Our Chief Reporter at The Auckland Star  never stopped reminding cadet reporters how important weather news was to readers. We sighed - there seemed to be more important things happening. But we dutifully drove to the Met Office and returned with the Weather Forecast. Later we sidled self-consciously down to Queen Street with an embarrassment in our hands: a foot-long barometer. Then we scurried back to the office to write the noon temperature. How things have changed.  When Australian bushfires can create sepia skies over Auckland, it’s tangible evidence of climate change - and interest in this phenomenon intensifies. Our insistent Chief Reporter was right after all.

The future is now

It took the devastating Australian bushfires to bring home to the country’s politicians that perhaps, maybe, they had to update their thinking on climate change. Perhaps, because that thinking remains dominated by an ideology which increasingly looks untethered to present day realities. Below are some of those realities:

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Indian Cinderellas

Understanding India from a distance, or even close-up, is not easy. The variety of warring ethnic groups, tribes, languages, religions, casts, class and political grouping complications is bewildering. Just one of those factors, social class, makes 1920’s England look like a classless society.

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Kiwi TV as we once knew it … Part three

Watching television was now beginning to be ingrained in the 60’s household social routine not entirely due to the magnetism of Ena Sharples and the Coronation Street’s Rover’s Return!

Waiting in the wings was Networking, the move of News to Auckland,  the advent of colour and the famous Philips K9 TV set and TV2’s first Telethon.

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A Christmas beer with a beard

Credit: BBC

Had a beer with a  beard  the other day  to celebrate the relentless commercial  onset of Christmas.   The beard was my old friend’s familiar trademark  and I told him once more  how much it suited him.

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In the secure ward

We sat on a wide verandah and looked out on a backyard. Backyard? This one was huge, park-like and  its green flowed  past crimson flowered jacarandas on both sides for more than an acre. Finally  it gave way to a to a lily-covered billabong under the shade of towering ghost gums.

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‘The next time you see it will be when you die…’

He boarded the outbound 737 from Auckland looking out of place and time.

He was a Buddhist monk, replete with flowing brown  robes, practical sandals and on his  left wrist, corded bangles. Not a sober sort, he joked with other  passengers  as he settled into his seat.  One asked him what religion he belonged to.  A pause.

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Kiwiosities: The Prophet Rua

A tohunga of the Urewera, Rua came to believe that he was the reincarnation of John the Baptist and on occasions the Holy Ghost. Building what he called the New Jerusalem at remote Maungapohatu, he was frequently at odds with the Crown, placing himself apart from the law.

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Bye Blossoms, G’day Geckos…

In South Auckland’s Ihumatao, a peaceful group of Maori activists continues the campaign it began in 2015. Their aim?  To stop Fletchers building 480 homes on what they believe is sacred land.

And a few miles away in the leafy suburb of Mt Albert early last month, middle-class Pakeha began their protest.

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