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…

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About Nauru your petitioner humbly prays

I could count on the toes of my feet the number of petitions I have signed in this life, but I could not refuse the Kids off Nauru campaign. More than 100 human rights groups, churches, charities and organisations, including World Vision, Amnesty International and the Australian Lawyers Alliance are behind Kids off Nauru. The e-petition to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten leaves no room for negotiation. Children in detention on…

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Take me to your leader – the quest continues

Imagine a flying saucer lands in your back yard and an alien (drooling or not) alights. “Take me to your leader,” it telepathically commands, as it is from an advanced civilisation, intent upon savings ours. “Aw yeah, mate.” (pointing). “That’s our leader over there, the one in the striped designer shirt, mingling with the homeless folk.” If you dig around on the Internet long enough you’ll find lists of world leaders people would rather not…

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New Zealand politics stirs ghost of Norman Kirk

I became aware of New Zealand politics, circa 1960 when a tall Kiwi farmer with coiffed hair and a plummy accent won an election in his own right. After serving as interim PM in 1957, Keith Jacka Holyoake went on to become Sir Keith and later the country’s Governor-General, the only person ever to hold both offices. The National Party (Conservative) leader ruled New Zealand politics from 1960 to 1972, ousted by a Whitlam-esque Labour…

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