Table of Contents

Off Beat New Zealand

Since we've been here there have been a number of news events - all reported in the National newspaper 'NZ Herald' - which have left us saying 'Only in New Zealand'! We've found them amusing - hope you do too!

Ten maids, six Sher-minators (female terminators)

, five chickens, one blue Avatar, one mummy, three genies, doctors, nurses and an airline pilot were among 73 arrested overnight as Christchurch students celebrated the end of lectures.

From 8am yesterday until 8am today Canterbury and Lincoln universities hosted their annual end of year concerts, which involved costume-clad students drinking and celebrating the annual end of year Tea and Garden parties.

The event attracted more than 1740 people, according to Facebook.

By 9am today, all those arrested had sobered up and gone home, feeling “worse for wear”, Senior Sergeant Neru Leifi said.

“Once we'd done the processing, they were sent on their way.” All were given a pre-charge warning for breaching the liquor ban and would not have to appear in court.

Police advised all of them to text their friends to warn them against stepping out into the liquor ban area because they would probably be arrested.

Mr Leifi said the students had done really well with their costumes.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10840263

Marmageddon': There's always Vegemite

Prime Minister John Key is among thousands of Kiwis having to ration their Marmite, as 'Marmageddon' enters its second day. Supermarket shelves around the country are being stripped bare of the popular breakfast spread, after production was halted due to earthquake damage discovered at Sanitarium's Christchurch plant - the only plant where Marmite is made.

Sanitarium is urging consumers not to “freak out” as it works to relocate its Marmite manufacturing facilities to a safer part of the Christchurch site. But it is asking consumers to ration their Marmite use while supplies are spread thin.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10793281

How the All Blacks shook our world

The ground literally shook when the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park. A seismometer buried 25 metres beneath the stadium has revealed how much the 60,000-strong crowd rattled the earth beneath their feet as they cheered, groaned and finally celebrated the historic victory.

The compelling story of the heart-stopping 8-7 win over France can be traced in data collected by University of Auckland scientists. The seismometer usually measures seismic waves generated by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions - but it is sensitive enough to pick up the ground movement caused by 60,000 screaming fans. From 8pm, the ground began to move as fans filled the stadium. Then as the New Zealand and France national anthems were sung and the haka was performed, the seismic waves continued to climb, spiking at the kickoff just after 9pm. Another peak - though much smaller, indicating a tense crowd - came after Tony Woodcock scored a try in the 14th minute, followed by a tiny spike as Piri Weepu missed the conversion.

Shortly before 10.30pm, the crowd again went wild when France missed a penalty kick which would have put them in the lead. Then as the final whistle blew, signalling the All Blacks' World Cup victory, the recording spiked right through until the end of the post-match speeches.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby-world-cup-2011/news/article.cfm?c_id=522&objectid=10762184

Ford versus Holden

NZ and Aus. male population seem to be divided between the Holden versus Ford debate, especially in the V8 class of motor racing. To add to the debate we spotted this lorry on our way to Ongarue:

Obviously in the Holden Camp

Car Pool

Car Pool

A group of young Oamaru larrikins have brought a whole new meaning to the term “car pool”.

Police officers on patrol in central Oamaru on Sunday afternoon saw water splashing out of a “very rough” looking vehicle as it drove south over a speed bump on Thames St. The officers stopped the vehicle and discovered tarpaulins over the back seat and front passenger seat - filled with warm water - in which the passengers, aged from their late teens to early 20s, were sitting.

“I think they were just having a bit of fun. They didn't think there were any majors with it,” Sergeant Tony Woodbridge said.

The roof of the Mitsubishi saloon had been cut off and the car had been modified “quite majorly”. The seat-belts had been cut out and it had not been warranted or registered for some years. The driver was prosecuted for various breaches of traffic law and the vehicle was ordered off the road. The police officers then followed it at low speed to the owner's home.

Shrek the Sheep

Shrek, the hermit sheep that became a jet-setting celebrity, died at his Bendigo home yesterday but his legacy will live on, says his owner. “It's been a fantastic journey but he's left us with a legacy and it will continue,” said John Perriam of Bendigo Station.

Aged 16, and said to be in pain through age-related illnesses, Shrek was put down yesterday morning, on the advice of a vet. “His wellbeing was our number one priority. He's been under the care of a vet and we were told it was time to spare him any more pain. He was coming up 16 and that's an incredible age for a sheep. ” “It was a hard decision in some respects, but it's fitting his journey ended the way it did, so peacefully, ” Mr Perriam said.

Shrek gained international fame in 2004. The story of how shepherd Ann Scanlan caught the sheep with the mammoth fleece that had avoided being shorn for six years captured international attention. Media from around the world reported on Shrek being shorn of his 22kg fleece. He became the subject of three books and featured prominently in a fourth, raising funds for the Tarras School near Bendigo and the Cure Kids charity, lifting the profile of the wool industry and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. A marketing man once told Mr Perriam the worldwide exposure about Shrek contributed $100 million to the economy. Josie Spillane of Cure Kids said Shrek had raised more than $150,000 for the charity, which funded medical research into life-threatening illnesses affecting children. The royalties from Mr Perriam's books, Dust to Gold and Shrek - The Story of a Kiwi Icon, would continue to generate funds for the cause.

