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Archive for August, 2013

Ancient Maori house built by Kahungunu chief being restored…     View Video”


Carving representing Kahungunu, ancestor of th...

Carving representing Kahungunu, ancestor of the Māori tribe Ngāti Kahungunu. From the canoe house at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Waitangi, Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Kahungunu is depicted holding a hoe, a canoe paddle, signifying his prowess and exploits as a navigator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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An ancient Māori meeting house thought to have been built in the late 1880s and used by Ngāti Kahungunu chief, Tiakitai, has been discovered.

The tiny meeting house has been described as a once-in-a-lifetime find and is being restored by his great-great-great grandson.

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PM Key’s stake in Otago vineyard revealed – hidden in a blind trust…

Pinot noir grapes have a much darker hue than ...

Pinot noir grapes have a much darker hue than the bluish-gray coloring of Pinot gris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Politics is all about perception, and 3 News has been investigating some of the Prime Minister’s business investments – in particular the activities of his blind trust.

It has a stake in a vineyard, along with the owners of some of New Zealand’s biggest supermarket owners.

The trust was set up after John Key became Prime Minister to ensure he had no possible conflict of interest – it’s like a third party running his investments without him knowing.

As a part of this trust, Mr Key has a financial interest in a Central Otago vineyard.

It’s no secret Central Otago is wine country, but it’s less well-known that Mr Key’s investment trust has a stake in a vineyard and a financial interest in the wine it produces. He says he doesn’t even know himself, because his interests are tied up in the blind trust – however a month after that trust was set up, he had a dinner conversation with a wine critic, caught on video, in which he spoke about the vineyard.

“You’re a vineyard owner yourself aren’t you,” the critic asked Mr Key. “I am,” replied Mr Key. “I have a little bit of a pinot noir and chardonnay-producing vineyard here in Otago, and it’s been doing very well. It’s successful. It’s been exporting some wines, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Mr Key is talking about his trust being one of 11 shareholders in Highwater Vineyard. It is a part of Mount Michael Wines, a rising star in the industry.

But you won’t find this declared on the MP’s register of pecuniary interests, because his ownership is held by his blind trust.

It was set up when he came to power to guard against conflicts of interest.

“I don’t know whether I own any assets or not,” says Mr Key. “The only assets are in our blind trust. I don’t know what those assets are.”

At Christmas Mr Key gave away as presents 240 bottles of pinot noir with Highwater on the label.

“This is your own wine?” Ms Robinson asked Mr Key. “Yeah… I registered the trademark too… There’s no getting past me.”

The brand name ‘PM’s Pinot’ has been trademarked by one of his trust’s vineyard partners – Mr Key says he asked him to do it.

“I asked him to do that for something for Christmas, and that was a gift and I wanted that so that I could in future years give away wine to all the people that help me,” says Mr Key.

He explained today that the wine in the bottles which say it’s from Highwater isn’t from that vineyard – it’s from another one.

The other investors in Highwater Vineyard own some of the biggest supermarkets in the country. They will be concerned about the upcoming liquor law reform.

Mr Key says he doesn’t know them or that they were involved, and that there is no conflict of interest.

Mr Key has assured 3 News that he doesn’t know what’s in his blind trust. He says it’s a world-class investment vehicle designed to protect him.

Acknowledgements:  3 News
Read Patrick Gower’s blog:

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Southerners should start a political revolt, says Winston Peters…

St Clair Beach, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

St Clair Beach, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: This image was taken at the Europa Le...

English: This image was taken at the Europa Lecture 2008, University of Aukland, and is owned by the European Union Centres Network. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: This image was taken at the Europa Lecture 2008, University of Aukland, and is owned by the European Union Centres Network. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Southerners should draw on their Scottish heritage and ”start a political revolt” against an economic system that hurts the local economy, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters told an audience in Dunedin last night.

”When are you going to start the revolt?” he asked the more than 50 people who attended the speech, at Age Concern Otago.
He blamed free market economics adhered to by ”dumb people in Wellington” for job cuts at numerous Government-owned entities in the South.
Dunedin was at the centre of an export province whose wealth was effectively ”relocated”.
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NZ capture German territory of Samoa in WW1…

English: Flag of German Samoa between 1913 - 1916.

English: Flag of German Samoa between 1913 – 1916. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



On 29 August 1914 NZ force captures German Samoa

When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, Britain asked New Zealand to seize German Samoa as a ‘great and urgent Imperial service’. New Zealand’s response was swift. Led by Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Logan, the 1385-strong Samoa Advance Party of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force landed at Apia on 29 August. There was no resistance from German officials or Samoa’s general population.

Next day Logan proclaimed a New Zealand-run British Military Occupation of Samoa. The German flag was lowered and all buildings and properties belonging to the previous administration were seized. In the presence of officers, troops and ‘leading Native chiefs’, the British flag was raised outside the government building in Apia.

