Sunday, 31 October 2010

goodbye michael redman

i've had a nice, relaxed weekend. just what i needed before an extremely busy week. i've put up a couple of posts at the hand mirror, one about strong women role-models on tv, and another linking to an article about the impact of feminist discourse on migrant women.

the waikato times has a big write up in saturday's paper about our departing city CEO & former mayor, michael redman. as i've said before, i can't say that i'm the slightest bit sorry to see him go. not only was the whole transition from mayor to CEO dodgy (i'd actually have to agree with margaret evans who says he should have resigned as mayor before applying for the job), but there is the huge level of debt he has left behind. now that his whole family is shifting up to auckland, he's not even going to help pay it off via his rates. it's a burden he's left for those of us who stay behind.

also stupid was his decision to kill tourism waikato, the council funded organisation that used to promote tourism in the region. this had a negative impact for many businesses in the city:

The loss of its [regional tourism organisation] in 2006 was linked to 30,000 fewer people staying in commercial accommodation in the former Tourism Waikato territory for the year ended July 2008.

At the time it was the only region in the country to see a decline.

he's leaving hamilton to be the head of the auckland CCO for tourism, events & economic development. i just hope that there is better control of his activities by the council there.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

festival of lights

i've had a very stressful day today, but at least it ended well. i was invited to a diwali celebration at wintec, which included a fabulous meal. the highlight of the evening was a lovely indian woman singing the song below. she did it so well that she was asked to come back after the interval & sing it again. it's one of those old classics that everyone from the indian subcontinent knows (well, everyone of a certain age does!)

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

consultation on race relations

i've used up all my writing energy today on a post at the hand mirror about the human rights commission consultation on race relations. if i had a little more, i might do a little rant on angela merkel deciding that multiculturism hasn't worked. luckily, the ever-brilliant tapu misa has done one for me, where she basically tells us that they (ie the germans) haven't even given it a serious try. as usual, avoid the comments if you want to stay sane!

Monday, 25 October 2010

labour day

for the last couple of nights, i've been meaning to do a labour day post, but just haven't found the energy - and was distracted by other things. today, i spent part of the day at work. i know, it was such beautiful weather & i should have been outside, but with the change of GST rate on 1 october, all september GST returns are taking longer to get through. it's annoying work, and all our clients are going to be paying extra to get their returns done properly. i wonder where that cost goes, when they do all the calculations claiming that the 1 october tax changes are revenue neutral.

still, back to labour day & the celebration of workplace rights. except there never is one. every other stat day seems to have a significance that is widely recognised in popular culture and through events or celebrations. except queen's birthday weekend, and being anti all monarchies in whatever shape or form, i'm not in a hurry to do anything but ignore the significance of queen's birthday. in fact, i'd much rather we swapped the holiday for matariki & started actually recognising that celebration in a more formal way.

but labour day does need much more recognition than it gets. may day in the northern hemisphere seems to get a lot of activity, but somehow nz'ers seem happy to be ignorant of the hard-won rights that generations gone by have fought for. being ignorant of those things means that there is so much less resistance as those rights are eroded.

it's been a good and bad week for unions, what with the very successful rallies on wednesday, then the sh*tstorm that has been the hobbit dispute. or lack of dispute really, since the matter was formally settled before the latest foray into the media by peter jackson. i've really lost respect for this man, and am certain i won't be paying any money to see the film. as others have said elsewhere, i'll just wait for the free-to-air screening on tv.

regardless of the rights & wrongs of it all, there is no doubt that we need stronger & better funded unions in this country. it's the only way for workers to fight big money as the latter works to further erode rights in this country with the help of a compliant government.

if nothing else, this all just shows how important it is to have more than just a day off on labour day. we need a real commemoration and retelling of the history of the struggle for workplace rights.

some muslim news

so i've been having a nice relaxing weekend. yesterday we managed a trip to raglan, to splash around at the beach. it was lovely, but quite windy & the water still a little cold. but well worth the trip. today, i spent the afternoon shopping, which is something i usually avoid because i generally hate shopping. but i really went on a splurge today, and bought stuff just because i could rather than because i particularly needed it. haven't done that in a long while.

