Category archive: Information

Democracies in retreat…

Last year Freedom House, the much respected freedom watchdog issued one of its most compelling reports:  Democracy in Crisis. The global report warned that democracy faced its most serious crisis in decades.

So what was its call to arms this year?  Democracy in Retreat.

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Loneliness in Godzone

Picture this: An 80-year-old grandfather of four children – three boys and one girl – is picked up from his central city flat by his only son every Sunday. He drives him through suburban streets which he can now barely recognise. The once lush avenues of bungalows and villas seem gap-toothed here and there. Or they sport towering new townhouses which block sunlight from their neighbours.

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Kiwiosities: A Great Place To Bring Up Kids

New Zealand’s open-air environment and a raft of social measures gave this country the reputation of being ‘a great place to bring up kids’.

The post-war baby-boom generations in particular enjoyed their overseas experience, then came home to have their families. Homes were readily available then, on quarter acre sections, with room for children to play.

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Max’s Dogs – Scrufts…

The Crufts Dog Show in Britain features only pedigree  purebreds, and generates enormous interest from dog owners and breeders. But in 2000, The Kennel Club recognised that dogs can also be fun and a source of pride and companionship, regardless of how random their family tree might be. So a second show evolved, entitled Scrufts.

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When was the first time you felt old?

When was the first time you felt, umm… elderly? Well okay – old? It’s not as if it’s something that  happens often because we live in a self-made reality, now and in the past.

But it’s right there if we bother to look: on the car radio Magic FM specialises in music for the ‘oldies’ – that same music which revolutionised the music world when we were in the Swinging Sixties, is now a commercially viable lullaby for early baby boomers.

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Rangitoto’s ‘blood-red skies’

It’s there.

It’s always been there.

And I, like so many other Aucklanders looked on it as an iconic sight, simultaneously  everyday – and spectacular.  Like Mt Eden where we  could climb any time for  360 degree views of  Auckland. Or  humble Mt Roskill where  as kids  we  hurtled over sheep ruts in  wooden sledges.  Or  gracious  Cornwall Park and  One Tree Hill,  (now better known as None Tree Hill).

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Gangland

Sign on the Cook Strait Ferry Arahura prohibiting the display of gang patches

Sign on the Cook Strait ferry Arahura prohibiting the display of gang patches.

We have within our society groups of people who prefer to live in a primitive tribal community framework. Primitive in that they have their own laws and anyone not in their tribe is either not to be trusted or an enemy. They call themselves clubs, motor cycle clubs mainly. They are commonly known as gangs. The police use more accurate terminology; criminal organisations.

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A worthy career…

So you’re an idealist and you want to make a difference by reducing suffering and making the world a better place.

Social work seems like a good place to start. You invest your time, hopes and a significant portion of your financial security in study and training. Along the way you decide which branch of social work would suit you.

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The Wellbeing Budget and Amy Adams

There must be a special school for budding politicians, out of sight in the Wairarapa hills, where Party affiliation is no bar to entrance. All that is required is determination, dedication, and the ability to stand in front of a mirror for hours every day practicing the specialised language and robotic delivery of political Esperanto.

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