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Archive for May, 2014

Some affinity between NZ Maori and Native American groups

Carl Takarangi-Hutchby.Carl Takarangi-Hutchby.


Carl Takarangi-Hutchby, a Maori United Nations advocate and a board member of a native American organisation, Two Feathers International, is in Columbia, Missouri.

The Ngati Tupoho man of the Whanganui iwi is talking with Cherokee tribal leaders about forging what he calls a joint decolonisation programme.

Mr Takarangi-Hutchby said for now it will just focus on men and will hopefully boost their self esteem as they learn about their culture and identity.

He said it would be based on a similar model being used at Rimutaka prison in Upper Hutt, where tikanga (customs) from both the Cherokee and Maori cultures will be used to deliver the programme.

Mr Takarangi-Hutchby said the programme would also teach them about their roles in the Maori and Cherokee societies.

 Acknowledgements:  Radio New Zealand

Flag of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation

Flag of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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I have a GPS…


Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver.

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  • (Every Husband and wife will love this poem:)

    I have a GPS

    I have a little GPS
    I’ve had it all my life
    It’s better than the normal ones
    My GPS is my wife

    It gives me full instructions
    Especially how to drive
    “It’s thirty miles an hour”, it says
    “You’re doing thirty five”

    It tells me when to stop and start
    And when to use the brake
    And tells me that it’s never ever
    Safe to overtake

    It tells me when a light is red
    And when it goes to green
    It seems to know instinctively
    Just when to intervene

    It lists the vehicles just in front
    And all those to the rear
    And taking this into account
    It specifies my gear.

    I’m sure no other driver
    Has so helpful a device
    For when we leave and lock the car
    It still gives its advice
    It fills me up with counseling
    Each journey’s pretty fraught
    So why don’t I exchange it
    And get a quieter sort?

    Ah well, you see, it cleans the house,
    Makes sure I’m properly fed,
    It washes all my shirts and things
    And – keeps me warm in bed!

    Despite all these advantages
    And my tendency to scoff,
    I do wish that once in a while
    I could turn the damned thing off.

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Can you give me a push?


Drunk Star

Drunk Star (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Two helpful password tricks to make your account and you a little more secure…

Photo / Thinkstock

Photo / Thinkstock

This isn’t a post telling you that you should use a different password for every site, that you should use multifactor authentication for your email, or that you should use a password manager to store strong passwords.

You should do those. (And you should eat less dessert, exercise more and call your mother.)

This is a post to share two stupid password tricks that will make your online life a little more secure without the (perceived) hassle of those other measures.

The first stupid password trick is a way to improve the “security questions” that sites have you set up in case you need to recover your password. What’s your mother’s maiden name? What street did you grow up on? Who was your first-grade teacher?

The idea is that only you will know the answer to these questions. By answering them correctly, the site verifies that you are you and lets you reset your password.

Ask Sarah Palin how that worked out for her. The flaw is that you aren’t the only person who knows the answer to these questions.

It’s not just the public figures who are vulnerable. We’re all Googleable, and those #TBT posts on Facebook and Twitter could give away a lot about your early years. Someone who’s determined to get access to your email can do a little research and unlock your account.


Lie and keep telling the same lie


My trick? Lie and keep telling the same lie.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Louis Armstrong.

What was the name of your high school? Louis Armstrong.

In what city did you have your first job? Louis Armstrong.

Don’t give correct answers. Use the same stupid answer for all of your security questions. (If you’re worried you’ll forget the stupid answer, store it in a password manager.)


Password dance


Stupid password trick No. 2 was inspired by a friend’s tweet:

The password dance: 1) buy something, 2) forced to create account, 3) set password, 4) weeks go by, 5) go back, 6) forgot password, 7) reset

My first reaction to this was, “Why aren’t you using a password manager?” But the more I thought about this, the more I think this password dance is really a simple method of implementing something like one-time passwords. Why use a memorable password at all?

Choose something really random, don’t worry about saving it or remembering it, and force the site to re-authenticate you through email!

You get security without the need to add random sites to a password vault and don’t need to install LastPass or anything new.


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Call for medicinal marijuana to be grown and sold in NZ…

A retired Massey University scientist and plant breeder says both sick people and the economy would benefit if the government allowed medicinal marijuana to be grown and sold in the country.

Mike Nichols says there’s no denying some New Zealanders are needlessly suffering because of the government’s ban on growing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Scientist calls for medicinal marijuana to be grown in NZ.
Scientist calls for medicinal marijuana to be grown in NZ.

Photo: AFP

He says the government’s opposition to drugs, blinds it to the economic and health benefits medicinal marijuana presents.