i've bought music cd's for the first time in i don't know how many years. i used to buy a lot of them when i was in my teens & twenties, but had pretty much given up on music in the last decade. but after attending the concert earlier this year, i was inspired enough to buy yusuf's roadsinger and an other cup. i'm loving both of them, but the second one a little more. the next thing i want to own is the "we shall overcome" cd that someone lent me earlier in the year.

in other muslim-related news, interesting to hear that lauren blair (sister-in-law of tony blair) has decided to become a muslim, after some kind of spiritual experience she had in iran. i guess this is of interest not so much because of her connections, but more that it has happened in spite of the pretty negative coverage that islam & muslims have been getting quite consistently over the last decade. it appears that she has been an activist for some time, particularly for palestinian rights, and this has brought her into contact with muslims.

also i was sent this link to an interview with canada's first muslim mayor. i haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, and i have no idea about his politics. but well done him for his success.

and finally, i was emailed news of the firing of juan williams from american national public radio, for some bigotted remarks he made on fox news. predictably, fox has ensured that it's audience directs its vitriol towards NPR, whose staff have been facing a barrage of nastiness. all the old "freedom of speech" arguments have been dredged up, just like with the broadcaster who won't be named, here in nz. i've gone over those many times before and can't be bothered to do it again tonight.

but let's just remember the consequences of this type of speech for muslims living in america. a jar of nails was thrown in the driveway of a new york mosque in the last week. two muslim women were subject to a physical and verbal attack while filling petrol at a seattle station. a muslim woman and her child were attacked in a hate crime, a muslim student was harrassed and bullied for months, an islamic centre in carolina was defaced with pork. there's so much more, a constant and unrelenting series of hate crimes and vandalism that has been escalating over the last few months.

and no, i'm not saying juan williams is personally responsible for any one of these, but when he participates in the sort of discussions that are happening at fox, and when he adds to the open bigotry that network practices, then he becomes part of the problem. it's nice that his main employer has recognised this fact and refused to give him any further airtime.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

rallying for workplace rights

i've written at the hand mirror today, about the "fairness at work" rally i mentioned yesterday & attended in hamilton today. i don't belong to any union, as there isn't one for accountants, and i bet i was the only accountant in that crowd! also, i'm really lucky to have excellent employers. so my being there was more to support workplace rights for everyone.

also at the hand mirror is a post i put up a few days ago on the religious & cultural restrictions around menstruation.

i was looking for this on youtube the other day, for no particular reason other than it's great & i was remembering how much i loved star trek. enjoy.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

week of prayer for world peace

i've been to an event organised by the waikato interfaith council today, to commemorate the week of prayer for world peace. it's an annual event, and this year, the week is from 17th to 24th october.

we keep it pretty simple here in hamilton, with people offering prayers from their own faith traditions. there's some really beautiful stuff that comes from that, and it's nice just to have time to reflect. i chose the following verses from the qur'an (2:153-157), more because i love them than because they were particularly relevant at that moment:

Oh you who believe, seek Allah's help through patience (in adversity) and prayer. Verily Allah is with those who are patient (in adversity).

And say not of those who have been killed in the way of Allah that they are dead; nay! they are living but you perceive it not.

And We will test you with something of fear and hunger, and with the loss of wealth, lives or the fruits (of your labour). But give glad tidings to those who are patient (in adversity).

Those who, when afflicted with adversity, say "We belong to Allah, and to Him we will return".

These are the ones upon whom are the blessings of their Lord, and mercy; they are the ones who are receive guidance.

although i must say these verses sound much sweeter in arabic than they do in english. there were also hindu, jewish, catholic, methodist & baha'i readings this evening.

the week of prayer for world peace has been going since 1974. and yes, i know people will say that our prayers can't have been too successful since we can hardly say we live in a world at peace. for me, the act of coming together for prayer is a chance to commit to peace in an active way, and to work for peace. we may not be able to solve the problems of the world, but we can work individually and collectively in our own communities to make a difference.

also, the act of coming together and praying together is a pretty strong statement of peace, especially given that various faith groups are involved in conflict around the world. that we are able, not to put aside differences, but to acknowledge and respect them is an important step. i particularly like these paragraphs from here:

Thirdly, we recognise that inter faith partnership does not itself imply agreement. The things we agree on are many, and precious. The things we disagree on are precious too. When we stand with a follower of another faith who is praying, whenever we can agree with the prayer, we give it our interior assent. Where we cannot agree, we withhold our interior assent. It is still good to stand with that person as a friend and as a partner for peace.

that's why i think events such as this are worth my time, even if i don't see an immediate or direct result.

on the basis that one of the cornerstones of peace is justice, i strongly recommend that you take part in the day of action for work rights tomorrow (ie 20 oct). the standard has a list of events across the country, and i hope there is one you can get to.

