About SJPONeill

Retired(ish) and living on the side of a mountain. I love reading and writing, pottering around with DIY in the garden and the kitchen, watching movies and building models from plastic and paper...I have two awesome daughters, two awesome grand-daughters and two awesome big dogs...lots of awesomeness around me...

Saving our rescue helicopters

petition

Our communities care!!!

Signatures continue to roll in…read the comments and see how many lives have been touched and changed by this rescue helicopter…

This is one comment from a respected guide, ambulance officer and rescuer:

This helicopter, being based in Taupo means it responds quickly to the Central Plateau area when weather in other areas might prevent other helicopters from reaching this area. It is outfitted and equipped the way it is largely by public donations and suits the environments it operates in, servicing not just remote locations but also the highest altitude highways in the North Island, the two largest commercial ski-fields in New Zealand and the busiest one day hiking track in New Zealand and the largest area Lake in New Zealand.

NZ Mountain Safety Council identifies the Central North Island as an area where the highest number of outdoor activity incidents resulting in injury occur each year.

Most importantly, the intimate knowledge that has been accrued in terms of flying in local mountain weather conditions, the capabilities of the ground teams that the helicopter works with, their resources and team culture will simply not be able to be replicated by a helicopter and crew that is based out of district. This understanding of how people operates goes in both directions, with ground crews needing to train with the helicopter and crew frequently to make rescue and other emergency work go smoothly and safely.

On numerous occasions each year Greenlea Rescue is been one of several attending road crashes and other major incidents, so reducing the number of these resources is creating an unacceptable risk, especially should any of these machines experience any unforseen mechanical issues, having a quick substitute nearby will serve the public to a level that they deserve and expect.

Should an incident occur on our local mountains Greenlea can uplift a ground team and have them at the patient’s side before a Hamilton based machine could even get into the general area. Discontinuing funding for this helicopter and removing it from service will lead to lives being lost.

Local Members of Parliament, district councils, business groups and individual businesses have come out in support of the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter.

Following on from Keep the Taupo Rescue Helicopter and Joining the Rescue Helicopter dots…

On Thursday night, a colleague sent me a copy of the first part of the NASO Request for Tender document for the provision of air ambulance services across New Zealand. Friday, I was working all day on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing and so have only been able to examine this document this morning. Incidentally, while up on the Crossing, yesterday, the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter performed an evacuation of a hiker with a broken ankle.

Here, regardless of whether it is operating in an air ambulance or search and rescue role, we refer to these helicopters as rescue helicopters. We do this because that it what they do, regardless of whether they are operating at the time under and ambulance or search funding stream – the same service receives funding from various government agencies depending on its role at the time.

If yesterday’s broken ankle patient had been injured crossing the street, an ambulance would have been called. In this instance, the ambulance deployed was the Greenlea Rescue helicopter, based in Taupo. Let’s not get wrapped around the axle with semantics.

NASO AA coverage current

This is the original map used by the NZ Herald and included in Thursday’s post. This image is drawn directly from the RFP. The Statement that “…The figure below illustrates the 95 percent coverage from bases that currently provide Services…” is inaccurate. This map purporting to show the bases that currently provide [air ambulance] services omits the bases at Rotorua (229 missions) and Taupo (237 missions) , bases that, according to stats published by the Herald, are busier than the base at Tauranga (203 missions) that IS shown on this map.

This map implies that existing base locations are already capable of providing credible air ambulance services to the Central Plateau. Those of us who live and work here know that’s simply not true. Even if, under the new structure, each of the proposed bases supported multiple aircraft:

the additional flying time is still a factor that cannot be mitigated away.

The crews would still lack the intimate local knowledge that makes our local rescue helicopters so effective.

While our current fight is to retain the rescue helicopter bases at Taupo and Rotorua, it’s probably worthwhile to take a look at some other aspects of the RFP document.

PC1

Performance Class 1 essentially means that a twin engine helicopter can safely land, take-off or continue in flight if it suffers the loss of an engine.

