March 2002

24/03/2002

Hello Weekender'ites,
It's been getting dark earlier this week (around 7pm) with day light savings & winter rolling in, but the weather has been awesome, today in particular was a stunning sunny day all day.
I was just about to start the weekender & stumbled to Regan's website & started looking at his South Island trip, but I really need to get this done so I hope to get back. If you haven't had a look then it's well worth 1/2 hour. Hopefully I'll have mine up in a month or so. We (Ron Corban & I) head to Wellington on Wednesday & have about 13 days to get right around the south island. It looks possible on paper, & we should see a heap of stuff, so I'll let you know when I get back.

So on to sports news...
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Sport

I've been starting with Rugby too often so here goes the cricket. It's England vs NZ, the first day (Thursday) was rained out, England got 280 and NZ were all out for 218. So England are back in to bat and there is only one more day to play. I guess if England declare, we could go for the win (if Astle fires) but otherwise, hopefully we can hold out for the draw.

On to rugby (Super 12). The Hurricanes beat the Cats 30-21, the Highlanders beat the Bulls 54-17, the Chiefs lost to the Blues 30-37, which makes it almost impossible for the Chiefs to do any good this season :-( and the Crusaders had a bye.

In IRB Sevens, (in Hong Kong) NZ has won all their games so far. Sri Lanka 51-0, Portugal 52-0, Scotland 31-7, & the quarter finals Argentina 24-0. Fiji play Australia in the quarters, so at least one of the arch nemesis' will be gone!

The league season has finally started for the Auckland Warriors & they won at home against the Sydney Roosters 21-14. It seems the have drastically cut the numbers of mistakes, and they are looking for a good season.

Former No.1 triathlon Hamish Carter won the NZ-Oceania champs in Arrowtown yesterday, to book a place for the Commonwealth games in August.

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NZ News

The kiwi dollar has been rising against the US$ recently & Thursday reached US44.31 to be at it's highest level in over a year.
Despite that, the oil companies have raised petrol prices, saying that oil has gone up. This rise added to the new government tax (5c/l) to help Auckland's traffic problems has put petrol at around $1.08/l. Way up compared to just a couple of months ago.

Mark Lundy was found guilty of the murder of his wife & daughter, in Palmerston North 18 months ago. It's been front page news for the past few weeks as the trial went through various stages. From the info that the public got I was thinking he would be found innocent, so the police must have had more evidence than was obvious.

Three militia men who had been found guilty of murdering New Zealand peace keeper Private Leonard Manning in East Timor in July 2000, appealed and have now been found not guilty. The key culprit was found guilty but that is also subject to appeal. Private Manning had ties to Ngaruawahia as some of you may remember.

Interest rates are to rise to 7pc.

Yay, some good news! Crime is at it's lowest level in 14 years, a recent Police crime statistic shows.

Well the Alliance political party showed more signs of splitting in the lead up to the elections. They are having real problems with... well everyone really!

A New Zealand diplomat was killed in the Solomon Islands during the week.
She was stabbed in day light and despite witnesses, there are no reported suspects (huh??).

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The Numbers game
6: months that Tom Cruise will be in NZ filming "The Last Samurai"
22: "no balls" bowled by NZ in England's first innings
52.2: million dollars, all the money mentioned, added up, from a bio technology venture article
130: years that the Swandri has been around - & it's just had a fashion make-over
50,000: people in the Round the Bays fun run/walk in Auckland today

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Person of the Week: Tim Bevan
International film producer of 40 of the most commercially and critically acclaimed cinema releases of the last two decades. Heralded as the successor to the great David Puttnam, his films range from the indie-breakthrough My Beautiful Launderette, through to the billion dollar success of Four Weddings and a Funeral. Elizabeth, Fargo , Notting Hill, and currently Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Bridget Jones' Dairy.
Check out more on the boy from Queenstown http://www.nzedge.com/hot/ar-bevan.html


Ok, I'm on holiday for the next two Weekenders so you'll have less junk mail for a couple of weeks ;-)

17/03/2002

And the week that was...
How are you all today?

