February 2017

The Weekender 25/02/2017

Hello, I hope you've had a great week! Maybe summer came this week, it's been far too hot with beautiful blue days.


Sport

The Super rugby season kicked off this weekend with the Blues taking on the Rebels in the opening game, and the Blues looked good and won easily 56-18. The night began badly for the Highlanders against the Chiefs with two intercept tries to James Lowe and both Ben Smith and Aaron Smith leaving the field with injury, and it didn't get any better with the Chiefs having a bonus point 24-15 win. The Hurricanes were in Tokyo and scored early and often to win 83-17.
In other news, the Chiefs assistant coach is heading to Ireland to coach the Irish Pro12 side Connacht.

In cricket, South Africa won the first ODI, when AB de Villiers hit the winning runs with a single ball to spare. In the second match, Ross Taylor hit a 102 for his 17th hundred, as NZ reached 289-4 and NZ went on to win. The third game is on now and isn't looking good for NZ. Update: The Black Caps were thrashed - all out for 112.
In other new Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill were overlooked in the IPL auctions but Corey Anderson and Trent Boult picked up contracts.


NZ News

Heading toward the elections, the Mana Party and the Maori Party have done a deal to increase each others chances of winning seats.

Filmmaker Taika Waititi was named 2017 New Zealander of the Year.

An overhaul of the legislation on spy agencies is going ahead after the government agreed to Labour's changes


The Numbers Game

7: % support for Labour leader Andrew Little as Prime Minister, one below Winston Peters
46: % support for National, a drop of 4 with new leader Bill English, he is on 31% support, just below John Key's preferred Prime Minister rating
68: blue whales were spotted in the South Taranaki Bight, up on the 33 spotted in 2015
362: Cadbury's staff are set to lose their jobs as Cadbury close the Dunedin factory and move production off-shore
605: sheep is the new world record after an eight-hour solo ewe shearing attempt by Leon Samuels
616: $ lost by the average gambler in NZ last year, spending a total of $2.2b


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5759 (-0.0017)
EUR 0.6819 (0.0062)
USD 0.7217 (0.0020)
AUD 0.9374 (0.0007)


The Weekender NZer of the week

William Pickering 
The launch of Sputnik in 1957 forced the United States into the space race. Fighting the Cold War, the Americans needed to show the world that they too could launch a rocket into space — and they had to do it quickly. Less than three months later Explorer 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The man behind it: William Pickering from Wellington, New Zealand.
http://www.nzedge.com/legends/william-pickering/


Joke of the Weekender

Reading The Fifth
I’m writing my book in fifth person, so 
every sentence starts out with: “I heard from this guy who told somebody …”


 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}

The Weekender 18/02/2017

Welcome along, we might have had some heat this week, but it has also been raining with thunder.


Sport

The Super Rugby season is just about to begin, but last week there was good news and bad. Former Chief's player Sione Lauaki died aged 35 after years of kidney problems. He was a 17 time All Black, but his medical problems meant he never reached his full potential. Stung by the emotion of losing a close friend, the Chiefs channelled that in the inaugural Brisbane Global Tens to beat the Crusaders in the final 12-5. Lauaki was farewelled in Auckland today.
Finally, Steven Luatua has decided to leave NZ for Bristol, and former Waikato player Jono Gibbes will be the new head coach at Ulster.

The NZ Breakers season ended after the Perth Wildcats won their game to take the final spot in the playoffs. It was all very close, but it hasn't been a great season with their new coach. Hopefully, next year they can build to another title challenge.

The Black Sticks women are in Argentina for a series and in the first game lost 3-0, but they bounced back to win the second 1-0, but Argentina went on to win the third game 3-0. The fourth game was just played and after we were leading 0-2, but the game ended at 2-2.

After having a good series against No 1 ranked Australia, New Zealand had to brace themselves for the newly No 1 ranked South Africa. In the first Twenty20 South Africa batted first and reached 185-6 and NZ could only manage 107 in reply.


NZ News

The biggest news of the week was without a doubt the fires around Christchurch. Two fires in the Port Hills, combined into a massive 2075 hectares of fire with 1000 people being forced out of their homes. Eleven homes were destroyed but the worst news was that a helicopter which had been fighting the fires, crashed, killing the pilot, Steve Askin. He was a war hero, having received the New Zealand Gallantry Star for his service in Afghanistan. The fires raged all week but on Friday the weather finally turned and the firefighters started to gain control.


