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Some young ladies from Dannevirke visit

On Friday we welcomed the arrival of some young ladies from Dannevirke, in the Hawke's Bay. They were a small herd of dairy heifers (that's a cow that hasn't had a calf yet), who were spending some of their winter over the other side of the Ruahine Range. They were being 'billeted' by a neighbouring farmer who brought them over to our place for a change of scene (grass). We had them for a couple of weeks, over which time they did a good job of getting the grass down and fertilising it at the same time. We found their stay surprisingly enjoyable. Cows, we have concluded, are quite relaxing to be around (as long as you aren't responsible for getting up in 4am in the morning to milk them, I sus

What is at the root of our most serious environmental problems?

I have been reading Max Harris' much acclaimed book The New Zealand Project (BWB Books, 2017). Harris believes that to face the major challenges that face New Zealand - economic, social and environmental - we need 'a values-based approach to power and society'. Harris is unashamedly idealistic, and the key values he references are 'care, community and creativity'. Being more of a rationalistic-slash-pragmatic bent than an idealistic one, I at first struggled a little with how these values could realistically be applied in politics and policy-making. But then I recalled Sir Geoffrey Palmer interview with Guyon Espiner as part of the excellent 9th Floor Series, and I realised that Sir Geoffrey

A good day for rainbows

Quite apart from being the day my long-awaited writing studio arrived (all the way over the ranges from the Hawke's Bay) - it was an auspicious day for another reason. While the Ruahine Range just east of us were shrouded by rain cloud from morning, on the river terrace we were bathed in winter sunshine. The intersection of sunshine and rain cloud led to the most sustained show of rainbows that I have ever witnessed, beginning with fragments, ending with a display of a full arc of splendour.

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