Outside the Auckland Town Hall there’s a statue of ‘Robbie’, Auckland’s most influential - and certainly its most colourful mayor. He saved the sparkling waters of our Waitemata from a proposed Brown’s Island sewerage scheme, which would have pumped raw sewage off the island into the harbour. Then he implemented his own sewerage scheme, in the Manukau Harbour using revolutionary oxidation ponds pioneered in California. Robbie pulled off this feat with passion, zeal - and a quality no local politician seems to have these days: imagination.

That statue seems as if it is rallying Aucklanders to rise up to save their harbour which is threatened by the Auckland Council’s plans to provide a 90 metre long extension to Queen’s Wharf - for cruise ships. Already 4,000 have signed a petition opposing the move, and questioning the economic benefits. It all says we’d like access to Queen’s Wharf back the way it used to be 100 years ago…

Who said that first? – Hear no evil, see no evil

It’s doubtful that anyone ever said it in English before the end of the 17th century. The concept of ‘see not evil, ‘hear not evil’, ‘speak not evil’ related back to Confucius in China, several hundred years BC, and then travelled to Japan, where it was known for centuries as a moral maxim. By a trick of the Japanese language, the maxim eventually became known world-wide.

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Climate change – fact and fiction

So as the end of last year approached and perhaps with thoughts of the End of Days, Dr Google was on hand to offer the latest reports on the impacts of climate change. In seconds I found I was in a crowd – 335,000,000 to be exact. 373,000 – in 30 seconds. That came as a shock but that’s the impact of war – on this occasion the Infowars raging on google and other search engines about this issue.

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Last year’s political performances…

This is my one-eyed look at last year’s political performances. I should have known better than to expect more than half-million-dollar ‘affordable’ houses from a Labour government. And the big policy announcement? Six hundred more teacher’s aides for special needs children. Surely that’s merely an admission that the ideological straight-jacket of inclusion has never suited all children.

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When Ajax visits town

The recent morning book launch of Ajax the Kea Dog was crowded out, so a second session followed for fans to meet this celebrity dog and his young Department of Conservation mate.

Sam Neill narrated the BBC documentary featuring Ajax and Corey Mosen in 2016.

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A tail of tuff fluff…

In a humble Siberian village, mere days after being accosted by a street thug …

I’d run out of Lipton English Breakfast Tea. It was getting late. There are no street lights here in Poselye. There was no moon on this particular night, either. It’s fair to say that it was darker than my sense of humour. Admittedly, the shop is only one hundred metres away, but dangers lurk aplenty in the lands beyond the walls of my safe haven. Faced with this conundrum, I donned my ninja costume and embarked on an ‘epic’ adventure …

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Best Laid Rumbles…

The slow progression of attitudes to sharing the road with cyclists is much too fast for some drivers. The Otago Daily Times frequently publishers letters from drivers who are livid on the subject.

Despite the fact that most adult cyclists are also drivers, and that some people, no matter their mode of transport, are inconsiderate and selfish, the ‘livid’ drivers reserve their hatred for cyclists.

So the battle lines have been drawn. Drivers hate cyclists and cyclists hate drivers.

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Pushing back ageing…

If you shop for birthday  cards  you’ll find the funny, the odd and the entertaining.  But among them there’s a surprising  number for those who make it  to  their 100th  birthday.

So how many Centenarians are there in  New Zealand?  Based  on  the 2013 Census, Statistics New  Zealand puts the number  at  561.  Five years on  and given the fact that for nearly 200 years mankind has been pushing back  ageing, that number is  likely  to be higher  in the 2018 Census.

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Sunscreen on my armpits…

(From the archives…)

Yesterday I put roll-on sunscreen on my armpits – somewhere that rarely sees the light — forgot the day of the week when looking up the tide times and couldn’t find my phone. I couldn’t call it since I had left the sound turned off after that disturbing movie about billboards.

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The typewriter rebellion is here!

Now here’s something an old hack would never have dreamt could happen: A typewriter revolution – typewriters reverentially dusted off from their obsolete past, and ushered into a welcoming  present, wreathed with terms like  the  ‘typosphere.’

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