“Shrek has given Cure Kids a phenomenal fundraising opportunity and exposure and without the tenacity of the Perriams - John and Heather- this wouldn't have happened,” Mrs Spillane said. Ms Scanlan said she initially thought Mr Perriam was “stark raving mad” for publicising the fact that a sheep had evaded shearing for so long. “You don't show people you've got woollies like that up in the hills.” Mr Perriam said mail arrived for Shrek at Bendigo Station almost every day and he had a huge fan base of people from all walks of life. “We'll continue to tell people about Shrek and raise funds for the causes we've supported. His story isn't over.”

Shrek will be cremated and his ashes scattered on Bendigo Station and on Aoraki Mt Cook “so he can watch over the South Island high country, the home of his ancestors”. A service will be held in his honour at the Church of the Good Shepherd at Tekapo and Mr Perriam said a bronze statue of the famous sheep would probably be placed in the village of Tarras.

Highlights in the life of a celebrity

* April 2004: Found by musterer Ann Scanlan on Bendigo Station

* April 28, 2004: Shorn live on national television in Cromwell with the removed fleece weighing 22kg.

* May 3, 2004: Met Prime Minister Helen Clark and Chilean president Ricardo Lagos at Parliament

* February 18, 2005: Flew to Auckland as guest of Pet Expo

* November 28, 2006: Shorn on iceberg 90km off Otago coast by Jim Barnett

* November 28, 2008: Retired, after being shorn at Auckland's Sky Tower observation deck (328m).

* May 2010: Brought out of retirement to visit Eden Park, Auckland, to promote book and to attend Cure Kid charity event in Queenstown.

* April, 2011: Meets Masterchef New Zealand chef Simon Gault and is filmed for a new television series featuring the celebrity chef.

NZ Herald: Shrek

Post Script to Shrek

A group of school children in Tarras, Central Otago, are sharing fond memories following yesterday's death of Shrek the Sheep. While the community fostered the legacy of the infamous Shrek, the hermit sheep has an extra special place in the heart of the town's children. It was his story that saved their school from closure. When Shrek was found holed up in a high country cave seven years ago the local school was on the verge of being shut down. They wrote a book about the woolly animal and it went platinum, selling more than 500,000 copies. The monumental success of the book made the Tarras School one of the wealthiest schools per capita in New Zealand.

With the money principal Noelene Pullar was able to employ more teachers for the school as well as improve resources for the children. We have things like almost one computer per student, we have an active board& we have a set of very nice guitars for the children to have music lessons,“ she told ONE News. Funds from the Shrek book also had the school pool back up and running, complete with solar panels, and every child has raised their own vegetable garden.

Today the children gathered today to share the stories of the sheep who was “99-years-old in people years”. “Shrek was like a big balloon of wool, I was born in the year after Shrek was found, I like Shrek because he made Tarras famous,” Tarras pupil Olivia McKnight told ONE News.

With sales of the book still high, the legend of the shaggy sheep will no doubt live on.

10 crashes: 'I'm not the worst bus driver'

An accident-prone bus driver who crashed 10 times in less than 18 months has lost his battle to get back behind the wheel. Alan Slater hit a bollard, a wheelie bin, a bus-stop sign, several other vehicles - including two parked buses - and drove the wrong way through a bus wash during his short career as an Auckland bus driver.

He also got into strife with his bosses for struggling to stay in a bus lane when driving, not waiting for passengers and turning up late to work. Mr Slater, whose routes were mainly on the North Shore and into downtown Auckland on express routes, yesterday said: “I swear I'm not the worst bus driver in Auckland.”

After he was sacked in April last year, Mr Slater took a case for unjustified dismissal to the Employment Relations Authority, claiming his final accident was not properly investigated. But in a ruling issued yesterday, the authority said the sacking was justified as Mr Slater's driving was “so poor that the company did not have confidence in him to drive safely”.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10723488

Mower fight 'best damn show for years'

Fisticuffs during a ride-on lawn mower race at the Lake Hayes A&P Show, near Queenstown, prompted showgoers to proclaim it the “best damn show” in years, a sponsor says. A scrap erupted after Wanaka man Willy Boyd, manager of a mower and chainsaw shop, threw punches at Queenstown's Simon Hunt, a landscape contractor, who had shunted Mr Boyd's mower with his mower on Saturday.

Mr Boyd's boss and one of the show's sponsors, Queenstown Stihl shop owner Mark McLellan, said the crowd thought the scene was hilarious and totally planned.”Ninety-nine per cent (of the crowd) thought it was put on. It was quite good - most of them couldn't stop laughing…“It's amazing the number of people who have come up and said that's the best damn show they've seen for years,” he told NZPA. Mr McLellan said the fight had “livened up” the mower race and he predicted the gate sales for next year's show would increase considerably. Most of the punches had made contact with the men's helmets and nobody was hurt, he said.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10700434

Long arm of the Law (NZ Herald Dec. 8 2010)

It seems a speeding driver can't escape one very long arm of the law - one policeman has now ticketed him on both sides of the world. Former London policeman Constable Andy Flitton, now an officer in Rangiora, could only laugh when a man he had just reprimanded recognised him as the officer who ticketed him in Britain two years earlier. Now with the traffic unit for the Rangiora police, Canterbury, Mr Flitton stopped the speeding driver near Leithfield in late September.

