Object | The Daily Post

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

Source: Object | The Daily Post

Draw a picture of a chair by looking at a real chair not a photograph. ~Pre-instruction drawings; Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain; Betty Edwards

I had thought the original task was to draw a picture of any object by looking at it but it was 1999 that I started this so I may be excused for a minor memory lapse. This was the period that I was working closely with Wingnut Films and the Lord of the Rings crew and my uber-latent arty side was being nudged daily. Drawing and screen-writing were the two main areas in which I took an interest up to the day that people started flying planes into buildings…

Being much more comfortable with writing and story-telling, these became my comfort zone and while my interest in drawing remained, my discipline for the exercises waned. I unearthed my drawing pad recently during a clean-out and then, only a week or so, stumbled across the subject of one of those early exercises.


Wow…seventeen years ago…so much water under the bridge since then…I’m quite keen on restarting this programme…it’s all based on the book so no enrolments or administration necessary just some willpower and motivation…



This is the original on which the drawing is based. It has some history.

Until July 1989, this chair was occupied by the Officer Commanding, Charlie Company, the First Battalion, the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, or, in military shorthand, OC C Coy, 1 RNZIR. From this seat, that individual dispensed justice, ‘offered’ guidance to young officers, and oversaw with ruthless scrutiny, the development and training of a hundred or so lean and keen infantry soldiers.

Near the end of 1987, the New Zealand Government decided it was time for its own version of ‘nothing east of Suez’, announcing that the New Zealand force based in Singapore, aka NZFORSEA, would be withdrawn to New Zealand by the end of 1989. This was called OP(eration) KUPE.

The force in Singapore was a legacy of the Commonwealth intervention into Malaya in the 1950s, Borneo in the 1960s and, for Australia and New Zealand, Vietnam. For over three decades, in various incarnations, it had contributed to the secure and stable development of the states of Malaysia and Singapore: rightly or wrongly, the Government felt it was now time to for New Zealand to focus more closely on its immediate South Pacific neighbourhood. Perhaps lost in the political mix, were the second and third order effects of our presence in Singapore, particularly in providing access to prime jungle training areas in Malaysia, and opportunities for young New Zealanders to experience and mature in a foreign culture.

While we didn’t quite get to the stage of pushing helicopters off aircraft carriers – all our helicopters were safely repatriated to serve faithfully for another quarter century…

ABCA Executive Council visit to ATG 001

Still going strong in 2005…finally retired in 2015…

…many items deemed non-essential were fated to remain in Singapore, many destined for the ignominious end of the rubbish fires…


Burning off pre-RTNZ rubbish

When a whisper on the rumour advised that the company office furniture was due to be hauled away to the tip, there was competition to secure anything worth securing for repatriation as personal effects. the only time I have moved faster was when Trevor Sexton chased me down the final leg of the Burnham fitness circuit threatening to do me an impropriety with his pacestick if I didn’t pick up the pace – that was the first and only time I ever broke nine minutes on the required fitness test 2.4km run.

I seized possession of the chair seconds before company clerk, Steve Carrick, burst into the office, much miffed at missing out. I should point out, in all fairness, that, as company clerk, he already had a pretty nice chair in his own office; as a private rifleman, my issued seating was a camouflaged foot-square piece of rubber thermal mat used in the field.

The OC’s chair served me well through various roles and homes in Palmerston North, Linton, Trentham and Wellington…


The chair of power in front of the mighty Amiga 500

…but got misplaced in a house move over a decade ago. It has clearly seen better days but I was rapt to find it clearing out a storage unit last week…an object of days gone by history…


A Warrior Passes


Last weekend, Kereama Graham Hare Wirangitakina passed away at his home in Waiouru. Known to many as Graham Wi or just Wiina, Graham was a friend, colleague and mentor to many of us. He was laid to rest yesterday.


One of the many tributes to Wiina, said that this video montage was one of his favourites – as it will be for many who passed through the gates of Dieppe Barracks in the 1980s although it might be entitled The Usual Suspects

I’ve taken the liberty of including some of the tributes to Wiina to illustrate the man and the effect that he had on so many…

Hey brothers. We carried our bro into the Wharenui at the Waiouru Marae and he looked so at peace after his years of silent suffering. For those of yous that haven’t seen him for some time, he progressively got worse over the years. Spoke to his brother and mum, as sad as it is, it was a blessing in disguise and he is now at peace back with his whanau in the sunny far north. He will have a catch-up with his long lost bro Andy Warren in heavenly peace. ONWARDS brothers.


Kereama Graham Hare Wirangitakina, I have been thinking all week about how you have influenced my life, and finally I know what to say. Long before I became a father, you explained and showed me what fatherhood actually meant. Little did I know at the time, that conversation would shape my understanding of parenting. There were many other snippets of gold in my memories of you Cpl Wi (Cpl at the time), but to me, this was undoubtedly your greatest impact on my life. I will be forever indebted to the interest you took in helping mold who I am today.

I am sorry I cannot be there to say farewell, but I will certainly be charging a very full glass of Rum to you….many times. Take it easy Wi, thanks again and RIP.


Chur whanau just arrived back from Wi’s tangi and I can report that things went really well. Soldiers, whanau and friends came together…we sang, we laughed, we remembered, we haka’d, we had orders, we had confirmitory orders, we rehearsed, we got cheeky, we got angry, we took a spiritual journey to Te Reinga, we had the meanest weather, and we comforted one another.