The Numbers Game

4: eruptions in Lake Rotorua, has Ohinemutu residents nervous
5.2: Richter scale earthquake near Culverdon felt by 1300 people
12: accidental firearms discharges by Police since 2010, and 504 unplanned Taser discharges
31: people have died in the water this summer since December 1st, in drownings deemed preventable - a six-year high
31.8: degC for Whangarei on Monday - the highest temperature since records began


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5776 (0.0020)
EUR 0.6757 (0.0003)
USD 0.7197 (0.0007)
AUD 0.9367 (-0.0033)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Bruce McLaren
F1 King 
Team McLaren has been the most successful team in world motorsport since it appeared in 1966. McLaren cars and drivers have taken the chequered flag at Grand Prix races 182 times, won 12 Formula One World Championship titles (more than any other team in the history of the sport), dominated CamAm events (56 wins between 1967 and 1972) and taken three Indianapolis 500 races. The man who started it all, Aucklander, Bruce McLaren, was a brilliant driver, with vision that extended far beyond the driver’s seat. He became the engineer, the inventor, the constructor, the tester. Bruce McLaren took the essence of the New Zealand Edge and transformed it into arguably the greatest motor racing team in history.
http://www.nzedge.com/legends/bruce-mclaren/


Joke of the Weekender

When Relatives Attack
There is nothing more awkward than the moment you realise you’re getting a double-cheek kiss.

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}

The Weekender 11/02/2017

Welcome along. It might not be as hot here as over the ditch but we've got a warm couple of days.


Sport

Lisa Carrington has won the 2016 sportswoman of the year award and then the Supreme Halberg Award. Mahe Drysdale won sportsman of the year and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke won team of the year, while Lisa Carrington's coach Gordan Walker won coach of the year, and Liam Malone won disabled sportsperson of the year. Finally, Eliza McCartney won the favourite sporting moment of the year with her high jump and Rio.

With the second ODI against Australia washed out with rain in Napier, the final game was in Hamilton. New Zealand batted first and with a suberb Ross Taylor 107, reached 281 for nine. Australia kept losing pairs of wickets, 1 & 2 for 44, 3-119 & 4-120, 5-173 & 6-174. So anyway with six wickets for Trent Boult, we won by 24 runs taking the Chappell-Hadlee, and Australia may even losing their Number 1 ODI ranking because of it.
But Jimmy Neesham won the tweet of the day award. Jimmy scored 1 from 7 balls and got no wickets, while Lockie Ferguson got no wickets and was bowled first ball. Jimmy tweeted a photo of the happy pair along with the trophy and the comment "When you don't do any work on the group project but still get an A".

Steven Adams and the Oklahoma City Thunder had a big night beating current champs the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-109 with Steven having another great game.
The NZ Breakers have kept their play-off hopes alive with an 87-88 win over Adelaide after trailing by double digits with eight minutes to go. Then later in the week, they beat Melbourne 88-70, but they still need other results to go their way.

Patrick Tuipulotu has been cleared of doping after his "B" sample was found with no banned or specified substances. He had been under provisional suspension since November after his "A" sample had tested positive.
Ben Smith has officially signed with NZ Rugby through to 2020.

The Black Sox beat Japan and then beat Samoa by 11-1. They beat Samoa 10-3 but then suffered a 2-1 loss to Japan.

The Silver Ferns had the two biggest wins in the Quad Series when they accounted for South Africa 70-39, following a 24 goal win over England, but they still weren't able to win the title, after Australia just beat England 47-46.


NZ News

There has been a bit of interesting political news this week. Labour welcomed Willie Jackson to be an MP, but leader Andrew Little seemed to have forgotten Jackson's controversial comments on the radio. It angered a few in the Labour party to the point that one MP hired a PR company to create a letter attacking the move. That meant Andrew Little had to reprimand his caucus from internal fighting - not a great way to start an election year. As if his MPs weren't doing enough damage Andrew Little went on the offensive with Bill English deciding not to go to Waitangi (because they wouldn't let the fluent Maori speaker speak). Little had a great speech about how Waitangi should be a place where we all come together. It sounded good, but less than a week later he was asked if he would go to Waitangi next year if he was Prime Minister and wasn't allowed to speak - and his answer was no. So it seems his great speech was only for a National Prime Minister - not a Labour one.

Bill English had an interesting week. He had a "friendly, warm, thoughtful" phone call from American President Donald Trump - apparently quite a different call to what Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull had. As for Waitangi day, although it wasn't widely reported (the reporters were far too busy reporting about how reporters weren't allowed in certain Marae), Bill gave a couple of great speeches, talking about the modern history of Ngati Whatua, and various land protests. As if all that wasn't enough he took on Sir David Fagan shearing a single sheep and beat him fair & square - although it was Sir David's second sheep in 15 years - at the 40th Anniversary World Shearing and Woolhandling champs.