On asking the driver for details, the man produced his South African and British licences and told Mr Flitton he had just emigrated from England where he had lived for 12 years. Mr Flitton went back to his car and while writing out the ticket, was approached by the driver, who was smiling. “He asked if I had worked in London. I said, 'yes.' He asked if I used to operate the laser gun on the A5 in North London. I said, 'yes.' “And he said, 'I thought it was you. You gave me my last speeding ticket there two years ago'.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10692809

Women asked, does size really matter

NZ Herald Oct.31 2010

What do women really prefer in a man? A tattooed or un-inked body; a hunk with a lean or beefy physique - or does it all simply come down to penis size? These are some of the questions being asked of Kiwi women by broadcaster and former MP Pam Corkery, who is in the process of establishing the country's first all-male brothel for women. The 20-question survey is being compiled by Corkery and her business partner, Rebekah Hay, before opening Pammy's in Auckland next year.

The brothel will house a steam room, a spa complex, two bars, as well as private rooms for women who choose to sample the bordello's “goods” - trained male sex workers - for $240 an hour. The transformation of the brothel will be part of documentary of eight or 10 parts. The survey markets Pammy's as “the best night out a woman could ever ask for”, and asks women to anonymously note their preferences in men. It asks whether Pammy's is somewhere women would prefer to go by themselves or with friends, it asks whether discreet parking, expensive decor, sex toys and even lay-by options are important for clients.

About the men, the survey asks whether an ideal sex partner should be obedient, matey or masterful; lean, muscular or beefy and waxed around the pubic area. It asks if women prefer their men “groomed” or “untamed” and whether a man's penis should be average, large or extra large. Women spoken to by the Herald on Sunday said they would go to the brothel.

A 24-year-old would go for a hens night with a group of friends. Another thought there was a market for an all-male bordello. “I don't see why this isn't a good idea,” she said. “More and more, women are feeling liberated sexually and opening up more to the joys, excitement and naughtiness of sex and the sex industry. “Women are more powerful and successful than ever before.

“If this leaves no room or desire for a full-on relationship, then perhaps it makes sense to open up a premises where women can get the same relief and satisfaction their male counterparts have been enjoying for years.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10684274

Miscommunication led to explosives scare

NZ Herald 29 Oct.2010

A south Otago farmer thought he was doing the right thing when he dropped off some old explosives for disposal at the Balclutha police station yesterday morning. But miscommunication with the police led to part of the town being evacuated and the army called in to detonate the unstable explosives. The farmer found the 65 sticks of gelignite and detonators while he was clearing out his late father's property, Sergeant Martin Bull of Balclutha police said. “He rang last week and spoke to someone here at the police station and was told to come and see us. But I think there was a bit of miscommunication as to what he actually had,” he told NZPA.

The farmer brought the explosives to the Renfrew St police station about 9.30am. “We had a look at the items and they were quite unstable. Normally gelignite is quite stable, but if it does get old it starts sweating or crystallising. Then it becomes unstable, which is what happened with this stuff.”

Police evacuated the station and nearby businesses. Several streets were cordoned off, and an army explosives team flew from Christchurch to help dispose of the explosives. Five hours later, after police were called from Invercargill along with the fire service and St Johns, the army blew up the gelignite at a local quarry.

Police had spoken with the farmer and no charges would be laid.

Mr Bull said the Defence Force was regularly called out to deal with old explosives. “Apparently a lot of that work comes from the southern district, so it looks like there's quite a few people who've got leftover explosives from years and years ago. It does seem to be prevalent for the area.” Mr Bull urged people to get in touch they wanted to get rid of old explosives. “If people do have some leftover explosives from either their parents or for other reasons, give us a phone call and we'll assist in getting rid of them,” he said. “Especially if you've got really old stuff there, rather than move it round, just leave it and give us a phone call, and we'll sort it out.” Mr Bull said some people might be afraid to come forward, but they had “nothing to fear at all” in approaching police. “Obviously if there's legitimate reasons for having it, then everything's fine. If they've come into possession of the items illegally, then we would be concerned.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10683861

Quake leaves $3000 on basin

NZ Herald 22 Oct.2010

A magnitude 5 aftershock was nothing to the shock Jennifer Graham got when she returned home on Tuesday. She walked into the bathroom to wash her hands - and found an envelope containing $3000 behind the basin taps, The Press reported.

She thought that there had been a break-in but then quickly realised burglars don't leave presents. The mystery was solved when police tracked down the house's former owner, who said he hid the money in the house before he moved out five years ago. He told police that he was in the habit of stashing cash around the place, up to about $3000 at a time. Ms Graham thought the money had been hidden behind the bathroom mirror, and the envelope dislodged by the aftershock.

The money was returned to the man who thanked Ms Graham.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10682269

For sale: ruined boat, no careful owner

By Michael Dickison NZ Herald 22 Oct 2010

Frustrated owners of a stranded luxury launch yesterday put it up for sale after repeatedly failing to free it from wet sand less than 100m from the Mt Maunganui shore. But by evening, the boat was lying in pieces on the beach, the owners finally deciding to take what they could and lose the boat. The launch, estimated to have been worth more than $400,000, hit rocks early on Wednesday and became an attraction at the beach for two days while diggers tried to pull it ashore.

Authorities said it had overshot Tauranga Harbour's entrance as it approached in the dark. Yesterday a “for sale” sign was put on the boat, although calls to the number were unanswered. NZ Herald http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10682255

Tributes flow at Moko memorial

NZ Herald 17 July 2010

Whakatane residents take Moko's coffin for one last cruise of the estuary. Ten pallbearers strained to lift a 3m-long, bright blue casket containing Moko the dolphin, much loved and missed, on to a boat. Adorned with flowers, a dozen dolphin soft toys and two posters of his smiling face, the dolphin was surrounded by his most devout admirers and taken out to Whakatane's estuary for one last cruise around his favourite swimming spot.

The Bay of Plenty town held an elaborate memorial service for Moko yesterday, celebrating the summer he spent there entertaining swimmers and stealing fish from fishermen's nets. Just months ago, he was snuggling with young children and jostling with the older ones, nicking their boogie boards and rubbing up against them. “My grandchildren would spend three hours out there playing with him. He was a cheeky fella,” said Anne Marshall, a local resident.

But last week Moko was found dead and decomposing on Matakana Island, offshore from Tauranga. He was taken to Palmerston North for an autopsy that failed to find his cause of death, and then driven to Whakatane yesterday in a specially made wooden casket.

The town's businesses pitched in to make the day come together, some donating construction materials, another offering a boat, and one providing a professional paint job that completed the outsized and flamboyant - but otherwise human - coffin. The ceremony began just before noon, with a flat-bed truck carrying the coffin inching along Whakatane's main street. A growing group of people amassed alongside and by the time the procession reached the riverside, there were 100 children, parents and grandparents following on the bank.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10659354

Dog shoots man in backside

A Northland man has good cause to question whether his dog truly is his best friend after the canine leapt on to a loaded rifle and accidentally shot him in the backside in a freak, but potentially fatal, accident.

Police believe the dog may have accidentally stepped on the trigger of the .22 rifle involved in the shooting of a 40-year-old Te Kopuru man on Saturday afternoon. The man, a back seat passenger in a 4WD, was shot in the buttocks when the dog jumped on to the loaded gun on the vehicle's back seat, at a Te Kopuru property, about 13km south-east of Dargaville.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10658533 also

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10659568

Aussies claim credit for All Whites' success

First the pavlova, then Phar Lap, then Russell Crowe and now, those shameless Aussies are even claiming the All Whites.

Cringing from the still raw memory of their own team's hiding at the hands of Germany, the Sydney Morning Herald today ran a story on the All Whites' 1-1 draw with Slovakia under the headline 'Australasia 1 - Slovakia 1'. That's right - apparently New Zealand has ceased to exist and is now part of a country called 'Australasia'.

Moko follows fisherman friend to Tauranga

The captain of a fishing trawler is bemused by Moko's attraction to his vessel, after the dolphin rejoined his boat in the Bay of Plenty. Moko is now basking in Tauranga Harbour, after following the trawler Eskdale into dock from a fishing expedition near White Island.

The Eskdale's skipper, known only as Sprat, said he could not explain why the large bottlenose had chosen his boat in a heavily used shipping lane, and stayed with it for days at a time. “It could be the music,” he said. “We play a bit of AC/DC as we travel and he seems to like that.” At Christmas the Eskdale lured Moko away from Gisborne, where he had resided for several years since leaving his home beach in Mahia. After the crew swam with him in the Gisborne harbour, the dolphin travelled more than 400km in the boat's wake to Whakatane. “He seems to like the boat's stabiliser. He hangs around, rubbing himself against it, and swimming in the warm water which the boat discharges.” He said Moko may have warmed to their gentle treatment, referring to a number of incidents in Gisborne where the dolphin was given rough handling by eager onlookers. “We're not whacking it with an oar or anything, he's well looked after here.”

A former minder for Moko said he was attracted to the bright colours of fishing boats, and was probably drawn to the orange buoys which the Eskdale trailed behind it. A Gisborne businessman, who owns a game fishing boat and hosts sightseeing tours, has offered the Eskdale's skipper $3000 to lure Moko back to Gisborne's waters. Sprat said he wouldn't consider it. “It's too far to go, and we like his company. The crew don't wanna lose him.” (NZ Herald)

John Keys Profile

John Key John Key's international profile was boosted yesterday when more than 100 newspapers around the world ran stories covering his “snip” quip. Print media from as far afield as South Africa, India and the United Arab Emirates ran articles about the post-Cabinet Beehive press conference where the Prime Minister let it slip that he had had a vasectomy.

Britain's Daily Mail reported that Mr Key was actually able to silence a room full of press with the admission. “Moved to wince”, said the headline in the Sydney Morning Herald. Meanwhile, Canada's Associated Press suggested Mr Key gave too much away: “Too much information: New Zealand PM tells reporters about vasectomy.”

