It seems so long ago, but what our cricket-loving Governor General had to say in 1960 because he had noted the first signs of our material yearnings. In his New Year’s message he warned: It is the greatest mistake to imagine that mere material progress is getting us anywhere. On the contrary, the predominance of economic interests and motives in any civilisation is always the forerunner of moral decline and social disintegration”.  

What went wrong? We were conned by the same interests the GG referred to. But now, post COVID-19,  social change is not just wishful but in some societies a new reality.

 

When neighbourhoods sleep

Where once four bungalows stood

They came when the neighbourhood slept – just after 2 in the morning. And though they were anything but burglars they took from our collective identity yet another valuable: an entire house.

Where once the street below us had two  rows of compact, well maintained bungalows, it now seems as if this was some suburban mirage.

Continue reading

What do you enjoy about what you do?

Have you been asked a question recently – a simple one at that – which caused you to stop and think.  Your mind flicks into another gear as it goes through the search and inquiry process until it connects with some semblance of an answer.

But what is interesting is that long after you have responded, you find yourself still mulling over the question!

Continue reading

Three free years…

students in lecture roomWhat a can of worms Labour has upended with its policy on tertiary education. It promises to turn the clock back to the conditions most of our current politicians enjoyed when they were students; a free university education.

But how will the thousands of student with huge debts feel about this proposed policy? Bitter, is my guess, and with just cause. On the other hand the parents of young, achieving teenagers will be relieved, possibly to the point of considering changing their vote at the next election.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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?)

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading