Who won the first debate between Jacinda and  Bill? All day talkbackers and  pundits pronounced on the clash. Jacinda brought fresh ideas and values and won by a nose. Bill fought back but sounded like a spokesman for an exhausted movement.  The real winner was the much vilified host Mike Hosking who probed,  grilled both fairly and with journalistic flair. Hosking by a length.

Another year, another Waitangi

Waitangi weekend again – and a man was close to tears.  Nothing unusual there.  It’s what the place does to  some.   What was different this year was that the man was Pakeha – no let’s  pass over  that pejorative for another description: he was white.

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When a polly makes you smile…

Well, it was a long time coming but John Key finally put a smile on my face. Okay, I’m prejudiced but I still think he was by far New Zealand’s most mediocre leader. So why was he so popular? Was he popular? Television news certainly thought so; the PMs smiling face was on the screen daily whether the events he attended were newsworthy or not. Television, and the media generally, loved him.

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Curious words – Max Cryer

From Max Cryer’s  CURIOUS English words and phrases – the truth behind the expressions we use:

Google

 The Google internet search engine was invented by  Larry Page and  Sergey Brin in 1998. The name was chosen because it evoked the  similar word,  ‘googol’  – which is a real word – a mathematical term denoting a figure followed by 100 zeros.

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A different, better New Year…?

 We bought our diaries the other day.  (I know – riveting – but stay with me!) The ‘other day’ was unfashionably late,   nearing the end of  the first week of the  New Year.   Just a few days earlier, crowds all over the world had gathered to celebrate the arrival of 2017. Like most of us  they   made their resolutions  –  and  like most of us, probably  forgot them the next day.

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My books and other animals…

my-books

Old friends should never be treated like this: interned in sunless corners,  jammed upright  until their spines crumble; bandaged,  but with half their pages  inexplicably  missing.My  books were freed recently by the arrival  of our  exuberant Westie wallpaperer and so ended up in piles all over the  house.  But in them  we  found   reunions everywhere. 

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The silent spectator at the awards….

auckland_boys_grammar_school

We are in the  great hall of Auckland Grammar, tip-toeing up the stairs to  the balcony overlooking the  stage and the ground floor.    In the belly of the  domed hall,  some 2,000 students wriggle  in tightly organised rows,  their collective chatter sounding  like some  human beehive.

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A world without meat?

Vegan and vegetarian options have become noticeable in shops and restaurants in the last few years. This is a  trend in most western nations. (Vegans don’t eat any meat products. Vegetarians  may eat dairy products). The Telegraph reports that in the last ten years the number of vegans in the UK rose by 360%.

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Warts and all

nelson-civic-house

Jaw-dropping winner  of the  Kiwi version of London’s  Carbunkle Cup (for the ugliest building in the UK) is right here in… yes in one of our prettiest centres, just keep reading…

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