We did this!!

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“Let’s do this!” was the slogan for the New Zealand Labour Party as it headed into the 2017 election.

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That changed to “We did this!” last night when party leader Jacinda Ardern announced the successful negotiation of a coalition alliance with the Green Party and New Zealand First, nudging out the National Party. National had only to reach agreement with other party to secure the clear majority needed to form a government. After weeks of negotiation, it proved unable to do so.

Simply, it is time for change. National may have still secured a record fourth term in office but in the end it was probably let down by the behaviour of some of its members and supporters. New Zealand was just tired of the arrogant conduct of those members, and for many the smear campaigns of the election were the final straw.

What made the outcome more interesting was that New Zealand couldn’t decide who it was to take the reins:

A. Labour

B. The Green Party

C. New Zealand First

D. All of the above

Last night we got D, All of the above.

Many lament that one party with only seven seats was able to wield the balance of power like a blunt instrument but, sorry, that’s how MMP works. In the end, as trite as it sounds, it is about consensus and working together – because it will only work that way.

As we have found increasingly since the end of the Cold War and the (for better or worse) resurgence of the UN, coalitions have become the norm. No long does one power get to wield its will without fear of dissent or opposition. Sharing, cooperation and liaison are all core functions of effective coalition. So is compromise.

There are interesting times and big challenges ahead. National did sterling work rebuilding after the big earthquakes of 2011 and 2016 but is free rein to big business has left us with some uneasy alliances.

Who knows what change will come? But come it will, it has…and for these little green dots in the middle of the big blue thing at the bottom of the globe, that’s not a bad thing…

It’s not time to get on with the job. For many there will be the temptation to follow the lead from some in the US and continue to protest the legal result of this election, to start their own little ‘we resist’ campaigns…

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…if you need to, take two teaspoons and harden up…but we don’t need any of the same style media-driven division and conflict the media shows us in the contemporary US…

Respecting the Maunga

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The Manawatu Standard has commented on DOC’s plans for the Tongariro National park this summer…(PDF)

First up, Stuff.co.nz, it’s not a two hour plod and that comment itself is disrespectful: it’s a proper climb in an environment that is nor forgiving. Mt Ngauruhoe deserves respect for that alone.

Secondly, referring to Mt Ngauruhoe as Mt Doom is equally disrespectful; more so when the request not to use this reference is a specific part of this summer’s campaign.

Thirdly, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is not a “…20-kilometre journey along one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks...” The TAC is not actually one of the nine Great Walks at all, although it shares part of the trail with the Tongariro Northern Circuit – which is one of the nine Great Walks.

I mean, really…? Did you even think about this before publishing it…? Even after the scorchings you have had for similar errors in the past..?

Mt Ngauruhoe, as with the two other summits, should be respected for its cultural significance. Some days it looks like an ant’s nest with unprepared visitors swarming over the north face. Just because they aren’t man-made structures (like pick a famous church) goes not mean they are worthy of any less respect.

People will still climb them – that genie is long out of the bottle – and the challenge now is to shape their behaviour towards one of greater respect. Being safe is part of that respectful behaviour: there is a risk in placing rangers to discourage visitors from the most popular route up the north face. This is an action that DOC specifically stated it would not take at the public meeting on this issue in Whakapapa two weeks ago.

That risk is that, by discouraging people from the most popular and safest route up the lave ridge on the north face, DOC will be encouraging them to select other routes. These other routes won’t be, for the average visitor, as safe as the north face route. In addition, the concentration of most climbers on the north face means that the very clear start point for search and rescue operations on Mt Ngauruhoe may no longer exist and that visitors in distress may be on any one of a number of less safe alternative routes.

Concentrating visitors on to one route or area also minimise the visitor impact on other areas of each mountain. That impact is not just the literal impact of pairs of feet, but of human waste (ewwww), rubbish, lost gear, and walking poles (each pole is like another foot striking the delicate volcanic surface).

The situation is aggravated by publications like Wilderness Magazine advocating alternative routes without differentiating them by risk or difficulty level, or information centres, with the best of intentions but perhaps not the best knowledge, recommending routes based on what’s looks OK on a map, or second-hand invalidated information from other visitors.

