Category archive: Nostalgia

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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Kiwiosities: Rua Kenana

Kiwiosities coverExcerpts from Kiwiosities, a book by Gordon Ell on the traditions and folklore of New Zealand.

A tohunga of the Urewera, Rua Kenana 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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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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Pushing the envelope, outside the square…

I don’t know what other boomers expected from this election but here’s what one, not a million miles from this keyboard hopes for:

Hope.  In the arid landscape of ideology over the past 30 odd years it was as precious as water – but there’s an oasis ahead and room for hope. Just look at what’s happened abroad, as Martin Jacques wrote in the Guardian recently:

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But we won…didn’t we?

The results  are in.  The swearing-inners have sworn. The dust has settled – but the whining,the utter incomprehension of the bewildered born-to-rule shows no sign of abating. Judging by the first week after confirmation that a coalition of Labour, NZ First and the Greens would be the Government, the first of the moans is the least accurate, but makes a good slogan for the newly dispossessed and it goes – and will go –  like this:

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Walking Man

Man  starts to shave. Sees his reading  glasses  on the basin shelf. Wonders why. Wife  tells  him breakfast is  getting cold.   Hurries to the table.  Spoons down porridge.  She gives him a peck on the cheek (when  did they stop kissing  the way they used to? ) and  rushes off to work the way he  once did.

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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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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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Last stop for prickles…

He’d been lying overnight in the debris of  leaves and kindling from seasons past. Hiding like the rest of us from July’s  polar blast we thought. He’d buried his nose in the pillow of leaves and created one hell of a mess – sticks and leaves and dirt scattered everywhere on the path.  We let him slumber for the weather remained bleak and lots of people were doing much the same in rather more cozy  beds.

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