Monday, 18 October 2010

a call for arms

i have a lot of things in my head at the moment, too many to think coherently just now! it has been an interesting weekend, with the labour party conference going well and a significant change in economic direction signalled by phil goff.

i didn't go to the conference this year, the first one i've missed after 6 years of punctual attendance. it felt a bit strange not to be there, but i've needed time out from a few things this year. after feeling overloaded and lost at the end of last year, i've been focusing on reducing my commitments and getting my sanity back. i don't know that i've been particularly successful at either of those: when you pull out of some things, it's funny how other things expand to fill up the space. and as for my sanity, well yes, it's there somewhere, i know it is. i'm sure it will wander back when it's ready.

one thing i was annoyed about at the end of last week was the push by police to have more access to firearms. this was on the basis that 9 officers have died in the course of duty over the last two years. of course one death is a death too many, but neither the police association nor the minister have shown how access to more firearms in a police car would have prevented any of those deaths. one of those shot would have been in napier iirc, when a sniper was shooting randomly from a house. another was a botched operation relating to drugs (again, sorry to be sketchy on details). from what i remember of those 2, i don't think more guns in cars would have helped.

but what really bothers me is that no comparison is being made to the number of people being killed by police. this year alone, 17 people have been killed in car chases. this is a much more serious problem (if measured by number of deaths) yet doesn't seem to be getting the same level of attention by the police. let us remember that there is no offence in nz that is punishable by death. therefore, i can't see how a chase resulting in death can in any way be justified. not to mention the chase puts passengers and innocent bystanders at risk.

frankly, if the police aren't going to be serious about reducing the number of people being killed by them (or if they are being serious about it, be more public in letting us know how this number is going to come down significantly), i certainly don't feel comfortable with them having more killing power. it is not better to replace the number of police officers dying with members of the public dying because they were shot by an armed officer. remember, there is no crime in nz that is punishable by death. and i'm not prepared to make a judgement that one life is worth more than another one. i don't think anyone could fairly make such a judgement.

i don't doubt that the job of a police officer is a difficult one. i accept that officers have the right to be safe when at work. but my objections are simply these: there is no guarantee that the proposed policy will increase safety, and there is a risk that overll more lives will be lost than are saved.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

random thoughts

random thoughts for today:

isn't it funny that people who would normally be the first to ridicule feminists and the issues they advocate for, suddenly take staunch feminist positions and carry on endlessly about equality, when an element of race appears. or an element of religion. normally, such people would argue vociferously about, for example, changes to the consent laws to ensure more successful prosecutions in rape cases. they would be the first to try to convince you that there is no gendered aspect to domestic violence. or they would absolutely deny that there is anything misgynistic about pornography, & it's all ok because the women are participating voluntarily. but start talking about the burqa or tapu or anything similar, and suddenly they're all in your face, telling you that equality for women is something we do here. yeah, i'm pretty tired of that.

thinking about the chilean miners who have now been rescued & the huge international interest in this story, i wonder why. i can understand the chileans taking a very keen interest, but why has it captured the hearts of people around the world? maybe because there are so few good news stories like this, maybe because the world is so full of tragedies on such a massive scale, that it's nice to see something with a happy ending. maybe because we can't bear to face the reality of people dying, we feel helpless to fix the suffering, so we focus on an operation where there is some element of control. an operation where hard work does lead to positive results. it's uplifting to watch families being reunited, to see determination lead to survival. it means we don't have to think about the people elsewhere who don't survive their circumstances, at least for a little while.