In a perfect work, we could all sit back and enjoy Tongariro and Ngauruhoe from afar, respecting their significance to local communities. But we’ve over-hyped and -marketed the Tongariro Alpine Crossing for decades – and all involved need to share responsibility for this. We need to look to the future though – leave the past behind – and consider how we ALL can best play our “…guardian role in protecting not only Tongariro and his peaks, but also the safety and wellbeing of visitors to the region…?

This will only work if we do this together…

…to sow the seed of visitor expectation as soon as there is the faintest glow in the light bulb of “Let’s go Tongariro

…to must be consistent on our messaging and at time put aside, direct personal benefit…

…to make visitors feel welcome and safe…and informed…

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#westisbest

Slow Cooked Red Wine Mushroom Soup

Another Jen Rice creation…I saw this one in my feed a few weeks and read enough to include the makings in my next supermarket shop. Since, it’s just been a case of waiting for a day off as I get dinner supplied at work now – I have a decent breakfast and don’t usually make a bid deal about lunch so other opportunities are a little lacking…

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The soup I made following the recipe…it’s very simple and would be tough to get wrong. I’m kinda over having bread as my only side for soup meals so cast the Google net to see what alternatives I could find.

I found mention of using vege burgers as a side to soups and that reminded me of  this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie . The only change I made was to sub kidney beans for the pinto beans and to dribble my last remnants of block cheese over the top – wasn’t very much so it looks a littler snotty…sorry… I also referred to this site for some tips on cooking quinoa

The recipe make about a dozen of the ‘biscuits’. I though that I would dip them as I would with bread but this soup isn’t thick enough for decent dipping. I ate them as a side: quite tasty and very filling…worked well with the soup which is very rich, tasty and filling.

A simple, tasty dinner with the only time-consuming aspect being the slow cooker phase of the soup…add in a few chunks of beef and this would be an even chunkier soup or the makings of an equally fine stew…

 

MHAW Photo-a-day Challenge – Oct. 15 – Nature is key to…

…health…but what sort of image depicts health…?

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The Challenge

Mental Health Awareness Week in New Zealand is 9-15 October this year. Each year, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand runs and sponsors a number of awareness activities.

The MHAW Photo Challenge runs from 1-15 October  Each day participants post an image that is their take on that day’s theme:

Oct. 1 – My view
Oct. 2 – Gratitude
Oct. 3 – Light
Oct. 4 – Water
Oct. 5 – Small treasures
Oct. 6 – Nature indoors
Oct. 7 – Bush walk
Oct. 8 – Art
Oct. 9 – Pop of colour
Oct. 10 – MHAW Lockout
Oct. 11 – Papatūānuku (Mother Earth)
Oct. 12 – Creature
Oct. 13 – Spring
Oct. 14 – Love my backyard
Oct. 15 – Nature is key to…

#MHAWNZ

MHAW Photo-a-day Challenge – Oct. 14 – Love my backyard

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Now this is more like Spring!!! Birds singing, flowers blossoming, blue skies, stream roaring after all the rain……

…and looking good up on the hill…

Te Heuheu Valley

(my other backyard)

The Challenge

Mental Health Awareness Week in New Zealand is 9-15 October this year. Each year, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand runs and sponsors a number of awareness activities.

The MHAW Photo Challenge runs from 1-15 October  Each day participants post an image that is their take on that day’s theme:

Oct. 1 – My view
Oct. 2 – Gratitude
Oct. 3 – Light
Oct. 4 – Water
Oct. 5 – Small treasures
Oct. 6 – Nature indoors
Oct. 7 – Bush walk
Oct. 8 – Art
Oct. 9 – Pop of colour
Oct. 10 – MHAW Lockout
Oct. 11 – Papatūānuku (Mother Earth)
Oct. 12 – Creature
Oct. 13 – Spring
Oct. 14 – Love my backyard
Oct. 15 – Nature is key to…

#MHAWNZ

MHAW Photo-a-day Challenge – Oct. 13 – Spring

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Not very “springy”…cold and wet…not much interest for anyone in doing much outdoors today…stay in and be warm…sadly the beginning of the last weekend of the school holidays…

After 14 road deaths in the last fortnight, with this weather, people will be taking the discretion option and heading away a little earlier, avoiding the logjam of Saturday and Sunday…

The Challenge

Mental Health Awareness Week in New Zealand is 9-15 October this year. Each year, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand runs and sponsors a number of awareness activities.

