Category archive: NZ History

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.

Continue reading

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).

Continue reading

Once upon a war…

Who says  the elderly aren’t  worth listening to?  Just think of some of the gems they  can casually reveal in conversations about what it was like when they were schoolkids.  Here’s one:

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

On being secular…

Climate change, the future of work and bog standard racism should be enough to be getting on with. But no, a political party for religious fundamentalists is about to torment us by adding its peculiar ecclesiastical code of conduct to the various tribes in parliament.

Continue reading

The Delusions of ‘Dolphins’ in the City of Sails

Four years ago my life was tipped upside down after making a rash phone call to my friend, Barry Copeland. We had just attended a small protest on Queens Wharf where we learned of Ports of Auckland’s 90 m expansion plans to Bledisloe Wharf. When I saw the extent of the port’s proposals, it touched a nerve. That evening I called my architect friend and said: “Barry we’ve got to do something about this”.

Continue reading

“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.

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

Tolerance – and ‘us’…

The Prime Minister was right to announce to the world that in New Zealand we are all ‘us,’ but   although it made us feel virtuous to agree with her, we know that’s not true.

You could say that, in general, we have tolerated Muslims, but they will tell you about being held in Customs for longer periods than other New Zealanders and that they have a harder time than European immigrants trying to get their parents to visit from places like India and Pakistan. And that feels like discrimination.

Continue reading