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Sport

Ok, I started with it last week and I'm doing the same this week. The world cup rugby co-hosting fiasco. I've been reading the stories & in the end it basically all comes down to money. The IRB (International Rugby Board) don't really want Australia - let alone NZ hosting the cup because they would only make about 1/5th what they would if it was in the northern hemisphere. This is to the point that the chairman (Pugh) has basically ignored NZ's requests to talk or discuss problems for months. Australia don't want NZ co-hosting because they will lose money. The other big problem is that the conditions are continually changing. The definition of 'clean' stadiums (as in advertising), has changed five times since late last year. So is NZ rugby at fault for losing the world cup - definitely not. Is NZ going to co-host - highly unlikely. Enough ranting - on to rugby. Super 12 that is. It's week four & I'll give you the placings at the end. The Friday game was the Hurricanes over the Sharks 40-17 at home, the Brumbies won (not by much though), the Highlanders sneaked home 21-20, away to the Stormers, and the Crusaders beat the Reds away 34-27. The Blues & Chiefs had a bye, so a good weekend for the two NZ teams playing. So that leaves the following: Brumbies & Waratahs 19, Crusaders 17, Highlanders 15, Stormers 11, Reds & Hurricanes 10, Blues (game in hand) & Cats 5, Chiefs (game in hand), Sharks & Bulls 1. So not looking good for the Chiefs :-( Also former Waikato Kevin Putt has been named coach of the Natal Sharks.

The Football Kingz got thrashed at home & it really has to be the end of Kevin Fallon coaching them. The ownership of the club is changing (who would _want_ to buy them!) and no doubt the coach will as well. Shayne Rufer has commented that if he & Wynton were still coaching, the Kingz would have won the championship!

Oh the cricket! It was a test match vs England at Christchurch. England were first into bat on the portable pitch that was much of an unknown to both teams. England were out for 218ish so we thought we were doing well. But NZ folded & was staring at defeat a hundred runs behind. Then England piled on the runs rather quickly, Hussein getting a century & Thorpe getting a double - the 3rd fastest in history, after which England declared setting an imposing 550 odd to win. NZ started crumbling and with Dan the man Vettori in it was looking grim, even though Nathan Astle was still there. With Chris Cairns injured it looked like being all over with the 9 men out, but Chris came to the wicket with a runner at 333-9. And then it all changed. Nathan decided to have some fun. He went from 100 to 150 in 20 balls. His meteoric innings included 96 off 6 overs - remember Chris was injured & only got a fraction of the runs. Nathan's double century came in 153 balls, thrashing a record set recently by some Aussie of 212 balls & demoting Thorpe's to 4th fastest. In the end he got out with NZ still needing 99 runs but man, wow, what an innings. The injured Chris Cairns is out for the series.

Now you may remember Rachael Battersby from last week (Paralympics gold medallist). Well she won another gold in her favoured event - good on her. But wait there's more. She also got a gold in the Slalom event - count them, that's three! Steve Bayley (bronze last week) picked up another bronze & a gold. Someone in USA must be cheering for the NZers!

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NZ News

This week USA is going to be pushing NZ to back down on it's no-nukes stance. I don't rate the chances with a Labour government there though!

The Lord of the Rings was due today, to overtake Titanic as the most popular movie ever in NZ. I was talking to a guy who went for the first time this week & he said the movie theatre was over half full at a day time session - rock on. Now the Oscars are coming up. Obviously the Lord of the Rings should win everything (just ask any NZer). But then you really have to wonder about actors - it doesn't have any outstanding lead actors. So Russell Crowe should win best Actor (Beautiful Mind). But then animation... Sure Lord of the Rings was good, but for pure animation you can't beat the NZ co-producer's 'Shrek'. Hmm NZ has quite a line up this year.

Daylight saving ending last night. So it was great having another hour to sleep (or work!). It does mean that things are getting darker though, bring on the ski season!

A boy was killed on the train bridge at Ngaruawahia this weekend. NZ Rail has done many things to keep people off the bridge but their efforts are usually ignored. Unfortunately this will continue to be a possibility while kids play on the bridge.

This week saw a security meeting in Queenstown. The FBI director & heads of English & American security had top-secret (i.e. no press ;-) meetings & they didn't tell us what it was about!

Now to finish up with, I have to tell you about the TV shows. TV4 and Prime are both having awesome 80's shows on at the moment. TV4 has Knight Rider & the A-Team on Sundays, and Prime has MacGyver on Saturday. Prime also has about 5 hours of Star Trek on Sunday night - it really is bliss! ;-)

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The Numbers Game:
4.5: million $ lost by the organisers of getting Tiger Woods for the NZ Open
29.95: for a double CD of NZ's greatest hits http://shop.nzedge.com
48: hours - the worst in Grant Dalton's life as he is hammered into last place in the Volvo round the world race
2010: When they want to finish the Waikato express way by then

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Person of the Week: Steve Williams
Tiger Wood's right-hand-man, Kiwi caddy Steve Williams, has not only been in the closest ring-side seat, but a major influence in the biggest winning streak and one of the greatest displays of relentless excellence in modern golf. As Tiger says: "If I'm not playing well, he knows exactly what buttons to push to get me going." What buttons are they? "That's between Steve and I, not all of you." http://www.nzedge.com/hot/ar-williams.html

That's it, have a great week! Next week's weekender will be the last for a bit. I'm heading south for a holiday ( to go where Regan has gone before!) over Easter.

