Our Chief Reporter at The Auckland Star  never stopped reminding cadet reporters how important weather news was to readers. We sighed - there seemed to be more important things happening. But we dutifully drove to the Met Office and returned with the Weather Forecast. Later we sidled self-consciously down to Queen Street with an embarrassment in our hands: a foot-long barometer. Then we scurried back to the office to write the noon temperature. How things have changed.  When Australian bushfires can create sepia skies over Auckland, it’s tangible evidence of climate change - and interest in this phenomenon intensifies. Our insistent Chief Reporter was right after all.

Rangi Walker – visionary

Rangi WalkerIn the protest decade of the 60s and 1970s, my reporting beat covered Auckland University where, being the Sixties, full-time students were also part-time protesters.

Their activism embraced everything from feminism and environmental issues to the most riveting of the time – the growing protests against the Vietnam War and Apartheid.

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February miscellany

You just know things are getting dire in the change-the-flag camp when its promoters have to rely on the candlelight of celebrity.

Richie McCaw supports the change. Wow. Well that’s a must-vote for the new one then. And Dan Carter too. Double wow – it’s pretty much a done deal, but some obstacles remain.

Like the quasi celebs who are also in their camp – Mike Hoskings, TVNZ newsreader Peter Williams among others. They’re all flag-happy and flapping behind the PM, our flag change leader-in-chief (he sometimes sports the new version as a badge – subtle huh?)

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Beware Greeks bearing gifts….

130207-billboard-morning-hold-2A bus strike in Auckland  – how strange that  was  when  media  reported little in the way of carpooling,  the tactic which served locals well  in the oil shocks of the 1970s.   Another hint of the collapse of community?  Aucklanders  were warned  about the obvious traffic jams ahead – as if there aren’t any most other days.   The city’s woeful dependence on cars is its major failure and in Wellington that hasn’t been helped by a lack of vision.

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Trends shaping our world

istanbul_sultan_ahmet_mosque_mosque_237481Every year, the Pew Research Centre in the United States reviews its research, selecting the most memorable facts which illustrate important trends shaping our world.
Topics range from the specific subjects of video gaming and family caregivers to broader areas like political attitudes, global climate change and religious affiliation. Here are some of the 15 most striking trends the Centre discovered in 2015:

Islam will grow faster than any other major religion in the world over the next four decades, according to he Centre’s religious projections.

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How DOC missed the track…

Makarora RiverIn the light of December’s news, of the third death in 2015 in Mt Aspiring National Park within a two to three day walk of Makarora, it’s natural to ask why the Department of Conservation has closed its Makarora Information Centre this summer season. (DOC uses the words, unmanned decommissioned.)

You could miss Makarora on State Highway 6 between Haast Pass and the head of Lake Wanaka: a sprinkling of accommodation, the once ‘manned’ DOC information centre, a café and fuel pumps, a base for Siberia Experience trips and Wilkin River Jets and Southern Alps Air’s bright yellow Cessna.

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What is your idea of success….?

Success is something most human beings desire and gravitate towards. The word itself has a rich, positive connotation.

A lot of products and services get sold based on the promise of success. Buy this or do that and will find yourself in the winner’s camp.

But what does success mean to you?

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Budapest Girl

 by Panni PalastiEva cover pic

reviewed by Paul Smith

Anybody wandering back in time to write a memoir faces the challenge of what to reveal, what to leave out. It’s the way they confront this issue which defines the work as true to character, authentic.

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‘Suffragettes’ and votes for women…

220px-Annie_Kenney_and_Christabel_Pankhurst

Impossible to get it all right, of course, but films based on historical incidents and political movements can’t help being superficial. I have not seen Suffragettes but from reports I have heard and read this film is no exception. At least it focuses on a fictional working class women instead of perpetuating the idea that the Pankhursts carrying the entire burden.

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