Mr Key had been fielding questions on whether parents facing price increases at early childhood centres would still be better off from changes in the Budget. When pressed about what he'd do if he had another child, he admitted: “I'd be extremely worried because I've had a vasectomy.” Although it stunned most reporters at the conference, one recovered sufficiently to ask: “Did it hurt?” “Not overly, actually,” Mr Key replied. Another reporter then wanted to know if it was a budget cut. “All I can say is it's been highly successful, but anyway we won't get into that either,” Mr Key said.

Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that the comment “cuts press conference short”. Meanwhile, a reader commenting on the Daily Mail's article said: “Don't know him, don't know his policies, but, well done, Mr Key … In my experience, it's the 'serious' politicos you want to watch out for.”

14 Sheep in Car

Hastings police have found 14 sheep crammed into a car they were chasing in the early hours of this morning. A patrol tried to stop a Mazda four door saloon in Flaxmere around 3am and chased it, until it came to stop in a local park. They say a group of people ran off. They found the sheep crammed into the boot and interior of the car, including some crammed into the wheel well and feet wells of the back seat.

Gran's fancy new scooter

A grandmother who had her mobility scooter swapped for an inferior ride has received an upgrade of her own.Belle Harris, from Tauranga, was left with an “old clunker” after her electric scooter was stolen from outside a Greerton supermarket. Police told her to use the left-behind, shabby scooter until hers showed up. But Home and Health Mobility have stepped in to give the 88-year-old a new red scooter, marked with her name to prevent another theft. Owner Gary Darkes said his company had serviced Mrs Harris' scooter for years, and he sympathised with her situation. He said her new scooter, a Pegasus, valued at $4500, was head and shoulders above the old one. It was being shipped down from Auckland. Mrs Harris said she had been more than compensated for the frustration of someone's cheeky swap-around of scooters.

“It was a mean trick, and meant a week of shaky rides. But it gives you faith in human nature, being gifted this new one.”

The new scooter would improve her top-speed from 7km/h to at least 10km/h. “But I don't want to go much faster,” she said.

It's Cannabis & Co - cops

A national indoor gardening chain would not have turned a profit if it hadn't been knowingly supplying equipment and advice to cannabis growers, police say. Directors, managers and staff from the 16 Switched On Gardener stores - which are advertised on national television - around the country have been arrested and charged as part of Operation Lime which targeted businesses responsible for the commercial sale of equipment used to grow cannabis.

Police yesterday raided indoor gardening stores, including Switched on Gardener branches in Auckland and Tauranga and GreenDay Hydroponics in Mt Maunganui. They swooped on 35 businesses and at least 100 homes throughout New Zealand.

More than 250 suspects were arrested, and 750 charges are likely to be laid.

From NZ Herald http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10641316

Human ashes killing the roses

The Wellington City Council is calling on people to stop scattering ashes of their loved ones in the botanic gardens as it is killing the roses. The council estimates the secret spreading is happening more than once a week. Human ashes are increasingly being found on flower beds in the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, which is not only upsetting for the gardeners, but detrimental to the roses as ashes contain a high concentration of phosphate.

Council gardener Leanne Killalea says the bone and ash are unwelcome additions in the gardens. “It's just particularly unpleasant really to look at as well and it's been going on for quite a few years.” The council says, against the rules, about three people a fortnight are now scattered at the garden. The rose beds each have a different name and that created a couple of favourite final resting places such as Lasting Love and Remember Me.

St. Mathews Easter Message

St Matthew-in-the-City Easter Billboard

The St Matthew-in-the-City church is hoping its Easter billboard will be as much food for thought as its Christmas hoarding was - but without the controversy. (see below)

ACC radar ruse aims to fool motorists

ACC has been buying old police radar gear in a covert plan to thwart speeding motorists. The radars have been mounted on power poles at up to 70 sites nationally, and are intended to fool drivers with detectors in their cars into thinking police are nearby. Five radars have also been bought by school bus companies to slow motorists around children, and another six have been requested. Official estimates put the number of motorists with radar detectors at about one in 10.

A Wellington firm, Emergency Vehicle Systems, buys the radars from the police and sells them on renamed as “drones”. They are used as part of a project between ACC's road safety action planning group, police, the Transport Agency and councils. It has been under way for about a year, and about $7000 has been invested so far.

ACC buys the drones for around $150 and passes them on to the agency, councils and others for distribution. Injury prevention manager Phil Wright said yesterday that 10 drones were initially trialled in Canterbury for six months before being shifted to the North Island. While there had been no plan to keep the project secret, ACC had been happy for it to remain under wraps, he said. “We didn't tell anyone as we thought it would be best if, when a signal went off, motorists didn't assume it was part of this programme,” Mr Wright said.

An unholy row has broken

out in New Zealand over a church billboard aimed at “challenging stereotypes” about the birth of Jesus Christ.

A dejected-looking Joseph lies in bed next to Mary under the caption, “Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow”.

St Matthew-in-the-City Church in Auckland, which erected the billboard, said it had intended to provoke debate.

