Another month, another funeral of a close friend – and for our generation another loss - author, broadcaster and poet, Clive James. The ABC reports that before he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010, he was world-weary. “Those feelings vanished overnight as soon as I got sick… I just wanted to live” he said. He went on write eight books, columns and collections of poems. At our humble, but heartfelt remembrance, that sense of urgency was almost palpable. James had, as always, left us with a lesson.

Christchurch today – wreckage, and renewal

Standing on the fourth-floor balcony of Tūranga, Christchurch’s recently opened library sited on Cathedral Square, I gazed down onto the sagging ruin that is the post-earthquake Christchurch Cathedral. From this angle the decision to restore makes even less sense than it did three years ago when I viewed the wreckage from behind a ground level wire-mesh safety fence.

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Kiwi TV when it was full of promise…

It will seem mean to those who think the demise of TV3 is a shame, but I’m glad it’s gone and gladder still to see the beginning of the end of all television as we have come to know it. The dying distorted remnants of what was once an entertaining, informative and artistic public service has had its day after far too many years in expelling noisy, lingering death throes.

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Max’s Dogs – Every Dog has its day

When pioneer Scottish settlers in the nineteenth century arrived in the southern part of New Zealand, the terrain was a challenge – but they had brought their dogs. In the area known as the Mackenzie country (where part of The Lord of the Rings was filmed over a hundred years later), the mountainous plateau might have remained unfarmed had it not been for the hard work of the shepherds and their tireless dogs.

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Rainbow tickery…

Rainbow Tick is a business, like the halal certification business, it gives organisations a tick for behaving in the manner the certifier approves. The Muslim Islamic Council provides certification to businesses that kill their animals with a single cut, that are thoroughly bled, and have not come into contact with animals (pork especially) that have been stunned before being slaughtered.

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People before planes

When you land at an international airport it’s as if you’re still in the one you left. What they also have in common is a building programme that’s been going on for decades with no end in sight. Airports are goldmines. Which is why Queenstown Airport Corporation has Wanaka in its sights and Auckland is eyeing up Whenuapai.

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Impeachment piffle…

The day  Congress decided to begin an impeachment inquiry into President  Donald Trump,  cable  news network MSNBC ran a  documentary  on  world-wide protests  by  millions of young people.  It featured the real life impacts of  climate change  almost everywhere in the world –  from  Paris where a  prolonged heatwave   had killed dozens,  to  Kabul, where determined  women marched (with  men guarding them),  and most pitifully, in little Guatemala.

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Community cohesion – where is it?

Why would anyone think I’d vote for them if they give me a leaflet I don’t want! Look – it says ‘NO CIRCULARS’!”  I consider explaining that local body election leaflets are actually not ‘circulars’, or indeed, advertising at all. They are instead an important part of the democratic process. But I fear a bureaucratic distinction will be lost on this vehement elderly woman intent on keeping her letter box clear of bumf, and for that matter, on most others whose letterboxes are firmly labelled as to what can and cannot be posted within.

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