NOCA nov 15

By Terry O’Neill.

North Otago’s first Hawke Cup qualifying game is against Otago Country in Alexandra next weekend after winning warmup matches against Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury on the home ground.

We proudly claim All Blacks Ian Hurst, Phil Gard and Ian (Spooky) Smith, yet over more than a century many North Otago cricketers represented Otago and New Zealand.

In 1886/87 Arthur Fisher (one of a long line-up of Waitakians), in his first year participated in the initial interschool match. This multi-talented sportsman was not only in the Waitaki 1st X1, but was also 1887 Athletic Champion, the 1903 Otago Golf Champion, in 1904 he won New Zealand Golf Open. Fisher played five matches for New Zealand cricket and was in the first New Zealand representative side to tour overseas, to Australia in 1899. His Otago first class bowling record, taking nine for 50 against Queensland in 1897, still stands.

In the 1950s New Zealand cricket captain John Reid came to Oamaru as an oil company representative and joined the Oamaru club. Besides bringing considerable prestige and encouragement to North Otago’s cricketing fraternity, Reid was a major influence in securing the 1956 match for North Otago against the touring West Indies.

New Zealand representative Zinzan Harris (1955/65) while in the Waitaki First X1 played once for North Otago, and his cricketing sons Chris (Canterbury, New Zealand) and Ben (Waitaki First XI, Canterbury, Otago).

Let’s digress. Zinzan: distinctive surname of immigrants to New Zealand from England, implying a link to the Brooke family. All Black Zinzan Brooke, originally Murray Zinzan Brooke, changed his name to Zinzan Valentine Brooke.

Christchurch’s loss was North Otago’s significant gain in David Sewell who graduated through age groups and Waitaki First XI to play for North Otago 1994 – 2015. After selection for Otago 1995-96, he toured Zimbabwe with the 1997 New Zealand side after a successful under 19 tournament. David retired from first class cricket after playing 67 matches and taking 218 wickets.

Other notables to represent North Otago (NO dates played in brackets): Dennis Blundell (1923-24) later Governor-General of New Zealand, Mike Hesson (1999) currently coach of the Black Caps, Fred Jones (1902/33) – generally one of the finest at the code. Also for Otago: Carl Zimmerman (1921-37), Arthur Berry (1948-70), Merv Sandri (1949-75), Ivan Geddes (1949-75), Tony Cartwright (1959-76), Norm McKenzie (1962-90), Bob Wilson (1968-87), Warren McSkimming (1997) and Craig Smith (2001-09). And from the 1874 records, L E Reade and a Mr Lynch.

A special mention of current North Otago player/selector Duncan Drew(1994-2015) who jousted with Brendan McCullum for the Otago wicket keeping berth.

And from the St Kevin’s First XI of the 1990s, Paula Flannery advanced with flair to play for women’s Otago, Canterbury, one test and 17 one day internationals over a decade, and played in the triumphant team for 2000 World Cup to achieve the White Ferns’s first title.


Ridge Track, Whakapapa Village

The Ridge Track is a nice short – about twenty minutes/1.2km each way – walk right in Whakapapa Village…great for a quick leg stretch at lunchtime…


It starts here at the public shelter, just up the road from the DOC Visitor Centre, and opposite the Whakapapa Holiday Park. The trail itself is just up from the shelter , where you can see the DOC sign on the right of the picture…


The trail winds behind the shelter…


…across the bridge and into the forest…


…past a nice resting spot about halfway up (the forested part)…


…before you break out into the open and continue up through the tussock.


Not all of the trail is in tiptop condition and sections like this can be a little more challenging, especially after a good downpour…


…and your’re there…


No one is quite sure why there is a big table here but there is…be nice ofr a picnic, better if there were seats…


Further up the ridge line, on a clearish day, you can often see the very top of Mount Ruapehu…


…to the north, there are often great views of Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro…


…and below, The Chateau and Whakapapa Village, with SH48 winding back down towards SH47 and civilisation…

Tea and Pikelets at Waihohonu

A change is as good as a holiday, so they say…and I leapt at the chance to get out of the office to check on internet connections in the huts on the Northern Circuit.