Our current single-engine helicopters operate safely and effectively. Modern single-engine helicopters are not falling out of the sky on a regular basis, here or overseas. If anything, ongoing advances in engine technology are making modern engines more and more reliable – why do you think more modern airliners e.g. Boeing 757, 767, 777 and 787 can safely operate over large bodies of water with only two engines (no spares)?

Could NASO please share the statistics and data that support this call for twin-engined helicopters with no doubt greater capability but commensurately higher operating costs? You can ask NASO for this information here: airambulance@naso.govt.nz It’s interesting to note that of all the agencies contacted since this issue erupted, NASO is the only one to not respond.

The time to have developed a national helicopter fleet was in the mid-2000s when the RNZAF replaced its existing fleet. If government agencies at the time had been able to work together, it is quite possible that a larger fleet of aircraft could have been acquired to meet not only Defence needs but those of Police, SAR and medical services…

two patient cap

How often does a rescue helicopter in New Zealand have to carry two patients? My assumption  would be less commonly than cases where there is only a single patient. More than one patient increases the requirements for clinical crew, especially where a critical patient might require the ongoing attentions of two paramedics.

St John Ambulance is moving to a single stretcher ambulance fleet. Noting that land ambulances are similarly broadly distributed, it is interesting that St John does not perceive a trend for multiple patients per vehicle…

Could NASO please share the statistics and data that support this requirement? Again we can ask them here: airambulance@naso.govt.nz.

One of the objectives for the interim Emergency Air Ambulance Service that this RFP seeks to replace was “…That it is essential that people get the right care, at the right time, in the right place from the right person...” Will NASO still be able to meet this standard, especially in regard to AT THE RIGHT TIME…?

It’s nice that NASO wants to move to a single integrated air ambulance service across New Zealand. Certainly it might make the bureaucracy easier.

But is what we have at the moment really broken? Can we afford a shift to single provider model?

Is there a single provider than can provide this service across the country?

Is this RFP ultimately just blowing in the wind…?

That NASO failed to consult with affected communities is indicative that this RFP may be driven more by efficiency than effectiveness. Surely, as part of developing the requirements for the tender, NASO would need to talk to local communities e.g. councils, Police, SAR, etc to get a feel for the true need? Surely, a savvy government ofice would ensure that affected Members of Parliament were read into the plan before the story broke…?

Something smells…

Joining the Rescue Helicopter dots…

This Ministry of Health image illustrates the 95 percent coverage from bases that currently provide services. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Following on from yesterday’s post on the planned demise of the vital Taupo rescue helicopter service

This image is taken from the NZ Herald story this morning confirming NASO plans to discontinue rescue helicopter services from Taupo and Rotorua. It is credited “This Ministry of Health image illustrates the 95 percent coverage from bases that currently provide services.”

It is misleading, perhaps deliberately so…It implies that this coverage is provided from the bases (red dots) shown on the map but omits the two bases in the central North Island at Taupo and Rotorua. Only the blindest of the blind could not see the bright smudge in the centre of the North Island that represents that Taupo rescue helicopter’s main operating area i.e. Tongariro National Park, Tongariro Forest Park and the Desert Road.

The NASO web page has provides some limited background on its new model for air ambulance services…apparently it will all be wonderful…further information is available on the government tenders page…

NASO.JPG

…but you have to be a registered supplier to actually access the tender documents…so much for open government…

More and more, this reeks of a bureaucrat-driven efficiency plan under the guise of ‘government’…

Rescue helicopters based in Tauranga, Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Hamilton cannot adequately service the Taupo and Ruapehu dependencies as well as their own.

  • They are already busy enough
  • Their response times, assuming availability, are too long.
  • They lack the intimate knowledge of the Ruapehu area that makes the Taupo rescue helicopter so successful.

Any presentation to the contrary is misleading and dishonest. Even if the numbers of helicopters at those more remote base locations are doubled, that does not address the issues of response times and local knowledge.

The Herald reports the following rescue helicopters stats from 2017:

Hamilton – 654
Palmerston North -286
Taupo – 237
Rotorua – 229
Tauranga – 203

Does NASO seriously expect Hamilton, Palmerston North, and Tauranga to absorb another 450+ flights each year…? Seriously…?

Visit the petition page. Read some of the comments. See how many lives have been touched by this vital and proven life-saving service.

