New Zealand on the map by Angela Caldin

There was a time when quite a lot of people were vague about where exactly New Zealand was. Somewhere down at the bottom of the world was a good guess; fairly near Australia perhaps. Sometimes maps of the world left New Zealand off altogether, as though its two islands just a bit bigger than the UK were too insignificant to bother about. Containing the virus But in the last few months New Zealand’s stock has risen dramatically, because under the leadership of prime minister Jacinda Ardern, Covid-19 has to all intents and… Read More

The decline and fall of Paula Bennett by Susan Grimsdell

One of the wonderful strengths of our political system is the peaceful transfer of power.  We don’t get rid of a leader by killing him or her.  Instead, the defeated candidate steps down, following long-established protocols, and often expresses respect and praise for the new person. Democracy rules There are no guns or armed insurgents ready to assassinate the outgoing politician.  It’s unthinkable to even imagine such a thing. The procedure is based on respect for democracy and is carried out with courtesy.  While watching it happen, we all get confirmation that… Read More

The Holy City by Trevor Plumbly

The New Jerusalem I’ve never had much trust in the value of history, but there’s a lot to be drawn from the Bible, especially where politics is concerned. It’s election time down here and the harvest awaits those who still believe politicians control access to the Citadel. Personally I don’t: I lost faith in promises when Spot Simpson’s sister told me she’d never done it before and the school dentist told me it wasn’t going to hurt; these are difficult times for those of us blessed with a smidgeon of cynicism. MMP… Read More

Covid-19 and after by Susan Grimsdell

People sometimes talk about the Covid lockdown as being a bit like the atmosphere during the war.  Then, everyone in every country, in fact in much of the world, faced similar risks and hardships.  “We’re all in this together” and we all had to make sacrifices and put up with inconveniences for the common good. The difference is that during the war, people went out of their way to support one another.  They sat in bomb shelters, sang, shared their thoughts and feelings, probably went to each others’ places to listen to… Read More

Varsity blues by Trevor Plumbly

On our annual visit to Auckland University’s Visual Science Faculty, five of us ‘blindies’ do a Q&A panel session with students as part of low vision day. I love these days; I can’t see the faces, but the energy in the theatre is contagious. However, the warm fuzzies cool down after a couple of days and I get whimsical. As a lad I never had a serious education; the income from a paper round was deemed more important to the family than a structured mind. So, ill-equipped and a little resentful, I… Read More