“Everyone thinks about cannabis in terms of the drug and the fact that it’s an intoxicating type of drug. But in fact it has a lot of other properties apart from the pain relief component the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol),” he said.

He said CBD (cannabidiol) also appears to have some useful characteristics for controlling problems associated with the central nervous system.

Mr Nichols said while New Zealand is well-behind the United States in developing a medicinal marijuana market, he believes South East Asia could be a huge future export market.

He said conservative political beliefs derailed medicinal drug trials of opium poppies in Blenheim about fifty years ago, and the industry was subsequently grabbed with both hands by Tasmania.

He says Tasmania now produces 50 percent of the world’s morphine and codeine.

However, a recent Health Select Committee report didn’t recommend any changes to the government’s current position on medicinal marijuana.

In its report the committee acknowledged the Green Party’s minority view that the select committee should have been more proactive.

Among other matters the Green Party believed the Health Committee should have encouraged police not to enforce the laws around cannabis cultivation and paraphernalia for sick people using medicinal cannabis.

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NZ Labour fires the first shot on water quality…

Dirty dairy in New Zealand


The media may have ignored it but Labour Deputy David Parker’s speech at the Cashmere Club last week was well worth a listen. In that speech, Parker delivered a clear message to farmers. Degradation of water quality in New Zealand’s streams, rivers and lakes is not an acceptable consequence of agricultural expansion.

Articulating aspirations I suspect many New Zealanders share, Parker spelt out Labour’s objectives: “streams, rivers, lakes and beaches.. [that are] swimmable, fishable and safe for food gathering.” Clarifying the commitment even further, Parker explained that “clean rivers and lakes will not be allowed to get dirty, dirty rivers and lakes will be cleaned up over a generation.”

It’s a breath of fresh air to hear environmental goals expressed so clearly. It is in contrast to the confusing commitments embedded in the fresh water policies we have at the moment. In 2011 the current government released the National Policy Statement for Freshwater (NPS) and supplemented this in 2013 with the National Objectives Framework (NOF).

The National Policy Statement articulates two goals. One is to “safeguard the life-supporting capacity” of fresh-water. The other is to “maintain or improve” the “overall quality of fresh water within a region.” There is an ambiguity with this – why qualify the commitment to maintain or improve the quality of water by saying it relates to water “within a region”? Does that mean some streams and rivers will be allowed to get worse as long as others elsewhere in the region improve (so overall by volume, for example, the region’s water doesn’t get any worse?). The only unequivocal commitment to protecting an individual stream, river or lake happens when the waterway is “outstanding”. But there is no clarification of what is meant by “outstanding” nor any light shed on who gets to decide.

Parker’s speech offers something firmer: no individual waterway will be allowed to get worse. There will be no retreat on water quality from now on.

The architects of Labour’s environmental policy seem to be aware of criticisms of the NOF too. The NOF articulates what is meant by water quality, lists the scientific variables that will be used to monitor water quality, and creates water quality ‘labels’ or bands based on the values of these variables. If the scientific variables are monitored and show a water way is in ‘Band D’ the condition of the water is said to be unacceptable. Band D definitions are widely referred to as environmental “bottom lines”. The implication is that regional councils (who have the legislative responsibility to manage water quality) must not allow water quality in Band D water ways to deteriorate any further (although, of course, we don’t know for sure whether this obligation relates to an individual water way or to all water “within a region”).

Parker highlighted weakness in the NOF relating to estuaries – these are omitted from the current NOF so there is currently no way of knowing what the ‘bottom line’ is for water quality in an estuary. He also pointed to risks implicit in the bottom lines, in some cases these are set “just short of levels that are toxic to aquatic life”.

It is important to put the NPS and NOF in perspective. They are first steps on a long path to deliberate management of freshwater. It is not ideal but probably understandable that the NOF is as yet incomplete. However failing to clearly articulate over-arching goals is a serious and avoidable problem with the NPS, and Labour is right to highlight it.

Is the ambiguity in the NWPS accidental or deliberate? Who knows, but ambiguity like this works in favour of those who wish to push back on environmental protection. Just the possibility that some water ways can be sacrificed (providing there are offsets elsewhere) creates a whole new area of debate that an unambiguous commitment would have closed down. Debate, as any well organized interest group will tell you, is a very effective way to delay change. While the specifics of what Labour would do to deliver on its commitments are not clear, recognizing the need to remove ambiguity is a welcome contribution.

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Labour claims health changes in the 2014 NZ budget are just political….

The Labour Party says Budget health changes are highly political and will do nothing to ease pressures on hospitals.

The Health Minister, Tony Ryall, said the Budget provided about $320 million for district health boards next year for extra services and to help meet cost pressures and population changes.

But Labour’s Health spokesperson, Annette King, said DHBs had to save money to get the $320 million.