When someone dies because there is no rescue helicopter, who carries the can? Not some faceless gnome in NASO, that’s for sure…

Keep the Taupo Rescue Helicopter

The Greenlea rescue helicopter at work on Mt Ruapehu. Photo / Supplied

Image (c) Greenlea rescue Helicopter

It never stops…the National Ambulance Service Office (NASO) is operated by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). We learned this morning that the Taupo rescue helicopter has been excluded from the list of air ambulance services to be provided by NASO from November 2018.  The Rotorua rescue helicopter is, apparently, also off the list.

This means that air ambulance services for the Central North Island will now be dependent on helicopters based in Hamilton, Palmerston North, or New Plymouth; in extreme cases, support may be available on a longer notice to move from 3 Squadron, RNZAF, based at Ohakea.

Even cross-country, and assuming they are not already tasked in their own districts, there response time is considerable longer than that of the Taupo rescue helicopter. The crews of these other helicopters, no matter how capable, lack the same intimate knowledge of this district that enables the Taupo crews to slip in under the weather to pluck off the injured and infirm.

In some cases, this local knowledge means that the Taupo helicopter will be the first responding ‘appliance’ on the scene in isolated areas with challenging road access…often providing the confirmed location that allows those other services to navigate their way to the scene.

I could not count the number of emergency responses that I have been involved in over the four plus years since I started to work here where the Greenlea rescue helicopter has provided critical support and saved lives.

To protect this vital and proven life-saving capability, we need to reshape perceptions in the capital. At the moment, one of the lost effective ways to do this is to contact the Members of Parliament in the affected districts:

Louise Upston is the MP for Taupo

louise.upstonmp@parliament.govt.nz

@LouiseUpston

https://www.facebook.com/louiseupstonmp/

Ian McKelvie is our MP here in the Rangitikei district

ian.mckelvie@parliament.govt.nz

@ianmckelviemp

https://www.facebook.com/IanMcKelvieMP/

Submissions don’t need to be long and certainly not emotional (doesn’t help – trust me!). Keep it simple, something like:

I am writing to you with regard to this article in the Herald http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12025346&ref=twitter yesterday.

It pretty much speaks for itself. It looks like some efficiency-driven initiative that will have a massive impact on the Ruapehu and Taupo districts – I also understand that the intention is to no longer support the Rotorua rescue helicopter as well.

The Taupo rescue helicopter provides and vital and proven life-saving capability in the Ruapehu and Taupo districts. Helicopters from other areas like Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Hamilton are already very busy and their crews lack the intimate local knowledge necessary to operate in and around Tongariro National Park. Gone are the days when we could rely on a timely intervention from a RNZAF Huey, when civilian rescue helicopters are not available or cannot operate due to the weather.

It would be much appreciated if you could express the views of this community to colleagues in the Ministry of Health and Accident Compensation Corporation and promote the retention of this vital resource.

No one else will fight this battle for us. Email, Facebook, Twitter etc all give us the tools to stand up for ourselves. The loss of the Taupo rescue helicopter doesn’t just affect us who live here, it has negative implications for everyone who passes through Ruapehu and Taupo.

Let’s keep this flying…

Edit: Just in from Phillips Search and Rescue Trust, that operates that Greenlea Taupo rescue helicopter:

“Thank you for your expression of support for the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter.

Philips Search and Rescue Trust, operators of the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter, intend to fight to retain the base for the people of, and visitors to, the Taupo and Central Plateau region.

Taupo’s local MP is Louise Upston and you may like to write directly to her in support of retaining the Taupo based rescue helicopter service. As this is a Central Government issue you may also like to write to the Minister for ACC, the Honourable Iain Lees-Galloway.”

There you go, folks, the ball is in your court if this impending loss affects or concerns you…

iain.lees-galloway@parliament.govt.nz

@IainLG

https://www.facebook.com/ileesgalloway/

Garlic Shrimp on cauliflower mash

P80129-224705

A bit fuzzy 😦

Sugar Soil sowed the seed of this recipe a while ago but for some reason – possibly trying to work out the difference between prawn and shrimp – I stumbled across some other similar recipes that I amalgamated…sadly, and I’m normally pretty good at this now, I didn’t note the original sources….

