When a church is not a church

The motel manager in Cambridge, New Zealand, told me I could get something to eat ‘at the old church across the road’. It was 8pm on a cool November evening and I was tired and hungry after driving direct from Auckland airport. The old church across the road was hosting a lively Monday night crowd, eating and drinking indoors and outdoors in a trendy bar and restaurant. A waitress, who knew a tired, hungry tourist…

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The budget that forgot climate change

‘The budget that forgot climate change’ may be a slightly misleading headline, even though Greens Leader Richard Di Natale essentially said as much when interviewed on 2GB. He was elaborating on a press release issued on Budget night which castigated the Federal Coalition for virtually ignoring climate change. “(Treasurer) Josh Frydenberg said in his speech that we owe our children budget discipline,” Di Natale said. We owe our children a plan for their future, and…

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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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Confessions of a Tree Hugger

The derogatory label ‘tree hugger’ is worn with pride by environmental guerrillas, the ones who chain themselves to trees in a bid to prevent them being chopped down. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines tree hugger as ‘someone who is regarded as foolish or annoying because of being too concerned about protecting trees, animals, and other parts of the natural world from pollution and other threats’. Yes, well, that’s objective. Although chaining yourself to a tree…

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