Annette King said she supported the free GP visits for children under 13, but overall the Budget represented a 2.3 percent cut in real terms for health.

The Government said the funding was part of a record $15.6 billion in total health spending next year.

no caption

Photo: 123RF

Health Minister Tony Ryall said the Budget announced on Thursday would make $1.8 billion available for health over the next four years for new initiatives and to meet cost and population pressures.

He said that was made up of $1.39 billion of new money and $412 million of savings.

Making GP visits and prescriptions free for children under the age of 13 from 1 July next year would cost $90 million and would benefit more than 400,000 primary school-aged children and their families.

It would mean primary school-age children could go to the doctor free at any time of the day or night, and would help remove pressure from busy hospital emergency departments.

Of 1029 practices nationwide, 1004 currently offered free visits to under six-year-olds.

“It’s quite clear from the under-sixes programme that it does have benefits for these kids and families, and we want to extend that to the under-13s,” Mr Ryall said.

GP practices get $23.7 million extra over four years, and there is $8.9 million for rural GPs and $13.3 million to extend low-cost doctors’ visits.

More operations

The Government will spend an extra $110 million over four years on more non-urgent surgery, including hip and knee operations.

The funding includes $10 million over the same period for weight loss – or bariatric – operations.

Mr Ryall said that would offer more than 120 people weight-loss surgery and follow-up care each year.

Elective surgery made a difference by reducing pain, restoring independence and improving quality of life, and the number of people receiving it had risen by 40,000 a year since 2008, to 158,000 last year, he said.

Boost for cancer

The Budget contains an extra $32.7 million over four years for better cancer services and more support for patients.

It will provide specialist psychological staff for cancer centres and up to 20 cancer support workers in major hospitals to ensure patients get good counselling.

Within the cancer funding is an extra $8 million to help reduce waiting times for the colonoscopy procedures, which are crucial for detecting bowel cancer.

Mr Ryall said more than 20,000 New Zealanders were diagnosed with cancer every year, and the number would rise as the population aged.

The country’s six cancer centres would get a specialist psychologist to ensure emotional needs of patients were properly assessed, so they and their families got the support they needed.

As well, up to 20 cancer support workers would work in major hospitals to provide counselling, Mr Ryall said.

The new cancer spending includes $5.4 million for breast and cervical screening programmes, to improve services.

$112.1m extra for disability support

The Budget also contains an extra $112.1 million for disability support services to meet rising needs and costs, and $96 million for home-based support services.

Disability spending includes $6 million over four years for vocational support services for school leavers with disabilities who are entering the Very High Needs Scheme; $3.8 million over the next two years to extend the Enabling Good Lives disability support approach for Waikato; and $6 million over four years to set up a group to promote sign language.

Post-graduate education and training of doctors receives $17.8 million, and $4 million will go towards more kidney transplants.

Mr Ryall said the Government has invested an extra $3.34 billion of new operating and capital funding into health in the past five years.

Careful management of the health budget has lead to DHBs reducing deficits from an estimated $200 million to about $25 million, excluding Canterbury, he said.

That had allowed the Government to invest more money into new health initiatives.

Whanau Ora received new funding of $15 million over three years from the next financial year for work of so-called navigators who support whanau and families to develop a plan to meet their needs and access services.

A further $8.6 million over four years will go to meeting needs at Youth One Stop Shops.

Youth Affairs Minister Nikki Kaye said the Youth One Stop Shops were funded to provide health care to young people but the extra was needed for social support for such things as accommodation and counselling.

Elder care, including for those with dementia, will be boosted by $40 million, with further details to be announced later.

The Government’s new community-based, anti-obesity initiative, Healthy Families NZ, also gets $40 million.


Nurses said while there were a number of good initiatives in the budget, the failure to address DHB funding to the levels required to maintain current services is disappointing amnd will result in increased pressure on nurses.

It also said there was nothing specified for addressing pay equity issues in aged care and very little for Maori health services.

The Rural General Practice Network says: “The free care for under 6s has been provided at the expense of reduced incomes for practice owners and how the $90 million to make GP visits and prescriptions free for children aged under 13 from July 1, 2015 will be managed will be extremely interesting to watch.

“A free-at-the-point-of-care service is very attractive and laudable, one which we would in principle support, but it has to be done in a way that is affordable.”

Full coverage of the 2014 Budget

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VC winner Willie Apiata reveals his next move…


Willie Apiata was with the trust less than two years. Photo / Richard Robinson
Ex-boss says former soldier is seeking to build his profile, having signed on with McCaw’s manager. 

By Nicholas Jones

Willie Apiata has moved on from his job helping at-risk youth – and is now being handled by Richie McCaw‘s management team.