I’m amazed at the broad range of things that we can do with the ever so humble cauliflower – and I need to pre-make a batch of cauliflower buffalo bites for late night munchie attacks – and this one is another quick and easy winner…

Ingredients:

Cauliflower Mash:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups Vegetable Stock

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons of coconut butter

2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary

1/3 cup of vegetarian Parmesan ‘cheese’

Garlic Shrimp:

500 grams of raw shrimp, shelled and de-veined

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 slices bacon

1/3 Cup red wine

1/2 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

 a pinch of dried oregano

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Place the cauliflower florets in a medium sized saucepan with chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and cover, allowing to cook for 15-20 minutes or so, or until the cauliflower is very tender and easily mashed.

Once the cauliflower is tender and cooked through, pour off any excess stock that remains and reserve.

Using a food processor, puree the cauliflower with the coconut oil.

Add the parmesan ‘cheese’, rosemary, salt and pepper and mix well.

If needed, add a drizzle of the reserved broth if the cauliflower is too dense. Set aside.

In a large saute pan, cook the bacon until it’s crispy.

Set the bacon aside on paper towels until cool, then chop into small pieces.  Set aside.

In the bacon drippings, add the onion and cook over medium high heat until softened.

Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano, and saute for about a minute, stirring frequently.  Stir in the red wine.

Cook a minute or two, then add the shrimp.

Cook, stirring frequently to turn the shrimp, until the shrimp are pink and opaque on both sides.

Place the shrimp and sauce over the mashed cauliflower and top with crumbled bacon.

Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh oregano.

It’s pretty hard to go wrong with this one. It makes enough for two decent-size servings with enough of the mash left over for another meal.

P80115-212052

This is the left over mash the following night, with rissoles made from some left-over quorm and a pack of vegetarian mince I bought on a whim from the Taumarunui New World. I mixed the remaining bacon into the mash before I reheated it…

Taps Off – really…?

Chapman water_0001

This attack on the Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade was published in this week’s edition of the Ruapehu Bulletin. It is an apparent response to this notice published by the Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade a fortnight or so ago:

As of today our water delivery price will be going up to a minimum charge of $200 then anything over the 1 hour there will be an extra charge of $25/15 minutes.
We have had to renew our water carrier approval license and also now need to do regular water hygiene checks. With part of the requirement we need to do a yearly audit so now we also have to pay the council for the water, I do want to make it clear that this is not at the council’s request it’s a requirement for our certification.
We are no longer allowed to deliver water with the same truck that was used for fire service duties so as a brigade we still wanted to maintain servicing the community in both water deliveries and fire fighting capabilities so we purchased another tanker at a huge cost to the brigade.
This is still a voluntary and non profit making service with continued running costs rising we have been forced into these changes. Any outstanding invoices owed to the brigade you have 2 weeks to clear on old pricing then from the 1st March you will be charged the new rates.
Regards
CFO Keith Watson

The Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade is as its name suggests, and like all the other fire brigades in the Ruapehu District, a volunteer fire brigade. That means that all its members freely give of their own time to provide this essential service within our communities. This commitment comes at the cost of significant disruption to personal and professional lives, is not without frequent physical risk, and comes with the sole reward of a job well done.

On top of its significant commitment to maintaining (it’s not all riding on a fire engine under lights and siren: there’s a major training requirement for all members as well) and delivering an excellent firefighting capability in Ohakune and the broader Ruapehu District, the Ohakune Brigade voluntarily provides a water delivery service in the community. The only payment sought for this service is to cover the direct costs of compliance, certification and delivery: there is no profit margin and no person gets any financial reward for providing this service.

Just a little sidenote on the Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade’s tanker capability. This is community-funded i.e. the Ohakune community raised the funds for these tankers themselves. In addition to providing a great capability to Ohakune firefighting operations, the new 18,000 litre tanker (18,000 litres is about 9 times what a normal fire engine carries onboard) provides a reliable water supply for firefighting in areas not supported by mains water supplies and where there may not be an available alternate water source like a stream or water tanks.

