don’t want to do our work,” Mr Tassone said.

“Unskilled workers can make up to $1200 a week, but Australians just don’t want to do it.”

Jonathan Nathundriwa, 30, from Fiji, who works on a farm next to Mr Tassone’s, said local unemployed people were not interested in the hard physical work required.

On the other hand, the Islanders would be delighted to earn a decent income, Mr Nathundriwa said.

“My family back in Fiji are busting their chops for $10 a day,” he said.

“I would love to be able to give them employment.”

He could also be talking about the dairy industry here.

 Gay Tripodi, who runs stone-fruit operation Murrawee Farms at Swan Hill, in Victoria, said backpackers were not a solution.

“For God’s sake, they’re a nightmare,” she said. “It’s not their fault – most are good kids, but 99 per cent have never been on a farm.

“We need workers who can stay with us for the duration of the season, five to six months.

“We can train them up and then they return to us the following year. We have been really struggling. The situation is dramatic.”

We have a similar problem with people unaccustomed to farms who think they want to work in dairying. It would be great to be able to employ seasonal workers on dairy farms in the same way orchards do. If we could we might look further than the Pacific Islands. We’ve had good workers from Argentina and Chile and neighbours are equally positive about workers from Uruguay.

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