then there's the story in the herald today, about an indian beauty pagent held in april (but only apparently newsworthy because of the furore over the broadcaster who will not be named). there were complaints by some indians that the winner didn't look indian enough, because she had blond hair & was very fair - a result of her being of mixed heritage. yes, racism is bad regardless of the target (it's a bit of a side issue that i think beauty pageants are bad too). the underlying message of the piece is "see, you indians are racist too, why do you complain about you know who", but seriously, it's just not the same. what i mean is that it's not the same in impact compared to a broadcaster on national television speaking against a minority group, not that it's less wrong. here's something i wrote last year in regards to hone harawira, which explains what i mean:

there's one point though, that these complainants may be missing. the impact of mr harawira's speech will, in actual fact, have little effect on them other than the emotional distress it causes them. no-one will hurl abuse at them in the streets as a result of that speech. they will not face barriers to employment, nor find it difficult when trying to get a rental house to live in. they won't face fear or restriction in their daily life.

so yes, nice try herald, but it really looks just a little desperate.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


just a little more on the social media and the internets as a tool of social change. i got this link from a friend, which shows the power of activism via the net:

“If the Internet didn’t exist, Barack Obama would not be president of the United States,” says Ben Rattray, the founder of “The fact that the most powerful person in the world wouldn’t be in that position without the Internet and organizing online says something.” ...

Although e-petitions,’s most common advocacy tool, might top the list of low-commitment activism in some minds, Rattray says that the organization wins a campaign — changes an unjust law, policy, or practice — at least once a week. But he also admits this is probably not the most dramatic method of activism out there.... uses a similar approach to organize online activists throughout the world. When the UK announced a plan to double the total area of protected ocean in its conservation zone this April, it cited the more than 221,000 responses from 223 countries that coordinated. The organization has an arsenal of examples of its online actions translating to real change.

the whole thing is well worth reading, as there are some great examples of individual activism as well. the piece was written in response to an article by maxwell cromwell, and i now know a new word. slactivism, being internet activism in lieu of real & meaningful action.

an example of this is the current breast cancer campaign, encouraging women to use their facebook status to write where they like to put their handbag when they get home. except of course, there is no mention of the handbag & the status updates starts with "i like it" and continues with a place in the house. all very naughty, but does it really achieve anything for breast cancer funding or breast cancer sufferers or even in the prevention of breast cancer? a point made more elegantly by scubanurse here.

then there is this piece, looking at the effects of blogs on the controversy around the new york islamic cultural centre. however, although the whole sorry mess started with a few pretty nasty blogs, the things didn't grow legs until the mainstream media started flogging the story, reproducing all the inaccuracies without bothering to check for the facts. a little like our media reporting on a cameron slater mash-up of jim anderton's interviews without bothering to check if he actually said what mr slater claimed he'd said.

i guess the trick is to overcome slactivism by motivating people to act offline as well as online. and as the first piece shows, there are people who've managed it successfully. and online activism in terms of writing to politicians or people of influence is an effective activity in itself.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


i had a post in mind for tonight, but have ended up writing this piece at the hand mirror on the whole te papa thing instead.

also, i've just figured out that there's a "stats" page on blogger now (ok, ok, i know i'm very slow with these things). and this stats page is telling me that the biggest share of my readership, by a huge margin, is from norway. now i don't know whether i should believe this or not, as i can't imagine why people in norway would find a blog from nz interesting. but on the off-chance that this is actually correct, here's a wave and a hello to the person(s) from norway who stop by :) i appreciate you stopping by.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

just report the news

i have a couple of posts up at the hand mirror. unfortunately i couldn't contain my exuberance at news of the resignation of the broadcaster who shall not be named. hardly dignified on my part and i'm not normally one to rejoice at the misfortune of others, but there are some actions that should have consequences. this was one of them, and long overdue as far as i'm concerned.

it's been a fantastic weekend, not only because of the above news but also because of the very excellent local body election results this weekend. very happy to see len brown and a leftie council elected for the supercity in auckland. glad to see a leftward swing across the country really, which means that people do realise there is more to life than tax cuts (or rates cuts in this case).

i've put up a more detailed
post of my thoughts on the results in hamilton at the hand mirror. i'd just like to expand a little on one theme: the influence of the waikato times on the election results. it's not healthy. as far as i'm concerned, the media is there to report the news, not to create it or influence. i can understand a paper taking an editorial stance on certain issues, but that stance should stay firmly on the opinion page & it shouldn't be used to promote or demote candidates.

unfortunately the times has a tendency to use the power of the press in a way that, to my mind, is clearly wrong. the paper basically campaigned against the vote to change the city council voting system to STV; they had a huge impact on the mayoral race between michael redman & martin elliot; and i believe the way they reported had a significant impact on the demise of bob simcock.

