Posts by Chris Horan

Knocking out hype…

Boxing promoters tend to tag their talent with silly names like The Brown Bomber (Joe Louis), Iron Mike (Tyson),  The Real Deal (Evander Hollyfield), and perhaps the silliest, Tuaman, (New Zealand’s David Tua).  Boxing is a jarring sport  –  our current brown hope, Joseph  Parker, is about to find out just how jarring.

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“Remember when mum clubbed me with the rock.”

When I was a CYFS social worker I knew a woman who clubbed her ten-year-old son with a rock enclosed in a supermarket bag. It would be wrong to assume she was an ignorant person lacking in moral standards. In fact she was a churchgoer who described herself as a fundamental Christian. And she could hold a decent argument on the matter. However, it is fair to say her housekeeping was not as well organised as her Christian beliefs.

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Around the mountains

I started my cycle circuit of Northern Southland’s Eyre Mountains from Cromwell at 7am on a Saturday morning. But traffic around these parts has increased markedly and 7am was at least an hour too late for a quiet road. It was not until just past the Nevis Bluff in the Kawarau Gorge that a cycle path allowed me to get off the road.I put my tent up in the Arrowtown motor camp. $20.

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Suicide and older men – Part two

Our understanding of suicide is at best fragmentary. It’s complicated by our attitudes, religious beliefs, whether the deceased was a close friend or family member. The most acceptable position to settle on when someone close has committed suicide is to say,   ‘the balance of his mind was disturbed’. It offers more satisfaction than living with a lifelong unresolved quest for answers. Mental disturbance has the advantage of absolving both the subject and survivors of moral examination and uncertainty. Nevertheless, a degree of uncertainty is inevitable.

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No Goodbyes (Part One)

(Part One)

Such are the ripples of lifelong hurt, it is unwise to start a conversation about suicide with people you don’t know very well. Nevertheless, the subject is bursting to be talked about.

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Taken by the State

The Newsroom article, Taken By The State, republished by Stuff along with two videos of distressed children being forcibly removed from home by police officers, is harrowing viewing.

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Turning a blind eye to torment

I can’t remember when I wrote the following paragraph about using containers in prisons to mop up overcrowding:

“My response to the use of containers to imprison convicted criminals was to ask myself the following questions: Are the containers secure? Will they mop up overcrowding? By prison standards of accommodation, are these containers humane? The answer is yes in all cases.”

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What – Boot camp?

Boot camp, again? Yes, I’m afraid it’s an enduring election issue. Regimented places of enforced residence designed to change the hearts, minds and behaviour of young people who are out of control. Boot camps tend to be short-term and usually emphasise self-reliance and self discipline. What’s different about the latest election ploy promoted by Bill English is that to me at least, it makes sense.

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Once upon a time in New Zealand…

I remember when the government helped young people to move up in the world. It was a time when all mothers got the Family Benefit, which could be turned into a deposit (capitalised) on a house with an affordable State Advances mortgage. I also remember when inexpensive night school classes for school certificate and university entrance were common. And also affordable university evening extension courses leading to professional qualifications. Labour and National governments abandoned the leg-up philosophy as well as collective responsibility. Union protection was replaced with individual contracts and, conveniently, a low wage economy.

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There is nothing like a Knight…

I’ve been thinking about John Key for some time. John who? Yes, exactly. The New Zealand electorate’s love affair with John Key, which is still far beyond my understanding, seems to have ceased the moment he gave up being prime minister. It is as if he was swallowed by the hole of regretful memories. Does anyone remember why they loved him? Or is it a case of being embarrassed by a teenage romance best forgotten? Forgotten until recently, that is, when he popped up with a knighthood.

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