One of the more interesting stories of the week was Shelley Crooks who turned up on the West Coast after going missing six weeks earlier on a four-day tramp. She became disoriented and hurt her leg. But she was well equipped and had extensive knowledge of bushcraft and managed to survive while slowly making her way out of the bush.


The Numbers Game

5: people died in the water over Waitangi weekend in a horror run
5.1: Richter scale earthquake in Fiordland this week
61: year old Steve Sumner died this week, he was the captain of the All Whites team that played at the 1982 World Cup
95: people was the total people that rode an Auckland transport bus over a six month period, costing $50,237
416: whales stranded themselves at Farewell Spit, 3/4 died and those that were refloated have re-stranded themselves at least twice


Finance NZ Dollar

GBP 0.5756 (-0.0070)
EUR 0.6754 (-0.0019)
USD 0.7190 (-0.0098)
AUD 0.9400 (-0.0114)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Charles Upham
Acknowledged widely as the outstanding soldier of the Second World War, Captain Charles Upham remains the only combatant soldier to have received the Victoria Cross and Bar (awarded to members of the armed forces of the Commonwealth for exceptional bravery). In Crete in May 1941, and the Western Desert in July 1942, Upham distinguished himself with displays of ‘nerveless competence’.
http://www.nzedge.com/legends/warriors/charles-upham/


Joke of the Weekender
A Few Grams More
Instagram is just Twitter for people who go outside.

 

Darren Harrison: darren@harrison.gen.nz
The Weekender: mailed weekly (Sunday nightish)
Website: www.dunwich.co.nz/weekender/
{If these just fill up your junk mail, then send me an email & I'll take you off the list | The Weekender is not a verified news source, sometimes it's even just an opinion}

The Weekender 04/02/2017

Welcome along! This weekend is a long weekend with Waitangi Day on Monday, and a lot has happened since you last heard from me.


Sport

Let's start with the Black Caps since cricket is our summer sport. In the third and final Twenty20 Corey Anderson broke records with his 41-ball 94 as NZ reached 194. Bangladesh started well reaching 69 after six overs but slowed down, leaving NZ with a 27-run win. With Kane Williamson's consistent form, he was awarded 4th for the ICC Twenty20 ranking for batting, to match his fourth for Test matches, and one ahead of his fifth for ODI's.

On to the test matches and NZ won the first by seven wickets with a Kane Williamson unbeaten 104 in an intriguing match. Bangladesh batted first and declared on 595-8, and NZ replied with 539, but then Bangladesh only reach 160 all out. In the second test, the Black Caps won by nine wickets, with Tim Southee taking five wickets and Trent Boult taking four to restrict them to 289. Then in their second innings, Neil Wagner, Tim & Trent each got three wickets.

Now Australia are in town and the first ODI saw NZ reach a respectable 286-9. Then Australia were at 54-5. Surely we couldn't lose, right? But previously unknown Marcus Stoinis stepped up. Boy did he step up. He dominated for the next 34 overs for the highest score by an Australian number seven. He smashed boundaries at will and ignored running anything that wasn't a certain two. He lost partners until he was left with Josh Hazelwood, who was there for a 54-ball partnership but didn't face a single ball until he was run out when Australia only required seven more runs.

Steven Adams has continued his great form - with a brief concussion break. He scored 22 against the Bulls, he got a double-double against New Orleans and the Spurs.
The Breakers kept their slim play-off hopes alive with a 92-74 win over the Sydney Kings, and then a 86-95 win over the Hawks. Then they had a great come back 82-84 buzzer beating win over the Brisbane Bullets, and then they had their fourth win in a row beating the Perth Wildcats 86-82. Ten days before they were in last place, and four games later they were in second place. But they've just had yet another injury and another loss, thrashed by the Kings 84-57. The injury was to American import Akil Mitchell who has his eye pop out of it's socket. He has apparently recovered very quickly from the gruesome incident.

There are still a few key All Blacks to re-sign, but Aaron Cruden has left for more lucrative paddocks in Europe. At one point it looked fairly certain that All Blacks vice-captain Ben Smith would be joining him, but now I think he is staying. Nehe Milner-Skudder has resigned - let's hope he can remain injury free.
Former All Black captain Richie McCaw got married to Gemma Flynn recently near Lake Wanaka.

The Silver Ferns suffered in a slow start against Australia at the Durban Quad series, losing 57-50.

The All Blacks Sevens had to settle for sixth in the Wellington Sevens, dropping two of their six games. South Africa went on to beat Fiji 26-5 in the final.

The Wellington Phoenix are into the playoffs after a 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory.