14563427_542220202651800_3545440428665085669_n.jpg

18,000 litres of water on the hoof (c) Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade

To be this into a local context, while the main water supply in National Park Village is being repaired this week, there will be insufficient guaranteed mains pressure for firefighting in the Village. To ensure a viable water supply during this period, the big Ohakune water tanker will be ‘attached’ to any major firefighting callouts in the Village.

Chief Fire Officers are busy people. They have to:

maintain the same skills as their firefighters.

be prepared, at the beep of a pager, to deal with a range of contingencies including flooding, fallen trees, detaching roofs, assistance to ambulance, motor vehicle accidents, hazsubs spills and leaks, and  a whole raft of different firefighting challenges.

be on top of all the administration required to make a fire brigade function.

do all this without pay or reward beyond the knowledge of a job well done.

Chief Fire Officers have better things to do than endure and respond to vexatious and petty attacks from the likes of John Chapman.

John Chapman signed his letter as a member of the National Park Community Board. I have spoken with members of the National Park Community Board and at no time have any concerns regarding the water delivery service provided by the Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade been raised with the Board, let alone discussed at a Board meeting or progressed to a resolution of any form. I would think if the National Park Community Board was going to adopt any resolution regarding this service it would be one of support and appreciation.

Certainly, support and appreciation has been the unanimous and common theme amongst members of the National Park community since Mr Chapman’s letter was published.

It’s unlikely but perhaps some members of John Chapman’s own community in the Waimarino-Waiouru ward have some concerns about the increases in water delivery costs. This is something that they would need to raise with the Waimarino-Waiouru Community Board, a group quite capable of managing local issues within their own ward. Not only is in appropriate for John Chapman to (ab)use his position on the National Park Community Board to launch an attack on a matter in another ward, his actions implies that Community Board in that ward is unable to function without Mr Chapman’s input. That is most definitely not the case.

comment

This from comments on the letter on Facebook. John Chapman, it would appear, is actually a local firefighter himself, rural, I believe. One can imagine that his brigade’s next training session may be somewhat ‘interesting’, the conversation potentially robust…

This is not the first time that John Chapman has (ab)used his position as a community board member to launch petty attacks against local community members. Last year he conducted a campaign against the Chair of the National Park Community Board because she would not bow down before his (allegedly) superior political experience. His motion of no confidence in the Chair was soundly defeated with community members speaking on behalf of the Chair and acknowledging her long commitment and contributions to the community.

More recently, John Chapman took advantage of his position on the National Park Community Board to read out an interminable personal statement relating to his vendetta against anti-1080 signage at Waikune. This related to provocative statements he had made on the National Park Community Facebook page – this purports to be representative of the community but is really just another soapbox for John Chapman – which had resulted in some backlash from the community. His actions on this page are totally independent of his membership of the National Park Community Board and Mr Chapman needs to learn that actions have consequences and that the Community Board is not there to act as a shield when his actions generate consequences. The targets of this vendetta attended this meeting and it is a credit to them that they calmly opted to not rise to his provocation, leaving him alone in the mud.

Perhaps it’s time for Mr Chapman to consider whether he truly does represent the community of the National Park ward. If he hopes to do more for the community, then he needs to reconsider his game plan. If he hopes to use his Community Board activities as a springboard for higher office, he should realise that his current conduct is unlikely to endear him to the voting public.

If John Chapman thinks community board membership is just about lashing out at those who dare to disagree with him, maybe he needs to stand down and seek such solace in some overseas socialist nirvana…

 

 

 

“I don’t know”

I-Dont-Know

via The Wisdom of Saying “I Don’t Know” | On Being

The Wisdom of Saying “I Don’t Know”

I was recently reading a book about a medieval saint. Every day, people came to ask the saint questions about life, the world, faith, the heart, the path, politics, and more.

One person came and asked a question about the law. The saint simply answered, “I don’t know.” Another had a philosophical question. The saint, again answered, “I don’t know.” All in all, 29 people came and asked questions. To each and every one the saint answered, “I don’t know.” It was when the 30th person asked a question that the saint said: “Oh, I have something to answer about this one.”

