Monday, June 28, 2010


From my back door.

We are being provided with snippets of history over the last fifty years as New Zealand T.V.celebrates 50 years of transmission. The first official broadcast was June 1st, 1960 in Auckland. As late as 1969 there were only 65 hours of TV a week as programmes were broadcast from the four main centres, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin each week night. It seems incredible now that there was a time when we didn't have 24 hours of what is frequently drivel beamed into our homes.

Last night we were given a cornucopia of news stories and presenters' bloopers. They were worth the giggles. It is quite weird seeing our history, local and global, broken up into short visual bites according to how the programme people rated them. It is even stranger to see the results of a public pole in today's newspaper. Of the top ten stories in the last fifty years only three are celebrations. We rated the Moon Landing, The Fall of the Berlin Wall and Winning the America's Cup in there. The top two stories were the terrible day of 9/11 followed closely by Princess Diana's death. I will never understand how she became the people's idol although she did seem to have had a genuinely compassionate side. The other tragedies include the Assassination of JFK, the Wahine Disaster, a modern day shipping disaster with loss of life in Wellington Harbour, the Erebus Disaster, when a scenic flight flew into the Antarctic mountain, a gunman running amok at Aramoana and finally the 1981 Springbok Rugby tour which stirred up all kinds of racial tensions and divided the country. The last is possibly the only one that you could say is working out for good.

In 1981 South Africa practiced apartheid and in New Zealand we were appalled by the laws restricting black or coloured and white people mixing. We considered ourselves completely non-racist although racism is alive and well here just like any other prejudicial attitude. The Springbok Tour should have been cancelled. It should never have happened but because it went ahead the true nature of our feelings were exposed and from there we began to address some of the inequities in our dealings with Maori, New Zealand's own native people.

The disturbing part of all this history is how humankind relishes tragic events. As far as Tv is concerned this is understandable. Tragedy makes good dramatic footage and TV is for entertainment rather than education or any other high minded activity. Frequently people say they want to hear more good news. The trouble with 'Good News' is that it lacks bite, it lacks entertainment value and it seems tame, almost boring. Is this the fault of viewer demand or is it the result of programmers taking the easy way out. It takes work to make something nice entertaining. You only have to listen to an actor delighting in getting the part of the nastiest character to know how much more exciting it is for us to be unpleasant.

I can think of few programmes that delight with their 'Good' content. One of my favourites is the long running Country Calendar. This program brings country lifestyles and the successes and struggles of people who live off the land right into our homes. It crosses the boundaries between city and rural. It is successful because the focus is on sometimes extra-ordinary people who are normal, nice folk following their passion.

I am truly annoyed by our reporting of war and tragedy. The reporters seem to set themselves up like little gods, deciding which footage tells the story they want to tell. I want to hear the real story. I want to hear about the great things the troops are doing in places like Afghanistan. I want to hear how some people are feeling safe enough to lead a real life. I know we are only getting part of the truth and I want to know why we are only hearing about the blood and guts. I want to hear the real story behind what the news media are willing to report on.

We are in a struggle of evil versus good. We need to hear that evil is not the victor. We need to know about the battle but we need to hear about the successes along the way. We need to learn to think about whatsoever is good and see that life is not all tragedy and drama.

Let's look for the rainbows

Sunday, June 27, 2010



I'm not a sports fan but you'd have to be deaf dumb and blind to not know that New Zealand won the FIFA World Cup. Oops! You mean they didn't win. They didn't even get into the final 16. Well what's all the craziness about. There's even been talk of a major tickertape parade when they return. The kind Auckland city put on for the America's Cup team way back when we were winners.

Forgive us. We are a tiny country, population less than 5 million people. I won't mention the sheep and cows. We know we are the greatest country in the whole wide world. The players are on their way home to whatever club will pay them the fattest fee. Tony Smith wrote in today's Sunday Star Times under the headline, 'Race on to get stars aligned for tilt in 2014.' Quote:- 'NZ Football has no time to lose to secure players in our World Cup success if it is to avoid the mistake made after the 1982 cup.'

We are proud of the All Whites, even non-fan me. They retired from the contest unbeaten having drawn with the mighty teams from Slovakia, Italy and Paraguay. Personally I think it says a lot about our goal keeper, and that's not denying the rest of the team are good. He did a brilliant job and was worth his weight in gold.

Now we're into Rugby and had a great time beating the Welsh and the Irish. The famous All Blacks are gearing up for the Big Test. The Tri-Nations series with South Africa and Australia. Both teams should challenge our boys.