now don't get me wrong, i'm happy that mr simcock is no longer our mayor. but i still believe that unbiased reporting is crucial for democracy to function correctly. really, we don't need assessments of the candidates' appearance & fashion sense, we don't need them rated out of 10 by times reporters. what we need is straight reporting on what they had to say on key policy issues. we're perfectly capable of making up our own minds as to which position we'd like to support. and if we wanted to make judgements about appearance, we'd turn up at candidates meetings and do so for ourselves.

so a big thumbs down to the times for this kind of coverage. stay out of the campaign & let the people decide.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


it's going to be a bit of a linky post today, because facebook has been so full of interesting stuff today that i have to share.

first of all, this wonderful snippet in response to the notion of "political correctness gone mad":

it was put up in response to a lot of the debate around the broadcaster who shall not be named, but it tied in so well to some of what i was trying to say yesterday. the speaker's description of his experiences in his younger days is something i can relate to pretty well, and yes, i am as thankful today as i was yesterday that we are not back in that time & place.

then there is the always wonderful arundhati roy:

[transcript: To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.]

how could i forget her name in my list of motivators yesterday? i can only blame the lateness of the hour, which meant i wasn't thinking clearly.
here she is again, in a lengthy piece discussing the situation in india in light of the commonwealth games, a piece called "the trickle down revolution". what a way she has of shining a light on reality.

and it happens to be
mental health awareness week. it was nice to get a txt from a friend today, reminding me to take care of myself and take time out. hopefully i'll be doing that this weekend, after having had a busy couple of weeks. though i will be popping in to community radio hamilton on saturday evening, to catch up on local body election results. here's hoping that hamilton gets a new mayor, julie hardaker, as well as the new CEO we will have to recruit.

if you haven't heard the news, our ex-mayor who gave up his elected position to become CEO with triple the salary is now planning to take up an auckland supercity job. he wants to bypass his required three month notice period, and is being enabled to do this by the (hopefully outgoing) mayor. i have such little respect for michael redman at this point, i'm thinking that the city is probably going to be better off without him. the fact that he was willing to betray the mandate that was given him to be mayor, the fiasco & financial burden that the v8s have become, and the shutting down of tourism waikato were all marks against him. let's hope he doesn't do as much damage in his new home.

and finally, this was posted up by someone in honour of the la leche conference tomorrow:

a lovely tribute to mothers and daughters, while raising awareness of sexual exploitation and trafficking. i've just put up a post at the hand mirror about a grieving mother doing a fantastic job in trying to educate young women about violence in relationships.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

searching for the end of the rainbow

i've had a couple of posts up at the hand mirror, one about the practice of inducing cows which seems to be the result of profit-driven economic model; and another about two french women protesting the burqa-ban in their country, in a manner that i'm not quite comfortable with.

i also find myself in disagreement with this post by yusuf islam, though it is characteristically well written. actually i agree with the basic point that he's trying to make ie that we no longer have that strong sense of "movements" that there used to be in times past, and the need to mobilise people to fight for the many causes that need our support. i guess i was trying to say something similar here.

but i have two basic areas of disagreement. the first is the implied criticism of new technology. now i'm the first to admit that i'm technologically challenged & can only manage the basics of my blog & my facebook account. but even so, i can see the wonderful potential with this technology: the ability to instantly reach out to a wide range of people across the world, the ability to be my own publisher & have a public voice, the ability to organise & raise consciousness. all of these make activism so much easier today than it was many years ago.

and maybe it's just me, but i value my e-connections just as much as the face-to-face ones. i love the sharing of thoughts and ideas, i love the debates (though not the trolls!). i don't think a connection is less valuable just because it happens only on-line. because of an electronic conversation i had today with someone i've not personally met, i'm now more closely connected to the unite union and happy to be supporting their work.

the internets mean that i can actually be connected to a wider range of people, and be exposed to a wider range of issues and perspectives. i love all of that, and would hate to have it taken away.

even in terms of music, i think the internet provides the potential for artists to bypass the big recording companies, and get their music directly to an audience. that would make non-conformity so much easier, and i guess it's why internet copyright issues are being so keenly fought across the world.

the second thing i disagree with is the nostalgic look back at the 60s. i've said many times before on this blog how much i hate the idea that the past was so much more wonderful than today, because very often that notion ignores the reality for so many people. the 60s weren't a nice time for people of colour, they certainly weren't a nice time for women.

an example of this is one of maia's many wonderful posts reflecting on food, in which she looks through a cookbook from 1968:

So 40 years ago the New Zealand diet included red meat 2-3 times a day, and most cooking was done in animal fat.

