A few words about Christchurch and global grief

Last Friday’s massacre in Christchurch by a lone gunman was, as numerous people opined on Twitter, the per capita equivalent of New Zealand’s 9/11. The 50 people killed represent 3,000 fatalities in a similar attack in the US. That does give perspective to the overwhelming feelings of sorrow and confusion many of us felt last Friday and the global grief we have felt every day since. New Zealand rarely makes international headlines, unless it’s an…

Continue reading

Planned obsolescence strikes again

On Tuesday I joined the queue of people at the local computer shop, all clutching laptops, smart phones or PC peripherals suffering from planned obsolescence syndrome. Some of these items may still have been under warranty (joy). But in the case of my four-year-old Toshiba laptop, the optical drive, the fragile looking tray that slides out to take CDs or DVDs, had carked it. It failed just as I finished burning a 58 minute video…

Continue reading

Ten days in Aotearoa

As the doors swished open at Brisbane International Airport and I walked out into 35 degrees and a dusty, smoky atmosphere, I very briefly wished I hadn’t left Aotearoa behind. How I love the mellifluous way that Maori word trips off the tongue – Ao-tea-ro-a. The Maori language uses vowels more than we do in English and it also uses them in combinations. The language has fewer consonants, preferring the use of Wh to replace…

Continue reading

WWI Pacifists, Conchies and Rejects

Amidst the salvo of Anzac Day stories, the people least often talked about are those who did not take part in WWI,  either because of a Christian or moral objection, for practical reasons, or because the armed forces rejected them. According to the Australian War Memorial, 33% of men volunteering for the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) in 1914 were rejected on medical/fitness grounds. Enlistment standards were gradually relaxed in ensuing years, allowing many of the…

Continue reading