We’re all about television this edition, because major changes are about to be announced to the present, clapped out model. TVNZ producer and director Chris Bourn, re-visits times when our telly, felt as if it was part of us. Regular Kiwiboomers contributor Chris Horan is similarly nostalgic, while  media academic Geoff Lealand, lists three Christmas wishes for TV and RNZ. My contribution outlines how Governments with kooky agendas ever got to this point. What do our writers share? A longing  for something Governments have ignored since Kiwi television began: a non-commercial public broadcaster, which serves and salves our needs as a community.   

Among his souvenirs.. new shoes

To say he had a beard would be an understatement- his whole face bristled with pepper and salt whiskers so thick they looked like an uncut hedge. In one of Auckland’s coldest winter spells, he wore a coat which had seen too many winters and was at least two sizes too big for him. And then there were his shoes, or perhaps one of  them. It  remained  staunchly unflappable while  the other had  clearly given up the pretense of being a shoe,  and its uppers flopped open with every step he took.

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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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Two men, two wives, six daughters and…

Two men, two wives, six daughters between them.   So in their conversation, a liberal  sprinkling of domestic chit-chat –  the kind you’d also  imagine women having over a cuppa. Except  that these were two  old blokes  who’d notched up a  century of marriage between them.

And blokes  talk about sport, who should have won the one day cricket final at Lords,  politics –  and of course the good old days. There’s a pause between  all this chaff and then this:

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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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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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A hero at 14…

(Part two of John’s adolescent dilemma)

In the first episode which we ran in June, 13-year-old John Anderson is acclaimed for his heroism – rescuing his 18-month-old brother from a charging bull in post- war Britain. He makes the front pages of national newspapers is feted in London along with other young heroes – and dies just a little bit each time…. Here’s the sequel to his dip into the waters of celebrity…

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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 loose bullock – and a reluctant child celebrity…

Part one of John’s adolescent dilemma

Despite the progress women have made in the last generation and a half , some things are and have always been easier for girls. At 13 years old they are blessed with greater confidence, greater maturity, greater common sense and most importantly are not faced at every turn by the constant threat of embarrassment. True! Here’s a story I kept to myself until my children found out about it when they were in their teens.

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