One out of 30. The rest of the time, the saint realised that silence was an improvement over words.

Many many years ago, when I first stumbled into the world of knowledge management, lessons learned, best practice knowledge transfer, rah, rah, rah, I subscribed to a lot of feed and pages and sites. The sole survivor of all of these is David Gurteen Knowledge Letter. Monthly, it drops into my inbox and I have a quick scan…some months, I can just flick it off, others there will be a little nugget that strikes a chord…such was the case this morning…

idontknowgurteen

That lead me to Omar Safi’s blog post on saying “I don’t know“, the opening paragraphs of which are quoted above…sometimes strength is not in knowledge but in ignorance; strength is being able to say “I don’t know“, strength is not feeling that internal pressures or external influences are compelling you to provide a response when the honest answer is “I don’t know“.

In searching for an appropriate image to open this post, I found the “I don’t Know” post on the Friday Food for Thought blog which also gelled with my thoughts and the ‘Inkling theme of today’s WordPress Daily Prompt…basically, if you haven’t an inkling that just shut up…

No one expects everyone to know everything. In most case, people respect more someone who can say “I don’t know” instead of presenting ignorance as knowledge. this is particularly true here in the way we manage our visitors, domestic and international.

Tongariro National Park is probably one of the most accessible national parks in the world. It is only a four to five hour drive from the international terminals in Auckland and Wellington: you can land in New Zealand and be in the Park in less than five hours. And on the rescue helicopter thirty minutes later. OK, that’s an extreme example but it’s happened. Because it is so easy to get to the Park, sandwiched between four state highways (1, 4, 47, 49), visitors often do not naturally feel that it offers a great deal of risk, compared to expeditions in the south of the South Island where you definitely feel that you are leaving the safety and security of civilisation behind you.

Visitors ask for information. They seek it from websites and via email before they leave home; they seek it over the counter and by phone once they are here. They ask in Visitor Centres and i-Sites – credible sources of information – but also in accommodation, in bares and in restaurants, where they person they are asking may not have been here much longer them, or have much more knowledge than them – but can still respond with a misplaced aura of confidence. They may not know at all, they may think they know, they may be simply regurgitating something they heard, they may just want you to go way. If they don’t know, they should say “I don’t know“.

And if you’re in the information game, be prepared to offer the same advice “I don’t know”. You may be able to to steer them towards a source that may be able to assist, you may just have to leave them to consider their own options, lacking the information they seek. Then their actions are their responsibility. Once you offer information, you (and your organisation if you’re at work) become part of that responsibility chain…like it or not…

There’s little helping someone who doesn’t ask for advice but those who do should be assured of either getting a credible accurate and relevant response to their inquiry, or be told “I don’t know“. Consider perhaps the example of Suzannah Gilford, who was rescued of Mount Ruapehu just before Christmas last year. Her account of her experience is well-written and a good read. Inspired to ascend Mount Ruapehu, still carrying an icy cap, she did seek information to support her decision-making…

Arriving in Whakapapa Village, I received mixed advice on climbing Mt Ruapehu… “You need an ice axe and crampons…”, “Sorry no guided tours yet, but there will be in 2 years time…”, “The mountain is sacred so we’re asking people not to go to the crater…”, but encouragingly the lady at the foot of the mountain explained, “You can go wherever you like… there are no signs yet, but everyone just makes their own paths in the snow.” She couldn’t advise how bad the snow was, nor how long it would take to reach the crater, and had no maps to sell, but suggested people were up there trekking and I couldn’t wait to see for myself!

One systemic informational failure after another. Pretty much every one of those statements was incorrect at the time (the ice cap is now substantially reduced). Locals are quick to apportion 100% of responsibility for rescues on those needing to be rescued but here is a smart young lady who knew what she didn’t know, who asked the questions and received in return a bewildering mishmash of inaccurate information. Who cares whether it was the DOC Visitor Centre or the Ruapehu District Council i-SITE, that she visited? Whoever she spoke to, if they could not respond credibly and authoritatively, just had to say “I don’t know