I used to be a Rugby Fan I can remember following the tour by South Africa way back in the 50s when there was no TV. How excited we were as we huddled around the radio listening to Winston McCarthy, the commentator, who held us on the edge of our seats with his dramatised version of play. A few years later I found myself in New Plymouth during the year Taranaki had a strong hold on the Ranfurly Shield. This trophy remains a fiercely fought prize between provincial teams. That winter I seemed to be working at the hospital every Shield morning. I guess my supervisor had first choice of who had Saturday mornings free. This meant I missed the hoopla of the parade through Devon Street with Taranaki mascot Ferdinand the Bull. It must have been mayhem when Waikato came to town with Mooloo the Cow. The best thing about working on Shield days was the short walk from the hospital to the Rugby grounds where I cheered myself hoarse for my adopted province. It was all good fun. Those were the days!!!!

Let's face it. We New Zealanders bat way above our strength in most fields. You name it and there is a kiwi right in the middle of the foremost team be it science, sport, movie making, Indy 500, literature, medical research, bungy jumping, opera singing and so on.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I've been thinking for a while that it might be fun to earn some money from my scribblings. Yesterday I was browsing through my bookmarked RV Blogs and decided to take a serious look at Nick's Blog. I discovered he is a professional writer with lots of tips so I'm diving in the deep end to see if I can make this work for me.

I'm a bit of a dunce where the internet is concerned and tend to learn as I go. This new Blogger Design set up is new to me so I hope I don't need to tweak it too often to get the effect I want.

I live in New Zealand with my husband, John, in a little holiday cottage known as a bach, rhymes with hatch, in one of our prime holiday areas. How we come to be here is a long and complicated story which may or may not unfold over time. John is a retired Maintenance Engineer and I have always been a stay at home mother and homemaker. Our eldest and youngest sons live in the South Island, our middle son lives in Rotorua and our daughter lives with her grandmother, my mother, who is 95 years old. My mother's home is right on the seashore 20 minutes drive from us.

We are passionate about New Zealand and I hope you will experience some of our delight in the country of our birth. We have also fallen in love with North America. We love Road Tripping and have travelled to many places in New Zealand, never dreaming that one day we might have the means to satisfy our secret desire to go overseas. We live in a lovely country and our exposure to BackPackers renewed our enthusiasm for the beauty of our land so we were happy to cruise around absorbing the atmosphere of different areas. We had a Grand Plan to live Full Time in our bus-home but circumstances have modified that goal for now.

Our current Big Dream is to live in USA for 2 or 3 or 4 years with regular trips home every 6 months to visit with family and renew our eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation, which is our only income. To this end we are on the internet almost everyday reading Full Time RVers Blogs and researching our options. Considering we are both in our 70s this might seem a little crazy but we are late starters and have good health even if we are not as fit as we could be. We don't believe our age is a barrier to fulfilling this dream.

In February 2005 we arrived in USA for my first trip outside N.Z.. We had sold some property on an inflated market and took a portion of the profit to fund this trip. The sale coincided with reading an advertisement for the first Outreach Cruise organised by Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, now Catch The Fire. I had a long time desire to attend Conference in Toronto and this seemed like a great compromise. John has little interest in going to church but he chose his career/trade because he wanted to go to sea. Our major passions were to be satisfied on board the Royal Caribbean ship, Navigator Of The Sea. Thinking this would be our only ever time outside new Zealand we made the most of it. We flew in to San Francisco and began our love affair with USA as we walked the streets, exploring this wonderful city. From there we flew to Miami via an icy Dulles Airport.

Our Cruise was a great experience so with great enthusiasm and not much cash we booked to join the group the following year. Following that first cruise we hired a car in Miami and spent the next seven weeks on the adventure of our lifetime as we drove through 13 or 14 States back to Los Angeles. Since then we have been back twice, the most recent being twelve months ago. You can read about it here.

Today we are cosied up beside our gas heater listening to a mad enthusiast mow his lawns. The outside temperature is about 10'C/50'F and we are cold. This is a very low temperature for us. We had extremely heavy rain yesterday with some flooding in low spots. I can't imagine why anyone would want to mow their lawns when the ground is completely sodden. Roads were closed, yesterday late afternoon, as the streams backed up at high tide. It took my niece nearly 5 hours to get home, normally a 50 minute drive. Twice the Fire Service came to their rescue, ferrying them across the flooded road to alternative transport. Our daughter was not so fortunate and had a very scary drive home on the south side of town. She finally reached a friends home where she stayed for a few hours before the last part of her drive home from work. She was exhausted and emotionally drained after driving through water in her work car which was high enough to wet the inside floor despite it being a 4Wd with good ground clearance. We are all feeling a little cross about the inadequate warnings and signage or the closing roads when they become dangerous. This is a common problem in our area when there is a lot of rain, yet we do not seem to have any planned system of warning. If we, being local and knowing the problems, get caught out, how much worse it is for strangers especially tourists.