NZ News

Video emerged of a drummer playing at the top of the Kaimai's. Finally, questions were answered. Apparently, his neighbours had just had a new baby, so he packed up his drum kit and found somewhere else to play. Good on him.

Last year was a great summer, but not so much this year. The weather hasn't been as good and there was even a blanket of snow over Mt Ruapehu a bit earlier on. But it's fine now. Although there hasn't been a drought around here, it's still dry enough to be dangerous. Whangamata and Ngaruawahia both had serious bush or scrub fires recently. One weekend, saw three serious storms around the country and in one storm, thousands in Auckland were without power for a chunk of time, and Hawkes Bay had gusts of 160 kph at Mahia Peninsular. Bee-keepers declared this the worst honey season in twenty years. In Ekatahuna, they are struggling with the wet. They had 450mm of rain in December.

Watching the American presidential events from afar has been intriguing. Even more so after hearing the kiwi Chris Liddell has been appointed as an assistant to President Donald Trump. Chris is a tech guru in NZ, previously at Xero and was the CFO at Microsoft for a number of years.
There have been a number of American's who have moved to New Zealand following the events. Gary Belis arrived recently and last week it was discovered that entrepreneur and super-rich Peter Thiel is a fully fledged NZ citizen. He made a fortune with PayPal and increased it as an early investor in Facebook. But he is a known donor to Donald Trump's campaign and has been a citizen since 2011 and was granted permanent residency in 2006. Maybe he was making plans in case Hillary got in.
There has been an effect with President Trump cancelling the TPPA, which ironically made the left-wingers happy - those most likely to not like the turn of events.
Politics has continued of course. The elections this year will be on September 23rd. Labour and Greens continue to talk big but without substance. Willie Jackson has dumped the Maori Party to join the Labour party. Prime Minister Bill English announced a $503m package for the Police to increase front line staff by 880 and staff overall by 1,125 over the next four years, taking aim at burglaries.


The Numbers Game

-14.1: degC was the lowest temperature for 2016 at Mt Cook
1: least corrupt country in the world. NZ regained its title in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index
3: weeks to catch a cat which escaped from a moored boat near a Bay of Islands wildlife sanctuary - the cat was in good condition when found
5.1: richter scale earthquake 15km from Seddon
5.1: richter scale earthquake near Kaikoura
6: of Northland's six weather stations featured in the top 15 hot spots last  year
8: NZ restaurants have made the list of the world's best 1000 eateries
35.5: degC was the highest temperature for 2016 in Alexandra
151: additional towns are to received Ultra-Fast Broadband as the government aims to get fibre to 85% of NZers by 2024
196: kph for the highest wind gust in 2016 at Cape Turnagain
350: ml of rain in one day at North Egmont
1,068: ewes shorn by Coel L'Huillier and Kelvin Walker for a new two-stand record, in a 480 minute day
1,258: people caught by police in the BOP over the alcohol limit last year
1909: The year when weather records began and 2016 was hotter than all of those years
2,840: hours of sun in Richmond - the sunniest place in NZ for 2016
20,000: students asked for an emergency NCEA exam grade, due to the disruption of the Kaikoura earthquake
32,916: mobile phone offences in the year to Sept 2016 - compared to 27,751 drink driving offences
600,000: $ for the median house price in Tauranga
25m: $ estimated value of All White Chris Wood as two English Premier League football teams chase him, and All Whites defender Sam Brotherton has signed with Sunderland
33m: $ rollout of Ultra-Fast Fibre for 21 Northland towns over the next six years


Finance NZ Dollar

(Since 7th)

GBP 0.5826 (0.0161)
EUR 0.6773 (0.0151)
USD 0.7288 (0.0284)
AUD 0.9514 (-0.0047)


The Weekender NZer of the week

Jean Batten
She was the manifestation of triumph and hope against the odds through the dark days of the Depression. In 1934, she smashed, by six days, Amy Johnson’s flight time between England and Australia. The following year, she was the first woman to make the return flight. In 1936, she made the first-ever direct flight between England and New Zealand and then the fastest ever trans-Tasman flight. Jean Batten was the ‘Garbo of the Skies’. She stood for adventure, daring, exploration and glamour. In her time, Jean Batten was one of the most famous people in the world.
http://www.nzedge.com/legends/endurance/jean-batten/


Joke of the Weekender

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog to Fly
A woman called our airline 
customer-service desk asking if she could take her dog on board.
“Sure,” I said, “as long as you provide your own kennel.” I further explained that the kennel needed to be large enough for the dog to stand up, sit down, turn around, and roll over.
The customer was flummoxed: 
“I’ll never be able to teach him all of that by tomorrow!”


Weekender Photos

Have a look at photos https://picasaweb.google.com/dunwich42