My day didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts…


Naughty Meindls

…my trusty Meindls tossing a lace…already running a tad late, I grabbed…


Good Meindls

…my spare never-before worn pair…the beauty of Meindls being that you really can wear them right out of the box…


Looking east towards Red Crater, Mount Ngauruhoe on the right

It doesn’t look like the cheeriest of days but it was actually a great day for walking, a nice westerly to take the edge off and keep us cool, and just enough sun to be pleasant without being scorching…


First stop was Mangatepopo, only about twenty minutes walk in from the car park…a nice cuppa with the ranger there…


…before some comparative performance testing on laptops, tablets and phones…


Lured by the promise of pikelets for smoko, we headed off for the other side of Mount Ngauruhoe and Waihohonu Hut…Parking up at the Waihohonu Road End park we made good time into the hut. The surface is mostly sandy, firm enough to walk on but not so compacted as to be uncomfortable…


While we did our techo-geeky stuff…


…the chef started on smoko…


Who says you can’t have the comforts of home in a back country hut..?


As you can guess from the pix, Waihohonu is quite new and very comfortable…


Seeing the cloud spilling over Ngauruhoe, we decided on a more cracking pace back to the park, completing the last klick or so at an enjoyable jog…

I’m regretting not filling the spa a couple of weeks ago as a nice soak would go down pretty well at the moment…I suspect that I may be a little stiff in the morning…a most excellent day and one I hope to repeat next week as Oturere still needs testing….

Something wicked….


A couple of days ago, a friend had what he called a rant on Facebook…

Religion is not to blame for all the world’s problems. If you believe that the eradication of religion will fix humankind then your faith is more misguided than those you believe you are better than.

Religion is not the problem. If you believe there is no God (or Gods), then people cannot be doing God’s will. Therefore their actions are their own, and they choose to commit atrocities. This would indicate that the behaviour is in their (or our?) nature and is not the fault of religion. It cannot be both fantasy and the font of all evil. People will always find excuses for their actions.

I get to mix with many religious groups of different faiths and denominations. The vast majority are communities of people who are interested in living their lives with generosity, selflessness and tolerance. They do this actively in their wider communities – actually practising being nice to people without trying to convert them. Sometimes they seem like the last bastion of selflessness in our materialistic, consumer, celebrity-focused society. Working with them is refreshing.

Religion is not the problem nor the solution. It just is. However there are some evil bastards who will use any tools at their disposal for power. They should be the targets of our wrath, not the constructs they seek to pervert for their own means.

And… rest.

Wherever you sit in the political spectrum, whatever deity or belief system you may or may not support, this is a pretty damn fine summary of the foe we face in the second decade of the 21st Century.

For almost two and a half decades, we have submitted to the myth that war can be precise and sterile, safe almost, despite all contemporary and historical evidence to the contrary.

That ‘Greatest Generation’ succeeded because they mobilised their nations to defeat evil…not 8-5, not Monday to Friday, not just those who cared or those who needed the work…defeating evil is not something that others do…

That more may have died in less publicised and less public locations takes nothing from the attacks in Paris nor does it count that Paris once committed an act of war against us…Paris now is exactly what it is…a deliberate goad to the West…some people should be careful what they wish for…something more wicked this way may come and it’ll be looking to settle some scores…

What happened in Paris last week was evil. Sponsored and spurred by a small group of ‘evil bastards’…who will not be swayed let alone defeated by Tricolour photo filters…nor even the red of spilled blood…only the cleansing blue-white fire of instant sunshine…

AS I SEE IT (13 Nov) wc 457

By Terry O’Neill.