One would like to think that both parent organisations have a regularly reviewed FAQ for such every day questions in and around Tongariro National Park; a document that protects the individual, the visitor and the organisation. In the absence of such, a simple “I don’t know” may have been the safer option for Suzannah and the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation (RARO) rescue team that assisted her off the mountain…

It’s not quite as simple as the some would have us believe “…try as I may I could never explain, what I hear when you don’t say a thing…”

Sometimes you just have to say “I don’t know“…

Green Take 2

via WordPress Daily Prompt Jolly

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

P71218-223108.jpg

A second take on green, revisiting no-cheese cheesecake #4, Nadia Lim’s avacado, lime and coconut ‘cheese’cake

I’ve pretty perfected my no-bake cheesecake base, adapted from this blueberry and beetroot cheesecake:

1 1/2 cups of coconut almond meal leftover from homemade almond coconut ‘milk’ production. You could make the meal directly by blending a cup each of raw almond and coconut flakes.

3/4 of a cup of dates, chopped, optional to top up to a cup with raisins

1 tablespoon of coconut oil, melted to a liquid

A pinch of salt

Next:

Put the meal in the food processor and blend, slowly adding the dates until the mix turns a deeper brown as the oils mix with the meal.

Add the coconut oil and salt and blend.

Pour the base mix into a prepared (I use a baking paper base) springform baking pan.

The topping is dead easy. You’ll need:

5 medium firm ripe avocados

1 cup of lime juice (I use the bottled stuff as the limes up here are poor dry things with hardly any juice

a pinch of salt

1 cup of coconut cream (I skimped as I only had a 150ml can)

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1/2 a cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of vanilla sugar (I have this big jar of it that I Hardly use because it’s , like, y’know, sugar)

2 tablespoons of gelatin (actually used closed to 1 1/2 as the box wasn’t quite as full it it made out)

2 tablespoons of cold water

3 tablespoons of boiling water

Then:

Place all the ingredients, except the gelatin and water, in the food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Mix the gelatin powder with cold water and leave it to swell for a few minutes. Add the boiling water and mix well to completely dissolve the gelatin (make sure there are no little lumps!).

Add the dissolved gelatin mixture to the food processor and blend with the avocado mixture until it’s all very smooth.

Without too much mussing around, pour the topping mix into the springform pan and spread into an even layer. If you muss around too much, the topping will strat to set in the food processor.

Place the pan in the fridge for a couple of hours until ready to serve.

Nadia Lim recommends a berry coulis to go withe ‘cheese’cake. I made one by blending a mix of strawberries (tis the season), blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I’m not particularly sold on this as it is a tart topping on an already quite tart ‘cheese’cake – I think cream, whipped or straight, and vanilla ice cream make for a better accompaniment for this…

This is a very simple and very fast ‘cheese’cake to knock up. Depending on the availability of avocados, it may be a bit pricey…not tested but the original recipe says it can be frozen so there is scope to knock a few up when ‘cados are cheaper and freeze them til later in the year…

Jolly Green

via WordPress Daily Prompt Jolly

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Jolly, especially at this time of year invaribaly invokes themes of red, usually a large gentleman with a flowing beard, red suit and a predilection for exotic pets…

A long time ago, in a country far far away, jolly was green, the Jolly Green Giant that came from afar to rescue downed airman, often deep into bad guy territory…

DSCF2751DSCF2755DSCF2764

Evolving from the Jolly Grren Giant HH-3 to the Super Jolly Green Giant HH-53, and then into the SPECOPS MH-53 PAVE LOW

DSCF3056DSCF3058DSCF3063DSCF3070

Heavily armed, but lightly armoured, relying heavily other aircraft to suppress enemy fire, Jolly Greens would push into unfriendly skies to locate and recover downed airman, many who were seriously wounded.

These operations would often involves dozens of aircraft….rescue helicopters, fighters and attack aircraft, tanker, command and control aircraft…and it was not unusual for one rescue to turn into another…

Leave no one behind…

Serene | The Daily Post

This week, share a photo that represents your take on “serene.” From landscapes to portraits (sleepy cats, anyone?) to a pleasantly abstract wallpaper pattern, any and all interpretations are welcome…via Serene | The Daily Post

Purakanui 037-001

Purakanui

Te Waitere 055

Te Waitere

Mt Tongariro Summit Back Route April 2016-016

Mount Ngauruhoe

Tupapakurua Falls April 2016-023

Tupapakurua Falls

P70714-123835

Raurimu Chalet

Bush Walk 014

Stewart Island

Is almond milk a healthy option?

via Niki Bezzant: Is almond milk a healthy option? – NZ Herald

This article in the NZ Herald purports to challenge almond milk as a healthy food option but does it really?