This was the second German territory, after Togoland in Africa, to fall to the Allies in the First World War.

English: Occupation of German-Samoa at the beg...

English: Occupation of German-Samoa at the beginning of World War I. Hoise of the Union Jack. Deutsch: Besetzung Deutsch-Samoas zu Beginn des Ersten Weltkriegs. Hissung des Union Jack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Christchurch’s Styx River’s bubbling springs tell an ancient tale


English: Styx River, Spencerville, Christchurc...

English: Styx River, Spencerville, Christchurch, New Zealand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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    Totara trees once stood tall beside the Styx River in northern Christchurch. It seems a great storm brought them down, centuries ago.

    When farmers took up land along the river in the 1850s, their plough-shears snagged on totara trunks. The wood was in good condition, having been preserved in the marshy ground. Farmers and millers cut up the logs for fence posts and building beams.

    Dennis and Helen Hills have lived all 54 years of their married life near the Styx. They dug up a huge totara log in their garden in 1989. Carbon dating showed it to be 1100 years old.

    This sparked an interest in the area that has led the Hills to research and compile the Styx River history. Dennis, a retired industrial chemist, would like to see some of the original totara re- used in seats and picnic tables for the parklands and conservation areas that have been developed along the Styx, from Harewood to Brooklands.

    The day’s walk from the source of the Styx to its mouth at Brooklands Lagoon takes you through a series of reserves where native wetland trees and shrubs have been planted and are flourishing. With walking paths and picnic areas, playgrounds and carparks, these developments provide a model for the proposed Avon River park.

    The Avon and Heathcote are regarded as Christchurch’s main rivers. But don’t forget the Styx, Dennis says.

    Early plans for the city included a canal system.

    One canal was to link the Avon and the Styx, running along Marshland Rd. Others would have linked the Avon and the Estuary, straight down Linwood Ave, and the Heathcote with the Halswell rivers, along Sparks Rd. Speculators bought land cheaply beside these routes. But railways claimed priority and canal plans were abandoned.

    Early settlers called the marshy land where the Main North Rd crossed the river, The Sticks, probably because flax sticks stuck in the ground pointed the way to a log bridge across the river. So travellers looked for “the sticks”. The name was changed to the mythological Greek Styx about 1865.

    The river’s source was in springs west of Wooldridge Rd, in Harewood. These are dry now but Dennis remembers old-timers talking about them bubbling. The dry creek bed can still be seen through Nunweek Park.

    More springs downstream added to the flow but many have dried up. Dennis says springs near the Sawyers Arms Rd crossing still feed the Styx. Creeks and drains add to the flow.

    The main tributary is the Kaputone Creek that starts near Belfast.

    The best example of active springs can be seen in the conservation reserve at Redwood. They bubble up in a pool about 3 metres wide. A feature has been made of the pool, with seating and a sculptural canopy reflecting flax fronds waving in the wind.

    This is “a stone’s throw” from the railway bridge across the Styx. Access is from Willowview Dr.

    Halfway along Hussey Rd is the Styx Mill Reserve. The river links small lakes as it winds through this large area of re-created wetlands.

    The name refers to the mill that once stood at the main road corner. Information on the mill is hard to find but it was probably a combined flour and flax mill. A mill pond upstream would have augmented river flow in times of drought, Dennis says.

    More conservation work has restored the original appearance of river banks beside the Lower Styx, downstream from Marshland Rd.

    The Hills have been leading lights in the Guardians of the Styx group. They have a vision for a continuous riverside walking path, running from Hussey Rd to the Brooklands Lagoon and connecting with The Groynes. The cost and the city council’s changing priorities in the aftermath of the earthquakes could delay this, Dennis realises. But he hopes two “pet” projects can be achieved.

    One is a memorial to internationally famous botanist Leonard Cockayne, who lived and developed plant nurseries near the Styx, on Highsted Rd. Cockayne later moved to New Brighton, where his name is remembered in the Cockayne Reserve, beside the Avon. His connection with the Upper Styx area is largely forgotten.

    The other is the building of a replica 18th-century mill at the eastern end of the Styx Mill Reserve. The Hills have hunted through museum and archive files for photographs of the original mill, without success. But a mill authentic to the period would be appropriate to the site and would represent the many mills that once stood beside Canterbury streams and contributed significantly to the region.

    The Hills are delighted with the restoration of wetlands and waterways and the return of wildlife that this has attracted. But the Styx River tells a story of human endeavour, too.

    Let these projects mark the human heritage, they say.