Wedding photo tourism

New Zealand's lush green pastures, snowy mountain peaks and clear lakes are turning the country into a “wedding photo tourism” hotspot.

Wedding photographers from Asian cities such as Singapore and Taipei are bringing couples, who spend upwards of $10,000 each, to have their wedding photographs shot in New Zealand.

They get married at home but usually have their photos done in New Zealand in advance so they can show them off at the ceremony.

Orcas and Dolphin compete for attention

FROM NZ HEARALD Nov. 26 2009

Moko the dolphin had serious competition for the friendliest sea creature title yesterday as two orcas swam close to a Gisborne beach to hang out with a class of divers.

Adventure Dive Gisborne students with instructor Jim Kahukoti were heading out for an afternoon dive navigation session when a huge orca and calf swam into a reef channel.

The bigger whale, a male and at least seven metres long with a metre-and-a-half dorsal fin, swam so close that Mr Kahukoti was able to reach out and touch it.

“It was the highlight of my diving career,” he said after spending several minutes in the water with the big mammal. “I have done close to 3000 scuba dives and I have never come that close to an orca, certainly never close enough to touch it.” Mr Kahukoti and his group were heading out through the channel when they saw a large fin coming along the reef. “I was thinking awesome, thinking this was great. I was more excited than nervous but I wasn't expecting it to come into the channel and come that close.

Man, it was amazing. “It kind of swam in and rolled on to its side and looked at me with one eye. I reached out to touch it and it swam off. “It felt smooth and slimy but being there with it felt spiritual … it was such a powerful creature and you could feel that.” The orca and its calf, which appeared only a metre and half long, left the group shortly after and headed across the bay. Department of Conservation ranger Jamie Quirk said the large bull would have been teaching the calf to hunt stingray.

It was normal to see pods of orca whales on the region's coastline during October but this pod seemed a little late. While stingrays were on the menu yesterday, Moko the dolphin made sure he kept out of harm's way, he said. “Moko was out with surfers at Makorori yesterday morning but he must have heard the orca coming because he took off before they came by.” Meanwhile, Moko's antics yesterday were responsible for a full-scale marine alert at Gisborne's Wainui Beach. Coastguard, Wainui Surf Lifesaving Club and police were alerted to a young surfer reported to be stranded 500 metres offshore after the bottlenose dolphin stole his surfboard.

The cheeky dolphin took 16-year-old Jack Britain's surfboard and started playing with it about 10m away from him. Witnesses said when the surfer tried to swim to shore, Moko would “tease him” - swimming up to him with the board but pulling away when he tried to grab it. Gisborne Coastguard launched its rescue vessel, lifeguards launched an IRB and the surfer and surfboard were retrieved.

The 'H' Bomb

On the day that Obama canceled the eastern European defensive missiles, the main news in NZ was the spat over whether Wanganui should be spelt with a H as in Whanganui. This is an historical thing, in that the early settlers miss-spelt the towns name, the river running through the town has the H. The geographic board has decided in favour of the H after canvassing by local Maori, but is resisted by the majority of the town's inhabitants. The final decision now rests with Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson. We shall await the outcome!!

Aussies All Black Tie

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd donned an All Black tie yesterday to honour a bet with NZ counterpart John Key on the outcome of last Saturday's Bledisloe Cup test.

Mr Key said black was a great colour for mourning, in reference to Australia's woeful sports weekend that also saw its cricket team lose the Ashes to England.

He looked forward to seeing photographic evidence of Mr Rudd's tie.

“I reckon he'll look great in it. Black is a wonderful colour, particularly if you are mourning the loss of the Ashes. They probably care more about the cricket than the rugby, I suspect.”

It's the running of the balls

4:00AM Saturday Jul 18, 2009

They rolled. They bounced. They shattered. Thirty thousand Giant Jaffas swept yesterday down the world's steepest road - Baldwin St in Dunedin.

While most made it to their final resting place at the bottom of the hill, others were left by the wayside, having bounced and broken, or simply given up halfway down.

The Cadbury Jaffa Race brought 1500 people to Baldwin St to pay homage to the annual racing of the balls.

The event went off without a hitch as the crowd enjoyed the sunshine, music, a fashion parade, free chocolate and face painting.

A large traffic jam formed as everyone tried to leave at the same time.

Dunedin City Council events co-ordinator Marilyn Anderson described it as “the one and only traffic jam a year in Dunedin”.

Stoned Wallabies make Crop Circles

Not NZ but Oz, and a story on the BBC!

Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around “as high as a kite”, a government official has said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8118257.stm

I loved the comments to this sent in by all those sensible BBC viewers…..

Winter Challenge

Photo from a bordello in Wellington (NZ Herald)

Bring your own Bottle BYOB

is very common in NZ restaurants, making going out for meal much more reasonable, the corkage is around $5 (2 pounds), but this is going a little far, though very much tongue in cheek.

Sign at Caffe L'affare, Wellington

NZ rated most Peaceful Nation in World

New Zealand has been judged the most peaceful nation in the world.

