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Leadership and our PM…

“One of the criticisms I’ve faced over the years is that I’m not aggressive enough or assertive enough, or maybe somehow, because I’m empathetic, it means I’m weak. I totally rebel against that. I refuse to believe that you cannot be both compassionate and strong.”  Jacinda Ardern

There is so much written and discussed about what good leadership is. Ultimately though, whatever the context, leadership is as leadership does.    And nothing demonstrated this as well as the authentic and emotionally intelligent leadership of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern the last few weeks.

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“This is not us…”

“This is not us” is the phrase many of us have used after the shock of the Christchurch Mosque massacres which claimed the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers. It may come as a surprise to Kiwis, but that sentiment is being challenged on a leading US website, Buzzfeed.

Australian  Buzzfeed reporter Hannah Ryan, found examples of Muslims who had been discriminated against or were the victims of hate speech – and actions.

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Religions, social media – and free speech

Television cameras and interviewers were present on Christchurch’s last vigil for the 50 Muslims who’d been slain a week before. A young Muslim woman said the “Free-speech people” had a lot to answer for.

She used the expression ‘free-speech’ people once more in the interview, clearly in the belief that the law allowing free speech was partly to blame for the massacre. Or did she? Was she referring to the hateful, divisive and unregulated racists ensconced on social media?

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The Very Last Time I Played Rugby…

The last time I played rugby was when I was a (relatively) springy 34-year-old.

I’d moved from south Wales to take up a new job on the English north east coast 45 kilometres or so from the town where I was born.  The good news: We found a house in a small, pleasant and ancient market town of some seven thousand people. The not so good: we  knew  very few people apart from a handful of new colleagues.

How, I asked myself, could I make friends?  The local Clubs didn’t appeal  and that left sports clubs; why not try rugby again?

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Max’s Dogs – Hush puppies

Dog JacketIn 1958 a sales manager for the Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Corporation was on a selling trip through the American states.  When he reached the South, he was invited to a regional salesman’s  home for dinner. ‘Hush-puppy’ cornballs were part of the meal and the  sales manager asked, ‘why the name?’

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Kiwiosities: Sugar Bags

Anybody remember sugar bags?  They were Hessian, contained 44lbs (20kg) of sugar and were widely recycled in  pioneer and tougher times.  They were useful hold-alls. Tied at the corners, with light rope, they made a Pikau or pack. Split open  down one side, they made a  rain hood and  jacket.

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