Category archive: Nostalgia

Kiwiosities: The redoubtable miner

Bill Fox won his nickname  through his exploits as a gold prospector in central Otago  and Westland during the 1860s.  Patrick William Fox learned mining in California and so  recognised rocks in the Arrow River as similar to rock forms  that bore gold in America.  In secret, he and three partners gathered a fortune in gold.  When they came to bank it at Dunstan (Clyde) others came to track them back  through the gorges of the Arrow.

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Not the Swinging Sixties

In the big picture New Zealand prospered in the 1960s. Materialism boomed, the economy flourished, brand-new houses dotted the suburbs and pop music and miniskirts and thumbing noses at conventions, gave spice to the day.

But on the edge of the lupins and the sand hills east of Christchurch, Cheryl Nicol’s childhood memory of 60s life, was one of make-do. In her memoir, A Parallel Universe, as the title suggests, a different world existed.  Life was hard. The picture, is grim.

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Speaking Out

After much hesitation, because I did not want to offend, I put off for at least a year writing a letter to the Otago Daily Times on an issue that had been offending me for some time.

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From summer with love…

The radio broadcasts warnings: leave home early, traffic will be heavy. Perhaps even think of leaving on Thursday. But on Good Friday, in a small bay deep in the Marlborough Sounds only bellbirds and tui and fantails in the beech trees, fill the airwaves.

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Hooked on… jigsaws

I am embarrassed to admit that I am hooked on jigsaws. I have always thought them ridiculous. A picture is cut into small pieces that are then laboriously put together, briefly admired then broken up and returned to the box. (No wonder, after all that effort, that people sometimes frame them). This seems to be the occupation of lonely, bored, unimaginative, and rather odd people.

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Milking Obama…

Crass materialism leapt brazenly out of the closet in New Zealand the 80s.   Money-making was elevated to high social status beyond public service. An American import, the dominance of the mighty dollar had already taken root in other countries. Business finally reached the pinnacle of prestige. Business books proliferated: business management, business leadership, how to succeed in business and, of course, business-speak.

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Poverty then – and now…

Sometimes the stuff that spills out of  old box files on their way to the bin, are not only worth  remembering, but keeping.

One  we found  was Windows on Poverty, a 1992 Report  from the New Zealand  Council of Christian Social Services on Poverty in New Zealand.  It was well on its way to pile in  one of those  purges we hoarders  are  told  we must do.  But  caught between  the  need to clear  out stuff – and hoard,   we once more hoarded. Why? So  we don’t forget, so we don’t allow it to happen  again. Not in Godzone.

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The Price of Honesty

Over the years I’ve been privileged, on occasions, to live with local families while visiting Fiji and Samoa. This has led to memorable, enriching experiences, far removed from those of the tourists staying at the resorts.

Of course, staying with someone usually comes with expectations, for example, Sunday church attendance. It’s compulsory – no ifs, no buts.

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