10/03/2002

Hello for another week of New Zealandish stuff.

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Sport

World cup rugby. Is NZ going to co-host or not? Who knows. But for the second time in the past few weeks, Australia has grabbed the media attention unjustly abusing NZ's rugby decisions. Australia reported this week, that NZ had signed the Rugby World Cup co-hosting agreement but added a bunch of conditions and so Australia refused NZ's application. The truth was that NZ included the conditions that the IRB (International Rugby Board) had previously agreed to. The IRB boss (Vernon Pugh) has come into some flak from NZ after not being able to meet & discuss concerns with him, lack of communication & shoddy handling of the affairs. Incidentally Australia has said that it will not be able to deliver on those same conditions after it signed them off in it's application. Enough of sports politics, onto the Super12. The Highlanders thrashed the Cats in the Friday night Super12 game 40-8. The Brumbies beat the Sharks 38-8, Stormers beat the Hurricanes 40-13, the Crusaders beat the Blues 30-11, the Reds beat the Chiefs 27-13 and the Waratahs beat the Bulls 51-19. In defence of the Chiefs, Jordan said that the ref'ing was shocking & the Australians got away with crucial decisions where the Chiefs got done. He also mentioned that the Australians are proving they don't care about the rules of the game and are now studying the refs so they can play to the ref rather than the rules - how bad is that!

Former All Black selector Gordon Hunter lost his battle with cancer this week. He had been assistant All Black coach (to John Hart), Otago, Highlanders & Blues coach.

In the Hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, NZ finished with a win over India (2-1). I don't know where they finished but they won a few games, lost a few more & are probably pretty happy with what they achieved.

The Football Kingz lost again - surely Kevin Fallon has to be given the Rufer boot! The team had as many wins with Shayne Rufer coaching a couple of games (1) as Fallon has won the rest of the season!

In Netball and the tour of Jamaica, NZ had their first loss to Jamaica - ever. The umpiring was shocking but NZ were more worried about it than playing the game. They realised that for the third & final game and came back to win the game & the series.

And while NZ didn't do so good in the Winter Olympics there is always the Paralympics! Rachael Battersby won the women's downhill event to claim gold, and Steve Bayley picked up bronze in the men's downhill. Rachael almost withdrew from the event to concentrate on her better events!

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NZ News

US tourists are flocking to NZ to give tourism a great start to the year.

In 1999 a supposed miracle cure for cancer was found in NZ green-lipped muscles. Well I guess it wasn't because funding has been cut.

You may remember Mark Middleton who threatened to kill his step-daughter's murderer if he was released from jail. During Mark's court case there was strong support for Mark and a feeling through out NZ that there wasn't enough being done about violent crime. Well the point is that Mark is starting a political party called KiwiSafe to contest this years election. He stood in Whanganui in 1999 and got 11%, so maybe with more publicity this year - who knows. For information on voting from overseas, check out http://www.elections.org.nz/elections/votin/overseas.html

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The Numbers Game:
6: Years longer for women to pay off their student loan than men
5.3: NZ First (National Business Review-Compaq poll)
5.4: Green Party
5.6: ACT NZ
20: million$ not spent on surgery last year because hospitals couldn't do more operations
31: National
48: Labour
500: $/day for courses for Darren from Gallagher's!
2700: $/day for courses for Treasury & Reserve Bank staff (they probably got more for lunch!)

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Person of the Week: Rob Waddell
Olympic Champion in one of the glamour events of the Olympics most demanding sports, single sculler Rob Waddell holds the indoor and outdoor world records, has won the World Championships title for the last two consecutive years, won the indoor title three times and the Halberg Award for New Zealand Sportsperson of the Year an unprecedented three times... and now he's set to help Team New Zealand defend the America's Cup. http://www.nzedge.com/hot/ar-waddell.html

There we go, this was another great weekend but that's it - see you next week!