My first thought was that either people are lying to us about what a healthy diet is, or our diet has improved considerably since the 1960s.

the notion that we were all healthier so many years ago just isn't supported by the facts. if we were, then why is life-expectancy so much higher now? isn't it better that we don't have to deal with polio, tuberculosis, and so many other nasties on a wide-scale? it's much more likely that our diet is a lot more varied than it used to be, and yes there are a lot of chains selling foods high in saturated fats, but as maia points out, even that option is better than starving.

another example is the notion that there was some wonderful age when women didn't "work" but stayed at home & spent their time raising children. which nicely ignores the fact that poor women have always had to take up paid employment, whether it was working as domestic servants or planting rice with their babies slung over their backs. they have had to work inside the home and outside the home, and nothing much has changed for them. and it ignores the fact that upper class women have always had servants doing the bulk of child-rearing work, including the fact that wet-nurses used to be a very common thing in this supposedly golden past. the lack of labour-saving devices meant that most women were having to spend a lot more time on household work, so that this notion that they were leisurely giving their time to their children could only possibly apply to a very narrow band of women.

i was born in 1966, so didn't experience this age of non-conformism that yusuf talks about on his blog. i do agree that we need to be thankful for those movements like the civil rights movement and the women's movement that worked hard throughout the last century to ensure that we've moved past some of the nasty things people were doing to each other in that time - it's just that i think we need to acknowledge those nasty things as well.

so where are we at today? are our young people so much worse than young people of the 60s, and lost in their electronic worlds, uncaring about the suffering of humanity? i guess it depends where we look. i see many wonderful young people striving for change, politically aware and active. for many of them, access to technology has been the means to awareness. and there are also another group who aren't interested in anything that doesn't affect them personally. wasn't it always thus, and is it really any different for the adults i know?

still, i can understand how exciting it would have been to be part of that movement in the 60s, and yusuf's contribution to it certainly had impact. i can imagine looking back at something like that wistfully, and wanting to recreate it again. i think all the tools to recreate it exist now, and if the 40,000 strong march in auckland against mining on conservation land is anything to go by, those tools can be extremely successful.

maybe what we're lacking are the motivators. who is the martin luther king of our time? where are those stunning individuals who will move us and inspire us to create that movement? actually i see yusuf himself as being such a person. he's such a wonderful bridge between east and west, and has a wonderful way with words. we had hoped president obama would be such a person, but that hasn't worked out so well. bob geldof has certainly been effective, as have nelson mandela & bishop tutu.

as well as the big names, there are so many ordinary, every day people working quietly in their spheres of influence to make this world a little better. perhaps the revolution of our times will be quieter one, stealthy but steady. or maybe not. but as long as there are people who are willing to take up the fight - and it appears there are plenty who are - there is always hope.

Monday, 4 October 2010

a great weekend

i've been away from the blog for a bit because i went to the south island this weekend. a friend and i went to christchurch and dunedin, where she ran some workshops for muslim women. it was a great weekend, and we met some wonderful women.

when i see the depth and capabilities of these women, their warm-heartedness and their courage, it just makes me even more angry that the predominant narratives about them are so negative. this was not a group of down-trodden victims, but a vibrant community.

we visited various women in christchurch on friday night, and of course the main topic of conversation is still the earthquake. it was obviously a terrible experience, but all the stories they told us were so full of humour that we were all laughing out loud. it was great to see their resilience. one woman had just had a knee operation, and now the family are staying with relatives & looking for accommodation because the house can't be lived in. even so, there was not a hint of complaint in her voice as she told us all about it. and yes, we felt one of the aftershocks though it was very gentle.

we drove down to dunedin, because of a mix-up which meant we couldn't get a flight at the right time. it was a nice drive, and i was splashing around at a beach at 8pm - don't ask me where. it was lovely.

so anyway, i'm catching up on things now, and have put up two posts at the hand mirror: one on some wonderful waikato women winning awards (did you like the alliteration there?!); and another about the broadcaster who shall not be named, at least not here on my own blog.