The first point it makes is not health-related at all. Ok, so almond, soy, coconut etc etc etc milks are not really milks in the strictest biologic sense…even though we tend to use them in much the same way and these not-milks are probably healthy that the lightest of lite milks that have had most of the goodness scrubbed out of them. That bastion of common sense, the EU,  has said that “…plant-based products can no longer be sold…using terms such as milk, butter and cheese…” Think about that as you spread ETA peanut no-longer-really-butter on your toast in the morning, or as you explain to your kids that the PC Police require to now ask for peanut not-butter and jelly sandwiches…

calcium.JPG“…we could be misled into believing almond milk is as good as cow’s milk, from a nutrition point of view..” Or we might not be…the only concern really raised here is the low hanging fruit of calcium content, or more correctly, the red herring of calcium content. A balanced diet will include other sources of calcium like:

1) Raw Milk
1 cup: 300 mg (30% DV)

2) Kale (cooked)
1 cup: 245 mg (24% DV)

3) Sardines (with bones)
2 ounces: 217 mg (21% DV)

4) Yogurt or Kefir
6 oz: 300 mg (30% DV)

5) Broccoli
1 ½ cup cooked: 93 mg (9% DV)

6) Watercress
1 cup: 41 mg (4% DV)

7) Cheese
1 oz: 224 mg (22% DV)

8) Bok Choy
1 cup:74 mg (7% DV)

9) Okra
1 cup: 82 mg (8% DV)

10) Almonds
1 oz: 76 mg (8% DV)

The Herald, and the Healthy Food Guide staff writing for it, might be more concerned about the low health value of commercial almond milk and promoting homemade almond milk as a simple alternative. It is so easy to make, with far higher almond content, that healthy shoppers should be avoiding the commercial tetrapaks and stampeding the nuts shelves. I usually buy my raw almonds from Bin Inn in Taupo as they often have them on special or, for bulk, check to see if Penelope @ Happy and Healthy has any deals on…

The other advantage of DIY almond (or other nut-based) milk is that you have all the leftover meal with which you can do wondrous things including bliss balls, cheesecake bases, cookies etc. I toss a cup into my muesli when I’m making a fresh batch and also use it in lieu of bran flakes for wholemeal bread.

The environmental concerns raised in the ‘article’ are also not health-related. Water (mis)management issues in California are related to far more complex matters than the growth of almonds. Again another, red herring under the guise of a health issue. If this really concerns you, then buy Aussie almonds but – not mentioned in the article – parts of Australia also experience similar water management challenges so the PC brigade may wish to check first so that they can purchase conscience-free.

The ‘article is also quite biased in that it does not discuss any of the potentially unhealthy aspects of dairy food – one might wonder who paid for this ‘article’? In a society apparently so concerned about national levels of obesity, it doesn’t hurt to cut back on dairy intake. That was a tip I was given was back in the 90s but only tried a couple of years ago at the beginning of my green journey . Dropping my dairy consumption right back was the biggest factor allowing me to lose 20kg in 3 months without any great effort. Reducing ‘whites’ (white sugar, rice, bread, etc) and reducing the number of processing stages between the raw material and the final product were just supporting acts…

I’m not entirely ‘off’ dairy. I’ll occasionally have an ice cream or make a milk-based coffee at work and am happy to use cream in recipes where there is no practical green alternative. But everything in its place. Now, if I have dairy products too often, I just feel bloated and yuk…I have a balanced diet and so am not lacking any of the good things that come with dairy…

It annoys me that the NZ Herald and Healthy Food Guide continue to punt out this one-sided propaganda under the guise of health news. The facts are that if you don’t want milk/dairy and you have a balanced diet, then give the cow a miss…