Took a double-decker into Auckland the other day and felt as if we had been  hibernating - so much had changed.  Commuters joined, full of youth and energy - then sat silent, plugged into audio temples of their choice. Choice - and fragile freedoms - but at what price when their future may be unaffordable?   Maybe that's why they tune out.

 

Quality TV? Fly to Oz

Friends joke that they knew we’d come home crowing about Oz; how much sunnier it was – and all those beaches.

They were right – and wrong: Eight days in Melbourne and we saw the sun only when our Air New Zealand flight lifted off the tarmac. Beaches? Sort of. Great long strips lacking the intimacy of ours, with their Pohutukawa blossoms  and streams meandering their way into the sea.

We did however return with something unexpected – memories of a vibrant  public broadcasting industry.

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A Cautionary Tale from Paradise

Mountains of MooreaOnce upon a time in Paradise, hotels and resorts sprung up like flowers in spring. The rulers of Paradise and international hotel chains smiled, “Paradise will be the new destination for our tourists.”

And so it was. Tourists flew in and experienced the pleasures of Paradise.  But along the way, the wind changed direction and nearly twenty years later decayed and abandoned resorts dot the isles of Paradise.

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Brexiting – and why…

United_Kingdom_EU_referendum_2016_voting_regions_results.svgThe Brexit and all that:  A strange feeling for someone as opinionated as I am: I didn’t have a view on the Brexit referendum. My brother and sister, who both live in England, one rich, the other on a modest pension, voted to leave.

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June Miscellany

oth 4jpgSince 2001 JAFAs have quite rightly called it None Tree Hill. Some even grew accustomed to the sight of the shorn iconic cone in their midst. Most people assumed that a tree would be planted soon after the Monterey pine was attacked for the second time in 1999 by Maori activists. Not so. All it took was a mere 15 years of PC tip-toeing over protocols and types of trees.

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For Boomers – a journey to the HOP:

2007:

‘The Super Gold Card recognises the valued contribution our seniors and  veterans have made, and continue to make to New Zealand society’.   Ahh…  warm fuzzies.  Makes you feel proud doesn’t it? Included. Accepted. Institutionally respected  and acknowledged at the highest levels. Free to roam, off-peak that is.

Gold card2016:

 ‘Why you’ll love your AT HOP card…’ says the AT handbook about the change from Gold to HOP card in Auckland. You can simply tag on, helping everyone board faster, and tag off.  This speeds up the bus journey too, helping to make the service more punctual….(at a price).

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An average democracy…

Just after he’d won the  last  election, John Campbell interviewed Prime Minister John Key who  was  humbled by the result.  He told Campbell that arrogance  would not be a characteristic of his government or of his ministers…   And at this stage some years down the track, we’re entitled to a little giggle.   He might just as well have said that shame would not characterize them either. And he would be right.

maternity-leave-map

(On the map:

red = no paid leave;

orange = < 14 weeks;

yellow = 14-25 weeks;

pale blue = 26-51 weeks;

dark blue 52 + weeks.

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Give a little

Within living memory there were many men and woman who kept secret the ‘shameful’ fact of growing up in an orphanage or similar homes for children who could not, for various reasons, be cared for by parents or extended family. Whatever the reason for their exclusion from society, the inevitable implication was that they were unwanted, by family and community.

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War and Peace

There they were – a family straight out of one of those irritating television advertisements. Sitting together on a park bench – handsome dad, attractive mum, two photogenic kids.

When I looked again the kids had gone – playing with wild abandon on the nearby swings and slides, Then something caught my eye.

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Pop songs revisited

Some of the artists of the 60’s are revising their hits with new lyrics to accommodate aging baby boomers who can remember doing the “Limbo” as if it were yesterday.
They include:

Bobby Darin —
Splish, Splash, I Was Havin’ A Flash

Helen Reddy —
I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore 

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