New Zealand’s only living Victoria Cross recipient had left the Defence Force to take up a role at Papakura’s High Wire Charitable Trust.

Securing someone with the mana of Mr Apiata was a coup for the trust, but the move appears to have not worked out after less than two years.

Mr Apiata is now being managed by experienced rugby player agent Warren Alcock of Essentially Group. The international sport and entertainment marketing company’s clients include All Blacks Richie McCaw and Dan Carter and cricketer Dan Vettori.

Mr Apiata had been running the High Wire Trust’s satellite camp at Awhitu Peninsula, which hosts at-risk youth for activities including high ropes, abseiling and kayaking.

Read more:

• Apiata on love, war and Anzacs

• Willie Apiata: My hero is my mother

The trust was set up in memory of Papakura liquor magnate Michael Erceg, whose widow, Lynne, is a trustee. Financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2013, show it received more than $3 million in donations, but a concern was a reliance on continuing support from the major benefactor.

It has links with the armed forces, running an academy to help young people towards military careers.

When Mr Apiata announced his move to High Wire, Prime Minister John Key said he was a loss to the Defence Force, but would prove a great role model for at-risk children.

The Herald had been told that Mr Apiata became frustrated with the opportunities available to him at High Wire, but the trust’s chief executive, David Hopkins, strongly denied that.

“That’s wrong – he hasn’t left under a cloud or anything, Willie’s left for other things, to advance his profile and do different things,” said Mr Hopkins, who served with Mr Apiata in the Defence Force. “He’s also still in contact with the trust. Willie’s a good man. Life goes on, I suppose.”

Late last year Mr Apiata signed up with Essentially Group, Mr Hopkins said, and was managed by Mr Alcock.

The Dunedin-based lawyer, who has been involved with rugby contracts since the move to professionalism in 1995, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

An “Essential Speakers” section on the group’s website said it was launching this month.

Mr Apiata is a former corporal in the SAS and received the VC in 2007 for bravery under fire in Afghanistan after carrying a gravely wounded comrade across a battlefield to safety.

Originally from the eastern Bay of Plenty township of Te Kaha, he has made several public appearances in recent months, including during April commemorations for the Battle of Gate Pa in Tauranga.

Simon Collett, who helped organise the commemorations, said it was a thrill to have the war hero speak.

“It was outstanding. He’s quite a nervy speaker, but man, when he was speaking you could hear a pin drop. There’s something about him, there’s a real presence.”

On Anzac Day, Mr Apiata made a public speech at Auckland’s War Memorial Museum, in which he spoke of his own war experiences and what the day meant to him.

According to the Australian newspaper, Mr Apiata addressed the Melbourne Storm before their clash with the Warriors on the same day.

The NRL club was bought last year by a syndicate headed by Kiwi sports lawyer Bart Campbell, a director of Essentially Group.

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No surprises policy for the NZ National Party…

Why John key can’t discipline Judith Collins until after the elections…


 New Zealand election countdown…

The mainstream NZ political punditry are still not understanding what is happening inside National. So intent are they are on reinforcing their ‘Labour is riven by factional infighting’ narrative they are completely ignoring what is erupting within the National Party.

Judith Collins bizarre attack on Katie Bradford is far more Machiavellian than is being acknowledged and it shows how weak and vulnerable Key will be to Collins all the way up to the election.

What many in the mainstream media political punditry have utterly missed is how Collins had all her next generation acolytes denied candidacies for National Party seats. In one case, head office reset the selection process to deny Judith her choice. That’s a vast sea change in power dynamics once the Oravida scandal became public.

Maurice Williamson’s dismissal for a corrupt call to heavy the cops for a donor however means Key can’t sack Collins. Losing one Minister before an election is a mistake, two becomes unforgivable.

Judith knows she will be demoted if Key wins, but she also knows she will be best placed to take the leadership off Key if National loses. Attacking Katie Bradford plays wonderfully with the hard reactionary rump of the National Party because of who Katie’s mother is, Judith is going to spend the next 4 months grandstanding and committing all sorts of Crusher-esque crimes against decency and taste.

Selwyn Manning has brilliantly named the factions within National on RadioLive as follows, the Whaleoil-Collins faction, the Matthew Hooton-Bridges faction and the Joyce-Kiwiblog faction.

You will note Slater has been writing constant smear attacks on Bridges and the Twitter war that exploded between Jordan Williams and Matthew Hooton last night has to be read to be believed.

National Party strategists don’t believe the hype of the flawed landline opinion polls the mainstream media breathlessly use, they understand how truly difficult a 3rd term win will be and that tension has triggered fault lines within National.


 Read more:

A former National Party logo

A former National Party logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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