New Zealand

I went with Deidre and Rani, a friend of ours, to a place called Castlepoint, which is about a 2 hour drive northeast of Wellington. Today was a great day for photos…

We went to Martinborough first. This was a view over the valley…

Then we had brunch in a cafe, and I had to take this photo of an old piano that was there…

This is the Martinborough Hotel…

After leaving Martinborough we headed to Castlepoint. I saw a winery along the way and got this photo…
Finally, we arrived at Castlepoint! There was a surf up…

The lighthouse is the attraction at Castlepoint. Take notice of the top of the cliff to the left of the lighthouse, as there's a few photos further below taken from that point…

A view of the small harbour from the path heading up to the lighthouse…

Here's the lighthouse, and with Deidre included, just to prove it was me taking the photos 😉





Some random person, standing on the beach, watching the waves come in…




I met a man in Martinborough today who was selling photos at an indoor fair. I could see that he was good, but I also considered that some of my own photos were as good. I got to talking to him, and found that he had his own business which he does part time, selling his photos.

I'm going to start selling my own. If you want to buy poster sized prints of any of the above, let me know. I'll start work on a website presenting them for sale.

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There's been an interesting case I've discovered here in NZ that involved a boy being disciplined by his mother with a riding crop (which was turned into a horse whip by media). As a result of the discipline, the child's behaviour improved at school. This was regarded as suspicious by the school, who contacted CYFS (Children, Youth & Family Services). CYFS discovered the improvement in behavious was due to the 'corporal punishment' and removed the child from the parents' care. According to this article at the NZ Herald it went to court and a jury found the mother not guilty, which under normal circumstances would mean that the child would be returned to the parents. Not in this case, however, as CYFS ignored the court's decision and decided they didn't want the child returned to its family. Apparently the decision of a jury and a court of law was irrelevent to them.

Currently, the only information available is via a blog that details the story, along with subsequent follow-up posts. The author is apparently friends of the family in question, and has been able to get information from the family themselves. The problem I have with this is that apart from the NZ Herald news item linked above, this single blog and its' author is the only other source of information, which all other articles and websites point back to. There is no external sources detailing CYFS response, or even the validity of the claims made against CYFS. All we have is hearsay provided by the author, and hearsay doesn't make for a balanced and accurate story.

I sent an email to Jim Anderton, an MP who is mentioned on the blog as being contacted about this. Unfortunately he's unavailable to comment, but his advisor, Tony Simpson, assures me that "the case is complex and goes beyond the question of the use of force against the child".

So what are we not being told about this case? There are either circumstances that we don't know of, which give CYFS the right to keep the child, or CYFS is acting above the law. Of concern, however, is the information that the child is being drugged against his will, apparently because he has behavioural problems. Hmmm… Could this be because he's being kept from his family? The same family that successfully improved the child's behaviour in a way that was found by a court of law to NOT be unreasonable?

Tony Simpson also stated, "in my experience, and notwithstanding what people sometimes say, CYFS don't lightly taken children out of families and into custody unless there is some very good reason for doing so, although whether that's the case here or not I'm simply not able to say because we don't have the facts."

And that's really the crux of the matter, isn't it. We don't have the facts. All that's available is hearsay, and until such time as the facts come to light, all we can do is discuss the conjecture. What we know can't be substantiated, and while it certainly inflames the mind to think that atrocious acts are being committed by CYFS, they certainly may be justified in their actions. How do we really know?

I have a feeling I'll be coming back to this issue in the future though.

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The law overrules media freedom

12 August 2005

Yesterday a court ruling was made that forced a NZ TV station to have two political party leaders on a televised debate. The 6 highest-polling party leaders were invited onto a political debate for the upcoming election, and two political leaders who weren't invited, because they weren't up there with the polling figures, went to […]

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Policies of NZ Political Parties

1 August 2005

An excellent site showing summaries of the different policies with the major political parties in NZ can be found here: http://www.policy.net.nz/ If you're in NZ, I recommend you have a look at it to see which of the parties you would prefer to vote for.

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Happy anniversary to me!

14 June 2004

Today is the day that I've been here in New Zealand exactly 4 years. I arrived here on June 14 2000, and it's now June 14 2004. Happy Anniversary to me! Happy Anniversary to me! Happy Anniversary dear Alan… Happy Anniversary to me! (Sung to the tune of Happy Birthday to me!) I think this […]

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I’m back!

2 April 2004

Well, I got back from the road trip on the 24th March, and I hung out with Mel until the 30th, when she caught her flight to Vancouver in Canada (via Auckland – Los Angeles – Vancouver). I've been spending the past week 'coming down' from the holiday, just mellowing out and relaxing with Mel. […]

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Day Eleven

24 March 2004

I'm back home. YAY! The holiday was fantastic, but damn, it's good to be home. Ok, yesterday we travelled from Taupo to Napier in Hawkes Bay. Before we left Taupo we went to a place called Huka Falls, where we saw an amazing display of the power of water. A river was channelled through a […]

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Day Nine

22 March 2004

5:46pm We're at Lake Taupo now. What a day… We woke up, had breakfast (I didn't bother with the spa, deciding I wasn't interested in carting around wet shorts), and then went for a walk through a nearby park. Amazing. The park was built around mud pools and steam vents. So much of it! And […]

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Day Eight

21 March 2004

4:30pm We arrived in Rotorua today, where active volcanoes provide the tourist attraction. Isn't it funny that a city is built around an industry that takes advantage of volcanoes about to blow. Or maybe that's just my overactive imagination… There are geysers here, and hot mud pools, and thermal springs, and steam coming from rocks […]

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Day Seven

20 March 2004

I'm knackered. As usual, I'll start at the beginning. Went on the boat trip this morning, which was awesome. We followed the coastline around for a bit and saw heaps of amazing cliff faces and beaches and stuff – took heaps of photos. There was a cave formed by the water, which was about 15 […]

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