An Australian thinktank recognised our stable political situation, relatively low rate of violence and decrease in military spending.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10576106

Wizard given "Queens Service Medal"

The past six weeks have been pretty tough for self-confessed oddball Ian Brackenbury Channell - aka the Wizard of New Zealand.

After learning he was to be awarded a Queen's Service Medal for services to the community, the man famous for his theories on postmodern cosmology was told to shut up.

“While I was obviously quite speechless, I had to keep quiet about it, which was pretty hard because it was just such a surprise for someone of my type to get an award,” he said.

“I think most people will be pleased to see the Wizard get a title like this but the rest of the world will be probably be thinking, 'It's a strange place New Zealand - what are they up to there giving a wizard a QSM?”'

Since arriving in Christchurch in 1974 and falling in love with the place, the Wizard has been a mainstay on the Cathedral Square tiles. It is there that he has espoused his philosophies on the meaning of life in what he calls “the longest-running show in New Zealand”. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10575703

British tourist's passport stolen by parrot

A British tourist has had his passport stolen in New Zealand by a brazen thief with a reputation for violence – a large wild parrot known as the kea.

Police said the Scottish visitor reported the theft from a tour bus on its way to Milford Sound, a coastal beauty spot in South Island's rugged Fiordland region.

A police spokesman in Te Anau, the nearest town, said the kea had swooped on a brightly coloured courier bag containing the man's passport when the coach made a stop and the driver opened the luggage compartment.

The passport has not been recovered and, given the 4,600 square mile size of Fiordland's alpine national park, the officer feared it was unlikely to be.

The Scotsman, who did not want to be identified, said he had been told by the British High Commission in Wellington that there could be a wait of up to six weeks before he receives a replacement passport.

He said he was planning to return home to Scotland in August.

“Being Scottish, I've got a sense of humour, so I did take it with humour, but obviously there is a side of me that is still raging,” he told the Southland Times newspaper.

“My passport is somewhere out there in Fiordland. The kea is probably using it for fraudulent claims or something.”

Keas, a highly intelligent green native parrot with a powerful curved beak, long sharp claws and a comical waddling walk, are both beloved and hated by New Zealanders and tourists.

Intensely curious and with a proclivity for mischief making, groups of the birds have been known to vandalise parked cars in a matter of minutes by stripping out the rubber surrounds of windscreens and doors, breaking off wing mirrors, and even shredding tyres.

Known as “the clown of the mountains”, they also have an irresistible interest in anything new or shiny.

Experiments have shown that they are capable of solving logic puzzles, such as pushing objects in a certain order to obtain food, and they work as a team to achieve a common objective.

Cold snap brings icebergs

(NZ Herald)

Strong winds at Mt Cook have blown more than 50 icebergs down to the southern end of the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake.

The icebergs are near the Glacier Explorers boat jetty and can be seen from the public walking track. Wintry conditions have forced the early closure of boat cruises among the icebergs.

“It's a fitting finale to an absolutely bumper season for us. All the ice currently in the lake will be our iceberg 'stock' for next summer,” operations manager Bede Ward said.

This season, Terminal Lake has had the largest iceberg calvings seen.

On February 10, a slab of ice estimated at 250m long, 250m wide and 80m in height, plunged into the lake causing a 3m tidal wave.

To meet increased demand this season, Glacier Explorers expanded its passenger capacity by adding a fourth craft and more trips to its daily schedule.

The company will resume operations when the lake thaws in early to mid September.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10575169

Politically incorrect school fair

Shooting, throwing, plucking, gutting and skinning possums is not usually on the agenda at school Galas but that was all part of the entertainment at Matatoki School in the Thames Valley this weekend.

Under the guise of conservation, education, community spirit and good old fashioned country fun - the school held its eighth possum bust.

Three year old buys $20,000 digger

Three-year-old buys $20,000 digger

The parents of three-year-old Pipi Quinlan got a nasty shock when they found she had bought a $20,000 earth-moving digger on auction website Trade Me.

Couple fled with millions of Dollars

A couple from Rotorua have fled the country after the Westpac bank gave them a $10,000,000 (yes, that's 10 MILLION)overdraft instead of $10,000. It appears that they've managed to move $6 million of it somewhere else….

$6m runaways have head start

Ironically, on the journey to work this morning the guys were out with Westpac buckets collecting money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. I wonder at what point they got fed up with people asking them whether Westpac has collected enough for the $6 million defecit yet?!!

May 13 News items

Christine Rankin, famous in NZ for short skirts, daggly earrings and being married four times is appointed a Family Commissioner, which has caused a little controversy. Kaimanawa wild horse herd to be culled from 500 to 300. Latest advert for “Grab a Seat” (cheap airline tickets), “Bugger off for Bugger all”

Did they really report this in a National newspaper??

The Great Easter Bunny Hunt

13th April 2009 - this is the report from the local newspaper 'cos Art lost my original link! What can we say? Can you imagine the outcry if this happened in deepest Surrey? Easter Bunny Hunt

Driver, 13, fails spelling test

10th March 2009 - You can drive at 15 over here, but this was an exceptional case. The boy was driving at 140 kph with his dad asleep in the car beside him. He tried to get away with it by saying he was his brother - but couldn't spell his brothers name!! 'Driver, 13, fails spelling test'

Dyslexics Protest

Posters advertising the New Zealand Comedy Festival have been withdrawn after sponsor Cadbury received complaints that its dig at dyslexics wasn't funny.