Although it was a collective effort lead by capable men and women, a big mihi goes out to the bro Soli! Nei ra te mihi atu ki a koe te kaihautu o te waka nei. The spirit of Ngati Tumatauenga is well and truly alive…mai nga piki me nga heke we will always stand tall in the face of adversity. If I can sum it up in one word “SPEECHLESS”!!

E Winar, okioki i te atawhai o te Atua bro…till we meet again dear friend.

Te taimana whero
Taimana ki runga
Taimana ki raro
Taimana i te kura takahi puni

Whakamua! ONWARD…


Wiina’s generation shaped the New Zealand Army for the better part of three decades, and through that interface, they were also a formative influence on large parts of New Zealand society at all levels. If one word could sum up this generation it would be ‘standards’ – a closer runner-up for those who know them, might also be ‘mischiefs’…


Many of ‘the usual suspects’…

I don’t remember when I first met Graham Wi, as I knew him, it would have been as a very junior soldier in 2/1 RNZIR in Burnham or 1 RNZIR in Singapore some time in the mid-80s. But my most memorable recollection of him is from 1 RNZIR after it relocated from Singapore to the Manawatu in 1989. I think it was 1993 or ’94, and responsibility for conducting infantry corps training (infantry specialist training after recruit training) had passed to Alpha Company, 1 RNZIR. To regenerate the battalion’s numbers a lot of infantry soldiers had been recruited but the recruit depot in Waiouru was unable to handle the numbers and issued an ultimatum to the effect of ‘…you want them trained, you come and train them…’ As a result, 1 RNZIR sent a platoon commander, platoon sergeant, and some corporals to Waiouru to train a platoon’s worth of infantry recruits. Graham Wi was the that platoon sergeant.

When these young soldiers passed out of their recruit training and arrived in Linton, we were all struck by their professionalism, enthusiasm and standards – read between the lines, and you might gather that not all the products of the recruit depot at this time were as impressive. Then we started to to hear whispers from Waiouru that the 1 RNZIR training team that we had sent there might not have played by the PC rules and perhaps some of the recruits had been mistreated i.e. that their professionalism, enthusiasm and standards might be more due to fear than the infantry ethos and culture.

I asked Graham about it directly. His response was a disdainful glance north (towards Waiouru) “…Nah. All we did was introduce these young men to the concept of standards and the principle that those standards weren’t coming down to meet them…we set the bar and they all came up to it…it IS that simple…” In the months we worked with those young soldiers, that message came through again and again…they were there because they wanted to be there…they sought challenges for the satisfaction of overcoming them…

Kereama Graham Hare Wirangitakina’s generation taught an army to do the job right (regardless of your personal opinion on whether it needed to be be done or not), to be an example to yourself and those around, to fault-check and get the detail right, to push on that little bit further, over just one more false crest…


Onward, old friend…

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background | The Daily Post

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background | The Daily Post.

I spent a number of hours (yes, really, but more as a part of concurrent activity as I waited for other things to occur e.g. keyboard buffer to clear so I could eke out a few more letters before it clogged up again; waiting for DVD Shrink to process a file so I could upload the next one etc) trawling through Picasa looking so an image that did the background thing for me.

It was a struggle because I don’t seem to have many pix where the background is even that clear let alone, has some potential meaning, message or other attraction. Finally, I managed to go firm on four examples, known from this point on as the ‘also rans’, that can be seen at the bottom of this post.

What happened was this. I export images from Picasa to a holding folder – this also adds a watermark and reduces the longest edge to 600 pixels, and also makes the image a nice web-friendly size – and from here, I drag and drop the images into my WordPress media library. As I opened up the holding folder just now, I was struck by the composition of this image of the Tupperware Terminator (my name for it, not theirs so don’t try ordering a Terminator from Tupperware – who knows what you might get!) where to me the background with our driveway and inferred different pathways left and right at top and bottom, just adds so much more (still working on more what) to the image…so here we go for ‘Background’…

DSCF6486The also rans

Thailand-Singapore Bike Ride 1988 250

1 RNZIR Thailand to Singapore Bike Ride august or September 1988 – the only thing that I rode, as tour photographer, was inside the van. I only just noticed today, almost a quarter of a century later, that I snapped myself in the foreground of the background of the foreground in this shot of the mighty Hi-Ace fording a flooded road during the monsoon…1-23-2011_032

Redcastle nestled in the background of St Kevin’s College, Oamaru where I went to school. It’s all changed now from this fairly idyllic shot (mid-90s)…anyway, if you have any problems with me, blame these guys… (just kidding!)DSCF2176

USS New Jersey in the background of this shot taken from the USS Olympia on the other side of the river. My original shot was of the gun in the foreground but after noticing the New Jersey in the background, I recomposed it and shot it again for this specific effect…DSCF5906

Vancouver, around this time last year…the floatplane in the background is the icon of that trip. I arrived late one Saturday, to find that my hotel was overbooked and that they had rebooked me for just that night in another hotel – all the way back by the airport, a 30 min odd drive at midnight – in recompense, they put me in a flasher room with a balcony on the penthouse floor, As it turned out, this was the room original reserved by our hosts for my boss whop they rebooked before he arrived into a standard room a few floors down on the other side of the hotel. When he arrived a couple of days later, I said I’d swap rooms with him but these float-plane used to glide right by his window a dozen or so times a day and he said he much preferred that to yet another view over an urban landscape…top bloke!! So I got to keep my balcony and he got to keep his fly-bys – everyone happy…