The MHAW Photo Challenge runs from 1-15 October  Each day participants post an image that is their take on that day’s theme:

Oct. 1 – My view
Oct. 2 – Gratitude
Oct. 3 – Light
Oct. 4 – Water
Oct. 5 – Small treasures
Oct. 6 – Nature indoors
Oct. 7 – Bush walk
Oct. 8 – Art
Oct. 9 – Pop of colour
Oct. 10 – MHAW Lockout
Oct. 11 – Papatūānuku (Mother Earth)
Oct. 12 – Creature
Oct. 13 – Spring
Oct. 14 – Love my backyard
Oct. 15 – Nature is key to…

#MHAWNZ

Sautéed Honey Mustard Cabbage

This sautéed honey mustard cabbage bowl is a perfect detox breakfast, lunch or dinner. Cabbage is not only insanely good for you but it simply tastes amazing as well.

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Another winner from Jen Rice’s Sugar Soil stable…I’ve included the whole recipe here because I’ve had trouble getting it to show on the Sugar Soil site…very simple, very fast, very yum…

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of apple cider

1 tablespoon of mustard

3 tablespoon of olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons of honey

1/2 head of cabbage chopped into bite-size pieces.

An onion chopped

One large egg

One avocado diced

Directions

Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1 tablespoon olive oil, honey and apple cider together and set aside.

Over a medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the cabbage and the onion to a skillet and sauté for 5 minutes.

Pour the mustard sauce over the cabbage and mix well, turning the heat to low and cook for about 5-7 more minutes.

While you are cooking the cabbage, fry or poach your egg in another pan.

Place the sautéed cabbage in a bowl with the egg and avocado on top.

Easy as an easy thing…reversing the quantities of honey and mustard will give you the same less sweet and with more of a mustard ‘bite’…

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Yesterday’s leftovers on black rice that I soaked overnight before cooking this morning…I used a very small pan to poach the egg and then realised that I don’t have a scoop small enough to  slide the egg from the pan…hence the semi-deconstructed look…

Of the two variations, I think I prefer the more mustardy version with rice: cabbage, mustard and honey for flavour, avocado of textural contrast and the rice for bulk.

As I type, I notice that I forgot to do the avocado this morning…a mission now for whatever tomorrow’s breakfast will be…

MHAW Photo-a-day Challenge – Oct. 12 – Creature

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Token creature…first one I saw in the image archives…

Been a long but satisfying day…

Louie and Kala went for their first ride sharing the back of the truck together with no major arguments – OK it was just to Lower Raurimu and back – so that’s an important milestone out of the way…

Picked up an old deck chair to restore – hence the visit to Lower Raurimu…

Learned how to make onion rings on an industrial scale…

Was a creature of habit in opting for fish’n’chips for dinner when i had the whole menu to choose from and there are still things I haven’t tried yet…

Was reminded not to pass up the opportunity off a meal when it’s quiet because quiet may not last…

Enjoying this hospitality gig…great to be busy and learning again…

…and there goes the (old) neighbourhood…

Very disappointed to see this poor reporting in the ODT “Clamp deadline for Tongariro hikers“:

1. “Hikers will have only four hours to do the 19km trail” Wrong! The 4 hour time limit for parking is to allow visitor to the park to do some of the shorter walks from Mangatepopo car park. In addition, any intimation that the Crossing is doable in 4 hours is simply irresponsible – yes, I saw the note about the normal times – first responders up here do enough rescues of people who can’t get their timing right already.

2. “Hikers can alternatively park at the Mangatepopo car park and then pay for a shuttle to the start” Mangatepopo IS the start of the Alpine Crossing.

3. “…at a cost of $30 per adult and $25 per child….” Where did these figures come from? The cost per adult ranges from $25-40; children less than 10-12 years old are not encouraged on the Crossing and so many operators do not have child prices. At a guess, this ‘reporter’ has only looked at one site and concluded they didn’t need to look further.

While this initiative is years overdue, it would have been more effective if DOC had not waited until only a couple of weeks before Labour Weekend, the typical start of summer walking, the weather notwithstanding, when many operators have already printed their brochures and accepted advanced bookings.

