Comfort zones

Comfort zones are perfect incubators for ignorance and bigotry.     On good days I am entertained by those who find comfort in the “law”.  On other days I am reminded that the law is often an ass.  Laws do not exist for the betterment of the lives of the majority.  They exist to control the antics of bad people. Take for example, dog control bylaws which did not evolve to enhance the lot of responsible dog-owners.   They evolved to deal with bad dog owners.   Most dog owners are good.   Only a few are not, and thanks to them, good dog owners are imposed upon – no longer by the bad dog owners but by the laws that have been created to deal with them.   This is called “Catering to the Lowest Common Denominator”.   A serious side effect of it is mediocrity. Recently I was entertained and then incensed by a letter to the Taranaki Daily News from someone espousing his interpretation of the Local Government electoral act and its process to establish Maori wards for Local Government in

Celebrate Innovation

 Of all of the things a girl was required to learn in order to get the ticks that would get the qualification that would demonstrate some ability to toe the line that would get the job; few things have stuck.  One concept that did however, was the great uniqueness of New Zealand artists during the early 1900s, whose main idea of what was happening in the rest of the world came from what they could glean through correspondence with their European counterparts.   Accordingly, many forms of New Zealand art from that era of our evolution, portrayed a freshness and originality of creative thought undemonstrated by other disciplines during this period in our nation’s history.   What the artists of that time were able to create was unadulterated by any actual view of what others were doing.   Photography was still in its infancy and so they were obliged to create, based on what they were reading, discussing, and imagining, rather than what they were seeing. This strikes a chord with me.


Here’s what I know about convolvulus.   Donkeys love it.   They hoover it up as the rest of us hoover up spaghetti.   Convolvulus is also known as Morning Glory.   At our place, I’m working on the only Glory in the Morning being Donkeys honking.   We’re not quite there yet.   We’ve still got Morning Glory and Honking Donkeys. I know another trick about convolvulus.   If you raid the local retailers who sell white-ware – or any other large item that comes in a large box of their cardboard; – you will be doing them a favour.   Where we live it usually costs retailers money to get rid of it.   Anyhow – after a pleasurable period of time ridding the cardboard of plastic tape and packing note covers, and if you’re really anal and have small children, the staples that held it together; you may place this on the unplanted sections of your garden – and indeed around the sections that are planted, and cover it with mulch.   Mulch may be donkey poo (in plentiful supply here) or lawn clipping

Fixing the Health System?

Really interesting to read various summations of the report delivered by the veritable Helen Simpson containing recommendations for the future management of Health Boards.  She recommends “culling” the number of Health Boards to eight.  There are currently twenty. Further – she recommends a new Crown Entity to oversee services and finances to which members would be appointed rather than elected. Finally, she recommends a new Maori Health Authority that reports to the Health Minister. Notwithstanding that the process of electing SOME members of DHBs was a dodgy dupe by a previous Labour led government successfully hoodwinking us into thinking we would have a say in how local health should be managed; I think the idea of reducing the number of decision-makers is sound.  However, the “appointments process” needs to be about skill rather than  reward; and it needs to focus on governors who have the intestinal fortitude to hold their teams to account.  If that happens Helen

The Power of Culture

I recently participated in an NZIoD panel discussion on the Power of Culture.   My ancient Oxford fortified by duct tape doesn’t even mention the culture I was looking forward to talking about.   Instead it mentions tillage or cultivation, bacteria, and improvement - either by mental or physical training. Upon reflection – cultivating an environment in which innovation, collaboration, respect and taking responsibility can thrive is not too far off the mark.   Equally, being the medium in which odiousness (bacteria) can develop is also quite relevant.   Particularly so is the notion that physical and mental training have something to do with it. The attendance list   for this discussion included people from all over the country clearly indicating that this is a topic exercising many of us at the moment. Personally, I am passionate about the Power of Culture.   But what is Culture?   Here’s my take. Culture is an environmental state in which fortunate people find themselves


“You don’t have to be intellectually bright to be a competent leader.”   So said Janet Frame – Not sure where or when but it is in the Heinman Dictionary of New Zealand Quotations so she must have said it somewhere – sometime. As one who has made a career of occupying leadership roles it would be easy to take offence at such an observation;  however with the advantage of long observation, and enough maturity to put my ego aside, I think Janet Frame is absolutely right. In my day job I get to hear what lots of people value about effective leadership.  They say: Understand who you are working with and communicate effectively by listening to people.  Seek and respect other’s points of view.  Maintain a sense of humour, and (my favourite) learn the ability to sit in silence. Hold the big picture in mind, find ways to change negative to positive, be adaptable and agile, and lead by example.  Respect diversity and recognise the value it can add to sound decision-making. I agree wit

Four legs or Feathers

In my bubble all but two of us have four legs or feathers.   The lock-down was unsettling for the fauna around our place.   The donkeys honked, the cat became friendly, the humans less friendly, and the dog barked. So much so, that the recent discovery of a half-eaten sausage upon my deck struck fear into my heart.   How does a dead sausage appear on one’s deck in the middle of the night?   An unsympathetic friend suggested that it must have been alive before it was dead so it may have crawled up there. Sausages don’t have legs.   We have not had sausages in the house for weeks, and this was not a sausage that would ever be entertained in my kitchen – having artificial grill lines artistically etched into it – as if that might make it taste better… I tried to resist the thought that it was a poisoned sausage planted by somebody intending to put a stop to our dog’s ongoing garrulousness.   I carefully removed it from the deck and stored it on top of the waste-to-landfill ref