Australian opening batsman David Warner joined illustrious pair, Rick Ponting (Australia) and Sunil Gavaskar (India), by scoring back-to-back centuries in three tests after his performance against New Zealand at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Not bad for this young cricketer who as a 13 year-old youngster was switched to bat right-handed by his coach. But only until Warner’s mother returned the youngster to his original left handed style because it wasn’t working. Results confirm her expert perception.

Warner, upon selection to play for Australia, became the first Australian in 132 years to play for a national cricket team, of any form, without experience in first class cricket. And this Paddington boy never looked back. He earned his first test century against the Black Caps in Hobart though it wasn’t enough to arrest the Black Caps win. On August 2 again against New Zealand, in Warner’s unbeaten 123 in the Australian innings of 233 he became the sixth person to carry his bat through the fourth innings of a test match.

Warner’s batting always seems aggressive. And in 2012 his 69 ball century against India in Perth equalled West Indian Shavnarine Chanderpaul’s record for the fourth fastest test century of all times in terms of balls faced. Warner’s two centuries against the Black Caps lifted his test average to 50, on a par with Matthew Hayden (50.73), and better than the career marks of Justin Langer (48.22), Bill Lawry(42.83), Mark Taylor(43.49) and Michael Slater(42.83), all Australians. His 3900 test runs bring him close to becoming the sixth Australian opener to join the elite 4000 run club. Warner has 14 test centuries more than the combined total fellow Australians David Boon(8) and Geoff Marsh(4) managed in the “baggy green”.

Warner’s earlier batting career may be impetuous, but of late, the “molly digger” the term for a left-hander in Australia, illustrates increased discipline and control and has given away a shot which was described as a “halfie’, a half pull and a half a leg side push shot, which too often brought about his downfall.

And what other record challenges does this aggressive Australian opener face? Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq holds one with the fastest test half century from just 21 balls, and West Indies batsman Viv Richards for the fastest test century from just 56 balls.

Many Black Caps supporters worried early in the first test about an innings plus defeat but Steve Smith took that out of the equation. New Zealand’s biggest ever defeat was at the hands of Pakistan when it lost by an innings and 324 runs in 2002. Pakistan made 643 and the Black Caps replied with 73 and 246 in Lahore which places the Kiwis fifth on the greatest loss margins.


Ornate | The Daily Post

In your photo this week, share something unabashedly ornate — where it’s clear that the creators pulled no stops and went all out.

Source: Ornate | The Daily Post

I layed-over in Philadelphia for a couple of nights between conferences on my 2011 American Odyssey tour. I was most excellently hosted by Doc Karma, taking a day off from his plans for world domination (they still need a little work as they hinge on his invasion forces walking to New Zealand).

USS Olympia is tied up there, opposite the New Jersey…I was fascinated by the contrasts in decor between one of the first modern ironclads and one of the last. ornate, most definitely. Over the top…nope, just the standards of the time…






Even the armament has an ornate steam-punky arty feel to it…

Notebook next to the bed

Bonus assignment: do you keep a notebook next to your bed? Good. Tomorrow morning, jot down the first thought you have upon waking, whether or not it’s coherent.

Inspires such confidence,

Rare as a huia .


I had seen this design when friend posted hers online. The huia now sadly extinct – or perhaps roaming with the moa in deepest darkest Fiordland  – enshrined on the New Zealand sixpence, now also rare. Here, painstaking cut from the coin and mounted on pounamu, New Zealand greenstone…combined with other thoughts, things on my mind, sleep-addled? @ 0448 this morning…

Seven Wonders

The WordPress Daily Prompt: Khalil Gibran once said that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?

Every once in a while the Doctor Who writers smack the nail fair on the head…

Blink was one episode so clever in its inception and execution; the one word test from The Snowmen another…subtle, challenging, provoking…

Seven words.

In no particular order.








The challenge is not whittling a list down to seven but building it up…I stalled at four (not saying which four) for quite a while.

If eight words were allowed, the eighth might be ‘you’. But ‘you’ becomes redundant…