The kea is the most curious of birds, pecking at anything it thinks edible, whether it's your shoe or a hat.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Amanda Gorman's poem at the US Inauguration: relevant for us all (pn672)

Watch and listen to this magical poem, relevant in many ways to all nations. 

Trump and Trump-like supporters in NZ: a history of their support and likely success: Chris Trotter (pn671)

Donald Trump

Chris Trotter

Chris Trotter says as anybody with the intestinal fortitude to brave the commentary threads of local news-sites, large and small, will attest: the number of Trump-supporting New Zealanders is really quite astounding.  

I don't find it that astounding. Indeed, if you look beyond and behind the largely lumpen-proletariat who comprise the face of Trump supporters you'll find a much more surprising number of highly educated New Zealanders who support  much of what Trump represents.   But first, read what Chris has to sayI'll have my say in a day or two. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Solomon Grassroots by Ann Lindvall Arika: new book in hardback. a cultural guide (pn670)

What is it like to move to a new country on the other side of the globe?  
Ann Lindvall Arika has taken the step from Sweden to Solomon Islands. The writer and former traveller has settled down and married into a big Solomon family. In Solomon Grassroot, we can take part in her new life on a ‘grassroot’ level.

This personal and easy-going autobiography, with an anthropological and linguistic touch, is an attempt to answer the questions: What is everyday life like? How do the different cultures meet? How can a foreigner feel at home here? With warmth and a low-voiced humour, the author portrays episodes from her daily living, both in the capital city of Honiara and in her husband’s village. She brings up essential cultural aspects and background facts about the country.

Excepts from reviews

‘I read this book before starting to work in Honiara and it was a great introduction to life in “The Hapi Isles” [...] essential reading for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of contemporary life in Solomon Islands.’

‘...the most fascinating, honest and accurate insight into Solomon Islands culture that I have ever come across [...] should be read by everyone intending to get there [...] I will be recommending that the Australian Volunteer programme make the book essential reading for future volunteers going on assignment to Solomon Islands.’

Monday, 18 January 2021

Fiji's town councils still managed by administrators, not by those elected by ratepayers (pn669)

This is a copy of a letter Jone Dakuvula wrote to the pro-government Fiji Sun  on January 6th but was not published. It raises the important question of why, so many years after Bainimarama's 2006 takeover, local urban governments are still managed by those appointed by government, and not by those elected by ratepayers as was formerly the case. It would be sign of government's good intent if they were returned to the people, and no longer managed by appointed administrators.  See also pn639. -- ACW

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Saturday, 16 January 2021

UN Human Rights Council Elects Nazhat Shameem Khan of Fiji to serve as its President for 2021 (pn668)

UPDATE. Fijij NGO on appointment.
See Sidebar: Trump misfires - again,  Labour, conservative right-centre party, Follow (this blog) by email, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

GENEVA, (15 January 2021) - The Human Rights Council today elected Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations Office at Geneva, to serve as its President for 2021.

Ambassador Khan was elected through a secret ballot process through which all 47 members of the Geneva-based human rights body cast their vote to appoint its president for 2021 – the Council’s 15th annual cycle. 

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Thursday, 14 January 2021

Beware tarring or whitewashing either Treaty partner in our school NZ Histories (pn667)

The British slave trade 

The NZ Musket Wars

Re. Guest  Post: Compulsory History in Our Schools A guest post by Hon Dr Michael Bassett in Kiwiblog: 

Former  Labour Cabinet Minister Hon. Dr Michael Bassett writing in David Farrar's right-wing Kiwiblog seems to question whether we should make NZ history compulsory in schools.   He  thinks there's a danger it will idealise Māori society, and make Pākehā feel guilty—a "bleeding heart version of our history.

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Monday, 11 January 2021

The town named after a murderer (pn668)

 I wrote earlier about the small town of Maxwell in South Taranaki (pn662) and  am delighted the NZ Listener now (2.1.21) has a editorial on the topic, more circumspect than mine but with more detail, and the very practical suggestion that it's time for a name change.  Neither of us mentioned the statue of Sergeant George Maxwell that stands in Wanganui. Perhaps it is also time for its removal.  Click on the editorial to enlarge. -- ACW   See also

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Friday, 8 January 2021

New Zealand Government Acknowledges 175th Anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka (pn667)

Reasons as to why the Maori had abandoned the site and then tried to re-enter it have been debated over the years. People have suggested they were at church as many of them had converted to Christianity. Knowing that the British were also Christians they had not expected an attack on a Sunday.

Friday, 8 January 2021, 8:40 am.      Press Release: New Zealand Government

The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan.  Copy and paste link to continue.

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