Visitors are encouraged to catch the buses that will be running from National Park Village every day that the weather permits.

Visitors are also asked to consider starting later in the day to avoid the traditional bubble of people that start the walk between 6 and 9AM. When the weather is good, the Crossing can be started at midday and completed by 8PM with a couple of hours of daylight left (take a torch in case you miscalculate) and if you have made arrangements to be picked up from the finish at Ketetahi.

#westisbest #getthebus #gettheapp  http://www.tongariroalpinecrossingapp.com/

The Challenge

Mental Health Awareness Week in New Zealand is 9-15 October this year. Each year, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand runs and sponsors a number of awareness activities.

The MHAW Photo Challenge runs from 1-15 October  Each day participants post an image that is their take on that day’s theme:

Oct. 1 – My view
Oct. 2 – Gratitude
Oct. 3 – Light
Oct. 4 – Water
Oct. 5 – Small treasures
Oct. 6 – Nature indoors
Oct. 7 – Bush walk
Oct. 8 – Art
Oct. 9 – Pop of colour
Oct. 10 – MHAW Lockout
Oct. 11 – Papatūānuku (Mother Earth)
Oct. 12 – Creature
Oct. 13 – Spring
Oct. 14 – Love my backyard
Oct. 15 – Nature is key to…

#MHAWNZ

MHAW Photo-a-day Challenge – Oct. 11 – Papatūānuku (Mother Earth)

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Morning….the start of the day…the start of life…and light as the darkness lifts…Mother Earth awakens…

The Challenge

Mental Health Awareness Week in New Zealand is 9-15 October this year. Each year, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand runs and sponsors a number of awareness activities.

The MHAW Photo Challenge runs from 1-15 October  Each day participants post an image that is their take on that day’s theme:

Oct. 1 – My view
Oct. 2 – Gratitude
Oct. 3 – Light
Oct. 4 – Water
Oct. 5 – Small treasures
Oct. 6 – Nature indoors
Oct. 7 – Bush walk
Oct. 8 – Art
Oct. 9 – Pop of colour
Oct. 10 – MHAW Lockout
Oct. 11 – Papatūānuku (Mother Earth)
Oct. 12 – Creature
Oct. 13 – Spring
Oct. 14 – Love my backyard
Oct. 15 – Nature is key to…

#MHAWNZ

MHAW Photo-a-day Challenge – Oct. 10 – MHAW Lockout

What’s the MHAW Lock-out?

The MHAW Lockout is returning for a second year! On World Mental Health Day (Tuesday, 10 October), we’re encouraging employers across New Zealand to lock their staff out of the office for an hour and give them the opportunity to connect with the ordinary nature around their workplace.

From 12–1pm, Kiwis will head outside and discover how happiness and wellbeing blooms when you start to connect with the nature that surrounds you every day.

Mega-fail today…well, I certainly wasn’t in the office as had been my plan for most of the day…between 12 and 1PM I was crawling through the interminable road works between Hamilton and Auckland, delivering a load of wine to an Auckland customer…didn’t even think to take any pix as I crawled…

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Not quite ‘locked out’ but here’s Kala with her bone the other day…until now she’s always been an outside dog – even though bones aren’t allowed inside, bigger smarter dogs brings their bones on to the deck under cover…she’s quite happy sititng out in the rain, gnawing away…

The Challenge

Mental Health Awareness Week in New Zealand is 9-15 October this year. Each year, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand runs and sponsors a number of awareness activities.

The MHAW Photo Challenge runs from 1-15 October  Each day participants post an image that is their take on that day’s theme:

Oct. 1 – My view
Oct. 2 – Gratitude
Oct. 3 – Light
Oct. 4 – Water
Oct. 5 – Small treasures
Oct. 6 – Nature indoors
Oct. 7 – Bush walk
Oct. 8 – Art
Oct. 9 – Pop of colour
Oct. 10 – MHAW Lockout
Oct. 11 – Papatūānuku (Mother Earth)
Oct. 12 – Creature
Oct. 13 – Spring
Oct. 14 – Love my backyard
Oct. 15 – Nature is key to…

#MHAWNZ

Edit: definitely LOCKED OUT…last thing I need is puriri inside with two hyper-active Rottweilers in hot pursuit…

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