    Acknowledgements: © Fairfax NZ News

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The NZ Bee Team

The New Zealand Bee Team…


bee eating

bee eating (Photo credit: acidpix)

Bee eating (Photo credit: acidpix)
For our future’s sake, make bees welcome…
We’ve taken their busy-bee activities for granted and enjoyed the fruit of their labour so now it’s time to give something back. Bee populations are in serious decline around the world, and New Zealand is no exception.
Of 100 crops that supply 90 per cent of the world’s food, bees pollinatemore than 70 per cent.
A recent conference at Eastwoodhill Arboretum in Gisborne revealed the importance of bees to our economy – worth $5 billion annually because of their pollination efforts in pastoral, horticultural and seed-production industries.      The Green Planet blog
English: THYMOVAR is a product to control the ...

English: THYMOVAR is a product to control the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) on bees (Apis mellifera) and contains the essential oil thymol. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In New Zealand, the key factors of a decline in bee numbers include the varroa mite and associated viruses, new systemic pesticides and the loss of good pollen and nectar sources. Mass plantings of monocultural crops in farming and forestry have limited the diversity of forage plant species for honey bees and other
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Canterbury have named a very powerful NPC rugby squad for 2013


Ryan Crotty



Flanker George Whitelock will lead a strong Canterbury side in pursuit of a sixth successive NPC rugby title.


Canterbury have named a formidable squad for their NPC title defence as they seek to extend their competition-record streak of titles to six this season.

New coach Scott Robertson, who has replaced Tabai Matson, has unveiled a 37-man group which includes five newcomers but also a core of experienced heads.

Flanker George Whitelock, the only player who has been involved in all five championship-winning campaigns since 2008, is captain for a fifth straight season. Halfbacks Andy Ellis and Willi Heinz have been named vice captains.

Among a group of hardened Super Rugby players are centre Ryan Crotty, first five-eighth Colin Slade, flanker Matt Todd and hooker Corey Flynn.

Several senior All Blacks named but likely to play a limited role due to Test commitments are Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Kieran Read, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock and Wyatt Crockett.

Two of the new faces are New Zealand sevens representatives Belgium Tuatagaloa and Milford Keresoma. The others are halfback Mitchell Drummond, prop Mitchell Graham and lock Matt Symons.

A Canterbury selection will play 40 minutes against Wellington and 40 minutes against the All Blacks in a specially arranged match in Wellington on Friday.

The NPC kicks off on August 15.

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Independent economic report on amalgamation released – does not favour a single unitary authority – no amalgamations of councils…

Lower Hutt in New Zealand. Looking eastwards f...

Lower Hutt in New Zealand. Looking eastwards from a flight to Auckland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An independent economic report on the best local authority structure for the Wellington region commissioned by Hutt City Council has been released today.

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says that while there is strong evidence for combining networks like road and water, there is little support for a single unitary authority covering the Wellington region.

“The report makes it clear that Hutt City residents have got it right in supporting the status quo with enhanced services while supporting multiple unitary authorities if change is forced upon our city,” he says.

Prepared by Wellington-based consultants TDB, the Hutt City report is described as the most comprehensive assessment of efficiencies to be gained from amalgamating New Zealand councils and sharing services.

Mayor Wallace says there is no evidence in favour of amalgamating councils as a whole, except for very small councils of less than 50,000 people. “There is support for amalgamating regional infrastructure networks like road and water,” he says.

“The report has taken these findings and recommended a single merger of Wairarapa Councils and a merging of only transport and water services for other Wellington councils. Mayor Wallace says the report raises new options and important economic arguments that the Council will need to consider as it prepares an application to the Local Government Commission. The full council has planned a special meeting for Tuesday 13 August to discuss its submission to the Local Government Commission based on the findings of the TDB report.

“It is a good report and draws its conclusions on available evidence to support its findings,” Mayor Wallace says.

Link to full report on the Hutt City Council website.

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One of the most over-rated All Blacks for years, Piri Weepu, dropped by selectors

New Zealand national rugby union team

New Zealand national rugby union team (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Omitted: Piri Weepu.

Omitted: Piri WeepuPhoto: Getty Images
Piri Weepu’s 71-Test career came to a halt Sunday as the accelerated pace of the game demanded by the All Blacksproved too much for the 29-year-old.
New Zealand’s second-most capped scrumhalf was the surprise omission from the 28-man All Blacks squad named for the Rugby Championshipwith his place taken by 21-year-old TJ Perenara.

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New Zealand’s Watergate – Key’s Spygate

English: Electorate office of John Key, MP for...

English: Electorate office of John Key, MP for Helensville and Prime Minister, New Zealand. Located between Waimauku and Huapai on State Highway 16. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A photo of the Watergate Complex take...

English: A photo of the Watergate Complex taken from a DC-9-80 inbound to Washington National Airport on January 8, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John Key PM,           David Cunliffe, Labour MP:

David Cunliffe says:
:no:WATERGATE- Nixon was impeached for ordering phone taps and lying about it.
SPYGATE – Key orders Inquiry that hacks emails, steal phone records and tracks movements of a Minister and an independent journalist. This is now a major constitutional crisis.

New Zealand’s democracy is under siege>

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