02/03/2002

How has your week been? It's been a bit of a wet week but I still retained my unbeaten run of trips to Tauranga & back with the roof off my car! The rain has been good because after a six week 'drought' the farmers were needing something to keep the grass green.

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Sport
So starting with something that we won (good on them). The Black Sox (men's softball) had a come from behind finals win over Australia 9-6 in the tri-series in Christchurch. Japan was the other team in the series.

The Silver Ferns netball team has been on a tour of England this week and continued their unbeaten run in England with 52-36, 61-40 and finishing with 64-45.

Phil Tataurangi who we haven't heard much from for a while, has upset world No 2 Ernie Els in the first round of the world match play champs in California. Phil was quoted as saying "I'm going to have to go home and iron another shirt. I hadn't planned on playing tomorrow".

Well the America's Cup is over and we didn't win a race :-( The fourth race was on Friday and Team NZ mast broke after going through a couple of big waves. That was 4-0. Thankfully there was no racing on Saturday (Russell Coutts' birthday), but it was all over on Sunday. We were beaten again but again had equipment failures. To be honest there wasn't the public following of previous regattas. So the America's Cup is now Switzerland's Cup - even though they don't even have anywhere to have the race! & required a large number of New Zealanders. Incidentally the last two races saw both Russell Coutts and a bunch of his team overtake Dennis Conner's record of consecutive wins. Head to www.teamnewzealand.com to read all the messages of support. That's it (for now).

And things didn't get much better for us in the rugby (unless you don't support the Chiefs which is inconceivable - which should be said Princess Bride style...).
The Chiefs lost to the Blues 30-27 even though the Blues were a man down after a shocking stomping incident. The Bulls beat the Hurricanes 46-34 in Napier. Brad Thorne had a good rugby comeback when the Crusaders beat the Queensland Reds 34-6. One of this rounds upsets was the Sharks beating the Brumbies 25-17. It seems the South African teams won't be so bad as last year! The Highlanders had a 41-17 win over the Stormers.
So it's only been two rounds but on top are the Crusaders, Blues & Highlanders.

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NZ News
In an interesting twist on last weeks teacher story, the Christchurch College of Education has a number of Canadian's enrolled who they are training and then will be heading home to Canada. Needless to say, Christchurch secondary school principles aren't happy that they are expected to help train these students.

Who can wait for the third Lord of the Rings movie (The Return of the King)? Part of Peter Jackson's original agreement was to stage one of the world premiers in New Zealand, and although the movie is 10 months away, the planning for Wellington's biggest party has begun.

This week saw a threat letter being sent to the British, Australian, United States Embassies and the New Zealand Herald. They targeted was the British high commission with a cyanide laced letter and threatened the America's Cup (now over!) and said they had a stockpile of cyanide. It's kind of strange to threaten the America's Cup though - what does a yacht race between New Zealand and Switzerland have to do with anything?

Tom Cruise has started another love affair - with our national dish of fish and chips! Apparently he's been spotted a number of times at his local Taranaki takeaways while filming for The Last Samurai continues.

A escaped psychiatric patient climbed into a tiger cage at Wellington zoo during the week... and he was badly mauled. It's not really funny all round, but the head of the zoo said in an interview 'it was good that he picked that cage because that tiger is so nice & good natured. If it had of been his mother there would have been a different outcome!'

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The Numbers Game
2: times the number of foreshore land sales to overseas interests in the last six years
3: more aerial sprays for the painted moth in Auckland
8: trips to Tauranga in a row with the roof off (both ways) in my MR2 (Emma ;-)
100: $ for Sealords to lease 23% of the NZ fishing quota (worth $230m). Sealords is half Japanese owned
350: $/wk for a 4 bedroom house in a low income Auckland area

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The New Zealander of the Week - Nancy Wake
Nancy is now 90 but was a thorn in the side of the German's during World War Two. Nancy had a heart attack two weeks ago and is recovering in hospital. Read her story http://www.nzedge.com/heroes/wake.html (it's truly amazing) and then send her an email of support info@thestaffordhotel.co.uk

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Fast Finance

Exchange Rates
AUD 0.9203
EUR 0.5187
GBP 0.3563
USD 0.5603 <- It reached a 5 year high of 0.5637

NZSE40 1880.85 +7.0
Carter 173 buy CAH 174 sell +5
Contact 439 buy CEN 440 sell +3
Ind. News 315 buy INL 316 sell +5
W'house 556 buy WHS 558 sell +14

--
I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks, so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use? Toothpicks? (Perhaps Esther can answer this one... :-)