Posters for the festival in Wellington and Auckland reading: “10 out of 9 dyslexics prefer Crunchie” had drawn the ire of the Dyslexic Foundation, The Dominion Post reported.

Non PC Advert for Mitsubishi

NZ advert for Mitsubishi This is a non pc advert that I cannot see being shown on UK TV especially early evening. http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2008/mitsubishi-lancer-facts-of-life/ Well I do believe this advert has been shown in the UK, keeping the Kiwi accents

Cricket: 'All white' deemed not all right

6:45AM Monday Nov 24, 2008 Summer of cricket

Otago Cricket has stopped its controversial “It's all white here” marketing campaign to promote the first cricket test between New Zealand and the West Indies beginning on December 1 at Dunedin. The slogan, which drew fire from the West Indies Players Association, was intended as a variation on a promotion of a few years ago in which New Zealand fans were encouraged to “black out” in support of the Black Caps.

“The campaign has been clearly deemed by a number of people to be offensive, which we seriously regret. We will not proceed with it,” Otago Cricket chief executive Ross Dykes said.

“We just wanted a catchy phrase to help sell the game. It was all based around the association of the colour with [test] cricket,” he added.

New Zealand Cricket cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan said NZC was contacting the West Indies Board to express regret over the controversy. It was unfortunate that concerns over the Otago Cricket Association's “white out” campaign had overshadowed preparation for the upcoming tour, he added.

Do Not Resuscitate

Woman, 79, to tattoo 'do not resuscitate' on chest 9:09AM Thursday Dec 11, 2008

At 79, Dunedin woman Paula Westoby wants doctors and medical emergency workers to be under no illusions about what to do if she has a stroke or heart attack.

Today Ms Westoby will become one of the oldest people in the country to be tattooed when she has the words `Do not resuscitate” tattooed on her chest.

Ms Westoby, the Dunedin coordinator of the euthanasia group Exit, said she wanted to die with dignity and when she decided.

She said she was excited and nervous about being tattooed but it was also part of the campaign to change the law to allow people to choose when they died.

About two years ago she met a woman, also about 80, who had had the words tattooed on her chest when she was only 21.

“I thought what a bloody good idea.

“If I have a heart attack in the streets I do not want to be revived.”

Wordplay advert pulled down after Maori complain

Note “wh” is pronounced like “f”

By Alanah May Eriksen (NZ Herald) The rental car company's billboard on Parnell Rise drew the ire of the Maori Language Commission.

A billboard in Central Auckland that used a Maori word to allude to a swear word has upset tangata whenua.

The Ace Rental Cars billboard on Parnell Rise read: “Whakamaru, Whakatane, Whakamoa … Rent a car from only $25 a day. So you can visit any whaka.”

Condom maker Durex asks for sex toy testers

With the recession and global financial crisis summer jobs can be hard to come by, but gainful unemployment can still be had - product testing a new sex toy.

No payment was involved but successful applicants for the 100 “sexexcutive” jobs would receive a free vibrating sex toy, worth about $25, to trial.

It was the dream job in a country where people were “quite willing to discuss their sexual antics”, Durex New Zealand country manager David Rae said.

The company has run similar campaigns with condom testing.

Product testing helps generate product development and generates interest, Mr Rae told NZPA.

Applicants, who must be at least 16, could apply online until January 21. (NZ Herald)

Teenager for sale

Trademe is NZ Ebay

Waitakere father Vaughan Harvey is following through on his threat and has listed his son for sale on Trade Me after he failed to clean the house as promised. The listing reads: “I now offer for sale one toothpick with a FREE son included (I'm sure there is probably some law which forbids me trafficking in humans, hence the toothpick) … Being a teenager he requires large amounts of food (meat and candy mostly, despite the fridge being full of fruit and veg). [He] uses power enough to run a small town (computer, TV, PlayStation and assorted electrical gadgets as well as always leaving the fridge door open). Unfortunately he is short-sighted and unable to see unwashed dishes, grime, towels on the floor or skid marks. Requires 14 hours of sleep per day. You would need a soundproof room as he either slaughters pigs in there or plays heavy metal (sounds the same to me).”

Rooms with a view

A group of inner-city Auckland workers write: “We would like to advise guests at SkyCity Hotel that your windows are not tinted, and that there are potentially hundreds of people who can see you wandering naked in your rooms, or, as the couple on Monday demonstrated, having vigorous sex pressed right up against the window. We'll assume it was good for you. For us it was the highlight of the first week back at work.” From NZ Herald

Bus apologizes,

Apologies for the inconvenience

The driver of a bus that veered off the road and hit three parked cars before ploughing into a shop will return to work today to be questioned by his bosses.

NZ Bus (formerly Stagecoach) said it would investigate the cause of yesterday morning's crash.

The bus, which was returning to the depot and did not have any passengers on board, drove into the Hartings wool and sheepskin shop in Quay St about 8.30am.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10478558

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