Nga Tamatoa leader Sid Jackson

Picture this: 1971 at Waitangi’s Treaty grounds; the GG in white ceremonial tunic, topped off by a helmet and proud feathers to match;  a bare-chested Maori shouting his welcome; a high axled army truck nearby.  The GG began his speech, but the heavens had other ideas and tropical rain bucketed down.

The GG’s plumage, designed for drier colonial climes and already at half mast, wilted, then capitulated. People scattered and we reporters sheltered under the truck. In front of us, Rob Muldoon and leading Waitangi protester Hana Jackson, remained shouting at each other – her insistence to his resistance. Neither could have known that this in one way or another  would be the pattern for years to come as protests grew. Meanwhile, under the truck we saw somebody’s hand combing the grass nearby until its owner found… his dentures. History can sometimes be blessed by lighter moments.

Perspectives on Waitangi Day…

Waitangi Day…

This year we asked  some of our contributors to write about what the day meant to them. Their views show that there’s cause for celebration, potential  for greater involvement and appreciation of the day’s significance.  First off, freelance writer  Chris Horan:

Like most New Zealanders I’ve never been to Waitangi and doubt I’ll ever get there. What I’ve seen on TV has very often been divisive. However, a few years ago I happened to be in Oamaru on Waitangi Day.The event was celebrated a few miles from town. We drove over a grass track through a field ready to harvest sun-flowers.

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Apartheid’s good old days….really?

It’s a risky business looking beneath the surface of the social media midden, but hard to resist when the subject is close to your heart. I lived and worked in South Africa in 1963-64, where the reality of apartheid became a shocking formative experience for me. I’ve since keenly followed the politics of author Alan Paton’s ‘Cry The Beloved Country’, his lament for the arrival of a  rigidly segregated  country.

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Soggy pants flight

“Six o’clock!” she cried and the bedsheets undid. “We’ll miss the bus. Won’t catch the plane!”

So she ran and he ran and they ran, until they came… to the wristwatch which, glowing with a smug luminosity on the bedside table, told them: “It’s only five o’clock”.

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Kiwiosities: Frozen Meat

Frozen Meat

The invention of refrigeration saved the New Zealand farming industry from economic depression in the 1880s. Formerly dependent on the sale of wool and hides, farmers welcomed refrigerated vessels that made it possible to export meat as well.

The first shipment left Port Chalmers for Britain aboard the Dunedin on February 14th 1888.  The shipment was arranged by Thomas Brydone of the New Zealand and Australia Land Company, who had nearly 5,000 sheep slaughtered at its North Otago property in Totara. The Totara homestead is now a national historic place.

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Max’s Dogs – Top dog or Underdog

Dog JacketTop dog or underdog

Dogs in any grouping – a wild pack or even just a domestic group – have an ‘alpha’ who is dominant.  The term shifted to the popular sport of  dog-fighting – with two references, one actual and one predicted.  During the fight the superior dog  could be seen on top.  If a particular dog had a track record of achieving this supremacy, those taking bets on a forthcoming fight would refer to that participant as a ‘top dog’ while a newcomer, or fighter with an unimpressive track record, would be the ‘under-dog’. 

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The virtues of gratitude

 How quickly 2018 passed, Time  now to pause, look back  and reflect on your priorities in  this brand New Year!

Personally  I‘ve looked at the gains and achievements of the past year.  From that I’ve also  tried to  find, and focus on a theme for the year ahead. There’s already an element here which needs more priority  – and it lies in the simple but neglected word,  gratitude.

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Starlings…

There she was – laid out like a trophy on the back lawn. First I thought it was a Tui, my favourite bird. Ashamedly, I was relieved to find it was just a starling.

Just a Starling – didn’t it have just as much a right to live, free from urban predators? I knew immediately who the culprit was – ‘Daisy’, our over-fed house cat. The self-satisfied – ‘what me?’ – look on her face was more than sufficient to establish guilt. 

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Gozzy’s Dilemma

The locals are restless. The roads are full of camper vans. There are so many people going up Mount Roy and Isthmus Peak that toilets have been put on the tops, to be helicopter serviced at our expense. The final blow, they’ve put trial traffic lights on Albert Town bridge over the Clutha. When you see traffic lights you know things have gone to the dogs. Even my dog, Gozzy, knows you can have too much of a good thing.

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Who said that first? – Hear no evil, see no evil

It’s doubtful that anyone ever said it in English before the end of the 17th century. The concept of ‘see not evil, ‘hear not evil’, ‘speak not evil’ related back to Confucius in China, several hundred years BC, and then travelled to Japan, where it was known for centuries as a moral maxim. By a trick of the Japanese language, the maxim eventually became known world-wide.

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