Tokyo Olympics 1964 and 2020/21

There was not much else to do in sports-mad New Zealand in October 1964 other than join the legions cheering on our most famous athlete, Peter Snell, at the Tokyo Olympics. He remains the only athlete since 1920 to win the 800m and 1500m event at the one Olympic Games. The Tokyo medals came four years after Snell, then an unknown, sneaked away with the 800m gold medal at the Rome Olympics in 1960. The…

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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…

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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…

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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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